Sailor Moon is easily an S-tier magical girl anime series. However, with two separate anime series and various movies, some fans may be confused about the correct Sailor Moon watch order.
Fortunately, we can help you figure out the story arcs, the movies, and which episodes are filler.
Sailor Moon Basics
Sailor Moon has entertained anime fans for more than 30 years.
Technically speaking, the entire series is a spin-off sequel to Codename: Sailor V, a short Sailor Venus manga series Naoko Takeuchi created in 1991. Later that same year, she also created Sailor Moon. The first anime series started in 1992.
The reboot series, Sailor Moon Crystal, began in 2014. Crystal follows the same basic plot as the original Sailor Moon series. But it eliminates a lot of the “monster of the week” filler in order to concentrate on the manga canon. Crystal was followed by a pair of canon Sailor Moon Eternal movies. The Sailor Moon Cosmos movies will come out in 2023.
(Toei also created a live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series, and Bandai made several Sailor Moon musicals. But those are hard to find legally, so we won’t discuss them.)
Sailor Moon Plot
In both versions of the anime, the series features Usagi Tsukino, an ordinary middle-school student. Usagi learns that she can transform into the heroine Sailor Moon, the reincarnation of a moon princess. (The 1990s English dub changes Usagi’s name to Serena.)
Sailor Moon gathers a bunch of friends who are also magical girls known as Sailor Guardians, Sailor Senshi, or Sailor Scouts. Together, they fight various monsters and villains. Each story arc has a different main antagonist.
Since later villains are stronger, Sailor Moon gains new powers and abilities (and a new outfit to reflect these changes).
While many episodes concentrate on the endless fight against evil, the series also features a romantic side. Sailor Moon has a love interest, Tuxedo Mask, who helps her out.
Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask eventually regain their true identities and restore the lost moon kingdom in the future. In the final story arc, Sailor Moon must save the Milky Way from Chaos.
Sailor Moon Watch Order
The 1990s original series and the current Sailor Moon reboot are not linked, although the basic story arcs are the same. If you like old school anime, you may prefer the original series.
Original Story Arcs
The original series consists of 200 episodes, divided unevenly into five seasons. Each season covers one canon story arc of the manga. There are some non-canon filler arcs as well. Each season also gets its own title. They are:
1. Sailor Moon (1992-1993)
- Dark Kingdom Arc
2. Sailor Moon R (1993-1994)
- Makai Tree Arc (filler)
- Black Moon Arc
3. Sailor Moon S (1994-1995)
- Mugen Academy, a.k.a. Death Busters, or Infinity Arc
4. Sailor Moon SuperS (1995-1996)
- Dreams/ Dead Moon Circus Arc
5. Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (1996-1997)
- Nelehenia Arc (filler)
- Stars Arc
Note: Although Queen Nelehenia is an important character from the Dead Moon Circus Arc, the Nehelenia Arc is not canon. It features the return and redemption of the villain.
Original Filler Episodes
In anime, filler is anything which is non-canon to the manga. For the record, filler isn’t necessarily bad. It can be entertaining and fun. However, filler anime episodes don’t advance the plot. The following episodes are filler:
- Season 1: 2-7; 9; 11-12; 15-18; 20-21; 26-32; 37-41; 43
- Season 2: 47-59; 63-67; 69; 78-80; 89
- Season 3: 94-100; 104; 107-108; 116-118; 127
- Season 4: 129; 131-132; 134; 136-142; 144-147; 151-157; 159
- Season 5: 175-178; 183-186; 192
Three original series Sailor Moon movies were produced. They are not related to Sailor Moon Crystal. The movies are not based on the manga, and are therefore filler. They are entertaining, but they can be skipped without missing plot details. The titles refer to the season that they belong to chronologically.
- Sailor Moon R: The Movie (1993)
- Sailor Moon S: The Movie (1994)
- Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie (1995)
Sailor Moon Crystal Watch Order
Compared to the original, Sailor Moon Crystal is condensed with only 39 episodes. It contains no filler. Everything is canon to the manga.
- Season 1, (2014): Dark Kingdom Arc
- Season 2, (2015): Black Moon Arc
- Season 3, (2016): Death Busters Arc
Sailor Moon Eternal and Cosmos Movies
Sailor Moon Eternal (2021) continues the Sailor Moon Crystal story. It consists of two movies — Part 1, and Part 2. Both movies are needed to get the full story of the Dreams/ Dead Moon Circus Arc.
Sailor Moon Cosmos will be released in June 2023. Like with Eternal, Cosmos will be divided into two movies.
As shown on the films’ website, the movies will feature the Sailor Starlights, who first show up in the Stars Arc. Since Stars is the final Sailor Moon story arc, it is likely that Cosmos will be a grand finale for Crystal.
Best Places to Watch Sailor Moon
In the United States, Netflix has both Sailor Moon Crystal, and the Sailor Moon Eternal movies. It will also have Sailor Moon Cosmos (no link yet). Depending upon your region, your options may differ.
Price: Basic with ads, $6.99/ month. Basic: $9.99/ month. Standard: $15.49/ month. Premium: $19.99.
How to Watch Sailor Moon on Netflix Anywhere in the World
This method works on both desktop PCs and mobile phones or tablets.
- Purchase (or start a free trial) of a VPN. I can confirm that NordVPN works for this purpose.
- In the settings, choose United States as your location.
- Fire up the VPN and wait for it to do its magic
- Once you’re connected, navigate to Netflix (browser or app)
- Search “Sailor Moon” in the Netflix search bar and you should see the anime pop up.
Enjoy! Please note that if your Netflix library doesn’t update to reflect the country you selected in your VPN, you may have to clear the Netflix cache first and try again.
To do this on mobile, go to settings -> apps -> Netflix -> clear cache. To do this on PC, you have to clear the cache in your web browser.
I’ve had no trouble using this method and I still use NordVPN to watch anime from various Netflix country libraries daily.
Crunchyroll has Sailor Moon Crystal. In some areas, you may need a VPN to watch.
Price: You can watch some content (but not Sailor Moon) for free without an account, but with ads. Fan level: $7.99/ month. Mega Fan: $9.99/ month. Ultimate Fan: $14.99/ month. A free-trial period is also available.
3. Apple TV
Apple has the original Sailor Moon series. It also has the three original series movies — Sailor Moon R: The Movie, Sailor Moon S: The Movie, and Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie. You can also buy Sailor Moon Crystal.
Price: Individual episodes: $1.99 for Japanese; $2.99 for English. Sailor Moon movies: $3.99 each to rent, $12.99 to buy.