alternate reality

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon - The Series

The Series

In celebration of the Sailor Moon series 10th year anniversary, Toei announced that it would be producing a Live Action version of the series entitled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (PGSM). This live action drama ran from October 4, 2003 to September 25, 2004 and retold the "Finding Princess Serenity" story arc of the original Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (BSSM) series with some major plot changes. Semi-popular models around the age of 16 were cast to play the five Sailor Soldiers, but its ratings never reached the same height of as its Anime counterpart and only continued to fall as the series progressed.1
Disclaimer: I have tried to watch PGSM in its entirety and failed as the subpar acting and the Power Range-esque action scenes2 made me cringe. I was only able to go through the live action series by reading detailed, screen-capped episode run-downs and that was a few years ago. As I am not a real fan of PGSM, I would like to apologize in advance, if PGSM fans find the following information overly generalized or incomplete.

The Actress

Name: Komatsu Ayaka
Profession: Model, actress, and gravure idol
Birthdate: July 23, 1986, Leo
Birthplace: Ichinoseki, Iwate, Japan
Height: 160cm
Blood type: A
Family: One older brother and one younger sister
Talent agency: Amuse3

Komatsu Ayaka

In her teens, Ayaka was a one of the main model for the now defunct, Candy magazine and enjoyed some popularity among its readers. Now in her 20's, she is primarily focused on her acting career and since PGSM, has landed several roles in various dramas. However, the roles she often play are small supporting roles with little screen time and thus she has yet to really "break out." Ayaka remains relatively unknown, especially when compared to PGSM co-star Kitagawa Keiko (Sailor Mars), who is now a superstar actress. Kitagawa Keiko has starred in many popular TV dramas and movies such as Buzzer Beat, Paradise Kiss, and Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato De. Till this day, she continues to land main starring roles in a TV drama every year.

Sailor V

a different storyline

As mentioned before, major changes were made in PGSM's retelling of the original storyline. In the drama, Aino Minako is a very popular idol who has released several hit singles with several big commercial contracts. She has also been fighting the Dark Kingdom as Sailor V for almost a year before the start of the PGSM series. In the beginning and even after all the members of the Sailor team have awakened, Sailor V remains an distant observer until Act 12, when she finally introduces herself as the Princess of the Moon Kingdom. However Sailor Venus, acting as the False Princess, insists on fighting solo and continues to distance herself from the rest of Sailor Venus disguised as the Moon Princess the team. The gap between Sailor Venus and the rest of the team only widens as she proves to be extremely critical of the team, especially of Mars and Moon, and openly berates the team for their inexperience and naivate. She also shows a dislike of Tuxedo Mask/Chiba Mamoru and disapproves of Usagi's infaturation with him. In addition, Venus's reckless baiting of herself as the Moon Princess to the Dark Kingdom only puts more strain on her already tenuous relationship with the rest of the team. As the series progresses, the reason behind Minako's aloofness and reckless behavior slowly surfaces. The team learns that Minako is terminally ill and instead of choosing to undergo treatment, Good-bye Venus she has chosen to dedicate the rest of her life on her duty and mission as Sailor Venus. Knowing that her time is short, Venus is anxious to see the rest of the team improve and fully awaken to their powers, in particular Mars, as she will become (and is) the leader of the team in Venus's absence. Also of the five, Venus's memories of the past are the most intact, therefore making her desperate to keep Usagi and Mamoru apart. However, after certain circumstances and events, Minako did end up bonding with the others and soon learns that her current life as Aino Minako the idol is just as important as her life as Sailor Venus. In the end, Minako decides to fight her disease and undertakes the necessary surgery, but, unfortunately, does not survive the operation. Aino Minako dies three episodes before the series finale and does not participate in the final battle.

Venus plays a trick

her portrayal in PGSM

There are some fans who argue that the personality of Aino Minako in PGSM is completely different from the original Aino Minako of the BSSM series. For those who are only familar with the classic anime series, I can understand why they would think this way. However, the Live Action series actually follows the Manga more closely and this explains the Live Action's more serious portrayal of the character. In the Manga series, Minako is quriky, fun, and cheerful, but she also posseses a serious side. The writers of PGSM basically took this serious side, which always existed, and emphasized it (Much like how the Anime series took Minako's quirky side and greatly magnified it). PGSM's Aino Minako suffers from a life-threatening illness and bitter regrets of a past life full of mistakes, therefore her intense personality is understandable. Besides, PGSM did not cut out her cheerful, fun side and we do catch glimspes of it throughout the series. One such example, would be her surprising Artemis with a Jack-in-a-Box wrapped as a present. In my humble opinion, PGSM's portrayal of Aino Minako is spot-on and I believe if her classic anime or manga counterparts where in the same situation they would have acted just as she did.