Back in 1995, magical girl fans in Japan had the chance to dive into the world of their favorite series. Sailor Moon: Another Story was released for the Super Famicom, filling the space between what would become the S and SuperS seasons of the original anime. With all the Sailor Guardians by your side, you fight the Oppositio Guardians: a new group of mysterious soldiers who appear tied to our heroes in some way.
Sadly, there was never an official Western release. But thanks to devoted fans, Sailor Moon: Another Story reached an overseas fan base. And even though its creation wasn’t smooth sailing, it continues to bring joy to fans over the decades.
The game interface will be familiar to JRPG lovers, and the story is full of familiar faces — both good and evil. But the baddies terrorizing Japan this time around are a whole new breed. They hail from Crystal Tokyo, and share more than a passing resemblance to our heroes. These are the aforementioned Oppositio Guardians. Their goal? Wipe Sailor Moon, her friends, and her influence from history forever.
Sin, Nabu, Nergal, Marduk, and Ishtar are named for the Babylonian equivalents of their counterparts, and their personalities and desires are dark twists on the originals. Nabu is cold and calculating where Mercury is smart, for example; and while Venus fights for love, Ishtar fights to gain approval. All of them have personal reasons for wanting Sailor Moon’s seemingly eternal reign of love and justice to end. Of course, it’s not as simple as “good vs. evil,” and exploring their stories reveals a complicated web with something much bigger crouching at the center.
The game was a risk, as it was new content set after a story arc that wasn’t even complete yet. Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi supplied them some materials to make things easier, and the team also left some space open to integrate elements of the then-in-production S movie. (And yes, you will at one point fight Princess Snow Kaguya.) Despite the difficulties, we end up with an interesting game that takes us backwards (and forwards) through a lot of favorite series moments. As well as a few moments just for fans.
The game is quite full, starting with some group battles and branching out into the Inner Guardians each getting their own solo adventure (and one-off crush). The story of Mistress 9 is revisited, and the Guardians travel back and forth in time. At one point, Usagi witnesses the fall of the Moon Kingdom, and even has a chat with Queen Beryl that gives her new perspective regarding her old foe. In the end, players will have to pull out all the stops, equip legendary items on their group, and build a top-tier team to defeat the true enemy trying to change history.
While we’ll likely never see a legal release of this in the States, fans have helped share the love with English-language patches for ROMs. And last year, a polished localization was released, with more than 400 changes between the original patch and the new one by fan group Bishoujo Senshi Translations. It got another upgrade just last month, with further revisions and polish.
It’s unlikely Sailor Moon: Another Story will ever see the light of day as an official release, even in the age of Steam downloads. But if nothing else, fans are keeping the love alive, just as they did literally decades ago.