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What if ... the Sailor Senshi went toe to toe with the MCU’s Avengers?

The teams are stacked

Graphic illustration with the letters WWWW vrs. in the center and images of Sailor Moon and Ironman left and right Graphic: Alyssa Nassner/Polygon

March 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the first airing of Sailor Moon in Japan. And over those three decades years, the Toei Animation manga adaptation has become one of the most popular and influential series of all time, popping up in everything from Pixar’s Turning Red to HBO’s Euphoria.

As Sailor Moon’s legacy cements itself, it’s hard not to think of another group that’s become as influential to a new generation of nerds: the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the Avengers. While the two groups appear vastly different, with one being an Japanese animated series starring mostly all women heroes and the other being an American film franchise with a team of heroes centered mostly on superpowered men, the Sailor Senshi and the original six MCU Avengers also have a lot more in common than most may realize — and imagining the two crossing over only makes the connections more apparent. In the ‘90s Sailor Moon introduced many fans to Japanese anime, while the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought new fans to Marvel’s comic book characters (outside of the X-Men). Both vigilante groups also fight for love and justice, have unlikely and reluctant heroes, and even survived an internal struggle for power.

But what does pitting the Sailor Senshi against the Avengers really entail? Who would win if the teams ever crossed paths? Let’s find out.

We’ll assume all of our contenders are fully powered up. This means there will be no time to attack during the famously long transformation sequences — and that goes for Sailor Moon and Iron Man. All of the fighters are also in their most powerful forms for the most part. For continuity sake, the Sailor Senshi are transformed into their forms from Sailor Moon Stars, the final season of Sailor Moon, and the MCU Avengers are as they were at the beginning of Avengers: Endgame. Therefore, Captain America has his vibranium-crafted shield, but Iron Man does not have the Infinity Gauntlet.

With that established, let’s wonder aloud: Who would win?

Sailor Moon vs. Iron Man

Sailor Moon vs. Iron Man Graphic: Matt Patches/Polygon

Sailor Moon and Iron Man are reluctant leaders in their respective groups who end up making some of the biggest sacrifices. While Iron Man has more of an advantage with his intelligence and tech, Sailor Moon has magical powers with a seemingly unlimited source of moon-powered energy fueled by her conviction for love and justice. There’s also her Silver Crystal, which has the power to allow the Sailor Senshi to time jump, revive an entire population, extensively expand lifespans — Sailor Moon’s daughter is 900! — and of course defeat any foe.

Unfortunately, Iron Man, mere mortal man in a high-tech suit, is often weak against magic; he was no match for Scarlet Witch’s mind-altering magic in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and wielding the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame brought on his untimely death. Sailor Moon’s goddess-like powers, passed down through generations of the Moon Kingdom’s royalty, and weapons like the Holy Grail in her arsenal give her a clear advantage over pretty much every Avenger, including Tony Stark.

Winner: Sailor Moon

Sailor Mercury vs. Black Widow

Sailor Mercury vs. Black Widow Graphic: Matt Patches/Polygon

Both Sailor Mercury and Black Widow rely on tactical skills to overcome their enemies. Sailor Mercury uses tech such as the “Mercury Goggle,” that allows her to scan her enemies for weak points, but her real weapon is intellect; canonically, she holds an IQ score of 300, whereas real-life American magazine columnist Marilyn vos Savant, who holds the highest IQ in the real world, has a score of 228.

Of course, when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, Black Widow reigns supreme. Black Widow’s training from The Red Room also gives her the experience to withstand nearly any attack. Luckily, Sailor Mercury has a few powerful attacks in her arsenal, including “Mercury Bubble Blast,” which creates a thick fog to hide her location, and “Shine Aqua Illusion,” which has the power to freeze her enemies into an ice block. If Sailor Mercury can keep Black Widow physically away for long enough, she has the likelihood to win with brains (and a combo attack) winning over brawn.

Winner: Sailor Mercury

Sailor Mars vs. Hawkeye

sailor mars vs. hawkeye Graphic: Matt Patches/Polygon

Both Sailor Mars and Hawkeye specialize in long-range attacks, with the Senshi relying on fire to attack her enemies, and the Avenger using an array of specialty arrows. However, while Sailor Mars has an unlimited amount of ofuda to exorcize demons, Hawkeye can draw several trick arrows in a matter of seconds that could likely combat Mars’ fire. So what does it come down to?

Iron will should work to Sailor Mars’ advantage; in the season 1 finale of Sailor Moon, Mars is crumbled by rocks and attacked by multiple enemies, but still finds the willpower to fight several villains after being severely injured. Then, seconds before taking her last breath, she takes down one more villain with her attack “Fire Soul!” which causes a huge fire explosion.

However, with Hawkeye’s impeccable aim, it’s only a matter of time before Sailor Mars is hit by an arrow of the acid, sonic, freeze — or, heck, fire extinguisher — variety. As much as I don’t want to admit it (because Ronin deserves to be exorcised with Sailor Mars’ ofuda), Hawkeye and his deep quiver, will likely take the win here.

Winner: Hawkeye

Sailor Jupiter vs. Thor

Sailor Jupiter vs. Thor Graphic: Matt Patches/Polygon

Thor is the “God of Thunder” and Sailor Jupiter is the “Goddess of Lightning,” so it’s only natural for these two to go head-to-head. But throughout all their quests, I would say the two are evenly matched on their magical thunder and lightning powers, meaning any encounter would come down to hand-to-hand combat. Sailor Jupiter is very skilled in fighting and has taken down enemies without even needing to power up into her Sailor Senshi form, but admittedly doesn’t get as much fighting practice due to the need to balance schoolwork and her hobbies.

Meanwhile, Thor goes to Jotunheim to hunt giants on the regular. Unless Jupiter can use Thor’s ditziness to her advantage, Thor has the likelihood to win in this fight. We may actually see a version of this fight in the near future: Zeus, whose Roman counterpart lends his name to Sailor Jupiter, will reportedly go head-to-head with Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Winner: Thor

Sailor Venus vs. Captain America

Sailor Venus vs. Captain America Graphic: Matt Patches/Polygon

While Captain America leads the Avengers into battle, Sailor Venus is tasked with leading the Inner Senshi (Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, and Sailor Jupiter). On top of their hero roles, both have also served as mascots, with Cap (reluctantly) boosting for the U.S. military and Sailor V starring in her own line of video games and comics within the world of the Sailor Moon anime.

As far as abilities, Sailor Venus has strong attacks like “Crescent Beam,” which shoots an energy beam towards her enemies and can split off into different directions and “Love Me Chain,’’ which whips a chain around. Captain America may be able to block those attacks with his famous shield, Sailor V’s attacks can split off into different directions which could prove difficult for a super soldier, even backed by his Avengers. To win, he’d have to get in close and engage Sailor Venus in hand-to-hand combat to offset her long-range attacks. The real deciding factor? Cap’s “I can do this all day” mentality. It’s the stamina required to win against the Sailor Senshi.

Winner: Captain America

Tuxedo Mask vs. Hulk

Graphic: Matt Patches/Polygon

While there are five Inner Senshi, there are six original MCU Avengers. So by default, the last Avenger, Hulk, has to go against Tuxedo Mask. Despite popular opinion, Tuxedo Mask (in the anime) does have a few attacks in his arsenal including the ability to throw razor-sharp roses and to use his cane like a sword.

Neither of these attacks could win against the Hulk. C’mon. In the end, Hulk would likely swing Tuxedo Mask like a rag doll (much like he did to Loki in The Avengers). The good news is, with his sacrificial spirit, Tuxedo Mask will happily take one for the team. In the end, this matchup only requires two words: “Hulk Smash.”

Winner: Hulk

Debate amongst yourselves if any of the Avengers could really beat Sailor Moon...