How to cosplay Queen Nehelenia from Sailor Moon

July 27, 2021

From the Netflix film Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal

Sailor Moon Eternal (劇場版「美少女戦士セーラームーンEternalエターナル) is the first movie in the beloved Toei Animation franchise to be shown theatrically since 1995. A continuation of the Sailor Moon Crystal series, the two-part movie premiered in Japanese theaters in January and February 2021, followed by the worldwide release on Netflix in June. 

Fans would know that Queen Nehelenia has been trapped in a mirror longer than they have waited for a new Sailor Moon movie. The 2021 film reflects the manga version of Nehelenia more faithfully than the 90s anime TV series, which made her out to be a vain Grimhilde figure more than the Maleficent-like being depicted in the comics. 

The new Sailor Moon film might have rebooted Nehelenia's backstory, but she remains the icy, evil queen fans worldwide have come to fear (and adore) since Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon SuperS cast its moonshine 26 years ago. 

Here's how you can moonlight as Nehelenia for the night.

Nehelenia bio and appearance 

Nehelenia is the mirror image of Queen Serenity, the dark side of the moon to her light. Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi mined extensively from old mythologies to create the characters. Queen Serenity and Princess Serenity are inspired by the Greek moon goddess Selene while Nehelenia is based, mostly in name, on the Germanic-Celtic deity Nehalennia.

Serenity and Nehelenia as two sides of a coin

In ancient Greece, Selene, Artemis (not the cat) and Hecate are worshipped as the Triple Goddess: mother, maiden and crone. You could say Nehelenia is the hag to Queen Serenity and Princess Serenity's mom and daughter. It's probably no coincidence that Nehelenia wields witchy powers not unlike Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. 

Highlighting the duality of the moon, both Nehelenia and Serenity favor an empire-waist dress that drapes down to the floor—Nehelenia's gown is just strapless and less form-fitting. In a way, the Nehelenia costume dress recalls a maternity dress, which varies in shades of olive green to black in the anime and manga.  

Nehelenia's origin story in the manga is reenacted in part two of Sailor Moon Eternal

The holy grail of Nehelenia's outfit is the ivory overskirt that slits down the middle. Sew this to the bustline of the empire waist dress, and you have half a Nehelenia outfit already. You still need to sew off-shoulder puffy sleeves to complete the look (instructions here). If your maternity dress already has puffy sleeves, you're almost there; just attach skin-tight long sleeves in the same color below them. You can easily make these skintight sleeves out of opera gloves, cut off to expose your hands. 

Accessorize the lopped-off gloves with gold bracelets. No gold bracelets? Improvise with gold paper and black wooden beads, alternatively painted pearls. You can use the same materials to create Nehelenia's choker. 

Don't forget that she has some serious moon tiara action going on, too. With cardboard and metallic paper, get crafty with a Nehelenia headpiece, which is essentially a silver head necklace with an obsidian circle, dangling from which are crescent moons, one golden and two silver. Her earrings also have the same crescent design. 

Finally, finish off the costume with a lavender cape.  

Nightmarish look

Nehelenia may be the stuff of nightmares, but her beauty will make you rave like a lunatic. Here's how you can get that Nehelenia makeup right.

To serve Nehelenia realness, you are going to require pointy elf ears. It would be great to wear ice blue contacts as well, for a stare as icy as the dark queen of the Dead Moon. 

Bad hair night

The Sailor Moon universe don't want none unless you got hair buns, hun. Nehelenia is no exception to this rule. She lets her hair down to the floor, except for two massive buns on either side of her head, with curly ponytails cascading from the pair. 

You can get some pointers on how to make Sailor Moon buns, the Nehelenia version, here:

Yes, if you want to commit to this look, you will need a floor-length raven black wig: Here's one that is 66 inches long. It will also have to be one with curls large and voluminous enough for a circus. 

Remember that lots of wigs are made of synthetic fibers, so stay away from overly hot tools if you want to curl them. You can use bendy rollers or even hair donuts to curl straight wigs with little to no heat. 

Now you're ready for your transformation sequence and create deadly illusions as Her Majesty, Queen Nehelenia. Cue Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

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