Does Sailor Moon's transformation (henshin) happen instantaneously or do they happen in real-time?

This question has been wondered a lot among fans, since there's always a few minutes of senshi transformation in every episode and yet, does it really take that long? How come the enemies don't attack them while they henshin? Here I will attempt to answer this question from my perspective. This isn't confirmed with Naoko Takeuchi, Toei Animations, etc, so the answer remains unknown but here are my thoughts.

In the Live Action version, there are times when they henshin instantly; for example when Ami runs, a quick blue flash of light appears, and she is already Sailor Mercury. That of course, could be shown for the purpose of the event in that episode alone, since it would be awkward running and trying to transform at the same time. In the anime however, usually the full henshin is shown.
Jeffrey Anderson, webmaster of Sailor created a mini manga to show his view on this topic. He believes that it occurs instantaneous, and only shows it longer for show, which the Japanese like.

It'd make sense if it was instantly, but if it was instant, how was Mamoru in the first season able to see Usagi transform into Sailor Moon? Throughout her transformation, it showed glimpses of Mamoru shocked in the process. The same thing goes with Aluminium Siren in the last season when she catches Usagi henshin. She was standing there and analysing the situation as she was transforming. Therefore, I believe that it doesn't happen instantly, but real-time. Why they never get attacked during a henshin, they are probably protected by their powers.

Have something to add? Please send in your thoughts.

Sailor Mercury is enveloped into her water ribbon, Sailor Mars is circled by fire rings, Jupiter is in an electricity cage and Venus has her ribbons. The "things" they are into during their transformation protect them. What about Sailor Moon? She has the silver moon crystal in her four last seasons and in the first one, the youmas are not smart enough to think about attacking her.

Yumiko | url

The transformations are actually, I wouldn't say 'instant', but a lot faster then we see on the screen. Being a Girl's Shoujo anime, the transformation sequences are played out in front of the viewer only, to show how they transform (plus it's fancy and fun to watch, especially if you're a little girl). However, there are instances in the anime where they say their Henshin and almost instantaneously transform (without a actual transformation sequence). The reason the enemies don't attack while they are transforming, is because they don't have enough time. Since the senshi transform many times right in front of an enemy, it only makes sense that it wouldn't take that long, because the enemies most likely would not wait to attack, and sometimes the senshi transform right before the enemy (Youma) attacks, and finish before they actually GET attacked.

Mamoru was only surprised when Usagi transformed because she shouted out 'Moon Prism Power, Make-up!" right next to him, and he could do nothing but watch her transform. Obviously 'Moon Prism Power' made her transform into sailormoon ;) If their transformations actually took as long as they look in the sequences, the enemies would most likely not wait. That's the theory that just makes the most logical sense to me.

@Darkmoonfire- That's a good thought, but the henshin sequence is just a transformation, not a protective mechanism. It's true that Sailormoon's Ginzuishou has protective qualities, though, that's how she was protected against Queen Beryl's attacks during their battle.

By JA | url
Ah, you might find this interesting about all of the Henishin stuff. I did some reading how time would seem to slow or quicken when a person get very focused on something. I could safely suspect that Mamoru, Siren and others were able to see the entire henishin because they paid more attention to them. It had happened to me when I came very alert that everything around me seemed little slower and when I look it the same thing again, it seemed faster. It's just a trick the brains like to play on us. ;)