Sailor Moon Crystal

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Posted 9/11/14 , edited 9/21/14
For anyone with even a passing familiarity with anime, Sailor Moon is one of the first titles that will immediately come to mind. Serena Usagi and her friends learn about friendship and loyalty while whooping on bad guys with elemental attacks--what's not to love? The classic series returns with Sailor Moon Crystal! Check out these thoughts from our Newsletter team!

by Nate Ming (Anonymooo)

There's a huge chunk of anime fandom that got their start with Sailor Moon, the really really ridiculously long anime adaptation of Naoko Takeuchi's manga, a defining title of the magical girl genre and undeniably the most popular shojo property on the planet. The series has been fondly remembered among fans for decades, and now we see the return of Usagi, Ami, Rei, Makoto, and Minako in Toei's long-awaited Sailor Moon Crystal. More closely following Takeuchi's original manga, Crystal trims out all of the storytelling fat for a lean, focused battle against Queen Beryl and her unusually pretty henchmen.

While I'm happy to see Usagi and company back in action, I'm not 100% satisfied with the reboot as a whole--surprisingly inconsistent animation is really the only issue I have with an otherwise totally fun series. Thankfully, the budget picks back up when it's time to fight, with the girls dishing out their elemental attacks to an appropriately energetic soundtrack, with a great opening and ending to frame each episode. The two-week (or more!) wait between each episode can sometimes be a real killer, especially for something as refreshingly simple and honest and direct as Sailor Moon Crystal.

by iblessall

So this is Sailor Moon, huh? It's probably best to preface the rest of my section here by noting that Sailor Moon Crystal is my first exposure to the franchise, period. And before you moonie faithful despair, let me also add that while I don't think Sailor Moon Crystal is a very good show, I do see the appeal and potential that hides behind the production problems and grating voice acting. That's not to say that the production values are the only problem with the show—only to remark that the ideas and philosophies I think lay at the core of the franchise can't be totally drowned out by the show's other issues.

As a newcomer to Sailor Moon, the reason it is so beloved to so many is surprisingly clear. There is a freshness and innocence, coupled with an almost youthful confidence, to the show that seems to me to speak to a sort of creative originality found only in those shows that truly pioneer new trails. I don't know the history of the mahou shoujo genre up to the time of Sailor Moon, but Sailor Moon Crystal has a sort of narrative aesthetic that hails back to a different time period and does stand out amongst the high speed stories of the contemporary anime scene. The episode-long character introductions, while admittedly a bit slow for my taste, do speak to a certain assuredness in the writing and in the characters themselves. Relaxed might be a bit of an stretch for a show that involves fighting the forces of evil on a bi-weekly basis, but Sailor Moon Crystal nonetheless is able to conjure up a comfortable sense of nostalgia, even for some like me who's never heard the "Moon Prism Power Make Up!" call before.

Sailor Moon Crystal, as an adaptation, suffers from some obvious aesthetic (why use CGI for stock transformation sequences?) and production flaws, but it's almost more important that the show is able to convey the spirit of the franchise. Sure, it would be nice is Sailor Moon Crystal was a triumph as an individual show, but maybe its enough if it reminds people of why they liked the original so much and introduces others (like me) to the franchise for the first time.

by Eclipsed_Oblivion

Moon Crystal Power, Make-Up! Sailor Moon is finally back in action after twenty years in the Sailor Moon remake, Sailor Moon Crystal. The 1990’s franchise is significant for having completely redefined the magical girl genre, and Sailor Moon Crystal is not a replica of it, but rather a solid adaptation. The new character designs, for one, while unpopular in the previews, look a lot better animated. The characters look mature beyond their years like in the manga, and they are adorned with many of the manga’s extra accessories and individual uniform modifications, but the arrangement of the facial features follows the original anime more closely. Sailor Moon Crystal also updates aspects of the original show’s animation by animating things once technologically impossible, such as the entire length of Usagi’s hair during the transformation sequences; the original had to use certain camera angles to avoid animating all of it. Most importantly, however, is that there is absolutely no filler content. The original anime was riddled with filler that slowed the plot to a near standstill, but with the plot now moving at a decent pace, the story is even more enjoyable than before.

Even so, Sailor Moon Crystal does have some glaring flaws. The CGI in the transformation sequences is extremely heavy to the point of being completely jarring, and considering the two week gap between episodes, the animation should be better quality. This two, sometimes three week gap also falsely makes the story seem extremely sluggish when it really isn’t — if the episodes were released weekly, the first arc would be nearly over by now, but now the series is still in the introductory stages instead. Furthermore, while it does follow the original storyline much more closely than the previous anime did, Sailor Moon Crystal still doesn’t follow it exactly. Some of the changes are definitely welcome — there would be outcry today if Tuxedo Mask kissed a drunk and passed out Sailor Moon — but some of them aren’t necessary. While a few of these changes are inconsequential to the plot’s development, others make it seem like Sailor Moon Crystal may diverge from the manga significantly. Sailor Moon Crystal is certainly not a replica of the Sailor Moon manga nor the original anime, but it is still a solid adaptation that, when it does air, should create an experience satisfying for most newcomers and longtime, non-purist fans alike.

by Zerogouki

The same thing that makes Sailor Moon Crystal so exciting is probably exactly what causes the initial cognitive dissonance in watching it: When you're expecting the magical girl equivalent of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, it can be difficult and just confusing when you get something different. Crystal isn't a full new adaption with everything that modern animation can offer, but an averagely budgeted new adaption that hews closer to the manga than the older anime.

On that score, it works well enough. It's consistently entertaining and there's a pleasure in seeing the manga designs more closely replicated. The animation has issues: Off-model characters, mistakes, and just weird, weird little moments are a consistent issue, despite the extra week between episodes available. It leaves a bad taste in one's mouth, when the series was hyped up so much both by promotion and simple fan excitement, but it's only partially the series' fault. Stylistically, it has a variety of issues that won't be solved even by the technical polish of redone animation for the future home video releases: Whether the designs work or not, whether the CGI transformation sequence is effective or just a waxy duplicate of the rightfully famous old one, whether the small changes to the manga storyline are interesting or irritating, are all open questions that could take the series in either direction. There's far too much good here to write it off because of some technical difficulties: After all, it's still Sailor Moon, and that counts for a lot.

by Dingofist

Throughout my entire life, I’ve had next to zero exposure to anything at all related to Sailor Moon. I somehow never caught the original anime growing up, was never forced to watch it by friends when I got into anime, and never tracked down the manga to read it out of bizarre curiosity. I knew it existed, I knew Tuxedo Mask was a character, and I knew it had an awesome theme song. That’s. About. It. Perhaps, then, that’s why I’ve been so able to enjoy Sailor Moon Crystal without any pesky nostalgic memories or expectations getting in the way.

What I discovered after marathoning the five available episodes (I had originally intended to watch them over the course of a few days, but I couldn’t stop) was that Crystal is an incredibly solid monster-of-the-week magical girl show. Even as someone without those pesky nostalgic thoughts of the original show, I found myself feeling nostalgic for other older shows in a similar vein. Indeed, Sailor Moon Crystal feels like a messenger from the past, with characters and art that feel largely out of place in 2014. That’s part of what proved so charming about the whole series. Every stock transformation sequence, every formulaic plotline, every time Tuxedo Mask appeared to shout “FIGHT ON, SAILOR MOON!” in some slightly varied all brought a huge smile to my face, and I found myself humming the impressively catchy theme song long after the last episode had ended.

Sailor Moon Crystal may not be perfect, but it is a lot of fun, and you won’t need a rosy pair of shades to appreciate the ongoing struggles of Usagi Tsukino and her magical friends as they fight for love and justice against the diabolical Queen Beryl and her ever-so-handsome Four Kings.

by EyesOfTheScarecrow

Sailor Moon is one of the most important manga/anime of all time. It is undoubtedly the most popular Shojo; an accolade it richly deserves. With Sailor Moon Crystal, the classic anime has been streamlined and reduced from its once filler-ridden 200 episodes to a much more manageable number. The animation and art have been redesigned to more appropriately reflect the style of the original manga, but the story remains largely unchanged. Usagi Tsukino, the titular Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, and her friends; the Sailor Senshi/Scouts protect Toyko and the world from evil. Sailor Moon is fairly formulaic with regard to plot progression. There is a new monster (virtually) each week, and a larger threat in the background. As the enemies become more powerful, the number of Senshi grows to appropriately combat the threat. The style follows that of Tokusatsu/Super Sentai/Power Rangers series, which is unsurprising, as that genre was a clear inspiration for Sailor Moon.

Why then, is Sailor Moon so good? Aside from its historical value, the series examines the trial and tribulations of youth struggling with things like alienation, self-doubt, intellectual and physical inadequacy, sexuality and more. Most importantly though, Sailor Moon presents an unremarkable young woman who isn't particularly smart, hates school, is boy-crazy, worries about her appearance and how she's perceived by others, experiences fear and is more than happy to ask for help when needed. She is everything the stereotypical "young hero" is not, and she's also the greatest heroine anime/manga has ever produced. Usagi is one of the most accessible fictional feminist icons ever created. She's not defined by her strengths or her weaknesses, but by her humanity.

If you've never seen Sailor Moon before, you absolutely must watch Crystal. At least some exposure to Sailor Moon is essential for all anime fans. If you're a diehard Sailor Moon fan, Crystal still provides enough new content, along with a delightful, albeit divisive, manga-inspired art style to make tuning in more than worthwhile.

by cardboard_shark

Sailor Moon Crystal is a bit of an oddity in that its strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin. As a remake of one of the cornerstones of the magical girl genre, it’s extraordinarily fascinating from a historical perspective. Each episode reveals a character archetype or plot point that has since been borrowed and modified by countless other shows. Watching it feels like finding the single stream of water that acts as the source for a major river. It’s a very cool experience, but it factors into the show’s most basic weakness: we have, naturally, seen it all many times before. Its core concepts and characters have since been tweaked and improved upon by other series, and it can feel a bit outdated as a result. It’s perhaps better to think of it as a restored classic than a modern work, and enjoy it on that level.

Crystal also has to compete with the original Sailor Moon anime. At the moment, all that nostalgia is a high barrier to overcome for a remake with only a few episodes to its name. Sailor Moon Crystal’s advantage, then, is in the long game. Because the entirety of the original manga is obviously available to the writers, the new series can ultimately be more faithful to the source material. It’s a strength that won’t become fully apparent for some time, but should ultimately pay off in a big way. For anyone with an interest in highly influential anime, this is a long-term commitment with a great deal of potential. Dialing the transformation sequences back a notch wouldn’t hurt, though.

by Koda89

The original Sailor Moon series will always have a special place in my heart, being my first magical girl show, if not my first anime series period. So it is with a bit of a heavy heart that I must say that Sailor Moon Crystal has been a bit of a disappointment to me in some ways. I'll address the, rather large, elephant in the room first and foremost. The animation in Sailor Moon Crystal can be a down right joke at times. Bad proportions, odd looking faces, and inconsistent object coloring and placement are common. And that's not even touching the CGI transformation scenes, which, quite frankly, are some of the weakest pieces of CGI animation in modern anime. All in all, the animation is just way too sub-par to be coming from Toei, especially given the breaks between episodes. Speaking of those breaks between episodes, that leads to my other big issue with Sailor Moon Crystal. Because of how the episodes are released, I feel it greatly screws with the pacing of the series. If this show had a weekly airing schedule, I highly doubt I'd be feeling anything wrong with the pacing. In fact when I compare the episodes to their corresponding chapters in the manga, the show is actually going at the exact same pace as the manga.

Now with the issues out of the way, let's get to why you should still be watching Sailor Moon Crystal despite the flaws it currently has going against it. First of all, it is much, much closer to the manga. Albeit with a few changes nevertheless. The filler of the original anime has been banished to the shadows, resulting in a much better pace. On top of that, the characters behave like they do in the manga. In that regards, Sailor Moon Crystal is less Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and more Dragon Ball Z Kai. Additionally, when the animation actually is firing on all cylinders, the show actually does look good, showing the full beauty of the original designs for the Sailor Guardians. Sailor Moon is a legendary franchise, and for good reason. Much like how Dragon Ball became the codifier and gold standard of the shonen series that would follow it, Sailor Moon became the same for the magical girl genre. Conversely, because of that it may seem old and outdated compared to the magical girl shows to come out since. However, be that as it may, I still think people need to see Sailor Moon to see where the modern form of the genre came from. Though I personally suggest waiting until Sailor Moon Crystal completes its 26 episode run, so you don't have to experience its odd airing schedule. Either way, should you check out Sailor Moon Crystal, you are in for something magical.

by CrayMeganeChan

Ever since the original Sailor Moon finished airing in the US on Cartoon Network, I have always wanted to see some Sailor Moon back in my life. Now over 10 years later, not only do we have the original back on Hulu (although subtitled) and a new re-dub, we also get a brand new anime, Sailor Moon Crystal, which is more closely to the original manga. How can a Sailor Moon fan not be excited with all this news? It's amazing how many people have enjoyed this show as a child and still love it after all this time. Now the questions are how will this new Sailor Moon be received by the fans of the original and will it generate more fans from the new generation? I can't speak for other fans but here is how I feel about it.

I love the fact that Sailor Moon Crystal is going by how the manga has the story. There were things that weren't covered or changed in the original so to see it animated now is awesome. The audience will be getting the Sailor Moon that was meant to be. Each episode is named after it's manga chapter counterpart. If you have the manga, you can follow which the show is at. Of course if you've already read it, and follow how the anime is naming each episode, you can probably have an idea of how far in the story the anime might go. I actually do like the animation for it. Despite some flaws that were seen in a few of the episodes, which many may find inexcusable given the delays and the 1st and 3rd week airings wait between episodes, it's not really that bad. Though there is a part of the show that's not really "animated" but more CGI. I'm talking about the transformation scenes the girls do going from ordinary school girls to beautiful soldiers of love and justice. Those original transformations were one of the best things about the show. Sailor Moon Crystal on the other hand, I wasn't feeling it. They had a few of the elements used in the original but not the true essence of it. The music video for Moon Pride (the opening song for Crystal) had no flaws whatsoever. Like the song itself, it was very well done. Speaking of music, yes no Sailor Moon song can ever replace Moonlight Densetsu (the opening song for the original Sailor Moon) but Moon Pride could definitely become a favorite among all the songs ever associated with the anime both old and new.

We're only a few episodes in with 20 or so more episodes to go. Still time to catch up and maybe become apart of the moon fandom (if you aren't already). I can't say if I'm recommending Sailor Moon Crystal out of pure love for the franchise but still do watch it.

by hanachan

My first experience with Sailor Moon was watching it randomly on Cartoon Network, but I never REALLY got into it until I read Tokyopop’s kind of crappy editions of the manga. From there I became a huge fan of Naoko Takeuchi’s work, and old-school magical girl series in general. When I heard about Sailor Moon Crystal I had super high expectations, and while there are definitely a couple disappointments I didn’t anticipate, I’m really enjoying the new series!

The fact that they didn’t give this series the budget it deserves is killing me a bit, as I watch inconsistent animation and off-model characters every episode. The two week wait between episodes is killing me more. But I don’t even care. Seeing Sailor Moon paced the way it actually should be is an incredible treat. And even though I do still love the super cartoonish appearance of the original anime, I like that this time they made the character designs a lot closer to those of the manga. I also seem to be one of the only people on earth that’s pretty much fine with the CG transformation scenes. I think people forget Sailor Moon is kind of a show for kids. I mean, the manga ran in Nakayoshi.

I absolutely love waiting for the introduction of each Sailor Scout, though, so far Rei isn’t nearly as bitchy as I remember her being in the manga. The theme song is catchy, and I’ll admit, I’m pretty sure I squealed the first time Tuxedo Mask showed up, even though it was like “dude, why is he wearing a tuxedo around town during the day?” So even with the slight annoyances, I’m totally getting a kick out of watching each episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, and I bet it’s going to be even better for marathoning when it’s all finished.

by Rikun85

I'm going to come out and straight up say it: I actually preferred watching Sailor Moon as opposed to Dragonball Z back in the day. Odd for a male 90s anime fan you say? At the time yes, but perhaps I preferred a somewhat formulaic girl's show as opposed to endless episodes of muscular grunting filler. Still, it's undeniable that Sailor Moon is a staple series that every anime fan knows about no matter what generation. So now comes Sailor Moon Crystal, a new Sailor Moon for a new generation. Does it hold up?

There's not really much to say given that only a couple of episodes are up as of this writing, but what I can tell you is that the new art style will be hit or miss. There have been some who complain about the scouts looking far too skinny, but there are others who are happy that Naoko Takeuchi's original manga style is preserved in this iteration. And it's not just with the character designs, but also with the music and overall art direction of the show, opting for a much more angelic Shojo series than the somewhat 90s style of the original. And while it's true that there have been some memetic art hiccups every now and then, Sailor Moon Crystal does hold to its own aesthetic just fine, allowing both nostalgic fans and new fans to enjoy.

It has been clearly stated that this series is going to follow the manga storyline as opposed to the more widely known anime, and while at this moment it's hard to tell what direction that's going to take, already the character alterations have been tweaked enough to notice. While this may upset 90's fans a bit, I'd certainly like to see how this development may change up the series down the line.

It's hard to say how the entire series is going to turn out, but I personally see it as a great introduction to a classic anime for younger anime fans that may not be able to look past the somewhat dated 90's series. Perhaps fans of different generations will now be able to get together and bask in the first widely known magical girl, and if nothing else it's important for any anime fan to familiarize themselves with it. Besides, with the next generation cast bringing back the 90's show on Hulu, it's about time Sailor Moon made its second wave count.


Is that two-week wait between episodes killing you, too? Tell us what you think about Sailor Moon Crystal!
28053 cr points
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39 / F / New Jersey
Posted 9/21/14 , edited 9/25/14
I must say I almost freaked out when I saw the email for this review (especially with the serena part) but it's nice to see the strikeout here =D
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29 / F / Oregon
Posted 9/22/14 , edited 9/23/14
Why are you guys reviewing a series that's only 6 episodes in out of 24? -_-
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64 / M / Earth
Posted 9/22/14 , edited 9/24/14

Netbug009 wrote:
Why are you guys reviewing a series that's only 6 episodes in out of 24? -_-

Heh... that's nothing. How can anyone give 5-star ratings to a show that hasn't even aired yet?
Posted 9/24/14 , edited 9/24/14
I simply love the classic Sailor Moon anime - always will, but you have to admit it is flawed. The Monsters-of-the-Day plots get repetitive, it is slow in many spots, Mamoru is completely unlikable and Chibiusa is even worse. Rei is incredibly annoying in many ways, and Minako even more so (unlike their manga counterparts). The overall story is much more childish in comparison and the evil not as threatening as in the manga. Still, I love it for the friendship, the love the loose adaptation of the original story. It has many strong points, including the gorgeous music. I will still recommend the series to anyone for it is a classic.

I love the Sailor Moon manga best of all, and I'm very pleased with the new anime that is following it. I had a problem with the art mistakes, but once I heard it is getting fixed for the DVD releases (and saw the improvement) I have no score to settle. The art is superior to the original anime, the characterization is great and sticking to the manga; Mamoru is much more likable and his relationship with Usagi is actually appealing. The plot is fast paced with no dragging, and really keeps the story going.

I don't really like the new music overall unfortunately though - nothing will ever beat the beautiful score of the full 200 episode original anime (just beautiful music!) and I wish they had had a different composer to be honest for the new anime.

Overall and so far however, I actually prefer the new SM anime to the old one because like I said; I love the manga best of all, and the new show is sticking to it. If the new adaption keeps sticking with the manga, I will give it 5 stars as well, since I know the epicness and the sheer scope of the story that is coming up.
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Posted 9/25/14 , edited 9/25/14
And that's what i was thinking haha. Like one person said something something about the show "as a whole".. but it isn't even "whole" yet.
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