Monday, August 3, 2015

Sailor Moon Crystal Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of a very well-known anime series. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

I may have mentioned this before, but Sailor Moon was my getaway anime. At age 5, I remember finding the movie of Super S in the Children's section at my local public library, and watching it for a little bit. Though I don't really remember the gist of the plot, it still looked like something I would watch if I knew more.

Well, at age 8, I looked more into it on Youtube and fell in love. My parents were worried that I would get hyper off of it like The Powerpuff Girls, and I didn't necessarily. I remember filming a Webkinz version of the episode Driving Dangerously plus another episode with this girl named Elizabeth from S, which may or may not still be on an old video camera.

Also, my favorite back then (and still is today) is Mina/Minako Aino/Sailor Venus. The only reason why I liked her back then was because I had a HUGE bias for blondes. Well, good thing I don't have that now, because if I did, my favorite anime character list would be boring as f**k.

So, as you can see, Sailor Moon is very close to my heart, and I think that it helped me open up to more anime down the road, and it still does today. It was my very first magical girl anime as well, and I think it's the better ones I've seen or have heard about.

So when a new Sailor Moon animation project was announced back in the summer of 2012 (I think ragingtaurus88 posted about it on flickr), I was immediately very excited. I didn't really know a lot about the show even at 12, but I think one thing that stood out to me in 2014 was that it was going to be a more faithful adaptation of Naoko Takeuchi's original manga.

Over the past year, I have been following and watching it intently. This year has gone by SUPER fast, because I'm still in shock that this series is already over. What did I think? Did it live up to my expectations?

To some fans, no. But to me, yes. It was SUPER fun watching this series, because I got to relive some of my favorite moments from childhood. This anime series, besides being the master of brutal cliffhangers (seriously, some of them were TORTURE), was great through and through. Though there were some issues with the animation and the characters not having a lot of development, I still had a lot of fun watching this series. This is highly recommended if you're a Sailor Moon fan, no doubt about it.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the story, yes? Let's review!


Usagi Tsukino, an average middle school student who's known to be a crybaby and klutz, bumps into a cat with a crescent moon on its forehead one day before school. At night, the cat appears in her bedroom, and it can TALK! OMG! A TALKING CAT! WOW!

She reveals that her name is Luna, and gives Usagi a brooch that allows her to transform into a Sailor Guardian, Sailor Moon to be more precise. After she transforms, she hears a cry for help from Naru, one of her friends, from her hairpieces. Naru's mother has been acting a bit strangely since Usagi visited her mother's jewelry store that afternoon. She has now been revealed as the monster Morga from the Dark Kingdom, who was created by Jadeite. When Usagi fights, and isn't really a pro at it, her screams for help turn into ultrasonic waves, and a mysterious man in a tuxedo and a mask assists her.

Keep in mind that this man may or may not be (okay, it totally is) someone that Usagi saw earlier in the day in a tuxedo. We later meet him as Mamoru Chiba, a high school student who we don't really know a lot about. But instincts and other things seem not to trust him. Hmm, I wonder why?

Meanwhile, besides stopping the Dark Kingdom from harming innocent civilians, we also gather more Sailor Guardians to help on our quest. We have Ami Mizuno, who transforms into Sailor Mercury. Rei Hino, who turns into Sailor Mars. Makoto Kino, who becomes Sailor Jupiter. And finally, we have Minako Aino, who is first introduced as the Moon Princess we need to find, though is also (formally) Sailor V and (now) Sailor Venus.

These girls have a lot on their belts, such as protecting the Legendary Silver Crystal from the Dark Kingdom's hands, and for the other girls to consistently have the same personality other than our lead. When Mamoru gets hypnotized by Queen Beryl, it's time to defeat Queen Beryl and go after our real enemy. Queen Metalia, in the North Pole. Along the way, the Sailor Guardians will find out more about themselves then they ever might have thought. What will this new information hold?

After the defeat of Queen Metalia, a mysterious pink-haired girl appears, claiming to be Usagi and from the 30th century. With new villains from the Black Moon and some of the Guardians getting captured along the way, it's going to be a little more complicated. What's a magical girl to do?

I really like the story for Sailor Moon. In some ways, I kind of prefer the manga storyline because it isn't as dragged out as the original show. This I can appreciate, even with the 2 or 3 weeks wait in between episodes. At some parts, some things are WAY too predictable and easy to guess, but I don't think it's as big of a deal here than it is in other shows or books.

If I do think of one main problem I have with the story, it would be that the pacing in a couple of episodes feels rushed or like it moved too slowly. When this happens, it feels as if everything seems to be kind of anticlimactic, but that's more when the show moves like it's in Need for Speed and prowling through the streets.

Besides that though, the story is actually pretty good and interesting for a magical girl series. It didn't have any remorse for going over-the-top, especially when it came to some of its endings for particular episodes. This show is probably one of the biggest trolls I have ever seen with how many cliffhangers they pulled from under the table. Justwhoa!

Before I get a little off-track, let's talk about the Inner Senshi in the Characters section:


The Inner Senshi had some great personalities in the original series. We had Ami, the smart student who knows a lot about certain things. Rei, the somewhat feisty girl who often butts heads with Usagi on many occasions. Makoto, my personal least favorite and quite strong for your average high school girl. And finally, Minako, my personal fave out of the girls, who may be a bit ditsy, but cares for all of her friends.

It's kind of sad how in this show, aside from Usagi, the Inner Senshi are pretty much the exact same person.  Though they have some factors to differentiate them all, their main personalities and goals are pretty much exactly the same as one another. They also pretty much do nothing in the more important battles, as they often will stay back or get knocked out of the arena within the first 10 seconds. This is why the episodes with them getting captured by the Black Moon are better, since at least we get to see a bit of development of the girls solely without having them shoved together as a group.

I'll talk a little bit more about the Inner Senshi after this, since Usagi is up first:

Though I haven't watched the entirety of the old Sailor Moon (I may someday if I have enough time. I have seen full episodes though, in both the old and new English dubs), I feel like Usagi matures much more quickly in this series than she did in the old. I feel like she becomes a stronger person in a couple of episodes, rather than be scared of fighting every single time and waiting for Tuxedo Mask to save her, though that does happen in the beginning of the anime a bit.

Usagi lives in Azabu Juban, which is a suburb of Tokyo. She lives with her parents and her younger brother (who she does not get along with). After meeting Mamoru Chiba and finding out his identity as Tuxedo Mask, they eventually start dating, and will continue doing so as the series goes on. She is actually from the future, with her race belonging to the Silver Millennium, with her and the other Sailor Guardians (yes, even the cats) being sent to the past in order to be reincarnated. When Chibiusa pops up in the 20th century, she eventually earns that she is her daughter, and will become queen in Crystal Tokyo in the 30th century, thus being Neo-Queen Serenity.

Her development is actually kind of interesting. Okay, yes, the Moon Princess thing is VERY predictable, but that isn't a bad thing as mentioned earlier with some of the predictable stuff this anime has. I think Usagi matures a lot in this adaptation than from what I've seen in the original series. I think she's a great respectable leader, and even though she does act a bit air-headed sometimes, you can't help but root for her as the story move on.

Let's compare the other 4 now:

Oh yeah, we have some issues with the animation. But again, more on that later.

Besides Minako IMO, the others are under the effect of serious personality draining. Minako has some aspects that make her slightly more unique, but the others are just really dull most of the time. When all of them are gathered, they blend together in which they have the exact same personality. It's at the same level of STARISH in Uta Pri. When they're separate, all of them are very interesting. Put them together, and you get a snoozefest waiting to happen.

Ami is the quote-on-quote "brains" of the group. She isn't easy to approach, as she's very shy. However, once you get to know her, she opens up more and is very kind. She attends the same school as Usagi does, and is rumored to have a very high IQ. Her powers as Sailor Mercury are mainly associated with water.

Rei is less saucy than her original anime counterpoint, and doesn't really butt heads with Usagi this time. She is a miko (shrine maiden) at the Hikawa Shrine, and attends a different school than Usagi and Ami. She is the most mature out of the group, and is much more mature than the original anime. She has some problems with trusting people right away, but does grow to trust the other Sailor Guardians. Besides that, she sometimes can sense bad things to come. Her powers as Sailor Mars are mainly associated with fire.

Makoto is still my least favorite out of the cast. I don't really find her that interesting, and instead think she's bland. Makoto has a very strong personality, and transferred to Usagi's school after she was turned down by a guy she liked. There are rumors that she was kicked out of her previous school for fighting, but that is not the case. She also wears a different school uniform than either Usagi or Ami because the ones they wear don't fit her. Though she is mainly a tomboy, she does have a girly streak to her. Her powers are associated with lightning. 

Minako, my personal favorite character, is first introduced as the Moon Princess and formerly as Sailor V. Though she is a decoy of the actual Moon Princess, she is aware of this since they are still searching for the actual one. Though she isn't as ditzy in this version, I still think she has her moments where I love her the most, such as being left alone in the library of the Crystal Kingdom and complaining about not being able to do anything. There are a lot of moments in which she did more than what she was given, since her personality is that of a natural born leader. She'd be a great secondary leader if Usagi was unable to fight! 

Other characters from the series include Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask, Usagi's parents and little brother, her friends Naru and Umino, Luna and Artemis, Usagi and Minako's cats respectively who are companions to them both and to the other Sailor Guardians. The Dark Kingdom, which includes Queen Metalia, Queen Beryl, and the Four Kings of Heaven, which are Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite. 30th century Crystal Tokyo, with the future selves of Usagi and Mamoru, and Chibusa. Finally, to wrap this big hulking character list up, we have the Black Moon, which include Wiseman, and the Black Moon Clan, which consist of Rubeus, Esmeraude, Saphir, and Demande. Then, we have the Ayakashi/Spectre Sisters, who are Rubeus' servants. The girls are named Koan, Berthier, Petz, and Calaveras.


The animation for this series was produced by Toei Animation, who are known for their work for shows such as One Piece, the Pretty Cure franchise, and Yu-Gi-Oh!

Some of the main problems that people have with this series is the animation. I would have to agree with them for the most part, as the animation in some moments doesn't look good at all. Things look very blurry, characters are off-model, someone's mouth isn't moving when they're screaming, or there's non-detailed facial expressions. It isn't all bad though. The second half drastically improves over some of the poor animation issues of the first half. Though there are a couple here and there, I don't think it's as bad as the first half.

Of course, I didn't see everything. Thanks to users all around the web, I've noticed bad animation that I didn't beforehand. Eventually, I managed to see some for myself, but the majority of the animation is actually quite good. Even through its bad points, it'll find a way to be better later on the DVDs.


The score for this series was composed by Yasuharu Takanashi, who is also known for his contributions towards Fairy Tail, the Ikki Tousen franchise, and Log Horizon.

Score wise, I think this series has a great one. I would say it's probably one of Takanashi's best, but I don't think it stands up to the level that his score from Ikki Tousen has. Though I did find myself enjoying some of the dramatic tracks, as those are the most memorable, the score was pretty nice all around.

For the cast this time around, only Kotono Mitsuishi reprises her role as Usagi. Besides that, we have a completely new Japanese vocal cast, which all do a pretty great job. All of the other Inner Senshi were voiced by seiyuus that I recognize and like, and it was interesting to hear Misato Fukuen do a darker role as Black Lady, even though her laugh did get a bit annoying at times.

Though if I had to pick a favorite performance, it'd easily go to Mamoru Miyano as Prince Demande. I'm sorry, is there any role where this guy doesn't slay at? Because I'm serious, he pretty much is always going to be a highlight, no matter what series I watch. His acting is just THAT good!

Other highlights from the original Japanese go to Kotono Mitsuishi, Hisako Kanemoto, Rina Sato, Ami Koshimizu, Shizuka Ito, Misato Fukuen, Kenji Nojima, Ryo Hirahashi, Satomi Sato, Daiki Yamashita, Hiroshi Okamoto, Misa Wantanabe, Daisuke Kisho, Kosuke Toriumi, Masaya Matsukaze, Eiji Takemoto, Yoko Matsuoka, Mami Koyama, Ai Maeda, Yuko Mizutani, Hiroshi Iwasaki, Tsubasa Yonaga, Hiroki Takahashi, Hoko Kuwashima, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Shoko Nakagawa, Satsuki Yukino, and Rumi Kasahara.


I'm really happy with the outcome of this series. For a show that helped me get into the anime world, I got what was I hoping to get from Sailor Moon Crystal, and I'm thankful that I managed to not give up and watched this the whole way through.

Like I mentioned before, if you're a big Sailor Moon fan, I highly recommend that you watch this. Even though it isn't perfect, there are still a lot of great moments.

Score: 8.5/10


Nice story.

Good maturity and progression of Usagi's character.

Pretty designs/stable animation in second half.


Great OST.

Mamoru Miyano.



Some wonky animation.

Inner Senshi pretty much have the same personality when together.

IS don't really do a lot of fighting and get their butts whooped every single time.

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