I typically steer away from reviewing things on this site because if I don’t like something who am I to say what makes it good or terrible, I’m not an expert at anything so don’t think of this as a review of the first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal take it more as a love letter.
The idea behind this new series was to make it more like the original manga, which I love because if the source material is quality why fuck with it? In order to fully prepare I reread the first volume of recently(ish) released Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon manga published by VIZ Media. I’m so glad I did because it was like seeing the pages come to life in the most gorgeously colored and fluid animation. I wanted to weep with joy, and I probably would have if it hadn’t been 3:04am and my eyes weren’t bone-dry and tired.
I think some of the details are so perfectly executed it’s literally like a dream come true. Usagi meeting Luna for the first time was exactly what I hoped it would be. And they updated Haruna which I loved! A white woman who teaches English in Japan?! Yes, thank you. I can’t tell you how many people I know who have taught English in other countries for a year or two. I love how much Usagi acts like a regular 14 year old girl, from the sleeping in to the whining to the ultrasonic crying. Even when Usagi talks about Motoki, she mentions a crush but is quickly distracted by Luna! Because when you’re 14 boys are cool and older boys are even cooler but never as cool as cats. Don’t even get me started on how adorably chibi the Sailor V video game was! I need to play that game right now. Is it available in the Apple store yet? Excuse me while I try to calm my tits.
I totally understand why a few purists might have some things to complain about, the original show was more playful and cheeseball but also incredibly dated. After seeing the haunting, empty glass eyes of Sailor Moon Crystal I felt like I needed to lower my expectations. However they managed to keep a lot of the silly humor just pairing it with such pretty, I mean seriously pretty, animation. I love the coloring and the manga-style flower frames whenever Usagi introduced the audience to a new character. And of course with Kotono Mitsuishi voicing Usagi she perfectly manages to balance the original anime’s silliness while still cultivating the personal growth of the manga.
The first episode, I think, is still a great set-up to themes and style of the show. It’s formulaic but still immersive. You watch Jadeite create a monster, send her to Earth, watch as a store tricks customers into giving up their youthful human energies, and then that monster bitch gets punished. That’s it. No extra angst, no unnecessary panty shots, no overt scenes of sexual tension. I mean, we do meet Tuxedo Mask but it’s all very innocent. It’s all so day-dreamy and ethereal that you don’t blink twice at the man in top hat and tails skipping out of a third-floor window.
The show’s style seems approachable and likable for new fans and magical girl die-hards alike. We get to see a transformation that might take some warming up to but we also got some Moon Tiara action. Not to mention the monster is actually pretty damn scary. When she reveals herself to be evil I actually cowered a little. And Jadeite doesn’t seem nearly as useless or bafoon-y as he did in the original. Which means he might actually be a formidable villain instead of a joke that goes on too long. But by far the most surprising and gush-worthy part is the new theme song and opening credits. While I will always love “Moonlight Densetsu” this new song has so many empowering lyrics about friendship and not needing to be rescued by men. Whoa. Hell to the goddamn yes.
Basically, this wasn’t much of a review as it’s just me rambling about how awesome the episode is and how waiting for the next episode in two weeks won’t be hard, it will be exciting. I can’t wait to meet the other scouts and watch them kick utter ass with their powers. I want to see them interact with each other and I want to fall in love with them like it’s the first time. I haven’t felt this giddy with girl power since the Spice Girls were teaching me that if boys couldn’t get along with your friends then they don’t deserve your time.
If you still haven’t seen Sailor Moon Crystal yet there are quite a few places you can check it out: Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Niconico! Next time I’ll try to have a liveblogging or livetweeting portion if I can refrain from flailing my arms around the whole time.