It’s been over twenty years since ‘Sailor Moon‘ first hit the Japanese airwaves, and fans all over the world are glad to see it return in the form of ‘Sailor Moon Crystal.’ Never before have fans been able to stream a Japanese show from anywhere in the world, and it’s a real treat to have its international fanbase recognized.
Despite the fact that this episode is pretty much scene for scene the same as the first episode of the original episode, there is quite a lot to talk about.
Let’s start with the artwork. This time around, the artwork is a lot more adult. Too adult, in fact, for what I would consider a middleschooler. All of the students are as long and lanky as their adult counterparts, and much more endowed. While the animation is cleaner, it only fits with the serious aesthetic of Sailor Moon. The comic parts feel out of place, because it’s still done in that beautiful style whereas in the manga and the original series, they would change the art to fit better with Usagi crying, or tripping, or saying stupid things.
There are a lot of Utena-like moments in the art style, which includes black silhouettes, and roses bordering scenes where a new character is introduced. While Naoko Takeuchi did use flowers in background designs, it wasn’t typical that she would do it in this way. Usually, she used lace patterns, especially when introducing an important plot point. Why this Utena like style is being applied, I’m not sure, but it very pretty.
Lastly, the transformation scene, which I have been looking forward since they announced the new series, is disappointing to say the least. It was rendered three-dimensionally, and looks far too much like a video game than I’m comfortable with. That being said, if there was a video game rendered as well as this, I would be in awe, but since it doesn’t fit the frame rate of the style of the animation in the rest of the episode, it just feels out of place.
Now on to the story.
Though it’s hard to say from one episode, this story does look like it follows the manga more cleanly, and also introduces elements for a smoother storytelling. For example, Usagi and Mamoru have a tense first meeting (complete with Mamoru wearing the same weird casual tuxedo from the manga), but it’s tempered by a feeling from their past lives. In the original series, it was hard to believe a relationship would form between two people with such consistent animosity, but it looks like the creators of this series are trying to lay the groundwork for the star-crossed lovers’ past lives to interfere with their current ones so it doesn’t blindside the audience as much as it did in the original anime.
Also, “Moon Tiara Boomerang” is finally back! No more “Moon Tiara Action”! Hooray!
Moving on, the voice acting is remarkable, as it should be for this series. But then again, that’s too be expected when Kotono Mitsuishi is coming back to play the role she had played for over a hundred episodes. It will be interesting to see how the new voice actors will do with Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus, but I have high hopes.
All in all, it’s a good first episode, even if it’s not terribly interesting (we have seen the story of the monster in the jewelry store play out many times in many different Sailor Moon iterations), it does look promising in that it is following the manga more closely. Still, we’ll have to see, and ScienceFiction.com will be there. See you in two weeks for the next episode where it looks like we will be introduced to Sailor Mercury, Ami Mizuno!