Sailor Jupiter is here, and it only took five episodes! For those who watched the original series, there was about fifteen episodes of Rei and Usagi fighting each other with Ami looking sadly on before we got Makoto to sort of smooth relationships out a bit.
It is one of the many positives of ‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ following the manga. We don’t have to wait long to get new characters, and for me, I don’t have to wait twenty-seven episodes to see Sailor Jupiter’s transformation sequence. Priorities!
In any case, for those of you with your mangas open while watching this episode, you’ll notice that it’s not as true to the comic as the previous episodes were. Yes, we meet Makoto who does a good job of saving Usagi’s life from an oncoming car and an errant baseball. Yes, the monster of the episode is a wondering mannequin wearing a bride’s dress who seduces men to seduce other woman and steal their energy. Yes, Makoto transforms into Sailor Jupiter with the power of love (despite not getting it from the senpai she had a crush on at her old high school), and yes, Sailor Moon becomes the leader.
But, the pacing is far different. The manga, which has always been a messy read of overlapping dialogue bubbles is basically a frame dedicated to each scene that has importance. The anime gets to sit a little bit longer, and use the space to create new dialogue that informs character’s relationships with the other characters a bit better, from Usagi making fun of Luna by suggesting she’s getting heavy, to Ami noticing that Makoto is far too good at playing ‘Sailor V’ to not be an important part of their mission.
The best part of the episode, though, was the credit it did to Makoto. Makoto has always been a beloved character among ‘Sailor Moon’ fangirls. It’s only natural. Makoto is a blend of masculinity and femininity. She’s strong, and can be aloof, yet she takes great pleasure in making other people happy and creating things for people to enjoy. She’s not ashamed of her height or her strength (which do not fit with the traditional vision of being female in Japan), and she’s not afraid to tell people they’re being bullies. She stands up for the little guy, even when she herself is getting bullied, and is really the most admirable of all the Sailor Scouts.
The episode nailed that. Every aspect of her complex characterization was there in the space of only twenty-four minutes, and for that, and that admirable job in pacing out a sort of messy chapter of the original manga, I give this episode: