Anime Vice News

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL Is Kind of a Mess

Episode #3 -- Special Review. Ugly CG transformation sequences aside, what else is weird about this reboot?

WHAT KIND OF BIRD MONSTER IS THIS
WHAT KIND OF BIRD MONSTER IS THIS

If there’s one thing I’ve never understood about the SAILOR MOON franchise, it’s the whole secret identity thing. It’s not like any of the Sailor Guardians are actually disguised; the only thing that obscures any piece of Usagi’s face is her tiara, and that often comes off so she can throw it at the bad guys. At least Tuxedo Mask and Sailor V put on token disguises with their “way to big to conceal anything” domino masks. Superman does a better job with his Clark Kent specs.

But it’s not just that the bad guys are face blind. Are we supposed to be guessing who Tuxedo Mask is? Are we really supposed to be wondering who the secret Moon Princess is?

It’s that sort of stuff that you think about while watching SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL, which is to say that while you’re watching CRYSTAL you’re trying to keep your brain occupied. Which is to say that CRYSTAL is… kind of off-putting.

What I have to keep reminding myself is that I should go easy on the show. It’s meant for children, whose suspension of disbelief is much more pliable than mine.

But then the show will do something that’s just so off-putting. For instance, in Rei’s premiere episode she’s accused of kidnapping a child because she’s a reclusive Shinto shrine maiden. Ridiculous, yes, but when people are grieving they say strange things. It’s when Usagi says Rei is “too beautiful to have committed the crime” that I recoiled. Sailor Moon: guardian of justice as long as you’re pretty?

I'm no anatomy expert but something ain't right here.
I'm no anatomy expert but something ain't right here.

Sure Usagi is a bit of an idiot, but that’s just plain wrong. Kind of like how Sailor Mars’s posing sequence doesn’t feature Sailor Mars but rather some sort of pudding person with no real joints or even muscle mass to stand upright on her own.

But am I still watching SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL? I suppose I am, out of some weird sense of obligation. I’ve been promised that it “gets good” after a certain point when all the Guardians are gathered, and I still have fond memories of the weirdness of the later seasons of the original series. But until then, I guess I’m just going to do my cultural homework like a good little doobie.

What did you think of SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL #3? Tell us in the comments below!

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About the Author

Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.

Destinyheroknighton Sept. 4, 2014 at 3:52 p.m.

I feel the old Anime did a better job with Rei episode. Because people wasn't accusing a 14 year ago for kidnapping, they was accusing the owner of the shrine (it make more sense)

Anyway, the secret identity thing. I always thought it was a magic spell that keep there identity from being know, never really bug me

Also, the old Anime design was way better

metalsnakezeroon Sept. 4, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.

It the pace of this remake is the problems. Basically it following the manga structure point to point and it doesn't work well in a animated fashion. I have to wonder if the original was made to be different for that reason.

I don't think we should worry too much about the secret identity thing. It could be magic but the show itself knows that not the important part.

Lurkeroon Sept. 4, 2014 at 5:57 p.m.

If Clark Kent can get away with his disguise for decades I think Sailor Moon should get some slack.

I am disappointed with Sailor Moon Crystal mostly because it doesn't seem to be trying anything new. It is most definitely "by the numbers". Yes, the source material is from that period, but does the audience really need to watch something 100% faithful to the source material after all this time has passed?

takashichea moderator on Sept. 4, 2014 at 7:28 p.m.

For me, I just have issues with the emotionless expressions and weird anatomy and animation. Since I'm doing a marathon on the original series on HULU and never read the manga, I do find the series interesting since I like to see some differences. With Sailor Moon Crystal, it's a condensed version on the Sailor Girls and none of the supporting characters.

I did like Naru and Nephrite's story, and I soon found out it was only anime exclusive event.

Destinyheroknighton Sept. 4, 2014 at 7:43 p.m.

@Lurkero:

Yes, the source material is from that period, but does the audience really need to watch something 100% faithful to the source material after all this time has passed?

Yes, that is the reason why this was made in the first place. (it pretty much for the fans of the Manga) But I wish it was handle better, like Jojo

I hope they don't do this bad of a job with the new Digimon show

Kino88on Sept. 4, 2014 at 9:05 p.m.
Agreed somtimes sticking so close to the manga can lead to Underwhelming results, maybe in the 90s they Had the right idea,
YotaruVegetaon Sept. 5, 2014 at 12:59 p.m.

"Are we supposed to be guessing who Tuxedo Mask is?" No, unless you are as dumb as Usagi. That's the point.

Not “too beautiful to have committed the crime" but "too beautiful to go to jail" Is an argument that has been used in actual court cases. Remember these women who have slept with their students or (allegedly) killed their kids? If they were lovely enough, the defending lawyer would bring that up as a point not to send her to the clink.

I'm watching the new Sailor Moon because, even though the faults of the production are "crystal" clear, the story is still enjoyable and entertaining. It's not the fault of the mangaka that Toei can't get their shit together. "We'll fix it in post, for the DVD!" I bet they said in meetings. That leaves us with sub-park work to watch every 2 weeks.

metalsnakezeroon Sept. 5, 2014 at 1:43 p.m.

@takashichea: I have a similar reason f watching it too, seeing what the mange structure is like in animation. Obviously, it not working out perfectly but it still watchable.

takashichea moderator on Sept. 5, 2014 at 1:49 p.m.

@metalsnakezero:

I see what the others had pointed out which was a learning experience for me. If the series was slower pace and took its time, it would introduce a new series to new fans who haven't tried Sailor Moon while keeping old Sailor Moon fans happy.

It's like the Fullmetal Alchemist where the series had a remake that was more faithful to the manga.

takashichea moderator on Sept. 5, 2014 at 7:24 p.m.

While I was moderating wiki, I found this magical girl show from a new wiki editor called Creamy Mami.

This series puts the secret identity of magical girls well. Not only she change her hair color, she grew into an adult which I find interesting.

zaldaron Sept. 7, 2014 at 5:46 p.m.

@takashichea: interesting this takes care of some of the other oddities of magical girl stuff to as they don't show the transformation so no (gee I am looking at drawn pictures of young girls nude), and it is really quick so no why don't they shoot them during the transformation. She also seems to do it outside of the bad guys sight which takes care of the (why don't the bad guys attack her when she isn't transformed).

The only time I watched the original sailor moon was in marathon form with a girl I was trying to convince to sleep with me and lord did it start silly and stupid but get REALLY confusing by the time we got to the time travel and her future daughter coming back to the past and sailor moon seeing herself as an adult.

How the young child that would be attracted to the first part could understand the oddities of the later parts I could never understand - and this was before I saw all the questionable material in the things like stars that were not originally brought over.

Now, these kind of actually made for young children shows were never what attracted me to anime and I was watching it in probably the worst format possible so all of that should be taken into consideration.

Destinyheroknighton Sept. 7, 2014 at 7:11 p.m.

@zaldar:

I''ll tell you why these shows like this

It not just a magical girl thing, it also happen in Super Sentai, Kamen Rider and etc. The reason why they don't shoot when the hero is transforming is because it happen in an instant in universe, before the bad guy can react they in the suit already (in universe is a flash of light)

Here is an example

(love that part)

The transformation are use to save money and time, because they just need to do it once (like the opening and ending)

You be surprise, I was able to keep up when I was seven (when I was secretly watching). The other funny part about it, that I knew Neptune and Uranus was lesbians (stupid dub change) before I have the internet. But Zoisite and Fisheye surprise me, I always through they was ladies (the dub didn't help)

zaldaron Sept. 11, 2014 at 8:06 a.m.

@Destinyheroknight: Heard the what we are seeing is not what happens in world before doesn't do much for me. I mean what we are seeing is supposed to be what is happening in world, and if it isn't they should tell us in the show....simply not expect we know conventions...each show is a new world with own rules etc. But...this is of course hair splitting and not something that is a real important issue. (Many others I could talk about that talked about here).

Glad you could keep up and figured out the stuff they tried to hide. Silly they tried to my mind.

Dig Deeper into Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon must find the Illusionary Silver Crystal alongside the other guardians in order to keep a princess safe. However, Queen Beryl sends in minions hoping to rectify that and snatch the crystal from the guardian's clutches.

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