Saturday, July 5, 2014

Anime Review: "Sailor Moon Crystal" Episode 1

It's been a long two year wait since the original announcement of a new "Sailor Moon" but it's finally here. So, does it meet the fans' high expectations?

I want this as a poster or t-shirt.

The basic story of "Sailor Moon" is well-known: Tsukino Usagi must fight enemies while searching for allies, a princess, and the Legendary Silver Crystal.

"Crystal" isn't a remake, but more a reboot, sticking closer to the original manga storyline and design. While I tried not to have super-high expectations, being a fan since I-can't-remember-when, I couldn't help but be critical.

Story-wise, it's pretty much on par. There's no real mystery as to Usagi and Mamoro's real identities (it's shown in the first few minutes) and honestly, they're not trying too hard in that department. But to be fair, the original manga's plot and characters are pretty flat. One glance at a person and you immediately know their personality and alliance and that never really changes. There's really nothing overly surprising, which is just fine. It's a nice simple story and it doesn't try to be more than that.

However, I did feel like the first episode was a bit rushed. However, that seems to be the case in most series, so no biggie there. Since we're getting a full twenty-six episodes, I'm hoping the pacing will get better from here on. I'd like fight scenes that last longer than a minute, okaythanks.


The character designs are a hit-or-miss with people. My husband could not get past the length of the legs and how large Usagi's head was, but all that was apparent in the manga (shoujo style, ho!). It harkens to the later parts of the manga, where the characters look more mature (no ever ever actually looks their age). There's also a complete lack of the more comical faces; Usagi had some pretty epic crying faces in the manga.

I was super happy to see the extra costume pieces (I'm a huge fan of the choker and brooch design). The details in the clothes and hair is very nice, but there is an apparent trade-off for this level of detail: the actual animation. It's honestly very choppy and feels more like a standard weekly series than a bi-monthly one. Hopefully this will pay off later if the battle scenes are nice and animated, but I'm not holding my breath.

This looks even worse in motion.

That leds me to the transformation scene. It started off nice, but right after the nails change, it is done entirely as a 3D model and it looks HORRIBLE. It's not just the transformation scene, random CG is used randomly and it sticks out like a sore thumb (see at the end of the opening; the hair and skirts). I'm really hoping the attack scenes are more like what is shown in the opening (the Tiara Boomerang looked 1000x better). It's going to be difficult not to sneer every time someone transforms. Again, I really shouldn't be surprised, yet I let myself hope it wouldn't come to that. Ahwell.

The backgrounds on the other hand, are stunning. They'll done in a watercolor style and I could look at them all day. They even have the paper texture~ *drool* And the eyecatch illustrations are to die for. Also, the voice acting is spot on; people can bitch about Mitsuishi Kotono reprising her role, but I think she does a fantastic job.

So. Freaking. Pretty.

I'm not saying that this should be avoided, but do be aware that if you're a fan of the original anime, you may be disappointed. But go in with some knowledge and you'll have a good time. Hopefully it will only get better as it goes on.

At least there was more Sailor V.

You can watch all the episodes streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, NeonAlley, or NicoNico. Or if the original 90's is more your thing, you can watch it at Hulu (with two more episodes every Monday).


This character will always be "Melvin" to me.

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