Here comes Makoto, Sailor Jupiter!
This episode was not a complete copy of the original manga chapter, and for that, I'm very happy. More focus was put on Makoto and her past and interaction with others. This helps flesh her out so that we understand her sense of loneliness and isolation, where in the original there was no impact. The lunch scene between her and Usagi in particular was really well done; the humor was much needed and helped make the episode a lot more enjoyable.
Sneaky sneaky. NOW GO FOR THE BOOBS.
Story-wise, it's pretty basic: new transfer student who Usagi befriends and ends up tangled with the newest Dark Kingdom scheme (this time centered around a bridal shop). Of course it turns out that she's an ally, Sailor Jupiter, who jumps in a saves the day. Pretty typical stuff so there's nothing really surprising here.
Tuxedo Mask makes a small appearance to lead Usagi to where Makoto is in trouble. I couldn't help but laugh when he showed up outside Usagi's window.
I know where you live, little girl. Want some candy?
Yeah, I shouldn't laugh, but for some reason I found it amusing. Tuexdo Mask has a lot of, well, rather useless moments. The series could cut him out and continue on, and I wouldn't mind at all. His role does become important at the end of this arc, but after that he's degraded to the background for 99% of the rest of the series. Maybe that will change for "Crystal" but probably not.
Once again I have zero complaints about the voice acting. Koshimizu Ami does a smashing job as Makoto, giving her the perfect balance of a tomboyish voice delivering girly lines.
Love this shot.
The fight scene was okay, but most of it was a speech given by Moon about true love, before her, Mercury, and Mars are knocked on their butts and Jupiter saves them. Her transformation looks the best so far, though once she's fully clothed the CG is awful and dear lord, is her face pinched way too small at the chin; she could cut metal with that thing! Her actual attacks looked great though.
Considering that August had a fifth Saturday, this episode got an extra week of time and man, does it show. This one has the best animation so far; I honestly did not see any shots that made me go "egads!" I hope this trend continues, but, again, not holding my breath. We'll see what differences, if any, Toei will do for the first home video release in mid-October. I will say that Usagi's head does seem to be drawn quite a bit larger than anyone else's and it can be a bit distracting at times.
We want this level of quality all the time, okay Toei?
So what are my final thoughts? This one was a HUGE improvement on everything, but still, I feel like this adapation falls flat when compared to the original 90's series. Also, it was recently revealed that "Crystal" will include the Black Moon arc (source here). While I'll be happy to see Chibi-Usa, I'm sad to find out that the rushed pace will continue. *lasigh*
My man Melvin, pimping~
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).