Sailor Moon Crystal Review (Final Thoughts)

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Review
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal Review


I’m apparently a glutton for punishment. After getting through the Sailor Moon V manga and the first three Sailor Moon omnibus manga volumes from Kodansha Comics, I couldn’t take Sailor Moon any more, and I didn’t even get to the ChibiUsa part of the manga story. However, when I heard that Sailor Moon Crystal was supposed to be a faithful adaptation of the manga and would go further than I’d read in the manga, I thought I’d give it a try. I may be scarred for life as a result.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 09

The first thirteen episodes cover the Dark Kingdom arc, which introduces us to the five different Sailor Senshi — Sailor Moon (Usagi, the lead character), Sailor Mercury (Ami), Sailor Mars (Rei), Sailor Jupiter (Makoto), and Sailor Venus (Minako), all of whom are reincarnated beings from some forgotten age where Sailor Moon was a princess and the other girls were her bodyguards.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 10

The initial episodes introduce the girls over time, always facing an opponent from the Dark Kingdom that is not only dumber than a pile of rocks, but also allow themselves to be defeated. Seriously, they stand around for a few minutes while the Sailor Senshi have elongated transformation (henshin) sequences, complete with an idiotic catch phrase and pose.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 01

Conveniently, the early stories are structured so that each new Sailor Senshi has the power to defeat the enemy, but then the next week, it isn’t enough, facilitating the need for a new Sailor Senshi to arrive with a power that can overcome. And when that’s not enough, Sailor Moon’s love interest, Tuxedo Mask (Chiba) is there to bail her sorry butt out of the fire, or give her the power of love to overcome.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 08

The Dark Kingdom arc is supposed to be a tragic tale as the leaders of the Dark Kingdom, save Queen Metalia, are really innocent, but in this reincarnation of their lives, they’ve been snared to serve evil. It might be a tragic and touching story for an infant who’s successfully left the womb, but it is hard to see how this failed attempt at melodrama could be touching to many beyond that. And yet, Sailor Moon has a serious, cult-like following, which has never made sense to me.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 09

Episodes 14 through 26 cover the Black Moon arc of the manga. Since the core Sailor Senshi have been introduced, the story mostly relies on Sailor Moon’s skills of arriving too late to stop anything to kill opponents even as her comrades are kidnapped one by one, or on her power of love (romantic or friendship) to trump. I admit, I am shocked that Sailor Moon was allowed to kill anyone, but this series hasn’t shied away from slaughtering bad guys.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 15

This part of the story has the group traveling to the future to take care of a dire situation in that time period, part of which is saving Sailor Moon’s friends. We get two new Sailor Senshi characters, the first being ChibiUsa (aka: Small Lady, who eventually becomes a Sailor Senshi and a villain, where she’s actually somewhat interesting, if creepy).

Sailor Moon Crystal - 15

The second new Sailor Senshi character is Sailor Pluto, who thus far is the only competent Sailor Senshi around.  Unfortunately, she’s in charge of time and space and thus is bound to guard the door of time and space, which sadly limits what she can do.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 19

The writing and dialog of all of these episodes is just terrible. If you are an adult, prepare to lose quite a few IQ points as your body desperately attempts to keep your brain from turning into mush. If you are a kid, you will suffer permanent brain damage watching this, which will sadly keep your IQ at the level of a squashed apricot.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 22

The series aired with a unique, biweekly schedule, meaning only one episode per every two weeks. Despite being given more time to produce this anime series, Toei manages to “screw the pooch” (if you’ll pardon the expression) when it came to the animation of this series, which was laughably awful at times. I’m guessing they’ll fix this for the Blu-ray/DVD release, but to be honest, watching it once was way more than enough.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 23

A lot of people say that the original anime adaptation was better because it had so much extra stuff added that was not in the source manga. That may be, but it doesn’t explain how a tedious, mahou shoujo manga became so popular, it has spawned anime adaptations (various series, OVAs, movies), stage shows, live action things, and more.  It also doesn’t explain how the tedious Sailor Moon Crystal will likely get a sequel to animate the next arc of the manga.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 25

In the end, while not the worst anime I’ve ever watched, it certainly ranks up there as one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

Sailor Moon Crystal - 26

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9 Responses to “Sailor Moon Crystal Review (Final Thoughts)”

  1. NullApostle says:

    Kudos to you for managing to get through this garbage. I think I stopped watching after three or four episodes.

  2. arimareiji says:

    That may be, but it doesn’t explain how a tedious, mahou shoujo manga became so popular, it has spawned anime adaptations (various series, OVAs, movies), stage shows, live action things, and more.

    It’s rule 1232, the product of rules 16 and 77: Everything, no matter how godawful, will have fans somewhere. Thanks to the Internet, they will find each other and echo-chamber themselves into believing it’s the Best Thing Ever which the Unwashed Masses aren’t sophisticated enough to appreciate.

    (Did I mention Wizards got a 35th-anniversary Blu-Ray release?)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      It’s rule 1232, the product of rules 16 and 77

      Har! That’s very true, and there’s always money to be made from such fans. In my mind, it wasn’t young girls (the target shoujo market) that made the Sailor Moon manga popular, but the otaku males who liked those jailbait babes that have legs that go all the way up. I could be wrong. However, for me, it doesn’t matter how “babe-a-licious” the girls are if the story is terrible. But that’s just me.

      (Did I mention Wizards got a 35th-anniversary Blu-Ray release?)

      😆 I’ve never watched that and never had a desire to do so.

  3. WMC says:

    Love your irony, arimareiji, and proud to be among the unwashed. Undress the arrogant cynicism of certain publishers; for example, “UQ Holder” follows rule 1232 — Kodansha grabbing cheap bucks by redigesting “Negima!” forever. It’s bile. They know we can smell it, but they juice it anyway.

  4. Artemis says:

    As a very big fan of the original anime and as someone who currently works on the own story and characters and therefore cares for the dramaturgical aspects, I can give some insights and thoughts of why it was so popular. I’m from Germany, therefore I’ll speak about how it was there. (Don’t know about Japan.) Back then, when Sailor Moon was in its prime, it was always about the original anime. The manga only was something being an also-run.

    There is one crucial difference between the original anime and the manga/crystal: It is character-driven. In contrast to the others being story-driven.

    There is one common thing about the manga and both animes: Let’s face it – the story just is not any good at all. There also isn’t anything like good world-building or consistency. When following the plot, you hardly can predict what will happen other than the good guys likely will win in the end. There are no established well thought-out rules on what everyone’s power can and cannot do. There is no proper foreshadowing for most of what happens, instead the plot feels like randomly cobbled together.

    One glaring example from the end of the manga – Luna and Artemis:
    [spoiler]So later on we learn that they in fact come from another planet. The following line in from the wikia:

    Mau (マウ) is a planet mentioned only in the Sailor Moon manga. It was said to be the original home planet of Luna and Artemis, as well as Sailor Mau and Sailor Tin Nyanko. The planet was devastated during Sailor Galaxia’s conquest of the galaxy.

    That actually is EVERYTHING the wikia says about their origin planet. Because that is everything what was said at all. Also the emphasis is on ‘it was said’. Yeah, the one thing we get about the homeworld the pivotal characters Luna and Artemis is some very brief exposition talk which has absolutely no impact on the story, on the characters, on everything.[/spoiler]

    Instead of properly thought-out, the plot elements are most of the time just randomly brought in. There is no proper story architecture. Stuff just happens and you have to deal with it! That’s one main reason why the drama just doesn’t work.

    So let’s look about what the original anime does differently: The characters.

    The additional stuff (I won’t call it filler because it’s way too different) as well as the wacky, humorous way most of it happens actually gives us better, more fleshed out characters. That is, in the original anime they feel like actual characters at all.

    Therefore, in the original anime the drama works because we actually care for the characters – despite the bad storytelling. The characters are perfectly able to carry the sub-par plot. This anime is character-driven. And it is based upon good characters.

    What the manga/crystal lacks are characters we actually feel anything about. These works are completely story-driven, with story/storytelling as a basis which just is complete garbage. Therefore we have story-driven stuff based upon not a good story.

    I suggest you to watch the first episode of the original. Only the first because it is hit or miss. If you don’t like the characters and the humor after watching it, the following episodes high likely won’t change it.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      There is one common thing about the manga and both animes: Let’s face it – the story just is not any good at all. There also isn’t anything like good world-building or consistency.

      Heh! That’s true, which is why I stopped reading the manga.

      I suggest you to watch the first episode of the original.

      Yeah, I need to. Several folks have suggested that.

  5. Micron says:

    SMC is definitely the worst anime I have ever watched. I tried (I really did) to like it, but it’s so mind numbingly bad. And this isn’t just nostalgia talking. This show is a text book example of how ‘not’ to do a remake/adaptation. It’s an offence to animation and storytelling in general.

    Though most would recommend the 90’s Anime. Might I offer up the lesser known Live Action series from the early 00s.
    While it does suffer from appalling special effects and the odd bit of wooden acting, you would be shocked by the drastic difference in the quality of writing and characterisation compared to this drivel.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Sorry for the delay. I missed this somehow.

      Might I offer up the lesser known Live Action series from the early 00s.

      I’ll see if I can check into that some day.

      Thanks for writing!

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