Sailor Moon Crystal: Full Series Review

Updated on December 8, 2017
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Rachael has been an anime blogger since 2010, with an intense passion and depth of knowledge for the subject.

Sailor Moon Crystal is a new anime of Sailor Moon, based on the same manga source material as the original 90's anime. So it's not really a remake of the anime, but more like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood; it's a new anime trying to be closer to the original manga. Of course, as a long-time Sailor Moon fan, I was excited when I first heard about this. Crunchyroll hyped it in a big way when it first came out.

But, initial reactions were mixed. Sailor Moon fans quickly pointed out that the new show spends much less time introducing and developing the characters, moving the main plot forward at a very quick pace. Some people also didn't like the use of obvious 3D computer animation elements during the transformation sequences. And yet, lots of people liked Sailor Moon Crystal despite these flaws.

Plot Summary - Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Season One

This season consists of 14 episodes, and is called the Dark Kingdom arc. Usagi Tsukino, a middle-school girl, saves a magical black cat named Luna one day. She discovers that Luna can talk, but that's not the weirdest thing - Luna tells Usagi that she has the power to become a magical girl, Sailor Moon, and fight evil by yelling, "Moon Prism Power Makeup!".... um, what? And then it gets weird. When a boy gets involved, Mamoru. It is later revealed that Mamoru assumes the identity of Tuxedo Mask, a masked vigilante, who is looking for the Legendary Silver Crystal.

It is eventually revealed that Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask were Prince Serenity of the Moon Kingdom and Prince Endymion of Earth in the distant past, and they had been lovers.

This arc is about Sailor Moon discovering who she is and learning how to use her powers. She also meets her new friends/allies, who become other Sailor Scouts, each with planet/elemental powers. The Big Bad of this arc is technically Queen Metalia, but she doesn't do very much until closer to the end. Under her is Queen Beryl, a woman scorned who had once loved Endymion, and under her are minions she sends to do most of the fighting. Because what's the fun of being queen if you have to work hard?

Season Two

After the end of the big showdown with Metalia in Season One, we see a mysterious pink-haired girl who also calls herself Usagi, threatening Usagi and trying to steal the Legendary Silver Crystal, the source of her power as Sailor Moon.

The little girl? She is really hundreds of years old. And she's Sailor Moon's daughter from the future! She wanted to go back in time and meet her mom when she was doing heroic Sailor Scout stuff on Earth. They call her "Chibiusa" or "little Usagi" and she becomes one of the gang.

The new bad guys on the block are called the "Black Moon Clan". They are an evil group that Neo Queen Serenity had sealed away on the Planet Nemesis long ago. This arc focuses on Chibiusa, who struggles with her jealousy of her mother and her strange inability to grow up or attain her own powers. Becoming evil lets her become an adult temporarily, but when she turns good again she reverts to a child form. Ouch. So this arc is all about Chibi's strong emotions, her strong desire to finally grow up and be as powerful and important as her mom.

Season Three

Skip straight to this arc if you're a fan of Haruka and Michiru, aka Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. They're introduced in this plot line, while the villains are a group called the Witches 5 that serve a dark lord called Master Pharaoh 90. Doctor Tomoe, a mad scientist, and his fragile but not-so fragile waif daughter Hotaru show up here as well.

Just like in the original anime, when these two new Sailor Scouts appear on the scene, their goals and methods seem so opposed to those of the "Inner Senshi" (Sailors Mercury, Venus, Moon, Mars, and Jupiter) that it's unclear whether they're friend or foe. But of course, just like before, they prove themselves to be important allies to the other Sailor Scouts.

Title:
Sailor Moon Crystal
Genre(s):
Magical Girl, Shoujo
Source Material:
Manga by Naoko Takeuchi
Studio:
Toei Animation
Year:
2014-ongoing
Episodes:
39
Note: This is as of the end of season 3. A 4th season is reportedly in the works. It may consist of two movies. This will be updated later according to the show's progression.

Review:

I'd say it was good, but not as good as the original. One thing it did poorly compared to the original anime or the manga was characterization. Character introductions often felt rushed or even barely existent, because the pace of the plot was so fast. Also because of the fast pace, characters had fewer lines, fewer actions, fewer scenes, fewer meaningful interactions, etc., so the audience feels a lot less of the original anime's sense of truly knowing them as people. The original anime was more emotionally impactful to me, because the characters simply felt like they mattered more.

The best thing about Crystal is its visual style. It has beauty, elegance, refinement and poise, which was there in the manga, but somewhat subtracted from by the 90's anime's more campy moments. I would say the main difference here is this: the 90's anime is about an ordinary schoolgirl who saves the world and becomes a princess. Crystal is about a princess who becomes a schoolgirl and saves the world. Meaning, in this one, you get more style and class, as you can expect from the shoujo genre. Whereas the original kind of seems like it's trying to be a shounen monster-fighting anime, at least some of the time. Neither is necessarily bad, but they're different.

Generally I like and would recommend Crystal, but I guess us old Sailor Moon fans will never find anything that truly compares to the magic of the original show.

Rating for Sailor Moon Crystal: 7/10

What did YOU think of Sailor Moon Crystal?

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