Sailor Moon Crystal has just aired and I finally watched the first episode after a slight hiccup with Crunchyroll that caused me to momentarily panic. As a child who grew up during the 90s and watched Sailor Moon first on USA then on Cartoon Network, I can say that Sailor Moon has always held a special place in my heart. It really set the standard for the magical girl genre and who wouldn’t want to be a magical girl and kick some demon butt?
For a bunch of 20 and 30 somethings who grew up with the series, the fact that Sailor Moon is getting a reboot has been the main discussion as the July release crept closer and closer. Not only that, but Hulu even began airing the original series in all of its uncensored entirety (I won’t dive into the North American censorship of the series because that would be a long blog post in itself). I’ve been bombarded with Sailor Moon this and Sailor Moon that for the last month alone. I feel like I couldn’t get online without seeing someone post something about the new reboot. Hardcore fans of the older series (and not the manga) are reluctant, whereas those who have read the manga and seen the series are super excited about the new reboot. And then there are fans like me who are sort of looking to embrace their childhood once again and let the nostalgia punch us in the face.
But with all the speculation and whatnot, did it live up to its hype?
For me: yes and no.
Like all things, anime comes and goes in trends. A certain look and style might be uber popular in the 70s and it’s not so apparent in today’s anime. And like most things, body image is all important. Back in the 90s, it was okay for a girl to look somewhat normal. Colors weren’t so bright and things weren’t so shiny. There’s a slight anime trend amongst some modern anime that likes brighter colors (especially for reboots) to distinguish from the old vs. the new. And for whatever reason, the girls seem freakishly thinner, almost anorexic, especially when you compare the legs and arms. I get that Sailor Moon Crystal wanted to distinguish that it was different from the original series, but why must you make all the girls so thin? Lots of girls look up to Sailor Moon and I’m worried that a constant barrage of Sailor Moon might make girls have body issue problems. We get enough body image problems from heavily-Photoshopped images from magazines.
Another major problem I have with the character designs: Usagi is wearing lipgloss (or maybe a nude-colored lipstick?). Either way, any sort of lip gloss/lipstick makes anime girls look older. It’s like this thing they do all the time to make the girls look older. And because of that, Usagi no longer looks very 14-ish as she does in the original series, but rather more like an almost-graduated high schooler.
Though, I must say: For whatever reason Ami being really thin doesn’t really bother me as much as Usagi. I’m not sure why.
Truth be told, I was really hoping that they were just going to give the original theme a slight remix. The original opening is just full of nostalgia and really brings me back to when I was just 8 and pretending to be a Sailor Scout. That said, I actually like the new opening theme song. It sort of follows the current anime trend of having a song with lots of electric guitar and making it sort of amped up to get people excited (Attack on Titan opening, I’m looking at you). The only thing that I’m questionable about is: the new opening sequence seems to give a lot away? Or maybe it’s just me knowing the plot. But the original sequence seems to hint at what’s going to happen and reveals the other scouts without so much as giving away some of the plot.
Note: I just realized there’s a huge crackdown on both openings on YouTube, which is a pain. Which is why the videos don’t work. *weeps*
Sailor Moon Crystal Review: Nostalgia Punch or Not?
The first episode of the original anime and the first episode of the reboot pretty much follows the first chapter of the manga. The original anime series deviates from the manga after the first episode, but I think the second episode of the reboot is going to be the second chapter of the manga, or at least, it hints at it. (Note: At the time this publishes, I would have already seen episode 2.)
It was a lot of fun to revisit the series and though it does bring me back to my childhood, I quickly realized that it just isn’t the same. The same Japanese voice actress is there, but she’s not the same voice actress I grew up listening to. There was this really silly image I stumbled upon where “fans” wanted to boycott the new Sailor Moon series because lack of toast. And as silly as it is, they have a point — about the lack of toast, that is. For whatever reason, in 90s anime, girls and boys would hurry away to school with a piece of toast in their mouth. Modern anime? Not so much. I don’t know what the deal was with the toast, but it actually makes sense with Usagi’s love of food that she would have toast and it was a nice touch that the original anime series brought to the overall series.
I think if people who have grown up with Sailor Moon are looking for nostalgia, this isn’t going to do it for you. I’d advise you go on Hulu and just watch the original series. But for new people who have never seen Sailor Moon? This is fantastic. It just seems so fresh and the people putting it together are really taking great care to deliver a great product. There’s a lot of love being poured into this production. That doesn’t mean that old fans would hate the reboot; on the contrary I think old fans will appreciate what’s being delivered. And if you’re an old fan who’s never read a page of the manga? This is going to be perfect for you. For instance: did you know Luna and Artemis have human forms? So looking forward to seeing that!
So while I’ll be watching the series diligently, I am a little disappointed that it wasn’t 100% what I was expecting. When I watch the original series, I get all giggly and swoony and feels hit me like a brick. This one, not so much. And that’s okay. This one should deliver all those feelings I was expecting to the next generation of Sailor Moon fans.