“Rei ‑Sailor Mars‑”

Finally, we’re starting to see some differences in the Sailor Moon Crystal remake. Not to say that it has been similar to the original up until this point, but I feel like the first two episodes could easily pass as a condensed version of the original Sailor Moon. With Sailor Mars’ awakening, this episode has proved to be the turning point between what I think I know and what’s actually going to happen in the manga. Since I’ve only seen the original anime, I can already tell that the story of the original manga is much more plot driven than character focused. I think it tries to give each character a centric episode, but in the end, we’re still ultimately just trying to find the Silver Crystal and the Moon Princess. It would’ve been great if Mars or Mercury were given more time to shine during their introductions, but I guess it’s fairly easy to see what they’re all about already. Their personalities are predictable and I don’t expect it to be any other way. I’m fairly excited to see where we go from here because I want to see for myself if I like the manga story more or less.

This episode introduced who the Moon Kingdom villains were and even showed a glimpse of Nephrite (Toriumi Kousuke) and Zoisite (Matsukaze Masaya). Zoisite was actually made into a female in the dubbed version so that was interesting seeing him as a male. Honestly, I can see it working either way so these subtle changes don’t bother me. Jadeite is also personally going after his victims now to try and hunt down the Silver Crystal so that helps take away the “monster-of-the-day” aspect. There’s definitely continuity between each episode and I can’t say that if you miss one, you can keep going. It’s a shame that the plot feels so rushed but at least there are no fillers that bore me.

What bothered me the most this episode has been what everyone has been complaining about since day one. That animation. Say what…?! In the end, I fall into that same bucket of people that say that they cannot deal with how sh*tty the animation is. I said last episode that the animation didn’t bother me TOO much – not the eyes, the abnormal shaped bodies or even the CG. But this episode… oh boy, this transformation sequence for Mars really rubbed me all the wrong ways. I can’t deal with the poses, or the legs or the faces. I just can’t. What IS this?! Please tell me that I’m not the only one that feels like a highly anticipated show should not have such huge budget problems. It must have issues or else why can’t it air every week, or at least somewhat produce passable animation? This is supposed to be a high budget reboot that will spark interest in new viewership and bring back some great memories for the older generation. Instead, I think it has accomplished none of that and I know it can do better – or at least, I pray every week that it gets better.

So we’re 3 episodes in and what is the verdict on Sailor Moon Crystal? Well it is definitely not what everyone probably thought it’d be – or at least, not what I thought it would be. It fails to meet my expectations in terms of production quality and rebooting that love for Sailor Moon that I had way back when. The first few episodes kind of just float on by without leaving much of an impression on me at all and that can be seen as bad if it’s not great. Now, that doesn’t mean that Sailor Moon Crystal is not worth watching! I give it points for deviating from the original anime that people loved so much and following fairly close to the original source. The story is definitely more plot heavy so you’ll find no fillers here and less repetition. Also, like I said in my July Impressions, you need to watch this show without constantly comparing it to the original. That’s easier said than done, but it might help you increase your enjoyment of the series.

Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: #SailorMoonCrystal is improving in terms of plot… but wow, the animation hasn’t bothered me so much until now. WTF did they do to Mars’ transformation?! Mercury’s was done so much better! Super disappointed =(


  1. Yep. Some of animation screencaps is what you would have expected to find in pre-2006 anime.

    All of it is really baffling. It’s like they’ve (they = whoever has the ¥ ¥ ¥ ) picked the worst studio just to troll SM’s past fans. And the studio picked its least experienced animators. This is all incomprehensible!

    1. Toei Animation has had the rights and did the original series back in the say. They’re just not caught up production wise to other animation houses sadly! I was hoping Satelight would have gotten it (only because some of the original SM animators are working there now.)

  2. Having read the manga, anticipations were met but that animation…yeesh. It just gets glaringly worse each episode.
    1st ep: good start
    2nd: not terrible but not good
    3rd: so many cringe worthy moments….
    I really hope blu-ray fixes all that cause for better or worse, I really do like the manga version of sailor moon and it deserves something a little more than this.

    1. Ironically the quality of the Blu Ray release should also tell us if Crystal was meant as a cash grab or honest attempt to renew interest. A significant improvement in animation would point to the former 😛

  3. “like i said earlier,
    it’s either low budget or a production staff that isn’t inspired by sailor moon.”

    “gasp! how dare you talk ill of sailor moon, i’m offended!”

    Horse Mask Joker
  4. First thing to remember, if you’re reading this blog, you’re not really the intended audience for this show.

    I think what a lot of us were wanting was the old Sailor Moon re-imagined with the kind of art and style you get in something like Fate/Ilya. This certainly isn’t that. Instead, it’s a painstakingly faithful adaptation of a 20 year old manga, which does little to reflect how the magical girl genre has changed since then.

    And I think that’s the problem with both the art and direction – it’s not that there isn’t enough reverence for the source material, it’s that there’s too much of it. Naoko Takeuchi has a very particular art style, which the old anime largely didn’t try to replicate. The new one is trying to replicate it, as a result of which, things look very odd and a bit out of proportion.

    And yeah, this is from the days when the Magical Girl combat standard was to stand still, get beaten up and then use your special attack to win. Over time, that’s changed a lot (look at Mai-Hime/Otome, PreCure, Nanoha, Madoka, Fate/Ilya to see the change in progress) but this adaptation, for better or worse, has chosen to ignore that change.

    1. This is all very pretty talk, but this is terrible animation and art for any “intended audience”. As a huge fan of the manga, this adaption is absolutely disgusting. It has absolutely no soul and while I appreciate the original artwork very much, this is a poorly done adaption of said artwork into an animated medium. It’s great to see a more faithful adaption to the manga with the characters I love, but it’s impossible to get over the terrible quality that overlays every single scene.

      Toei is a terrible animation studio and I don’t know why anyone possibly expected better. The best you can hope with a Toei adaption is that it gets picked up again by another studio, which isn’t likely as this is a remake itself.

      1. I am somewhat bemused that after all these years Toei Animation still hasn’t really gotten any better. Actually, adjusting for inflation, have they actually gotten worse? It’s hard to tell for me.

        But, hey, Kyoto Animation will remake Sailor Moon in 2018. Right?

      2. oh it’s real,
        Toei is selling all its rights for Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon and One Piece.

        Production IG is doing Dragon Ball reboot,
        Kyoto Animation is doing Sailor Moon reboot,
        Ufotable is doing One Piece reboot.

        Horse Mask Joker
      3. @Ralicht lol, you must be trolling. There is no way you are seriously looking at this failed, lopsided, cheap attempt to animate and thinking “this is faithful to the manga” XD
        The initial designs may be more faithful to the manga design, but the animation quality has absolutely nothing to do with it.

        The animation is simply bad, there’s nothing to romanticise about it.

  5. Didn’t find the animation as much a problem as the fast pacing. The events seemed disjointed as though something was lacking, moving along at a similar speed to those in the latest Tokyo ESP episode. Not that it excuses the animation because it is still poor considering the current industry standards. I’ll keep watching for the nostalgia (and because that biweekly schedule makes it hard to drop), but expectations have been significantly lowered.

    As an aside the current state of Crystal doesn’t give hope for the other big nostalgia reboot coming next spring in Digimon; Toei is supposedly at the helm for that too.

  6. Much like with this series’ version of Darion/Mamoru, I do not find this version of Rei to be nearly as obnoxious as I did the original dub’s version. She seems like a very well developed character, which is refreshing.

  7. CHERRIE I agree with you on the CG and some of the poses from Mars. I just feel Rei/Mars design throughout this episode was really jagged and inconsistent to her model sheet. And I feel that most of the shots of Rei/Mars are different from all her other shots(Thats just my personal opinion.) Overall ill still watch the series, and considering how this episode was and how the next episode will be (story wise), I’m glad its staying close to the manga. T^T

  8. I actually liked this episode the most so far, not only because the plot is actually moving somewhere, but also because the art seems to be slightly better than before (outside of the CG transformations, which just can’t be redeemed at this point). My other two biggest gripes (Usagi’s character and the lips) also seem to be less prominent, even if it’s probably because of the plot’s focus on Rei and lazy animation. But hey, as long as the result’s good, who cares about the reasons?

    Oh, and the BGM during Rei’s transformation sequence was probably the best track of the OST so far. Hope Makoto’s won’t disappoint, too.

  9. Am I the only one wondering if they lowered Mamoru’s age or if that was his original manga age? <_< I vaguely recall him being a university student in the original anime.

  10. Yeah, the art is pretty awful, taking all things into consideration it just isn’t good. It looks like it could have easily been a mid-budget 2006 title. This was supposed to air in Summer 2013 or even earlier, how the hell did it get delayed this much, hyped this much and end up looking this ugly. (Personally I vastly preferred the Goldfish Warning-type style of the original.) Admittedly Rei’s plot is rather nice, it’s more serious and neat. I do dislike how they made Mamoru less of a dick though, Mamoru in the original seemed like an average dude, a bit of a prick; but not a bad guy. He didn’t seem like a bishie in the original, even when he was Tuxedo Mask he was still a pretty good character.
    Unfortunately they seem to have gone full Shoujo here and killed that character balance that made him a likable character. I am glad Usagi seems to still be a friendly idiot, at least that still remains. I’m not too disappointed by Rei all things considered, since Ami is my favorite and they did her some degree of justice.

    I dunno, between the PreCure season this year being utterly awful and this; this is a rather unfortunate year for mahou shoujo.

    1. You do realize that it’s not a reboot of the classic anime, but an adaptation of the manga? If anything should be called ‘the original’ here, it’s the manga source, and not the first anime, which was maybe like 30% faithful to the manga storyline, while the rest could easily be called: “Sailor Moon: The AU”. So any justice they should be doing in this adaptation is to the manga characters and their manga personalities, and that’s what they’ve been doing so far. The rest is a matter of preferences. Personally, I like the characters in the first anime much more than their manga counterparts, but maybe that’s because I watched the anime first.

  11. To be fair, the “choreo” of Mars’ transformation was pretty good, and the BGM was also muuuuuch better. It COULD almost make up for the CG. Still the overall animation quality is like you said, pretty much nonexistant 🙁

  12. I’m really hoping that what they lack in quality during these first few episodes will be made up for by the final episodes of the series. I can forgive the animation quality as it is now if the majority of the budget was poured into the final battles. If this is NOT the case, then I will be pretty disappointed. It’s not like they don’t have a gigantic fanbase. The animation should be top-notch, and not only is it not, it’s worse than a lot of anime that’s out this summer. They should have taken some of the money they poured into merch and spent it on improving the quality of the henshin, imho.

    1. Doesn’t really make much sense to cheap out on the transformation since these animations will literally be reused in every episode to some extant. Highty unlikely they are saving budget for battles.

  13. If i could just chime in on the art and animation of this remake, the problem is not the artstyle; the color palette’s, lighting, shading, and drawings are done quite well (aside from a few hiccups one would see here and there). i think people’s reception of the artstyle at the end of the day really just comes down to opinion rather than objective analysis. It’s the animation that’s having issues and i think what is happening with sailor moon might be the same thing that happened to Madoka magica (funny how both are mahou shoujo’s) though with madoka it was reverse; it was the art that was having issues.

    1. No, drawing is not done well, unfortunately. Opinions are opinions, but these drawings don’t adhere to basic human proportions and anatomy (I know anime is stylized, but it’s obvious here it’s not a matter of style). Moreover, the character’s faces vary from frame to frame, and the initial designs are long forgotten. Compare this:
      to this:
      and this:

      And now look at this: http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140428001149/sailormoon/images/3/3f/Mars_Crystal_Design.png.
      It’s even worse with Mercury and Moon.
      Apparently they have a lot of issues with quality control. And these are not “a few hiccups”, look at the compilation here: http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=1238867&show=140#msg33217865 (first post, click “show spoiler”).

      I think the color palettes are too saturated and too light (Rei’s hair is supposed to be black and here it’s medium washed-out purple?), but this actually is a personal opinion. To each their own.

      1. See, im judging the overall artistry of the series, not this ep specifically; this ep is obviously a nose dive in quality (i watched the ep so i know), but the first two eps, aside from like i said a few hiccups, makes the artsyle pop more with drawings that really fit the style of this series. This is the ep were quality control went out the window. And when i refer to drawings, im not just talking about character drawings specifically; it’s kind of the reason why i made sure not to mention the character drawings specifically (especially in this ep). I mean everything from buildings, to landscapes, to objects, etc. Those look consistent at least. When evaluating art, you must take everything into consideration (dimensions, perspective, environment; those all go into my evaluation) But yes, your issue with rei’s hair color is a personal opinion and not really a fault, because that hue of hair color is part of the art style. Overall, my argument is that viewers seem to have a problem with the art style itself more than the inconsistent art in general which is more of an animation issue than an issue of art style; That’s what im arguing. The problem plaguing this series right now is the inconsistent art and animation (not the artstyle like i mentioned above)

      2. Ah, I understand. I misunderstood you – I thought by “artstyle” you meant the actual drawings in frames. If you’re referring to the style this anime is supposed to have (as in designs and concepts) then yes, it is a matter of opinion. I think the fandom was divisive on the issue from the start, but “controversial style + huge dips in quality” is not a good combination for a show that is meant to be highly popular.
        As I said, I don’t like the colors and wish to have more weight and emotions in the characters (and less lip gloss!), but I rather like the backgrounds. The watercolor style really fits the mood.
        Oh, and the art deco elements are very well-done. Especially the eyecatches and title art – I hope we get more of them.

      3. Actually, Rei’s hair isn’t supposed to be black. Just browse through Naoko’s official color images from the artbooks or manga covers, and you’ll see that it’s indeed always purple/violet (on some occasions even red), but hardly ever black.

      4. I agree; I also love those eyecatches and title cards and wished the budget for those where going into the animation right now. But again, I have a sneaking feeling what’s happening to sailor moon right now is what happened to Madoka Magica. We’ll have to wait for that first blu-ray to see

  14. I don’t mind the CG, but for things to be drawn so off model…yeah, it really doesn’t feel like Toei is taking the animation for this show very seriously. I know animation studios run a tight ship with their production schedule and it’s a very stressful line of work, but as a viewer this drop in animation quality is very disappointing.

  15. Well… I for one really like those CG transformations, sure at times they look kinda stiff but gush, Mars transformation was soooooo awesome – so much love and fire, pure love. Really love that attacks are kind of semi-real time now and not crappy same animation over and over again. I do agree that there are times when animation looks really sloppy but overall impressions I have are all positive. I did check manga last week and it looks like anime is following it page by page! So far I love it a lot. People who complain about this adaptation should watch now first 5 episodes of the original anime and you will never complain about the Crystal again, believe me.

  16. It’s a great watch but that animation is just….off-putting. The faces are oddly disproportioned, more so with usual and look like someone tried their hand at old Clamp designs. The CGI just doesn’t fit and looks odd with no rigid body structure (it’s like they didn’t even bother rigging the models).

    The story, characters and nostalgia is enough to make me keep up with it but the animation definitely won’t win any awards and seriously detracts from an otherwise good show.

  17. I oddly enough like Mars’s transformation sequence more that the Moon and Mercury ones. Maybe because CG fire can look cool?…I dunno. But yeah, other than that the animation in this episode is bizarre. Mostly the facial animations (also someone got waaaay too excited about drawing the lips on all the characters). As someone said above, it’s like Toei sort of got the original manga style and borked it up with each passing episode. The comparison to CLAMP anime/manga difference is noteworthy here too.

    Other than that, I’m having fun with the story and characters at least. (I’m still not a fan of Usagi’s voice, but at least it’s calmed down a tad.) It’s nice to see the actual manga get animated, so kudos there (at least). Still hope Toei can get their heads out their ass and give us some quality in the coming months. (Unlikely, but one can always hope.)

  18. I still think this is a cash grab. You can tell. I’m so disapointed. Jadeite was suppose to die RIGHT THERE. Instead her he vanished. What’s the point of this remake of the manga if you are NOT going to follow it. This is suppose to not deviate from source like the 90’s series. Please for the love of god don’t tell me that they are gonna put that Four Generals and Sailor Guardians lovers bull crap into the series. It’s non canon and it’s from a damn picture that Takeuchi drew once. It has no meaning. Think about this too. This is the same series director of One Piece… and we know how that series handled….with the upmost care! It’s a Juggernaut in Japan. So why not Sailor Moon, an international hit that was way back in the 90’s and is getting revamped? Chew on that for a moment. My answer is that TOEI DON’T CARE! Sailor Moon should get the respect it deserves and instead we get fake ass Clamp designs, mediocre animation, a bi-weekly schedule, and music that is not as good as the original. Although Moon Pride is great, it’s still feels like Toei missed the mark and not putting any effort into the franchise. I’m scared of what they might do next.

    I still stand by my statement that SAILOR JUPITER IS TOTALLY UNDERATED! I want a damn spin-off, Takeuchi! Stop being lazy. You have a unique character with so much potential the skys the limit with her. Dammit!

    Corey Lucas
    1. 20th anniversary of something so huge is a nominally special occasion,
      so someone high up at Toei wanted to commemorate it,
      but couldn’t get a good script/production design (this is not a budget issue)
      so the budget was set low, and the animation quality is suffering.

      The core of the problem is, the demographic that *may* respond to Sailor Moon
      either don’t watch anime anymore (regular Japanese people around late 20’s ~ mid 30’s)
      don’t buy expensive Japanese blu-ray discs. (non-Japanese viewers in the west)

      Toei budgeting department knew very well that Sailor Moon is not going to make waves,
      so the budget was set accordingly: humble and minimal.

      Horse Mask Joker
  19. I thought Rei’s transformation was decent enough. The best one so far, honestly. But yeah, the art and proportions throughout this episode…oh boy.

    What’s laughable is that it’s only two episodes per month, and they’re still having all these problems. Get your act together, Toei.

  20. Pffft. Anyone who has seen Precure will tell you that this isn’t even that bad compared to Toei’s other works. Stuff like the examples at http://aonomiki.tumblr.com/post/93236019527/pyonkotchi-aonomiki-hibikihojo are expected from Toei and comes often in their shows even if not all the time and SMC is significantly better animated then that.

    Plus SMC probably doesn’t even have that great of a budget seeing as it’s a web series and probably doesn’t have as many sponsers as a TV anime. Shit, what we’re getting is pretty good for something made for the internet.

    1. You have to consider though, those are scenes from a show that airs every single year with 50 or so episodes. Short of the whole “being magooka is suffering” stuff, the art in those shows (specifically the later seasons) is regularly quite excellent all things considered. I’d say that is more of an excuse than “made for the internet” with a well established franchise that has been delayed for over a year, hyped immensely, with half the amount of episodes of the average PreCure season, airing bi-weekly.
      PreCure can get away with having bad art once in a while, as a franchise it has been airing almost every week for over 10 years now. While yes, some of those scenes are downright awful, but PreCure has way, WAY more of an excuse for occasional “bad art” than something that has kept it’s fans waiting for so long, then churns what can be considered “bad art” out in nearly every single episode so far. If Sailor Moon Crystal aired for 50 episodes, the art so far would put it on par with the amount of problems with the average PreCure season.

      It’s an unfair comparison you’re making here.

    1. I’m afraid that’s the direction they are heading. I’m in total denial, but it feels like it. Uugh. I hate those pairings. Especially with Jupiter. She can pick her man/woman she loves, not some chosen, fateful, destiny.

      Corey Lucas
  21. I was expecting more from this Sailor Moon Crystal remake, but was kinda disappointed by it. The characters in this remake act way too seriously (no funny faces?) and aren’t as fun to watch to as in the original Sailor Moon classic. Brain`s Base may be the best Anime Studio that could have blown new life into the Sailor Moon franchise (remember the high quality of Penguindrum, Kuragehime, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun or Natsume Yuujinchou). Sailor Moon Crystal could have been like the much praised Heartcatch Precure, but it’s not. If it’s not better than the original anime series, then why remake it? Just do what people did with Dragon Ball Z, and remaster it into Dragon Ball Z Kai (filler-less).

  22. Think of this Sailor Moon Anime as Magic Knight Rayearth the OAV, that shit was serious and so will this one which was what Sailor Moon was originally. Then it became a monster of the week show during animation. What they should have done was stayed true to the original story but update the art style and not make these middle schooler look like super old. They could have even retooled the combat and what not, while keeping the story intact.

    Think Ultimate Sailor Moon or like the Star Trek reboot. Story the same, animation and fight chronograph new. It could have been something special. Instead we are now apparently watching a 1980’s anime series…with a 1980’s pacing. Which is fine but compare to the newer shiney and more real and gritty issue going on in other magical girl verse, this one is behind the times.

  23. After having watched… what some might deem a controversial third episode, I went back and reread the manga up ’til this point. Animation and other personal gripes aside, there’s just been something about this remake that’s been bugging me that I hadn’t quite been able to put my finger on. I needed to know what it was.

    And you know what that something was? Sailor Moon Crystal, for all its attempts, just doesn’t seem to get it.

    Really, it doesn’t. And when I say that, I don’t mean that it doesn’t adhere to the original story (it does), that its animation is crap (though it certainly falls by FAR short of where it should be in certain respects), or that it’s simply a series past its time (it’s not).

    When I go back and read the original manga, I feel the heart and soul put into it. It still retains a certain charm about it that, even all these years later, I can still appreciate and enjoy.

    I don’t get that feeling from the anime… like, at all. I couldn’t quite get a grasp on it with just the first episode, but by the third it’s really become noticeable; to the point where I’m tempted to just screw it, reread the manga in its entire and call it a day for another decade.

    Not quite there yet, but I’m close. Crystal better gets its act together and fast.

    Ryan Ashfyre
  24. Huh.
    So I wasn’t the only one who watched the episodes and then saw the insane CGI transformation sequence and think to myself “Well, that explains where the animation budget went”

    Story is good, music works, Usagi being more of a strong character is good.
    But the animation….

    You know, animation can often make or break an anime in these cases. I’m worried this might be a break it kind of moment.

  25. Animation was off, Rei’s face was just not right. CGI is not so seamless with hand drawn art. Sailor Moon is a classic and if they will have to remake/reboot they have to make it right. They could learn a lot from another classic remake called Space Battleship Yamato 2199.

  26. I am watching the original anime along side the reboot and I have to say with all the animation and CGI issues, I like this episode a lot. This is only episode three while the original was episode seven (dubbed), so the fillers are cut out entirely which i like. The monster of the week was replaced with Jadeite himself which is a huge leap in the plot. Rei’s personality was unsure and solemn, instead of the adversarial rival of Serena (Usagi). What I really enjoyed was the BGM on this episode. I listened using headphones and the music hit it home relaying the intensity of each situation.

    Lol, I am glad I make the effort to watch before reading these reviews.

  27. this is why I love traditional mahou shojo stories; the audience gets to see the main characters backstory and their everyday life in addition to handling their new powers. also the characters aren’t just “kick butters” they actually have PERSONALITIES to there characters. unlike more action-oriented maho shojo where the viewer get no information on the main character or who they are.

  28. This is just one ugly transformation! Just look at her hand holding a pen in a very unnatural position. You can tell the CGI here looks rushed compared to Sailor Moon & Mercury’s.

    Not to mention that really awkward pose of hers in the end. It doesn’t look cool at all — more like she’s trying to break her fingers.

    Instead of copying the old Sailor Senshi transformations, why can’t they just come up with a new one? This is very disappointing!

    Whoever created this episode sure is a beginner. Go back to animation school!


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