「再生 –Never Ending–」 (Saisei –Never Ending–)
“Replay –Never Ending–”
I’ve been waiting and waiting for this day for so long. Finally Sailor Moon Crystal wraps up its second arc with the defeat of Nemesis and destruction of this evil planet. Honestly speaking, it felt a little anticlimactic. Compared to the first arc which dragged on and on, Nemesis was taken down very easily with the help of Chibi Usa and Neo Queen Serenity. I’m not complaining because I hate fight scenes that take forever to finish, but there was also no real struggle. Given that it’s an anime targeted towards kids though, I should have expected things to finish off this way. Things happen and as conveniently coincidental as some things are, I just roll with it now. Overall, they tied up the story very well and they even left Sailor Pluto dead (which is a pretty big deal as a child watching this show). I much prefer the second arc to the first and the added layers of complexity with time travel, multiply villains and Black Lady really made this feel less childish. At the same time, you really can’t ask too many questions because once you do, you discover at a lot of plot holes that may bother you.
The epilogue and final scenes with Chibi Usa were bittersweet. I’ve never liked her much in the original series because they really empathized how bratty she was, but in this original series, I think she’s matured quite a bit. Was I sad to see her go? Not really… maybe I’m just not as attached to Sailor Moon Crystal as I was with Sailor Moon R but I do like her a lot more now. Usagi’s final scenes with Mamoru were sweet because I do like the romance piece of this show. Just a few kisses here and there are cute… seeing them together all the time in the first arc got annoying, but it’s quite a pleasant reminder that after all that’s happened, they’re still together in the future with a kid. Mamoru definitely took a back seat to Chibi Usa in these final moments, but it’s a different type of love that Usagi has towards her daughter so I like that they empathized that.
Finally – Usagi meeting Neo Queen Serenity? Anyone else think that was… awkward? They want to meet and then they can’t because of the whole “two of the same beings in the same timeline” thing and yet they still do? I’m conflicted as to what I got out of that moment other than, a thank you and some appreciation. I’m also confused as to how Neo Queen Serenity even woke up and why she can’t go and kill Nemesis if she’s all powerful. Instead, sending your daughter and leaving it up to your younger self is a lot of trust that you’re putting into two young girls’ hands. If you believe that time travel is liner though, I guess Neo Queen Serenity would’ve already lived this era and knew that everything was going to be okay in the end. I’ll leave things at that because like I said, if I think too much into it – I get more confused and I won’t get answers.
Animation had some struggles in this final episode which was a shame. I’ll never get used to the pointy chins and the awkward faces but they did put more effort into getting Chibi Usa’s final scenes which was a plus. I’ve seen some footage of the Blu-ray releases and thank God, they do look better (with shadows!). It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t see these better episodes air. For a series that gets a good two weeks to complete a half-hour episode, you’d think that Sailor Moon Crystal is getting more time and focus, but it’s almost the exact opposite. It airs every other week because Toei doesn’t have time for it. And that’s okay – but I’d advise people (especially those that have high animation standards) that the quality of the animation is not up to par. You’re better off waiting for the Blu-ray releases.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Finally managed to finish up #SailorMoonCrystal… is there anyone still watching this one? O_o Ending was very abrupt but it didn’t drag on and on like the first arc. I’m glad it’s over though. #SailorMoonCrystal was overdue to end.
It’s been a while old friend… the longest stride of blogging I’ve ever completed and it’s taken me just over a year. I feel quite triumphant that I managed it because I never thought it’d be such a struggle to blog Sailor Moon Crystal. It’s unfair to say that it’s completely the anime’s fault for that, but the lack of interest that I held for the series in the latter half definitely made it harder for me to keep on top of my schedule. I’d love to hear what other people thought of the series as a whole as well and if you never finished it, where did you stop and why.
This is going to be a long final impressions because I think there’s three ways you can view this series – a) as a remake of the original; b) as a standalone series; or c) as a kid (which is the intended audience of Sailor Moon Crystal). I’ll start with the easiest one… which is watching this series as a young child or tween. Most anime airs really late at night (midnight to the wee-hours before sunrise) but Sailor Moon Crystal airs during dinnertime on a Saturday which I think is well-suited for younger audiences. Toei clearly still understands that this show is made for younger generations that may not have seen the original series but wants to watch magical girl series about defeating evil and love conquering all. Sailor Moon Crystal delivers on all those points – it’s easy to understand, repetitive but still interesting enough for kids to be engrossed. No doubt, there’s not a lot here that I think kids would nitpick on and say they don’t like about it; other than the fact that it airs only every other week and they might not remember by the time a new episode comes out. So for a reboot for the younger girls (or guys) these days, I think Sailor Moon Crystal nailed it.
It’s when you start talking to other people that have seen the original Sailor Moon series or older audiences that are watching it for the first time or manga readers, that you begin to get into debates of whether or not Sailor Moon Crystal is a good representation of Sailor Moon in general. I’m not going to get into that controversial discussion because I can see it both ways – but I’ll tell you that as a standalone series, it’s probably not for everyone. If you haven’t seen the original Sailor Moon but hear good things and want to see what the hype is about… I don’t think you’ll completely get the same feelings as someone that grew up watching the original Sailor Moon. There’s definitely plot holes, some repetition and it’s not what you would expect from “magical girl” anime today. When I think of “magical girl” anime these days, I imagine shows like Houkago no Pleiades, Shugo Chara! or Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illyam that feel like there’s more substance, or cute girls that do cute things. Sailor Moon Crystal doesn’t give off that vibe because magical girl manga was different back in the day. That’s not to say one or other is better, they’re just different because people’s taste in anime change over time.
Now as someone that has seen the original series (and loved it – even when I rewatch it today), I went into the first episode very biased and hoping that it would be like reliving my childhood and bring waves of nostalgia. And what I have to say about that is, don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t watch Sailor Moon Crystal like it’s a remake of the original – think of it as its own separate adaptation of the manga. I know it’s hard not to compare the two (I do it all the time), but you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you watch it without any biased or assumptions of what it’ll be like. Where Sailor Moon Crystal succeeds is how condensed and quickly everything escalates in terms of plot. The characters are not the same as what you’ve probably come to know them as because they’re given different development points. Where Sailor Moon Crystal fails is that, as a fan of the original, I liked all the added fillers and fluff that gave the characters (villains or heroes alike) that extra time to make an impression. Since a lot of these episodes in the original series were “fillers”, the characters got some background story, and personality added to them. Sailor Moon Crystal lacks a lot of these moments because it follows the fast-paced manga point to point and misses the pauses in between. However, there are people that might like the fact that this the original story that was meant to be told. What people might not know is that the original Sailor Moon series altered some arcs so much that they make it impossible to compare it to the manga. It’s like playing a VN, you can go down one route or the other and depending on which, your endings change.
So would I recommend watching Sailor Moon Crystal? I have some friends that don’t watch anime but love Sailor Moon because want to simply relive their Saturday morning cartoon days. In that sense, I would recommend it because they wouldn’t care for animation quality, or seiyuus and they probably don’t even remember what “exactly” happened in Sailor Moon. As someone that had a lot of expectations for Sailor Moon Crystal, I thought it was going to be a condensed version of the original and bring back the old anime design styles…but it wasn’t and I was disappointed. However, I only have myself to blame and I would not want to deter anyone from giving it a shot. No doubt, Sailor Moon Crystal is predictable, and extremely straightforward, but it’s aimed towards younger audiences and for that reason, I can’t assume everyone will see it the way I do. Yes – the animation is horrendous – but, I’m also someone that watches 10+ shows a week with years of anime history and little kids? Well, they might not care. If they do, the Blu-ray version will fix that right up. Some of the lack of enjoyment for me might have also stemmed from the release schedule. If you can watch it more regularly or back-to-back, Sailor Moon Crystal might be a pleasant surprise.