Sunday, 6 July 2014

My Thoughts: Sailor Moon Crystal episode 1

I know you are all probably sick and tired of me banging on about Sailor Moon Crystal but I really can't help myself and now that the first episode has aired I thought I would share my thoughts about it. This is also going to be another long, text-heavy post, so maybe grab some sweets and something to drink before getting comfortable.


Firstly I wanted to address the way in which many Sailor Moon fans had a particularly bad attitude towards the series. I think some people need to remember that Sailor Moon is a very large franchise. It's a manga, an old and new anime series, three films, a number of different musicals, video games and a live action drama (PGSM). Each different version of Sailor Moon is part of the franchise, and all are valid, loved by many and popular among fans. Many fans are upset that a new anime has been made to "replace" the old version and that is simply not the case. Sailor Moon Crystal is just another addition to this amazing franchise and has not been made to replace or "overtake" other versions. The series probably won't carry over the things you loved about the previous anime, but that doesn't matter. Because you will always have the original series. Sailor Moon Crystal was never created to replace the original anime, it is simply a new addition to the Sailor Moon franchise and should be welcomed with a positive attitude. If you start watching Sailor Moon Crystal with a negative attitude, chances are you're not going to enjoy it at all, now where's the fun in that?

I'm not going to give a plot overview for this episode as it's pretty self-explanatory so I'll start with the opening sequence which I couldn't help but watch when it was leaked online at the beginning of the week. I really loved it. The animation is fantastic and I feel as though everything really flows well together. Sure, the song may not be as iconic as the original series or as catchy as Sailor Stars (which is by far my favorite season and opening) but it was still enjoyable! Having said that, this opening is a little more generic than I expected. It was the kind of song seen with many currently or recently airing anime, though I do understand this was probably done to appeal to a wider range of modern anime fans, not just those of us watching because of our love for the original series/manga/games/musicals/dramas.


If you read my previous Sailor Moon Crystal post, you'll know that I actually really like how the art turned out and like I assumed it would, it looks a whole lot better animated. But my favourite thing about the art so far is Mamoru's character design. Mamoru is my favorite character within the Sailor Moon franchise (silly opening lines and all) and I was honestly so pleased with the design for Sailor Moon Crystal. I know I mentioned it in my last post but now that we've had colour images and the first episode I really wanted to stress how much he looks like a Clamp character (minus the huge shoulders and hands). I love Clamp's character designs so this really had me (and many other Clamp and Sailor Moon fans) very pleased. He looks a lot more like his manga counterpart and I'm so glad they finally paid some attention to his hair/nose/hands. His hair in the original series was just like a big blob but now we actually get some highlights and texture, adding even more dimension to the amazing animation. Also, the pocket watch. He finally has his pocket watch.


Speaking of Mamoru, I was really impressed with his voice actor, Kenji Nojima. I've heard him in a range of other series before, but he was never a main character so it's fantastic to see him with a much larger role! Luna's voice actress, Ryō Hirohashi was also very impressive and I can't wait to hear more from her. Kotono Mitsuishi reprised her role of Usagi which I think is fantastic, but I know many fans are frustrated by her incredibly high pitched and annoying voice. Kotono has obviously aged over the past twenty years so her voice was always going to change slightly. She definitely has a much higher voice than the original series but I don't think that's reason enough to complain about it. Usagi is an annoying character, there is no doubt about it- she always has been, so her voice is bound to get a little irritating now and then. I personally think Kotono did an amazing job and we're so lucky to have the original voice actress. I'm really looking forward to hearing the other Sailor Guardians voices, I'm sure they'll be fantastic and I've heard them in other series before, but I can't wait to see how they compare to the original voice actresses. We did see a very quick cameo from none other than Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury) but we'll have to wait until the next episode to hear her!

Sailor Moon Crystal has a tighter budget than many fans presumed, and I've seen a whole bunch of people complaining about the quality of the animation. As I stated in the beginning of this post, I actually really loved the animation (except for one aspect which I'll mention soon) and I think the team has done a really wonderful job with modernising Sailor Moon. I also found the watercolour backgrounds to be really beautiful, whilst they do lack the colour from the original series. From the first episode, it still seems as though Usagi doesn't have all that much emotion in her face, especially her eyes, and she constantly makes the same annoyingly surprised face. I'm sure this will improve as the series moves along but it is something I have definitely noticed about the animation. Of course, Usagi's hair was always going to be something that fans would be very critical about, and I'm positive most of us were impressed. He hair looks amazing and a lot of detail has been put into it (seriously, her hair is so beautiful I could cry), leaving all of us wishing we could sport her odango hairstyle all whilst looking as adorable as she does and without tripping over our own feet.

The only aspect of the new series (so far) that I really dislike is the transformation sequence. What on earth did they do? The transformation sequences were possibly the most highly anticipated scene(s) of the new series and I'm so disappointed with the one we saw in this episode! If CGI had not been used at all and the transformation was simply animated like the rest of the episode (have I mentioned how much I love the art/animation?) it would have been amazing! The CGI looks tacky, out of place and horrible in my opinion. I'm sure I'll warm up to it or get used to it as more episodes air, but I will always secretly hope that if we get a second season (I'm sure we will but if Sailor Moon Crystal isn't popular enough there is no guarantee) that the CGI is cut out.



Now we have to wait two weeks for another episode- I really wanted this series to be aired weekly, but no such luck.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope I didn't bore you too much!
Love from Maddie xo

12 comments:

  1. This is really well thought out and written Maddie *puffs chest in pride*

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    1. Why thank you Tayla, I obviously got a little too into it hahahahaha

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  2. I haven't watched it yet but you didn't put a spoiler disclaimer so now I've heard spoilers. ARGH

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    1. This was a review of the first episode, so obviously there was going to be spoilers?

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  3. I loved the transformation sequence! Omfg her voice was so annoying

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    1. I'm glad you liked it anonymous! Usagi has always been a little annnoying hahahaha

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  4. Superbly written article Maddie! I share most of the same opinions ~
    The transformation sequence however, is growing on me, like I was both shocked and confused when I first saw the leak but watching it again, I think it's an epic new take. (that being said I'd be more than happy if they choose to redo it in the new 2D style because that would look gorgeous)
    The animation is top notch and most of the new character designs look dazzling. I am still a little freaked out by Usagi's head/face proportions but at the same time her hair is so luscious and awesome, idc as much hahaha
    I also thought the pacing of the episode was better and I really appreciated the foreshadowing and extra stuff! I guess that's more or less how the manga originally played out?

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    1. Why thank you Costa! ~
      To me, the CGI in the transformation sequence is just so unnecessary and I'm one of those people that really dislikes the mix of CGI and regular animation in anything, not just this so I think I was always going to dislike it. Hopefully it grows on me soon!
      He face/head proportions are quite weird but very accurate when compared to the original art and the manga which is nice but definitely different.
      I loved the pacing too! It sure is how the manga played out, it was very similar and it makes me so happy ;~;

      Thanks for commenting!

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  5. You know a lot about Sailor Moon. I'm impressed!

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    1. What can I say? I'm a huge fan hahaha

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  6. I really enjoyed the first episode! The transformation and the way she used the boomerang gave me goosebumps. I do find the animation to be a lot more different and weirder. I can't wait to see the other girls! Isn't the opening of the series just amazing! *_*

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    1. Moon Tiara Boomerang gave me goosebumps too! That animation was fantastic!
      I agree, I think the series had a lot of expectations to fulfil and they really delivered!

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