Saturday, July 5, 2014

Japan Interlude: Sailor Moon Crystal Episode One Review

Do you know what today is?


Well, today, Sailor Moon Crystal finally debuted worldwide after years of waiting for it to be finished. As I'm in Japan, I personally watched it on NicoNicoDouga in Japanese without subtitles (but my knowledge of the language + the fact I have the first few episodes of the season memorized already after doing a research paper on the differences between the sub and dub that reflect cultural differences... yes... a Sailor Moon research paper... but yes, anyway it means I had no trouble following it)

So as a huge fan of the original anime (sub and dub), manga and thousands of fan fiction based on the universe, I thought I might jot down a review of my initial impressions of the series.

If you don't know what Sailor Moon is at all, here's a fast and dirty explanation. This is the most iconic "Magical Girl" anime that has ever come out of Japan. It was a widely popular set of comics, and show in both Japan and all over the world. A group of girls find out they are actually a group of super heroes with powers based on the planets (the Japanese names for the planets include elements such as water and fire) and have to defend the world against baddies that the police cannot take care of, all while trying to get through Junior High and then High School.

Also, talking cats.

Now for the review:

Act.1 Usagi -Sailor Moon-

First off, I love this title shot, it's a gorgeous drawing.

Second of all, I am so wholly satisfied by the 25-ish minutes I spent watching this reboot. For the most part, the episode follows the original anime almost perfectly, yet where there are changes, it is almost always an improvement on the original.

The art style is much more to my own personal tastes than the original anime. I had always been a fan of Naoko Takeuchi's fashion-designer style art, with the elongated limbs and those beautiful ankles (I have such an ankle fetish now because of that style!) So being able to see it animated is like a dream come true.

I haven't watched a lot of anime recently, so this may be true for all current anime, but I was highly impressed by the quality of the animation as well. It felt so smooth and as I read in another review, it almost felt like an HD upgrade of the original at times.

The Background Music is spectacular. I also enjoy Momoiro Clover Z's opening theme, as it just fit so perfectly, but I'm only half sold on the ending theme so far (though I love the animation accompanying it.

The pacing of the episode is also smoother than I remember the original being. I'm very interested to see how this will end up pacing as a series. The old version had to deal with being released concurrently with the manga, so it's chock full of filler episodes and moves at a snail's pace, but the manga is paced a little too faced. I'm hoping that Crystal falls somewhere in between them.

There were a couple of awkward parts, like the fact that Mamoru shows up in a tuxedo instead of his normal everyday clothes, thus making it weirdly obvious he is Tuxedo Kamen (hopefully he'll be in normal clothes next time the two bump heads, though I did like it that Usagi also made a comment on his weird clothes haha). And then I'm a little iffy on the semi-3D transformation sequence. I understand why they did it that way, but sometimes it felt toooo smooth and thus stuck out from the other animation.

Overall I highly recommend Sailor Moon fans to watch it! And, if you've never seen Sailor Moon before, this is a good time to try it out as these episodes are being released online for the world to watch for free

Next episode will see the entrance of Sailor Mercury. Next Saturday is just too far away, guys!

Where you can watch it:
NicoNicoDouga, Subtitles in 12 Languages because they love us so.


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