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'Sailor Moon Crystal Episode 1' review

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Sailor Moon Crystal

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Sailor Moon is officially back! And I’m not talking about a manga re-release, relicensing of the original TV series, or new musical (though those have all come out recently). Nope, we’re talking about a brand new reboot of the original series called “Sailor Moon Crystal!” “Attack on Titan” may be the anime that has currently been making anime the most mainstream it’s been in a long time (trust me, I was at a 4th of July get together and there was a point where pretty much everyone at the table had seen the show…and these are church people), but “Sailor Moon Crystal” has easily been the most anticipated upcoming anime for the past year. What made it even more anticipated was that unlike “Dragon Ball Kai” this wasn’t simply a condensed version of the original show, but a brand new one altogether!

We’ve got new high definition animation, a new musical score, and a *gasp* actual budget this time around! Since most readers know how big a Sailor Moon fan I am, this is one of the few things I’ve lost sleep waiting for. So is the reboot the any good? Of course it is! Is it better than the original show? Um…we’re going to have to wait and see on that one, it’s just too early to tell. One thing that is obvious is that people who like the manga more than the TV show will be happy to know that “Sailor Moon Crystal” promises to be a much better adaptation of it. The original show, while good, was undoubtly a very loose adaptation. While certain things were common between the show and manga, the show tended to pretty much do its own thing most of the time.

Heck, Tuxedo Mask’s famous rose throwing was exclusive to the TV show. So this new version completely ditches the original shows story threads (rose throwing and all) and looks more like the manga (which means the show looks more expensive because Naoko Takeuchi’s artwork was always much more detailed than the original show ever was). At a promised 26 episodes chances are the pacing will be more story oriented and contain less filler episodes. It’s been known early on that Kotono Mitsuishi is reprising her role as Sailor Moon, but I’m unsure if the other cast members are returning. The voice actress for Luna sounds different, but if the cast members for Tuxedo Mask and Jadeite are different it must be said they sound awfully similar to the original shows actors.

Most of the time I would be against the idea of a reboot for something, but in the case of “Sailor Moon Crystal” I think it’s justified. It’s been 20 years since the show first aired in America and the show has been out of print here for about half that time. There is a whole generation of kids who have not been able to legally watch this show in some time. It was a big deal back then to have a female superhero on the air. I wish I could say things have gotten better, but with the exception of “The Powerpuff Girls” we haven’t seen a show geared for girls that could be enjoyed by everyone since. Now that cartoons are even more of a “boy’s only” club it would be really nice to see “Sailor Moon Crystal” get on TV (maybe Sailor Moons original home Toonami will take it?).

We do live in a new age of internet streaming though, and it seems no one is waiting for TV. It actually took me a long time to watch the show because most of the day Hulu’s stream was stuttering along at a slow pace. Finally around 3:00am the traffic died down enough where I could finally watch the episode without problems, but I checked this morning and the stream it stuttering again, making me think this show is going to be very, very big over here. Did I mention the music yet? Oh boy, do I just LOVE the music in this show!

One of the things the original shows were known for was the excellent musical score. Back then I think most of the music was performed on synthesizers, but here it sounds like a whole orchestra is being dedicated to the score. The music is just as beautiful as you’d hoped it be and even more impressive is that (from what I’ve heard) none of the original music cues have been recreated. Alright, so the new opening theme is certainly no “Moonlight Densetsu” (or even the “Sailor Stars Song”) but then, what is really? Still, I wish the new theme felt classier than it did poppy. Never mind. The whole point is that “Sailor Moon Crystal” is off to a very, very promising start. Make no mistake that this is still Sailor Moon at its core and geared towards kids.

Yet the show still has those old classic charms and uniqueness to it that made the original such a smash hit so many years ago. Corny as the story is, there is just something about the execution that makes this a timeless character (sort of like “Star Wars” really). With a completed story and higher budget there’s no reason “Sailor Moon Crystal” can’t have the same impact the original show did. Still, in all incarnations of Sailor Moon the first episodes are pretty similar to each other. It’s within the next several episodes we’ll see if the show can live up the promise and keep the spirit of the original show while doing its own take on the now classic story. And if it’s successful maybe we’ll get the whole manga adapted, which means we could have a PROPER adaptation of “Sailor Moon Super S” after all this time!

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