It's been a long time coming for Sailor Moon fans, but we finally got our reboot in the Summer of 2014. After setback after setback, Toei Studios was finally able to release the first episode on July 5th.
This reboot closely follows the manga, which will switch up the storyline for hardcore fans who've only seen the dubbed series. The animation is similarly stylised with a closer look to the original artwork and an emphasis on legs, legs, and more legs.
But is the series any better?
It started out strong enough, with standalone episodes for each of the scouts and our hunky fave, Tuxedo Mask. Unfortunately, with Mamorou's second episode fans have felt the animation fall somewhat flat. It's no secret that the studio had problems with funding, having to delay production more than once throughout the run, but now fans are left wondering if maybe that lack of money had an impact on the sailor senshi after all. The title sequence has also seen some evolution throughout the series as more of the story is revealed.
It's not that it looks awful -- on the contrary, it's actually very beautiful at times and expertly done -- and it could even be that it was an intentional switch, as with Gurren Lagann's mid season episodes in their first season, but what is clear is that it looks as if corners were seriously cut. It doesn't change the story, but the themes are certainly a little less evident when instead of strong girls who don't need no man, we're treated to a breathy Sailor Moon heaving her chest up and down in the arms of her Tuxedo Mask saviour. The same episode, without too many spoilers, also has Sailor Moon floating effortless through the air since she can now fly, apparently, with very little adherence to anything so tangible as geography or physics.
The display was enough to sour some fans, but the show recovered quickly with some serious plot, and not just the kind guys like to post on Reddit. One thing that was done with care were the Sailor Scout transformations. They're decked out in head to toe cell-shaded 3D that are simultaneously throwbacks to the original and something all their own. Small redesigns to incorporate more of their original senshi selves give the even more life and bring their powers to the fore. Sailor Moons struggles with her clumsiness, her love for her friends, and the worry that she can't live up to expectations, all while playing out one of the cutest love stories of all time. This iteration of Sailor Moon is less about kicking butt than it is learning how to be a woman, but it still manages to get a few action sequences in.
All in all, the series is shaping up to be a hit, even if it really couldn't possibly have failed short of never being released (and let's face it, it almost was the Duke Nukem of the anime world for a year or so). Following the manga though, means that this series has a definite end, since the mangas each have their own arcs which don't overlap as much as the first series did. Hopefully it'll come out strong and we'll be treated to a faithful representation of Toei's masterpiece. She was and always will be the badass alternative to Barbie.
We love you Sailor Moon!