The anniversary series to the hugely popular Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon Crystal is now 10 episodes in and I thought it was time for a review and comparison to the original series.
The Opening Sequences
The New Series Opening Sequence:
The original opening had one noticeable focus, Sailor Moon. And since she is main character of the show, we can forgive this. What does seem strange however... is how they included Sailor Mercury and Mars towards the end of the opening but not Sailor Jupiter or Venus. Now, there is a reason for this and that is because we had to wait 25 episodes before Jupiter arrived and joined the team and then again another 8 episodes before Venus joined. Where Sailor Mercury joins Sailor Moon in episode 5 and Sailor Mars joined the pair in episode 8. The opening also does not tell you much about the show in general. You clearly know who is the focal character and that she will clearly be living two lives. But the rest is all a bit random until Mercury and Mars appear, making it clear these are her friends/companions.
The New Series Opening Sequence:
The new series opening has a much bigger impact to the audience watching. You clearly see there is going to be five girls and that Sailor Moon will like a handsome stranger. The other thing this one gives is a clear representation of these girls having magical powers and how this is an action series as much as it is a romance. You also see clearly that there is a mysterious kingdom in the opening. So unlike the original opening you get a clear idea of what this show will be about.
The first opening from the original is just odd. Really, when you look at how it plays out and all. It does improve as the series progresses, but if you were to be choosing a series to watch based off the opening and that was what you saw...well, you would probably skip the series. The new series has a sequence that paints an idea in your mind of what to expect. Making it more likely for someone to watch the series. I hate to say it but you do judge a book by its cover sometimes and the opening is the cover of the show. It is not hard for me to call the winner on this one.
Original Opening: 6/10
New Series Opening: 9/10
Now considering the age of the original Sailor Moon series (22 years) these transformations are still better than some used in a more modern day series. Each has its own style and way of working for the character. Sailor Moon is slow and graceful, like a princess. Mercury's transformation is modest and simplistic, much like the character. Mars' is elegant and strong, everything that makes that character. Jupiter sees raw power and might, Jupiter's personality caught perfectly. Venus is all bright and flash, what you would expect from the leader of the Inner Senshi.
Something that I really happened to like about these transformations was how they kept to the style of the original series. Even though they are nearly double the time of the original series transformations you find yourself not caring. Simply due to the sheer amazing CGI effects in their clips. I also love how the girls' planet symbols appear before their tiaras form, it's a nice touch to the sequence. I am sure it also seemed strange to some that Sailor Venus did not call out her planets name and that she had a crescent moon instead of her tiara. This is because we have not seen her full Venus version, when she was pretending to be the princess to keep Sailor Moon save until her memories came back. This for me shows just how much effort they have put into this new series. Small touches like that show dedication to wanting to make everything work.
I cannot lie, this one is a dead tie. When I take into account the originals are 22 years old, they still stand well today. The new series has kept the original transformation style but updated it with CGI and new angles on an old design making them new still. It's impossible to score either below 10.
Original Opening: 10/10
New Series Opening: 10/10
Very simplistic but effective. The animation does make it look like an extremely slow attack to get into actions, making me wonder why the bad guy just stood there while she spins around. But then again... that's what you get from an attack animation.
This time around it is much faster, and the fact you see the tiara start spinning in her hand kinda adds to the whole attack. She spins around less in this one, so the way that she just goes back and swings her way into it makes it a much more realistic attack.
Now let's face it, how scary are a bunch of bubbles? I think we can all agree it is a zero in the intimidation factor. All it does is create a mist to hide in. It is the sad part about the original Sailor Mercury. Until mid-series 2 her power had no offensive effects making her the weak link on the team when in a fight. At least she had her brains to fall back on.
Again, all she's done is create a blanket of mist to hide in. However, this time it is much more intimidating when she calls the water to her hands. She has shown she can channel it into a beam force in later episodes when she attacks with the others. So, at least she can do something other than think her way out.
With Sailor Mars original attack you can feel her drawing all her power into her finger tips before they ignite. It works really well. Everyone loved the twirling effect in the original attack, making it drag longer.
The part I have loved the most about the new series has been that the attacks have not been stuck on one beat. This attack was not seen until later in the original series and I love how it is not just her shooting talisman scrolls at the enemy. You truly get a sense of Mars' power in the visually spectacular moment.
To this day I look at this attack and it just never gets old. I love how the small lightning rod rises from her tiara and is struck by the lightning bolt. It is just a simple idea that is amazing visually. You can also almost feel the shock coming off of the lighting as she fires it at her opponent.
They spoiled us with Jupiter and I don't think anyone complained. The first attack she used was her final attack in the original 200 episode run of the first Sailor Moon anime. So, for us to get to see it again excited many of us fans, it's safe to say. To see her Jupiter Thunder Bolt on top of that only got us even more pumped. Add to that that they are still paying homage to the small lightning rod makes it all the more enjoyable.
Don't worry if you checked your knuckles, I did too. For a simple yellow beam, they made it look effective. The way they broke the fabric in the gloves in a shredded way shows the effect of Venus' original series attack. I happen to also love the animation of her hair swaying the way it does as she attacks. It's like the power of her attack is creating an updraft.
Now I chose this clip purposely. So that you can see for yourself how she is pretending to be the princess. In the anime Sailor Moon has remembered the truth, but we have not seen Venus' proper attack or transformation. What's brilliant about this is the fact that they never followed the manga in the original series where Venus assumes the identity through and through.
All in all, I think the original series had very visually effective attacks for 22 years ago, but they dragged on a bit making the enemy seem stupid for standing there and waiting. Where in the new series the attacks are used more as a reflex making them more plausible due to the fact that they are in a fight.
Original Opening: 7/10
New Series Opening: 9/10
When the original series hit episodes that progressed the storyline it was brilliant to watch. What made it painful were all the filler episodes that were in it. There were the odd exception like the episode where we saw Sailor Venus remembering her days as Sailor V fighting for justice in London, England. But just about 30 to 35 episodes of the 44 episode series could easily be skipped and it not hurt the progression of what happens in the series at all. The only bright side to the filler episodes was the character development you saw. By series 2 in Sailor Moon Romance they have friendships they cannot be without. They also changed many aspects of the manga story from which it was based on and even invented the odd bit here and there. So, if you are a fan of the manga it can annoy you at times, especially if it's a part you felt was perfect on paper. You also could not help but think to yourself, "Well there are 5 of them and only 1 bad guy, course they're gonna win." which is a shame because it meant we never saw Nephrite, Zoicite, Kunzite and Jedite together at once.
Unlike the original series, the new series has forgotten about filler episodes and instead each episode progresses the story. They have acknowledged aspects of the manga that had been forgotten in the original. My favourite example are Phobos and Diemos. If you missed it, they are the crows that follow Rei (Sailor Mars). In the manga they had a surprise for readers which... I will not spoil in case the series continues. In the latest episode they referenced the fact that Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus were the lovers of Kunzite, Jedite, Zoicite and Nephrite. The original series only ever brought in the love between Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask. So, with them doing this it really shows how they are following true to the manga. I would definitely have to say that the new series has started with a bang!
With the original series being one of the most success runs in history for an anime, let alone a magical girl themed anime, it is no surprise when every series was full of filler episodes. Sailor Moon was the series to put the magical girl genre on the global market. It continues to have a strong fan base to today and is still attracting new viewers. It had such an attractive way of showing attacks for dozens of episodes at a time before bringing in new ones without you getting totally bored of them. The new series is still in its early days and has big shoes to fill. But with them following the manga much more closely and having the story progress much quicker - it allows you to enjoy an old series in a new way. If it continues with the momentum it has started and follows through with more episodes like the originals, it could take the world by storm again. The animation utilizes classic animation and CGI in a wonderful mixture. If you are new to anime and have not seen a magical girl series before, then this could be a good one to start with!
Original Opening: 14/20
New Series Opening: 19/20
Original Series: 37/50
New Series: 47/50
Have you seen the new series? What'd you think? Do you think the original series is better or worse? Let me know your thoughts.
What are your thoughts on Sailor Moon Crystal?
Which Sailor Senshi is your favourite?
Below is a spoiler of something to look forward to in the new series. It is only a promotional image shown at Animate Girl Festival 2014, so it does not ruin storyline, just makes something clear that is going to be coming into the series. Sailor Chibi Moon holding the time key! Which means they will be covering the Dark Moon saga of the manga and that Sailor Pluto will like to appear also. This is set to appear in January 2015.