Sailor Moon Crystal premiered last year to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the original 1990's Sailor Moon anime. The series had some fans revel in the new anime series, which depicted the original manga source more closely than the 1990's anime series. However some fans were left furious over the series, finding the animation a little lazy and found the CGI transformation sequences tacky and unappealing. Well the creators seem to have listened completely to the fandom and have made noticeable improvements with the third season, that will tell the "Infinity Arc" of the story and introduces Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Saturn to the franchise.
The first episode of season 3 aired on 4th April, 2016. The episode gave fans plenty to get their teeth into, but kept some things back for the next episode. Remaining true to sticking to the original manga content, the creators have clearly stylized certain aspects to appeal to the long-running fans of the franchise this time around.
The opening sequences compared to each other show clear similarities but also many differences. Both feature the ancient ruins of the Moon Castle, the mystery behind Hortaru and of course the introduction of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. The new opening does focus more on the Outer Senshi and includes a lot more footage of Sailor Pluto, who is the final member of the Outer Senshi. Another area given a more 1990's feel to the animation was the transformation sequences of the Inner Senshi.
Doing away with the CGI transformation sequences seen in the first and second season of Sailor Moon Crystal, the third season has returned to a standard animation format. The new transformations have a clear homage to the original sequences, but does keep a few angles and shots from the CGI versions. For example, when each of the senshi's tiaras form. Another major change was the Inner Senshi's henshi cry. In the third season of Sailor Moon Crystal, fans witnessed them cry out "(planet's name) planet power, make-up!" For 1990's anime fans, they are used to hearing the girls cry out "star power" instead of "planet power", and that is because the "star power" henshi phrase was 100% original to the 1990's anime. Sailor Moon Crystal is remaining true to the manga source, with the heroines reclaiming their "planet power" henshi cry. Please be aware, from this point on this article will contain spoilers.
Both Haruka and Michiru debuted in the episode, but neither were seen in their senshi forms of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune.
As made clear in the clip above, during their first minute on screen, you gain a lot of information on the pair. You instantly know the Michiru loves to swim, which makes sense given her planet is Neptune, and that Haruka loves racing cars. While unseen, fans of the franchise will also know who appeared without actually appearing in the episode. Michiru and Haruka take helicopters to get to school, oh living the dream at a young age, but the pilot of the helicopter is Sailor Pluto.
Sailor Pluto is introduced in the previous season of Sailor Moon, during the Romance arc of the story. Sailor Pluto is first seen as the keeper of time and is sworn to protect the gates of time. Her arrival in the Infinity arc will surprise the Inner senshi of Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mars and Sailor Jupiter, as they witness her break a taboo in season two which cost her her life. But being the Sailor Senshi in control of time allows Sailor Pluto to appear across various time periods. During the Romance arc the character is 1000 years old, and let's face it, she doesn't look to bad for her age at all. The episode will have also surprised many fans who are unfamiliar with the manga counterpart of the series.
Michiru is already in possession of the Deep Aqua Mirror, one of the three sacred talismans. This will surprise some of the fans who are only aware of the 1990's anime, as in that series Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune were on a mission to find the three people with special hearts that housed the scared three talismans.
This is one of the many aspects of the story changed in the 1990's anime. In the previous anime the three talismans where within Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Pluto. Sailor Pluto had already released her Garnet Orb talisman prior to the series, but as seen in the clip above, Sailor Uranus and Neptune both had theirs talismans, the Space Sword and Deep Aqua Mirror, released from within themselves. The same fans also believe the purpose of the talismans is to awaken the "Holy Grail".
Well the next shock for the 1990's fans is, this is another fabrication for that series. The true purpose of the talismans is to awaken the "Soldier of Death and Rebirth", Sailor Saturn. Although it was what activated Mistress 9 laying dormant within Hortaru.
While the Holy Grail is indeed the item that will allow Sailor Moon to upgrade to her "Super" form, its first appearance in the manga is vastly different. The only aspect that is the same, is it requires three to make it appear, but for the manga it was Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Chibi Moon. When the three's hearts connect it causes the Holy Grail to awaken. The opening has already shown us Super Sailor Moon, and it should appear in Act 30, as that will be the corresponding issue of the manga.
With Sailor Moon Crystal following the manga so closely, many Sailor Moon fans will have their entire belief in what they know about the franchise brought into question. This has already been done in the first episode, with Sailor Venus and Sailor Jupiter pulling out a new attack each that was not seen in the 1990's anime.
In the original anime, the Inner Senshi would stick to a single attack for each form they received.
- Sailor Mercury - Aqua Mist - Aqua Mist Freezing
- Sailor Venus - Crescent Beam - Crescent Beam Shower
- Sailor Mars - Fire Soul - Fire Soul Bird
- Sailor Jupiter - Supreme Thunder - Supreme Thunder Dragon
- Sailor Mercury - Shine Aqua Illusion
- Sailor Venus - Love Me Chain
- Sailor Mars - Burning Mandala
- Sailor Jupiter - Sparkling Wide Pressure
- Sailor Mercury - Aqua Rhapsody
- Sailor Venus - Love and Beauty Shock
- Sailor Mars - Flame Sniper
- Sailor Jupiter - Flower Hurricane
With Sailor Moon Crystal debuting the attacks never seen in the 1990's counterpart, means fans can look forward to over a dozen unseen moves from our heroines. This is not just limited to the Inner Senshi, as the Outer Senshi also have attacks never before seen in the original anime series. These two new attacks also represent clearly a secondary element to the characters which was not as referenced in the original anime. While it is made clear that Sailor Mercury is the Sailor Senshi of water and knowledge and that Sailor Mars in the Sailor Senshi of fire and war. Sailor Venus and Sailor Jupiter's secondary elements were not made as clear. While western countries have four primary elements, earth, air, fire and water, in Japan they have more. Wood and metal are two extra recognized elements in Japan which are the two secondary elements of Sailor Jupiter and Venus.
The final proof of the creators listening to the fans is how this season will be broadcast. The first two seasons where combined to create a single series for broadcast, consisting of 26 episodes. This series would see a new episode released every first and third Saturday of every month. This drove many fans crazy as it would mean some months would have them waiting two weeks between new episodes, as a few months a year do have five weekends. The third season of Sailor Moon Crystal will air every week, meaning the next episode is set for broadcast on 11th April, 2016. The season will have 13 episodes and last for approximately three months. What is unclear at the moment is if the Dreams arc will follow instantly after, consisting of another 13 episodes to match the first series with a total of 26 episodes, or will they wait and see how fans react to the new Sailor Moon Crystal style.