The podcast for in-depth discussion on films and the original material they're based on.
As a fan of Sailor Moon for the past 20 years, I was more than excited to hear that they were creating a new “season” of Sailor Moon called Sailor Moon Crystal. From what I have read, Naoko Takeuchi has not created further manga beyond the previous Codename: Sailor V and Sailor Moon manga printed back in the 1990s, so I worried about exactly how this was going to turn out.
At first, it seemed that all the news was saying that the new series would not be directly from the manga or the 1990s anime, but based on the characters and canon of Sailor Moon. If this had been the case, it would have been interesting to see where they would go after all we had been through with the 200 episode series from the 1990s (broken down into seasons of Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, S, SuperS, and Stars). It would have been a whole new journey for fans to see their favorite characters in a new light, hopefully a good one. The creators would have had a lot of breathing space and could have created a really neat piece of anime that goes beyond what we already have established.
I was pretty disappointed as screenshots and more concrete news came out. The anime looks wonderful, the characters are drawn in a way that better emulates the manga, but it also showed that they are starting from the beginning again. It is in fact, a REBOOT, news of which was posted by our own Jenn back in 2012.
I really had to take some time to mull this information over because of how I feel about reboots. As far as some of the super hero movies have gone, the reboot of Spider-Man is far superior to the previous set, and although I still enjoy the originals of Superman and Batman, the reboots gave them a grittier more real look, which I very much enjoyed. However, when you look at things like Avatar: The Last Airbender– not that the film was really a reboot, but it told the same story- the original was miles above the film. Of course, I do take into account that some things are just better when animated and in the case of this new Sailor Moon, that at least is not an issue. Still, I’m of the philosophy “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
So, do we really need it again?
The short answer is… YES!
This new version is going to be a closer adaptation to the fabulous manga.
Although the 1990s anime (the original, unedited Japanese) is fun, exciting, addictive, and has all the feels you would want from a good TV show, there are things that I would like to see them do differently. I would not say that the original anime is bad by any means. I love it and have re-watched it more times than I can count. And though the manga is not drastically different, there are key differences that no adaptation has covered so far.
What the adaptations have done, is taken a lovely story and woven more intricacies into it so we get the same general idea or story line, but characters are more fleshed out. Some characters are taken in different directions, many times showing that even if they are on the bad side of the story, they have good parts to them. In the manga, characters were added and defeated (or otherwise dismissed) so quickly that one couldn’t grasp the characters. It was a case of we root for the good guys, and the bad guys get destroyed, no gray area, end of story.
One character, however, that had much more to him in the Manga than any of the adaptations thus far is Darien/Mamoru. In every TV related story, he never has any real powers- except for the power of bad puns, appearing and disappearing from strange places (i.e. Street Lamps), and enough aim to distract the enemy with a rose so Sailor Moon can vanquish them. But there is so much more to his character than that. Yes, the general things are there: he is the prince of the earth, he was in love with Princess Serenity in the past, was killed protecting her and they are destined for each other, but there are some things that have always been omitted.
He had powers in the manga, real ones. Darien/Mamoru had the power of psychometry, which allowed him to do many things, as Lita/Makoto/Jupiter explained in the original translated manga: he had the power to heal himself or others quickly, but he could use this same power as an attack. Later in the manga he touches the Earth to feel that the planet as a whole had only been scratched, and he could find just about anyone on it. Beyond that, he is the true holder of the golden crystal, to match Sailor Moon’s silver crystal, which is just one of the many things I disliked about the SuperS series in the 1990s Anime. It is the one that went the most wrong in my opinion.
Even Sailor Moon herself as a character is better in the manga. She grows very quickly and doesn’t need to be told to use her abilities- a friend and I watched through the whole series to see how many episodes someone didn’t say “Now, sailor moon!” and trust me, there were not a lot- and she is the true protector. She also uses cute goggles to see through ruses and was convinced that Sailor V was the true princess to the moon kingdom. Not that anyone was really fooled, but I liked her much better in the manga.
Also, let us not forget the near absence of the overpowering evil presence named Queen Metalia, who is the one who poisons Queen Beryl’s mind and starts the whole war. In the 1990s anime, there is some dark blob that Queen Beryl talks to, but she is not really given a name. They did better with it in the 2003 live action, but instead of Beryl absorbing her powers, Mamoru does, which was just one of the many crazy things that happened in the live action film.
I also miss the fact that the four soldiers under Queen Beryl were once loyal to Prince Endymion (Mamoru/Darien’s past life). They were soldiers under his rule and occasionally felt something towards him even when they were under Beryl’s spell. In death, they turn into the stones of their names: Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite and are freed, allowing them to help Prince Endymion later on. This was never touched upon in the 1990s anime, but it was brought up in the Sailor Moon RPG video game as well as the 2003 live action.
Another thing, that anime viewers may not know is that the it got a bit ahead of the manga. By the time the series R was being made that story had not yet been published via the manga. This is why the “Doom Tree” series seems so out of place and why all the senshi/scouts lose their memories at the end of the first series. The creators weren’t sure there would be more so they wrapped up the season in a nicely wrapped package. This of course, is not how it all goes down in the manga. The enemy of that story is defeated and everyone is happy when Chibiusa/Rini comes crashing down, but there was no in-between, confusion, or needing to begin again.
This is why I feel like another adaptation is not only warranted, but necessary. I would like to see all of my favorite things in anime form. I mean, I could just read the Manga again, and now that it is more readily available to people, so could everyone else. But, for those who don’t get into the manga, I think the anime will be a great door opener.
Of course, there are things that people might miss in the new adaptation: there are no rainbow crystals in the manga, Naru doesn’t have a love affair with Nephrite, etc. And if Sailor Moon Crystal does well enough and they continue onto R with the Black Moon series, Sapphire might not have a cute backstory with Prizma, and he may turn out much less likable as he was in the manga. Things will be different, but the new anime isn’t going to erase the old one. We can always watch the original again (and again and again…)
Sailor Moon Crystal is set to premiere on 5th July across the globe. You can watch it one Hulu+, Crunchyroll [available to Crunchyroll’s audience in the following territories: U.S.A, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America (Central and South America including Mexico)] and Viz Media’s Neon Alley.
They are planning on premiering subbed and re-dubbed versions at the same time. Hopefully, since the Japanese and Americans are working simultaneously, the dubbing will be much better quality. I could rant about a comparison between original Subbed and Dubbed of the 1990s anime, but that is for another day.
Now, I’m off to re-read the manga for the billionth time. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do, and if you have, why not once more with feeling?
I am SUPER EXCITED! Here’s a trailer to get you pumped!
What bits do you hope they keep in this version, or what bits do you hope they cut? Let us know in the comments!