Sailor Moon Crystal is a remake of the original Sailor Moon television anime series that began airing in Japan in 1992. The remake series is produced by Toei Animation, and is directed by Munehisa Sakai. As of this writing, Viz Media holds the North American distribution rights for Sailor Moon Crystal.
The main character of Sailor Moon Crystal is Usagi Tsukino, a 14-year-old schoolgirl who is clumsy and a bit of a crybaby. One day, as she’s running to school because she’s late, she steps on a black cat and trips. Usagi discovers there are band-aids on the cat’s forehead, and she removes them. After Usagi does this, the cat jumps on her head and then onto the top of a wall. Before Usagi can do anything else, she hears the bell ring and realizes she’s late for school.
At lunch, Usagi’s friend Naru mentions that the jewelry shop her family owns is offering major discounts on their merchandise. Usagi and her other friends decide they need to go. When they go to the store after school, they see chaos and mayhem. Usagi ends up leaving shortly after getting there; she realizes that with how poorly she did on her English test that there’s no way her mom would buy her anything. She crumples up the test in disgust and throws it behind her, and it ends up hitting a young man wearing a tuxedo in the face. The young man scolds her for hitting him with the test and for her score, and she is insulted. However, she also finds her heart pounding as she looks at him.
That night, the black cat visits Usagi at home and starts talking to her; the cat introduces herself as Luna and starts telling Usagi about what’s going on. Usagi believes it’s a dream at first, until Luna hands her a brooch. After Luna tells her to repeat some words, Usagi suddenly transforms into a magical girl. At that time, she hears Naru calling for help; Naru has discovered that her mother has been replaced by someone else. Usagi becomes Sailor Moon, and goes to save Naru. She’s joined by an unexpected ally named Tuxedo Mask…
The first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal follows the story of the manga rather closely. While the humor from the manga remains, it’s not done in quite that same way that it was done in the original Sailor Moon anime. To me, it feels like that for Sailor Moon Crystal, it was decided to skew the balance of the drama and humor more toward the drama side. There’s still humor, but it’s not quite the same as what I saw in the first episode of the original Sailor Moon anime.
When it comes to the animation, newer animation techniques were used, but an effort was made to try to retain as much of the early 1990s character design as possible. I liked the colors and the sharpness of the animation, although there were some things that just didn’t feel quite right. There was something about the movement of Usagi’s hair that just didn’t feel quite natural. Although I have to say that I thought Luna looked more adorable in the newer animation style. But to me, those few things that didn’t feel quite right are overshadowed by the other elements of the animation that I enjoyed looking at.
For a remake series, Sailor Moon Crystal is off to a strong start. Even though I may already know what to expect from reading the manga series, I’m still looking forward to watching more of this series. I have a feeling that most fans of the original Sailor Moon anime will probably enjoy reliving the story again through Sailor Moon Crystal. I don’t know whether Sailor Moon Crystal will bring in many new fans for the Sailor Moon franchise, but only time will tell on that.
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