As the third season of Sailor Moon Crystal drew to a close, I found myself wondering whether or not it had been worth the remake. The updated art was certainly more vibrant and animators were no longer faced with budget shortages when it came to applying deeper colors. The use of CGI made it cheaper to create scenery and the system was more forgiving of mistakes.
Yet fundamentally the new iteration of the franchise has changed very little. The standard plot points are mostly the same. There are fewer episodes to account for the faster pace of the plot (now more closely based on the source material). This is also marginally less visual repetition than in the original series.
Yet did this new series really bring anything meaningful to the table? Despite being marginally disappointed with the series myself, I would argue it did.
My argument for this new series is actually based largely on the prevalence of other remakes. Few would argue that a new airing of a show is unjustified provided enough time has passed. A perfect example of this is the Batman franchise, which has more series and films than one can count.
While the plots of Batman stories are usually similar, the same could be said of Sailor Moon and its media. The existence of one show does not detract from the others in the eyes of the viewer. They are often their own separate universes.
This thought first occurred to me at the beginning of season one, when most viewers thought that the series reboot was disappointing at best. The heavy use of CGI sequences and artwork as opposed to the “hand-drawn” aesthetic imparted by the original series felt foreign to fans.
Surprisingly enough, the show itself created something for fans that may be more valuable than a new series in the form of greater access to merchandise. When Sailor Moon first caught on, the internet was still new. Purchasing things from overseas was difficult for most fans. Local merchandising was still going through its own weird phase.
Today fans have been given a unique opportunity. The massive hype behind the first airing of Sailor Moon Crystal led to a great increase in the variety of items available for purchase. Companies such as Bandai began licensing the production of everything from props and action figures to character shaped candies.
These items weren’t just on the foreign end either. American manufacturers (particularly Hot Topic) also sought to take advantage of the sales wave and began producing their own licensed goods. It sounds like a big money making venture, but can companies be faulted for giving fans exactly what they want?
The Learning Curve
Aside of sales opportunities and the general idea that it’s okay to remake basically anything, Sailor Moon Crystal also has served as an important lesson to animators and writers both domestic and abroad.
The first two seasons of the show did uncharacteristically bad for the amount of hype generated. It can be attributed to a few different factors, but my opinion is that:
Little time was given to character growth.
Despite being closer to the source material, some major plot points were changed.
The art felt highly generic and the characters looked very similar to one another. Adding to that, the entire show was dominated by CGI sequences.
Musical scores were generally weak and less numerous.
Had the series continued the way it was going, my opinion of it may have been much worse. Yet by the time the third season came around, it was obvious the animating company had realized their mistakes. The characters underwent a huge change. Most of the drawings had reverted to a more “hand-drawn” style rather than the “perfection” offered by CGI.
As a result, each character gained more of a unique look. At the same time, the show returned more to the source material for most of the third season. This was welcomed by the fans who didn’t like the changes made during the first two seasons.
Some areas were still left a tad lacking. The musical scores that accompany the show did not improve tremendously nor did they include very many new tracks. Even so, the third season was received far better than its predecessors.
Sailor Moon Crystal anime Season Four and Beyond
Feedback from fans is likely to continue having a significant impact on the coming seasons. The show has had enough success to warrant finishing the story, but the hiccups it’s experienced still display a slight disconnect between fans’ expectations and the production team’s goals.
To be truly successful with the remainder of the show, I should hope the show airs with better and more diverse musical scores while continuing on a similar path of animation. Following the source material, at least in this iteration’s case, is paramount. Other versions of the story have already aired with significant differences that were not necessarily to their benefit.
I have high hopes for the coming seasons if the third season is anything to go by. Nothing is perfect, but it’s a relief to see things improving.
Viewing Tips for Future Watchers
Sailor Moon Crystal is available on several different mediums, including Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Niconico. Subscriptions are generally required if you wish to watch the show as soon as it’s available, particularly in higher quality without ads.
If you find yourself streaming over WiFi, it may be worth acquiring a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service if you don’t already use one. A VPN will protect your devices while you access unprotected networks as well as let you bypass regional restrictions if you happen to be travelling. Watching your shows without using up data is great, but not if it means having your devices compromised in the process.
For those who haven’t started watching the show or are thinking about watching it, the episodes flow together directly unlike the original anime. Viewing episodes one after another can be beneficial, as you won’t be stuck at any cliffhangers. Binge watching is recommended if you have the time.
For those who have seen some or all of Sailor Moon Crystal, what did you think? Was the remake worth making or watching? How does it stack up against other entries in the franchise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
About the Author: Cassie has a multitude of interests, especially blogging about popular entertainment. If you’re interested in reading more of her work, she posts on Culture Coverage regularly. Check it out if you’re interested!