Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon Crystal anime cover art featuring Usagi Tsukino as Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon Crystal Cover Art

Overview

It’s finally time to review the first anime I watched as a kid (other than maybe Pokémon). While what I watched as a kid was the original series, Sailor Moon Crystal is the new and improved series. While the original series strayed away from the manga, Crystal is a more faithful adaptation and has better animation (and art in general).

Sailor Moon was the start of my love for the Magical Girl genre which includes other anime such as Hina Logic, Madoka Magica, Yuki Yuna, and Prisma Illya to name a few that I’ve watched.

The story focuses on 10 girls known as Sailor Guardians who are each associated with a planet (or the Moon). These Sailor Guardians protect the Solar system and Earth from invaders; mostly through the power of friendship as magical girls generally do. However, along with each Sailor Guardian having a planet associated with them, they also each have special powers.

There are currently three seasons (39 episodes) of Sailor Moon Crystal, each consisting of one arc from the manga. The fourth arc is supposedly going to be made into two movies rather than an anime season.

Setsuna Meioh as Sailor Pluto using her Garnet Rod from the Sailor Moon Crystal anime
Sailor Pluto using her Garnet Rod

Seasons

The first season of Sailor Moon Crystal follows the Dark Kingdom arc. The Dark Kingdom is led by Queen Beryl and their goal is the resurrection of an evil entity known as Queen Metalia by using the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal. In this season we only have the 5 “original” Sailor Guardians: Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus.

The second season follows the Black Moon arc in which the Black Moon Clan led by Prince Demande attempts to destroy Earth and the Legendary Silver Crystal by using an evil power known as the Malefic Black Crystal. In this season we are introduced to two new Sailor Guardians, Chibi Moon and Pluto.

Season three follows the Death Busters arc. In this season there is yet another group attempting to destroy Earth. However, this time it’s a group called the Death Busters who plan to merge their leader, Master Pharaoh 90, with the Earth, turning the Earth into the center of a second dark star-system. In this season we meet the final three Sailor Guardians, Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn.

The third season was vastly superior to the first two in both animation and story. The first two seasons used 3D animation for the OP and Sailor Guardian transformations, but the third season does away with this in favor of more traditional animation. The third season also used more stylized animation to emphasize comedic parts, usually at Usagi’s expense.


Characters

Sailor Moon, Usagi Tsukino, is the protagonist of the series. Unlike most of the other Sailor Guardians, she doesn’t have an “elemental” power, but instead uses the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal. Sailor Moon is the Guardian of love and justice.

Tuxedo Mask, Mamoru Chiba, is the male lead. He fights alongside the Sailor Guardians to protect the world and is the partner of Sailor Moon.

Sailor Mercury, Ami Mizuno, is the first other Sailor Guardian we meet in the series. She’s a genius girl who always scores at the top of the class on tests. Mercury is the Guardian of water and wisdom.

Sailor Mars, Rei Hino, is the second Sailor Guardian awakened. She works as a shrine maiden and because of this she can tell when evil spirits are around. As Sailor Mars, she is the Guardian of fire and passion.

Sailor Jupiter, Makoto Kino, was my favorite of the Sailor Guardians as a kid because I only knew the “original” five Guardians. She has increased strength and loves plants. Sailor Jupiter is the Guardian of thunder and courage.

Sailor Venus is the final Sailor Guardian we meet, although she was the first to awaken, even before Sailor Moon. Venus is the official leader of the group consisting of herself, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter. Venus is the Guardian of love and beauty.

At the very end of season one/start of season two we are introduced to the youngest Sailor Guardian, Sailor Chibi Moon. Sailor Chibi Moon, Usagi Tsukino, is the child of Sailor Moon and Tuxedo mask from the future. She’s essentially a smaller version of Sailor Moon as her name implies and she uses the same powers of the Legendary Silver Crystal.

Sailor Pluto, Setsuna Meioh, is the second new Sailor Guardian we meet in season two. Pluto is the Sailor Guardian tasked with guarding the space-time door. Her duty is to ensure that the space-time continuum stays steady and to ensure that nobody uses the door to travel through time. Pluto is the Guardian of space-time and change.

After she was introduced, Sailor Pluto became my new favorite Sailor Guardian because of her story. She is the lone Guardian of the space-time door and for her there is no time, only eternity. She must never leave her post and anyone who attempts to break one of the space-time taboos must be defeated.

The next two Sailor Guardians were introduced together in season three and act as a pair. These are Sailor Neptune, Michiru Kaioh, and Sailor Uranus, Haruka Tenoh. Sailor Neptune is the Guardian of the ocean and acceptance, while Sailor Uranus is the Guardian of the sky and flight.

The final Sailor Guardian awakens near the end of season three. Sailor Saturn, Hotaru Tomoe, can only be awakened when the three talismans of Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus come together and resonate. The awakening of Sailor Saturn means the end has come. She is the Guardian of silence, destruction, and rebirth.

After finishing season three I decided that Sailor Saturn was actually my favorite of the Sailor Guardians. Her job is simple, to destroy everything so that the world can start anew.

Hotaru Tomoe as Sailor Saturn using her Silence Glaive from the Sailor Moon Crystal anime
Sailor Saturn using her Silence Glaive

Conclusion

The first two seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal were about a 6 for me, but the third season was an 8. Because of this, I’ll average these and say the series as a whole is a 7/10.

The series is pretty episodic for the first season and a half which is something I’m not a fan of, but the second half of season two was much better since it became more about the overall story than individual episodes. The third season also started off episodic, but ended with an overall story like the second season did.

I think that the introduction of Sailors Pluto and Saturn are the reason the second halves of seasons two and three were so much better than the rest of the series. These are two Sailor Guardians whose powers don’t lend themselves to an episodic anime. Sailor Pluto’s power of space-time control and Sailor Saturn’s power of destruction work better in a continuous story rather than an episodic one.

The OP for season 3 of Sailor Moon Crystal can be found here. While the song isn’t as good as the one from the OP of seasons 1 and 2, the animation is much better due to it not being 3D.

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