Sailor Moon Crystal – “Usagi – Sailor Moon” Review

The original magical girl anime is back with a fresh coat of paint, but can this makeover revitalize the classic franchise?

Usagi Tsukino is just your normal, albeit clumsy, 14 year old girl. After another day of throughly stumbling through both life and school she meets a black cat with an unusual crescent moon shaped mark on its forehead. The rest as they say, is history.

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Sorry if the summary is on the short side, but what else is there to say? It’s Sailor Moon! Even if you don’t watch anime, you have at least heard the story of Sailor Moon: girl meets cat, girl gets powers in the name of the moon, girl meets other girls with the powers of planets and other celestial bodies, magical planet girls save the universe. Oh, girl also meets tuxedo wearing boy along the way, nothing else to really say story wise. With nothing new story, let’s talk about all of the technical upgrades.

Sailor Moon Crystal looks pretty damn good despite a couple hiccups. obviously miles above it’s 90’s incarnation. Looking closer in style to Naoko Takeuchi’s original manga, the girls are pretty and the boys are just as bishonen as can be (with the exception of Umino). The show starts off with a sweeping shot of the galaxy, zooming in to a man and woman about to kiss (this is soon revealed to be a dream Usagi is having) and it shows just what director Munehisa Sakai is going for. Not just a re-adaptation, but also a re-imagining.

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The show has its goofy moments of course but these are all the more endearing to the franchise, although Usagi’s voice tends to be on grating side when she goes into whine mode (which is nearly all of the time). The transformations are revamped but the CGI used for them can lean towards awkward territory. Even with the updated animation the character designs themselves tend to be a bit dated and may be a bit jarring for new fans, but old fans will have no problem with them. Another minor detail is that if you only have knowledge of the english dubbed anime, you may be taken aback some by the characters being referred to by their original names (Usagi instead of Serena, Mamrou instead of Darren, etc.) if youv’e never watched the sub.

Is Sailor Moon Crystal a worthy revamp of the legendary franchise? Judging by the first episode I would say yes. Will it gain any new fans? Most likely not, but that’s really up for the viewer to decide. One thing is for sure, Sailor Moon is back and is ready to take the world by storm once again.

+ Revamp of an old classic + Nice to hear Sailor Moon's original Seiyuu + New look is pleasing to the eyes - CGI can be a bit wonky - Usagi can get annoying at times