Sailor Moon Crystal: Random Observations

Sailor Moon Crystal, the Sailor Moon reboot series that has been emphatically pitched as a new adaptation of the original manga and NOT a remake of the 90s anime, premiered on Saturday.

Sailor Moon Crystal

My overall impression: It feels like a remake of the 90s anime. But a good remake. Here, in no particular order, are a few more particular impressions I had during my first viewing.

The animation is beautiful. My favorite aspect of the original animation, the over-the-top flowery pink girliness, is still there, and this time around there’s a new grace and elegance to it. The opening theme and transformation sequence are different from the original, but they’re just as enjoyable to watch, and I think they’ll soon become iconic in their own right.

Sailor Moon Crystal title card

The boys are quite crushable. Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask/Tuxedo Kamen has a spark with Usagi from the beginning that I felt was lacking in the original series, where (imho) their sparring often came across less as romantic tension and more as people genuinely disliking each other. This incarnation of Mamoru feels more endearingly awkward than just plain bitchy. I’m curious to see how long it takes this Usagi to figure out Mamoru and Tuxedo Mask are the same person since he was wearing a freakin’ tuxedo when she met him.

Usagi meets Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask

However, despite all of Mamoru’s adorkably romantic charm, Motoki is still my favorite. He’s sweet, attentive, helpful (especially at video games), and he looks like a male Haruka Tenoh. What more could a girl want?

Motoki, surrounded by roses.

Crystal feels more like a cohesive story with an ongoing arc. While I did enjoy Usagi’s episodic adventures in the original anime, it took awhile to indicate that it was telling a bigger story than “random kid gets superpowers and fights a new monster every week.” In the new series, the eponymous crystal is introduced as the Magical MacGuffin right away, we get a first look at Ami (Sailor Mercury) before the end credits roll, and those end credits give us a beautiful image of Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion.

omg it’s the back of Ami’s head!!!

Usagi is still Usagi. Clumsy, a bit of a crybaby, chronically late, and way more interested in video games and shopping than homework. And of course, a hopeless romantic. I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the Sailor Senshi and watching them fight together by moonlight.

Sailor Senshi

Want to check it out for yourself? Click here to watch Sailor Moon Crystal on Hulu, or watch the pilot video embedded below.

In The Name Of The Moon, I Shall Punish You!

I’ve been watching Sailor Moon on Hulu for the last few weeks. I didn’t get into this franchise until I was an adult, but it’s still nostalgic to me in a way because it’s such a blatant celebration of female adolescence. Usagi Tsukino is the personification of the 14-year-old psyche. All the ups and downs, the joys and tears, the insecurity and the arrogance, are worn boldly on her sailor suit sleeve.

And for most of the first series, at least, Usagi’s main role as Sailor Moon is the defender of female adolescence. She fights demons who prey on typical teenage desires like finding love, shopping for beautiful jewelry, having a cute cuddly pet to play with, slimming down and toning up at the gym, becoming famous, and getting perfect grades to get into a top university.

My favorite thing about these battles? Sailor Moon never blames the victims.

She always puts the blame exactly where it belongs: on the evildoers who exploit these completely normal desires. You won’t hear her chastising girls for caring about their appearance, daydreaming about boys, or chasing fame and fortune. She unequivocally tells THE VILLAINS that they’re in the wrong for creating a world where it’s unsafe for young girls to pursue these desires.

“In the name of the moon, I shall punish you!” (Image via Wikipedia)

Then she brings the beatdown even though she’s so clueless about fighting that she needs a talking cat to walk her through every step. And a masked man in a tuxedo to create a distraction by throwing a ninja star rose and pithy one-liner. I don’t even mind it when Usagi can’t win her fights without a male character’s help, because Tuxedo Mask’s snarky interruptions still emphatically affirm Sailor Moon’s message. That, if the world isn’t safe for teenage girls, it’s not teenage girls’ fault. That youth isn’t a weakness. That femininity isn’t a weakness. That heroism sometimes throws roses and wears an opera cape.

Or maybe even a pretty sailor suit.

Want to watch Sailor Moon with some awesome nerds and (internet connection permitting) me? Join #SailorMoonLiveTweet hosted by @BlackGirlGeeks at 7pm/6pm Central on Mondays!