Sailor Moon was my anime gateway drug.
It wasn’t the first anime I’d ever seen, or the best (because as all fans of the original series can admit, the DIC edited and dubbed version is sometimes pretty awful), but it was the one that got me hooked. I was willing to wake up an hour and a half early on weekday mornings before school just to watch it. I had the soundtrack on cassette tape. I hit up the shelves at Hot Topic for the manga (which at the time was hard to find and expensive). One of my best friends and I became friends through singing the theme song together at work one night.
I LOVED Sailor Moon.
And when I heard a year or so ago that they were making a new Sailor Moon series, one that followed the manga more closely in story and art, I was thrilled.
To prepare for the premiere I re-read all the manga (and what beautifully drawn manga it is; seriously if you like comic books and manga I’d encourage you to read it in all of its girl-y, romance-y, super hero-y glory). I bought a Sailor Moon case for my smartphone. I pulled out all of my Sailor Moon dolls, key-chains, piggy banks, and accessories (I went through a phase in the 90s, don’t judge me). I made sure my subscriptions to HuluPlus and Crunchyroll were both up-to-date on payments and talking properly to my internet.
I may have even read a bunch of Sailor Moon crossover fanfiction just because I was getting a little bit obsessed with the whole thing (and because I quite liked the Sailor Moon/Inuyasha crosses where Usagi ran off with Sesshomaru).
And now to make a long story short (way too late, I know) the new series – Sailor Moon Crystal – finally aired its first episode …. and I really, REALLY liked it.
It was almost exactly the same as the first part of the manga AND the first episode of the original series, so not something I hadn’t seen before. BUT. But, it was just so dang pretty to look at. The colors were bright and bold and sparkly (just go with me on this one). The characters were long and willowy with big eyes and pointy features – which was a lot more like the art style used in the manga than the original series had done. I even liked the character’s voices, but since I watched it in Japanese (with subtitles) and only had the original DIC dubbing to compare it to (though I have seen a bunch of the original series in Japanese as well) they weren’t going to sound weird to me.
New episodes air on the first and third Saturdays of the month and I’ve been awake very VERY early each time to watch them. So far Usagi (aka Sailor Moon) has met up with her talking cat advisor Luna, learned of her super secret sailor powers, cried and whined a bunch, fought some monsters, met up with Mamoru (who has been wearing a tuxedo around town in the most hilariously obvious and silly fashion), located her first ally in the fight for love and justice (Sailor Mercury aka Ami), and pissed off some Big Bads. It isn’t apparent if the new series will fall into the old ‘monster of the week’ formula that the previous one did, but fingers crossed it will stick to the manga format and move the story along much quicker than before (the manga is 12 volumes or 52 acts – at least in the set I have – while the original anime series is 200 episodes).
While Sailor Moon Crystal isn’t perfect (sometimes the facial features seem very flat to me) it has a lot to recommend it. It’s pretty to look at and fun to watch and sure, it may be excessively girly and cutesy at times, but it also has a lot of heart. The teenager still hanging out inside of me squealed with joy when she first heard of the return of Sailor Moon, and she hasn’t stopped squealing yet since the show started. We are both excited to see what happens next.