ANIME EVOLUTION SERIES
Full lit of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
NOTICE: This review includes all seasons of the franchise. Reading this is like reading all the seasons.
Ah, good ol’ pretty sailor warriors! This is not only the first mahou shoujo I ever got to watch, but it is also the longest ever made in the genre… with the same continuity that is. Plus despite being the show most other mahou shoujo copied thereafter, it remains in the tops because very few managed to have its variety and vividness.
ART SECTION: 6/10 [Bishoujos in Sailor Suits.]
The first thing to notice is how every season of Sailor Moon has a different prevailing color.
-The first season’s main color was black, depicted in several night scenes were the girls in the story are looking for romance and a way to answer the question for their reincarnation. The villains also adored the darkness and were living in a dark underground base.
-The second season’s main color was white, depicted in several scenes of Crystal Tokyo’s buildings and in the prevailing sparkling jewels and crystals found in the series. Every major building, spaceship and artifact was a sparkling crystal in this season.
-The third season’s main color was red, depicted in several scenes of Tokyo’s future destruction and in the villains’ experiments. Everything evilly created in this season is blood red.
-The fourth season’s main colors were yellow and pink, depicted in several scenes of Dreamland and the Dead Circus motifs.
-The fifth season’s main colors are yellow and light blue/azure, depicted in several scenes of crystals and starlight.
The animation is old for today’s standards but still does the trick. There is nothing particularly bad with the graphics. The visual effects were bright and cheery, as they should be in a girly series.
A bad point is the repeating sequences of the transformations and the special attacks. Every episode recycles them to the point of becoming very annoying. We’re talking about 1/3rd of every episode being wasted on them. But all this posing and special attack fuss has become the trademark of the series. And it may brainwash you into actually liking them AND crave for them.
Another bad point is the lame-looking monsters-of-the-week. They are plain stupid to look at, fight really simple and get defeated really fast and always in the same way. But at least the animators learned from their mistakes and improved them in the following seasons. They look better and better with each season, plus have more interesting weaponry.
Another notice must be made about the Sailor uniforms in the final season. They are extravagant to the point of being considered a sexual fetish! All the new good and bad Sailor Warriors are dressed in so much leather and show enough cleavage to be mistaken for night queens, or something. And Sailor Moon’s new uniform is huge! How does she move in it?
SOUND SECTION: 7/10 [The characters speak with a real kick in whatever they’re saying.]
There is a lot of “chan” and “san” going around in honorifics but that is part of the normal package.
The bad guys are talking too snobbish (Hohoho! Your pathetic powers are nothing before my beautiful face!) and the good guys too manihaistic (If you are a bad person, I will punish you in the name of the moon!) but you get to like it after a while.
A major twist is the ironic remarks everyone makes. There is a lot of self-mockery in their one-liners, so all those repeating phrases and transformations never become old as you expect a comeback phrase to laugh at.
Also, a notice is to be given for the main song (Moonlight Densetsu), which is amongst the best girly music I know of. There is a new intro song in the fifth season, which is as nice as the old one. If you add the rest of the songs in the lot, then you think you are watching a cheesy Broadway musical. It’s an overall nice work.
STORY SECTION: 7/10 [Once upon a time, there was a princess on the moon...]
Every season can easily be divided into story arks of 10 to 20 episodes. On each story ark, in the beginning you get a new goal and new characters entering the stage. Stand-alone episodes with a monster-of-the-week formula fill the in-between. And towards the end, the goal is usually accomplished and the basic villain changes. All following story arks follow the same pattern. It is a great way of dragging the story as far as the producers like. There are some serious episodes, followed by a loose plot that steadily escalates to major events. How can you hate it?
Heck, I wish for most shounen to have had half the plot elements this mahou shojo had. Most in-between episodes damage the Story feeling, but the scenario is otherwise very good, despite the clichés.
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10 (spoiler alert!) [Although there are no original characters, their quirks and decent coloring makes up for it.]
<div> Usagi, Mamoru and The Sailor Warriors: All the main good guys faced the burden of their previous lives in the first series. In the second, they must face the burden of things to come and accept their roles as protectors of the Solar System. A very good concept for continuing to mature as characters.
<div> Usagi, Mamoru, The Sailor Warriors and Chibiusa: All the main good guys faced the burden of their future lives in the second season. In the third, they must keep true to their promise by fighting in the present no matter how much it costs them. Indeed, all the heroines in this season experience great pain and suffering. A very good concept for continuing maturing as characters.
<div> Usagi, Mamoru, The Sailor Warriors and Chibiusa: All the main good guys faced the burden of their past, future and present in the previous seasons. So what do they face here? Their dreams! They have to keep their dreams true, no matter how unreachable they seem. What a bull! As if they didn’t do that in the previous seasons. The characters don’t mature here any further. An exception is Chibiusa, who experiences love for the first time.
<div> Usagi, Mamoru, The Sailor Warriors and Chibiusa: Other than wrapping things up, there wasn’t much change in the main characters. They all practiced what they learned so far as good as they could. Nothing bad in that.
VALUE SECTION: 10/10 [I find no reason for not considering it amongst the best of what this genre has to offer.]
Sailor Moon is neither the first nor the best Mahou Shojo on the block. But it became famous enough, thanks to:
-its likable characters. Since all of them are stereotypes, every viewer can easily find someone he/she likes and thus root for.
-its really long duration. This is the first of five tv seasons and several movies, easily becoming the longest Mahou Shojo ever made. More than enough time to bind with the characters.
-its evolving story. Although most episodes are stand-alones, there is a story that changes every 10 or so episodes, giving an air of freshness.
-its romance. It is quite stereotypical most of the time but the visual effects and the metaphysical plot make it more interesting than that of a typical slice-of-life romantic scenario.
-its several name allusions. Every Sailor Warrior has the basic element she controls in her surname, villains are always named after a specific category (minerals in the first season, crystals in the second, animals in the fourth, metals in the fifth), and special effects are tied to their user’s personality.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 7/10 [The episodes can be divided into the stand-alones and the story-centered ones.]
The story-centered ones were great. Very predictable most of the time but the dramatic backdrop made me forget that and I was simply absorbed in them.
The stand-alones were repetitive but also good most of the time. Although I prefer on-going stories, the comedy and/or romance in them were more than enough to make them interesting to keep watching. Not many series are capable of accomplishing this.
As a build up, the interest was peaking in the first three seasons as it was slowly becoming darker, and a bit more violent serious, dropped a lot in the fourth for looking like a silly fairy tale, and rose a lot again in the fifth for becoming far kinkier.
VERDICT: 7.5 / 10
Very naïve and repetitive but its heart is pure and intact.
Oh, hot damn! Talk about the memories this brings back to me. I spent my youth obsessing over Sailor Moon. In fact, I was convinced I was Sailor Jupiter until I was in fifth grade. True story. Feel free to question my sanity.
This review may very well end up biased as fuck. Oh well.
The STORY of Sailor Moon follows average junior high student Usagi Tsukino who discovers that she is a guardian of justice: Sailor Moon. Usagi is a lazy, clumsy girl who holds no promise of being a protector whatsoever. As the story progresses, however, she is able to find herself as she meets other guardians and fights evil along the way.
This anime is incredibly episodic. I mean, over the top. A good portion is spent fighting various creatures created by the antagonists (multiple, through out the season) and overcoming obstacles. I happen to enjoy episodic anime in this sort of magical girl realm. If you don't, then this may not be a good anime for you to watch. Oh, and you get to watch girls transform into mini skirts and skin tight leotards. Bonus.
I can admit that the story gets a bit bizarre when it begins introducing new villians throughout the season. Many times the villians are various copycats of the original Negaverse. This is pretty common in episodic animes and doesn't bother me. However, it may make you want to pull your hair out so do be careful.
Also, some of the names in this were so cheesy that I couldn't help but laugh. Moon Kingdom? Neo Tokyo? God, that shit is gold.
The ANIMATION, in my opinion, was beautiful: especially for it's time. But, you know, there's a pretty decent chance that I'm thinking of some of the manga animation and mixing it up. (I'm a HUGE fan of the girls in the manga. I think they're gorgeous). One thing I liked was that the characters didn't all look the same. Usagi had the most ridiculous hair I've ever seen and I would give anything for a pair of scissors to cut those stupid bun heads off of her, but it also did make her unique. It was obvious to me that Neptune was meant to be the most beautiful and Ami the most plain. It was also obvious that Jupiter was meant to be a bit more masculine - as Haruka was too. All of this added up to an eclectic bunch in both personality and appearance.
The SOUND... this isn't something I can be unbiased about. I grew up to this sound track. This sound track was my jam when I was in elementary school. I simply can't put a proper rating on it. Whenever I hear it, all I can think of are nostalgic memories of me running around with my little girlfriends and fighting imaginary evil in the name of love and justice. Sorry folks.
I always enjoyed the CHARACTERS in Sailor Moon. I felt as if they all had their unique personalities and that added to the storyline. I especially loved Neptune. Let's face it: she's basically perfect. You're going to love her or hate her. Ami was endearing with her sweet, nonconfrontational personality and extreme intelligence. Hotaru pulled on your heart strings with her will to be working for justice and having to fight the evil inside her. Haruka was BADASS and quite possibly one of my favorite characters. Minako kind of made me want to kill a baby, but I can overlook that for the sake of childhood memories.
I also enjoyed the original antagonists as well. It was interesting that Jedite, Zoicite, Malacite and Nephrite (I probably just butchered all of their names -- get over it) were connected to Prince Darien on the Moon Kingdom. Beryl was also an interesting antagonist. However, none of them top my love for Allan and Ann. Haha, what a messed up bunch they were, but so interesting to my ten year old mind.
Lastly, my PERSONAL ENJOYMENT is off the charts for this one. It was just the shit for me growing up. I still have Sailor Moon memorabilia littering my house: dolls, posters, shirts -- you name it, I've got it. Except figurines. That sucks. My intense love affair with this anime probably renders this review biased, but that's okay. It's the anime of animes for me; the anime that got me into anime in the first place.
I would recommend this anime for people who like episodic anime like Hell Girl or Shugo Chara!. Then again, you never know because I love the shit out of Deadman Wonderland and GANTZ. Give it ago if you feel like it, and if you don't, there's plenty of other fantastic anime fish in the sea.
This season is split into two arcs. In the first Queen Nehelenia is back, and so are all of the Sailor Soldiers. She is looking for revenge, and finds it through Mamoru. Can the love of Usagi save the day?
I really, really liked this arc. The story was a little faster paced, and things got pretty intense. Mamo-chan and Usagi are just perfect for each other, and so seeing their relationship threatened… I’m not a huge crier, but I did almost cry during the finale. As silly and repetitive as this show can be at times, they certainly know how to do finales. It was the closing I felt was missing from SuperS, especially considering Chibi-Moon.
Which takes us to the second arc of the season. Not to spoil too much of the first arc, but Mamoru is studying abroad, and Usagi and her friends are entering high school. The world is quiet, but a bit lonely for Usagi. Enter singing sensation the Three Lights, who transfer to Usagi’s school. A new enemy, Galaxia, appears, and with her comes the appearance of soldiers calling themselves the Sailor Starlights. Can the Sailor Soldiers defeat Galaxia? Who are the Sailor Starlights? And why must there be a new love interest for Usagi?
There were some things about this arc/season I really liked, and some things that really irritated me about it, as seen from the last sentence of my summary. First off, even though this strayed from the manga (haven’t read the manga, just going off of what I’ve heard), this had everything I love about Sailor Moon. The animation was good, the music always fit the moment, the humor was great, and the emotions were real.
Like I said with the other arc, the people behind this show really know how to do finales. The finale of the first season has always been my favorite, but now I’m thinking I need to go back and watch it again, to decide whether I liked it or this one better. This finale was very intense, and very emotional. Again, I almost cried in a few parts. I think part of the reason it was more intense was just because there were more characters to care about. The cast was quite big in the finale, but I think they did well on managing so many characters and letting them all have their moment to shine.
Content warnings of nudity (not detailed), some swearing, homosexuality, and changing genders. Nothing really new, if you’ve watched all the other seasons.
SPOILERS BELOW THIS POINT.
I didn’t like the changing gender for the Starlights. Either have them be boy or girl. Not both. Not switching off. I did not like that at all. At first I thought maybe they were just girls pretending to be boys, but it was made pretty clear that they really are boys when not transformed. But that just makes the romance thing weird…
And speaking of romance, my biggest complaint for this arc was with just that. Usagi and Seiya? Really? Didn’t we just establish in the first arc that Chibi-Moon will not exist if Usagi and Mamoru weren’t together? Which is kind of obvious anyways, but the first arc really drove that point home. So why are we trying to make drama there? If Seiya has feelings for Usagi, then whatever, but I didn’t like the way they tried to make it seem as if Usagi had feelings back, and that she was confused between the two. I know Usagi was lonely and having a guy with her helped, but still… And her friends didn’t seem too concerned either. They were some, but they seemed almost more concerned with Usagi being with two guys than with Usagi not being with Mamoru. I think this is starting to turn into a rant, but it just made no sense at all, after the first arc and Chibiusa not existing without Mamo-chan.
Also, side note on the romance, it was odd how little it concerned Usagi that Seiya liked her and then Seiya was also a girl… You think there would have been some acknowledgment of that, like ‘oh, that guy I supposedly kind of like, he’s actually a girl…’ I found that kind of odd, how Usagi never acknowledged that. A bigger deal was made about Haruka and Michiru.
My last complaint has to do with the finale. The very, very final battle. Usagi FINALLY becomes Princess Serenity, and then… she fights the battle naked. … What? I just spent the whole battle being confused as to why she was naked, and it just really pulled me out of the show and made the battle way less awesome and intense. I’m still confused why the felt the need to make her naked, and I did not like that decision at all. And Seiya, the gal that loves her, was down below watching. As Usagi is naked. And then after the fight, when her friends appear, and then Mamo-chan appears! She’s still naked… Not awkward at all, right? I’m not quite sure what they were thinking, with that.
Overall, I really loved Sailor Moon. The series has its flaws, and it has some content I don’t like at all, but I can’t help but love it. Much of the twists are obvious and most episodes have the same things happening in just a slightly different way, but the finales are always great, and there are small moments that make the show worth watching. The characters are also great, and Usagi is there to let you know no matter how bad things may get, there is always hope and always love. As long as you don’t give up, you cannot lose.