Sailor Moon

Alt title: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon

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VivisQueen's avatar By on Jun 5, 2009

Story

Thrilling fantastical battles. Heart-rending romance. Heroic and self-sufficient women. I expected nothing less from a seminal mahou shoujo series. Emphasis on ‘expected’, because what Sailor Moon actually delivers is something altogether different. At once idiotically basic and zanily funny, Sailor Moon often gives the impression it wants to insult the intelligence of its viewers, albeit with a cheeky wink and a smile.

Generally, coincidence and happenstance play too big a part in resolving the conflicts, ensuring that nothing genuinely surprising transpires. This applies particularly to the well-tailored crusader, Tuxedo Mask, who appears without fail in every damned battle, inevitably stealing the victory which the sailor warriors should have secured by themselves. In time, rather than wondering excitedly how Sailor Moon will evade her enemies’ latest trap, viewers will wearily wait for Tuxedo Mask to toss his trademark rose at the monsters’ feet and literally steal the show.

Even Card Captor Sakura, a younger programme of similar formulaic quality and with twice as many episodes, still manages to inject enough peril and variation into its magical battles to keep viewers guessing. Sailor Moon, in comparison, lacks the necessary imagination. The series even goes through various antagonists, one for every arc of the overall plot, but with each performing pretty much the same function (stealing energy from humans) using similarly themed tricks (did the life-sucking jewellery prove a dud? Then try the life-sucking sports equipment!).

And yet, with all of its flaws laid bare, dissected, and analysed, Sailor Moon remains a series worth celebrating. Indeed, I have yet to mention one fundamental trait which singlehandedly raises the show’s entertainment value. The comedy. Even if little of substance happens, the script injects so many precious moments of hilarity (wacky expressions, ironic twists, slapstick combat etc) that the weak plot and shallow fights become secondary concerns. Often, the main appeal of an episode will be Usagi’s uproarious struggles to grasp moral lessons or practical skills like sewing, cooking, and not being selfish.

Furthermore, while the battles disappoint, the drama surrounding them fares much better. In particular, the arc involving Nephrite builds upon the show’s mystery as well as providing some deft character development and darkly emotive outcomes.


Animation

For some, Sailor Moon will represent a nostalgic jaunt through old-school graininess and quaint two-dimensionality reminiscent of an innocent, less cynical era. To others, it’ll just look old. Background detail is so sparse that it might as well not exist, and with such sketchy watercolour effects, the series feels like a moving picture book rather than a billion-yen project. Add to that the repetitive transformation sequences and finishing moves and you easily have two or three minutes of recycled frames taking up precious running time every episode.

On the other hand, the cute style is cheerfully vibrant and easy on the eye. Moreover, Usagi’s explosive facial expressions alone compensate for any technical weaknesses.


Sound

Apart from the catchy opening theme, I’ve largely forgotten Sailor Moon’s soundtrack, which, like the battles, is repetitive. One or two character themes might demand attention in the short-term, but none will leave any lasting impression.


Characters

Shallow, self-absorbed, and a shameless cry baby, Usagi Tsukino, the titular hero of the show, should rank amongst the most reprehensible of protagonists. In keeping with the plot, however, her humour becomes her saving grace. She may be irresponsible and make many mistakes, but her brazen cheerfulness and naivety will endear her to most viewers. Moreover, she generally ends up doing the right thing even if it takes her longer than most to understand why she should. In her own petulant words: ‘I do a good job when I have to!’

Additionally, the show plays Usagi off other characters very well. Mamoru’s (Tuxedo Mask) teasing relationship with her provides many moments of comedy whilst competently setting the two up as lovers for later events. The rest of the sailor warriors also evince memorable and lovable personalities, with the acerbic Sailor Mars and gentle, intelligent Sailor Mercury topping the list.

The antagonists, on the other hand, uphold Sailor Moon’s darker themes as they lie, cheat, and murder their way through the plot. The four Shitennou or chief henchmen of the Dark Kingdom - Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite – take on the sailor warriors in sequence, each lasting several episodes before conceding their role to the next. While Jadeite is the first of the four to attempt to destroy the human race, and Kunzite the last, both are also the least memorable. In fact, the conflicts peak in quality through the Nephrite arc and generally stay interesting through the Zoisite arc as well. The reason for this is that Nephrite and Zoisite’s personalities exceed the bland archetypes of the other two, with Nephrite later showing some fantastic developments and Zoisite being unashamedly and devilishly gay.


Overall

Make no mistake, Sailor Moon is a significantly flawed work. On balance, though, the series redeems itself with a disarming wit that belies its shallow appearance. Once past the introductory episodes, it transforms into a light-hearted romp that even has one or two emotional surprises up its sleeve, and is just bizarrely charming. The simplistic presentation makes it perfect for children and young teens, but with its strong cast and self-deprecating humour, I also recommend this to adults looking for something undemanding but satisfying.

6/10 story
5.5/10 animation
5.5/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall
therik's avatar By on May 25, 2009

Story

Like Metal Gear Solid and Hello Kitty, Sailor Moon is a seemingly random sequence of English words, ostensibly put together by some Japanese person with no regards to their meaning or grammatical function. And yet, like the other two examples, they form a combination recognisable even to the lay man. The reason why such a bizarre collocation trips off the tongue has something to do with the anime's long-lasting appeal. An appeal which I am only beginning to understand.

Following Sailor Moon's story requires quite considerable suspension of disbelief, even more so than other shows where school-age girls magically change outfits to fight monsters with their super powers. You see, once you've taken all that for granted, Sailor Moon still provides so many plot holes and flaws that it's a wonder the whole thing doesn't fall apart. To begin with, the characters with "secret identities" look no different from their everyday selves, making everyone who doesn't immediately realise that Sailor Moon is Usagi Tsukino seem profoundly stupid. The show even goes as far as to rub salt into this wound when supposedly intelligent characters mistake innocent bystanders for a girl with the most ridiculous hairstyle this side of Dragonball Z. For some, this may form part of the show's camp charm, but it was something I found hard to reconcile.

Although Sailor Moon is capable of drama, and even serves it up on a couple of occasions, the fight scenes lack anything of the sort. The combat is loathsomely formulaic, with very little in the way of innovation. Tuxedo Mask's appearances quickly become predictable, and at no point does defeat for the Sailor Warriors ever seem possible, let alone probable. Battles occur almost as a formality or a ritual, with the monster's howl of defeat rarely delayed by anything other than a conversation between the Sailor Warriors, depriving the show of any suspense.

Another driving force behind Sailor Moon is the romance. Unfortunately, this is just barely more successful than the fights. There are two or three scenes which are pleasant and well developed enough to give a warm, tingling feeling but a lot of the romantic subplots are ruined by the immature attitude of Usagi and a couple of others towards love. Usagi may well be a fresh new take on the female lead, but I felt no burning desire for the show's central couple to get together, an issue which greatly reduced the eventual payoff and impact of the show's conclusion.

Luckily, the show finds salvation in its comedy. While Usagi is hardly an ideal romantic heroine, her wacky antics never once failed to put a smile on my face and really helped to propel me through the endless monster-of-the-week onslaught and make the whole package entirely more palatable. If it wasn't for her cowardice, laziness and overwrought fantasies, the series would have given me far too little to love.


Animation

Sailor Moon's animation is very much of its time. It certainly does its job, but anyone used to the finer animation of recent times may well bemoan the lack of detail in the backgrounds, or the occasionally jerky motions. In my opinion, however, these problems - and I hesitate to call them "problems", as the animation is as good as one can expect for its age - really have no negative impact on the show itself.

With that said, there are a few avoidable issues which affect the quality of the show. There are some minor inconsistencies, such as during battle when characters suddenly appear in a different location with little evidence for how they got there. There is also one major error of this kind, where a character uses a piece of clothing as a bandage, only for the clothes to be inexplicably repaired a few episodes later. Without meaning to go into spoilers, the lack of attention to detail is unforgivable, given the importance of the bandage scene in the storyline. In addition to this, the series makes liberal use of stills, particularly during the battle scenes, which sap the excitement out of many of the fights.

More attention, inevitably, is paid to the transformation scenes, which is just as well, given that no episode passes without at least one Sailor Warrior changing outfits. Although the animation is of a relatively high quality, there are some 46 episodes in Sailor Moon, and surely even a toddler would tire of such exhaustive repetition. Attempts are made to mix things up, with Sailors occasionally transforming simultaneously, the fact that the exact same footage is used each time makes this nothing more than a stopgap measure.


Sound

While watching this series, I heard the exact same OP twice a day for over three weeks. The fact that I still love it is no doubt a testament to its quality. Along with the first ED, it was also adapted and arranged for use in the episodes themselves with great success. The remainder of the soundtrack was decent enough but far from memorable.

The voicing on the whole was marvelous, with the central characters' voices injecting both themselves and the show as a whole with personality. Even the main antagonists, who were given little motivation or development, managed to come across as unique individuals rather than generic enemy henchmen. The voices of the huge cast of monster characters, however, were far more camp than they were threatening, which contributed to a lack of intensity during many of the fights. The battles also suffered from the merciless repetition of the protagonists' attacks. While shouting out the name of your special move is clearly the absolute zenith of awesome, shouting it out the same way every single time is simply tiresome.


Characters

The anime succeeded in presenting a good range of characters, although I felt that a couple could have used a little more fleshing out and were introduced far too late into the series. Nonetheless, Sailors Moon Mercury and Mars alone gave a good enough balance of personalities to keep things interesting. More impressively, however the main villains all had sufficient individual traits and characteristics to place them above and beyond the level of the generic grunt soldiers they could easily have been.

The peripheral cast, such as Usagi's friends and family, were interesting enough and were used very wisely. Whether their role was comic or tragic, the series' side characters had no problems fitting into, and even becoming integral parts of the story.


Overall

I have a difficult time giving a brief outline of my feelings on the series as it seems to balance itself out when taken as a whole. What it lacks in finesse or depth it makes up for with comedy and wit. While the story is predictable enough, it takes a couple of unexpected detours which may end up being more memorable than the main plot itself. It does what it says on the tin, and then delivers just a little more bang for your buck.

I see no compelling reason to recommend it above other, better magical girl anime, such as CardCaptor Sakura or Shugo Chara! but this series is an enjoyable watch, with a quirky and genuine sense of humour. When it comes down to it, Sailor Moon's trump card seems to be its lighthearted simplicity and if that's something which appeals to you, then you should probably go ahead and add it to your Want to Watch list right now.

5.5/10 story
4.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
HottAznChick's avatar By on Apr 25, 2013

Story: I think there is an exciting plotline to this series. I find the plot is a bit lacking at first because it's the same thing over and over again. With that said, it does eventually pick up and I could care less if they are repeating certain situations again. I think the repeatfullness adds to the show rather than take away. I know some people don't like to see the same situations over and over again. 

Animation: Honestly, I believe in comparing this anime to the time it was created. How can someone compare this animation to something made to this year? You can't compare something made in the 90s and compare it to 2013. Animation has changed so much since then so with that being said, compare this animation to something made in the 90s. With that being sad, I would say it's pretty great quality. I do have some problems with it like it's not "bright" and "colorful" enough but that's me comparing to current animes. 

Sound: I love the soundtrack to this series. It is so unbelievable that I can hear a certain song and immediately attach a certain emotion to it. I think this is one of the best anime series with a soundtrack I want to buy. Soundtrack plays a huge role in this anime to set you in the mood. The moment that always gets me is the Star Locket. That song is just killer for emotion. I'm such a softy. 

Characters: I would say the main characters are the sailor scouts, Tuxedo Mask, Luna, and Artemis. Each character has an indivudual personality that stands out on their own. What I loved about this series was that they spent a great deal of time showing how each character acted in a certain setting. You get to learn a lot about these characters which makes them real. Remember, they are junior high school students so don't expect them to act so mature because I can gurantee you that you were a goofball in middle school too. 

Overall: This is the first anime that I have ever seen and it is my favorite of all time. I can watch this show over and over again and skip to the parts I just want to watch. This anime introduced me into anime. I used to wake up at 6am every morning to watch this on FOX channel every morning. I am fortunate I was able to see this show because if I didn't, I would never have gotten into anime.(Well maybe I would have because of Pokemon) I would wake up at 6am every morning to watch this on FOX channel every morning. This is a great anime starter for everyone. This show appeals best for 7-12 year olds. People who watch this series after they are 20,(like me) already seen this show or know what this show is like. 

9.8/10 story
9.3/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.7/10 overall
charmecia5's avatar By on May 5, 2011

Sailor Moon was one of the first anime's I have started watching back when it aired on Cartoon Network during the Toonami days (i miss Toonami). It was what really got me into anime and it really helped me in a way and inspired me to treasure my friends and loved ones and to always be there for others when needed. Sailor Moon will always have a special place in my heart because of that.

 

It's about a girl named Usagi who is just your average junior high school student. She's clumsy, silly, not good at sports, and a crybaby, but don't think she's a failure. When it comes to love and all things personal, she is actually alright. Also when it comes to serious things, I tell you I've never seen a woman as passionate as Usagi. One day she meets a cat named Luna, who tells her about her new life as a Sailor Senshi of Justice, Sailor Moon, who fights for love and justice. She later becomes Sailor Moon and meets certain characters named Tuxedo Kamen, who  guards her and protects her while also trying to figure out his past, and monsters like Queen Beryl, who is in love with Endymion and rules the Negaverse, aka the Dark Kingdom. Along the way are new characters named Ami, who is book smart and totally nice, Rei, who is a bit sharp and always mean to Usagi, Makoto, who is tough yet very feminine, and Minako, who actually is Sailor V in disguise and is quite like Usagi, only more serious and bright. Add characters like Molly, Melvin, Andrew, and Artemis and you got yourself a show.

 

This is a really good series to watch for those who are into magical girl showsw and like old school anime. It's for all ages and if you don't like what you see in English, watch it in Japanese, because it's much better. If not read the manga, for it is much better too. Overall I give it 5 stars.

7/10 story
8/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Jisu's avatar By on Jan 7, 2011

Sailor Moon Season one
I recently finished re-watching the first season of Sailor Moon, so this is going to turn out more as a comparison of the english dub of my childhood to the original japanese version.
I have loved Sailor Moon ever since I first watched it all those years ago. Now that I have watched the original I will tell you now that if you want to know what pointlessly removed episodes the dubbers removed from the english line-up of episodes, the most easiest way to expain it would take every second episode out up till about episode 15-16 and then near the end of the anime cut out a couple more just to make sure you got out all the “bad” parts and that about how they chopped it. Some of the chopped episodes were really pointless to chop, Like Venus’s past episode, nothing really bad happens except for a building blowing up and everyone thing that Minako died….ok that a little bad, but she doesn’t really die, so what’s the real problem with it?

Story: 9/10
Considered one of the greatest “Magical Girl” animes out there it should have a good story!^^ and boy do I love the stories in the world of Sailor Moon (see my biasness yet?).

Animation: 8/10
Only cause it’s really old and I know they get better as the seasons progressed….

Music:9/10
I still love the music in Sailor Moon.

Voice Acting: 8/10
Sometimes Sailor Moon can be irratting when she talks cause she whines and makes high pitch noises, but that’s my only complaint. All the rest of the voice acting is very well done.

Idea: 9/10
…I’m bias…..I love the Sailor Moon anime too much not to love the idea, besides I really love a good magical girl anime!^^

Overall: 9/10

9/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
8/10 characters
9/10 overall