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: The main heroine. The reincarnation of an important person from a mythical ancient kingdom on the moon. Although she is supposed to act serious and matured, she is nothing but a silly klutz. She steadily has to accept responsibilities and prevent the past from repeating again in the present. Very interesting, thanks to her innocent silliness.
Mamoru: The prince in shining armor, he is also the reincarnation of an important person from a mythical ancient kingdom of Earth. The jealousy of an evil queen caused a major tragedy that haunts him to even his present life. He is loved by most women in the story and even saves the main heroine all the time like a Deus Ex Machina. Very interesting, thanks to his continuous misfortune that fills his life with tragedies.
The Sailor Warriors: The reincarnations of the moon princess’s four bodyguards and defenders of love, justice and the like. Each one of them has a different personality and controls a different element, based on the planets of our inner solar system. Very interesting, thanks to their quirky personalities, being super heroines on one side and immature schoolgirls on the other.
The Dark Kingdom villains: Four generals and a queen. Named after minerals, they are also reincarnations of the ancient kingdom. Lured by the power of evil, they now plan to rule the world through darkness. All of them have interesting personalities, except for the first general who was just a carton box bad guy without any quirks to make him interesting. For those of you who care, the manga of this title has a lot more backdrop story for them.
The secondary characters were mostly relatives of the five main girls and their schoolmates. Some funny, some tragic, they all contributed something to the whole.</div>
<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.
Chibiusa: Daughter of a very important pair in the future, this little girl is a spoiled brat that undertakes a very hard task in order to help her parents and make amends for her grave mistake. A very interesting character, thanks to her frail demeanor and yet strong will.
The Black Planet Family villains: A group of nine super villains. Named after crystals, they are the descendants of cruel people who didn’t like a peaceful world without worries. Lured by the power of evil, they now plan to change history and rule the world through hatred. All of them have far more interesting personalities and act a lot more humane than those cynical ones in the first season. The first five in the second story ark were essentially the evil counterparts of the main heroines. The other three were megalomaniacs who were deceived to hate instead of asking for forgiveness, trapped in a false existence of selfishly yearning for things they have no right acquiring. As for the last villain, he is the mastermind behind everything, exploiting people’s lives for his own sick purposes. For those of you who care, the manga of this title has a lot more backdrop story for the last villain, as well as the future Tokyo.</div>
<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.
The Outer Sailor Warriors: Cruel on the outside, these far more experienced heroines tried to lessen the pain by stop caring or feeling bad for their actions. They are to learn that if you don’t really care about others, you can’t justify any sacrifice you do in their name. A very interesting lesson for them to learn and a very kinky relationship for us to watch (they are lesbians, lol).
The Death Busters: A group of nine super villains. They are warriors of evil from another dimension who invade our dimension. The Witches 5 were essentially the evil counterparts of the main heroines again. The other three were megalomaniacs who were raised to deceive, hate and eventually kill their victims. As for the last villain, she was all-powerful only because she possessed a special body. In whole, the bad guys are less interesting than the villains in previous seasons, as they were thinking in a one-sided way and had no questioning of their evil ways. They act even more realistically than those in the second season but don’t have backdrop stories. The human host scientist was interesting for his sacrifice, but then again, he was not really evil from the start.</div>
<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.
The Outer Sailor Warriors: Not present! The world is in danger and they are not there to defend it. Boo!
The Dead Moon Circus villains: A group of nine super villains. They are warriors of evil from the world of nightmares and intend to take away the hope of the world and easily conquer it, as no one will have the will to defend it. Man, it sounds lame just by writing about them! They were the most superficially thought-of villains in the series. The first three were without any backdrop story and the next 5 were essentially the evil counterparts of the main heroines yet again. The last villain was a queen that lost her hopes for the future and wanted to maintain young by spreading misery to the world. There is thin story continuity with the events of the first season but it feels really stupid as a whole. She had potential to become an interesting character but in the end she just gave up and abandoned her goals. What a croc! So, the villains suck, but at least, they were acting even more realistically than those of the third season.</div>
<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.
The Sailor Stars and the mysterious girl: They originally seemed like a recycling of the ideas of Chibiusa from season two and the Outer Solar System Sailor Warriors from season three. But they eventually have different roles and I did like the whole cross-dressing theme.
The evil queen and the evil Sailor Warriors: The evil queen is as we left her in the previous season. She gets the cheery ending she deserved. The rest of the bad guys are a group of five evil Sailor Warriors who sold out their lives to darkness, after they lost the battle with the Chaos, the ultimate evil. The first four have no backdrop story and are as boring as those of season four. I was mostly interested in their cleavage. But the leader... she is EVIL INCARNATE! She is the epitome of cruelness and has a good reason in her backdrop story to excuse it. Man, how many trillions of people did she kill? And how many episodes were they trying to defeat her without even managing to scratch her? The last battle was as long as those found in Dragonball Z. And it wasn’t about raw power at all. It was excellent!</div>
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.