When a dark power enshrouds the Earth after a total solar eclipse, the scattered Sailor Guardians must reunite to bring light back into the world.
After the disappointing but fairly concluded 2 season/3-arc effort of Sailor Moon Crystal, we finally arrive at Sailor Moon Eternal; also known as old school Sailor Moon SuperS..... yikes. As far as the classic anime is concerned, SuperS is narratively the weakest Sailor Moon arc to experience... at least until you reach the old SuperS movie. The old episodic arc, despite it being the shortest arc exposed the weaknesses of the series through poorly redundant execution of it's monster of the day structure along with uninspiring enemies while cutting out stronger cast members of the former series. I don't remenber much of all that occurred, however I can recall how tiresome it was to witness and couldn't wait for the arc with it's Chibiusa focus to come to an end. With all that said, despite this retelling of SuperS being announced as a movie, which i found to be a wise decision, I opted out. If you've read my reviews on Crystal, you'll find that I feel Crystal overall does not compliment what makes Sailor Moon an enjoyable watch. Most past Sailor Moon movies are cute at best and don't really offer much outside of excellent animation and it's signature music, which i dearly miss. With such a lengthy premise, let's get into Eternal part 1 and let me start out by saying... wow. The first thing that deserves to be noted is a person named Kazuko Tadano. It took me a while to notice this given Eternal uses the same color scheme as Crystal, but Eternal equipped itself with the very character designer who was in charge of the first two arcs of the original anime. After a good 20 minutes or so into it, I couldn't help but notice just how Chibiusa's face looked in closeup shots. She looked awfully a lot like how she appeared in the 90s... and so did Ami... Rei... it was all confirmed once I noticed the proportion of Usagi's face to hair ratio. I'm very biased here, but I love the character style of the original anime. It is one of my favorite styles for anime characters and I find that unlike the manga style, it ages miles and miles and miles more than the manga/Crystal ever could. It was a mistake for Crystal to take on the manga style as Sailor Moon earned it's success from it's anime adaptation and I cannot stress just how wise this decision was for Eternal. All in all, cheers to Kazuko Tadano for bringing us the Sailor Moon that helped usher anime into where it is today in pop culture. Please keep this style. Visually overall, although quality of the animation is on par with the most recent offering of Crystal, I can't help but be a bit disappointed by the lack of frames during transformations and attacks. Perhaps it's wishful thinking to hope one day we can witness a fresh SM anime with the same quality of animation it had in the 90s, but I digress. The backgrounds for some scenes are unforgettably bad and lacking of detail, especially when the characters are out and about. It does not go unnoticed where cuts were made, but believe me when I say that aside from that, some awkward dialogue by Sailor Venus near the end, that covers just about all the bad things. What Eternal part 1 also gets right is using it's time to give it's viewers a chance to get a grasp on the sailor guardians which is something Crystal began to do by it's 2nd season. This is welcome because if Eternal is your first experience of Sailor Moon content, this is a solid start by asking and answering a simple question to the every main character: What are your dreams? This allows for viewers to maybe find a connection with these characters, which seemed hard won in the past. It doesn't however make up for the fact that this is being realized in the 4th of 5 arcs, but this new age of Sailor Moon has lacked a good balance of character focus... and that balance is to say the least... finally stopped catering predominantly to Chibiusa. Dreams are the theme to this story and this first part puts on the nostaligia goggles and paces similarly to a 4-in-1 monster of the day episodic journey where Sailor Moon (thankfully) won't always be the one to save the day. All-in-all, it's great to say that this is a wonderful addition to the pool of Sailor Moon anime which feels like a long time coming, but we are finally here. It felt like I was actually watching the classic show with minimal drawbacks and I can't really ask for much more than that to find this entry a solid Sailor Moon experience. My final thoughts on it will be found in part 2 where I will discuss more about the story, the antagonists and the sound. I will also answer if Eternal is the better SuperS experience.
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