Of Sailor Moon (Crystal) and other shoujo things – Part 1

halloa there, non-audience.

I’ve been on an extremely out-of-character shoujo spree lately, I really don’t know why. Like, holy shit, I have Steins;gate on hold since the past two years and then one day i just get up and finish Sailor Moon Crystal in three days. I don’t know what’s happening to me, Mom. And I also managed to complete a full Yoosung route in Mystic Messenger. Wtf. I spent eleven days and got married to a college student.

And I’ve been on Instagram (kinda) consistently for bout — SIX MONTHS! That’s the longest I’ve committed to anything ever. What. What! WHAT!

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It’s a living.

*Shameless self promotion coming up*

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I make half assed drawings and have marvellously underwhelming captions. And 12 followers oh em gee! This is supposed to be Sailor Saturn btw. IG: @sleepyasfudge

Moving on.

Well, I’ve dabbled in shoujo and otome shit from time to time, I guess this is just one of those times. I dunno, I guess watching (inhaling?) some really basic dilute things kinda helps you in creating better things (exhaling!?) and smoothen out the crinklies in the brain man. I got too much shit on my plate yo, I just need to get into something real stupid for a bit. Better shoujo than drugs, kids.

And I’m pretty sure I’ll balance this out sometime later with a super shounen-y post or something.

First up – Sailor Moon Crystal.

*insert original theme song*

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Well, first up, what actually got me into watching this was complete circumstance, and the power of Death-goddess-boners. I haven’t really watched the original, only watched a coupla episodes on and off when it used to air in the wee years of my childhood back when everything was a grand adventure, etc. I live someplace that isn’t the main target of anime distributors, but somehow still gets a lil noticed by Senpai, so we had this single Animax channel for all our anime needs and you’d basically have to watch what they aired because The Internet!? That’s for rich people, right? And I’m sure Sailor Moon wouldn’t even air that much on there, they were too darn busy boring us out of our sleep with Princess Sarah.I mean, I’m sure it was a great show for people and all, but GEEZ MAN. YOU DO NOT NEED A ROLE MODEL LIKE SARAH WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG AND SPRY AND HAVE AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER ON NICKELODEON UP NEXT ON YOUR TV WATCHING SPREE LIST.

So anyway I just watched like a coupla episodes, got the gist of the show, planets and magic girls and annoying protag and all, then moved on to other things. Fast forward to about a coupla years or so back, when I’m incidentally scrolling past this Serenity color pencil fanart and some Sailor Pluto puns, when – wait, there was a Sailor Pluto? Out of curiosity, I google ‘Sailor Saturn’, just to see whether there was someone like that. Why yes there was! I skim through her character summary or whatever on the Sailor Moon wiki, glancing over potential spoilers – precocious mystery kid. Fast forward again to about a few months back, when I idly google ‘Sailor Saturn crystal’ just to see whether that show got around or not, and this came up, and I took a double take.

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I kinda knew the pizzazz ovier Sailor Moon Crystal coming out, it being like a retelling of the huuuuge original, cutting out all filler, adhering a little more to the original manga, etc. I already liked the original anime’s animation quite a lot, and was kinda, maybe, sooorta in the back of my mind interested in watching some of it again, just to see how they adapt the show. Then I saw Sailor Saturn and her *gasp* badass (!!??) glaive walking in the moonlight, and the power of Death-goddess-boners asserted itself. I looked her up a little and saw that she entered in season 3, I kinda felt like I should start from season 3 as is but then my scruples told me to at least skip through the first two seasons a little bit as homework. I grumbled and speed-watched the whole first season.

First up, I can kinda see why a lot of the old fanbase wouldn’t like this revamped version much, what with the art style, kinda stilted animation, CG transformation sequence and all the radical change happening everywhere, so unlike how it used to be done back in the good old days etc. I personally kinda liked some of the changes they made, I liked the experimentation. Of course, it kinda did feel a little gimmicky at the same time. And then again, the show felt weirdly breezy itself – almost as if it was helping me get through the homework of being up to date with the plot. Convenient for me, of course, but I figured it’d be kinda lame to feel like you’re doing homework when you want to immerse yourself into Sailor Moon vibes, right? The first five-ish episodes felt pretty okay, every episode dedicated to each sailor senshi, I figured the pacing of the rest of the show would be a  similar healthy jaunt, but it broke into a full pelt run man! I figured something weird was happening when it felt like the series finale was being bumped into episode nine. I mean, the lead male is supposed to be dead, right? why are we running past it this quick?

What? We’re at the end? But – the male lead was dying five episodes ago, right?

Maybe choosing a 24 episode season length would’ve been a better idea. Especially ’cause they rammed this supposed ‘opposites attract’ romance into like, an episode and a halfish. Heck, I thought Mamoru and Usagi had a little more than a ‘Hey bunhead’ ‘Don’t call me bunhead it’s fashion! (Omgomg just kiss me please)’ interaction. My grandma always said in so many words and in some context or the other, ‘Romance is pretty shit, but a rushed romance should be avoided like the plague.’

And also, all this accentuated by such wonderful subtle, not-on-the-nose-at-all opening-song-lyrics:

No matter how dark it is, you’re not alone you know?
The moonlight is shining on us

Ahh girls don’t give away your self-respect
Don’t throw away your destiny for a prince, fight for yourself

Shiny make-up Shine on Collecting the starry sky
We aren’t weak girls who need men’s protection

Even if you’re in a flood of sadness, or in the flames of hatred
Swear upon a love as dazzling as lightning

Courtesy: Miss Dream. 

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Long story short: too diluted, too washed-out characters, shojo bullshit.

I was pretty sure I didn’t even wanna watch anymore and just skip straight to season 3, maybe directly to the episode where Saturn makes an appearance. Y’know, Wikipedia was a real help. Well, y’know, that’s because I wasn’t even really into it anyway. I’m generally indifferent-slightly avoidant of overly romantic stuff as is, because a) it’s super easy to just recycle the same unoriginal stuff and not make you feel anything new, and b) I’m always rooting for friendship, which gets chucked out of the window so many times. Like good ol’ Mamoru’s pals from the beforelife man!

 

I mean, their crystal shit stops him from dying when Usagi stabs his ass anyway, big symbolic scene, but then they’d been zapped by lightning and DIED the LAMEST death even for effin’ Sailor Moon yo.

 

I’m sorry, this rankled in my heart for a long time man. I’ll probably touch on this a bit better sometime later in a potential part 2. I did play Mystic Messenger as a cheap, checked-out plebeian.

Well anyway, I tried searching for season 2 to just skim through, but nothing legal is available in my region (nor illegal. I dunno why, there is no Season 2 on the internet.) So i just decided to heck it and watch Season 3 anyway.

Good news-I loved the first episode. Well of course not love loved, but after all the needless expositiony monotone of season 1, this felt amazing. First(ish) scene in first episode – mysterious voice calling out to awaken and the beginning of doom. What? Is this the same show?

And then, Sailor Uranus and Neptune entered the scene. More specifically Sailor Uranus. And the complementary power of badass-ladies (and/or just plain yuri) asserted itself.

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I mean, look at her transformation. That isn’t a bishoujo pose, that’s a bishounen pose. Made in Giphy, video by Sailor Moon Fan (oboy, I made some effort in this ‘un.)

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved Neptune a lot too, but sadly enough she kind of takes a back seat further on in the show. Well I thought her Mirror shield was pretty badass, so. And Sailor Pluto was pretty awesome as well. Partly ’cause a) she’s the oldest among all the sailor soilders and b)hey, quantum physicist! Oh, and also c)badass deep soft-spoken attack voice. Which she never uses more than twice and goes back to standard yell-speak

Anyway, 3D transformations are gone, but DAMN this show looks pretty now. Holy shit, did the art get prettier or is just Haruka Tenoh in the scene? Okay I’ll stop fangirling. Fangirling!? Over Sailor Moon? It’s getting real nostalgic in here, but not for me cuz I barely watched the show when I was young but oh whatever myan.

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Whoa, everyone felt like people now! Holy shit. Suddenly I was getting all invested in this anime that I just picked up as a time-pass. And I’m pretty cool with it. Honestly, Season 3 felt more like what I thought Season 1 would feel like. Ya boi Mamoru actually expresses his aversion to rollercoasters in the second episode. This is breaking new ground, people.

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Thank you for saying that, person.

And – *gasp* – Usagi and Mamoru actually have a tussle, because of Uranus and Neptune. My god, this is breaking new universes people, get a bold+italics on that.

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Best couple 2k15ish

Of course, it doesn’t stay limited to the first episode. Season 3 is now at a good brisk-walk pace, taking time enough to immerse and being fast enough to keep ya hanging. And I’m super glad it does that, because now Sailor Saturn won’t be a complete letdown. Of course, it goofs up a little during the Labyrinth bit, and I didn’t get the scene where Usagi and the outer planets are in an elevator, and it crashes and Usagi falls away from them, but then uses the power of friendship or something and wakes up right next to them again, but oh well. I’m giving this show huge liberties, just because it’s such a fresh breeze compared to season 1.

And of course, needless to say, Sailor Saturn is awesome. I think I particularly like it when a contrast-y character is done well, heck, done decently, and Hotaru is pretty dang decent! She’s supposed to appear lonely and frail but she sticks through a lotta stuff, and of course is basically a death-goddess that is also being possessed by another evil lady.

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Shit’s gettin real, son.

I kinda wish the father-daughter relation was done a teensy bit better though, maybe have her father have a little shred of his old personality? Or just give him a personality along with ‘Evil’ flavour. Souichi Tomoe has a great setup, and I really felt that they were gonna do something awesome with him in the end, maybe he’ll come out to be one of the most complex characters, but he gets a slightly underwhelming end. Oh well, I’ll give ya liberties, my friend.

Usagi herself felt much more real and bearable. I don’t have a problem with a weak main lead as long as they’re at least somewhat real, and Usagi is a huge improvement now. She kind of lives up to the ‘soldier’ in her superhero name, that’s pretty cool.

Heck, surprisingly enough, Chibiusa was aight. I was almost sure I’d be annoyed out of my brain with what her character seemed like, but daym, she ain’t half bad. I like her voice actor too, she doesn’t sound nearly as annoying as I thought she would.

So, all in all, Season 3 has a pretty good run, though it weakens slightly at the end. Still a huge improvement over Season 1, and actually watchable for people not super-into shoujo stuff too. I liked the ending, it was cool that Sailor Moon doesn’t handle the whole thing herself and Sailor Saturn actually does a lot of the work. Did I mention how much I like Sailor Saturn? I like her.

Still not watching season 4. In for the Saturn, got the Saturn, now tapping out.

I’ll prolly make a part 2 at some point, ’bout other shit. Who cares, sayonara errybody, have fun.

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