It’s unavoidable, but also kind of fruitless to compare the original Sailor Moon anime to the new Sailor Moon Crystal series. Yes, the latter sticks more closely to Naoko Takeuchi’s original manga, and the former is a bit goofier and very ’90s, but it’s difficult to look at them both objectively despite the fact that they’re streaming at the same time. It should be the perfect time to put them side by side, but nostalgia weighs heavy on the original, and that’s precisely why I’m sitting here watching Sailor Moon while I write.
To be fair, I don’t have totally blinding nostalgia for the classic series, but I also can’t say the fact that it was on TV all the time back in the day hasn’t shaped the way I view Sailor Moon Crystal. I’d say that holds true for a big chunk of the new show’s audience, too. Sailor Moon fans are all grown up (mostly) and have Tumblrs and Twitter accounts and they want to use them to show every single frame that went wrong with Toei Animation’s latest production.
For every curiously oblong head in Sailor Moon Crystal there are probably just as many off-balance frames in the original, but none of that really matters. Crystal has stepped out a few episodes deep and firmly planted itself as a different show, and the one everyone pops on their rose-tinted glasses for is available to enjoy right alongside it. The best thing about Sailor Moon is it’s still totally ridiculous and goofy, and in a world of mostly digital animation its color palette and painted background work looks stronger than ever.
Director Junichi Sato (Princess Tutu, Kaleido Star) and the Sailor Moon staff developed a rich look for Sailor Moon that’s evident from the very first frame of the opening. The bold visual style of the show blossomed nicely over time, and through all the menace-of-the-week fun there are a bunch of memorable moments, especially when Revolutionary Girl Utena‘s Kunihiko Ikuhara eventually comes on board. That’s a real treat and you can see plenty of shades of his distinct Utena style throughout.
See? Even in just a couple paragraphs I’ve already heavily lauded the classic Sailor Moon anime. Maybe I’m worse off than I thought; I did pick up those old ADV sets back when Sailor Moon hit DVD uncut and in Japanese for the first time in the U.S. Alright, fine, I’m a fan! It seems a lot of us are, as further evidenced in Brittany Vincent’s cover story in the latest issue of Otaku USA. I’ll leave the rest of the gushing to her, but while you wait to dig into that you might as well pop on an episode of Sailor Moon. You know you can’t resist.
Read our full Sailor Moon cover story in the October 2014 issue of Otaku USA Magazine. On sale now, it also includes in-depth coverage of The Devil is a Part Timer, When They Cry, Golden Time, and more of your favorite anime, manga, and games.
©Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation