I would die defending the original Sailor Moon from critics. I’ll defend Sailor Moon Crystal just as hard, if not harder.
As an original Moon Maniac from way back in the day, I about lost my mind when I heard Sailor Moon was being remade. And, since I’ve read the original manga now, I really went bananas when they said it would stick closer to the original story. I embraced my inner Moon Hipster and dived right into the first episode on Hulu, and I haven’t looked back since.
But, of course, with the new comes a slew of hard questions concerning the old one: was it really as good as I thought it was? Can I still defend it tooth and nail? What in the world was going on with the homophobia in the original English dub?
Thankfully, that one has been corrected.
thank you, thank you, and thank you again.
The others, however, get more complicated. For, while Nostalgia is a powerful force, there are flaws in the original that Crystal corrected, and a few cases where they over-corrected and fixed what wasn’t broken. They’re changes worth a second look, and y’all know second looks are my specialty.
So let’s do this.
- Character Arcs and Lack of Personality
One of the biggest differences between the shows comes from the character arcs, and how they find themselves resolved.In non-boring, non-writer talk, each sailor scout had a “problem” they needed to overcome, each one different to represent a diverse group of girls. The Original Anime went to great lengths to cover each and every scout’s arc, including our main character. They advertised “crybaby klutz” and boy howdy, did we ever get that.
By contrast, Crystal is more focused on the overall plot, much like the manga. While this does make a more efficient, faster-paced story, this does mean that character development gets put on the back-burner.
For example, the original show took great pains to emphasize how klutzy, easily upset, and selfish Usagi was. It had her behave like a frightened crybaby to give her room to grow, and it made it all the more awesome when she finally put on her big-girl panties and saved the day. But Crystal has eased back Usagi’s childish nature in favor for a more sweet, sensitive personality. It’s likely easier on the ears, what with the lack of piercing shrieks, but it does make our teen girl seem more mature than she actually is.
Because our little darling is anything but
- Um, Beg Pardon, But This Feels a Tad Like Power-Rangers
I saw a video once claiming Sailor Moon Crystal was not a great choice for someone’s first glance into the franchise. And while Crystal is easier to enjoy once you’ve seen the first show, I have to wonder if the original anime is a great place to start either. Because, quite frankly, it fell into a rut real fast.
Each episode fell into a very strict pattern that resembled shows like Power Rangers and such: Usagi has a problem she’s trying to solve; problem connects back to Negaverse; Monster appears, fight monster; get saved by love-interest; defeat monster, solve problem. Every so often this pattern would break when the “final boss” was on the horizon, but these were few and far between.
Now, to be fair, the Manga/Crystal don’t break this pattern exactly, but they do mix it up. It’s not always the same type of problem as each new monster is there to move the plot forward (as opposed to filling runtime) and the story of each episode is varied. For all the stripping away Crystal did, I don’t blame it for trying to avoid Monster of the Day.
Make it stoooop.
- Slow Down, Buttercup
Has anyone ever noticed how quickly these remakes tend to go through old material?
Brotherhood seemed like the first to set this in motion, speeding through the Lior Arc and careening directly into the main storyline at Mach 5. Crystal is doing the same now, going through each of Beryl’s generals in a few episodes time, speeding through the Black Moon Family, and so on. This can be efficient and keep the story fresh, as we don’t fall into the Power Ranger Syndrome mentioned above. But this can also cause a problem when we miss details that made the original product so well loved.
One of the best arcs from the original anime was Nephrite’s arc in the first season, specifically his tragic romance with Naru, Usagi’s best friend. Watching Nephrite slowly fight his feelings for a human girl was a very humanizing moment for the Four Generals, and hinted that maybe something was going on with them that we didn’t see. It was also one of the biggest tearjerkers in this show, an accomplishment given all the romantic pathos it played with.
- So Where Does That Leave Us?
It leaves us with no clear answer, and two awesome shows to add to the Watch List.
When it comes to these shows, I like to compare them to sugar. Sailor Moon (1993) is the raw, unprocessed sugar you can get at the coffee shops: robust and delicious, but best handled in small chunks since it takes so long to dissolve. Meanwhile, Sailor Moon Crystal is the refined, processed sugar that’s easy to take in, just as sweet as the original, but far more convenient.
Still, at the end of the day, the message is always the same: anyone can be a hero, even the most unlikely of us all. As long as that never changes, I will keep watching.
What was your favorite part of the old Sailor Moon? Did you hate the show? Do you like Crystal now? Do you hate Crystal with a fiery passion? Feel free to share with me in the comments below, and don’t forget to like and follow for more content just like this.