SPOILER ALERT!! You have been warned by the Sailor Senshi.
In the 1990s a wonderful cartoon emerged on television around the world named Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, which showed young girls that females could fight evil, rescue their prince, look beautiful and still have flaws. The Sailor Soldiers have enchanted fans for more than twenty years and now we have the pleasure of watching the remake. The first episode, Act I: Usagi, of Toei Animation’s reboot, Sailor Moon Crystal, contains so much nostalgia that watching it makes one feel a child again.
Our story starts with the 14-year old girl Usagi Tsukino who lives in Japan, is a clumsy cry baby, and one of the most kind-hearted characters one will ever watch. As a girl in junior high school, Usagi is more interested in boys, eating sweets, reading gag manga, and playing video games than saving Earth from those who wish to envelop it in darkness. That is until a curious black cat with a crescent shaped bald spot tells Usagi she is a guardian and gives her a magical broach. Act I sets the mood for the entire Sailor Moon story and Toei Animation has done a great job at staying true to the manga’s iconic art style.
The difference in the 90’s Sailor Moon art style and the reboot lies within the characters’ physical maturity. The round and chubby face of Usagi has been replaced with a slender adult shape. When comparing side-by-side the Toei 2014 remake to the original first episode, the new Usagi has matured both physically and emotionally. Usagi running to school with toast hanging out her mouth has been replaced with a more graceful Usagi, who runs as one would expect of the Princess of the Moon Kingdom.
Sailor Moon Crystal looks as if it’s been painted with water colors, with the softer color pallet bringing a calm feel to the story. While watching this first episode it’s clear that the reboot has progressed along side the Sailor Moon fans, as instead of hand drawing Usagi’s transformation into Sailor Moon, the anime’s directors have decided to use CGI. Although the use of red ribbons encircling Usagi now looks more fluid, the CGI replacement of hand-drawn artwork is misplaced alongside the soft watercolored style.
Usagi’s voice actress, Kotono Mitsuishi, has been brought back to play Usagi, which is a special treat for anime fans who prefer Japanese voices with English subtitles. Within this one episode, Usagi’s has aesthetically altered her voice but is still the same loveable day dreamer. The beautiful opening song from Takanori Arisawa,’ Moonlight Densetsu’, has been changed to ‘Moon Pride’ by Revo. Since Sailor Moon Crystal is a reboot, it is fitting that the memorable and non-stopping ‘Moonlight Densetsu’ has been replaced with a song that exemplifies the strength of the Sailor Senshi. Usagi also has new transformation music, which invokes the elegance of Sailor Moon’s role as a guardian of the Universe and melts into the aura beautifully.
Sailor Moon Crystal: Act I will surely attract a new generation of Sailor Moon fans, while still keeping those who grew up watching the Sailor Senshi protect the universe the first time around. Showing potential for the entire season, Sailor Moon Crystal could be the series to bring the Moon’s magic back to viewers.