Sailor Moon reboot far from magical

Top left; Sailor Moon's signature pose in the original 1991 manga series Top right: The original 1992 anime. Bottom left:: The first reboot, Sailor Moon Crystal (2014) Bottom right: the upcoming season of Sailor Moon Crystal (2016)
Top left; Sailor Moon’s signature pose in the original 1991 manga series
Top right: The original 1992 anime.
Bottom left:: The first reboot, Sailor Moon Crystal (2014)
Bottom right: the upcoming season of Sailor Moon Crystal (2016)

BY STEFAN LEE

With reboots running rampant, it’s natural animated favourites want in on the party too.

Dragonball Z, Digimon, The Powerpuff Girls are among a few of many animated reboots currently getting the reboot treatment.

Joining these reboots is the wildly popular magical girl franchise, Sailor Moon.

Developed in 1991 by Naoko Takeuchi the manga was published monthly under the titled Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon, which translates to Pretty Solider Sailor Moon. It became quite popular, winning several awards, and was developed into a hit anime series of the same name in Japan. Its popularity in Japan led to endless merchandising properties including dolls, toys and stage musicals.

Hoping to rival Japan’s success, North America producer DIC brought the show overseas.

“Ever since I was five, when I first saw Sailor Moon I became obsessed. I wanted to be her,” said Samantha Harding, 26-year-old Ryerson Student from Toronto.

Most of Sailor Moon’s original fan base are now in their mid 20s and 30s.

The Sailor Moon, Harding is familiar with is not the true incarnation of the character.

However, the English adaptation was met with much controversy upon translation.

When being dubbed for English viewers, the show was heavily lightened up, making it friendlier for younger viewers. Japanese names were removed and replaced by Western names and mature themes featured in the original (extreme violence, death, homosexuality) were altered or removed entirely.

Despite being heavily edited, the show was still a pop culture phenomena (heck, even the Barenaked ladies reference it) and for many, their first introduction into the wild world of anime.

“I’d scream out her transformation phrase over and over hoping that I’d be able to transform into her,” said Harding.

Flash forward nearly a decade later, the Japanese producers of Sailor Moon (Toei) decide to celebrate the success of the 20th anniversary of the original TV show by creating an all new anime series, called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal.

“I think the whole hipster obsession with the ‘90s helped make creators want to resurrect Sailor Moon. They must be right, since the manga still sells all the time,” said Amy Tucker, 32.

Tucker who works in a bookstore still sees the more than 20-year-old manga selling well.

While originally announced as starting to air in late 2013, the show was plagued by production problems, which led to more postponements.

Eventually the series was released late summer 2014 and was not met with warm feelings.

“When I first heard about Crystal I was pretty stoked with how this series was going to be more of an adaption of the manga, but the show itself ticked me off a bit by making unnecessary changes,” said Alex Doyle, 29, of Brampton.

Doyle, a devoted fan of the original manga and anime, was one of many fans disappointed with how their beloved Pretty Soldier’s latest foray turned out.

Instead of remaking the original anime series, Sailor Moon Crystal follows the original manga version.

While this eliminated some of the filler episodes in the original series and speeded up the pacing, Crystal also made minor tweaks that angered fans.

Aside from plot issues, many fans and critics were very hard on the poor animation quality.

“I noticed very obviously how some of the scenes looked. Usually facial expressions seemed peculiar, and limbs looked even more disproportionate than most anime,” said Tucker.

She is not the only one to pick up on these errors in animations. Since its premiere, Crystal has racked up several fan sites and Tumblrs dedicated to pointing out its flaws.

“It’s pretty disappointing, considering this was supposed to be a celebration of its 20th anniversary,” said Tucker.

While most of these issues were fixed upon DVD release, fans felt cheated that instead of a proper anime, they were given a rush job.

Negative feedback aside, after it’s initial 26-episode series (Seasons 1 and 2) had completed, the producers announced that a new season would be made, albeit with changes.

Replacing directors, creating new animation designs, along with scrapping the CGI transformation season, producers hope to make up for the problems with the first two seasons.

“Fingers crossed for the next season,” said Doyle.

“From the trailers on the internet, it definitely looks a lot better than before at least from what I’ve seen so far. This (upcoming) season is based off my favourite arc in the manga, so if it ends up butchered too, I don’t think I’ll give it another go.”

The newest season of Crystal will also be released differently.

Whereas the first two seasons were streamed simultaneously worldwide online, the new season will only be seen on TV in Japan.

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1 Comment

  1. Read my words: I CAN NOT WAIT FOR THE SUPER SEASON TO START. Lol. I do like the new artwork; and from my understanding, the stock footage attacks are back. (Hopefully they’re actually useful.) I really could go on and on about my LIFE–ahem, the Sailor Moon series. Yet, there’s no time.

    While I was definitely disappointed in some of the inconsistencies in the original reboot, I really just appreciate Sailor Moon still out and claiming her territory. There’s just this incomparable resonance I have with the series, no matter how it’s delivered. I discovered the series when I was 12, in ’95. And it has given me all of my dreams since. Long-live the Moonies!

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