Part of me feels as if the initial Sailor Moon craze has died down a bit – so I am even more sorry for the delay on these posts! The good news is, however, that I have plenty of material to catch up on. Again, the point of these segments is to simply look at the differences between each episode of the new release of Sailor Moon Crystal and the original adaptation of Sailor Moon. I originally wanted to go through and do EVERY episode…but then I remembered how long the original show ended up being. I am going to review the first arch at least and if I like where it is going I will go further with the reviews! But for now, we’ll start with episode 2…
In this episode we meet Sailor Mercury! It is very clear to me already that they are speeding the story up as opposed to the original, where you meet Mercury in episode 8. I actually don’t mind this so much. The viewer gets the idea that Sailor Moon, while the leader of the team, cannot defeat everything all on her own. It builds off the idea of togetherness and team work which is a really great model for girls (and even women) to see and put into practice. Not that every woman on earth needs to rely on someone else all the time, but we are all part of a team in one way or another, I think.
When Ami Mizuno is first introduced the only thing we know about her is that she has good grades. The best grades even, in the whole school. This leads to the other kids assuming that she has little to no friends because she is only ever seen studying, even on her lunch break during the day. When we catch up with Usagi and her friends they are chatting about how all Ami does is study, goes to cram school after school ends, and how her mother is a talented doctor. They all go on to assume that her family is loaded, puts her in the best cram school that money has to offer and that must be the reason for her expertise. Instead of making assumptions Usagi just listens and waits to figure out who Ami is for herself. This is a very interesting and good thing about her as a character. Most kids of that age (15-18) usually take the words of friends as fact, so for her to do some of her own investigation seems to make a strong trait. When they do eventually meet up, thanks to Luna who had been scouting her, Ami is immediately accepted by Usagi and they become fast friends. I also think that this is a good lesson to teach girls and women alike. I feel as though we’ve all been taught somehow to label each other or silently judge from afar, when in reality we could meet our new best friend if we’d just be open to it.
It was made very apparent that Luna’s “Secret Base” was actually in the basement or some hidden room in the arcade that Usagi would frequent. In this incarnation you just find her in some top secret facility. Again with the telling and not showing. It’s not the biggest deal in the world but I found it kind of fun to find out exactly where she ended up going to report back every night.
The episode’s climax is Usagi trying to fight the Demon (controlled by Jadeite) to free Ami and the other kids who have been brainwashed at cram school. She can’t do it on her own and Ami transforms into Sailor Mercury! I think I said it in our last Sailor Moon post…but I REALLY dislike the cgi transformation sequence. I think it looks incredibly tacky and I don’t see the need for it. Yuck…but that’s besides the point. This episode was a good introduction for Ami and Sailor Mercury and it’s refreshing to see that we didn’t have to wait for seven episodes to pass before doing so.
Jennifer Adds: What is up with Sailor Mercury’s transformation pose? It was pretty terrible in the original. Her knees buckled in and her hands wave goofily to the sides. The new pose though makes even less sense. Her back is hunched, is she suppose to have back issues from all that studying?
Alexa Responds: I am pretty sure the idea behind Ami’s pose is simply the fact that she has little to no self-confidence. She’s also the “cute and studious” one, and that whole ‘knees buckled, toes pointed in’ look has always been considered cute in Japan. I agree with this new pose though – it just looks like she’s hunched over!! I can say this though – if they are trying to keep with the character trait of shyness and awkwardness then this definitely makes sense. It’s almost like she’s trying to pose like a model but thinks its a little stupid at the same time.
In this episode we are still learning about Usagi and how she is learning to be Sailor Moon. In the beginning scene we see a line of people (mostly women) down a street block waiting to see a fortune teller. It is made apparent that this is a growing fad and everyone wants in on it. Usagi stops to see him herself, and they get to talking about how he may soon be out of business due to the big chain Fortune Telling House across the street. Like I said above, it’s completely different and a bit slowed down compared to the newer series. We take more time as the viewer to get to know Usagi, Luna and the few supporting characters that we have so far.
It is made apparent pretty early on that the new fortune telling house is evil, not only because it is taking business away from the actual local fortune tellers (BOOO big corporations!), but because it is run by Jadeite and his lackeys to get energy for Queen Beryl. This episode is very “Monster of the Week” , but it is only episode two, and we are learning more about Usagi, Luna and the few supporting characters that we have so far. This gets to be annoying a little farther in this series when the arch is continuing at a steady pace and they decide to throw 3-5 random episodes in the middle. It slows everything down and spreads the story out for far too long. There is always a time and place for episodes like that, just not to that extent.
All in all I found both of these episodes to be enjoyable. There wasn’t anything particularly groundbreaking about them, but nothing that made me want to rage either. Obviously we are still in the beginning of both at this point so there is still a lot of ground to cover. I am looking forward to seeing what episode 3 has to offer from both series!