What Is The Purpose of Sailor Moon Crystal’s Existence?

Usagi is thinking hard for an answer, but there's no way in hell she'll come up with one.

Usagi is thinking hard for an answer, but there’s no way in hell she’ll come up with one.

Whilst I’m hardly the person to be questioning this since I barely watched the series in my youth and only saw a few episodes recently, I’ve been at this game long enough to realize that Crystal is not what Sailor Moon fans deserve, and the lukewarm reaction it’s gotten from the magical girl fans have all but confirmed this. I’ve raised complaints about Mario getting rehashed over and over again, starting with that terrible Mario Bros Wii game that just set the franchise back twenty years – but at least the graphics and such were updated for modern audiences. Imagine if that game had those rather outdated Mario 64 polygon graphics that look like someone ran Mario through a meat grinder. That’s Sailor Moon Crystal in a nutshell.

– Actually, come to think of it, the anime is more like Duke Nukem Forever in that after years of postponement, we end up getting a really half-assed project that we want to like, but we have to eventually admit that we set anime on fire when it had less problems than this.

But the problems go beyond Toei’s animation. The problem stems from the fact that I don’t understand why Crystal exists in general, beyond maybe a cash grab. But how many fans in Japan really care about Sailor Moon these days? Can’t be enough to the point that you couldn’t just simply re-release the show or rebroadcast it and get the same effect. In terms of rebroadcast, someone who actually cared about Sailor Moon could cut out all but the most essential episodes and maybe add a few fillers if you need to since the old stuff is pretty damn long. And if you’re introducing it to new fans…well then introduce the old Sailor Moon to new fans.

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Alucards demands producers give him better treatment than the one he received in 2001.

I can understand something like Hellsing Ultimate being made because even though I prefer the original, the latter didn’t really have a proper story. I can understand something like Rebuild of Evangelion or Gatchaman Crowds existing because it’s giving us a brand new view on their established formulas. I can understand the Clannad series existing because Toei and KyoAni pretty much released their products independent of each other around the same time. Jojo is self-explanatory, despite my own feelings on the franchise as of now. What I’ve seen and read of Sailor Moon doesn’t seem to fit any of those categories. The original series was long ago, it ended conclusively, and it’s just trying to do what worked years ago not realizing that unlike the harem genre, the magical girl formula has evolved since then – and even if your forget about Cardcaptor Sakura and such because they were a long time ago, it’s way too soon for anyone to forget about Madoka Magica and Kill la Kill (even in all its raunchy shonen-ness, the latter is still pretty magical girl-y) and what they brought to the genre itself.

I’ve heard from some people that the reason this Sailor Moon exists is because the anime deviated from the source material and this is supposed to be more faithful to it. Anyone who’s read this blog will know that I don’t understand that 1:1 adaptation mentality at all. It’s that sort of thinking that led to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood despite the original Bones adaptation being just fine. And regardless if you think Brotherhood is good or not, you cannot deny that the production was good enough to satisfy the fans. By comparison, Crystal feels like some cheap college student project that somehow got widely distributed. And we’ve already got RWBY for that.

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This plain picture perfectly represents this plain show.

If you’ve got a good reason for Crystal existing, please tell me. Because whether it’s to revitalize a dying genre, invoke nostalgia, or whatever else it’s trying to do, I don’t see it working at all.

16 responses to “What Is The Purpose of Sailor Moon Crystal’s Existence?

  1. >If you’ve got a good reason for Crystal existing, please tell me.

    Mangaka was worried of her copyright expiring.

    > It’s that sort of thinking that led to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood despite the original Bones adaptation being just fine.

    Well, no, the original adaptation was all sorts of crap mixed together, with story going off the rails into utter nonsense. It wasnt simply bad, it literally wasnt making any sense.

  2. I find that you are completely wrong in your view point, I do not understand how you call yourself an anime fan unless this blog itself was made for satire.

    Hellsing Ultimate, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and now Sailor Moon Crystal are being made to be faithful to the original story that was found within the manga. The originals of those series were good, yes, but the new remakes are even better because it follows more closely the story that was suppose to exist in the first place.

    You do not like 1:1 anime adaptions? I do not see why you would not. In fact, anime is suppose to do nothing more than put the manga into action without any variation whatsoever, at least, that is what I think should be done. If you want to make something ENTIRELY new, make it an OVA or something, but do not do it in the series when we are suppose to see everything in motion from the manga with no surprises (That is why film adaptations of video games are so horrible now, augmentation).

    Also, you said, “We got RWBY for that”. You’re someone that does not even know what they are trying to throw fits at? Ridiculous. RWBY is amazing for what it is because Monty Oum TAUGHT himself to animate, and have you seen the first episode of Volume 2? Way better than the first and it shows just how much he’s coming along with his skills.

    Man, you are among one of the worst reviewers I have ever seen, I am officially staying away from everything you fucking write about, you’re absolutely terrible at this.

    • In fact, anime is suppose to do nothing more than put the manga into action without any variation whatsoever, at least, that is what I think should be done.

      I am so vehemently opposed to this style of thinking that I’m not even going to bother countering it.

      That is why film adaptations of video games are so horrible now, augmentation

      No, they’re horrible because they’re horrible.

      Man, you are among one of the worst reviewers I have ever seen

      I am not a reviewer.

      I am officially staying away from everything you fucking write about, you’re absolutely terrible at this.

      Good riddance.

  3. My understanding is that among the hardcore “Sailor Moon” fandom, they wanted a proper adaptation. Thus, you have this series.

    And yeah, “Sailor Moon” is considered an influential shoujo franchise in Japan much the same way “Dragonball” and “Dragonball Z” are considered influential shounen franchises. As such, they are going to generate more interest in Japan for sure, thus the potential to make more money.

    As to the 1:1 thing, speaking personally, I want a proper adaptation of a manga/light novel series. Generally speaking, adaptations where the anime writers feel the need to put their own stamp on things can cause all kinds of problems for fans of the original manga/light novel because said fans will see these changes and go, “But that’s now how that character would act” or “This makes no sense because the original story just revealed the exact opposite of the anime.”

    Most of the time, manga-ka tolerate these changes, but as in the case of “Fruits Basket” and “KareKano”, those manga-ka got quite angry at the changes the anime producers made to the stories/characters. Having read both manga titles, I can see why, especially in the case of “Fruits Basket”, where the changes to the story and the main antagonist at the end of the anime series were such that the anime series could never reconcile itself with the manga. Indeed, when one reads the manga story, the anime story/character changes make no sense at all.

    As I see it, if anime producers don’t want to be bound by the characters and stories of a manga/light novel they are adapting, they should do something original and have done. Me, I like seeing the manga stories come to life and only modified in such a way as to accommodate the needs of things being animated. But that’s just me and my tastes. ^_^

    • The anime that annoys me the most in regards to 1:1 adaptations at the moment is Tokyo ESP. It’s clear that the show is just copy-pasting the manga without injecting much life into it and it’s frustrating me because I like what I see, but it could be so much more if it had been given to someone who was actually talented.

      • I haven’t seen/read that series, so I can’t speak to it specifically, but I do understand what you are saying.

    • Also, I understand that there is a demographic out there who wanted a more faithful Sailor Moon and there’s more money to be made out of this and such. My main question, which a number of people seemed to overlook, is “why isn’t much effort being put into this reboot?”

      There are two weeks separating each episode and yet the animation (especially the CG) is really ugly and the writing feels rote. I brought up Brotherhood because whilst it probably didn’t need to exist, at least Bones brought the big guns to support it. Crystal feels like a cash grab rather than a labor of love.

      • I agree here. I read the original manga and the character designs, though dated now, are still attractive. Ditto the original “Sailor Moon” anime.

        Here, the character designs are not attractive to me, and yeah, the animation and art is laughable, especially since in theory, they should have more time to do everything.

        If one is going to do a reboot and try to “keep it real,” more effort should be made on all fronts to accomplish this.

  4. I just thought about something regarding the 1:1 thing.

    For the manga “Planetes”, I actually liked the anime adaptation better than the original manga, though the anime adaptation did have some changes that I thought were stupid (leaving out some explanations).

    Were the “Ah! My Goddess” manga given a proper anime adaptation reboot, a 1:1 would actually be a bad choice. That’s because Fujishima-sensei has a whimsical style of writing, thus he doesn’t worry so much about continuity, and frequently retconned things in. In order to do a good anime adaptation of that series, things would need to be structured so that there there aren’t retcons (such as introducing the angels from the start rather than well into the series and then acting like they were there all along).

  5. Well, my take on it is that it’s a cash grab. It’s been give or take 20 some odd years since it first came out, so there’s probably a nostalgic demand for it from those who grew up with it as kids. Bearing in mind that it was a pretty popular and influential anime in its time. Magical Girls are also still relevant as a cash cow device, ie with stuff like Pretty Cure and even all those “accessory” series like PriPara.

    That it would be faithful to the manga’s another “excuse” to remake it.

    But when you get right down to it, it’s a cash grab. I’m not sure what time Crystal’s being broadcasted or what other merch is available, but certainly, note that the S.H. Figuarts line from Bandai’s been coming out with the girls.

    The question becomes, is Sailor Moon still relevant? Back in the day, shoujo shows do have a tendency to be focused on getting a guy. But these days, little girl shows (not necessarily the “shoujo”) tend to not even have any guys. And Usagi herself, while I personally dig that she’s a whiny bitch brat, doesn’t really fit in with contemporary stuff.

    Personally, I think they woulda been better off updating the series so it’d be a merch driven ripoff of PreCure or something. It’d still piss off the old time fans, but they’d be pissed off regardless of whether it followed the original manga or the TV adaptation. At least if it was more contemporary, it might grab the attention of the kiddies and casual otaku, who are the consumers of merch.

  6. > It’s that sort of thinking that led to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood despite the original Bones adaptation being just fine.

    And thank the kamis for that. The first FMA, as said above, didn’t even make sense, made a mess not only of the plot of the manga but of its messages and themes as well (in fact, it often turned them on their face, by featuring two protagonists who were unlikable assholes with evil tendencies and still pretending that we should side with them).

    As for Crystal… I haven’t seen the original series, but I suppose a much better comparison would be HunterXHunter. The first HXH series was good (though the art quality degenerated into crap in the Greed Island OVAs); the plot was faithfully followed except for a reasonable amount of fillers that actually often fit well with the rest (the product of a rare breed, original TV writers who actually had a sense of the mood/scope of the manga material). So why rebooting it? Well, one reason was that they wanted to warm up fans to it again given that they wanted to adapt Chimera Ant for the first time after so many years, but I’d say the main reason was probably “why the hell not”. Which is fine by me because hey, it’s first grade material and it ended up producing an awesome anime series with spectacular production values.

    Unfortunately, that is not what is happening with Crystal. The art style is indeed different (and I kinda like this one more – in a good still frame, that is), but for the rest, bad animation and worse use of CG are really killing this. The only “remake” problem here is that they’ve decided to do this half-assedly though. I mean, for all its problems (and this new series has tons of them especially), even fucking Dragonball Kai looks better than this! And it’s just the old anime remastered.

      • Oh, c’mon – it totally was! It was inconsistent, both thematically and in world building. It demoted all strong female characters to stereotypes and plot devices. It removed all ethical fibre from Edward and Alphonse’s behaviours. It took everything good that Arakawa put into her manga and made a mockery of it. Alchemy was especially butchered – and yes, I think it matters not because I am anal about my fictional magic systems but because alchemy was basically a proxy for a commentary on science and technology and thus it was especially baffling to see it deprived of self-consistence.

        By the way, how long ago did you watch it? Not that I suggest you undergo that ordeal again, but maybe you would get a different impression of it if you re-watched it now.

      • I can’t really see how Edward and Alphonse were morally bankrupt in the original. Besides actually being willing to kill homunculi instead of finding a bullshit alternative (converting himself to a philosopher stone or whatever the crap he did to defeat Pride in Brotherhood), he wasn’t all that bad. Of course you could call him a dick for wanting to take his limbs back from Wrath when he was innocent, but that was mostly his gut reaction to seeing someone else with the limbs he’s coveted for so long being grafted onto his body. Armstrong even calls him out on that when he asks him if it’s really worth doing if it means harming the kid. As for Al, I’m gonna need some examples from you here, all he really wanted was a way to obtain his body again without getting any one hurt. I actually consider these two to be less interesting protagonists in the remake/manga because in that story it felt as if the two of them sort of got “lost in the shuffle” so to speak in the grand scheme of the plot, only to remind that they’re the main characters at the very end.

  7. I was looking forward to Crystal because of the more fleshed out back story and more balanced action/character involvement. The original Sailor Moon just had the girls getting blasted away, then tuxedo mask appeared giving Sailor Moon an opening to blast them away, too formulaic. Also, cutting out the filler of the original series is annoying. You don’t want to have to be the editor. Ultimately, though, the character likeability, the drama between the villains, and the iconography made Sailor Moon an anime that I loved as a child, but it’s flaws (too long due to filler, missing layers of story, treating characters as props) made me excited for a revamp.

    Crystal has only begun to deliver on its promise with episode 8. For the first time, the series stopped being as hollow as the original. They introduced Sailor Venus as a strong, determined character, the fight scene actually portrayed them as warriors, and we are finally getting to the more involved back story. For fans, it was important to see Venus honored as powerful character who had been a senshi before any of them.

    Unfortunately, Crystal is not as iconic. The original, even with its flaws, really approached operatic levels when it stayed on plot. Queen Beryl was far more ominous as she just ruled from the shadows of her throne. The tension between the generals approached Shakespearean: greedy megalomaniacs who could still fall in love. Oddly enough, I saw Beryl walking with one of her generals, and I was like “WTF, Queen Beryl doesn’t walk.” It’s odd, but there is a feeling of “epicness” missing from the series.

    The transformations are not instant classics either. The girls are portrayed as even skinnier and taller than the original and they look emaciated. Also, it creates weird freakish proportions when they pose. The computer elements are a miss if you set a real standard. They do not produce a sense of awe. The battle with Kunzite was lame. He stayed in a green bubble shooting green beams. But the action of the senshi was great.

    In other words: mixed bag. It provides just enough to keep a fan with sense checking in casually. Die hard fans will be die hard apologists. Since I have no intention on reading the manga, I will probably tune in more to see how things play out with the generals brainwashing. I have only heard about it up until now.