It is often true that things experienced in your childhood never seem to live up to the wonderful memories you had of them when experiencing them again as an adult. It was with this state of mind that I entered my viewing of Sailor Moon, mostly from a desire to relive some nostalgia from my youth. I can truly say that it exceeded my expectations and left all those fond memories intact. As with most anime fans my age, Sailor Moon was one of the first series that I watched. It is one of those titles that many people know outside
the anime fan base. Though it’s probably not the first "magical girl" anime it does in my opinion define the entire genre.
The first thing that is going to come to many people’s attention is going to be the artwork and sound quality. When compared to today’s standards it looks primitive and plain. The music is particularly uninspired and I doubt it was all that interesting when this show was new. The background music and sound effects feel like they are drawn out of a 80s B action movie. This show could really use a complete remastering of the audio. The voice acting though is strong and I felt the actors did a good job in portraying their characters though some of the performances, particularly from the villains are pretty campy.
Animation wise, the colors and styles are typical of what you expect from this era. The colors feel plain and washed out a little and we don’t have a lot of the detail that many modern shows have. This is not to say it’s bad, because it’s really not fair to compare it to newer shows because the technology has changed so much, but I still think it is relevant. I gained an appreciation for it as the series unfolded and I think most people will as well.
The overall story is something Sailor Moon does exceptionally well. From the start we get a sampling of a bigger danger to come and it moves along fairly slowly in the beginning. We get introduced to Usagi right away who quickly becomes Sailor Moon and starts fighting the enemy. Over the course of the first half of the series the other Sailor Warriors start to appear as we learn more about them and their pasts and building the friendships amongst each other. The plot does a great job of telling the origins of the Sailor Warriors and the reasons for the villain’s attacks. The last half in particular was very interesting and exciting. As a romance there is a lot to like about Sailor Moon. It treats the viewer to a serious and realistic feeling relationship that really puts its modern counterparts to shame. I found it to be the most compelling and rewarding part of the show.
The action is something that just isn’t that interesting however. It feels to simplistic and formulaic. The enemies change but after a while they all seem like they are the same. They get defeated in the same ways and the action itself never gets to be that exciting. Most of the shows battles are very short as well and the Sailor Warriors various special abilities take up most of them. They got a little long and boring as well after the 20th time seeing them. Anyone who is expecting or desiring intense magical action and special effects will be disappointed.
It wouldn't be a magical girl show without the famous transformation cut scene. Sailor Moon has plenty of these, and they get to be a bit unwieldy at times as the cast grows. Sailor Moons is the longest but the other Sailor Warriors are pretty short, which is good. Plus while we have to watch Usagi transform every time we often don’t have to watch all of the others or we get a shortened version. This is good because it takes away from the story.
The real shining light of Sailor Moon is the characters. Usagi as the lead is one of my favorite characters in anime. She starts off as a bit annoying with her crying and silliness but she really shines as a comedic character. She manages to grow during the course of the series and become stronger and more courageous. She has several love interests, or crushes would be more accurate. Eventually this grows into a serious relationship which I found very satisfying. Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask is the main love interest and both are completely oblivious of each other’s alter egos. I always found it amusing that he couldn’t tell Usagi was Sailor Moon when they look and act exactly alike.
Of the Sailor Warriors, Ami and Rei get the most screen time since they are brought in pretty early in the series. The conflict between Usagi-Rei was pretty amusing most of the time though it did seem to wear on me over time. My personal favorite of the girls was Makoto/Sailor Jupiter. I liked her the most from my childhood and that continued to today. She is one of the funnier characters, especially when she finds someone new who reminds her of her sempai who broke her heart. Minako is the last of the girls to be brought in and was probably the least interesting. Since she was bought in near the end there wasn’t enough time to really bring out her personality or give us much information on her past. The cast has a number of supporting characters which are pretty fun. Usagi's school friends are constantly getting into danger and a nice little side romance develops there. Luna serves as the advisor to the group and serves as the resident cute animal that must accompany magic girls on their adventures.
Overall I can’t recommend this series enough. Every fan of anime should see this show at least once. I would love to give it a 10 rating but the lackluster action and sound bring it down from being perfect.
Note: This review encompasses the entire series, rather than just the first season. Keep that in mind while reading. Thanks!!
When anime fans start talking about shows that began their interest in japanese animation, many people point to the fact that their first experience with anime (whether they knew it or not at the time) is Sailor Moon. It's one of those anime shows that people fondly remember as the basis of "how to do anime right" for future shows of its kind. Even when comparing it with today's new trends, plots, characters and animation, it is easy to notice why Sailor
Moon is fondly accepted into the hearts of anime fans around the world.
In my eyes, you could not have picked a better anime to become immersed into the anime world than with Sailor Moon. And a big reason for that is the intricate and well-developed plot, arguably the strongest feature Sailor Moon presents. At the surface, you can say that it's your typical "children rising up to save the world" theme. However, this magic girl anime show presented unbelievable twists to the plot that included five different main story arcs with amazing depth to each of them and somehow, it always able to weave itself flawlessly back to the central theme that encompassed Sailor Moon. To top it all of, when you watched Sailor Moon, it was able to emotionally draw you into the show with ease, where you undoubtedly had your favorite sailor scouts and actually cared about each and every character and what happened to them. Very few anime shows back in the day (early 90's) were able to do that, and though we see it more often nowadays, its still a special skill that is needed.
Again, because of its 1992 creation, the art obviiously seems old-fashioned and not as crisp as what you watch nowadays. But if you really think about, each character was drawn well, each given different physical characteristics that separated each one from another and the backdrops used were well detailed to an extent. Sure, there were a ton of repeated frames (namely during transformation), but what anime nowadays doesn't have them? In all, it still holds up very well, even in today's times.
Depending on what version (English or Japanese) you are most familiar with and most vividly remember, the sound preference of the show could go either way. While I personally did not have a problem with the English cast, the Japanese cast also voiced each character pretty well. The voices of each character gave of enough feeling and emotion, which helped draw the viewer into the show even further. The music was so good that there have been hundreds of performances, many musicals and an ample amount of released soundtracks that have been much appreciated by the public.
Again, one can also argue that the strongest point in Sailor Moon was the plethora of characters they introduced, each one of them having a significant part in the grand scheme of things. As I stated before, everyone picks their favorite sailor scout, and to me, each scout's character personality seemed to fit their represented planet quite well. They took their time with introductions of characters and the development was amazing, with new powers, techniques and relationships acquired throughout the entire series. The one downside people may bring up is that they may have been *too* many characters and with that, the focus is turned away from the main ones. On rare occasions did that occur in Sailor Moon.
Weaving all of this together, Sailor Moon is easily one of the more enjoyable "old-school" anime shows out there. Almost every episode had some kind of meaning towards the overall plot and a lot of the battles can't be called anything short of epic. However, a big question mark on whether or not people enjoyed Sailor Moon was their views towards romance. Love was one of the bigger themes of this show, seen strongly epitomized between the characters of Usagi (Serena) and Mamoru (Damien). If that was something you loved, chances are you favored this series more so than people who didn't find that factor appealing.
All in all, Sailor Moon is one of the shows that started the anime trend outside of Japan and they could not have picked a better show to showcase than the Sailor Moon franchise. With a great cast of characters, a lengthy, emotional series involving epic clashes between good vs. evil and a highly well-developed plot, Sailor Moon is a show that if any younger anime fans out there haven't seen, or if the older ones thought was too "mushy," you should give it another try. Who knows, it just may be right up your alley.
Season One of Sailor Moon encompasses the best and worst of the entire Sailor Moon franchise.
Sailor Moon introduces us to Usagi at her most comedic: she is not only the heroine but the comic relief of her own show. Over the course of the season we are introduced to Luna, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter and finally Sailor Venus and Artemis.
As others have mentioned, it is the characters, their relationships with one another which really holds the show together. Other shoujo such as Card Captor Sakura, handled the monster of the week nature in a more fun and varied way, but few anime
have handled girls in all their complexities and silliness as well as Sailor Moon has, before or since.
Sailor Moon is about girl power and while the anime emphasis may not be as strong as the manga, it's definitely still there. The girls have complex characters; it's not about defining them by one characteristic, the dumb blond or the tough tomboy (as American cartoons often do) but by letting the girls be multi-faceted, even paradoxical; the tomboy who is boy crazy and romantic, the dumb blond who is athletic and dedicated to her mission. Sailor Moon saves Tuxedo Kamen's butt for every time he saves her, more so as the season goes on. And all of the girls change and grow through the challenges they face.
With such a large amount of characters and cool-looking villains, Sailor Moon is also one of the most lastingly popular series for fanart and fanfiction. Someone or some relationship is bound to catch your interest and play you right along. Which is all part of the fun. Planets, stones, mythology, past lives, romances. This series has so much to play with and it all adds to the appeal.
The monster of the week aspect forms the larger part of the series, which is hit and miss. Some episodes delve into character development, exploring the girls' past and seeing why they are who they are. Others are primarily comedic in nature, such as the episode with the cat who falls in love with Luna, mocking Tuxedo Mask's and Sailor Moon's relationship (everyone has made fun of Tuxedo Mask, but Sailor Moon did it first). Others are boring, silly and a bother to sit through.
The best episodes are the first handful and the second half of the anime, I think. Once the Nephrite arc ends, the series picks up. Kunzite and Zoicite are threatening, the monster of the week format is shaken up and things get serious. At this point, even the filler episodes can be grim. And, of course, as with any season of Sailor Moon, the finale delivers in big ways.
There's no doubt the budget for this anime was less than to be desired; being a shoujo, that was its inevitable fate. Thus the animation and sound effects are sub-par. However, the voice acting it strong and a lot of heart went into this show. And following seasons pick up, the animation improves and the soundtrack simply gets better and better.
I think the main question is whether Sailor Moon is riding entirely on nostalgia, or if it still holds up today. Not having watched Sailor Moon as a child and watching the first season for the first time in my life at 23, my opinion is that, while flawed, it is still a worthy watch. There's history in the making in this show. Skip the filler if you want and watch the core plot episodes. They're worth it.
Back in the 1990s, Sailor Moon was the queen bee of popular shoujo titles by helping to popularize the magical girl genre to international fans and being the first series within the genre to feature a magical girl fighting against the forces of evil instead of using her magic to do fun and mundane things that older titles like Creamy Mami did. I was a sucker for the series when I was a kid during that period as I watched the butchered American syndicated version of the series released by Dic during the mid-90s. Our heroine of focus here is klutzy and book-dumb middle schooler
Usagi Tsukino, who is tasked by a talking cat named Luna to become the magical girl known as Sailor Moon to thwart the evil activity of the witch Queen Beryl and her forces among the Dark Kingdom. Along the way, Usagi gains several additional allies to assist her with four other middle school girls who can become Sailor Senshi and a mysterious tuxedo-clad man named Tuxedo Mask who often pops up as a walking plot device to save Usagi whenever she gets in trouble against the "monster of the day".
Taking off the nostalgia goggles of watching this baby nearly 20 years later, I'd hate to say that Sailor Moon hasn't really aged all that well. All the character types and plot tropes that were milked by Sailor Moon during its heyday are a common part of many modern magical girl titles, many of whom offering more fleshing out of their plot and character elements than Sailor Moon does. Here, many of the characters are rather lacking in depth and have one-dimensional personalities with the good guys fighting for "love and justice" to save the world and the bad guys being evil for the sake of being evil. As a lead character, Usagi was rather obnoxious at many points in the series with her being ridiculously clueless, clumsy and crying incessantly if she ran into some sort of problem, which makes it kind of questionable why this would make her a character relateable to younger female audiences. Even with the romance Sailor Moon dabbles into at points, the relationship developments are either not convincing or are too underdeveloped to get seriously invested in thanks to the rather shallow character depth.
The plot mostly follows a "monster of the day" format that takes up much of the show's run with Usagi stumbling upon the monster's plot, transforming to combat them, often getting herself in trouble, having Tuxedo Mask save her in the nick of time and then uses her powers to finish off the monster. Later episodes do slightly pick up in quality when revelations concerning the origins of Usagi and her friends come to light and the stakes are raised with Beryl trying to further her plans. But the series still resorts to monster of the day plots for many of its episodes and milks enough deus ex machina in thwarting perilous situations that Usagi and the other Sailor Senshi get themselves into. Pretty much, the series is very predictable with its plot developments if you've seen your fair share of anime.
Visually, Toei was obviously running Sailor Moon on a limited budget with the reused animated frames, underwhelming action scenes, minimal detail on scenery and plain-looking character designs. The soundtrack isn't much better as much of it consists of bland and low-key tracks that don't do too well at effectively capturing the mood and tension within Sailor Moon's key scenes. I might get quite a bit of flak for this from purists, but I much preferred DIC's soundtrack to Sailor Moon since it at least attempted to capture some sort of mood during key scenes in spite of how cheesy it is nowadays.
Overall, I suppose I don't get what makes Sailor Moon all that popular with fans. Sure it popularized magical girl titles. But the character archetypes and storytelling tropes within it haven't aged well and are a common occurrence in many modern magical girl titles, a number of whom offering better fleshing out of their premise and characters than Sailor Moon, like Cardcaptor Sakura and Princess Tutu. I would sooner recommend those titles and a number of other modern magical girl titles than Sailor Moon and I don't feel pressed to dig into the later seasons of the franchise anytime soon.
This review is written from a guy's perspective whose barely getting into shojo & wishes to offer positive insight to new viewers of the series. The first season isn't perfect but has some good moments which makes the series worth watching.
I think most people are already familiar to the concept of Sailor Moon being 5 middle school girls being picked as sailor soldiers/sailor scouts to battle evil demonic forces of the Dark Kingdom which is led by Queen Beryl. These battles are often episodic as Queen's Beryl's demons tend to exploit human desires such as tempting them with love in exchange for their energy. These
are often shown in very dark fashion as these demon encounters give the series its charm of good vs evil (which I always enjoy) but can get repetitive at times.
While I am a male viewer, shojo's aren't that different from shonens. For starters, the series has an emphasis of romance, friendship & constant fights of good vs evil which is to be expected & excels in those areas. Those tropes are also found in shonens only that shojos have an obvious greater affection for displaying romance. However, aside from being similar the strengths in sailor moon are its characters & style.
The Sailor Scouts are likeable but I wished the team of 5 was formed earlier as Jupiter & Venus took nearly half the anime to debut which didn't offer much interaction to the group at least compared to the original trio. I'm not sure whether it's just me, but I found Usagi to be too much of a cry baby at times. While she definitely shows some maturity towards the end of the series, I always found myself liking Mars & Jupiter a lot more. Regardless, the comedy presented among the scouts is enjoyable.
While it's not the first magical girl series it's definitely the most main stream due its "super heroish" structure of a story. Being very reminiscent of super sentai (power rangers), the sailor scouts take a while to form its team of 5 which begins with Usagi on her own & eventually forming a trio for the majority of the anime. Much of the conflict initially begins with recurring fights with the demons of the dark kingdom & their leaders being Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite & Kunzite.
In it's early episodes, Sailor Moon was a bit darker than the rest of the series as people are constantly being manipulated by temptations but then shifts its tone into a more super sentai style. Much of this is due to the enemy monsters being more over the top than its initial debut as they now have a "design theme" such as a barber monster , boxing monster , snowman demon, figure skating demons, etc. These conflicts often end with Sailor Moon having to use her "Moon Stick" to restore these monsters back to their human form. The anime definitely got a bit silly from episode 25 onwards, but this just adds to its own "fun factor" among other magical girl series.
Most of the cons for this season of Sailor Moon are its repetitive trend of demon of the week, but there are some other problems. A majority of it comes from the writing being a bit sloppy to the point where it has become a bit of an inside joke among sailor moon fans. One of the best examples is Tuxedo Mask as he often appears to save Usagi, however there are a few times where he makes a rescue only to leave within the next minute. Another example (which is a staple of Power Ranger flaws) is the obvious 1 monster at a time or the villains giving too many chances for our heroes to succeed or even more hilarious is the Dark Kingdom having a hard time not recognizing the secret identities of the sailor scouts.
Essentially, you have to go with the flow to get by the weaker parts of Sailor Moon, yet this series has this certain magic which made me want to watch more. Even now I'm still uncertain why I liked this series but I can definitely say it's a good start for the Sailor Moon franchise. I should note that the anime does have a grand but dark conclusion. Most people tend to fly straight away to Madoka Magica but "being dark" has always been a staple for shojos such as Escaflowne, Princess Tutu, Utena & Sailor Moon certainly earns the same recognition. Being my first experience with Sailor Moon, it was a good one as I saw a more delicate side to an anime genre which can give "the feels" in certain episodes. As stated before, I am a male anime fan which usually watches 80's shonen but this magical girl series is a recommended watch. Looking forward to see what happens in the next series being Sailor Moon R.
The first part of the legendary series, Sailor Moon season one, is what many of us anime lovers watched that sparked our interest in Japanese animation... it definitely sparked mine. To those who love Shoujo series or Shounen series; it didn't matter with Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon is the basis to anime today, along with many other popular series like Dragonball, Astro Boy, Tenchi Muyo, etc. But anyway, back to reviewing the series.
Story - Naoko Takeuchi couldn't have done any more of a better job. This gets a ten out of ten. Why? If you notice that many other Mahou Shoujo series are EXACTLY alike
Sailor Moon, then you find yourself always comparing the story to being "unoriginal." Why? Because Sailor Moon stole most of the good points first. :D
SPOILERS AHEAD. STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON'T WANNA SPOIL IT.
Also, we all feel for Usagi when the story draws to a close and she loses every one of her friends; and we feel drawn in to her whenever she's in pain, we also believe in her when she's fighting Beryl on her own. <3
SPOILERS OVER, YOU MAY CONTINUE.
Art - I only gave this an eight because it wasn't the best animation of the series, considering it was only 1992, not much about any animation was amazing compared to now.
Sound - Could have been just my DVD's, but the sound was pretty low and not so good... but once you got used to it you could ignore the quality.
Character - Who couldn't love the characters of this saga? If you watched this, or plan on watching this, you find yourself relating to someone... all the time.
Enjoyment - If you love Mahou Shoujo, just plain old Shoujo, or hate Shoujo and like Shounen; either way, you'll love this series. I did, and since 1998 this series has remained close to my heart as one of the best series of all time.
Overall - Pretty much perfect. I recommend this to anyone who loves the Sailor Moon series... especially if you're a fan of Ami-chan/Sailor Mercury; since you get to see her in more action than usual! :o
In my opinion, Sailor Moon is one of the best anime in the 90s. Only because I grew up watching it and loving it in english.
Sailor Moon is the longest magical girl anime series. 200 episodes. If you want to watch this, be prepare. With a repetitive story line, gender confusion, too many catch phrases and puns, you just might be in for a show.
In the English dub, their voices are alright in the first 2 seasons, but in the third and fourth, Serena (Usagi) and Amy's (Ami) voices are horrible. Not to mention that the English dubbing doesn't even stick to
its original dialogue.The importance of it being uncut and subtitled is lost, and you wind up having to appreciate the show simply for what it is, on its own merits, minus the ocean of hype.
There's good character development in Sailor moon. Like Usagi for example. Who knew that such a selfish crybaby would end up wanting to help other people. Or Rei, who had such a problem with Usagi and couldn't stand her, end up being her closests friend. Anyway,the character changes a lot in the five seasons.Though, some of the characters, are like gender confuse. I say this because while watching this in english, one character (*who is a "girl"*) loves this guy and we accept it, whatever, but when we see it in jap we're like "0.0!? that girl's not a girl. its a guy. In love with a guy?!" Or maybe that's just me.
The opening theme song in Jap, is great, it gets you dancing. English, can be the same thing. But, after hearing it for about the 15th time, you just want to skip through it and the design of this anime is alright. Can't say much about it.
So, even though I made a few negative comments on this anime, its still pretty good. It can be a tear jerker from time to time, and it will make you laugh. Especially in English. So, if you're looking for an anime that has a lot girl power, then you found it.
In my opinion, this anime is the best one out there for a person of my interests. There's tons to learn from it, and the characters blend really well. Usagi and Rei have their own little conflict, Ami is the brain who bails Usagi out of everything, Matoko is the brilliant chef who brings goodies for everyone, and Minako is the one who dreams of being a star. These five best friends, along with Mamoru, Usagi's boyfriend, transform into super soldiers here to save the world. Usagi, who is also the Moon Princess, is the leader as Sailor Moon. Ami, the second sailor soldier found,
has control of ice and water and is Sailor Mercury. Rei, the third, uses her own charms and curses as well as the power of fire as Sailor Mars. Matoko, The fourth, uses rage and electricity as Sailor Jupiter. Minako, the fifth, uses love and light as Sailor Venus. And Mamoru, who is the Prince of Earth, transforms into the sensual Tuxedo Mask, who often saves the Sailor Soldiers from the clutches of evil. Later on in the series, mose Sailor Soldiers appear! Haruka, who is Sailor Uranus, uses the power of the earth. Michiru, who is Sailor Neptune, uses the power of water. Setsuna, who is Sailor Pluto, uses the power of time with her Time Staff. And then there is Hotaru. Hotaru is initially a threat, but soon she proves her worth as Sailor Saturn. Hotaru uses the power of Silence with her Silence Scythe. Of course, there's one more person worth mentioning. Chibi-usa! Usagi and Mamoru's future child is aslo a Sailor Soldier, she is Sailor Mini-Moon. While these eleven have their problems, they all love and support each other. I suggest thet you check it out!
When you look at it in parts, it might not look like anything special. Nitpicking the minor details is not exactly a hard feat. The episodes are formulaic, the plot holes are ridiculous, the girls are over-sexualized for their age, the magical items are just an excuse to sell toys, and the English dub is horrific. But when you look at it as a whole, Sailor Moon is completely mesmerizing.
Sailor Moon's story starts out fairly light. The evil Dark Kingdom is attacking Earth, and it's up to Usagi Tsukino to transform into Sailor Moon and defeat them. The early
episodes are primarily filler. As the show progresses though, the plot begins to thicken. As a whole, the story is very well written. The Dark Kingdom slowly becomes more menacing, and the show does a good job of keeping things mysterious. What is the Silver Crystal? Who is Tuxedo Mask? What is he after? What’s the Dark Kingdom after? It reveals them in a satisfying way. Late enough to keep the suspense, but early enough to process it by the time the show is over.
The best thing about Sailor Moon is without a doubt the characters. Sailor Moon can hardly defeat the Dark Kingdom by herself. She is joined by other Sailor Scouts that help her. All of them are as bright and colorful as Sailor Moon is. They help bring a lot of life into the show. The rivalry between Usagi and Rei is particularly an amusing addiction to the show. The only real criticism I can give them is that Sailor Venus should have been introduced earlier, so her relationship with Sailor Moon doesn’t feel as strong as Sailor Mercury’s or Sailor Mars’s. That issue is pretty much exclusive to this season though. Once the second season rolls around, the five of them develop into not only an effective group of warriors, but also a close group of friends.
What I especially like is how the show prevents them from being flat and one dimensional. They have their own set of flaws and they each change over the course of the series. Sailor Moon herself doesn’t start out as some angelic do-gooder; she’s lazy, she’s a crybaby, she does miserable in school, and she’ll even take advantage of her friends (she initially befriends Ami for the sole purpose of getting better grades.) When she starts off as Sailor Moon, she needs Tuxedo Mask to save her all the time. As the show progresses though, she slowly matures, and by the end of the series, she’s become a strong courageous woman.
Compared to the heroes, the villains aren’t as impressive. That’s not to say they’re bad. Perhaps this is because they only appear in one season, while the heroes appear in all five, but they’re not as memorable as the heroes are. Zoicite and Nephrite were the most memorable of the villains of this season, probably because of Zoicite’s feminine personality and Nephrite’s relationship with Naru. Jedite was a huge disappointment. He has no personality, and is killed off before he gets the chance to develop one. I also would have liked to see more of Queen Beryl. It’s never clear why she’s after the Moon Kingdom and reviving Queen Metalia by gathering energy, and she doesn’t confront Sailor Moon until the very end. The manga examines this more, but I wish the anime did too.
Unfortunately, if you’re the kind of person who considers the action scenes to be a major factor in your enjoyment of a series, then you’re going to be disappointed. In fact, the characters pretty much rely on their special attacks, which usually end up missing, until Tuxedo Mask appears.
The series also heavily relies of filler. For the most part, they’re not as painful to watch as they might seem. In fact, they help contribute to the development of the main cast. The issue with them though is that they usually follow a very formulaic plot, and they tend to get kind of ridiculous. There's some new kind of company that creates an unrealistic amount of hype, Usagi and her friends check it out, people start to have their energy stolen, Usagi and her friends transform into the Sailor Scouts, the villains summon a monster of the week that kicks their butts, Tuxedo Mask appears, throws a rose, shouts some kind of monologue, and runs off, and somehow that gives Sailor Moon the courage she needs to defeat the enemy. It would have been nice if they mixed it up a little.
By today’s standards, the art is not very special. However, when you compare it to most other anime airing in the 90’s the animation is really fantastic. Nowhere is this most notable than in the transformation sequences, which are beautifully animated. Lots of detail is also put into the character’s design. What I particularly love is the hair, the way it flows during the transformations and attacks play a huge role in making them stand out.
If you love transformations though, be prepared for a whole lot of them. Every episode takes up at least 2 minutes for them to transform and attack. In a particularly weak filler episode, they’ll elongate them; having each Sailor Scout transform after one another, or sometimes even having them transform more than once, though this is rare. Outside of the transformations, the animation is still above average, but there is a noticeable dip in quality, it’s still from the 90’s after all. The backgrounds, while colorful, aren’t as detailed as they could be. It’s also common for the animators to use still frames when the action picks up, though they’ll have the camera zoom in and out in an attempt to make it look less stiff. This technique is hardly exclusive to this anime, but I’ve never been a fan of it.
The soundtrack is reminiscent of the music of old superhero cartoons of the 60s. It’s not bad, but it can be quite cheesy at times. That’s not to say there aren’t good songs in the show. I like the transformation themes, but the lyrical themes are definitely my favorite. By now, “Moonlight Densetsu” has become iconic, and it can get stuck in your head pretty quickly. “Heart Moving” is probably my favorite ending theme of the show. The voice acting is the highlight of the sound area. All the voice actors have very distinct voices that fit their characters well. Kotono Mitsuishi does a fantastic job as Usagi. Her acting is consistently spot-on, whether the mood is comedic or dramatic. Aya Hisakawa is another seiyuu I’m a fan of. Out of all the characters I’ve seen her voice, Sailor Mercury is definitely her best performance.
Overall, Sailor Moon is a great series that I’ve enjoyed immensely. What it lacks in its technical aspects it more than makes up for it with its thoughtful story and fantastic characters. Not everyone will enjoy it, and that’s okay. But if anything about magical girls, superheroes, or even just well-developed characters interest you, then this is definitely a great pick.
To the majority of all Anime fans, whether Sailor Moon is good enough to charm a little girl off her feet or appeal to an older audience seeking nostalgia is a question of utter irrelevance. What most people should be asking themselves is whether or not it can actually appeal to a male or adult audience, and after having seen all 46 episodes I'm pretty sure that it can.
Now, I do admit that I used to watch this as a child, but the only parts of it I could remember before I re-visited it were the transformation sequences, Sailor Mars and the Swedish dub
of the ending theme. All in all this was a fairly pleasant viewing experience.
Despite my recently acquired affection for the franchise, I definitely wouldn't call Sailor Moon story driven. It recycles repetitive formulas like identical battle techniques throughout all episodes and a monster-of-the-week theme that quickly loses its charm. One could argue that it plays right into the hands of a little child's yearning for familiarity by featuring at least 5 minutes of recycled material in each episode, and this damages the overall progression heavily. So, why would anyone want to watch this? The answer is simple; it's insanely charming.
It depicts a friendship between 5 Sailor Soldiers; teenaged girls’ protecting the virtues of love and justice, and it does so with remarkable precision. They all have their adolescent crushes on various boys and they always find themselves in situations that most little girls probably dream of themselves, especially when fed the Prince-Princess propaganda established in the West by Walt Disney. All in all, the narrative of Sailor Moon isn't as atrocious as many would think, but it most certainly isn't very good.
I'm not sure if I'm going delusional, but I think Sailor Moon undergoes a transition in animation quality somewhere around episode 10. I remember how the awful visuals and shapes annoyed me in the first few episodes, but then somewhere along the line I felt like the visual section improved itself heavily. In all honesty, I wouldn't say Sailor Moon's animation is dangerously outdated, but it definitely can't compete with more modern titles.
Some sequences that are re-used throughout all episodes are remarkably better animated, and probably looked stunning by contemporary standards. But then again, if you're going to show Sailor Moon and her friends transform more than 30 times, you better at least make the sequences aesthetically pleasing.
Another surprisingly strong category is the sound. The opening theme is very suitable to the themes of the story, and is designed to be used as part of the soundtrack as well, though in other versions where violins and music boxes are used to play it out. The mundane struggles of Usagi (Sailor Moon) are complimented with jolly and mood-raising little tunes that fit in very well with the context.
The voice actors were very formidable when it comes to displaying the basic set of emotions that they're required too. With such an emphasis on their different personalities, it's highly beneficial with acting of such unexpected quality.
If anyone ever told me that Sailor Moon is character driven I would have laughed hysterically. Now I realize that this is actually the case. Each Sailor Soldier is designed with different personalities and virtues so that most girls (and boys) will find at least one character to relate to.
Character development progresses slowly but is definitely present most of the time. The events in Sailor Moon take place in a world where minimal changes to your clothing makes you 100% unrecognizable, even by your friends and family. Physically, Sailor Moon is just a slightly altered, yet very identical version of Usagi, but nobody seems able to figure out that they're actually the same person.
I'll also acknowledge a relationship within the show that was censored in the U.S version when it aired on TV. The two servants of The Dark Kingdom, Zoisite and Kunzite are involved in a romantic relationship despite them both being male (could never happen in Western cartoons). The American dub pretended that Zoisite was a woman which works well with his feminine characteristics, but in all honesty I liked the way something as rare to see in a children's show was included.
Despite exploring some darker themes by the end of its run, Sailor Moon remembers its origin with an admirable determination; it depicts a world where girls long for their princes, boys for their princesses, and where love holds a tremendous power. The show is recommended primarily for a younger audience, but is definitely enjoyable for older ones as well. There are times when the lack of plot progression will anger you, but if you just stick with it you'll get a surprisingly decent show. Note how many times I use the word "surprising" or "surprisingly" in this review!
It's an anime staple, so clearly it's something to watch if only to get a proper understanding of the current anime climate. However, if you're watching it for that reason...start a season or two ahead.
This perspective is probably tainted by my own biases pertaining to relationships and appropriateness, but there you go.
So...Sailor Moon is centered around romance - specifically romance with large age/maturity differences, vague or outright incest, and the important of True Love (that again is often creepy due to aforementioned features). This is very alienating if these narratives bother you like they do me. This is probably because I come from outside
1990s Japan, but seeing a bunch of 14 year olds dedicate their lives to older men, and older men projecting their insecurities onto 14 year olds, is not something I enjoy.
Additionally, the many characters are often put into sexually incriminating poses, even in their deaths. Another thing that bothers me.
That said, if those things don't impact your enjoyment of anime in general, then you'll have a better time.
As mentioned before in other reviews, the pacing is wonky. The characters introduced later in the series don't get enough characterization before the end of the season, and when you have to introduce five sailors in one season, keeping that properly spaced is important. There's a lot of filler in the beginning centering the protagonist (who many consider annoying) and then plot episodes get smushed in near the end. It's....not good.
The character designs are creative but the animation was done on a budget, which makes sense for its time. The transformations are memorable, though. The palette is classic, though - muted pink shades contrasting dark blues are truly the way to go. The music isn't too memorable, though. The opening theme gets beat into you, though.
Toei Animation and what could be their second best franchise ever behind Dragon Ball is Sailor Moon. This anime went on to define the genre of shoujo and magical girl. What once was only about young girls pandering after men became about girls fighting evil with their various powers, something never really been seen before. Sailor Moon was original set for six months (2 seasons/cores by today’s standards), but due to the overwhelming popularity became an international success.
Our story starts off focusing around young 14 year old Usagi Tsukino. She is clumsy, cries a lot, and is not very smart. Well, despite her many flaws
meets a talking cat called Luna in which gives Usagi the power to transform into the sailor scout, Sailor Moon. As a sailor scout, she is tasked with fighting evil brought on by the Dark Kingdom and Queen Beryl. Over the course of the series, Usagi continues to battle, meets other sailor scouts, falls in love with a college student, and discovers the hidden past of the Moon kingdom and Earth.
Art and animation is fairly poor for the time, almost looking like something that came out of 1984 at best. Most of the characters are fairly one dimensional without any development other than becoming sailor scouts. Even the design is pretty bland emanating greatly for the shoujo genre. For example, costume design and background is very similar to Aim for the Ace (1973). Also, the problem the anime suffers from the most is the repetition, predictability, and fillers. Due to the popularity and the show’s extension, out of the 46 episodes, 25 are filler!
It is really unfortunate that for an anime to have such a legacy, in this day in age Sailor Moon falls terribly low to it being dated and panders to the decade it was in. If the fillers are taken out, then Sailor Moon is a pretty decent show. Otherwise, it is a slightly above average magical girl anime with some shounen elements.
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is a staple in the history of anime. It’s a classic that even non-anime fans will recognize and has gone on to become an immensely successful franchise even outside of Japan. But the question is: how does it hold up today?
Even today Sailor Moon is still a very enjoyable anime. Though not without flaws, it’s a classic still worth viewing. Sailor moon is the story of Usagi Tsukino, a normal, clutzy, fourteen year old middle schooler with awful grades. One day she saves a cat from being harassed by some kids. The cat, named Luna, later gives her a magical artifact
which gives her the power to turn into the Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. She is later joined by other girls, Makoto, Rei, Ami, and Minako, who all band together to fight the Dark Kingdom, evil supernatural entities who seek to suck the energy from humans. At first, the premise sounds a little typical, maybe even a little silly.
The “teenagers saving the world with superpowers” premise should be a very familiar concept to any anime fan, new or old. The story itself isn’t really much to write home about, though it’s not terrible either. It walks a funny line between shounen and shojo, showcasing intense fight scenes and drama while also having light hearted moments and romance. A lot of the episodes also contain little messages and lessons in them, akin to something we’d see in your typical Saturday morning cartoons for kids.
Each episode focuses on the girls fighting a different Youma, so the anime is mostly episodic. Each episode pits the girls against a new Youma, requiring them to transform and defeat the enemy. The battle scenes follow a specific pattern: Youma appears, girls transform, dodge Youma’s attack a little, and then defeats Youma with their powers. Sometimes Tuxedo Mask will appear to give the girls a hand. Only in the last few episodes is the pattern broken, showcasing the best fight scene in the entire show. It’s understandable that they would save the best for last but one has to wonder why they couldn’t give the earlier fights even a fraction of the last fight’s pizazz. The individual episode’s villains aren’t very memorable and they usually go down pretty quickly. The recurring villains aren’t much better, being cartoonishly evil and hardly memorable as well.
However, the main characters are where this anime really shines. The main girls are all unique individuals with distinct personalities. There’s the clumsy and silly Usagi, the shy but intelligent Rei, the brawny tomboy Makoto, the bold and beautiful Rei, and the responsible and cool Minako. You’re going to end up loving at least one of the girls. Although they fight evil in tiny miniskirts at night, the anime also puts a spot light on their personal lives, including their love lives, crushes, pasts, personal struggles, and relationships. They’re all feminine and girly in their own little way, but they’re also strong, cooperative, and compassionate. These characters exemplify girl power.
There are also some fun side characters that include Usagi’s classmates, an arcade employee named Motoki, and Mamoru who is forever teasing Usagi. Seeing the character’s interact is always fun too, especially the hilarious bickering between Usagi and Rei. Other characters like Makoto do silly things as well, like falling for any guy who even remotely resembles the upperclassmen that rejected her. Or Mamoru’s constant teasing of Usagi by calling her “dumpling head.” They are all fun and likeable characters.
The character designs are excellent, with each of the sailor soldiers having a distinct look that suits their personalities. Even the lesser characters have some pretty unique designs. While the animation is great, it uses a ridiculous amount of repeating footage. The footage used for their transformations, attacks, and Sailor Moon’s catchphrase are used again and again in all 46 episodes. The transformations are very cool, with Sailor Moon’s being the longest and flashiest. But it’s the same exact thing every time. It would have been nice to have some variety, maybe changing up the look of the girl’s transformations. It also would have been nice to give the girls more attacks. The best we get is a mix and match when the girls all transform or attack together. As stated before, the setup of each fight is basically the same as well. The anime uses a little too much repetition, and would have benefited from some more variety in its action and story.
The soundtrack has a number of catchy tunes, but once again, a few tracks are used over and over again. The same song is used when the girls transform and attack. On the bright side, there are some good insert songs that don’t get overused.
Overall, Sailor Moon is a very enjoyable anime. It’s a fun, cute, and generally lighthearted watch. Not everyone is going to enjoy it; some will find it repetitive and others may be turned off by the shojo aspects of the show. But Sailor Moon is still a great show and a classic. The first season ends on a pretty high note, setting the stage for a wonderful second season with room for improvements.
This anime was fantastic for its time period and should be rediscovered by all its fans of yester-year, even if we twenty-somethings admit to watching it with shame. There's just something about this series that makes it amazing. Even with its spliced-in cutscenes and repetitive plot and catchphrases, the characters stick with you and evolve just enough to make them interesting. The Sailor Moon series may not have been a work of artistic genius, but it's incredibly enjoyable, a pioneer of its time, and an anime cultural icon. Some day when you're sitting around the
house and need some cheering up, check this old favorite out. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
As a side note, if you can stand the subbed japanese version, by all means watch that. The depth of the dialogue is much better and the english version cuts a great deal out. (Also I felt the japanese voice actors are much better on the whole, but I'll leave that up to you.)
How can I review a series with so much current influence and nostalgic feelings tied to it as Sailor Moon? Currently, I would like to look at this series on its own merits, without bringing those traits into question.
I was recommended Sailor Moon by my girlfriend, who watched it as a kid. My main motivation to watch was to learn more about her through the shows she loves, and I definitely had to cling to that throughout approximately the first 20 episodes, as it was quite a dull time watching. After that, though, around the introduction of Sailor Jupiter, I found myself compulsively watching, which
doesn't often happen. Perhaps Jupiter has a certain pull, or perhaps that's also when the plot picks up. In any case, I don't regret watching as far as I have, because I found myself fascinated by the lore within. Reincarnation, lost kingdoms; it feels like a modern-day fairy tale. If that's your kind of thing, then absolutely give Sailor Moon a try. It's my go-to series for that fairy tale aspect.
One big turnoff: In the Japanese dub, at least, Usagi (Sailor Moon)'s voice is /annoying/. I'm still not entirely used to it after almost 40 episodes. Other characters are better than her, but not all that great either. If voice acting matters a lot to you in your enjoyment, this most likely is not your show.
I gave the art a score of 7; while the animation is occasionally distractingly shaky while being filmed, I will chalk that up to the era and focus on the beautiful watercolor effects. Typically, characters are cel colored, but when Sailor Moon wants visual appeal in a particular scene, by God it will give you visual appeal. The aforementioned watercolor adds to the overall fairytale feeling, and if I'm correct, sometimes actual glitter is used in the animation of transformation sequences. It looks pretty dang cool.
In conclusion, if you're looking for originality or raw quality, Sailor Moon isn't what you want to watch. But the execution of the fairy-tale tone has a draw that I haven't seen matched in another series that I can think of.
Sailor moon was my very first anime. I used to anticipate coming home after school, turning on the t.v and flopping on my bed to watch it.
I do admit the the story line although repititive it flows rather well. People need to stop judging this on todays Anime scales, this was made in 1992(and dubbed couple years after) so people need to look at this as one the GREATEST anime of the '90s. Although it is the same girl gets magic powers,girl gets teamates, and girls try to defeat the enemy together. Its your basic storyline, my favorite take on it is, that this
is usagi's coming of age storyline.
Naoko takeuchi is a lovely artist! I saw the anime before i started reading manga, and i always get the feeling that Usagi in the Manga looks older...its just how beautifully her hair,eyes, and body are drawn...it just makes her seem older; more mature kinda. But the Animation seems rather old...BUT the transforming scenes are amazing as well as the way there attacks are animated.
I get the feeling i'm being lenient with the Sounds. The opening song is awsome, but it gets so repetitive...that i skip it sometimes but don't get me wrong i do love it. The instrumental BGM is played quiet well, and fits the atmosphere its corresponding to just right.
I liked all the characters there was really nothing to complain about.
Usagi: clumsy,crybaby, fights for what she believes in.
Mamoru: College student, Nice, gentleman, mean to Usagi in the beggining
Ami: Smart,Elegant really caring friend
Rei: Bit of an attitude, Gets mad easily, when it counts she's there for usagi.
Makoto: Good at cooking,sewing, and karate shes a fighter but only when sticking up for friends.
Minako: The Idol, wants to be a singer. She likes show biz stuff.
I really enjoyed sailor moon, i would always say there attacks as they would, i laugh when it was funny, and when sad things happened i'd cry >_<
Growing up on this Anime, it changed everything for me. I was so happy to Run home after school and watch this. I'd watch it over a billion times and never get tired.
Take note: This will encompass Moon, Moon R, and Moon S
Sailor Moon is highly praised as one of the major classics of anime today and I can see why. To get things off, first, this anime wasn't part of my childhood as far as I can recall, and I actually took major notice of this series due to the reboot of it in I believe 2014 or 2013. Whatever that doesn't matter, lets just get going. Okay, so you are reading my review thinking whether or not you should watch this series, the answer is a definite yes. I can say something, the large majority
of the audience in this show is girls and that was the intended target, but if you are a guy, don't let that stop you cause this series is amazingly great. This show has great plot and character development for each of the sailor guardians throughout the series and the 3 or 4 arcs within the story. This show does contain a bit of filler, but that's something you can skip or watch, up to you. Some of the fillers are actually pretty funny, so just stick around for a couple. The art in sailor moon is what you would call classic or "retro". The art is nice and great and nothing too bad or too over the top, just right. Anyways, you should really watch Sailor Moon, it's a definite must watch for any true anime fan, you won't regret it. Also, another tip, if you plan on watching the reboot over the OG series, then just take note that the reboot focuses on plot development much more than the original series. Take care! Oyasumi!
Ok, people, this is it, the ultimate, the final countdown, the experience you have all been waiting for, in the game of comparison of anime to this and that. Here ye, all, Sailor Moon is the BEST manga/anime ever and this is why.
The story of Sailor Moon is simple.
Yes, it’s just simple, a child could understand it. It’s the story of Tsukino Usagi, who is a 14 year old middle school student, she loves ice cream, talking cats (well, it’s an off and on relationship), video games. She’s friends with a wide array of people,
a hardcore Otaku, a girl kind of next door personality. While frosty at first, she also makes friends with a super genius (Mercury), a level disciplined girl, (Mars), a back and forth with a fiery personality (Jupiter), a cool beauty queen (Venus).
In the process of forming these relationships and friendships, she becomes more and more confident and certain of herself, eventually becoming a super sailor guardian, and accepting her destiny as guardian of the universe and her role in defeating the anima-mates, the completely awesome group including Lead Crow, Iron Mouse, Aluminum Seiren, and others.
If you are keeping track, the story of Sailor Moon is kind of like a representation of Ancient Greek mythology. In the earliest Greek stories, Uranus was the cosmos, and the bringer of light and hope and such chaos, or what existed before. The triumph of light and hope over chaos is what spawned Ancient Greek civilization, as well as the titans, whose names and such litter Sailor Moon (Artemis, Luna, etc)
Of course, it’s more like, the Japanese representation complete with all kinds of bits and pieces that make it more like an enjoyable romp.
Honestly though, you can scour… not just manga… but ANY media, whether that’s film, television, etc, all these things, and you still will be pretty hard pressed to find anything that offers the effortless emotional brilliance and characterization/etc of Sailor Moon.
All the characters manage to feel real, they explore people’s weaknesses and frustrations, but don’t exaggerate them for comedic effect, they explore people’s courage and heroism, but don’t overestimate or overstate any one person’s role in creating an ultimate result.
In modern society, we have the concept of the unique individual, who triumps, unassisted over all the odds and such everywhere, they don’t need help from anyone, for they are the invincible deliverer of justice.
Sailor Moon makes the opposite point, there is no society without people, Usagi, the ultimate one who does, ok I guess it would be a spoiler, but suffice to say she is always relying on others. Later, the outer senshi are pivotal in the struggle against Galaxia, without their aid, it is likely she would simply perish.
It also is frankly the funniest manga/anime I’ve seen, funny because… they aren’t simply jokes intended to lighten the mood, they’re actually quite literally funny, or because you laugh to be nice, they’re just downright hilarious. The tiffs between Mars and Moon are my favorite in the series, but there are dozens of examples.
So imagine if you (lets just say, male otaku... something) had a girlfriend who was actually funny? Pretty cool, huh.
But in all, it just comes down to the fact that Usagi is ultimately just kind of a normal girl/person, with real fears/expectations and desires, she loves boys, but is also sensible enough about the deeper meanings and possibilities behind the connections. She wants the best, but doesn’t fret, and above all, she tries to understand and get along with different kinds of people.
This my friends, is a divine being.
Anyway, Madoka is great, Dragon Ball Z is awesome, Berserk is deep and mysterious, Evangelion strains to reach something deeper, Baka to Test is hilarious-ish, your favorite hentai/harem of choice is gloriously pornographic.
But what unites it all? The answer is simple, Sailor Moon, the pinnacle of manga, and the original anime frankly you can roam around, to all kinds of places, all kinds of histories, all kinds of stories, but you simply aren’t going to find something quite like this…. Ignore it at your peril…. Accept it to your pleasure.
Also I’ve not seen SM crystal but it looks bad, who knows though, for sure... maybe try it at some point.
Postscript in my opinion, the weakest character in the entirety of manga/anime has to be Mamoru (Tuxedo Mask), he starts of strong, but as the manga/anime goes on he becomes increasingly inept. I think perhaps, Usagi never really found the right guy for him, but being who she is, I'm sure she was able to accept and understand them anyway, yeah? Yeah!
Also for modern anime that capture the essence of SM pretty well, see Heartcatch Pretty Cure because that anime is awesome.
Madoka is nice too, don't get me wrong, this isn't a competition, or is it a competition, I don't know, just don't let people's opinions of things get in the way of enjoying your life, or favorite character, favorite manga, favorite anything.
Ultimately, anime and manga are like anything, they are propelled by their fans, the sharing and enjoyment is really the most important thing, when it's all said and done. Stories can unite, but the only true stories are the ones about people in the first place.
I would say that isn't really a problem for most people, but you know, PSA!
Welcome to my 100th review. I'm sorry that I wasn't more honest about this coming up, I could say it in my dreams, but my thoughts were about to short circuit as I thought about what anime I could review for the occasion. My heart was a kaleidoscope as I pondered this question. I looked to the twinkling of the stars to foretell the future of my reviews. Obviously, it had to be Sailor Moon. While I'm at it, I'm going to do one of those things that some people keep whining at me for not doing. That's right, I'm going to look at the
English dub and the original side by side.
Rather than start by talking about the story, I'm going to start by talking a bit about the translation. First off, how do you miss-translate "Moon Tiara Action"? The original line is in English. How can you fail to translate a line that's been done for you? The soldiers are downgraded to scouts in the dub because... Soldier is too masculine a term? Maybe they just thought that soldier was miss-used. After all, soldiers battle enemies and all the sailor soldiers do is reconnaissance work. Scouts works much better... wait, what? Changing the setting to America makes no sense. Where in America are you going to find Shinto Buddhist shrines with traditional priestesses, schools that have all adopted uniforms, Japanese signs, and the Tokyo tower? Seriously, it's just a stupid decision. It would be like setting Tokyo Mew Mew or Cardcaptor Sakura outside of Japan. Why even bother changing it? Was the company that licensed it afraid that English audiences wouldn't be able to relate to Japanese characters? No matter what the reason, that change is really idiotic. Then there's Zoisite, one of Queen Beryl's generals. The English version gives him a sex change for some reason. It doesn't even make sense because the art's the same they just gave him a female voice and changed the pronouns. The reasoning probably being to hide the fact that the show has gay characters (Zoisite and Kunzite). Because you can't have gay characters running around. The children might get the idea that it's okay and then we wouldn't have as many hate crimes or intolerance and that would be terrible... Wait, what? Yeah, it's a really stupid change. Give me back my yaoi boys. I know that may seem like a strange thing for a straight guy to say, but I don't care. Give them back or in the name of the moon, I will punish you and you do not want to see me in the uniform. Now, I could go into a lot more detail about weird and pointless changes but there are a lot of them so I'll stop there. If there are changes that impact the story, characters, or so on, I'll talk about those when I get to the relevant point.
Let's go right to the story. Sailor Moon has a very simple story. A girl named Tsukino Usagi is given a magic broach by a talking cat that turns her into a warrior of love and justice. She's sorely needed because a group known as the Dark Kingdom is stealing energy from humans in a bid to awaken their great ruler and conquer the galaxy. It's a pretty standard super hero plot. But there are some things that are done really well. To begin with, this series has a great sense of humour. It embraces all of the goofiness inherent to the concept and just has a lot of fun with it. There are also some strong themes dealing with love and reincarnation which add some complexity and intrigue to the whole thing. The final episodes are really spectacular. The main characters go into the proverbial underworld and, not to spoil anything, but there are some genuinely tragic moments as a result but it still manages to end on a suitably optimistic note. There are some issues though. I'll start with the general issues that are present in both versions and move on to the ones that are unique to the English dub. Before you ask, there are no issues unique to the Japanese version so there's nothing to cover there. The first issue is pretty minor and it deals with the disguises. Apparently Sailor Moon takes place in Metropolis since a change of clothes and nothing else is enough to hide someone's identity. You'd think that anyone could figure out who they are just by looking at them. Then there's the tendency to have Mamoru come in and rescue the soldiers with a hastily thrown rose. It happens too often and gets pretty annoying.The other problems both deal with romance. The first is that all of the major characters, except for Usagi, are given gratuitous male "love interests" who show up for a few episodes, have virtually no personality, do nothing to advance the plot and then fade into barely being mentioned again. Their entire purpose seems to be to setup the possibility for future romance, but I've seen the other four series and, trust me, it doesn't go anywhere. It's like Takeuchi Naoko created them for future use and then realised they were pointless. Even Luna gets a gratuitous potential love interest and she's a freaking cat. The other issue is with the romances that do have a story purpose. IE: the romance between Usagi and Mamoru and the romance between Naru and Nephrite. The problem here is that the girls are middle school students and the guys are college age. I do understand why it was done like that. Sailor Moon's target audience is middle-high school aged girls and a lot of girls at that age are interested in older guys so it's giving its audience a little wish fulfillment. However, that doesn't stop it from being sleazy and screwed up. Now, let's look at the problems the English version brings to the table. The first is that it lacks the humour of the original. How? Through heavy censorship and pointless dialogue changes, of course. They also edit a lot of the more intense moments towards the end which not only really weakens the impact but makes the last few episodes almost incoherent. Oh, and the dub's opening sequence gives away major ending spoilers. Why? Because they hate you.
For the characters I'm actually going to look at the original and English versions separately. Why? Because they really are significantly different. It's actually kind of fascinating how much the characters change as a result of massive dialogue changes, and various edits. Let's start with Usagi. She's a bit clumsy and something of a crybaby, but she also bounces back quickly and has a very positive outlook. She gets horrible grades but she doesn't seem stupid. She really comes off more as someone of below average intelligence who just wants to have fun and neglects her studies as a consequence. She also has a great capacity both for love and growth. She's far from perfect, but she is an interesting and very sympathetic character. Then you have Serena, which is the name they gave her in the English version. She's a lot whinier and, where Usagi doesn't really seem stupid, Serena seems like she eats paint chips in a deliberate attempt to eliminate any extra brain cells she may have. You also get a lot less of her good qualities, particularly her ability to love and support her friends. Where Usagi proves herself capable by fighting alone in quite a few cases, growing gradually stronger and more confident in the process, most of those episodes are cut from the English version, making Serena seem far more helpless and less capable. Then we have Ami. She's kind of shy in the sense that she doesn't feel like she fits in. She's highly intelligent and she studies too much, but she can also loosen up and just have fun. She's a very sweet character who cares deeply for others. She does have faults though. She can loosen up, and does at times, but she still takes things too seriously and there are times when she tries too hard to please others. In contrast we have Amy. Amy goes from being kind of socially awkward to being painfully, annoyingly shy. She has lousy communication skills and very little personality. Then you have Rei. She's outspoken, which sometimes leads to her saying things she regrets. She's also very passionate, protective and cunning. Rei teases Usagi, but it's made clear that it's a friendly type of teasing. Then you have Raye. Raye lacks any kindness or loyalty and is just unpleasant. To give a great example, there's an episode where Sailor Moon is trying to trick her way into the Dark Kingdom. In the original Japanese Usagi entrusts Rei with the silver crystal just in case something goes wrong which serves to help highlight the closeness of their friendship. In the English dub Raye steals the silver crystal because she's horrible. Moving on to Makoto. One of the things I love about her is that she goes against type. She's the physically most imposing but she also has the most feminine personality. She has some body issues because she thinks she's too tall, which are handled pretty realistically. She always tries to be supportive of her friends, although she doesn't always know how to go about it. Then you have Lita. In the English dub they decided to play to stereotypes so they downplayed her femininity and made her as much of a tomboy as they could. They do it really badly too. The final character I'm going to talk about is Minako. She's a bit flighty but she's also the most mature character in the group and is able to keep her cool very well. She's charismatic and just a fun character. Mina, in contrast, is basically identical to Serena. They make her the quintessential dumb valley girl type of character. There are more characters I could talk about but they all follow the same basic pattern. The original has a good amount of character complexity and the dub reduces the characters to one-dimensional stereotypes. Because they hate you.
Let's talk about the art. Honestly, it's kind of out-dated. That isn't to say it's bad, it still looks pretty nice, but the animation can be choppy at times and there are some animation errors. The art can also be lazy with a good amount of stock footage and action scenes dominated by motion blurs. Still, the monsters are very creative, the character designs are great and the action sequences can get pretty intense. Now, you probably expect me to complain about fan-service, since I've done it a lot in my reviews. But give me some credit, it's always a legitimate complaint. That's why I'm going to defend Sailor Moon. Yeah, I've heard a lot of dumb people claim that their uniforms are fan-servicey, but those complaints are stupid. Their uniforms are just glamorized summer style school uniforms. And no, they aren't glamorized by being made skimpier, they're glamorized through the addition of sparkly accessories and large bows. The outfits themselves are no worse than what you get in Lucky Star, Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight, Cardcaptor Sakura, Azumanga Daioh or any other series about school girls, in fact, the sailor soldier uniforms might just be more covering since they include those extra frills. To sum it up in very simple terms, they're school girls wearing school uniforms. This isn't something that's hard to follow. The only way the fan-service argument could possibly work is if you're arguing that school uniforms are inherently fan-servicey and if you really think that you aren't allowed to breathe anymore. I will say that they aren't exactly functional for fighting, but I'm not going to complain about that much. The main reason being that I've read a lot of superhero comics and most of the outfits are designed around style and not functionality and that's clearly the case here, or do you want to argue that a tuxedo is a great outfit to wear in a fight? There's also a rumour that the girls are nude during their transformation sequences in the original, but it's not true. The same sparkle effects are used in both versions. This may come as a surprise, but I'm not going to complain about the English version here. Honestly, they don't change much in terms of the art, aside from obscuring the lettering to make it look like scribbles since some moron decided to change the setting to America. There are really only minor changes here and there. The original does look cleaner, but the edits aren't really bad enough that I feel the need to discuss them at length. They're just pointless.
Now for a look at the acting. The original is really well done with some incredibly talented people. It would take too long to bring them all up but to name a few there's Mitsuishi Kotono, Hisakawa Aya and Shinohara Emi. They can over-act at times but they never really go overboard with it. The English version is hard to listen to and not just because the actors are all atrocious, although they really are awful. One of the big problems is that Katie Griffin shouts all of her lines while Karen Bernstein whispers all of hers. The result is that you can barely hear Amy unless the volume is so loud that Raye will cause you to go deaf. Then you have the opening songs. The Japanese version is really good. The English version is horrible. Not just musically, but lyrically. Let's take a moment to look at a translation of the first few lines in the original: "I'm sorry, I'm not honest. I can say it in my dreams. My thoughts are about to short circuit. I want to be with you right now." Now for the English version: "Fighting evil by moonlight. Winning love by daylight. Never running from a real fight. She is the one named Sailor Moon." Did they let a six year old write the lyrics? To make it even worse the English version just gives up halfway through and lists the names of the characters. If they had nothing remotely good to change it to why did they bother changing it at all? The answer's pretty obvious. They did it because the English version hates you
There's a fair amount of les-yay in this. For example, there's an episode where Rei gets really fired up about winning romantic cruise tickets and she does, possibly by using her psychic abilities to cheat. Who does she ask? Ami of course. No, she doesn't try asking any guys first she goes straight to Ami. On the grounds that she wants to help Ami broaden her horizons... Subtlety really isn't one of Rei's strong points. Theres another episode where Ami and Rei appear together on a wedding decoration that declares "The Happy Couple." I'm not going to lie, that is one of the best scenes I've ever seen in terms of imagery. There are even minor characters who are heavily implied to be lesbians and the soldiers occasionally make eyes at other girls. You know, the sparkly eyes you get in some anime when a character's looking at their crush. So the yuri factor is going to be a 6/10 for heavily implied subtext, in the original. The English version cuts as much of it out as they can, earning it a 3/10.
Let's move on to the final rating. How does Sailor Moon hold up? It's a goofy series. A lot of the things that happen can be incredibly silly, but it's all very enjoyable and light-hearted. Honestly, I even kind of find the stock footage endearing. I have to give it an 8/10. If you want a purely fun viewing experience you can't go wrong with it. Now, you may be wondering why I like Sailor Moon so much when it's not one of my higher rated series. Well, there are four more anime entries for it and, frankly, this is the weakest. The other four anime all have more of what makes it good and less of its problems. Maybe I'll look at R, S, Super S and Stars at a later point. There is one thing, however, that I'm never doing again and that's looking at the English dub. It's horrendous. Just about everything good about the original is decimated in the dub until only a very small sliver remains. The English dub gets a 2/10. Even if I somehow reach a million reviews I will never watch an anime dub again, ever.
In closing I'd like to thank all my lovely fans. Thanks for all your comments, requests, and support. Thanks especially to Soniczero, Count Bleck, Megamannt, Macrules, Duder, OmegaAxl, Ultrazero, Nasty001 and Kupo for consistently putting up with me and frequently having interesting comments.
Sailor Moon was my very first anime, that I actually recognized as an anime! I was in the middle school, and still enjoying my pokemon, and what not, when I suddenly stumbled upon an anime, that was made by a woman, for girls - you can imagine, that I was thrilled! So I scooped some of the episodes out of the internet, and watched them in delight... with english dubs - urgh!. The characters were weird, the story all over the place and most of the time really infantile, and the voices obnoxious at best... and don't even get me started about the opening theme,
the transformation scenes, and the lesbians turned into a cousins - you know, what I mean! I can so obviously tell, that the english dub was made for the american audiences - they didn't even made dubs for the final season, which had women, transforming into a guys... or was it the other way around! Why, those stupid, ignorant...!
Then, I learnd my english - somewhat - and watched the episodes in japanese, and boy, what a difference! The characters were actually very likable, interesting and had real and deep personality, the voices were much better, and nothing was cut out, or changed to make it look like kiddier, more saver, for our fragile little girl-minds! It felt pure, and subtle, and... pleasant, and I just loved it! The story for the first arc was interesting, and all the girls had their own personalities, which made them feel like a real people, and not some stupid, flat caricatures. I was genuienly touched, when Ren and Usagi started to form a some sort of harsh friendship, and I really liked, when Usagi started to adknowledge her responsibility as a senshi... even though it took her the entire season, and four dead friends to achieve!
The story is really lighthearted, and you can't call me a liar, if I told you, that the anime isn't plagued with episode after episode of this formulaic storytelling, with every episode introducing to us a whole new villain, and Tuxedo Mask's red rose. Because it's true - it does just that, and it does it good! The formula may sound, and look like of something, that should be boring, and what should always be avoided, when writing a good story, but believe or not, this formula actually works... often times! If you like these girls, you can really see them growing, and evolving as a group, with their own traits, and flaws, giving every one of them their own time to shine, and be in the center of the spotlight - it's not just the main heroine, that takes all the focus! And sure, there are themes about long lost romance, friendship and loyalty to the things that you love, and want to protect - all that mushy girly stuff - but those are actually pretty good too. I want to see the romance bloom! I want Queen Berryl to die, and the happy ending, God dammit! I was literally weeping, when Mamoru died! I was sobbing, when Usagi was left to face Berryl alone! The musical score was just perfect for that one, removing me to tears time and time again.
This anime is perfect for those, who wont say no to the girly antics, and spicy girlpower, because these gals sure have that... alot! The story isn't exactly the deebest of the literary pool, and the formulaic structure can be little hard to swallow time to time, but if you like these girls... any of the five, then you'll probably enjoy the ride too.