It was a major throwback for all Sailor Moon fans when it was announced that a reboot entitled Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal would be released in line with the franchise’ twentieth year anniversary. The epitome of the “Magical Girl” genre first came out during the nineties. It made every young girl believe that love and friendship could help save the world from evil while looking awesome in a short but colorful sailor suit and a pair of boots! Don’t we girls just wish that we had our own transformation pens or brooches just like Sailor Moon?
Speaking of transformations, it plays a huge part in each episode of the series. Each sailor soldier, or senshi, was given a transformation item to turn into a soldier of love and justice by Luna (or Artemis in Minako Aino/Sailor Venus' case). It activates after saying a magical chant. The transformation sequence shows the sailor senshi changing into their battle gear or “sailor fuku” then ending with a signature senshi pose. It was refreshing to see that Sailor Moon Crystal took inspiration from the old transformations, albeit tweaking and adding a modern spin to them with all the CGI awesomeness! Are you a self-proclaimed Sailor Moon fan? If so, you would have probably noticed these similarities and changes in the old and new transformation sequences.
Old VS New Transformation
Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino
The new transformation sequence for Usagi Tsukino or Sailor Moon is very nostalgic. Her transformation brooch in Sailor Moon Crystal is a bit different from the original anime, with the four beads placed on the outer rings. The new transformation for Sailor Moon starts by showing the moon in the background and her brooch zooming in to the front after Usagi yells “Moon Prism Power Make-up!” It is then followed by the traditional “magically” painted fingernails which is the actual beginning for the old version.
Beginning of Usagi's transformation in the old anime
Usagi's transformation brooch in Sailor Moon Crystal
The new animators did a great job by keeping the pink ribbons for Sailor Moon’s transformation. The old and the new have almost the same sequence, from the brooch expelling pink ribbons to form the upper fuku, the huge bow securing her brooch, her fighting gloves and long boots.
Usagi, however, starts the transformation with her eyes open in most of her old transformations which was quite the opposite for the new version. Another noticeable difference is that in Sailor Moon Crystal’s transformation scene, there is an additional clip for Sailor Moon’s earrings where as in the old anime it appears along with her tiara.
As for the “twirling” of the skirt and Sailor Moon’s body movement in preparation of forming the tiara, the scenes were quite identical for the old and new transformations.
Sailor Moon gets an additional hair ornament on the reboot which does not appear until the third season in the old anime.
Lastly, the signature pose is tweaked a bit, but judging by body symmetry, her pose in Sailor Moon Crystal is more realistic as her hips and raised arm are technically more comfortable if you try to do it in real life (oh yes, I can see you trying it now!). For Sailor Moon Crystal, the animators added roses aside from the crescent moon for her background.
In the second half of Sailor Moon Crystal, Sailor Moon was given a new transformation brooch that held the silver crystal inside. Her transformation scene was slightly updated to replace the old brooch with the new one.
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno
Ami Mizuno or Sailor Mercury's first transformation pen in Sailor Moon Crystal looked a bit different from the old anime. Her transformation pen in the new anime was still gold with the lower half painted in blue just like in the old anime. In Crystal, however, the top part of her pen was a miniature version of Sailor Moon's brooch instead of the traditional planet symbol shown in the old anime.
In the new version, a background of the planet Mercury is seen with Ami’s hand and new transformation pen at the front. She was also given the magical nail polish scene which is still confusing since they wear gloves in a battle anyway.
Her eyes in the old version are open most of the time. She makes a ring of water with her pen then quickly turns to wrap it around her body. In the new transformation sequence, she also does a ring of water but moves gracefully like she is skating into the mist, water and bubbles.
After a burst of mist, Sailor Mercury is revealed in complete sailor fuku. This is both seen in the old and new transformation versions.
Sailor Mercury does not have a bottom to top scene to show her full outfit in the old anime, but she does get one in the new version. She’s given a tiara and earrings formation clip which was solely exclusive for Sailor Moon’s transformations in the old anime.
Finally, the signature pose is similar for the old and new except for the beautiful background of Mercury’s planet in the new version.
In Sailor Moon Crystal, Ami was given a second transformation pen. The top is star-shaped and Mercury’s logo appears brightly at the center of the star.
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino
Rei Hino or Sailor Mars is the third sailor senshi to join the group. In Sailor Moon Crystal, Rei was also given an updated version of her transformation pen. The new sequence starts with the planet Mars as a background.
Rei Hino's old transformation pen.
Rei Hino's transformation pen in Sailor Moon Crystal.
The flame bursting out of Mars’ pen was identical for both the old and new transformation scenes, and even the hand she used to hold her transformation pen is the same. Take a look at the positioning of her arms, doesn't it look almost identical?
As for the position of the flame rings, the old anime had rings around her hair (which was quite odd) while the new version had rings on Rei’s arms.
The scene showing Sailor Mars’ fuku from bottom to top where she constantly rotates is the same for both versions but the clip for the tiara was an extra for Sailor Moon Crystal’s version.
Finally, Sailor Mars’ signature pose was the same on both versions except for the obviously updated background that showed a portion of the red planet.
Rei’s updated transformation pen in the second half of Sailor Moon Crystal.
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino
The “physically” strongest sailor senshi, Sailor Jupiter, also known as Makoto Kino, not only received an updated hair color, but a few additional clips on her transformation sequence as well.
Same with Mercury and Mars, Sailor Jupiter uses a slightly different transformation pen in Sailor Moon Crystal. The new transformation started with the planet Jupiter as a background and her nails are magically painted in green.
In the new version, Makoto raises her pen to summon a strong bolt of lightning and breaks it into a series of elliptical rings that moves around her body. Her body motions are the same in both the old and new transformations except for her eyes that are mostly open in the old version.
The scene where she was showing off her sailor fuku from her green boots to top was clearly taken from the old anime, except that Jupiter gets a tiara formation sequence as well as the power activation of her rose earrings. You may also have noticed that there were tiny sparks of lightning around Jupiter; good thing her suit is lightning proof!
For her signature pose, Sailor Jupiter’s right knee is bent less compared to the old version, and she gets a new background!
Makoto's new transformation pen in the second half of Sailor Moon Crystal.
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino
Minako Aino has two transformation versions in Sailor Moon Crystal and I will not tell you why! You need to watch the series to see it for yourself. Sailor Venus, though she appeared last out of the five, is the first sailor senshi to awaken through the help of Artemis.
Her transformation pen is different not only in comparison to the old anime but to the other characters as well. Her pen has a star on top in contrast to Mercury’s, Mars’ and Jupiter’s that are similar to Moon’s brooch. Her transformation begins with the planet Venus in the background and of course, the magical yellow nail polish.
In the old version, she kept her eyes open all the time and used an orange ribbon with a spread of yellow stars all over it. The new version brings in a more playful twist into Sailor Venus’ transformation. She creates an orange ribbon and wraps her body with it, she continues to move around until finally halting to complete her sailor fuku after a sudden burst of stars.
The stars are a part of the old transformation but somehow the new one looks livelier.
Tiara formation clip.
Sailor Venus’ chain has always been a part of her fuku in the manga but for some reason it was taken out from the old anime. In Sailor Moon Crystal, her chain of red large beads was finally added to her outfit and tied around her hips. Sailor Venus ends the transformation with her signature pose, with the new one slightly twisted to the right to give us a better view of her beautiful face.
Minako's second transformation pen in Sailor Moon Crystal.
As you have seen on these comparisons, the animators of Sailor Moon Crystal made sure that the minor changes would excite the old and new fans alike. The fans of this series have their own "favorite" sailor senshi and the animators acknowledged that fact by giving each character a detailed transformation, compared to the old anime that was mainly focused on Sailor Moon. Overall, the charm of this series is still strong even after more than two decades! There's no doubt that its magic will continue to thrive in the succeeding years.