Sailor Moon Crystals 01- Usagi is not Usagi is still Usagi?

Whatever you do, don’t watch this in 1020 definition. You will hate it. On my first watch, I can’t get over how I LOATHED Usagi’s character design that I quit after the first ten minutes of seeing it.

And this is coming from someone who really really wants to like this anime.

Anyway, after sleeping on it and putting it out of my mind, I re-watched it again due to my friends insistence.

. … And what do you know, it wasn’t the horrible abomination that I thought it was. And the only difference I could find was my friend used 720p and I used 1020p. On my entirely subjective interpretation between the two, the 720p is a lot grainier which made all the difference.

Meh.

Though, I wouldn’t discount that I might have lowered my expectations in the subsequent hours which might account for the improvement ^^

Anyway, enough rambling, time to get on toward the episode.

<Warning heavy nostalgia filter and digression on everything ahead>

P.S. This is spoiler heavy because I assume everyone is already familiar with the plot.

Sailor-Moon-1-Galaxy-shot

We begin with still panoramic shots of the universe. *sweatdrop*

For the first scene, its not really that impressive. But, I suppose that the animators are really emphasizing the cosmic setting this time (I hope). And considering that they are following the manga, I believe that this is a good call. I firmly believe one of the main draw of the manga over the other incarnations of the SM franchise besides its tighter plot is its larger-than-life feel.

With opening at the universe and is slowly zooming slowly toward Earth and further zooming into one should get the feeling of how large the universe is and how small this one little life that we will be watching. But, I don’t feel that way. I actually feel the opposite, that this story that we are watching is pivotal to everything.

This is largely helped by the choral music that gets louder and more intense the more we zoom in.

Sailor-Moon-1-Serenity-and-Endymion

This culminate in the story that started it all. Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion meeting. If nothing else, it looked like crystal is actually going to give this romantic subplot justice than the anime.

Anyway after that teasing of the ancient past.We meet the main character of the story. Ladies and Gentlemen! Presenting our protagonist!

Sailor-Moon-1-Usagi-tripping

Lol. Of course, our first glimpse of Usagi is falling down the stairs and being late for school.

Even if the character design needs some getting used to.  Somehow seeing Usagi falling flat on her butt makes everything alright. ^^

Sailor-Moon-1-Sailor-V-news

And we get a brief snap shot of Sailor V.

Look at the crescent moon on her forehead. There is no doubt about Minako is doing her job in this version. <winks>

And lol, Sailor V seems to be ubiquitous or at least have a good enough reputation that Ikuko wished that Usagi is more like her.

And Mama Ikuko, be careful of what you wish for… ^^

Sailor-Moon-1-Usagi-faces

A minor nitpick. And I probably won’t mention it again. But, why is Usagi’s mouth always open?

No seriously. I feel that Usagi’s mouth is in an O-shape more often than not. I took two screenshots to see if she looked horrendous with her mouth closed to see what the animators are thinking.

Looks closer.

I suppose, the first screenshot (with mouth open) conveys a certain energy that was missing on the second one. The second one looked like Usagi is grimly determined and  that isn’t what the scene calls for.

Still, I sincerely hope that Usagi’s mouth open ratio goes down in the next episode. Come on animators there are better ways to convey emotion than freezing Usagi in perpetual surprise.

Like this.

Sailor-Moon-1-Usagi-happy

,Aww…  Usagi looked really happy she found the kitty.

There is a small wtf?! moment there when she kissed the cat. If I managed to step on a kitty, I’ll probably ran like hell. Fluffy animals have an irritating tendency to bite if you caused them pain in my experience.

But, of course, I’m not Usagi.

And getting distracted by cuteness and showing affection to a stray cat even while she was supposed to be hurrying and even when said cat claws at her can only be an Usagi thing to do.  ^^

Sailor-moon-1-youma

We get our first glimpse of the bad guys here. Though, I really wonder about this sequence.

“I summon thee, wicked monster who serve our great master.”

Though it explains much. I often wondered how the monster of the week can be identical to the one they are impersonating. As we see in this sequence, the monster seems to have a malleable form.

It also means that the way to beat them is to kill the “bosses”. Because if youma is created, then our heroes are not going to make headway until they kill the people that make them.

Sailor-Moon-Dream-Serenity

Interesting.

I often wonder how much Usagi remembers before the plot rolled around. It appears that at the very least she dreamt of her past life. Though, obviously she hasn’t connected the princess of her dreams to herself.

At this point of time, she probably thinks of it as an elaborate fantasy conjured by her brain. Usagi thinks that the princess is very pretty and wants to be one so she doesn’t have to go to school.

lol. Really? You’re not even thinking of the handsome prince and the romance? Usagi-chan never change.

Though, given Usagi-chan’s wishes for this episode.

  • I wish I am a princess…. so I don’t have to go to school.
  • I wish I am like Sailor V … so I don’t have to go to school.

I have a feeling that Usagi’s grand ambition in life is to never ever go to school. ^^

I’m also tickled that all she wished for in this episode will come true in one way or another. Sadly, she won’t ever get her grand ambition. There is a bright side though, Usagi-chan! Once the plot rolls on, schooling is going to be the least of your problems.

But for now, we are introduced to Usagi’s bane!

Sailor-Moon-1-Haruna

 

Haruna-sensei.

Wow. 30%. On the other hand, this is English, purportedly Usagi’s worse subject. I’m actually surprised that math isn’t her worse subject. On the other hand, I vaguely  remember that she also have problems with kanji as well. Are languages Usagi’s waterloo?

Sailor-Moon-1-Usagi-Test

Kaye helpfully pointed this out to me. Someone is heroic enough to translate Usagi’s paper.

And for Usagi’s worst subject, she really didn’t do THAT BAD. Especially on the sentences part. Usagi actually got the gist of it correctly. I would say some of it deserves partial points, at the very least.

…. I think I’m getting the Haruda’s nickname

It some play on “HARD” isn’t it?

Stupid terror teachers.

Sailor-Moon-1-annoying-Umino

Next, we meet her classmates.

Hmmm… I must have rose-colored view of Umino. But, I don’t remember him being a jerk with his intelligence.

Usagi’s narration and Naru’s disgruntlement with him is understandable.

Sailor-moon-1-lunch-break

And my  memory is getting really spotty now. I only remember Naru being Usagi’s friend pre-senshi.

But, that really doesn’t make sense. Usagi at heart isn’t a loner. She likes people, so she should have more than one friend in her school.

I’ve also noticed that despite Usagi’s inner narration describing Umino as a “bit of a pain”. He’s still part of the lunch-buddy group. ^^

Its also interesting that this is the first time that Usagi hears of Sailor-V… Did Minako just return from England? On the other hand, she’s already in the news and Ikuko clearly knows of her. So she must be featured on the newspaper a few times before.

… Never mind, I answered my own question. Usagi and reading the newspaper, doesn’t compute.  ^^

Sailor-Moon-1-window-shopping

And I really like the music at this section.

It bespoke of joyful days. Just going to school and then having a blast shopping after it. When the only thing that Usagi has to worry was if she failed a test and let’s face it she doesn’t worry even about the testing THAT MUCH. 

Its a small slice of Usagi’s carefree life before the plot kicked in and I appreciate it seeing it.

Sailor-moon-1-95-percent-sale

Notice the sign.

95% sale?!!! On Jewelry?! That’s basically giving them away!

No wonder they don’t have a sale like that, EVER! If this happens in my local jewelry shop, I will buy everything and then resell it. lol

On a small note, is anyone disturbed that the  youma could imitate Naru’s mom that well? I was hoping for some dissonance on Naru’s part when she is talking to her mom …. and yet there is none.

<Imagine  a youma that could have taken over a loved one and you’ll never ever know. Until its too late. Urg.>

Sailor-Moon-1-Usagi-and-Mamoru

Remember when I said this iteration seemed to be doing justice to the romance subplot?

Evidence Numero Uno!

The original anime have many good parts but it hasn’t been able to sell the miracle romance part very well. Crystal is actually doing good on this font, I can actually feel the attraction between Mamoru and Usagi on their first meeting.

Though, I still think the tuxedo is a bit too much. Who dresses up like that while walking the streets? lol. Still, at least its fashionable. Original Anime Mamoru is such a fashion disaster that he would probably color that tuxedo with purple. ^^

Sailor-Moon-1-Dream-sequence

And, I’m beginning to really wonder about Usagi’s dreams and how crystal is trying to play it.

Because that short dream clip?  The was undoubtedly Prince Endymion leading Princess Serenity to safety.

… And its first person perspective. Meaning Usagi is experiencing her dreams “live”.

Interesting. ^^

Sailor-Moon-1-Sailor-V

And the dream morphed into this. lol.

I remember that the Sailor V game is supposed to be a training simulator. Is it supposed to invade dreams as well? Or considering Luna heard Usagi’s dream narration is she using psychic powers to transmit this into Usagi’s brain for training? Hmmm..

Its also a bit heartwarming. That even in Usagi’s subconscious, when a big bad monster shows up, Sailor Venus to the rescue! ^^

Sailor-Moon-Luna-lecture

Talking cat.

“I must be sleeping.”

Lol.

And I forgot how easily Sailor Moon can get distracted by the shiny.

As for the henshin sequence I really don’t have an opinion on it. I would have preferred hand drawn than CGI. But, if the animators managed to make it “fresh” every episode, perhaps by using different angles, I would like it. I think.

Not that it matters much. ^^

Sailor-Moon-1-Hair-sonar

<blinks>

… So those jewels on her odango function as some sort of alarm with voice detector embedded?

I want to make a joke. But, my memory swiss cheesed today. Which  superhero has this superpower again?

Anyway, I’m kinda glad to see Usagi’s character shining through. She may not know what’s going on. She may think this is a dream. But,  still she’ll save her friend!

 

Just a quick question. Why is Naru’s mom still alive?

Is this like those spells wherein the you cannot copy the form of a dead person?

Hmmm…

Sailor-Moon-1-Usagi-not-knowing

HAHAHAHA!

I want to immortalize this scene as the time in which usagi, totally made Sailor Moon up. 

You could practically see it, she has no idea who the hell she is supposed to be and she saw the moon glint and thought, hey this sound good.

The best part? The youma’s response – Never heard of you. 

And of course not, there isn’t any Sailor Moon until Usagi thought of it. Which btw, if certain scenes in the manga isn’t even correct. heh.

I hate to break it to you Usagi, but you’re not TYPE-MOON, you’re more like TYPE-UNIVERSE. Which meant the title of this series is a vicious vicious lie. lol

Sailor-Moon-1-Zombie-Brigade

This is actually creepy. In a zombie kinda way.

And wow, the Dark Kingdom version this time meant business. Not only can they take energy but the humans that they took the energy from will be under their control….

Sailor-Moon-1-Usagi-Crying-power

Usagi weaponizing being a crybaby since the 90’s.

To be honest, I really don’t like the voice acting on this scene. I wish I got a really annoying high pitched wail here. lol

Sailor-Moon-1-Romantic-Usagi

Anyway, after a bit of cheer-leading from Tuxedo Kamen, Sailor Moon finally attacks and destroys the youma.

Sailor-Moon-1-Gossip

The next day, Naru is excitedly relating her encounter with a “robber” and the “Sailor Guardian”. Well, at least she’s not traumatized by this.

And yeah, unfortunately for you Usagi. This isn’t a dream.

Not by a long shot.

Sailor-Moon-1-Ami-in-the-Rain
Next time, we meet Sailor Mercury!

Concluding Notes:  

Well, there isn’t much to say that I haven’t already said. This is mostly a reproduction of the first chapter of the manga actually. And while I do praise them for trying to be faithful, I hope that they won’t be THAT faithful in the future episodes. I won’t mind a few anime-only material inserted here and there to make the character breath a little.

I also hope that they would add a variety of Usagi expression on the anime as well. Its a bit disarming seeing Usagi’s voice and expression not truly syncing while I watch.

That said, this is a good “enough” episode and I will keep watching. Won’t recommending it to anyone yet though, unless you’re like me that would be hit by a lot of nostalgia bubbles by just watching this. ^^

 

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8 Responses to Sailor Moon Crystals 01- Usagi is not Usagi is still Usagi?

  1. Aster says:

    Well, should I say… welcome back? This is my first time responding to you.
    I really love the show and yeah, I think that you're right about the 1020p problem…I should've read this before I watched it.
    To be honest, the thing that I've been waiting for in Sailor Moon are: yuri and yuri subtext. *Currently burning in hell*
    As usual, this is an impeccable review and like in your review regarding Saki, I look forward for more.
    PS. *pouts and puppy eyes* Is there a chance for you to update both of your stories? Pleeaase? It is my birthday.

    • Yeah. Its good to be back. I was a bit depressed when a blog post got deleted for a while and then real life intruded … so yeah… T_T

      And of course the "relationship" between the senshi *cough*shipping*cough* is the highlight of the original show. The miracle romance was a bit forgettable in that. To be honest, sometimes I wonder if Usagi isn't building some sort of giant senshi harem. It doesn't help that every single senshi is just so pairable with each other as well. .

      And wow, someone actually liked my stories? I'll try to write more but no promises. ^^

      *Looks at things to do*

      I do promise to dissect every single hint of senshi shippjng on Crystal with a finely tuned comb with my pink colored visor specially ordered from yuritech just for you.

      …And yeah, I need to finish my zenkoku blogging. Probably a post for each team.

      • Aster says:

        Good luck in RL! Is it episode 12 that got deleted and perhaps episode 13 also?

        She is building a giant senshi harem, I assure you! Nothing can bypass my yuri goggles! Or any avid fan of yuri at that!

        You're kidding when you said that right? A lot of us likes your stories and anyone who claimed that they did not enjoy is rubbish(or maybe a tsundere)! At least, you responded to it! I'm dying out of curiosity though.

        *Dancing like a retard* I have a rainbow-color goggles from the same company! What a coincidence! Haha.
        It would be my honor to read it.

        • Episode 12 got deleted, after that happened my motivation took a nosedive for the whole month. Anyway, learned my lesson, back-up back-up and more back-up. ^^

          And hahaha~
          I actually thought most of my readers gave up after they noticed my ridiculous update schedule. lol Its gratifying to hear that some of you guys are sticking it out. To be honest, I was waiting a bit if the manga would tell more about the Miyanaga situation before I delve in deeper in the story. Though, with the latest chapter that hope seems to be forlorn though… Oh well, both of them is an AU anyway.

          And I better go watch the next episode of Sailor Moon now and make up my next blog post. ^^

      • Kiukun-Nadralexe says:

        Ah so that's why I didn't find the post on episode 12 …. man I thought I had imagined it because I didn't find it anymore. Well now I know why 😀

        About Sailor Moon … well I never watched or read any Sailor Moon so I can't really comment on it. I can just say that your work is still as good as always on your dissection of anime and I enjoyed reading even if I know nothing about it.

        On fanfiction now, your really thought everyone gave up ?? Have no fear you will never lose me as a reader. Firstly, you are one of the only two authors I ever review …. the other being Platinumsabr. Secondly, you are far from being the slowest to update, I have a fanfic which has not been updated in two years and I'm still waiting for the new chapter. Lastly, there are very few Saki fanfiction and even less very good one so you are basically a required reading whenever I want to read a good Saki story. So don't give up I will be there to review whenever you update ….. well hoping I don't wait five month to review this time '^^.

        I see I wasn't the only one to despair about the glimpse with Teru …. ah well should have expected it

        • Hehe. Thanks. This outpouring of support is making me want to write some chapters. ^^

          Though, the next "chapter" of Saki Fantasy Mahjong is actually just one scene shy of complete. Still, I'm not promising anything. I'm actually wondering if I should post it or withhold. Not that I want to torture readers. ^^

          But, truthfully? The whole chapters posted until now on the site is really conceived as just one chapter. I managed to break it down but I wonder if it will flow better if I didn't do that. Hmmm… On the other hand, if I didn't break it down, the updates are going to be huge and slower. (And I'm already in snail pace).

          Hmmm…

  2. Aster says:

    Yeah back-ups are the savior!

    No, seriously, no! There's no way that I would forgive myself if I give up such wonderful plot. I've seen worse, they updated yearly. I was excited with the Teru scene and the press acting like one scene and then suddenly it is a flashback about Usuzan?! God, Ritz is killing me!

    I better stop this or your blog will turn into a chat box containing rants about how Ritz left me hanging (no pun intended).

    Usaaaaaagiiiiiiiii! Haha
    Till then, Night!

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