Like Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, and Cardcaptor Sakura, Sailor Moon is a series that was enjoyed by many back in the later years of the 1990s. Driven by pure nostalgia, it is a series that, to this day, still retains the same fans it once had all those years ago, and for what reason?
Well, there’s no denying that it is a groundbreaking series the likes of which changed both the Anime and Manga landscape, allowing for more contemporary series’ like it to blossom in the gardens it tirelessly developed, but it’s now 2016 and those same flourishing series’ are now Sailor Moon’s main competitors, so what has kept it afloat for so long, and what is it that will keep it high above the rest for years to come?
As someone who uses nostalgia to fan the fires of past passions constantly, I very much understand that it is a power source unlike any other…but is it enough to drive an entire fandom years after a series’ peak? The answer is; yes, but does a series like Sailor Moon have the capacity to exist in a world wherein which time has allowed for technically superior series’ to develop past what Sailor Moon has to offer?
These are the questions that compelled me to begin reviewing this series from the very beginning, and I feel as though eventually I will get to the core of my investigation. Thanks to Madman Entertainment for their continued support across the board, and specifically for allowing me the opportunity to, once again, experience more of what Sailor Moon has to offer.
After unexpected guest Chibi-Usa falls from the sky and tries to claim the Silver Crystal as her own, Usagi quickly learns this cheeky little pink haired girl is the least of her problems. The Black Moon Clan, in their unending quest to destroy Crystal Tokyo and change the future, have come back in time to corrupt present day Tokyo! Together the Guardians fight the Black Moon’s dark forces, but struggle to understand the truth behind their sinister plan. Is there anyone the Sailor Guardians can turn to for answers? That pink haired girl may hold the key to Sailor Moon’s victory after all! – Madman Entertainment
The most glaring issue with Sailor Moon R’s story is not the details that move it along but the way in which it is presented in episodic form. Watching through these episode (which reach into the 70s), I came to realise that the delivery layout simply has not changed since the very first episode. While this season deals with time travel, back and forth, and a set of new characters with somewhat different goals than the last batch introduced, it felt as though I had seen this countless times before…because I have, in every other episode of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon R.
Unfortunately, Sailor Moon R is indeed a product of it’s era, with every individual episode, apart from those that ended the season, retaining the “Monster Of The Week” style story mapping. The series attempted to bring more to the table than just weekly storylines, which it absolutely could have done if only it tried just a little harder. At the end of it all, Sailor Moon R felt as though it featured absolutely no development, reminding me of storylines present in early episodes of the series which only goes to show that it is a series with little to no development.
The broken love between Mamoru Chiba and Usagi Tsukino present in Sailor Moon R, I assume, was written to bring tension to their relationship which, according to the story, is written in the stars, but it only worked to frustrate me as an audience member waiting for the small character arc to end so that the series as a whole could move on. Every episode the two would break up then make up, only for it to happen time and time again which, believe it or not, doesn’t build as much tension as you would imagine, it only works to slow down the momentum of the series, choosing to focus on the wavering emotions of two characters and leaving the other undeveloped ones in the dark.
Perhaps the most enjoyable episodes of Sailor Moon R were the ones that centred around characters other than the titular character. Not only did this give the audience a chance to catch their breath and re-compose themselves, it also allowed us to become more familiar with characters whom, if not for these unique episodes, would continue to play second-fiddle to Usagi and Mamoru. Sailor Moon features quite a cast of characters, yet the story makes it overtly obvious that none of them truly matter unless their attention is directed at Sailor Moon. Many of you will argue this point, but it is clear that, considering it’s name, this series lives and dies by Usagi Tsukino which means that, sadly, no-one else truly matters.
Thankfully, if there’s one thing that the second part of Sailor Moon R did right, it’s that it didn’t change a single thing in regards to it’s audio and visual presence. I have said this time and time again, but for the sake of new readers I will repeat myself another time; Sailor Moon R is an Anime series from the mid-90s and animation technology has developed exponentially since then, so of course it is a series that looks incredibly dated. Regardless of that, Sailor Moon R features an incredible colour palette that is easy on the eyes and vibrant enough to keep your attention. The animation quality, as mentioned, isn’t as good as what it was once perceived to be, but it isn’t at such a low quality that it makes itself unwatchable. Sailor Moon R is still a great Anime to experience visually, and it is backed up wonderfully by it’s unique, orchestral-style soundtrack and wonderful English dub.
The biggest issue with my reviewing of not only this particular Sailor Moon R release but of Sailor Moon in it’s entirety is that I have no nostalgic reference to help me appreciate what it has to give. I understand where the series began, and how it revolutionised the industry to a great degree, but unfortunately that’s not enough for me to be able to completely ignore it’s distinct writing flaws. Judging the visual presence of such a series harshly would be improper simply because it is an old series, and some would say the same about the writing, but if I were to do that then this series would get a perfect score based off of it’s legacy alone and not because of what it is at it’s essence.
Sailor Moon is a series for those of you out there who enjoyed it during it’s initial years of release. It is not a series that, I feel, will win one over based on what it has to offer in this day and age because, simply…there are many other more enthralling series’ than this. Though, without Sailor Moon, none of what is popular today from the sub-genre would even exist because, well…Sailor Moon invented it. Still, like an athlete, there are Basketball players today that could overpower those who revolutionised the game some fifty years ago. Does that make these legendary players unskilled? No, not at all, but it does mean that, nowadays, there’s simply no competition.
Experience it for yourself thanks to Madman Entertainment. To grab a copy of Sailor Moon R (Season One) Part One Click Here.