I love Sailor Moon. I, like many other American kids, saw the DIC episodes and loved the scouts, eagerly awaiting the next day to come when I could eat my little snack of graham crackers and milk and see what Serena was up to. I didn’t know what anime really was until I was in college, but as soon as I could, I decided to spend over $300 on DVDs for the entirety of the Sailor Moon series. Turns out it was a scam, and I never got Sailor Moon in any tangible, legal form, so a sad lad was I. No new series, no old series. I was in Sailor Moon Purgatory.
But hark! Word of a Sailor Moon reboot was afoot! By Toei, the company behind the original, no less! Everyone was coming back, and it was going to be beautiful! Oh man, look at all this merch. I’d better buy it before everyone else does! Crunchyroll subscription ready. Makeshift moon stick in hand. Popcorn at the ready. Kitties that look nothing like Luna but are equally as adorable in position. Let’s do this, Sailor Moon Crystal.
Oh, goddamn it.
Sailor Moon fans were in a drought for some time. No new series, little to no new merchandise. What was a fan to do? Then seemingly out of nowhere, like Tuxedo Mask to our clumsy, dumb Usagi, Toei appeared waving the words Sailor Moon Crystal. It was to be a reboot of the original series remade with better animation and with storylines closer to the manga. Then as quickly as they came, they disappeared. Not a poster, not a screenshot, not so much as a sketch for months. Oh, but there was new merchandise! So much merchandise, you’d be hard pressed to find a nerd-centric store without at least a shirt. From figures to earrings to plushies, phone cases, tortilla chips, jigsaw puzzles, tea cups, trunks, forks, gummi candy, you name it, Sailor Moon was on it.
My girlfriend and I were in a store in Japan’s section of Epcot in Disney World, and she ended up buying two or three Sailor Moon things. We got to the counter and she said, “You know, it’s weird. There’s so much merchandise, but we still have no idea what the show’s going to look like. Wouldn’t it be funny if it was just terrible and we’re stuck with all this stuff?”
NO IT WOULD NOT.
I’m not even going to get in to the terrifically bad character development or cringe-worthy romance. JUST UGH. WHY. WHO SAID THIS WAS OKAY.
Oh man look at this spooky monster:
Great design! Clearly a human turned into a monster based off of the skin and giant shovel hands. They just look like they could slap your head and ass at the same time or squeeze the life out of you and simultaneously cop a feel.
NO, REI. BEAUTIFUL, SWEET REI. WHAT DID THEY DO TO YOU.
WHY, SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL? WHY?
Listen, Toei. I get that you committed to bringing out a new Sailor Moon and maybe you didn’t budget enough time. But that doesn’t mean you had to get so sloppy with the show! Hell, say you were going to take another six months to get Rei’s hands surgically replaced with those of a bear so that they’d be noticeably smaller. We all would have understood. But this. This is just bad.
And some people say it’s just the still frames that are bad. And that’s a really good point, a lot of animated shows have some weirdness in the middle of action shots to make the animation look smoother. I get it. But also remember that anime is very keyframe heavy, so these frames are on the screen a lot longer than an action shot. Even taking that away, look at this:
On the plus side, Toei says it’s fixed some of the issues for the Blu-ray release. On one hand, you want to think, “That’s great, as long as it’s fixed.” But on the other, why didn’t they fix it for the original airing? Now, I’m not saying they rushed the show to get out this season, then went back to fix the animation for the Blu-ray so more people would buy it because they’re in it for the money (and my evidence is the mountains of merchandise they’ve cranked out that has soared past absurd and landed on the moon of ridiculousness).
But, I mean… I’m just sayin’.
This season is pretty much over and done with. At this point, I know not to expect quality from Sailor Moon Crystal. I’ve gone from watching it and being excited to see the storyline unfold to watching it in the same way I watch The Room — because it’s kind of a train wreck and I can’t look away. The animation is just so bad, it’s more fun to look for goofy faces than to see their bland personalities be thrust forward through the plot for plot’s sake. So I guess even though it’s really bad, it’s one of my favorite parts of the show?
Wow, that’s depressing to realize.
Oh, and since there’s no where better to mention this — Mamoru Chiba walks about in his tuxedo during the day AND EXPECTS NOBODY TO FIGURE OUT HE’S TUXEDO MASK.
Who’s excited to see what immersion-breaking nonsense comes up next week?
If you want to see more terrible animation crimes from Sailor Moon Crystal, head on over to Crystal Quality, a tumblr categorizing the worst Sailor Moon Crystal flubs. It’s seriously great.