Sailor Moon Crystal Episode Review: 1×01 “Usagi – Sailor Moon”

Anime/Manga

Sailor Moon Crystal finally premiered today, and it did not disappoint. While there were some minor issues with animation quality, the voice acting, story, and designs were excellent. It feels great to finally have Sailor Moon back ❤

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I, too pick up cats off the street, but I’ve yet to turn into a superheroine because of it.

I was impressed by how much the first episode adhered to the manga. The clothing designs, dialogue, and sequence of events were a near shot-by-shot reproduction of the first chapter. Usagi, while not the wildly expressive character that she was in the original anime, gains a sense of elegance in this adaptation that seems more in line with her identity as Princess Serenity. There were some fun anime callbacks, particularly in the casting of Kotono Mitsuishi as Usagi, and the inclusion of the transformation sequence.

The writers also did a good job defining the personalities of Usagi, her friends, and her family. The scenes with Mamoru, in particular, managed to show off his cool demeanor (“Who wears a tuxedo in the middle of the afternoon, jeez!”) while hinting at his impending romance with Usagi.

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The art style is lovely, especially the beautiful Utena-esque title cards, and the facial expressions are better than I was expecting (Usagi’s crying face is very cute). I do worry that the animation isn’t as top notch as it could be. I wasn’t wild about the inclusion of CGI during the transformation sequence, as it was a noticeable, jarring difference from the 2D animation. Similarly, there were some moments where Usagi’s face looked off-model.

Still, I’m more than happy to take the bad with the good, and enjoy it wholeheartedly. I’ve always been a fan of the manga more than the original anime, and I’m really excited to see it get a closer adaptation.

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will air on July 19th, 2014.

All photos and properties are copyright of Naoko Takeuchi, Toei Animation, and Kodansha.

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