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Alethea & Athena
The best of Sailor Moon 
13th-Oct-2015 03:05 pm
Wow, sometimes a movie or series will kind of uproot you from reality and make everything feel kind of surreal and like, "Wait, what? Where am I? What happened?" And that's what happened with Charlotte! It was a pretty interesting series, but by the end it's like waking up from a dream. I don't really dig that effect; that's why I don't take naps. So I wish I liked the ending better, because I really liked the series overall, except for episode 11. There was another episode that was really hard to watch, but it had a good ending, so it's okay.

Sorry for the vagueness; I'm too lazy to do a cut. And besides, that's not what I wanted to talk about today. What I did want to talk about today is Sailor Moon! We've been watching the old series ever since Viz started airing it on Hulu back in May of last year, and it's mostly been a fun little nostalgia trip. It hasn't really grabbed us as much as it did back when it got us hooked on anime, but it's still good entertainment.

We also watched Sailor Moon Crystal, which was largely disappointing as far as our own opinions are concerned. People were all like, "Finally, an anime version of Sailor Moon that's true to the manga!" and we were like, "But guys, all the character development and stuff that made the series so good is in the anime." That might just come from our own feelings of indignation after not being asked to translate Kodansha USA's re-release, but I'd have to re-read the manga to know for sure. Sailor Moon Crystal sure didn't help. And then people came along on Facebook and said, "Finally an anime version that makes sense!" and we were like, "Uh?" How in the world does Sailor Moon Crystal make more sense than Sailor Moon non-Crystal? And then I think of the DD Girls (is that what they're called? I don't remember details anymore), and I think, "...Okay, maybe I see your point."

I would like to address one thing that failed to make sense in any version of Sailor Moon, and that's Sailor Pluto. I love her as a character; she's got a really cool concept and she looks awesome, but she had one job. One job. To keep people from traveling through time. She successfully manages to stand in the way of the one person who's not a threat to the timeline, but how on earth did the Black Moon clan travel through time, and how is Sailor Pluto not being punished for that? Now we know the real reason Pluto got demoted.

Anyway, the Viz rerun of the series has made it to Sailor Moon SuperS, which we remember for some reason being rather unpopular among Sailor Moon fans back in the day, but it's not like we were on the internet much back then, so we might be wrong in that assumption. We assumed people didn't like it because it had such a strong focus on Chibi Moon, but maybe they didn't dislike it at all for all we know. But what I want to say is that SuperS is the best.

Actually, we haven't seen Sailor Stars since it first aired in Japan...and the time it took for copies of those episodes to make it to the States on VHS. Also, we watched it without subtitles before we knew any Japanese (before we knew enough Japanese to form any kind of coherent sentence other than the very basic things like, "nanji desu ka?"), so we can't really comment on the quality of Sailor Stars over the other seasons, but SuperS is super good.

And this week, the best episodes of it went live on Hulu! So we wanted to come onto LJ and tell everyone to go watch them because they're soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. I think they're probably pretty good without having watched the whole season leading up to them, because that's how we first watched them (also without subtitles, but our friend who provided the video had gotten summaries off the internet, so we knew what all wasn't obvious from the action), but of course they're going to be even better if you have seen previous episodes (and if you know Japanese or are reading subtitles), because part of what makes those episodes so good is a knowledge of the Amazon Trio and how they usually act, and how that contrasts with what's going on in those two episodes.

And I had this whole great review about what makes those episodes so awesome, but after watching Charlotte, it's kind of gone away. I know it has a lot to do with the great everything that went into it--the writing, the voice acting, the staging, the music. The first of those episodes actually has an animator whose work we don't care for as much doing most of the animation, but even though the drawings aren't exactly top-notch, when there's an important emotion, it's depicted very well (sometimes with the help of creative use of color).

Going into any more detail would require a spoiler cut, and I already said I'm too lazy to do that, so anyway, please watch the episodes! You don't have to if you don't want to, but you'll be missing out! ...Of course, if you don't have Hulu...then you can just go to Hulu.com right now and you don't need an account to watch them. (Search "Sailor Moon" and use the drop-down menu to select Season 4.)

Incidentally, Fisheye is the role that first made Akira Ishida one of our favorite voice actors!

Today I'm thankful for getting to watch the best episodes of Sailor Moon again, those two episodes being just as great after all this time (we hadn't seen them in over ten years!), getting to watch the rest of Charlotte, being done grocery shopping, and Viz not having two-week member exclusives.
13th-Oct-2015 11:42 pm (UTC)
If I remember this when I have tiiiiiiime I would like to check out the episodes. It's been ages since I saw the later seasons of SailorMoon (well, any seasons really, but I watched the earlier ones more frequently as they were on air so I remember them better). I never saw Stars at all, just read summaries and looked at pictures on many of the fansites of the day. (and read the manga. but that's a blur too at this point.)

Most of what I hear about Crystal is critical, so I don't think you're alone in your distaste. I agree that the anime added in a lot of nice character development stuff that the manga breezed by (it really does move through everything so fast!). What I loved about the manga was the art: it really was so pretty (I think later in the series Takeuchi-sensei's art got pretty rough and sketchy, but it was still more consistent in its art style). I've always been fussy about drawing quality and "bad art days" in anime and I think the most romantic and emotional scenes, when they existed in both versions, were a lot more effective for me in the manga because of the art (also because I could read and reread at my own pace...). I loved both parts of SailorMoon and felt each medium had its own strengths, as well as weaknesses that the other part made up for.

So Crystal eliminates the extra fleshing-out of the first anime, and introduces bad-art-days to the pretty manga-styled artwork. Well. I can see where it doesn't really live up to either of its predecessors.
14th-Oct-2015 12:37 am (UTC)
We might remember again sometime in the middle of the week next week, when we watch next week's episodes (a day or two late because we're going to Mickey's Halloween Party), so we'll mention it again. And when work slows down for you, maybe just mention that to us and we'll all be like, "There was something we were supposed to talk about when there was more time... What was it...? Oh yeah!"

Oh my goodness, yes, the manga is such a blur! I'm pretty sure we even read it more recently than we'd seen SuperS.

Crystal also tries to add plot elements that make it make even less sense, like randomly they're fighting the Four Generals, and Venus, who has been in the series for a little while now and could have said something at any point when they're not about to get killed, like maybe when Kunzite pretty much did kill Usagi and/or Mamoru (I don't remember who it was; Crystal is more of a blur than the manga; one episode every two-three weeks is not a good way to maintain retention), suddenly says to all of them, "Wait, don't kill them! You love them!" And then they all remember. Wha?

Anyway, by SuperS, it seems like even the animators who had the most trouble...still have some trouble but it's not as extreme. The art in Sailor Moon Crystal is just universally odd.
14th-Oct-2015 04:52 am (UTC)
I totally agree Epi 11 of Charlotte is very hard to watch! I like how it ends at 12, so I haven't watched 13 yet. One of these days, I guess.
Poor Sailor Pluto! I'm getting all of Viz releases of Sailor Moon older versions. One of these days, I'll watch it as well.
14th-Oct-2015 05:02 pm (UTC)
I think the series would feel much happier if it ended after episode 10, but there are still unanswered questions! ...But those are there anyway.

I might feel sorry for Sailor Pluto if she had a legitimate excuse for failing to keep the Dark Moon Clan in the proper timeline.

You can watch it right now! It's on Hulu, no account needed!
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