Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Anime Series (sorta)! Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal episode 1

The day is finally here folks!!!! Finally here indeed! No I don't mean the day when I finally got back on track and blogging anime straight away and on time. Sillies. No I mean the day Sailor Moon got...rebooted. Are we saying that? Is it a reboot? I don't know but whatever it is today is the day Sailor Moon is fresh and back in my (our) lives.
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Bring on the popcorn!
It is probably too soon to tell if this series is going to be more popular with the younger audience or if the core supporters will be people like me, in their late 20's and early 30's who grew up on Sailor Moon. Too soon indeed. But for now...lets get this post started. First new anime of the season...Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal. Episode 1 has spoilers for....err nothing. XD
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Math is hard okay! Wait that was English?
Episode Summary: I can probably write this summary from memory. A memory from 20 years ago. But here I go. After a rather long intro looking at the solar system a close up view of the moon and Earth come into view. Two people are reaching for each other (WHO COULD IT BE) and go to kiss each other when BAM! Alarm time and a mother is calling for her daughter Usagi to get up before she is late to school. The young girl flings her clothes on and then just as quickly throws herself down the stairs. She barely has time to grab her lunch and run out the door. Her mother wishes she would be more like Sailor V, a young girl featured in their local newspaper. As Usagi runs to school she accidentally steps on a cat. She cradles the tiny creature which responds like a normal cat and claws her face up. Usagi is still nice enough to remove the bandaid on the cat's forehead before she runs off to school beyond late. Elsewhere a young man in a creepy looking place summons up some sludge that turns into a person. He says they must find the Silver Crystal for their master. Usagi is forced to stand outside due to her lateness so she decides to eat her lunch in the meantime. Her teacher Haruna catches her and yells, voicing her concerns for her student's ability to be on time, have manners, and get good grades. Usagi has gotten a 30 on the latest test which sends her into depression. Her friend Naru points out her friend probably needs to shape up or else. The class...nerd I suppose Umino goes on and on about how hard the test was despite the 95 at the top of his paper. Usagi sorta sits there and thinks about her classmates. Later Usagi, Naru, and two of their other friends go to lunch and some local gossip about jewelry stores being robbed comes up. Umino who was eating nearby talks about how Sailor V is there to stop the crime which causes Usagi to ask who Sailor V is. Everyone has different opinions on who the girl is but they think she is a crime fighter who might be working with cops. Usagi seems more concerned with the fact that Naru's mom owns a jewelry store and could be next. Naru responds by saying their store is having a crazy sale right now and they should come on by.
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HELLO! Where have you been the last 22 years?!
After school the girls follow Naru home but find the jewelry store overrun by crazy women. Two of the friends join in the fray while Naru worries over her mother. The mother is the monster seen before being all evil and effecting the jewelry. Usagi quickly leaves as she realizes her mother will never buy her anything with grades like hers. She crumbles up her test and accidentally throws it in the face of a weirdly dressed man. He insults her grades and choice of hairstyles. Usagi tries to think of a comeback but they both are a bit taken back when they stare at each other. She walks away while the man looks at the store and wonders if the Crystal is there. Usagi stops by her local arcade and plays a game of Sailor V with one of the workers Motoki. They are interrupted by the cat Usagi ran into earlier in the day who just stares at them all creepy like. Usagi returns home and eventually is made to tell her mother about her horrible grades. She is briefly thrown out of the house where her brother makes fun of her. Back at the jewelry store the monster lady is cackling about stealing energy from those who bought tainted jewelry earlier. She is upset that she has no Silver Crystal to show for it but that's okay. Naru walks in and finds out HAHA that ain't mom. Usagi was eventually allowed back inside where she promptly took a nap and dreamed about a princess and Prince And the Sailor V game. She wakes up to the cat she saved earlier staring at her. Then the cat starts talking, saying her name is Luna and she has been looking for Usagi for a long time. Usagi is like um talking cat BYE but is distracted when Luna gives her a brooch. While trying on her new fashion Luna explains that Usagi is on a mission, a soldier who must save the day. Luna tricks Usagi into transforming which freaks and confuses the girl. Before Usagi can protest too much she hears her friend Naru crying over the...intercom hair pieces she is wearing now? Usagi runs to the jewelry shop where the monster has attacked Naru. Usagi is like leave my friend alone because....err I am champion of justice Sailor Moon. The guy from earlier has returned to the shop and is in the shadows watching this all go down like a creepy stalker. The monster lady calls upon all the customers from earlier to attack Usagi who runs around crying this all sucks. Usagi's screams briefly stun the monster and human slaves long enough for the man and Luna to give Usagi advice on how to beat the monster lady. Soon she is a pile of sludge again and the victims are released. Usagi runs outside as the man “flies” away, introducing him to Tuxedo Mask. The evil dude from earlier is intrigued by this Sailor Moon person and smirks. Naru explains to her friends the next day that someone (probably Sailor V) saved her from a monster while Usagi is upset that this was all real and not a dream. Outside a girl is running out in the rain and she looks familiar HMMMM THE END!
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Long time no see Usagi's mom!
It's like...I stepped into a time machine. The biggest and largest case of de ja vu in the history of the world. And I am sure it all happened within the same 12 hours. Fans old and new watching a brand new Sailor Moon episode that was almost scene by scene the same as the one that aired about 22 years ago. One of my friends...was a month old when it aired. X__X
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Tragic people?
It was so weird writing that summary. I felt as if I wrote it before despite never having blogged Sailor Moon episodes before. Well not episode by episode. The internets were young back then folks. But then entire time I was typing I was like...everyone already KNOWS this. Everyone has seen this episode a million times. The only thing that was different was how people looked. They literally could have put the new characters over the old ones and everything would have played out the same. Still it is a new anime series so I need to treat it as such....despite the fact that Sailor Moon really helped get more girl oriented animes out there and put Magical Girls on the map (while not being the first to do so, just being the most successful).
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Who could they be now?
What I liked about this episode is it really set the mood. I mean everyone KNOWS who the Princess and Prince are going to be, even without seeing the anime a million years ago. We have to chalk it up to anime magic that none of the characters themselves figure it out. They look different in their Scout clothes to each other so we can pretend they look their other clothes. But anyway putting aside the long and awkward moment of looking at the solar system (almost like they were trying to force epicness in an already epic show) we had a flashback/dream of two people. Several flashbacks actually. Most are connected to Usagi's dreams but it looks like the man in the episode (unnamed WHAT COULD IT BE) is actually involved. I like how off the bat they are trying to incorporate what is going on before the action happens. And then pass it off as not as serious when the Sailor V and dinosaur interrupt the dream. XD
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But a crybaby with flowers around her adventures!
Soon we are introduced to our main character Usagi!!!! Let me tell you have to mentally prepare myself each time I type her name. I watched Sailor Moon dubbed at first so she looks like Serena to me. But in Japanese she actually sounds like a young girl named Usagi so I guess I will be okay. Usagi is the typical age of a main character girl, 14. We can't have adults saving the world you know. Instead of being super ambitious or brave or smart...or really good at anything we get Usagi. A young girl who cries a lot, gets bad grades, and wouldn't know what brave was if it was a topping on ice cream. Not your typical hero type material. Quite the opposite. While the whiny behavior might get to some people I find it....well more realistic than the typical Japanese teenagers who can make 5 course meals, ace all their tests, want to die for their friends at a moment's notice, and have better skills for the zombie apocalypse than I do. Of course she is going to get better but she is refreshing. Not 7 Up refreshing but not as DERP as a certain set of witches that I just got done watching.
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You are the chosen one!
Because this is anime there has to be a fateful encounter. And no not with the stairs as Usagi runs off towards school. This encounter was....Usagi stepping on a cat. The very idea of doing this makes me want to cuddle my cat. But since Kira is selectively affection I will just make her a fort so she will love me instead. Back to the encounter that will change Usagi's life forever because that is how anime works. Usagi steps on the cat and the cat is not too happy to be cuddled by the stepper onner. Because Usagi is pure and a good person and everyone loves her she still assists the cat because someone put a bandaid on the poor kitty's head. :( Hater kids. There is a moment where the cat and Usagi stare at each other, connecting on some level. But then the bell connects with Usagi's ears and off she goes to be late.
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Ain't no one care about you Umino.
Usagi arrives at school and we are introduced to some more characters. Since this is the start of the series their importance will vary. When one enters a new world of magicalness the normal people that were your friends all along sorta get left behind for the new friends you know. So while Usagi gives us more examples of her really laid back behavior we meet her teacher Haruna who....probably would want Usagi to go far, far away from her class. We meet an actual friend, one that has a name and facial features worthy of remembering. Naru is basically everything Usagi isn't but still is relatable and not sure amazing. And then there is the class smarty pants named Umino. He is rather short compared to his counter part 22 years ago. All these characters (in episode 1 anyway) basically say and act the same way they did in episode 1 but there are still subtle differences. I think though some characters (especially unnamed man later on) could have benefited from some style changes. Such regrettable hair. 

10 minutes have passed and we got to get the plot moving folks. Two nameless, blobbly friends start talking about how there have been a series of robberies lately and that a vigilante in a sailor costume has been saving the day. These characters were telling the audience this as someone in this neighborhood should have already heard about this crap but nope. They had to tell Usagi this as she must not listen to anything, not just school work. Heck the girl has to go OH so your family owns a jewelry store right Naru? Way to slide that in. The episode here and then could have been paced a bit better and not be a paint by numbers, spoon fed type thing. Clearly we all see where this is going so it is a bit silly that Usagi wouldn't remember her friend had a jewelry business and be worried that someone might rob them.
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Who cares about the baddies, LOOK AT THAT FACE!
In any event the girls make their ways to Naru's jewelry store after school. Too bad for them ominous stuff is going on. Bad guys be being bad guys. They all have to live in poorly lite underground lairs. MOG PEOPLE I WANT TO TYPE WHAT I KNOW! How can I do this.....rarw! Anyway a much better drawn man is talking all cryptically to a pile of sludge he turns into woman. They have to find something, a crystal of some sort. And when you want something hidden it is best to hide it in a place that sells that object. So me thinks that all the robberies in this town lately have been done by the baddies. Shocker I know.
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So much bad fashion....
When the girls arrive at the jewelry store several things happen. One we get to see how greedy people are during amazing sales. Oh and Naru is confused as they never really have sales like this. Mom why you acting so crazy. Well mom is currently tided up in the basement and this monster lady has taken over. That will probably not end well. Usagi isn't stupid enough to think she will be gifted anything from her mom with her awful grades so she decides to take out her frustrations by littering. Where are the cops when you need them? When Usagi throws her awful paper she hits an unnamed man in the face with the crumbledness. I should call him a fashion victim because that is what he is. Like...he was a fashion victim back in the day so now he is just embarrassing. I think the song Thrift Shop is about him. Anyway Fashion Victim comments that Usagi has stupid grades and stupid hair because that is what boys do when they are having a moment with a cute girl. He has no room to talk of course. Usagi marches away all upset but still feeling the moment. Fashion victim sticks around because he has business with the same crystal the baddie is looking for. HMMM what could he be up too?
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AW look at him now!
Usagi tries to waste time before going home to see her mom. Bad grades are scary yo. She stops by her local arcade that I am assuming she goes to all the time given that she likes the boy Motoki who works there. But despite being there all the time the Sailor V game is new to her. She must play it since her friends were talking about the game today and she decides she wants to be just like Sailor she doesn't have to go to school. While playing with Motoki the cat from earlier shows up to stare at her. Like um hello kitty, welcome to the arcade? Eventually Usagi goes home and receives a yelling from her mom and some eye rolling from her brother (who looks like a little boy now weee). One would think Usagi would be use to that type of reaction since she gets bad grades all the time.
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....But...the purple blobness....
Usagi is allowed back in the house after a while where she promptly falls asleep instead of doing her homework. Crying is hard work folks. That is when she has the combo dream about the Princess, Sailor V, a dinosaur, and the black cat from earlier. Then Usagi wakes up because TADA the black cat is in her room. And talking to her. And saying things about how she has to become a soldier and do all sorts of things. I might have gone back to sleep too rather than continue to listen to some cat named Luna. Like nope clearly crying myself to sleep has made me delusional and it is time to wake myself up.
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So shiny!!!!
Usagi is a girl and since she didn't get a piece of jewelry earlier she is taken with the fact that this new talking cat has given her a broach. Always check the fine print folks, even when there is no paper. Luna tricks Usagi into saying a certain phrase and BAM it is sparkles and transformation time. Among my friends there is a bit of a divide if this new transformation is better than the old one. I am on team old school. This one just looks....expensive and out of place for some reason. Usagi is slightly upset about this sudden transformation but has no time to progress it as she hears her friend Naru in danger. The monster lady back at the shop has been gathering energy from all the customers and generally being creepy when Naru catches her. Usagi might be a crybaby and confused but she isn't going to let her friend suffer.
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Much better weapon this time!
Usagi runs like she is late to school and arrives to find said monster lady with her jar of energy. The nameless man from earlier is there too wearing a slightly more ridiculous version of his outfit from earlier. He decides instead of helping he will stand there and watch the action. Good job. Usagi is like err this is real and I have to fight this monster? She has a moment of brave when Luna prompts her to introduce herself as Sailor Moon. I may or may not have gotten chills when Sailor Moon did her usual speech. Like AWWW old times again. The battle played out the same as last time. Usagi running around screaming that this was real and trying to avoid the brainwashed customers. I did like how Usagi used her tiara better this time and how the monster turned back into sludge. Usagi had a moment with the poorly dressed stranger as he randomly flew away because she hasn't put two and two together yet. He will be the helpful not really helping man of the series.
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Nope. You are Sailor Moon now and forever. Get used to it. XD
The episode ends with Naru explaining to the two blob friends about this sailor that saved her. I am sure she thought it was Sailor V. Usagi listens in with Luna all angry because she thought this was all a terrible dream. The better drawn villain is all HMMM Sailor Moon how interesting up in his lair. And outside in the rain we see a very familiar blue haired girl dodging drops. So....overall this episode was almost scene by scene the same from episode 1 22 years ago. The blue hair girl being at the school already is slightly different but other than was the same. Everyone has super long legs now, trying to emulate the manga style a bit better. But will that be the only manga similarity? Will the plot be tighter, not so many friend/monster of the week episodes? Will Usagi grow up a little faster? Will certain people not be jerks for so long this time? It is so weird how this is beyond familiar (obviously) but new at the same time. Especially the opening song. I will look forward to seeing how this show evolves, if it will be scene by scene the same or if episode 1 was left intact as an homage as things will quickly change. As my Facebook feed shows this was very popular, episode 1. Then again...we all grew up on Sailor Moon. XD We might be slightly biased...


Anonymous said...

Hello @Christina

So glad Sailor Moon is back! :D

I loved this episode! An excellent introduction to a classic remake.

I think this show will be much more closer and truer to the manga. Also, I disagree about Tuxedo Mask having to "throw a rose, make a speech, and leave" style you prefer him to do in this episode. I'm glad that Sailor Moon can fight on her own without having much help. I think he'll be much more useful in this show than the original anime. So, that's a huge improvement.

Why did you call Tuxedo Mask a "fashion victim?" Didn't he dress like that in the first issue of the manga? If the anime is being true to the original source, I'm sure they would have Tuxedo Mask dress according to the source material.

About the greedy people buying jewelry; come on, Christina. If there was a 75% discount on some of the most beautiful jewelry ever, you would totally buy it. I bet your husband would think a pearl necklace will look good on you. ;D

That's all

Anonymous said...

First anonymous again.

Forgot to mention: The voice actress for Sailor Moon in this show is the same one from the original anime! That's so cool!

End comments.

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