Panning the Stream: Sailor Moon Crystal, Locodol, Aldnoah.Zero

In the name of the moon, you will be nostalgic!

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I’m working to catch up after the long weekend, so here’s your second trio of the day. This bunch has one shiny remake, one riveting original, and one icky adaptation. Well, two for three ain’t bad.

Premiere Reviews below the jump!

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal

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Studio: Toei Animation
Based On: The manga by Takeuchi Naoko
Streaming On: Hulu, Crunchyroll (listed as “Sailor Moon Crystal”)

In a Sentence: Clumsy student Usagi becomes the monster-fighting guardian, Sailor Moon, after she stumbles across a cat with a crescent-shaped mark on her head.

How was it? Oh-so-pretty.

Overall
I really feel like most of what I have to say about this premiere was already covered in my “Meet ‘n’ Greet” of the original Sailor Moon. I suspect the story will change pretty significantly outside of a few plot points, but this episode was pretty much the pilot of the original SM verbatim, the major differences being of course the voice actors and the animation.

And the animation is rull pretty, although I wasn’t in love with the awkward CG transformation sequence. It’s also not as goofy as the original anime, as a lot of the facial expressions and pratfalls were much more toned down. That said, the tongue-in-cheek humor is happily still very much present, especially whenever Mamoru/The Tux is around.

My understanding is that this will be a pure adaptation of the manga instead of the “inspired by” of the original anime, which I suspect means the story will be a lot less sitcom-y and a lot more plot-centric. Usagi’s having dreams about the past and/or future certainly suggest that this will be the case, and while I’m not sure where that foreshadowing is headed, I’m positive it will be sparkly and full of flowers.

Coming Back for More?
You know it! It’ll be fun to do a compare/contrast between this and the original SM. I won’t be doing recaps for this one like I’m doing for the original, but I might pop in with short reviews if I feel like I have enough to say. We’ll see how it goes.

Futsuu no Joshikosei ga Locodol Yattemita (“Locodol”)

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Studio: feel.
Based On: The 4-panel manga by Kosugi Koutarou
Streaming On: Crunchyroll (listed as “Locodol”)

In a Sentence: A young girl gets snookered into becoming a local idol (or “locodol”) as part of her sketchy uncle’s plan to rejuvenate the city.

How was it? Kinda skeevy.

Overall
Shows about pop idols are generally awful because they romanticize and kawaiify an industry that is based largely on the exploitation and sexualization of (primarily) underage girls. I didn’t expect to keep watching this one but I was at least hoping it wouldn’t gross me out. It did. I dropped it right around the eyecatch when these girls who look about 10 were portrayed in incredibly revealing mermaid costumes. And this show is probably going to be a bestseller. Sigh.

Coming Back for More?
Ick. No. Never. And I very much hope you won’t, either. Instead, Google “AKB48” and become increasingly horrified and enraged by the otaku pop idol movement.

…But before you do that, I highly recommend reading the last review in this post, as our next series just might be the first gold nugget of the summer season:

Aldnoah.Zero

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Studio: A-1 Pictures/TROYCA
Original Series: Written by Takayama Katsuhiko (original concept by Urobochi Gen)
Streaming On: Crunchyroll

In a Sentence: 15 years after a vicious battle between Earth and the VERS Empire that left the moon in ruins, new tensions arise when a Vers Princess arrives on Earth.

How was it? Pretty much everything you could want from an SF premiere.

Overall
I forgot this was the show that Urobochi “The Butcher” Gen had a hand in until the episode was over, and then I couldn’t believe I HADN’T realized it. Barring a little awkward InfoDumping in the early moments, this was pretty much a perfect premiere, setting up conflict, characters, and themes in a big way.

Supposedly this is a mecha series, but right now the tone is more of an SF war movie with attention paid in equal turns to both sides of the conflict. This only works if you can make both sides interesting, of course, and so far I’d say A.Z has succeeded in that regard. The standouts for me were Count Cruhteo and the jaded Lt. Marito, but the teens who look to be at the center of the series left a favorable (if not strong) impression as well. Gen’s series have had a tendency to struggle in their Second Acts, so I know there’s always a chance this could peter out at some point, but as far as first episodes go you couldn’t do much better than this one.

Coming Back for More?
I was actively angry when I realized I had to wait another week for more, so yeah, I’d say I’m definitely sticking with this one.

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