Life, The Mooniverse, and Everything: The Sailor Moon Newbie Retrospective

A two-year-long journey through a twenty-year-old classic.

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A couple springs ago, when I was just getting into the planning stages of launching this blog, Viz hit us with some big news: They had licensed the original Sailor Moon, and they were going to re-release the entire series with a brand new uncut(!) translation. And just like that I had my first ever blogging project: A 200-episode series of Newbie Reviews. (So, you know. A nice, easy commitment.)

I loved Sailor Moon‘s directors’ later works (especially Ikuhara of Utena fame), and I knew a little about the series itself, but I really had no idea what to expect–whether I’d like it, or find it too childish, or get trapped in Filler Episode Hell. What followed were 24 months and 100 posts of quips, critiques, praises, giggles, feels, and flails, as I slowly fell in love with the cast, the stories, and the silliness. It was easy to see why the franchise had so many long-time fans. And, as the final credits rolled, I counted myself among them.

It’s been a fun journey, but now that I’m sitting at the destination, I wanted take a moment to look back, talk about the series as a whole, and maybe reminisce about the characters and moments that stuck with me the most. I, er… got a little carried away, and the post ballooned like a Dead Moon Circus tent. I’ve done my best to break it up with my favorite Sailor Moon gifs. Hit the jump to take a leisurely stroll down Memo(on)ry Lane.

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Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 87-89 (R Finale)

It’s time to Sailor Moon Ruin these baddies once and for all.

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Since the season finale is basically a recap episode, I opted to knock this last trio out in one fell swoop. I’ll leave my nice, long retrospective for the end, so let’s get right to discussing the whirlwind that was the R climax. Moon Prism Power, Wrap-Up!

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Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 83-84

See, this is why you should never trust someone who goes around calling themselves “Wiseman.”

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While this may have been the calm before the storm, it sure as heck didn’t feel calm, as there were (super uncomfortable) kidnappings, dragons, character deaths, and more creepy villains than you can shake a Moonstick at. With stalkers to the left and evil wizards to the right, Usagi and the gang have got their work cut out for them.

Fortunately, they’ve also got a hologram of 1000-year-old King Mamoru to help them on their way. Yeah, you heard me. A 1000-YEAR-OLD HOLOGRAM KING IN A TUXEDO. And a mask. Times may change, but the gentleman hero never goes out of style.

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Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 79-80

It’s dangerous to go alone! Here, take friends!

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At first it was bothering me a bit that there were so many episodes this season where the scouts kinda got their butts kicked (last week’s Venus episode especially rankled me), but then I realized with this week’s pair that, insomuch as Sailor Moon R has an ongoing theme, it basically boils down to what Luna tells Artemis this week: “You can’t defeat the enemy alone.”

In other words, characters who try to play the lone wolf (like Chibiusa in the early going, or Artemis for much of this week’s first episode, or pretty much any of our villains) fail pretty spectacularly. It’s only when people trust, draw strength from, and rely on one another that they succeed. Look no further than the Rubeus Finale for a shining example of this, as the two Usas teamed up to win the day while Rubeus went all “party of one” and ended up as a firework. Because just in case we hadn’t already figured it out, Sailor Moon is all about the power of friendship and teamwork.

Well, friendship, teamwork, and Ami being awesome. There’s a lot of that going on, too.

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Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 77-78

Man, I’m really gonna miss that breakup subplot—said no one ever.

Juuban’s most famous power couple is back together, everyone’s health is falling apart, and Esmeraude continues to follow the Villain’s Handbook to the very letter. Admittedly not my favorite pair of episodes—while the central story of R is much stronger than that of the first season, I haven’t found a ton of R’s character episodes all that memorable, and that’s pretty much what we’re getting this week. Also, since when has Minako been Usagi 2.0? I kinda feel like they rewrote her character this week, and I’m not a fan of the changes.

But we’ll get to that in due time. First, Usagi and Mamoru need to throw some feelings at each other.

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