A two-year-long journey through a twenty-year-old classic.
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.
My God, it’s full of Sailor Stars!
And so we come at last to the end of things. As is tradition, I’ve got a Stars retrospective after the recap, with general commentary on the season as a whole. As for any overarching thoughts about the entire series and my two-year trip through the Mooniverse, I’ve decided to save those for another post tentatively scheduled to go up the first week of May.
For now, though, we’ve got a finale to tackle!
When you wish upon a star seed…
The plot is everywhere, and its devices are right there with it. My ongoing struggles with Stars continue into its penultimate episode, alas, but overall I was far more invested this week than I thought I’d be, thanks to some heart-wrenching character beats and a surprisingly layered backstory for our previously 2-D antagonist. Compelling antiheroes and sympathetic villains? Yep. Some of the magic might be missing, but it’s still Sailor Moon, all right.
We interrupt this broadcast to bring you the apocalypse.
It may be April Fool’s Day, but the Mooniverse couldn’t be more serious. Season-long mysteries get devastating answers, our cast struggles to know who to trust, desperate times lead to desperate plans, and characters be droppin’ like flies. Geez. Did I accidentally switch over to Game of Thrones: The Animated Series at some point?
Okay, Star Lights. I have good news and bad news.
The good news is: congratulations! you’ve finally found your princess! As for the bad news…well, let’s not spoil the surprise, shall we?
I have a lot to talk about this week but I worked it all into the posts, so let’s skip the opening chatter and jump right into it. Recaps, ho!
We’re Star Serious Laser-Focused on the main plot now.
Taiki and Yaten continue to be a broken record of unnecessary hostility, but the rest of the story has no interest in stewing with them. We’ve got auditions, minion deaths, shiny star seeds, black holes, and plot holes. And I thought my week was busy.
desksbeds* indeed, Usagi.
Our teams are still struggling to see eye-to-eye–and in some cases not “struggling” so much as “working very hard to NOT do that thing.” I was pumped when the Outer Guardians returned to the cast at the beginning of the season, but their role in the story has been so limited and aggravating that I almost wish they’d stayed in Time Prison/on their couples road trip instead. Still, despite Team Xenophobia’s best efforts, Team Moonie is slowly but surely winning over Team Lights thanks to a combination of friendship and empathy. Now if only they could do the same for their own allies…
The moon and stars aren’t breaking up—they just need a little space.
Nothing like secret identities to throw a wrench into the beginnings of bee-yoo-ti-ful friendships. We’re making the shift from magical girl sitcom to superhero drama this week, as is our seasonal tradition, which means big reveals and even bigger angst. Although really, when it comes to end-of-season hardships, the heroes got nothin’ on the villains. If you thought maintaining a personal relationship was tough as a good guy, try being a minion. Crow’ll tell ya. It is rough.
Fighting evil by moonlight, stalking toddlers by daylight…
We’re inching toward some kind of final confrontation, given the dropped plot crumbs and Galaxia’s increasing impatience. With just a single cour left I’m a little concerned we’ll be burning through story lines instead of stopping to smell the (probably literal) roses from time to time, but given all the new characters and murky motivations, I suspect it won’t be a boring final cour, at least.
For now, though, it’s one-part silly adventures, one-part power-ups, and all of it centers around The Littlest Bunhead. Chibi-Chibi is either going to be an impressive Mooniverse reveal or the convenient plot device that puts all other convenient plot devices to shame. Either way, I sure can’t call her inconsequential anymore.
Monster-of-the-week? More like monster-of-the-minute.
This is one of those times where I wish Sailor Moon didn’t feel like it had to fit a battle into every episode. There are a lot of interesting (or at least potentially interesting) out-of-costume conflicts and interactions swirling around right now, but we don’t get nearly enough time to explore them because they have to share 20-odd minutes with Seed Targets the series is clearly phoning in at this point. I love my goofy monsters and clever fights, but I’d much rather the show skip them entirely than half-heartedly cram them into a few obligatory minutes.