If you haven’t heard by now, Sailor Moon, the gateway anime for a generation of American teens, has received a reboot. Sailor Moon Crystal began airing on July 5, 2014, and can now be viewed on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and other reputable (cough legal cough) online entertainment hubs. Our Non-Fiction editor Soleil Ho (who we are resisting the urge to call “Sailor Sunshine”) will be reviewing the anime weekly, giving you plenty of time to catch up and allow for spoiler-free watching.


Just when I thought that I was done thinking about Sailor Moon, done soaking my eyeballs in flowery fanart, done half-pondering the logistics of stapling together a feasible Sailor Uranus cosplay getup, this shit comes back into my life and now I listen to Momoiro Clover-Z songs on repeat for two-week intervals while waiting for the next 24-minute episode of Sailor Moon Crystal to come out.It’s a finer-boned, sleeker version of the classic 90s anime, though a few key constants, like Usagi’s original VA (the eternally shrill and lovable Kotono Mitsuishi) and the series’ trademark poses and transformation sequences, link the two series together. Its loyalty to the original text(s) makes Crystal seems less like a full-on reboot than an EDM remix of a classic diva ballad.
I admit that in the weeks leading up to Crystal’s official premiere, I jumped at every chance to watch leaked footage and audio. I was hungry, and I regrettably sank my teeth into what precious grains I could scavenge. All the same, the first episode of Crystal treads such familiar ground that it feels as comfortable as a recurring dream: the cat with the Band-aids, the 30 points on the English exam, the one-use-only hysterical crying attack. Actually, Mamoru walks around in a tuxedo almost 24/7 now, which somehow makes him even dorkier than he used to be. He reminds me of the guy in a devil costume who wanders around New Orleans’ French Quarter and charges tourists for photos. Is that what you’re about now, Mamoru? I mean it’s cool, urchins gotta urchin.
The character designs did scare me a little — Usagi and her friends just look so damn elegant, a la Maria Always Watches Us” — but that’s really due to the influence of the original manga, which is almost the Patient Zero of Japan’s leggy magic maidens. Fortunately, the characters still behave very much like ridiculous teens, despite looking like Stepford versions of their past selves. There are some interesting opportunities for juxtaposition here. An early scene shows Usagi doing some lovely primping in extreme closeup, all while shrieking at her mother for not waking her up. (A subsequent spill down the stairs is brutal and tailbone-crunchingly rendered.) The strangeness of Crystal!Usagi’s physical maturity and femininity in this context works well, especially considering the core meaning of Sailor Moon: that of adolescence, of transformation, of figuring out what it means to become a woman and a space-queen (spoiler alert?). Like all of us little caterpillars, Usagi has all she needs to become the dazzling pink butterfly she’s destined to be, but she has to do the hard work of getting there (with a little help from her friends, as we’ll see).
Next time: “the brain,” cat envy, and Queen Beryl’s silence on public education issues.

1455981_591794204224678_571490983_nSoleil Ho is a freelance writer, and chef living in New Orleans. Her essays have appeared in Mason’s Road, Bitch Magazine, The Heavy Table, Interrupt Mag, Impreachable, CLAP zine, the Twin Cities Runoff, and Art Review & Preview. Whenever she visits her grandmother, there always seems to be a big bowl of chicken curry on the table, just for her. You can find a bunch of her writing at soleilho.tumblr.com.

 

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