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Hi there,


Before I begin, and with regards to those as yet unfamiliar or have not watched the first episode yet, I will say that this article contains SPOILERS. Do not proceed further if you do not wish to be informed of the episode too much, though I have been selective in the scenes I have described and reflected on.


Very recently, as watchers and those familiar with the topic may have recall, I posted a brief, casual essay concerning the institution that the Sailor Moon franchise engendered, over the past two decades – this article stemming from the widespread anticipation felt over what was then the imminent release of the series reboot, Sailor Moon Crystal.

As noted at the conclusion of part one, I moved to watch the episode and had the pleasure of finally viewing it Saturday night, my time. Following some contemplation – tempering understandable levity and bubbling fascination, I think I can proffer some thoughts on what is in itself a remarkable occasion for the rebooted franchise, and the institution its predecessor so founded.


General of the East, Jadeite (from the Sailor Moon Crystal intro)



A sweep of starry gulfs follows to a portentous glimpse of the solar system’s planets and the final arrival at the conclusion of a shadowy dream. This itself the first few minutes before we are introduced to Usagi and her life as it is; a weekday seeing her swept up into her not unusual habits which paint a earnest, if not entirely inspired portrait of our soon to be heroine. The day soon takes an ominous turn when, somewhere in a seemingly Arctic citadel, a uniformed figure evokes and invests a minion with a new mission. Come nightfall, and after many a peculiar meeting and discovery, the newly born Sailor Moon has her first encounter with a foe as she, somewhat clumsily, saves the day with the help of a certain masked, tuxedo clad stranger and the magical cat, Luna. Ending on a intriguing note, we catch a glimpse of a certain blue haired girl making her way through Usagi’s school as rain begins to fall...


Upon reflection, I have little to say that is not positive. From the outset, with its cosmic vistas and gentle melody, a viewer is quickly drawn into a intimate world that is richly invested with colour and texture; familiar faces abounding as our introduction to Usagi rolls with a gentle, but lively energy. This quality is appreciated later when the show deftly shifts between the shadowy, ominous presences that eventually bring the newly transformed Sailor Moon to action, and the vivid, mysterious aura as events continue to unfold overall. From a personal perspective, I can say that the introductions to the characters did bring a smile every time it came to them; be it Ms. Sakurada, Naru or the ominous Jadeite, each time proffered a intriguing encounter to rediscover these memorable first players in the tentative steps into Sailor Moon’s new world. 


Also, it was a notable and pleasing punctuation to find a increased role for the ever mysterious “Sailor V” – this familiar, but masked persona a crime fighter more immediately known about Tokyo, and less of a brand or eccentric celebrity. More so, she also makes a brief, but remarkable cameo which was in the first surprising, but also vindicating in that it would seem Naoko Takeuchi has at last been allowed to conflate both narratives more closely. This a particular point of interest and note as the original “Sailor V” manga concludes near the beginning of what would become Usagi’s story, and it was intended to produce a “Sailor V” OVA series, though this fell victim to development hell before being declined.



Sailor V appears suddenly

 

Moving on, if this first episode proves the intended direction of the series ambiance and narrative energy, then I will be very much eager – even more so – to keep a fascinated eye on developments; the narrative so fertile with inspired questions that it does compel a viewer to muse on how and what will emerge next – the characters just emerging, though with a still nebulous and mysterious tangle of questions to wrestle with as we are left with a portentous glimpse of those who might be next to take up the mantle of a Sailor Senshi.

 

If we are to approach this new series through the deconstruction of this first episode, this presupposes the more holistic question of just how does this stack up overall when compared to the past series and that counterpart episode from more than two decades ago. To proffer my opinion, this new series – if anticipated through its first episode  - is absolutely remarkable; a singularly brilliant and potent return of that sailor suited heroine and her legend.

 

To refer to my earlier sentiments in which the institution of Sailor Moon had not been eclipsed but rather compounded in its importance by the proliferation of Maho Shojo franchises, fostered in the image of the masterwork, I will tentatively say that I feel vindicated. Concordantly, I can say too what I have seen in that episode has not only renewed Sailor Moon in its own right, but it has been the culmination of something like a cyclical project; the creators having appreciated the present institution but also learned from the eclectic body of other franchises that the original Sailor Moon series went on to inspire over two decades. It would be possible to perhaps tabulate a few, though this has already been done in the first part of my essay, and can be seen to singular effect in viewing the new episode.





If I was to proffer some measure of concern, if not criticism, then it would be in three distinct issues: two related to the new series, and one concerning the creators. In the first, it would be prudent to remind a reader that the first series of Sailor Moon - now "Classic Sailor Moon" - was a series of 46 episodes; a length certainly not uncommon for the time, and familiar now, though somewhat less so. This new series is interned to be a twenty six episode project, and though the prospect of a more versatile, invested and energetic return to Sailor Moon is very palatable, it does make me wonder if pacing will be an issue for the respective arcs, characters and sub-plots associated with the events following Usagi's first transformation and the beginning of her heroic mission.


When compared to the scope of the first series (circa. 1992-1993), it seems like a lot to condense, though could still be a success. In the second respect, and contingent upon the first, I am curious as to if the central characters will have sufficient time to shine, before the series marches towards its later, probable arcs. Still, once again, I think it can be done. In the third, and more to do with the body of creators. Though I would not impugn them for the numerous delays in finally bringing SMC to light, I hope that the seeming organisational flaws and hiccups which so impeded things have been rectified, by now - the possibility of production problems something all and any creative, and media, projects face, it remains my hope that SMC does not fall victim to some latent flaw which undermines the project as a whole.  

 

In conclusion, I can end my reflection very much in good spirits. The new episode seeming to have very much entered into a firm, confident stride and with much qualification too, I think that the series it anticipates to come will reaffirm not only the institution of Sailor Moon, but also enthuse it with new colors, textures and energies too – a commendable, vivid start to what could be a singular revitalization of Sailor Moon and its story.


Thanks again,


Mercury-Pentacle.


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Mercury-Pentacle
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