The series staff hasn’t changed radically and Toei Animation are still in charge of the show. Toei is a very strange studio , they own some the literal largest names in anime , DBZ , One piece, Sailor Moon. And having made what is in my opinion one of the best animated films in history : Neon of Genesis End of Evangelion. But people have grown sour towards them due to the way they abuse their shows these days , you just have to google , “ One Piece animation “ to find hundreds of people irritated by the massive drops in quality in recent times.
So was Sailor Moon Crystal III the return of greatness people say it was….?
“The season adapted the Death Busters arc from the fifth and sixth volumes of the complete edition of Takeuchi Naoko's original Sailor Moon manga.”
There’s honestly no point in me writing a full re-cap of the story since if you’re watching the third season , I have to assume you’re a fan of the characters.
As I mentioned above , the key selling point of Crystal is that the story is fitted more towards the way the manga flowed , now I’ve never read the manga in depth so I’m not the best person to comment on this but I will say there was minimal filler. The pacing felt slightly fast and a lot was packaged into the first few episodes which if you’re already disgruntled from the first two season might be enough to drive you away.
The dialogue is corny and the romance overly sappy but , hey , it’s Sailor Moon there’s a guy in it whose main power is throwing roses and wearing a tuxedo. Complaining about that is like someone complaining that DBZ contains topless men screaming.
The humour too is familiar , if you liked it before you’re sure to still like it since it’s just the same.
Now I’m all for moving forward and mixing the show up to separate it from it’s predecessor but I will admit to feeling a twinge of disappointment when the new Opening was completely removed from the classic original series. Visually it’s a bit standard even when it’s not compared to incredibly creative original.
The soundtrack was far more complex that I’d set my expectations for it to be. It carried a lot more weight and range than your usual shoujo.
Now this point might only be relevant for me but I’d still like to bring it up. Usagi sounds incredibly young , almost as young as her daughter.The few episodes I saw when I was younger where all dubbed and there Usagi sounded like a teenager not a primary school girl. Though seeing how accomplished the actress portraying her is , Kotono Mitsuishi , I suppose it’s just me.
What’s really tanked Toei’s sale and reputation is their use of outsourced cheap animation. There was a lot of discontent over the first two seasons , characters designs were inconsistent and looked unnaturally and far too doll-like. I’m pleased to say that Toei probably took a look at their wallets and decided to fix this up , characters look great. If you’re straight from the original series then you might be a bit taken aback but the revamped designs adhere far more to the mangaka's’ original drawings. Hair and cloth animations look great , moving with the wind and characters during fight scenes. Facial animations look far less creepy , eyes in particular no longer look like dead saucers , which is always a plus.
I was quite disappointed with how the show handled the spirits/monsters present in this arc. Very basic designs with the universal black and purple design.
Fight scenes look great and the one thing I’d say is vastly improved from the 90’s series , all the unnecessary filler has been trimmed out but each fight has it’s own personality instead of the same thing with re-used animation.
Characters moved fast and there’s far more space for them to move about in. Choreography is good but not too far removed for it no be recognized as Sailor Moon. The special attacks are slotted in smoothly , with good transitions and vastly improved animation , they seem significant to the fight rather than being there just to fill up time. Fans will be glad to know that there no longer any CGI transformations , a big thumbs up.
A small detail but something that shows an unusual initiative from Toei is how they implemented small things into the world to clearly show that it’s happening in the 2010’s. Characters use iphones and watch the news on HD televisions.
If you’re a big Sailor Moon buff who’s read the manga and or watched the original series but dropped Sailor Moon crystal due to the drop in overall quality then I’m sure and I would highly recommend that you jumps straight into Season III , I think the scare in Toei's funds motivated them to give the fans something that they and the series of worth of. I can’t guarantee that they’ll keep this up , or dump it once again as soon as profits go up. If you’re new to the Sailor Moon world and want to start it well then there’s three paths open to you : Watch the original series up to season 3 pretty counter-intuitive if you wanted to experience the show in HD , read the manga up to season 3 ( the option I’d recommend most highly ) or just grit your teeth and watch the mediocre first and second season.