Chibi-Usa is training as a sailor scout and a whole new threat has appeared before the scouts. That and the mysterious figures that may or may not be allies has Usagi all confused. Between fighting the forces of darkness, visions of the end of the world, and end of year exams, the scouts have their hands full.
I reviewed this show week to week and if you are interested in thoughts on individual episodes click here.
As always when writing about Sailor Moon anything, I’m going to preface this review by pointing out I am a fan of Sailor Moon. By default, I kind of love it and that means even when seeing the flaws in this show, I’m still going to love it. That and season 3 of Sailor Moon Crystal brings us the outer scouts and that can only be a good thing.
So let’s go with the simple plus/minus format.
As I said, season 3 brings us Sailor Uranus and Neptune and also returns Pluto before we finally get to meet Sailor Saturn (and whether you are a fan or not, Sailor Saturn is fantastic). Early in the season Uranus and Neptune are really interesting however they slowly become generic background scouts with slightly stronger powers, however Pluto and Saturn manage to shine right through the final battle.
The introduction of more scouts didn’t help the poor characterisation of the inner scouts. Jupiter has always been my favourite of the Sailor Scouts because of her tough exterior but sweet and caring side (as well as her super cool power). Jupiter in Crystal is nothing. As are all the scouts. They are background noise. They exist only to have their attacks fail in this series and for Usagi to endlessly reiterate their names in poignant moments as if that will somehow help. (I’m being a bit mean to Ami who actually does get one cool moment when she transforms while flying out a window.) Honestly, the entire inner scout squad could have been removed from the series without any discernible impact on the plot or the development of our central characters.
Usagi and Mamoru are adorable. For those who watched the original 90’s version of Sailor Moon, Serena and Darian just never clicked. They had these sweet and touching moments and then a whole bunch of ignore the other one or be rude to them and their entire relationship was more stated than felt. Crystal has definitely fixed that flaw and you now see the couple they should be and the way they hold each other up is fantastic (even if Mamoru is still getting sidelined during the final fights and occasionally comes off a bit arrogant).
The villains. Let’s be honest, at no point did we feel anything for any of the villains. The minions were flavour of the week and destroyed (few of them left any kind of impact visually or otherwise) and the mid-level henchmen sounded bad and then just kind of got brushed aside. Even the big bads were talked up more than feeling like they were evil. Possibly the only real conflict that had any emotional punch in this episode was Hotaru’s fight to save Chibi-Usa’s soul.
Chibi-Usa and Hotaru. If Crystal does nothing else, it has certainly made up for the appalling characterisation of Chibi-Usa from the original series. No longer the brat of the moment she now actually has a personality (and sometimes she is a brat but that is more in-tune with her being a kid rather than her only personality trait). The combination of Chibi-Usa finding her way as a scout and Hotaru’s quiet determination against all odds is fantastic and if more of the series had focussed on this it could have been an extraordinary story (though it wouldn’t be Sailor Moon anymore).
What is with all the purple? I get that it’s anime and aimed at a younger audience but why is everything evil purple? It isn’t scary or particularly effective and by the end of the series there is just a little too much purple. Although, you could possibly say that about the entirety of the series. Colours are chosen to reflect the moment rather than any kind of visual appeal and at times what you end up with is a mess of colours whereas at other times you end up with washed out backgrounds lacking in detail.
It’s Sailor Moon. It’s the good guys (girls) fighting evil despite insurmountable odds and combining their feelings to save the day. It is everything Sailor Moon should be even if that doesn’t make it particularly new or outstanding.
I don’t like the new theme song. Okay, I haven’t liked any of the Crystal themes yet because nothing is going to beat the original sound track, but the season 3 theme is kind of nothing. It doesn’t inspire or get you particularly ready for the show. It just kind of bops along. Visually it is quite pretty though.
Where are Usagi’s parents in all this? I do believe there were several nights where she stayed with Mamoru and isn’t she in Junior High? He might not have parents around and Chibi-Usa might be from the future but Usagi has a family unit that would probably be concerned by their daughter hanging out with a high school guy.
Who is guarding the doorway through time is Pluto is running around on Earth? Just wondering.