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Sailor Moon Crystal Episode #02 Anime Review

4 min read
Sailor Moon Crystal Episode #02
Sailor Moon Crystal Episode #02

It’s always nice to make a new friend, especially one whose got your back.

What They Say:
Through an unexpected turn of events, Usagi becomes close with Ami Mizuno, a genius girl with an IQ of 300. But there’s something odd about the students at Ami’s seminar…

The Review
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Ami Mizuno is the top student in her class, and the talk of the school.  Ami’s intelligence hasn’t made her a target of hate, but it has created a barrier which has kept her mostly alone.  Meanwhile, Usagi can barely pass her classes, but she does have something that Ami doesn’t, a group of friends.

Of course destiny is at work to make sure Ami isn’t alone for long.  That destiny just happens to come in the form of Luna, whose had her eye on Ami as a potential guardian.  To that end, she approaches the girl and leads Usagi to her, which of course leads to Usagi dragging Ami off to the arcade.

Ami is a natural at video games, and easily beats the high score on the Sailor V game.  Doing so earns her a prize pen from the machine, which causes Usagi to tilt the thing until it spits one out for her as well.  Ami can’t stay for long before she’s off to cram school, EVIL cram school.  Yup, the bad guys are at it again collecting energy, and it’s up to Sailor Moon to put a stop to it.

It’s still early in the series, and most people who have seen one of the versions of Sailor Moon before will notice we’re sticking close to the script for this episode.  We do get to see a few new things going on, like the transformation pens being used as actual writing utensils.  There’s something very odd about seeing Usagi using a modern laptop, however the enemies are a bit behind the times with that physical media they’re handing out to people.  (My computer doesn’t even have an internal dvd drive anymore…)  We also get Usagi using her disguise pen for the first time, even if it’s a pretty poor disguise.  Speaking of which, shouldn’t she have realized at that point that Ami now had a magic pen as well?  I guess it drives home the point that Usagi isn’t the most perceptive person in the world.

There’s a dramatic uptick in he amount of humor compared to the first episode.  To go along with it we get more exaggerated facial expressions and less stiff animation.  I think I even noticed a sweat drop on Luna at one point!  I was also surprised to see that the tiara attack wasn’t reused animation from the first episode.

Along with the good comes the bad.  In the process of loosening up the animation there’s an uptick in inconsistency.  With more action and movement there’s more room for error.  Oddly enough, it’s the mostly still shots that have the most off looking animation, which is most noticeable in the character’s faces.  Note that other shows are immune from off model designs, it’s just with the level of scrutiny Sailor Moon is under it just stands out more.

Ami doesn’t get as long a transformation sequence as Sailor Moon, and the animators took an even more traditional approach.  They pretty much copied the exact movement and form of the original transformation sequence, even more so than Moon’s, without the extra flourish to make it something special.  Also, the way they chose to make the CG water look more like real water stands out from the rest of the animation.  I was worried about how they were going to handle the more elemental effects of certain guardians, and I expect Mar’s fire to be just as awkward in her sequence next week.  I had been looking forward to these sequences, but now that I know they’re just going to copy what they did before I suddenly find myself less interested.  Who knows, maybe it’ll grow on me.

The other problem with the sequences is that when they cut back from the stock footage the change in the lighting is extremely jarring.  I’m certain there must have been some of this happening in the original series, maybe I just never noticed.


In Summary:
Moving the story right along, we’re up to two guardians now with both Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury ready to take on evil.  It’s a solid second episode, with plenty of time to give the audience a good grasp on who Ami is while driving home Usagi’s poor track record with education.  Yes, the show is still very simple fare and I have to remind new viewers that this is a kids show at heart, even if it is pandering to a now thirty year old audience.  I can only hope that the animation team steps up their quality control going forward, and that hopefully Usagi matures quickly because her voice isn’t just attacking enemies, it’s attacking the audience as well.

Episode Grade:  B

Streamed by: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:  27” iMac running OS 10.9.2, via Safari 7.0.4, FIOS 15/5 Mbps connection.  Your milage may vary.

1 thought on “Sailor Moon Crystal Episode #02 Anime Review

  1. I have always compared sailor moon to the harry potter series in the fact that, harry potter was written for her kids and got darker and more adult as the series went on. The same thing goes for sailor moon it is cartoony and childish at the start but, as it continues it gets darker and better.

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