|2014, here I come!|
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(copy/pasted from my Inkblazers blog I made last night...)
Well, about thirty seconds ago I finished watching the first episode of the new Sailor Moon anime on NicoNico Douga while a frittata bakes in the oven and my husband made cracks behind me. It's a weird experience to be able to watch Sailor Moon during its original broadcasting time...
Obviously, Sailor Moon is hugely influential to me and most people who enjoy the magical girl genre. It introduced the team aspect to magical girls and the original anime had the best magical transformation sequences, hands down. So how does the reboot hold up?
It... well, it held up, actually. I honestly had the lowest of low expectations ever since they announced Momoiro Clover Z would be doing the theme songs (so, you know, since the day they announced it). From then on it was one dumb thing after another... the Tribute Album was released and was utter garbage, the staff was announced and I was not impressed, delays delays delays, they announced the show would not even premiere on TV... what a mess. They revealed the character designs and artwork on the website, which all pointed to the manga as the main inspiration and not the old anime, and my hopes had officially sunk. The final blow was hearing the transformation sequences were done in CG... so I even considered not watching this. But then I popped dinner in the oven with forty minutes to go, and it just happened to be 7 pm. So I watched. And it held up.
I'm really glad they kept Usagi's original seiyuu Kotono Mitsuishi. She brought such humor to the show with her performance, and it's nice to see some things never change. The opening sequence with the planets was nice, too. The animation, in places, was actually a lot better than I had anticipated, especially since I don't think this version is planning on recycling much of its footage. The opening sequence wasn't bad (not the song...) and though I initially hated the idea that the series would be based on the manga, it does make me feel like this series will sort of be something new. I just read the manga again this year when it was re-released and the first episode was almost exactly the way it is in the manga. It's going to be interesting to see how some things happen, and if the series makes it past this season it will be REALLY interesting to watch the R season animated, since that part of the manga is the only part of the manga I feel may actually be superior to the anime. (After R the manga really goes downhill for me, but the first two arcs aren't bad).
Another good is Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask, or "Hentai Oyaji" as my husband calls him. The opening shows him with glasses like in the manga (yay!) and though his original seiyuu didn't make it to this version, uh... I gotta say, I'm happy for that. The original female seiyuu for the show were fantastic, but the men in the first few seasons sounded TERRIBLE in Sailor Moon. So I like the new Mamoru's seiyuu, and I think he and Jedite actually look pretty good in this art style.
I complimented Usagi's voice, but her seiyuu does not go with Usagi's new design. The art director seemed to think Usagi needed to be beautiful in every shot, so while the original Usagi (in both manga and anime) was constantly making goofy faces and spazzing out, there was little to no goofy reactions from meatball head in this version. She was gorgeous in every single frame. The original anime was very good about only drawing Usagi really beautiful when she was in her princess outfit, or in some cases her uniform, usually near the end of a season when she was being benevolent and badass at the same time. But here her lips are always glossy and her eyes always doe-like, her hair always waving in the wind, etc. AND SHE'S SO THINNNNN. But whatever, it's trying to be like the manga... I actually wish they had used her original manga design with the mask and all that, since that is one of my favorite parts of the first manga arc. Her costume was really neat before Takeuchi went in and splashed red all over her. So the animation style is definitely not something I like for Usagi. I think it will look better on the girls, and it actually wasn't so bad for the guys as previously mentioned.
I do not hate the opening theme song "Moon Pride", or even the ending, but goddamn I hate Momoiro Clover Z. I think there is one of them who can actually sing okay, but the other four are awful, particularly the main girl (the Ebi Jump girl, I forget her name... the ugly one with super dimples and snaggleteeth). Guh. GUH. I thought the opening song would have been better if someone else was singing, maybe a singer and not an idol... because idols are not singers. Did you know in the initial stage of auditions for idol groups they don't even ask for a voice sample? So no, not singers. Needless to say, I won't be buying the single for this, haha. But the fact that I'm not putting them in the UGLY section is actually pretty impressive. If I zone out I can kind of stand the opening, I think.
Didn't like Luna's voice... she doesn't sound as cute. She just sounds like a normal teenage girl to me... but she's a mentor cat. I don't want her to be cutesy, and I'm glad she's not, but I adore her original seiyuu Keiko Han. I can't say how I feel about the other girls because they haven't been introduced yet, but we shall see. Expectations set to LOW.
NicoNico Douga really really wants you to be a Premium member. I am not a Premium member; I have used the site a total of three times in my life, so I'm not going to pay to use this site. That said, the non-paying version of the show was... awful. Low quality, the video stopped several times, the audio was missing from several scenes (never got to hear Shingo's voice) and anytime the animation looked kind of good the screen would pixelate. I knew this would happen when people from all over the world are tuning in at the exact same time, so this is why I wish the show would be on TV... HOWEVER, I currently do not have TV accessible, so maybe it's a blessing for me that they chose to debut the series on NicoNico. It certainly gives fans an incentive to buy the Blu-rays, anyway... which I probably will because ALL THOSE GOODIES.
Finally, the part I was most upset about was the CG animation for the transformation sequence and part of the opening (if there was more I missed it thanks to the slow video connection). One of my favorite things from the original series were the amazing transformation cut scenes, which must have been a pain in the ass for animators but showcased some of the best animation on TV at the time. I don't know if I would have been so inclined to keep watching the show when I saw it in my early teens on American TV had it not been for those neat transformations and attacks. Now it's just a CG doll of Usagi, with her ugly CG hair not flowing, but clunkily hovering in the air above her. I got a real Pretty Rhythm vibe from those scenes. If an animation studio approached me and said "We want to make FaLLEN a TV series, but for scenes difficult to animate we want to use CG dolls... is that okay?" I would fire the director and take over as producer. Long live 2D animation!! (even though it's probably dead). I think the planets in the beginning were CG, but meh. What's strange is that the tiara action scene didn't seem to be in CG, and looked fine! Well, as fine as a pixelated monitor could look... I'll have to double check when I watch the series again on BD.
So yeah, a lot of negatives, but I'm actually going to make time to watch the second episode. That is really saying something. I can't really recommend the series to NEW fans, since you should just go and watch the original series instead, but to old fans it is kind of interesting. I didn't get that nostalgic feeling I expected to get. I did, however, think over and over that I would really like Sailor V to get her own origin story OVA at long last... But yes, I'll be buying the BD. The storyboard for the opening sequence is included as a bonus *drools* and the show wasn't nearly as bad as I had assumed it would be. That's not to say it's great, but I am curious to see where they will take this. So good for you, Sailor Moon Crystal.
CONTEST RESULTS BELOW!!!
My name is Brooke, age 30, and this is me with my plant Max in my greeeeen DA shirt. I live in Tokyo and have worked as a professional manga assistant off and on but am now trying to get my own work published. I also do a lot of freelance translating and artwork as well as publishing independently for comic shows, and I even did a quick stint as a storyboard artist for a kid's show in the US.|
Check out my webcomic/webmanga FaLLEN! I work so hard on it ;_;
Current Residence: Tokyo, Japan
deviantWEAR sizing preference: Men's small
Favourite genre of music: heavy metal and hard rock
Favourite style of art: manga
Operating System: Mac OSX
MP3 player of choice: iPod Nano Gen. 6 green!
Favourite cartoon character: Flower (Bambi) and Fifi (Tiny Toons)
Personal Quote: "Think of them as very well-rounded pectorals."