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I just finished the first Sailor Moon series. Don't give me that look; I know I'm only seventeen years behind the curve, and I know I'm supposed to be thirty years old and male, but sue me, I had to see if it was worth it.

The series was worth it. But it could have been so much better.

For one, the amount of filler episodes was out of this world. It seemed like there were always a few episodes - and not in a row, they were broken up - that did absolutely nothing but provide a pattern: Queen Beryl's pissed, whoever the middle manager of the month is at that time concocts a convuluted plot in order to gain energy, or gain crystals, or kill off the Senshi or whatever (the plot had worse transitions than a bad NBA team), Usagi is a dork, but transforms, gets her ass kicked, then magically gets rid of the bad guy in question. Eventually, Beryl kills off whoever's pissing her off. Lather, rinse, repeat. This was a 46 episode anime that could have probably been cut down to 30 without losing anything. What's most infuriating in this regard is that after the 35th episode - two outstanding episodes, that brought a lot of momentum to the series, and made me say "NOW shit's getting real!" - we went back to Monster of the Day for the next eight or so episodes, until they started to take on Kunzite for real.

Of course, I say that because characters like Usagi tend to annoy me. Don't get me wrong; Usagi is as cute as her evolutionary spawn Miaka is. However, the constant overdoing of her stupidity - until shit gets serious - is a little overbearing. In fact, I can't really say ANY of the characters were developed well. Let's see...

* Usagi - Dumb as a rock. But a good heart!
* Ami - Smart and collected.
* Rei - Bitch.
* Makoto - Strong, and horny.
* Minako - Sadly, she got the most backstory! Which is strange since she was dropped literally into the middle of a fight, with no explanation, and everyone made like it was just normal. "Oh yeah, Sailor Venus is here! We expected this all along!"

That frustrated me. All of a sudden, Sailor Venus - looking nothing like Sailor V - just shows up, in the middle of a massive fight, turns the tides, brings another cat with her for good measure, and everyone's just like "Oh! Hey, Minako!" At least the other girls got some build-up! I'm not expecting the greatest writing in the world out of Sailor Moon, but at least give me SOME explanation with the 46 episodes you gave us!

That said, it is a cheerful, light anime; it doesn't require much energy to view, like Gundam does, until you get to the end, at which point 44 1/2 episodes of building characters and making people care about them goes up in smoke in about ten minutes, when everyone dies. Bwuh? That's it? Episode 45 isn't exactly like episode 51 of Zeta, which tugged at your heartstrings; it happened too fast to really comprehend, but not fast enough to the point where it makes you jaded (like Zeta, where so many people died in such a short time that your head spun for an hour afterwords). It seemed anti-climatic, though it did come together nicely for the final battle between Queen Beryl and Usagi.

I didn't like the ending when it first happened. I thought it was a copout, and anti-climatic. However, after a day of reflection, I realized that it was what Usagi really wanted; just to return back to normal. Of course, because Sailor Moon was so bloody popular, that was binned by the end of the first episode of Sailor Moon R (I'm two episodes in), and the other girls were back to normal by the end of episode 2. So far, I like Sailor Moon R, though it's kinda depressing to know that I'm essentially watching filler. I'm excited for R, but I'm admitting... I can't see this going on for too much longer. I know that Chibiusa's coming (who's gotten... decidedly mixed reviews from my friends that have seen the entirety of the anime), but after that, I know things get kinda stupid, with Sailor Uranus, Pluto, Saturn, Prius, Hyundai and whoever else they decided to give an elemental attack to. I essentially know that season 4 - maybe season 3 - is going to be my Gundam ZZ moment ("this sucks dick, but I have to endure..."), and all I can hope is that these characters finally get better development than the villains, unlike the first anime.

Overall, Sailor Moon is flawed, but I enjoyed it well enough, which is more than I can say so far about Haruhi, and a lot more than I'll ever be able to say about that piece of shit Lucky Star anime.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
svz_insanity
Dec. 18th, 2009 10:29 am (UTC)
Sailor Moon Super is my favorite season (it's when Uranus, Neptune, Pluto appear).

Minako/Sailor Venus was Naoko Takeuchi's lucky one-shot that sparked Sailor Moon which so that's probably why she has the most backstory. :)
svz_insanity
Dec. 18th, 2009 10:30 am (UTC)
Please ignore my wonky grammar. I'm up late writing a final. Oh god oh god oh god. It's due at noon.
yubsie
Dec. 18th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there is a LOT of filler. And as people know well from my opinion of most of the popular shounen series, I am NOT a fan of such things. The only reason I put up with it is that when the plot finally shows up, it's always really good. The other seasons are a bit better with the filler placement and will have stretches where I spend ten episodes going "NEXT ONE NOW!"

I think I've mentioned before that out of all the versions, the live action series has the best pacing. The manga kinda has the opposite problem of the anime, where it really rushes and people are dying before you even care about them. The live action managed to have enough character development type filler to, well, develop the characters, but not so much that it drags the pacing down.
superbus
Dec. 18th, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
What sucks is that I'm always afraid if I skip an episode, I'll miss that ONE tidbit that's crucial for the rest of the series, and that they'll keep going back to. That's why I keep watching; I'm the same way with ZZ.

I do prefer the anime to the manga because I'd rather have slow pacing than fast, schizophrenic pacing, which is the difference between anime and manga for this series. The live action, I just couldn't get past real actors trying to pretend it's an anime; still shots weird me out, and I don't think seeing it in motion is going to help.
samuraiter
Dec. 18th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
You and I have already discussed this, but this is my hierarchy of the different seasons from strongest to weakest: R, S, 1, Stars, (insert a biiig gap in this space), Super S. (This does not reflect my personal preferences; the Stars season is still my favorite.) I strongly dislike the manga because it gives the villains no characterization and kills them all mere pages after they appear. (That, and Takeuchi-san can only draw a very limited range of facial expressions; the anime characters are far more expressive.) I will not watch the live-action version for the same reasons you have stated, and the multitude of musicals – a canon unto themselves, there are so many – is best left undiscussed.

The S season is still very, very good, though, like all of the seasons, it has its share of filler.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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