Monday, July 7, 2014

Introducing: Sailor Moon Monday

So it's been a long time since I have recapped any TV shows on this blog. The last time was 2012 and it was the very first season of Project Runway All-Stars. See the problem with recapping TV shows in real-time (as opposed to several years later) is that life happens. All of a sudden you are swamped at work and get behind and the next thing you know you're 8 episodes back with no hope of catching up in any sort of reasonable fashion.

But for whatever reason, I was watching Sailor Moon Crystal this weekend and I thought, "I need to snark this." Please don't get me wrong. I was a child of the 90s and I loved Sailor Moon back, which is why it feels only right to do this. So introducing: Sailor Moon Mondays! where I snark the latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal ever other week. If you never watched the original don't worry, Sailor Moon Crystal is a reboot; so you won't miss anything. Also you can watch it for free on Hulu. So lets get started:

Episode 1: Usagi - Sailor Moon

Let me get it out of the way right now, that having been a loyal viewer of the original English dubbed Sailor Moon back when I was eleven, it is going to be hard for me to get used to Sailor Moon being name Usagi and not Serena. So if I screw it up, please forgive me. Also iMac volunteered to watch the new Sailor Moon with me because he said "its a gateway drug to other anime," which he is always trying to get me to watch.

So the first 90 seconds are just pretty animated shots of the solar system and the moon. Nobody is watching this for the artistry. Get to the story. Oh there we go. Usagi is the same as always: oversleeping, being forgetful and clumsy as hell. This is the perfect way to introduce a heroine- have her tumble down some stairs. Clearly this happens all the time as her mom doesn't even get up to check on her. She simply yells down the hall asking if she is alright.

Credits time: I have to admit the new song is catchy and fits the show. Although they keep going on about shiny makeup, which concerns me slightly. Why does their make-up need to be shiny? Isn't makeup supposed to make your face less shiny? Being a fan of the 1995 version its hard for me to not be like "where is the Sailor Moon Theme Song?!?" though. I mean how can you not love this:
Moving on: I can already tell these new title cards are going to bother me.  We see Usagi running towards school and telling us a little about herself. In her own words she is 14 in eighth grade, clumsy and a crybaby. Clearly, she knows herself well. I don't know how many adults are willing to be like "yep, I'm a fucking crybaby. Deal with it." As she is telling us this, she trips over a cat. She runs over to pick up the cat and kisses it. The cat reacts exactly as you would expect a cat to react.
That's pretty much how my cat reacts to me every morning when I try to pet her. Further proof that cats are in fact evil. Well except this cat of course. Usagi pulls off the band-aids covering a little moon on the cats forehead and the cat runs off. Usagi then remembers that she was supposed to be at school and freaks out.

Cut scene to our first encounter with a villain. He's a blond man pulling a pile of goo and dust up off the floor to take the shape of a woman. What is it with the Japanese making villains out of putty? Isn't this how expendable henchmen were made on Power Rangers too? Then he asks it to find the "Legendary Silver Crystal." Listen as far as macguffins go the Legendary Silver Crystal already sounds a lot better than the Sankara Stones (sorry George Lucas, they sucked).

Usagi finally gets to school to be reprimanded by the teacher. Clearly this getting to school late happens all the time. The teacher forces her to stand out in the hallway. Since she rushed out of the house early she decides to eat her lunch. Listen, I don't blame her for this. You know how hard it is to concentrate on anything over a growling stomach. Girl, eat your food.... until of course the teacher catches you and yells at you about bad grades. I guess they let her back in class because we meet her best friend Naru and the annoying class nerd with weird eyes. I mean really he has hypnotize eyes.
Also games? I'd like to punch him too

Finally its lunch time and poor Usagi can eat. She's there with Naru and two other girls. Its not important to learn any of these girls names as they will be disappearing within the next 5 episodes when the Sailor Scouts arrive. I mean Sailor Moon can't be friends with these people after she gets magical powers. These girls are all talking about the recent robberies at jewelry stores and how Sailor V foiled the robbers plans. How is it that Sailor Moon is the leader of this group when Sailor V has been kicking-ass and taking names for a long time before her?

Naru then talks about how her family owns a jewelry store and how they are having a big discount sale. How very convenient for the plot of this show. They go to the jewelry store after school and there is like a mad panic of people shoving at the jewelry. We then cut to the mom being all evil-like about how the jewelry is sucking the energy out of these people. Isn't this like the entire plot of Hocus Pocus?
Usagi gets all upset because she can't afford the jewelry and her mom sure isn't going to buy her any with the 30 she got on today's test. She leaves the jewelry store, crumples up her test and we meet- Mamoru when the test hits him. He doesn't waste a second before insult Usagi about her hairstyle and it brings me back to my meatball-head- days-of-yore.
They argue before Usagi runs away muttering how he is wearing a tuxedo in the middle of the day. Really its not the tuxedo that gets me but the pocket watch. It's 2014 who fucking wears a pocket watch anymore? Is he a 90 year old British royal? Anyways, he is also looking for the Legendary Silver Crystal.

Usagi still feeling down on herself walks past an arcade that has a big poster for a Sailor V game. Wanting to be more like Sailor V, she takes an detour into the arcade and I take a detour back to 1992 when arcades still existed. She plays the game, we meet Motoki - the cute arcade attendant. The cute cat with the moon on her head shows up at the arcade and Usagi makes fun of her for having a crescent-shaped bald patch. For as upset as Usagi got when Tuxedo Mask made fun of her hair, you would think she wouldn't criticize the cat's style choice.
Usagi then finally goes home where her mom questions her about the test and then freaks the fuck out at her. I mean I got bad grades in my day but my mom never told me to not come home for them. Her mom then shoves her 14 year old daughter outside and tells her to not come home. Even in Japan completely negligent parenting happens on shows with teenagers. I immediately was like "what is the crime rate in Tokyo," and was answered with "Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world." Still leaving a 14 year old locked outside at night seems like a bad idea.

Eventually Usagi is let back into the house and she goes straight to take a nap. This is my kind of girl; naps are awesome. She has a dream which features  Sailor V fighting Godzilla. The Japanese really know how to get their cameos in.
Usagi is then woken up by the cat with the moon shape on her head and the cat talks to her. Usagi reacts the way any 14 year old girl would react by climbing under the cover and assuming she is dreaming. The cat introduces herself as Luna and gives her a present. The cat tells her she is the choose guardian and must save Tokyo and my thought is in a city of 13.35 million people they couldn't find someone more qualified than a 14 year old girl?

Anyways we then get our look at the new transformation sequence. I'm a little jealous of those perfect glowing nails because I can never get my nail polish to look that good. The sequence little longer than the original one and Sailor Moon got some sweet new accessories, but it still pretty awesome.

Usagi can then hear her friend Naru in trouble and although clumsy and not at all qualified for the job, she runs to save her. Naru's mom is locked in the basement and the villain-of-the-week is about to kill Naru when Sailor Moon shows up. The villain asks who she is an clearly Sailor Moon has no idea who she is either. Luckily, Luna is there to remind her.
The villain-of-the-week then calls all her energy zombies to attack Sailor Moon and like any good heroine, Sailor Moon trips and falls. Luna tells her to fight, but like a smart 14 year old girl she is running for her life. Of course she breaks into tears and starts crying, which turns out to be sonic crying and all the windows in the jewelry store shatter and the zombies cover their ears. So basically you are telling me she is a super hero and her skill is crying? Way to set the feminist movement back ten years. I could not sum it up better than my friend Lorriane:
After the crying has immobilized the energy zombie everyone keeps telling her to "do it now" and she has no idea what they are talking about. Give the girl a clue here, she only became Sailor Moon five minutes ago. Home-girl has no idea what she is doing. Finally, she takes off her tiara so it can becoming "moon tiara boomerang" and I burst into laughter at how completely ridiculous that sounded. The tiara flies off barely touches the villain-of-the-week and the villain disintegrates back into dust. Tuxedo Mask tells her job well done and hops off, jumping higher than no normal person ever could.

We then cut back to the original blond villain watching from his crystal orb and muttering about having to get that Legendary Silver Crystal. I'm concerned they are going to call it the "Legendary Silver Crystal" every time. Is there another non-legendary silver crystal we can get it mixed up with? I think we can safely call it the Silver Crystal and by now everyone knows it is legendary.

Usagi is back in school the next day and all her friend can talk about is being saved by a Sailor Scout and this right here is why these friends will stop existing soon. There is no way a 14 year old girl like Usagi is going to be able to keep this a secret for long. We then see out the window where Sailor Mercury is running in the rain.

I have to say its a pretty strict reboot. The story doesn't seemed to have changed much. I will say I was put off by how much skinnier the characters are this time around. Usagi's face is much shallower and pointier than it was before. Plus, she looks older; less like a 14 year old. Her arms and legs are much skinnier too. I realize the reboot is supposed to be in the style of the original manga but I do worry they made the characters a bit too skinny.

Anyways, how did everyone else like the new Sailor Moon Crystal?
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