Podzilla 1985

Monday, August 18, 2014

Masquerade! Sailor Moon Crystal - Episode 4

We're now four episodes in on this new take of an old favorite.

So far it's been following the manga almost exactly, which hasn't been a bad thing.

I will say that I am glad a changing point has been made, but I'll get to that shortly.

Episode four covers one of my favorite chapters in the manga and original anime, Princess D's masquerade ball. At this point in the story the girls are aware that their main mission is to find their lost princess as well as the legendary silver crystal. Royalty is in town to show off an ancient gem that has never been revealed to the public's eye, so it's a good place to start their search.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! If you have yet to watch the newest episode please stop here and return after doing so. If spoilers do not bother you, or you've already gotten caught up to speed, then please continue.

Now back to that first major change.

Jadeite didn't die!!

(Insert happy fan girl dance here.)

I was so happy. The Four Kings are some of my favorite characters and I wasn't ready to lose any of them yet. It was too soon!

We also finally complete the set with the arrival of Kunzite. I'm very pleased that they have already had more interaction with one another than in the original series. They also seem to get along better, so maybe more of a team effort will be seen this time.

I really hope the series touches more on the time during the Silver Millennium as well. I would love to see more of the Four Kings' back story with Endymion. I liked the nod in the last episode where Jadeite mentioned his attraction to Mars, so my fingers will be crossed.

Overall, I enjoyed the episode, though it felt a little rushed. Rather than using time wisely to progress the story, a nice chunk was wasted by Luna introducing all of the girls again for those with attention spans shorter than four episodes. Plus we got full transformation sequences for all three of them again. I know the original show did this as well, but I'd like to think we could move past the gimmicks a little bit.

I do need to rant a little for a moment.

I am really bothered by how short they made Umino. It makes him so much creepier than he needs to be. Yes he was always kind of obnoxious, but he was still a lovable nerd side character. Who hasn't had an Umino in their lives?

I also find my self nit picking the animation. I have my degree in the art, but I haven't been this picky about it in a while. Far too often the anatomy in this series is just way off.

Not in an artistic way either.

Just look at the image of Umino and Motoki. Their upper bodies just seem off balanced on their legs. Was Motoki in prison? He's all upper body on chicken legs! Someone must have missed leg day.

I wish this was an isolated incident, but it's not. There are weird proportions and consistency issues all throughout this series. I try my best to ignore them, because I do love this universe and still enjoy it a lot, but is it asking too much for good animation? Other series have done it, so why can't Sailor Moon?

Ranting aside...

Along with finally getting to see Kunzite, we also get to see Usagi's father, Kenji. I gotta say that he got a bit of an upgrade. He still has that generic Japanese man with glasses look, but he got a little more handsome this time around. I can see his over protective father role seeming a bit more intimidating with his minor upgrade.  I kinda want to see him get pissed off at someone...

I do miss that friends and family dynamic that the original anime had. Don't get me wrong, less filler is good, but I also feel that we lose a little something when these other characters aren't around as much to flesh out our main cast.

For that matter when are we gonna get to see Grandpa Hino?

The ball was very underwhelming. This is where it felt rushed. In the original series you got the feeling of hours going by due to Usagi and Naru's boredom, but here it was just a small series of events. Snap your fingers and it's time for something new.

  • The girls arrive
  • Usagi instantly wanders off
  • A woman bumps into her and spills a drink on Usagi's dress
  • Usagi freaks out a bit, losses her handkerchief and wanders off again
  • Usagi pouts outside and Tuxy shows up, asking her to dance
  • Short dance sequence while Princess D is getting possessed by Nephrite
  • Enter chaos and a short struggle ended with an even shorter battle.

We still get our favorite couples dance and the whole falling of the balcony and getting saved by an umbrella bit, but it was just lacking a little. The best part of it was Mamoru picking up her handkerchief, which will lead to some of my favorite parts from the manga. He had suspicions before, but now he knows that Usagi is Sailor Moon. We also get proof that he's attracted her her, though it was hard to fully enjoy the romantic aspect of the series when other members of our viewing group were cracking jokes about date rape. 

We love you Mamoru but you are a naughty boy. 

I was happy to see that Ami and Rei got cuter dresses for the ball this time. They had some pretty crappy ones in the original series, though the tiaras they had here were a bit much. Plus, Usagi's kept changing size, leading back to that whole continuity thing again. 

I also like that Luna is still highly cautious of Tuxedo Mask, though we all know she doesn't need to be. She confronts him head on about his position. He's already seen her speak a number of times, and she needs to know if he is a  friend or if she needs to urge Usagi to stay the hell away from him. 

All and all I'm still a bit torn on Crystal. I am a Sailor Moon fan at heart, and I do enjoy it, but there are so many little things that I can't help but pick at. I still need more time to see where this series goes. I'm on the bandwagon for now, and I probably won't get off. I will continue to find things that drive me crazy, though.

It tends to happen when you've been a fan of something for seventeen years.
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