Friday, March 14, 2014

Sailor Moon Crystal is Losing Its Luster

Okay, as the rest of the anime world has been screaming about, some (slightly) new details have been released about the upcoming new Sailor Moon anime series.  Courtesy ANN...

I've posted the following in a few different places and I'm sure this will migrate over to shortly - not sure if I want to stick it in SSS and the Anime Archives or heck, how about in both, but here are my thoughts about this whole thing, from one of the early American moonies...

Two words: Not Impressed.  It's a reboot, it's a fucking reboot of the fucking worst season of Sailor Moon ever - the original Sailor Moon, along with Usagi's extra head shit from Sailor Stars.  Really?  That's the best they could come up with?  All those stories and characters across all that managa, anime, musicals, video games - and that's the well they decided to go back to - just straight up vanilla Sailor Moon?

Alright, time to calm down but, uh yeah, that's what it kind of seems like...

"Usagi Tsukino is a second-year middle school girl...  ...As a chosen guardian of justice, Usagi seems to have a mission to find the Illusionary Silver Crystal with the other guardians and to protect the princess...  ...the queen of the Dark Kingdom, Queen Beryl, also sends minions to the town where Usagi lives to obtain the Illusionary Silver Crystal... ...Can Sailor Moon really find the Illusionary Silver Crystal with the other Sailor guardians, and protect the princess…!?"

We all know the answer is yes.  Heck, she's holding the damn thing in the ONE OFFICIAL RENDERING that accompanied this information.  Hey guys, guess what, spoiler alert - SHE IS THE PRINCESS!

This is what cracks me up, "Producer Atsutoshi Umezawa said that it "is not remaking the previous anime, but adapting the original manga and starting from scratch again.""  Well considering the the original anime was fairly hitched to the original manga (for the most part) for the first season until it started to outpace Takeuchi's publication and had to become its own thing, re-adapting the original manga starting from the beginning means you're BASICALLY REMAKING THE ANIME there, Mr. Umezawa.

We all know the manga story, we all know the anime story.  The anime is what made Sailor Moon a worldwide media phenomenon.  That's what everyone fell in love with.  That's what crossed gender and genre lines to build one of the strongest and spend-ready fandoms of anything that really should have never grown as a big as it did.  Sailor Moon, worldwide at least, was the happiest of happy accidents.  So why redo that?  Why redo what we already all love?  What we already all know?  I smell Takeuchi's handiwork, someone who never really cared for the anime adaptations and even less the long shadow Sailor Moon cast over her other work, all over this as in "redevelop my original story or there will be no license."

Also, please drop the 20th anniversary label, at this point if there are no more delays this will be released to coincide with the 22nd anniversary.  On top of that, as I've said before, this is a Web release, so don't get too excited as it's sure as heck not going to be anything spectacular.  I would have much rather seen a new movie or another three films or something along those lines.

Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to seeing something new.  I would have rather seen the story pick up after Sailor Stars or seen something based off the Super Famicom RPG Sailor Moon Another Story, which had a really cool concept that took place smack dab in the glory days of Sailor Moon in my opinion (Sailor Moon S).  So much could have been lifted from that and ran with.  However what I was hoping this new series would do most is get the honeypot of North American Sailor Moon anime rights stirring again.  I want to see all five series, and the specials, and the movies re-released in season-specific boxsets.  I want to not only see a possible redub by a localization studio like Funimation, but all the original English dubs also included as optional audio tracks.  Sailor Moon fans are strange as for a fandom that endlessly bashed the dubs for decades, they now mob the original VA's with praise and affection.  (For the record, Susan Roman is the only person who will ever sound right as Makoto Kino / Sailor Jupiter - even over Emi Shinohara, and that has always been my stance.  Susan Roman's voice work both gave life to and made me fall deeply in love with an animated character over 15 years ago, right up to this day.)

If one thing was proven with the manga re-release is that there was tons of money to be made and people were happy to buy the new editions in droves.  Friends of mine will recall that I was right on the money in predicting that the $500+ a full Mixx / TokyoPop Sailor Moon managa set used to go for would evaporate into almost nothing upon a manga re-release, ANY manga re-release.  There's tons of money being lost on second hand sales of Sailor Moon DVDs and sales of bootleg Sailor Moon DVDs and I truly believe it's not that the people buying them wouldn't spend for new releases, it's just that they have no other choice right now.  Sailor Moon, at least right now again, is a sure thing in the manga and anime industry.  I can see why some companies would be a little weary about the franchise as a lot of companies got left holding the bag in the late 1990's / early 2000's when the Sailor Moon licensing bubble burst.  However about 75% of the localization work is already done to re-release the entire anime series and all related productions in North America.  The hundreds upon hundreds people are paying for those old, haphazardly assembled (at least in the case of ADV) box sets are proof that Sailor Moon on DVD, at least for the foreseeable future, is a sure thing yet again.

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