Note: Various found photos via Google image search
Any Moonie knows to avoid the “Sailor Moon Crystal” tag on Tumblr. Only negative energy comes out of it. Since the highly anticipated series came out last July, “Sailor Moon Crystal” has been the topic of merciless scrutiny among hardcore Moonies. Four episodes in and the divide among fans is there. It’s either you really love it or really hate it. Witnessing the cesspool of people on both extremes go back and forth makes one not proud to be a Moonie. I’d like to wear my Moon Pride on my sleeve, but I can’t say the fan community is on its best behavior. While anyone can say this happens in any fandom, the Moonie community has history as always being a super scrutinizing community.
Discussions on what is quality animation and what is not are seen back and forth. Comparisons and screen grabs of each episode are posted and shared around social media to show Toei’s lack of quality control. Recently, I sat through the ending credits of “Sailor Moon Crystal” only because I’ve been noticing a trend of anime studios using Korean and Vietnamese studios to do in between animation in “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures,” “Fate / Zero,” “Happiness Charge Pretty Cure,” etc. Key animation and in-between animation are outsourced from various studios. Some local, some not. Boisterous fans are crying why outsource the animation? Believe it or not, it’s common practice in anime. Example, it’s not ToeiPH’s first day on the job either; if you look at their credits, they’ve worked on some titles that run various gamuts of animation. Also keep in mind that Toei Animation is working on several television broadcast titles that keep up with a weekly schedule. Additionally, Even with a budget, “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon” had some jarring low budget sequences. If you go back to the Nephrite arc, anytime Nephrite attacks Sailor Moon, you will only see a still image of the blast, not an entire sequence.
However, I do agree that there is a lack of quality control from the top. For a show that is highly anticipated, one would imagine what was going on during those two years since the announcement in 2012. I’ve also been reading around that “Sailor Moon Crystal” has a very limited budget and lacks sponsors. “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon” did have a budget and sponsors, but barely made one season during the first run. However, there is plenty of merchandise celebrating Sailor Moon’s 20th anniversary and then some. I can only imagine where the money is actually going to. I was hoping that by buying the manga, figures, tiny figures, official lingerie, etc this would go back to Toei. Sailor Moon will sell merchandise no matter what the era or generation.
Going back to quality control, titles like “Attack on Titan” have had certain scenes re-animated for the dvd / bluray release. While their on-air version may have not had the best quality, they are redone for home release. We hope this is the case for “Sailor Moon Crystal.” The bi-weekly, web-only schedule seemed concerning from the start. It was not until after episode one aired we learned that they were doing the animation literally between episodes in that bi-weekly time frame. Hence, there is a rush job to get the animation done. Plenty of fans expressed sentiments that they would be willing to wait another year to have something of quality.
However, other Moonies are pleased because Sailor Moon is back again. There’s something nostalgic about waking up early to catch the latest episode. Part of Crystal’s appeal is that it lacks the filler that the live action and original 90s series had. On the other hand, who knows where this fandom will go and if Crystal can hold up years from now. We’re barely four episodes in and even then, it’s still too early to call “Episode One Syndrome.”
On one hand, I enjoy Crystal for the nostalgia factor and seeing my favorite characters in action. However, I want to enjoy it as much as other Moonies who are all like, “Just like the manga! OMG!” Yet, the manga does have glaring flaws – it’s not perfect, but still pretty and blossom-y as shoujo gets. It’s not the lack of quality animation that gets to me – tell a good story about a goofball who became a magical girl and her friendship with an unlikely band of friends – you know, the things that got me into Sailor Moon from the get go.
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Many thanks to Stan (Plastic Ronins) for additional info and edits.