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Original Sailor Moon: Season 1 Review
Sailor Moon is an iconic series about magical high school girls, originating in the 90's. The first season introduces the main character, Usagi Tsukino. She's a clumsy, ditzy 14 year-old girl, who cries and whines a lot, and never seems to do anything right. She gets poor grades, and is often criticized for being sloppy, always being late, and for eating too many sweets.
Her life changes when she runs into talking a cat, Luna, who tells her that she's capable of turning into a hero called Sailor Moon. She is at first very afraid of fighting, but she comes to learn how to use her powers to protect people she cares about.
Over time, various girls she meets become her friends and fellow Sailor Scouts.
Sailor Mercury is a smart girl named Ami Mizuno in Usagi's class.
Rei Hino, a local shrine maiden, becomes Sailor Mars.
Sailor Jupiter is Makoto, a transfer student at Usagi's school who was bullied at her old school. She's a caring person who likes cooking, ice skating, and martial arts.
Sailor Venus is Minako, a spirited, confident girl who wants to become famous.
Of course, there are bad guys, with the main villain being Queen Beryl. Queen Beryl looks and acts cool, but her underlings suck. Obviously though, they kind of have to, because at this point, the Sailor Scouts are weak and just figuring out their powers. The fact that Beryl hesitates to fight the Sailor Scouts in person helps them develop their skills and learn to work together as a team, fighting less powerful bad guys once an episode.
Original Sailor Moon Info:
Manga by Naoko Takeuchi
Stage plays, movies, live action versions, "Sailor Moon Crystal" reboot series, merchandise
Though the anime originally had numerous flaws, many of these were due to failures of the dub. Many jokes in the anime were hard to translate, and the show went through numerous dubs, ranging from laughably awful to just kind of okay. Some other problems of the first season (that somewhat carried into the later seasons) include:
- recycled animation,
- a slowly developing, overly complicated plot,
- a lot of formulaic "monster of the week" episodes,
- an obsession with beauty and SHINY THINGS, and
- that the villains are dumb enough to let the heroines go on and on about friendship and love without putting a bullet in them mid-sentence.
But despite all these flaws, Sailor Moon is still a story that's cheerful, heartwarming, and captivating. In the cast, girls of very different personality types are represented and treated with respect. The show represents a diverse range of personalities and interests for girls, and it shows that while love and friendship aren't easy, they are worth it.
It also shows that there's more to girlhood than sparkly dresses. Sailor Moon is about a princess who really cares about being a hero, not limiting herself to a passive role because of her femininity and softness. It shows that femininity does not have to be weakness or helplessness. I believe that these strengths, which come from the themes of the story, make up for the weaknesses of the show, which are mainly technical nit-picks.
The start of the series is... a bit rocky. It definitely gets better as the show goes on. New characters are added, new villains replace Queen Beryl's band of incompetents, and the show's tone gets more serious. The characters grow up a little, becoming more rational, and growing into their roles as super heroines.
I'll talk about these changes when I talk about later seasons, R, S, SuperS, and Stars. I remember this show as just comedy fodder for Sailor Moon Abridged, which is worth checking out on YouTube. But as-is, Sailor Moon's first season is an exemplary magical girl anime, showing that a girl can be feminine and still be a strong hero.
The first season is flawed, but gets better as new characters are introduced and the plot thickens. It's fun to watch, a show that's good for an afternoon marathon now and then. Just don't get the DiC dub! Sailor Says Friends Don't Let Friends Watch Badly Dubbed Anime! In the name of the moon, I'll punish them!