Monday, April 28, 2014

Pre-Release Thoughts: Sailor Moon Crystal Character Art

Well, I know I said I would discuss something else, but I figured I'd get something else out of the way, and it is based on something from the past.

You may remember my old review of Sailor Moon that I did almost three years ago (So sorry for not having a new full review since then). Back in 2012, Sailor Moon's 20th anniversary, it was announced that there would be a brand new Sailor Moon anime. Details were still left unknown to most at the time, and of course multiple rumors and bits of speculation would arise regarding how the series would work. Some theories included the show being a new series picking up from where the original story left off. Others had this strange idea that it was supposed to be a movie/OVA and not a series, that the announcement was mistranslated. Well, as the months, then years, went by more and more details were released.

Here's the basic summary: It is a full new series, not a movie/OVA, it is not a forced new story, but a complete reboot, and it was going to be animated by the studio that gave us the original release of the anime. Who is this studio? Toei Animation, best known for their work alongside Marvel and Sunbow when the original Transformers animated series and movie were released, as well as the big name of anime, Dragonball Z.

Now, when you hear that an anime is being given the reboot treatment, you have to wonder what route they chose to go with for the final product. What do I mean by that? What I mean is that there are two possible options for handling the reboot. Option one is taking the original anime, cutting out any and all fillers, remaking some elements in the original to make it fit the original story, and updating the overall look of the original. This option is the one Toei took with Dragonball Z's reboot, Dragonball Z Kai. The other option is a full on reboot, starting the story over and keeping all the focus on the story, no edits, no fillers, nothing. This is the route Aniplex took when they rebooted the popular Fullmetal Alchemist with Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. Which route has Toei chosen for the new Sailor Moon? They chose to go the route of FMA Brotherhood, and this would be their best choice as there would be too much they would need to edit from the original series to make it work should they have chosen the DBZ Kai route.

Recently, it was announced that the series would get its start in Japan in July of 2014, after being delayed twice from a summer 2013, and a winter 2013 release. The series would have a full global broadcast through Nico Nico Douga, a Japanese site that works as a combination Livestream and Youtube. And now, as of April 27th, 2014, Toei released the character artwork.

(Actual art from the new anime, Sailor Moon Crystal)

Yep, this is the new art direction that Toei is going with for the upcoming release. Many fans were hoping for more than just the images posted on the internet. What could fans want more than some art splashes? How about a fully animated trailer? Well, they're going to have to deal with this for a bit longer. I bet you dollars to 4Kids donuts that there will be a trailer as we get closer and closer to the release date.

(Comparison between manga, original anime, and Crystal, in order from top to bottom)

Now for the real stuff, the art comparisons. In the image above, you see in order from top to bottom the art from the manga, 1992 anime, and the new Crystal art. Some can see some similarities between the manga and Crystal art. Others will say that the 1992 anime was a bit closer to the manga in designs. I have a hard time seeing the latter, personally. Besides, if you know what I have to say regarding the original anime, you'll see that there were a few deviations from creator Naoko Takeuchi's original vision (Primarily because both the manga and anime were running at the same time, so the anime had to make changes to work with the wait periods between arcs and chapters). While, yes, the faces do look a bit better in the original anime art, I still like the fact that Crystal's art looks a bit more like what Takeuchi had originally designed.

Either way, my hopes are high with the new series. Let's hope that Crystal can fix up what the original had messed up and rewrote, and that Sailor Moon can actually become a truly enjoyable series instead of a guilty pleasure. C'mon Funimation, please get the dub rights!

Until the next review guys, have a good day!