The original soldier schoolgirls are here, and while I was initially put off by this show’s reputation in its uncut form I found out that this can be a lot of fun!
Usagi Tsukino is a clumsy, lazy and academically lousy young teenager, but she has enthusiasm to spare and ends up helping out a black cat that is being picked on on her way home. By lucky coincidence the cat, whose name is Luna, is actually an intelligent and speech capable advisor from the long lost Moon Kingdom, and realises that Usagi is Sailor Moon, the re-incarnation of that Moon Kingdom’s guardian. Usagi seems horribly ill suited to the roll of finding the Moon Princess, but dons her transformation anyway to protect her frinds and family from the Moon Kingdom’s re-awakened adversaries: the Dark Kingdom. During her ‘adventures’ Sailor Moon meets the man of her dreams in a mysterious fellow fighter Tuxedo Mask and one by one she finds the other soldiers that have also been re-incarnated, each named after a planet. Together they strive to protect humanity from the Dark Kingdom, and try and live their normal lives too!
First things first, I am not reviewing the dub of this show. It was butchered beyond recognition, re-naming characters, re-editing episodes and even removing some of them entirely. Not only was much of the heavier subject matter ‘sanitised’ out of it but the acting sucked as well. Read my review of Sailor Moon S if you really want to know, because I refuse to waste my money getting the dub of this.
Back to the review and this is a very pleasant surprise for what it is. It is intended for an audience of young girls but with all the saccharine and tacky moralistic material there is here there is also a lot of material that is easy to relate to. It doesn’t patronise the audience nearly as much as I thought it would, and the light comedy and silly monsters of the week are counterbalanced by some great enemies in the Dark Generals and some deadly serious plotlines, especially towards the end of the series. It all gels together well as the lighter and darks sides of the show compliment each other, and the characters are allowed to grow as they are put under the stresses the darker plotlines give them. Nephrite’s demise and D Point in particular are harsh, poignant and even devastating after the happy nature of the early show has got you to really care about the characters, even if they do spout some daft speeches.
The violence in this show is generally quite light unless it’s feeling very dark, but at it’s worst children may find some of it distressing, especially near the end. Some of the enemies can also be surprisingly scary for a show that is often so light. Nudity is minimal and bad language is very rare.
The animation is definitely showing its age, but it doesn’t look too bad. The character designs are cute and attractive, though nowhere near as wispy and elegant as the manga ones. Considering the ages of the girls it’s actually more realistic like this. Umino still looks nasty though, even for a character who is largely comic relief.
As mentioned above: avoid the dub at all costs. At least the Sailor Moon S dub was done to an uncut show, but here it’s not worth the time or money. It might be okay for very young children who don’t care about the acting, but I’d say it would be better to let them grow up a bit and watch the proper version.
This is a popular show for good reason. Once you’ve accepted that it is tacky in its speeches and monster designs then you’ll find an enjoyable show that doesn’t talk down to its audience. It really does explore the values that it holds so highly, the characters are likable and the story is both engaging in its simplicity and dramatic in its plotting. Very recommended if you can stomach the cuteness and occasionally annoying heroic dialogue.