Starting as a manga by Naoko Takeuchi in 1991, and gaining worldwide fame with its anime adaptation the following year, Sailor Moon has grown to become a huge franchise with a lot of meaning for its fans. Initially debuting as a reboot and a more faithful retelling than its predecessor anime series, Sailor Moon Crystal was harshly criticized in its first two seasons (covering the Dark Kingdom and Black Moon arcs respectively) over its pacing and animation quality.
After nearly a year break, Toei Animation brought the series back to adapt the Death Busters arc for the third season. The handling of the third season would lead to a lot of praise for its improvements in comparison to the first two seasons.
Instead of continuing with another season of Sailor Moon Crystal, it was announced that a two-part movie series, titled Sailor Moon Eternal, would cover the fourth arc. This article serves as my opinion on why this is a good move and why you should be excited about it.
For full disclosure, I wasn’t a fan of the original anime series growing up. It was simply outside of the realm of shows that I watched. While I was aware of the popularity of the series, I wouldn’t go into it until the debut of Sailor Moon Crystal. And my initial experience with the series actually turned me away due to the shortcomings of the rebooted series.
My curiosity would get the better of me (as it usually does) and I’d go back to watch the series upon hearing praise for the third season. And it was a choice I don’t regret!
The third season was far superior in every way and I actually felt invested in the characters and the story. Animation sequences were improved during regular scenes and transformation sequences alike, and seeing the return of Sailor Pluto and the tense build-up to Sailor Saturn was awesome. After watching it I can say with confidence that Sailor Moon Eternal might just be one of the films I’m most excited for now.
I’m not going to go into a full review of the series so far, but I may go into some spoilers. I’m including links to watch the series directly below in case you’re interested in giving the series a shot. While the series is certainly formulaic with its villains and fights, it does notably improve over time and especially in the third season.
Where To Watch
If you’re looking to catch up on Sailor Moon Crystal before the first film comes out, there’s a couple of options available for you. The first is to watch it on Hulu, which has both the Japanese dub and the English dub available.
Your other option is to watch it on Crunchyroll for free, but with only the Japanese dub available. If you’d like to watch the original series (which includes filler and content past what Sailor Moon Crystal has adapted), Hulu has the whole series available and the first four seasons include options to watch with an English dub.
As a refresher for those who’ve forgotten, or for those who want to know a bit more about the series, I’m including a quick list of the main characters below. There will be some small spoilers throughout, but it’ll give you a better idea of explaining who’s in this universe aside from mentioning plots and villains that aren’t going to return.
Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon – The protagonist and titular character of the series. At the beginning of the series, she is very whiny and wishes to live a normal life, but after meeting Luna she soon discovers that she is a reincarnation of Queen Serenity and meant to bring the Sailor Guardians together.
With the help of her friends and her love for Mamoru, she fights all evil that threatens them. She is Sailor Moon, the Guardian of Love and Justice.
Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury – A shy, but genius fellow student in Usagi’s class. The first person to make her open up is Usagi, who also helps discover her true identity as a Sailor Guardian. She is Sailor Mercury, the Guardian of Water and Wisdom.
Rei Hino/Sailor Mars – A Shinto Priestess that goes to a separate school from the others. As a priestess with precognitive abilities, she is able to sense evil beings and when they’re going to attack. Compared to the other guardians she is the most serious. She is the Guardian of Fire and Passion.
Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter – The most tomboyish of the group, but also harboring girlish dreams of marriage and owning a cake and flower shop. She’s also the undeniably strongest one of the group. She is Sailor Jupiter, the Guardian of Thunder and Courage.
Minako Aino/Sailor Venus – The final of the main Sailor Guardians to be discovered, but not the last to awaken. She’s been actively fighting evil as the superhero Sailor V and is guided by Artemis. She is Sailor Venus, the Guardian of Love and Beauty.
Chibiusa/Sailor Chibi Moon – A girl who time travels from the future in the second arc. She’s revealed to be the future daughter of Usagi and Mamoru (known as Neo-Queen Serenity and King Endymion respectively) and has come back in time to get their help. When she transforms she becomes Sailor Chibi Moon.
Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask – An older amnesiac student who continues to keep bumping into Usagi. He eventually dons the disguise known as Tuxedo Mask as he attempts to uncover his own memories. Although he doesn’t know it at first, he is the reincarnation of King Endymion, the partner of Queen Serenity.
Luna & Artemis – Talking cats who serve as advisors for the Sailor Guardians. After the Moon Kingdom fell, they were both sent to Earth where the Sailor Guardians would one day be reincarnated. They also have a daughter together, named Diana.
What To Look Forward To With The Movie
The movie series was announced in the middle of last year. It’s set to cover the Dead Moon arc (also known as the Dreams arc) of the series.
In addition to keeping the same director of the third season, the character designs are being handled by Kazuko Tadano, most famously known for handling the character designs of the original Sailor Moon anime series. Needless to say, there’s plenty of reasons for fans to be happy.
I don’t believe the hope ends there though. It’s no secret that films receive a better budget than tv series do, which means there is hope for the films to look far better than the series has so far.
I also think that a film series could help get around another issue the series struggles with: being formulaic. Having to watch a build-up of a henchman and the ensuing fight and defeat repeatedly each week can be a drag, but can be paced far better in a film format.
Release Date For Part 1
Currently, the release date is still set for September 11th, 2020. A recent teaser video confirmed the same date, so that seems to cancel (at the moment) any worries that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis would affect the release. There have not been any announcements in regards to the second expected film in the series.