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REVIEW: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal: Season III Limited Edition BD+DVD


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StarFan13



Joined: 06 Aug 2017
Posts: 93
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:37 am Reply with quote
i never watched this season in dub yet
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Sailor Sedna



Joined: 08 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:12 pm Reply with quote
Gonna be a bit of a ramble here, but there are some things I agree with here, some I don't.

I do agree that this is the best season of Crystal, the new art/animation style is better (I don't agree that the first two seasons looked like the manga though), minus the theme park coloring and bland monochrome coloring of the Death Busters' headquarters/Mugen Academy, and I agree about the problems with the lack of development for the Inners and especially the way they handled Uranus and Neptune. I cannot for the life of me comprehend why some people think those two are better here than in the original, considering Haruka cheated on Michiru, assaulted Usagi (some people actually complained it reinforced a negative stereotype that butch lesbians were supposedly predatory), then attacked the Inners and Moon while supposedly the Outers "loved the Inners?" It makes no sense! And sadly, it makes the ending of Eternal Eternity look like false advertising/bait, considering besides there being little to no showcasings of that relationship, these versions of the Outers aren't even that interesting, Uranus is about as charming as a creep who stalks after your girlfriend, and Neptune literally is just there, and doesn't have any personality or character. Out of preference for S, I miss her elegant, kind side. And why the hell does Mamoru treat the whole thing with Usagi being assaulted as kinda normal, why is he not angry at Haruka or anything at all (once again, looks too much like a perfect boyfriend, that doesn't sound natural at all)?

Story wise, while I did enjoy this season when I first saw this, and it was an improvement, unfortunately when I look back at it, I'm sorry, but once again, I still think S (out of preference, NOT nostalgia) is the better version of the Infinity arc, the characters were used better, more useful and developed more, and S has 38 episodes to tell its story and give it time to develop, while Crystal only has 13 (I'm starting to hate the whole "13 episodes per season" thing these anime are having), and the latter just suffers in comparison, it is really really flawed and not good in comparison, sometimes I feel the flaws outweigh its virtues.

Sadly, I don't agree with the story rating, I would put it more at a B-, but bordering on a C+ (I think Yūji Kobayashi can't write for peanuts). The Inners sadly turned useless again in this season, and may as well have not even be in there, Mars and Jupiter (who did some pathetic whine after she got beaten by Haruka, making her look like a wimp or something when she's not) barely did anything, Venus and Mercury were alright even though the latter got humiliatingly defeated in both of her Witches 5 encounter (which pissed me off because she was my favorite Sailor Evil or Very Mad), their friendship with Usagi was nonexistent, Chibi Moon didn't feel as much as a Soldier and her attack was even more useless (two times out of three it failed), Tuxedo Mask didn't really do anything, and Usagi/Moon, while slightly less irritating than her first two season counterparts, just still felt too perfect and flawless, the way everyone was talking about her and acting around her, and some of the things she said, like when after Super Sailor Moon. I did not care for the way the Death Busters were handled, Tomoe and Kaorinite pretty much were just evil for...reasons, and though the Witches 5 did get more equal time, they still had no personality/character, they never really felt entirely menacing or anything, (though Mistress 9 was fine albeit portrayed a bit too over the top, Pharaoh 90 wasn't as scary as he sounded) and I never got the whole "light vs darkness" theme that was portrayed here most likely because it felt like it was going too fast. I also did not care for the designs of some of the daimons, a lot of them (the evil cats, Kaorinite's reptile form and Tomoe's) looked more like stupid-ass reject Pokemon or something...

The only thing I felt they really did better with the characters/storywise, were Sailor Pluto and Saturn's roles, but the others, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Neptune, etc., were just watered/neutered down and stripped of the qualities that made them interesting/likable. I also did not care for Hotaru being a cyborg, and frankly, it was just a stupid idea, to me, it didn't really move the story forward too much considering she turns into Mistress 9 shortly afterwards, it didn't help with her character growth or leave much of an impact; same thing with Venus being disguised as the Princess and spoiler[later Princess Kakyuu being a Sailor Soldier and dying less than five to ten pages later]. Nor did I understand the Outers already having their talismans, if they had them, why didn't they just tell the Inners about their functions/Saturn right away? The conflict with them here felt so contrived and not well done.

Action wise, the fight/action scenes a lot of the times, while enjoyable, felt way too fast and not as exciting as the original, and sometimes felt like they were thrown together in a hurry, and the way they did original footage and such bothered me. You're telling me, they could add a few scenes of Mercury using her goggles and Mars using her Akuryo Taisan, have them fight against the cat daimon, but you couldn't animate them fighting against their own Witches 5 counterparts? It's moments like this when I really have a huge love/hate relationship on Toei Animation nowadays. And seeing how the Inners/Outers were handled in the final battle didn't help...nor how they made Mercury's Shine Aqua/Snow Illusions obsolete. Plus a lot of the final battle felt a bit more like exposition, not enough action, and ended anti-climactically, the ending of this season felt more like a middle than an ending.

I didn't really remember nor care for any of the music also, minus the openings and endings (hated the second one), and sometimes felt some of it was inappropriately placed (like the music when Chibi Moon.

S did have its flaws too, mostly pacing near the end and the last three Witches Five didn't get much nor any development, and I didn't understand how but I still feel it did stuff better, the entire Sailors all felt like they were a team, and had characters, hung out, etc., we got to see what the villains were like, and despite its 38 episode length I felt like this was all leading to something big in the end, and I could understand some themes it had (darkness, sacrifice, light, hope, rebirth) I did not get it with this season.

In short, while I actually did like this season despite all I've said, it unfortunately has a lot of problems in here that one has to put up with and this only ends up as decent, but bordering on mediocre, and sadly Crystal still cannot stand on its own. If I had to suggest this to others, I'd tell them to rent it or borrow it from the library first, and then decide if they want to buy it. It's still better than a lot of crap I've seen nowadays though like Power Rangers Ninja Steel...
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tootbrush



Joined: 31 Oct 2009
Posts: 154
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:16 pm Reply with quote
Sailor Sedna wrote:
Sadly, I don't agree with the story rating, I would put it more at a B-, but bordering on a C+ (I think Yūji Kobayashi can't write for peanuts).

The story and character issues aren't Kobayashi's fault. That's all on the insistence on doing a faithful adaptation and Takeuchi's weak writing.

I actually think this is weaker than the first two seasons, mainly because when you really think about the plot of S3, the first ~6 episodes are basically irrelevant to what happens in the 2nd half. It's filler that doesn't develop characters/relationships nor give deeper insight into them (unlike S).
Oh and the Witches 5 are ciphers compared to their S counterparts.
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1dbad



Joined: 12 Jul 2015
Posts: 323
Location: Texas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:33 pm Reply with quote
This is my favorite season of Crystal by far. Big improvements in nearly every aspect, with my only real complaint being that we're still missing out on some of the manga's nightmare fuel. (like Eudial's monster form) That's not to say it's perfect, because all the flaws of the manga are still here. But I do think it's one of the manga's stronger storylines and I appreciated a different spin on S nonetheless.

I'm curious to see how people will react to the Dream arc movies. That's widely considered the best arc of the manga. It's also the one anime season most 90s anime fans hated, so I have a feeling it'll probably be Crystal's most well-received arc.
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Sailor Sedna



Joined: 08 Jan 2015
Posts: 501
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:08 pm Reply with quote
@tootbrush
That too, but Kobayashi still was the one who did that fail of a Sailor x Shitennou pairing...showing he had no idea how to characterize the Inners properly unlike the original anime, and they still don't feel like they have their personality qualities/quirks like in the manga (when they visit Rei, Rei's all "What are you doing, Usagi? Evil or Very Mad" when she isn't like that in Crystal, for example).

And that was my biggest fear about Crystal that sadly got realized: one chapter per episode doesn't work and in the end it ultimately will end up being pointless, as what's the point in seeing it if you've read the manga?

Holy crap, you're right! The first half is like filler that doesn't develop it unlike S, where as Rebecca mentioned in her S part 1 review, it doesn't even feel like filler there at all (and that's my problem with Crystal Season III: the character focus episodes don't really add anything), so Crystal DOES have filler!! Shocked

@1dbad
I'm interested in the films, and considering the Dead Moon arc nowadays seems to be the best loved manga arc, they might be awesome (I don't want it to be shot by shot though). There's also two interesting Dream arc fan films: Dead Moon Circus Parts 1 and 2. But if they fail, they could ruin the franchise and might end up the same way as the WWF NES games (an odd comparison, but I thought of it because both series started out with abominations, and then moved to fairly decent, but the latter ended up going bad and then lazy). I'm also worried how they'll handle the animation...when I went to see Mary and the Witch's Flower (awesome movie) I saw trailers for Digimon and Mazinger Z. Mazinger Z's animation looked cool, fluid animation and an art style that looks almost like Sunrise's modern Gundam, but not Digimon's; the art style looked a bit too overly cutesy, and the animation looked choppy.

And yeah, that's another thing that sucks about Crystal, Toei butchered certain scenes by toning down the violence.
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1dbad



Joined: 12 Jul 2015
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Location: Texas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:33 pm Reply with quote
Sailor Sedna wrote:
@1dbad
I'm interested in the films, and considering the Dead Moon arc nowadays seems to be the best loved manga arc, they might be awesome (I don't want it to be shot by shot though). There's also two interesting Dream arc fan films: Dead Moon Circus Parts 1 and 2. But if they fail, they could ruin the franchise and might end up the same way as the WWF NES games (an odd comparison, but I thought of it because both series started out with abominations, and then moved to fairly decent, but the latter ended up going bad and then lazy). I'm also worried how they'll handle the animation...when I went to see Mary and the Witch's Flower (awesome movie).

I understand not wanting it to be shot by shot, but I think you're just setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect them to change their method this late in the game. But the good news is the director that did this season is working on the Dream movies, so that + the fact Dream is the strongest arc of the manga makes me cautiously optimistic. Hard to say about the animation though. Being a movie it should be higher quality, but this is Toei we're talking about. It'll probably end up being similar to Digimon Tri, even down to how Tri feels more like multiple episodes of an anime stuck together vs a cohesive movie.
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Sailor Sedna



Joined: 08 Jan 2015
Posts: 501
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:40 pm Reply with quote
I think it could happen more for Stars, Naoko shafted the Inners/Outers really badly there. I just hope it'll be good though, the best part of Crystal to me is that it along with the original anime coming back and merchandise and such has shown to me that Sailor Moon still is considered to be popular/cool...
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1dbad



Joined: 12 Jul 2015
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Location: Texas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:58 pm Reply with quote
Sailor Sedna wrote:
I think it could happen more for Stars, Naoko shafted the Inners/Outers really badly there. I just hope it'll be good though, the best part of Crystal to me is that it along with the original anime coming back and merchandise and such has shown to me that Sailor Moon still is considered to be popular/cool...

I'm afraid to get my hopes up, but I do hope you're right. One reason I think Dream will be well-received it is addresses a lot of the complaints people currently have about Crystal (it has the best treatment of the Inners/Outers in the entire manga), as well as complaints people had about the original SuperS season. (it's more serious and dark, Chibi-usa doesn't develop a crush on Helios until she sees his human form, etc.) That's what I like about Crystal as well. And even if a panel-for-panel adaptation isn't ideal, I'm just glad we're getting it over with now. This way if Toei ever decides to do another anime years from now, they'll have no choice but to do something new.
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 1183
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:05 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Among the most noticeable shifts is the art – falling somewhere between the simplified designs from the classic Sailor Moon series and the slightly too ornate (but more manga-faithful) art of the first two seasons, the new look is one that overall works much better.


Yeah, that's probably because the character designer for this season was Akira Takahashi, a notable veteran who designed the characters for Suite PreCure and Doki Doki PreCure. He's a very good artist (I recommend his PreCure artbook) and I was very happy to see that the character designer had changed for the third season. I really hated the character designs for the first two Crystal seasons.

It's hard for me to hate on the third season when there's only 13 episodes. I still love the original series and feel that, despite its sometimes clunky animation, it is far superior. That may be because of animation greats like Ikuko Ito and because, after meeting a couple of these original series character designers, I'm biased. But I loved that everyone in the old series had a more fleshed out personality. S season is where they begin to shine, and Ikuko Ito's segments in Episode 124 and 125 highlight how strong each of the girls has become since they were first introduced. Sadly, Crystal doesn't have any of that.

I feel like Toei has really half arsed this revival, putting in as little effort as possible and then overmarketing it to nostalgic fans. Yes, it's awesome having Sailor Moon goods out there after years of nothing, but...I really wanted to love Crystal, and so far, the only reason is for the character designer they selected for the third season.
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Sailor Sedna



Joined: 08 Jan 2015
Posts: 501
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:23 am Reply with quote
@Cutiebunny

I do have to agree, plus from what I've heard, even though the boxed sets of Crystal's first two seasons somehow sold well here, it was the Japanese 2 episode Blu-rays that sold poorly and only Sailor Moon goods based off of the original anime sold well...Crystal also still is just mediocre overall, it does not deserve its rating of 8.0 on IMDB (more of a 5, going closer to a 4)...

You actually met some of the original series' designers? Lucky...
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:47 am Reply with quote
Sailor Sedna wrote:
I do have to agree, plus from what I've heard, even though the boxed sets of Crystal's first two seasons somehow sold well here, it was the Japanese 2 episode Blu-rays that sold poorly and only Sailor Moon goods based off of the original anime sold well.


I can understand why Crystal has sold reasonably well in the US, and I would say that would simply be because of nostalgia. Fans wanted new Sailor Moon for a long time, even if it didn't quite have the same style and feel as the original series. I also think that the ease and acceptance of buying/wearing Sailor Moon goods has really helped maintain its relevancy as a franchise. When stores like Hot Topic sell Sailor Moon goods, audiences who may have never watched the series are more likely to get into it.

Quote:
You actually met some of the original series' designers? Lucky...

I've met Kazuko Tadano (character designer for the first 2 seasons & R movie) and Miho Shimogasa (chara designer for "Ami's First Love"). I've also met a few of the original series seiyuu, like Kotono Mitsuishi (Sailor Moon) and Keiko Han (Luna). Han attends Animazement in Raleigh, NC yearly. I think I have an extra autograph from her. If you'd like it (for free, of course), send me a PM Very Happy
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CCTakato



Joined: 24 Jul 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:33 am Reply with quote
I have a lot of mixed feelings about season three. I think it improves a lot on the first two seasons but some things I still don't care for and I think overall I do like S better but I think season three is a big improvement over the first two seasons. The animation looks a lot better and more expressive to me than the first two seasons did and I love finally seeing some of the manga only attacks being animated, like Jupiter Coconut Cyclone and Venus Wink Chain Sword. I also enjoyed we got to see more scenes of the Inners interacting with each other and just hanging out, like at the arcade or the girls going over to visit Rei for her birthday. My biggest disappoint is probably with the lack of screen time for the Outers, especially Sailor Neptune, who is one of my favorites. I always loved their relationship in the original anime and it was always an inspiration for me but we barely seem to see much screentime of them together in Crystal, other than one brief scene at the beginning of the season. I also think I like Professor Tomoe better in the original anime where he has kind of a split personality between being maniacal and also being a kind father and he was just an overall more sympathetic character. In Crystal, Tomoe just seems to be evil for unclear reasons and his motivations for experimenting on Hotaru don't seem to make as much sense to me. I also was disappointed they didn't go back and clean up any of the animation errors on the BD discs like they did with the first two seasons and that we still had some animation errors in season three despite the radical shift in animation design style. But I think the big highlight for me with season three was the finale as I did personally like the Crystal finale over the original anime finale. I especially liked we finally got to see Sailor Saturn spoiler[transform as that was something we never got with the original series and I also liked we actually got to see her final battle with Pharaoh 90 as opposed to only hearing it in the background like in the original series.]
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Sailor Sedna



Joined: 08 Jan 2015
Posts: 501
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:09 pm Reply with quote
@Cutiebunny

Yeah, that's true, but Toei at the time to me felt like they were thinking "All that Sailor Moon stuff is there, now I don't need to put any effort into making this compelling" when they made season 2.

Glad you got to meet them (Kazuko and Miho were two of the best animators), nice. I hope I get to meet people like them someday... Smile

I also recall Han as Saori/Athena from Saint Seiya, dunno if you've heard of that series though...

@CCTakato
I think a lot of people are saying that is the highlight of season 3, and it was the highlight of the manga version (and it was the first part of the Sailor Moon manga I ever read, the final battle of Infinity). It was decently adapted into Crystal, but I think the ending at episode 12 threw the pacing off a bit, and sadly they did tone down/censor the effects of Death Reborn Revolution (in the manga it was a very intense scene as we could see the entire city being destroyed and all the people in there dropping dead, which wasn't in Crystal for whatever reason).
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SailorNaruto



Joined: 16 Mar 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:47 pm Reply with quote
Eh. I have a love hate relationship with this season. I loved how crystal even got a third and soon to be 4th season to begin with. I was scared it would get canned after all the hate it got. I loved how faithful this season was to the manga arc it adapted (this is my favorite arc in and I love seeing it potreyed differently in each adaption). I loved how all 8 Senshi defeated Kaori together, not just Sailor Moon soloing her. That’s one of the things Crystal actually improved on from the manga. I LOVED how the Senshi use more than 1 attack during a fight.

Now on to things I didn’t like. I didn’t like how the inner and outer Senshi are still using transformation wands. By this point they should be just raising their arms and shouting (a la moon prism power). I hated how Moon Spiral Heart Attack and Rainbow Moon Heartache are both literally copy and pasted from the og anime (kinda negates the purpose of Crystal being an entirely different anime).

I don’t know how to say this next part without it being jumbled but I’ll try to have it make sense lol. I like the animation ITSELF. It’s bright, vibrant, and pretty. But I hate the art style for this season. It never stuck with me. It bothered me how young the girls looked. They were supposed to get 1 year older this arc, but with this art it looked like they aged backwards. Haruka and Michiru, who are already supposed to be older than the inners, look to be the same age as them. It’s just too child like, too precure esque (hell the art in the original anime was never this childish looking). I feel like they should’ve just improved on the art from the previous seasons, fixed the errors and stopped outsourcing, instead of revamping the entire thing. I don’t know, I guess I’m in the very very very VERY small group of people who liked the old art. (And If you’re gonna jump on me about how badly the art for seasons 1&2 sucked, how lifeless it looked, how they looked liked skeletons, and so on, please save it. Not to be rude, but I don’t wanna hear it. I’ve heard it all. You have your opinions and I have mine).

But those are just my thoughts. Overall I love the series and fully plan to continue buying the releases, in addition to going gray waiting on more news about the upcoming movies.[/spoiler]
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Sailor Sedna



Joined: 08 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:37 pm Reply with quote
SailorNaruto wrote:
It bothered me how young the girls looked. They were supposed to get 1 year older this arc, but with this art it looked like they aged backwards. Haruka and Michiru, who are already supposed to be older than the inners, look to be the same age as them. It’s just too child like, too precure esque (hell the art in the original anime was never this childish looking). I feel like they should’ve just improved on the art from the previous seasons, fixed the errors and stopped outsourcing, instead of revamping the entire thing.


That is a gripe I do have with the new art style, as much as I like it, the Inners do look too young compared to the original anime (I heard they were trying to make Crystal appear to younger audiences also but I could be wrong), the art/animation does pale in comparison to S especially...and I'm not a fan with how they did the skirts, in some shots they look like they're wearing jungle leaf skirts, even the first two seasons of Crystal had the skirts look like they actually did.

I do agree that the Kaorinite fight was better than in the manga, that's what anime adaptations should do when adapting a manga, make it so others can help out. But the Inners still did use only one attack still here if I remember correctly (it's been over a year since I saw it)...and the Outers didn't have wands, but little spheres that I think were representations of their planets or something, which if that was the case, was a really cool idea and makes sense for the whole "Planet Power" thing.
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