Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon (Live Action)
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
Beautiful soldier of love and justice, Sailor Moon! In the name of the moon, I’ll punish you!
>> In this review, I’m assuming most of you have a basic idea of what the Sailor Moon anime is about. If not, shame on you!
>> Minor spoilers present. However, they shouldn’t be a problem if you are pretty aware of the series. Not much to worry about!
>> At the moment, the series is still continuing. So this review is written after watching the first 30 episodes.
(click to enlarge pic)
Two hundred episodes, three movies, musicals, video games, and the pretty soldier’s aren’t retiring just yet. Naoko Takeuchi’s popular anime series Sailor Moon is now *drum roll please* a live action series! Who do we have to thank for this? Bandai. Yes, the same people who gave us good ol’ Power Rangers. The good news: I’m not joking. The bad news: I’m not joking.
The story is not exactly like the original Sailor Moon anime or manga. The Sailor Soldiers still have to battle evil that threaten earth, unlock their powers, find the princess, save the world, and yadda yadda. However, little tidbits were changed. Some examples: Luna and Artemis are not talking cats. They’re cat plushes capable of walking and talking. Luna becomes a Sailor Soldier after the princess is awakened. Instead of Tuxedo Mask turning to the “Dark Side,” like in the originals, Sailor Mercury is manipulate and becomes Dark Mercury. Also, Sailor Venus is a famous pop star from the start. I don’t think Sailor Moon fans will be disappointed at these minor changes, because it still has the Sailor Moon feel we fans know and love.
Fans of Sailor Moon will not be upset at the series’ protagonists. The personalities of the sailor soldiers are very closely matched to the manga. Usagi is friendly, loveable, naive, and ditzy. Ami is the quiet, shy, and very intelligent. Rei comes off as a cold person who has a difficulty trusting people. Makoto is the strong, rough character. Minako has all the leadership qualities. And Mamoru is the mature, handsome, college student who’s still struggling with life without a past. I’m very glad that those characters did not change at all. Sadly though, some did. Usagi’s mom is more down to earth, and well, kind of crazy. She’s very wild, talkative, and playful from what I remember in the anime and manga. The girl’s hangout is now a karaoke club instead of an arcade, but its employee is still Motoki. Yeah, the name is the same, but his character is something off the wall. Motoki has a weird obsession with…turtles. It’s stupid, and annoying. Yet, he still manages to keep a good relationship with Mamoru. (How does Mamoru do it?)
As for the characters of the Dark Kingdom, their personalities are the same as the Sailor Moon mangas. There’s Queen Beryl, and the four shitennou; Jedeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite. This was not stressed much in the anime, but in the manga the four shitennou served under Prince Endymion (Tuxedo Mask) when he was the ruler of Earth. The whole background between the four shitennou and Endymion remain. I can’t complain much about the villains. Although, I do wish Beryl was more sinister.
As for the acting of these characters…
That’s a whole different story. The actors and actresses are so adorable, but they can’t act very well. I’ve searched around the net for information about them and found out that this is a first acting job for many of them. The most experienced people on the show are perhaps, Aya Sugimoto, whose role is Queen Beryl, and Keiko Han and Kapppei Yamaguchi, who provide the voices for Luna and Artemis. The actors are all really young. The Sailor Soldiers are around 16~18 years old. Which is the age range for most of the actors and actresses on the set. For young first timers, their acting isn’t horrible, but it’s not great either. I’m not going to hold it against them though.
The CG effects for Sailor Moon are unimpressive. The effects used in the show are similar to the ones used in the first Power Rangers season back in the 90s. When an object has to change or work it’s magic, all you’ll see is just little flashes of light. Many of the items the cast uses look like plastic toys you would buy at a local Toy store. The plastic “Be like Barbie” cell phones, jewelry, and wands is something you’ll see a lot of.
Remember those Power Ranger monsters that were covered in plastic or rubber-looking suits? They’re back and lamer than ever. (Check out the pictures at the end of the review). Oh well, I suppose they have to make the bad guys stick out somehow, right? Even if the enemies look like a stalk of corn. The outfits for the sailor soldiers and the dark universe aren’t half bad. However, I have seen better outfits. I wonder how the Sailor Soldiers are able to cartwheel with the outfit looking so big.
The Sailor Moon anime never did have favorable fight scenes. Anyone remember those cheesy Power Ranger fights? This is worse. The fights are acted very much like a ballet. The soldiers will cartwheel, spin, and perform back extensions to avoid enemy attacks. I’d say they were dancing with their enemies. To get away from an enemy they would jump away. The makers used some pretty bad shortcuts for this. You’ll see someone jump forward and land, but you won’t really see them as they’re leaping off a ledge or off a wall. To attack an enemy they’ll push, do a split in the air followed by a measly kick, or perform they’re special element attacks. Can’t forget about those. Yes, the one-minute transformations and the forty-five second moon wand attacks are still there. Sound corny? Well, yes it is.
The fighting is not what appeals to Sailor Moon fans anyway. The growing relationship—love and friendship—is what hooks people to loving Sailor Moon. The live action does a really good job with moving the relationship between Usagi and Mamoru. They meet at first hating each other, then it moves on to getting to know each other, and finding out that they love each other. However, the preexisting relationship between Mamoru and a new character named Hina, complicate the feelings between Usagi and Mamoru. Oh! It’s an exciting romance! As for the friendship relations: The relationships between the Sailor Soldiers are not very strong at the start. They begin as teammates more than friends, but as the story progresses they find that by trusting each other they can fight through any situation. Happy and positive tidbits like that is what makes this anime fit for children.
I’d recommend Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon to a high or drunk bunch of friends who are looking for a good laugh. Oh, and it’s great for Sailor Moon fans. I don’t want to tell you to stay away from the series, but if you can look past the cheesy effects, the costumes, and the ballet fights, you’ll see the story and characters, for the most part, are enjoyable.
Overall Score: C-
+ New storyline
+ Familiar Sailor Moon feel
+ Manga personalities come to life
+ Character relationships hook audience
– Personality changes in minor characters
– Unimpressive CG Effects
– Cheesy costumes
– Tasteless fight scenes
– Who the hell was controlling the camera?!
– Looks low budget
The Sailor Soldiers
By Bounty Huntress