Sailor Moon Crystal Act 1 first impressions

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Usagi and Luna

This morning the first episode of the new Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Moon Crystal, premiered worldwide on Crunchyroll, Niconico and Hulu. The show is free to watch on a number of these services. For more details, check out these instructions on how to watch the show. I personally found the quality of Crunchyroll’s stream to be higher than Hulu or Niconico’s and so I would recommend checking them out to watch the show if you haven’t already.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Title screen

The episode, titled Act.1 Usagi – Sailor Moon, resembled the first episode of the original Sailor Moon anime quite closely. This is fairly expected given this series is meant to resemble the Manga closely and the first episode of each series was quite faithful to that. In fact the first Act of the manga is also titled Usagi – Sailor Moon. With only 26 episodes for this series we certainly can’t expect an episode per episode repeat of the original show.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Morga

In this episode we get a pretty good look at Silver Millennium, the ancient kingdom on the Moon, as well as Princess Serenity and Endymion through a couple of Usagi’s dream sequences. Once again we have Morga, a monster impersonating Naru’s mother as ordered by Jadeite, as the main villain of the episode. We are also introduced to Luna, Naru, Umino, Shingo, Sailor Moon’s mother Ikuko and her teacher Haruna. We also see mention of Sailor V, who will later be appearing as Sailor Venus, who shows up in a newspaper, is mentioned by Umino and is the star of her own video game.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Serenity and Endymion

One aspect which bothered me a bit was the reaction Usagi had to her first meeting of Mamoru. Instead of being annoyed but a little intrigued she is instead completely infatuated with him from the beginning. We shall see how this relationship develops throughout the series. If this show truly does mirror the manga, things should escalate fairly quickly.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Super Sonic Wave Attack

Sailor Moon makes two attack in this episode. The first is the same Supersonic Waves attack which she made in the first episode of the original anime, which she almost never uses again. The second was Moon Tiara Boomerang. This attack was first used in the live action Sailor Moon series. In the original Manga the attack was Moon Frisbee and in the original anime it was Moon Tiara Action. In the rereleased Manga books the move was updated to be called Moon Tiara Boomerang, as is seen here.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Ami Mizuno

Act.2, as I guess we are now referring to the episodes as acts, will be premiering in two weeks time, July 19th at 7pm JST, 6am EST and 3am PST in the same places. Since Ami is shown very briefly at the end of this episode I would imagine she will be joining as Sailor Mercury as of the next act. This would be consistent with Sailor Mercury’s appearance in the second act of the Sailor Moon manga “Act 2: Ami – Sailor Mercury”.

Keep reading for more screenshots from the episode.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Ikuko Mama

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Haruna Sensei

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Naru and Umino

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Sailor V

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Naru's mom

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Sailor V game ad

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Motoki

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Sailor V game

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Shingo

Sailor Moon Crystal pre commercial bumper

Sailor Moon Crystal post commercial bumper

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Sailor V game dream

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Morga

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Tuxedo Mask

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Jadeite

And here are a few high quality images from the intro:

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Makoto, Minako, Usagi, Ami and Rei

Sailor Moon Crystal intro - Rei

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask

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46 thoughts on “Sailor Moon Crystal Act 1 first impressions

  1. Although a bit of a repeat of the original anime, I thought it was very well done and I liked some of what they did in this episode. The opening song captures the whole of the Sailor Moon franchise, the magical girl genre, and feminism too: they’re not helpless girls who need men to save them. I really liked that. I also enjoyed the dream sequences/flashbacks, and the moment Usagi and Mamoru meets seemed pretty real to me. If they were lovers in a past life, it seems somewhat natural that a part of each of them would recognize the other and feel some of emotion (though I wonder too who wears a tuxedo in the middle of the day as well. And how come Usagi doesn’t recognize him later that night as the guy from before? Oh well). So I approve of the depiction of the first meeting.

    I did wonder why they changed Haruna-sensei’s hair again. It’s different in every version! And I didn’t think Umino could look any nerdier or more annoying, but…I guess I was wrong.

    • I was bothered by Usagi and Mamoru’s first meeting, too. I actually liked the “haven’t I seen you somewhere before” thing, but it would have been better if, once she came to her senses, she went back to clearly being disgusted by him. It was to much “infatuation” like you said, not the way their relationship is supposed to start at all.

      I also bugged me how closely it followed the comic book – as in, almost verbatim with no major changes. It’s probably great for people who aren’t familiar with the comic book, but if you’ve read it a million times (and for people who haven’t, I suggest you do :-) ), you knew exactly what was going to happen every split second. Even the way the characters were posed! (This is one of the reasons the live action series was so good – they knew we knew what was going to happen so they threw in lots of little surprises, even in the first episode.)

      And since they were so faithful to the comic in that way, I just don’t understand why they decided to pick and choose which things would follow the comics and opted to perpetuate some of the changes from the 1990s cartoon. Like, Haruna’s hair is blond like it’s supposed to be, the Shitennou’s costumes have the colors Takeuchi eventually settled on for the trim (like blue for Jadeite instead of red) which are different from the old cartoon, but then Luna has red eyes instead of blue, Princess Serenity has yellow hair instead of silver, and Umino’s hair is the same shade of brown as the old cartoon instead of blond. (Did you notice that his hair also kept changing drastically from one shot to another? I would say he went “off-model” but it makes you wonder if there even WAS a model to start with??)

      I wish they had just followed the original character designs. But it feels like there’s a split between wanting to do the comic as a cartoon and wanting to be “nostalgic” for the old series. (I wonder if that’s some kind of bureaucratic thing? “OK, you can give Usagi that brooch, but you have to make Luna’s eyes red.”)

      And you know they only have Princess Serenity holding the “cutie moon rod” in one of the bumpers because it makes a nice toy. :-P

      I think it would have been better to just do the comic as it was and ignore the old show. But, at least from this episode, I get the feeling Sailor Moon Crystal is meant for people who watched the original cartoon back in the day, never read the comic books, and “moved on” – not for Sailor Moon fans. Which sucks. (And again, is why the live action show was so great – it had things both for “noobs” and for die-hard fans.)

      I wonder if they’ll come up with original plots points to fill the extra episodes (I hope), or if they’ll just split some of the original acts into multiple episodes? (Some of them are way too long and complicated to fit into a single episode anyway.)

      • (sorry, that comment wasn’t supposed to be a reply >.< )

        I forgot. I also wish Sailor Moon had had her goggles when she first transformed!! Finally a chance to finally see her with them and they didn't do it!! :-(

        I also wanted to say that if "you know who" doesn't show up at the end of the last episode as a cliffhanger, I'll be really disappointed!

        • Usagi was not “disgusted” by Mamoru at all, in the manga.
          That’s the point.
          Everyone keeps comparing it to the over-dramaticised and divergent plot of the original anime.

  2. I confess I was disappointed :(. Usagi does not have her usual fun expressions, instead they seem to focus on making her and every other character look pretty, like a model. There are a lot more still shots than in the original anime, even the opening has less animation. The zooming when she is sleeping felt a bit lazy as well. Many times the eye position was wonky and wrong. I rewatched the first episode of the original series to check if that happened in that too, but nope, the eyes rarely appear wonky or in the wrong position on the face. The episode is also a lot more animated. :/
    Tuxedo Mask’s design looks great and just like in the manga, though! Also, they followed the plot more accurately.
    Still, I reaaaaally feel this Usagi is way less charismatic and looks too much like a top model :(

    • I feel you so hard on all of this.

      Let us cry together.

      I have always been a very, very expressive person and Usagi’s blatant expressiveness was one reason I was able to connect with her so immediately when I was younger. This Usagi is not the Usagi I know, and this is not a paper book. This is animation and conveying emotion through facial expressions and body movements, not just a voice, is a huge part of expressing a personality.

      That 10 seconds of her staring blankly at Luna while Luna was talking to her. I wanted to cry. Blink. Blink. Blink. Stare. Stare. Stare. Her mouth is open a little bit so you know she’s surprised, ok.

  3. I enjoyed that episode so much. I still wonder if there’s a beach episode this series if Amy or Mina will wear a two-piece bikini besides Serena, Raye, Lita, and Rini? I also hope the next episode July 19th won’t be the same episode as the one in the original anime.

    • As the article mentions, we’ll probably be seeing Ami’s introduction next… either way, we wont be seeing the filler episodes of the original series. There will only be 22 episodes, so they have to get to work.

      If you need a bikini fix, I’m sure there is plenty of fan art to fit the bill.

        • 26, thank you. So many numbers to keep track of!

          We’ll probably see filler, but not “beach filler” which in the original anime was always the bottom-of-the-barrel stretch filler. The beach episode with Chibi-Usa and the sea monster comes to mind…

    • 26, thank you. So many numbers to keep track of!

      We’ll probably see filler, but not “beach filler” which in the original anime was always the bottom-of-the-barrel stretch filler. The beach episode with Chibi-Usa and the sea monster comes to mind…

    • Everyone has wondered about that, including Usagi. We also are wondering why the heck she didn’t make the connection after seeing Tuxedo Mask at the store. A little too much of a coincidence, perhaps?

  4. Nearly every other character in the show out-emoted Usagi. Nearly every other character managed to show more emotional depth than she did, when she has in the past repeatedly surprised people with her expressiveness. It would be one thing if all the characters were static and expressionless – but they weren’t (almost, but they weren’t.) You saw Naru’s eyes quaking when the youma approached her. She looked genuinely scared. It was like they took 50% of Usagi’s facial expressions and put them on other characters, then took 40% of the remaining and threw it away. The 10% is what we have left, so that she is pretty and elegant even at a point in time when she is not supposed to be pretty and elegant.

    Jaedite if freaking gorgeous. Out of ALL the characters I saw, HE was the one that stuck out because out of all of the character designs, they gave him something that genuinely popped: Those eyes. DEM EYES. They actually look like they have personality, not like they’re just pretty lifeless coloured blobs on a face. Throughout this whole process of waiting for this show and looking over the character designs and watching the teasers, I couldn’t help feeling that if you switched the hair styles and eye colours on the girls, you couldn’t really tell the difference without a good hard look. Jaedite is the first one I don’t feel you can do that with. And considering his status as a short-lived villain? That’s pretty sad.

    Love the bumpers. I really do. I really love them. I still love the colours. Love the backgrounds. Love the music. Loved the tiara popping off her head and I loved Moon Tiara Boomerang.

    I am still peeved that they are apparently too focused on everything looking pretty to convey actual Usagi-levels of emote, especially when the emotion in her voice does not match up with the emotion (or lack thereof) in her face/body movements. Which happened all the time. I understand that you’re scared and screaming, Usagi, but I do not SEE it. WHY IS IT NOT ON YOUR FACE.

    Also I LOLed at the buns, when in the beginning of the episode the hair was clearly wrapping up and broke my brain, but her hair is mysteriously coming from the middle of the buns during the supersonic waves. In the opening it looks almost like in the original.

    Some of the animation was really sloppy. I noticed it especially when Usagi was in bed and they zoomed in on her. Those were some really sloppy lines. Tuxedo’s ankle also appears broken during his painfully long and sparkling bishounen exit.

    The character designs are not as ugly as I thought they would be animated, but I still do not like them. For as much as I don’t like the character designs, I dislike the CG transformation a billion, kajillion times more. It was really atrocious and ugly.

  5. Loved this 1st episode! ^_^ Really loved the color palette – soft and feminine – especially Usagi’s mom’s hair and the soft lipstick coloring on the character’s lips. Luna looks super cute too! I loved how detailed and cute Usagi’s room was – her desk is so adorable with all the little odd-n-ends on it :) I also liked Sailor Moon’s Tiara attack – very pretty! And honestly I can’t wait to see all the other little accessories that made the series so girly like the transformation pens and other gadgets.

    I personally like the more ‘real’ feel to the show, too. I’m a little older, so, I can definitely appreciate this new (maybe mature is the word) direction because I can relate to it a lot more. The manga to me read more seriously than the original anime, too, I think, so I like that consistency. And I think, its always pretty cool to be able to see parts of my own life reflected in SM :)

    …not to mention, when Mamo-chan and Usagi first meet, while I didn’t get that ‘infatuated’-vibe from their reactions at first, I can see how it might be interpreted that way. I guess, its not at all a bad thing because admittedly, I’ve reacted the same way when meeting guys for the 1st time! Call me a sucker, but that feeling of love at first sight totally happens… haha :) I guess I just think that how Usagi interacts with others in her world (like Mamo-chan, her mom, brother, friends) is like, more natural – like how us girls would – so I enjoyed that about the show.

    Looking forward to episode 2!

    • Oh! Forgot to mention the few dream sequences in the episode are so cute and dreamy haha. And the closing credits when Mamo and Usagi are walking together stepping in pools of crystal-y water stuff? Love! Haha. :)

  6. OMG It seems I was the only one who enjoy the first episode there is a lot of bitching -.- “why red eyes, where’re the goggles, why didnt they do that if I wanted, why is it like manga and not original, why isnt it exactly like the manga, why this, why that” PLEASEEE enjoy it, it’s for fans and newcomers, if you prefer the old anime, the manga or the live action, go watch it, there are still on multiple websites, stop being so annoying!!!

    • Alright.

      This is the 20 year anniversary of probably the most well-loved magical girl show/manga in the history of magical girl shows/manga. They kept things regarding Crystal under lock and key for as long as possible and released as little information as they could. Of COURSE we are going to have high standards. They were working on this for, what? Two years? With a lot of input from Noako herself. That gave us plenty of time to get our hopes us, to daydream, to wish and to grab hold of the entire damn galaxy and say “YES, THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME, JUST THINK OF WHAT THEY CAN DO WITH TODAY’S ADVANCEMENTS IN ANIMATION AND A FINISHED SOURCE MATERIAL!!!!!!!!!!!”

      We are not obligated to fawn over it or like it (no one said they don’t like it, just that there are things they don’t like and are disappointed with.) Like any other body of work, it has its flaws, and we are allowed to point them out, discuss them, and wish they had been handled better.

      This post is called “first impressions,” not “enjoy this or go somewhere else.”

      • I get your point, but I feel a lot of people are complaining about ridiculous things… I read the manga and watch the old anime, I’m really happy with Crystal, yes, I maybe felt awkward about the CGI and the lack of chibi, but some are talking as if Crystal was such a disappointment because that scene wasnt as they wanted!! I know everyone has opinions and I also have my own opinion

  7. You may not be obligated to like it but at this point people are just nitpicking because their favorite moments from the original anime and manga didn’t make it into the show and not because of the quality of the show itself as it is. It’s as annoying as people who complain about the Harry Potter movies not being exactly like the books.

  8. I also don’t understand where people are getting the idea that Usagi wasn’t properly annoyed by Mamoru enough. I pulled out my copy of vol 1 in the manga and their first meeting in Crystal happens the same exact way in the manga panel for panel and line for line.

  9. I admit it’s gonna take some time getting use to but as far as enjoying it I did :) I love the new animation and how they stayed loyal to the manga art. Also it’s cool to see some of the other characters like Usagi’s mom, Umino and her brother have different looks.

    I will say Usagi’s personality seems a bit different than the original anime, like she’s not as goofy as she use to be. She’s more dainty and shy. Hope we see more of her silly facial expressions in the later episodes.

    Also it’s seems a lot darker than the original. Like during the scene where she was fighting the Negaverse and all the people Morga took over. It’s reminded me a little of Vampire Knight for some reason. But it’s really cool :)

    Other than that I love this new anime! Looking forward to more episodes!!

  10. For those of you nitpicking about how Usagi is basically a robot, you have to understand that there was a lot of progress they had to make in one episode. The reveal of Usagi in the beginning was almost nail-bitingly awesome at how they made you wait to see her as well.

    This is the first episode, guys. I’m sure none of us were blown away by the very first episode of the original anime. And not to mention they’re following the source material more faithfully. And at the end of the day, this is a company’s product. Time constraints, budget cuts, all sorts of things happen with a series’ production. Give them some slack, I know good things are coming. :)

    • Can you imagine the kind of complaints people would have while watching the original episode of the anime? The proportions are off, the animation is pretty bad at points, the transformation is long…

      I’m so excited to see Crystal evolve and improve, just as the original did. As far as I’m concerned, the original anime doesn’t even hit its stride until Rei shows up, and even then suffers from a bit of bloat… but I still love every bit of it :D

      • I love your comment, it fills me with hope. <3

        The first season of the original anime definitely had its animation / frame issues, and questionable BGM (Jedite's theme song sounds like a casino, pffffft). So is this a far superior version? So far, I think so!

        I personally can't wait for the Princess reveal, that was my absolute favorite set of episodes in the original anime.

      • I can’t help nitpicking because I draw a lot. Things like broken ankles and super messy lines really stick out to me. >______> The original anime didn’t get my scrutinizing eye because one, it was the early 90s and animation technology wasn’t fabtabulasticals and two, I was a wee lass. xD But I admit I really like the cleanup that has gone on since the original has been rereleased. It looks much better than it did before.

        TBH one of my guilty pleasures is going through screen caps and finding the silliest looking crap I can. They really went all out with some expressions, especially with Usagi.

        And those clothes.

        Oh god those clothes.

    • You do understand that the first episode of the original anime was nearly identical to this one, right? And both episodes are fairly close to the source material. The difference is the first anime gave Usagi much, much more personality even in the first episode when they had to make … the same amount of progress.

      I mean, I understand the need to make progress. I do. But that doesn’t mean you cut down on characterization. In fact, Usagi’s entire progress during the entire series is her evolution from a clumsy, explosively expressive, selfish, crybaby into a relatively less silly and more mature young woman. Our first introduction to her should have been less pretty and elegant, but that’s just my opinion. :/

      I hope better things are coming. I am trying very hard not to be pessimistic.

      • I’m fully familiar with all the opening episodes for all the different forms of Sailor Moon, yes. I know how they all basically related and understand that they are all basically the same, with different details here and there.

        I understand everything that you’re saying and they are all valid criticisms. Your problem with Usagi’s lack of emoting is entirely correct, it just honestly doesn’t bother me. I love the flamboyant, silly, cry-baby Usagi from the original anime, very much. She holds a special place in my heart. I’m equally fine with this new Usagi and am excited to see where she goes.

        I also understand your need to make your point heard, but please understand that I was not referring to these sorts of criticisms, but rather the nitpicks on little bits of weird animation and such. They are nonetheless valid, but I find it amusing to wonder what it would be like if we were all online back in ’92, talking about the proportional problems of Usagi’s head in relation to her body, and any other number of weird animation quirks and character and plot hiccups that classic Sailor Moon needed to get out of its system before it hit its stride.

  11. And let’s face it. Unless it’s Madoka Magica, most magical girl anime isn’t exactly known for having the world’s greatest animation budgets. Compared to most of Toei’s other shows, I think Sailor Moon Crystal has been its most beautiful title I’ve ever seen from them.

  12. So: a question to those who would know more than me: do these subtitles from Viz seem just a shade off? Not just on Crystal but across the board with the old series too. I swear I’m hearing words and not seeing the actual translation that I’d expect it to be. Especially with proper nouns. I’ve heard people referred to by name and the name isn’t anywhere in the subtitle. Maybe I’m just used to FUNimation’s subs which seem to be literal translations more times than not with DBZ. Note: I don’t claim to know enough about Japanese to be an authority on the subject. I’m just curious.

    • Hope it’s accurate!! It’d be kinda a pain to rely on later fan subs for proper translation like I had to for the original SM series.

      • I was trying to clarify when my internet took a dump. They’re not SUPER bad, like bootleg level, but they could definitely be better.

  13. Well, I like the new anime, however there are some issues that bother me.
    First, I think their figure are drawn too slim. Mamoru seems have no muscles, siiighh… I have to agree with who mentioned that they look like supermodels, they are so skinny …
    Second, the transformation, I like the old one better
    Third, Usagi’s personality, in PGSM Crystal I can’t see her bright personality, which I loved so much, in the old anime she was so lovely, cute, kind hearted and full of life despite her clumsiness and crybaby, she was just so adorable! But I can’t see all of that qualities in the new anime, she is still a klutz, I see that, but her personality is rather plain somehow. I admit, I like Usagi’s personality in the old anime much much much better

  14. It’s more mature. The old Usagi seemed like a child and not like a teen. Her expressions were funny at times, but too exaggerated. (however, when Luna talks to her, she seems kinda emotionless…maybe she really thought she was hallucinating)

    “she is instead completely infatuated with him”
    Thanks, lord!
    They’re meant to be together in the end, so luckily they feel something! I liked it!

    I can stand the CGI. The transformation is not bad.

    Their figures are drawn too slim for sure! But it’s okay. (looks like Clamp)
    They look like models? To me, that was the case in the original anime and the manga too.

  15. I don’t understand so many of these comments. You guys understand this isn’t supposed to be based on the old anime, right? It’s supposed to be based on the manga. The manga is just like this, visually and story elements wise. No, she’s not super exaggerated goofball all over the place silly like the old anime, because this ISN’T that and it’s not supposed to be. I think they made it super clear this is supposed to be based on the manga and the manga is like this. Design wise too, those girls are 17 feet tall and 90% legs in the manga. I’ve never seen an anime more accurate to the bizarre manga design as this thing managed. I LOVE the manga, don’t get me wrong, but I recognize they are bizarre looking people in it. The new anime replicated that SO well. This is the anime the creator would have wanted had she had the amazing sway she had by the end of it when she evolved into a manga super star. You’re not going to get your fav moments from the old anime because this is way way way not that. It’s just not, guys! The comparison makes no sense here. The old anime is only barely based on the manga in overall premise but so many key elements were totally different. You can’t compare them. Enjoy it or not enjoy it, but as it’s OWN thing, not as ‘not like the old anime.’ Because the point is it’s NOT that. If you want that go watch that!

  16. Pingback: Watch the next episode preview for Act.2 Ami – Sailor Mercury | Sailor Moon News

  17. Some parts I liked, some parts I didn’t like. I hate the fact that Princess and Queen Serenity are still blond and Luna has red eyes. Aren’t they supposed to stick to the manga? Why be influenced by the previous anime? I was hugely disappointed about it.
    I was also a little disappointed in the meeting between Mamoru and Usagi. Fateful meeting but still, I didn’t get the same impression from the manga. But I can forgive this, the whole episode was good. Just a little details from the character design I didn’t like.
    The transformation was okay, the CG is not that bothering but I find it too long. I hope that the other senshi will have better transformation than in the previous anime.

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