A fan of the series since 1995, Koriander runs the popular Moon Sisters fan site and studies the Sailor Moon franchise closely.
The 1992-1997 Sailor Moon anime meta series is iconic for very valid reasons. It was a show that showed us that girls can be funny, question everything, get scared, get angry and still be just as valid as a superhero as traditional male heroes. It normalized LBGTQ characters and relationships, flipped the script on gender roles and still entertains fans each year with its blend of action packed storytelling and humor.
But it did have its flaws too. From filler episodes to a flagrant disregard for the manga source material by the end of the third season, there are a few kinks that still make fans groan.
But for the manga purists, there was Sailor Moon Crystal, which starting with the second season became so close to the manga, you could hold the books up to the screen and follow along panel for panel with very minor changes for standards and practices. Now the series has jumped to the big screen in Japan with it's fourth season being split into two theatrical movies as Sailor Moon Eternal, and fans of the manga have every reason to be excited.
Here's just three major things Crystal and Eternal fix that the 90s anime broke.
Rei Hino/Sailor Mars
In the 1992 Sailor Moon anime, J-Pop idol Michie Tomizawa was cast as Rei. The male side of the staff at Toei Animation noted that the singer wasn't afraid to speak her mind and had a spirited, fiery personality.
So because of that, they chose to make Rei a complete brat, because if you are a girl, and you speak your mind, something must be wrong, right?
This boy crazy, scheming Rei spends the first season being a straight up bully to Usagi, starting fights, gaslighting her into crying fits, name calling and in episode 17, she even tries to get in the way of Usagi meeting a famous photographer because she wants to control how Usagi will act around a boy she does not even know. (The DiC dub tried to explain that he was a student at her school, but Rei attends an all girls school.)
And that's not all, she forces Mamoru into date situations he is visibly uncomfortable with, a trend that even keeps up well into the third season where Rei is interrupting a date between Mamoru and Usagi, just so she can torture Usagi.
Luckily, aside from two episodes in the third season where she playfully teases Usagi, Rei in Sailor Moon Crystal is not the hot headed bully we see in the 90s anime. Instead, she is calm, thoughtful and is more like a sister to Usagi than anything else. She doesn't harass Mamoru and she is one of the most mature characters in the series.
The Amazoness Quartet
Debuting halfway through Sailor Moon SuperS, the Amazoness Quartet consisting of Ves Ves, Palla Palla, Cere Cere and Jun Jun were a team of bubbly girls in age inappropriate costumes (albiet with added leggings in the 90s) who did the evil bidding of Zirconia and Queen Nehelenia. But while the girls were popular enough to get their own line of dolls and plushies, they did come with flaws.
In a stark contrast from the manga, Palla Palla is seen as childish and stupid. A crybaby with the brain of a four year old, her working plans seem more accidental than her manga counterpart, who was calling the shots and had more gem power than her sisters in arms.
Another jarring change is that these girls only share two episodes with the Amazon Trio, albiet shrouded in shadows and portrayed as their rivals. This sat unwell with manga lovers, because the Trio are actually supposed to be the girls' pets in human form.
But the worst change of all was the omission of their true roles as Sailor Guardians, which came coupled with the idea that the girls had simply chosen to follow Queen Nehelenia, while their manga counterparts were actually awoken too early from their slumber, kidnapped, brainwashed and used as Queen Nehelenia's soldiers until Super Sailor Saturn helped them break free.
Sailor Moon Eternal fixes all of these flaws, restoring the girls' story, Palla Palla's intelligence and the girls' powers, allowing them to exit the second film as Sailor Chibi Moon's very own team, in the same way the Inner and Outer Guardians belong to Sailor Moon.
Chibiusa Tsukino/Sailor Chibi Moon
Chibiusa debuted 14 episodes into Sailor Moon R with very little in common with her manga counterpart until the final few episodes of the season. The 90s version initially made her an unholy terror, bullying Usagi and turning friends and family against her. It wasn't until very late in the season that we learn Chibiusa is only acting out because she is here to save two different timelines from the Black Moon Family while also dealing with about 895+ years of her kingdom making her feel like everything was her fault, resulting in her turning into a self destructive Black Lady.
Upon her return in Sailor Moon S, she is now Sailor Chibi Moon but just like her father Tuxedo Mask, her powers are severely stunted, right down to the point of her being a comic relief sidekick. Chibiusa finds herself constantly being tortured by the enemies of the day, and then in a complete slap in the face, the writers completely omit her from the final fight, while her manga counterpart came back from the actual dead to help her mom fight Master Pharaoh 90.
In SuperS, we do see some emotional growth for Chibiusa, but not without her being groomed by Pegasus, whose emotional manipulation leads her to hiding vital information from her parents and in episode 159, even sneaking out in a visually questionable interlude with a see-through version of the Princess Serenity dress. Aside from using the Golden Crystal to blow back Nehelenia and her using her mother's attack in the SuperS movie, Chibiusa gains very little and is just treated as a fashion accessory for Sailor Moon.
Sailor Moon Crystal changed all of this.
Season two sees an emotional, but much kinder Chibiusa who is focused on saving her mother. When she does become Black Lady, she is much more powerful than her male comrades and poses a higher threat to the Sailor Guardians, even going so far as to kidnap and make out with her own father. (Admittedly, that's disgusting, but it follows the manga.)
That second season ends with her not only becoming Sailor Chibi Moon, but with her gaining all of the same powers as Sailor Moon, which she uses to travel to the end of the galaxy by herself so she can help her mom defeat Wiseman.
By the end of season three, Sailor Chibi Moon has come up with her own powers, died, come back, found her own Holy Grail, become Super Sailor Chibi Moon and is fighting Master Pharaoh 90 and Mistress 9 on the same level as her mother.
Sailor Moon Eternal picks up with Chibiusa gaining even more power, becoming Eternal Sailor Chibi Moon in the second film, gaining her own crystal separate from her mother's Silver Crystal, rescuing Helios and gaining a secondary princess form, again, separating her from her mother's shadow once and for all.
In fixing just these six girls, Sailor Moon Eternal and Sailor Moon Crystal upgrade the series in a major way.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Koriander Bullard