*warning: minor spoilers below for Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie
At long last, we have two new Sailor Moon movies, though this time they’re set in the world of Sailor Moon Crystal. I was gifted a golden opportunity to check out the forthcoming films on Netflix and I’m here to let you know if they’re worth checking out.
If you’re not familiar, Sailor Moon Crystal is an anime that has been re-adapting the story of Sailor Moon, only this time it’s a faithful adaptation of the original manga. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: Parts 1 & 2, take place after the first three seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal and collectively adapt the ‘Dead Moon Circus’ arc, when Sailor Moon and the other Sailor Guardians must confront the Dead Moon Circus after they invade Earth during a total solar eclipse.
Director: Chiaki Kon
Written by: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Produced by: Ruka Tanaka, Hideharu Gomi, Yōsuke Asama
Technically Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie is one film split into two parts, which is probably for the best, as the film would be nearly three hours long if it were to run as one film. The story is split pretty equally down the middle, and the writers did a good job by making sure Part 1 ends on something of a cliffhanger to pull you in for Part 2.
If you’ve never seen the art style of Sailor Moon Crystal before, it will be something of a shock at first, as the animation style is much more smooth than the original anime. However there are a number of nods to the original anime, most notably during the transformation sequences that are almost shot-for-shot identical to their 90s counterparts. It is also weird hearing different voices for Sailor Moon and all the other characters, but everyone is well cast and you quickly get used to the new voices.
The one big flaw this movie has, compared to the other Sailor Moon films of the past, is that this movie essentially serves as season 4 of Sailor Moon Crystal, which means that if you haven’t watched seasons 1-3, you will have little to no idea of what is going on in the story, especially with the sub-plot between Sailor Saturn and Sailors Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. It even took me a few minutes to remember how the story got to that point, despite being a lifelong fan of the Sailor Moon story.
Also, while Parts 1 and 2 are almost equally good, since this is one film split in two, Part 2 is almost inevitably the better of the two, since it contains the epic battle between the Sailor Guardians and the forces of evil. However, this battle is just the culmination of a journey that all the Sailor Guardians go on throughout both parts, as they look inside themselves to discover just what their true “dreams” are and how they can go about achieving those dreams. Each guardian has this moment of realization where they realize what it is they truly want in life and these are some of the most emotional moments in the entire movie. And of course, as each Sailor Guardian realizes what their dream is, they receive a new power-up, which leads to a series of awesome transformations that never gets old to watch.
There’s also a fair amount of humor in this film, though it’s mostly confined to Part 1 to counter the fairly dark tone of Part 2. One of my favorite moments is a “Freaky Friday” moment between Usagi and Chibi-usa that I wish could’ve gone on longer, but it’s fun while it lasts.
In the end, I loved watching Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie. It reminds me of everything I’ve ever loved about the Sailor Moon story and contains some powerful messages about what it means to follow ones dreams. Fans of Sailor Moon both old and new will love both parts of this movie.