296th G-View: Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3

Like last time this review was written by someone who has not read the original nor had any emotional attachment to the classic Sailor Moon anime series, someone who was interested in this reboot because it got to the point. The first two seasons of the reboot had mixed results. It would seem that Toei took the complaints to heart and tried a different approach with this latest season. Were the changes favorable? Let us find out as we take a look at Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3: Infinity.

Check out my review of the first two seasons HERE.

Also I would like to give mad props to Dr Animaniac for helping improve my viewing experience of the show by sharing her knowledge of the original manga Crystal is heavily based on along with her weekly coverage discussing just that.

Extra nods go to cirno9fan, Arca J, mithrandirolorin and The Ikubuchi (Ikuhara and Urobuchi) Guy.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season3 Infinity Arc Poster.jpg

Genres: Action, Drama, Magic, Romance.

Themes: Magical Girl, Aliens, Monsters, Sentai, Yuri

Number of episodes: 13

G-Rating: 8/10

Plot Summary: A new alien force dubbed The Death Busters are out to cause trouble. Add alongside that some new mysterious heroines who look a lot like the current Sailor Guardians and apocalyptic dream visions and we got what is possibly the biggest Sailor Moon adventure yet.

To recap my overall thoughts on the previous two arcs, the Dark Kingdom arc was solid and the Black Moon arc sucked.

Now for the show as a whole. First of all let us look at what has not changed. The “fast forward pacing” is still there, meaning there were very few segments featuring the characters in their daily lives going on casual adventures, beating up monsters and having some important life lessons by the end of it. For the most part it was all about getting from Point A to Point B. Like last time I like this approach because it focused on the main plot as whole to help give me an idea on what the big deal is about the arc, its baddies, important moments for our hero and heroines and other big stuff like that. Secondly most of the fight scenes are less than 3 minutes with barely any punches, kicks or throws, meaning most of the baddie generals got a few good shots in before getting obliterated. It was mostly a lot of dodging and relying on super special moves. Like I said last time it is like playing a Super Smash Bros match but only using the special attack button. There may be others but these two are the most noticeable things that stayed the same.

 

Sailor Moon Crystal After vs Before.jpg

Season 3 vs Seasons 1 and 2.

Now for the first big favorable change, the presentation. In the previous seasons the animation was tolerable to some but disgraceful to many. Season 3’s animation feels more like a modern Sailor Moon remaster would look like, giving the 90’s anime a fresh coat of paint rather than a poor 3D CGI makeover. In videogame terms it is like comparing the classic NES Mario games to their glorious SNES Super Mario All-Stars remasters, unlike the previous two seasons that were more like the mediocre Earthworm Jim 3D compared to the classic EWJ 1 and 2. Yes the animation did drop in quality a couple of times but compared to last time this is a massive improvement. Thanks to this the super special moves and character motions all looked much crisper. The soundtrack felt similar but was somehow more powerful. The OP was not as energetic as the previous one but the three EDs made up for it giving fans diverse flavors. I love the HaruMichi ED, the Chibi Usa one is adorable and the third one is fine for TUXEDO MAAAAAAAN fans. So yes, well done on the presentation.

The “fast forward pacing” is still there but most of the time it felt like a lot was accomplished even though this arc was the same length as the previous seasons. Sometimes not much progression was made but in those cases there were relevant events to justify the slow progression in less eventful episodes.Even the more “chillaxed” moments were better presented and more fun to watch. As a bonus, people who have yet to watch Crystal but are still somewhat curious, the premiere episode gave a brief yet effective summary of the important events of both previous arcs, meaning everyone other than “completionists” can save themselves the trouble and skip the Black Moon arc entirely. Then again there are some who liked the Black Moon arc so…yeah. Readers who liked said arc can ignore my disdain for it and enjoy it if you so wish. Anyway another plus goes to the improved pacing.

Super Cool Sailor Moon Crystal Spread.jpg

Now on to my thoughts on the Death Busters/Infinity arc as a whole. According to Dr Animaniac’s weekly analyses Crystal 3 followed the manga version of the story very accurately with some minor changes here and there. From what I saw, I think this was the best season of the franchise yet. All the new Guardians and a returning one that I greatly missed after the Black Moon arc were all spectacular and appropriately enough the best parts of the season were when they were on screen. Not to say the main five did not have their moments (Sailor Mars still rocked my world whenever she got the spotlight) but the new Guardians stole the show every time. That simple. Another surprise addition was that this accomplished something refreshing, it made me REALLY like Chibi Usa compared to the second season where I saw her as a nuisance up until her character development began. More on that in a bit.

Money shot

Pinky swear

I was anticipating this season for very obvious reasons, mainly to finally understand why Haruka X Michuru are one of the greatest yuri tag teams of all time. The yuri was strong this season as I had hoped. The execution however, varied between couples. Both were done very well but I felt with HaruMichi I witnessed but a portion of their true power. Granted it was a BIG portion so I cannot complain because I now have an idea of what makes both ladies legendary separately and together. As for how purists feel…it all depends on how they feel about manga interpretation compared to the 90’s show but which one is better is not my call to make. I understood both ladies better, especially Haruka after watching this season and I am content for the time being.

ChibiTaru on the other hand I knew little about outside of some fanarts but after watching this season…I mentioned how I like Chibi Usa a lot now…Hotaru made Chibi Usa into a better person in more ways than one. ChibiTaru’s story was spectacular, especially with it being the second most important plot. Hotaru was spectacular and stole the show even more than the sexy beasts on a couple of occasions. In both pairings some changes were made and as far as I am concerned, the ChibiTaru changes were the best of all. I just hope Toei will do the right thing and keep up the momentum going into the next season.

Overall Sailor Crystal Season 3 was a massive improvement over its predecessors. Will it change the minds of diehard fans of the 90’s show? I doubt it but manga fans will more than likely be pleased…most of them anyway. I may be wrong. I am not good with sensing what exactly diehard fanbases want. I have a hard time understanding what diehard wrestling fans want. Anyway for readers who thought the first two seasons of Crystal were acceptable at best I can proudly say that this season is definitely worth checking out. It finally made me a big time Sailor Moon fan who will EVENTUALLY check out the “chillax” episodes of the 90’s anime to learn more about HaruMichi’s power.

Thanks again to Dr Animaniac for the fun times discussing this season and helping me understand some thing, especially with the two yuri pairings. Here is hoping the next season will not mess either pairing up, ESPECIALLY CHIBITARU! Modify the story in the Nation’s favor without changing the main plot too much.

 

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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28 Responses to 296th G-View: Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3

  1. “Ikubochi Guy”.

    I’m flattered, really. Though its Urobuchi, but yeah. Thanks.

    Anyways, back to the review. You’re pretty much spot on, honestly. My final verdict was the same as yours (despite the fact that I have seen S). A fan (or even casual viewer who has never seen the 90s version)’s enjoyment of this season (which is a more faithful adaptation of objectively the best story arc of the manga) will entirely depend upon their nostalgia or lack thereof toward the original manga and/or Sailor Moon S (the 90s version of this season).

    At long last, we have a watchable season of Crystal (I dropped season 1 about six episodes in). The inconsistency in animation is still there, but it is far less constant. It flows well, the character designs, transformations and power/battle sequences are all nice to look at (though maybe not as flashy and impressionable as the originals from the 90s), and it was nice to see manga-only attacks finally getting animated. The music is also wonderful, though rather than Sailor Moon, will make you think of Fairy Tail or Pretty Cure (same composer after all).

    I love the new OP, New Moon ni Koishite, all versions. My favorite of them would definitely have to be Mitsuko Horie’s though. I look forward to hearing her in Crystal’s version of Stars (I really hope she’ll reprise her role as Galaxia, honestly). The EDs…Eternal Eternity is great, Chibiusa’s is cute but even as soundtrack dissonance feels completely out of place in Infinity and should be listened to separately…no comment on Mamoru’s, lol.

    Personally for me, the plot of Infinity arc was actually more interesting overall than that of Super, but I regret that the Daimons/Pure Heart episodic buildup to the reveal of the Holy Grail/Moon Chalice and introduction of Hotaru was removed. Obviously, I know why, since the first 20 episodes of S were mostly filler, but I’m still not thrilled about this. Because its not as fun, and its not as engaging.

    I miss the kooky and over-sexualized designs for the Monsters of the Day back then, the Daimons. And also, the way that Tomoe or one of the Witches 5 would simply fuse the Daimon eggs with any household object in order to create the monsters.

    I miss the tension between the Inners and Outers, how the Inners spent so much time getting to know Haruka and Michiru as both warriors and people, and knowing right from the start in their hearts how they clashed and their friendships weren’t meant to be. How it is so blatantly obvious from all the scenes with Haruka and Michiru together that they really don’t want to play the villains and sacrifice for the greater good, but they don’t believe they have a choice. I miss the Inners realizing they’re up against their greatest threat yet, and they have to become so much stronger than before in order to even have a hope or chance at stopping it. Or the fact that they feel so inferior compared to the Outers, and this is heavily focused on as well. And all the pressure this puts on Usagi.

    It’s present in Infinity, but I don’t feel it as much. Therefore, I couldn’t get as emotionally attached like I did with Super.

    I’ve held personal headcanon for awhile that Super was the biggest influence on Senki Zesshou Symphogear G and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As thematically speaking and in regards to its introduction of characters into their respective franchises who are morally and idealistically egregious toward the main protagonists at first, and if one were to watch all three and compare them, they would realize that this is not an unfounded claim.

    The screentime for the Witches 5 is also sacrificed and so is Professor Tomoe’s onscreen presence and the things that made him so amusing to watch. This was replaced with more interesting and arguably sympathetic motivations for Mistress 9 and Pharaoh 90, but I still consider this a loss.

    Now, for what Infinity did right.

    I love the slice of life moments that the story arc begins and ends with between the Inners. I love the moments where Rei and Ami tease Usagi and Minako comes to her rescue. I loved the callback during Rei’s birthday episode to Makoto’s training episode in Super, whether intentional or not.

    And I especially ADORED the development of Chibiusa and Hotaru’s relationship and Hotaru herself, because I will concede on one thing: Despite both the screentime they had together and Infinity/Crystal Season 3 lasting the same amount of run time (13 episodes), Crystal did it better.

    One can even argue that the focus on Haruka and Michiru in the 90s version was shifted to Chibiusa and Hotaru in this. I know people who will be upset with this. As for me, I couldn’t care less. I welcome it.

    The finale was great, giving us a breath of fresh air after all the intensity and darkness this story arc had, and a lead in to Crystal’s version of Dream arc (which everyone but me will love as I’m one of the rare fans who loves SuperS, the original 90s version of that arc, probably, but I’m still looking forward to it). It also featured the return of the original version of the OP sung by Etsuko Yakushimaru at the beginning of the series, and Eternal Eternity. That was a nice touch.

    So really, its about 50/50. Crystal did things the 90s version did better, the 90s version did MORE of the things that make Infinity so good. And that’s what it comes down to. Everything good about Infinity was GREAT, but in my opinion, there wasn’t enough of it. But that can’t be helped.

    It was great/good enough that I didn’t feel the need to go back and read the manga for this arc, but still didn’t prefer it over the 90s anime at all.

    But Toei definitely delivered and gave us based Chibitaru, so I can’t really complain.

    I implore you to at least give Sailor Moon S (and maybe Stars) a watch in the future, because there’s a very good reason they’re considered classics in the magical girl/yuri genre. All of the Haruka x Michiru you missed is present in those seasons. Also the SuperS special if you so choose, because there’s an episode devoted to them within that (since they’re not present in the season proper).

    But yeah, that’s all for now. Until Dream arc starts. Your episodic reviews have been a joy to read every week from the beginning, so thanks for that. Can’t wait to see more from you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • DrAnimaniac says:

      I agree on most of your points, but in particular I want to echo what you said about the yuri development in this season. I also felt that ChibiTaru got the development people wanted HaruMichi to get and despite wanting more HaruMichi of course, I did appreciate getting ChibiTaru and come down to a choice I think I’d choose what we got everytime. The 90’s didn’t give us this much ChibiTaru, but gave more HaruMichi, especially in that SuperS special you’re referring to and that was a plus for the 90s. So in a reverse fashion, Crystal gave us the ChibiTaru the 90s lacked, so I guess you could see it as a trade off. So now I suppose all we can do is hope they’ll meet in the middle for both pairings come the next 2 arcs.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The way I left it, whatever Crystal gave me this season I was extremely satisfied with, and whatever it lacked I could always rely on Super for that.

        And that is a completely fair and wonderful trade off, so I’m happy Toei even delivered on that at all (and so well at that). I hope they will continue to do so at that.

        My view on an adaptation is that even if they’re following the manga storyline, they don’t have to be by the book all the time but they at least have to be faithful with the story (or even do things to make it better, like add more character moments or slow the pacing down a bit). This was my biggest problem with the first season which I never finished, and also my biggest problem with the original manga as a whole. Sometimes an adaptation can really highlight the flaws of an original work, so that the blame can be placed on it rather than the people handling the adaptation.

        I especially want to see this come into play once they hit Stars, because for lack of a better word, the Stars manga is a…TRAINWRECK. It is way too rushed for its own good, IMHO.

        But I completely agree with you on the latter part, and that’s what I’m concerned about going forward, especially since next season is giving us Helios.

        All the while, I have to suffer with the knowledge that Crystal won’t have a lot of subtext between Usagi and her Inner Senshi going forward, probably (maybe anyhow, I haven’t read the full manga though). I’ll hold out hope for ReiMina and MakoAmi (oh my God, their screentime together is one of my favorite things about SuperS, especially that episode where they danced together), but I’m still salty about this. The tidbits of MinaUsa like in the finale of this season were pretty nice though, so I hope they’ll keep it coming.

        Been great blogging with you these past few weeks. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • DrAnimaniac says:

        Agreed on all points. It’s been a pleasure for me as well, catch you for the next one.

        Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Fixed.

      You could only do so much in 13 episodes compared to however many SuperS had. Anyway the old episodes exist so I can check them out for more when I feel like it.

      Eh. I’m fine with Dr Tomoe being a stereotypical nut rather than a kinda sympathetic villain. The Witches 5 and Kaolinite were the ones I wanted to see more of anyway.

      I got what I wanted from HaruMichi, to understand why they’re legendary and I have a good idea why so I’m good.

      ChibiTaru was WIN!

      Glad you enjoyed following along. We’ll see how season 4 goes and whether I’ll cover it weekly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah that’s fine. The 90s series gave the Kaolinite, Eudial and Mimete a huge amount of screentime. Eudial was my favorite mini-boss.

        Surprisingly though, Tellu, Viluy and Cyprine/Pthiol only got one episode each as well though. But there wasn’t really much to their characters like with Eudial and Mimete (who depending on your preferences can range from petty bitch like Esmeraude to evil Minako with orange hair).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. DrAnimaniac says:

    I think I’ve said it all between my comment reply on my review and Urobuchi’s comment, but as a summary: I thought this season was a huge step up from the first 2 and improved on most things they lacked. The yuri we got was wonderful, especially with ChibiTaru, which was a new development for the anime, even more so than in the manga. More HaruMichi would’ve been welcome, but I’ll accept what we got for now if it meant we got all that glorious ChibiTaru. Here’s to hoping they bring it together in the next 2 arcs and give us a happy medium for both pairings. Saturn rocked in this version, as did Hotaru and Chibiusa. I’m so glad they became likable and more understood than the 90s allowed them to be. It was an honor to review the show alongside you each week and I look forward to doing it for the next season. Thanks for putting in the time and dedication and I know you already said you would eventually, but just as my official recommendation, I also highly suggest watching the S, SuperS specials/movie, and Stars Arcs of the 90’s for the glorious HaruMichi you wanted because it’s bountiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL, everyone’s going to adopt that nickname for me now, aren’t they?

      The Ikubochi guy, expert on all things written and directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara and Gen Urobuchi, ey?

      Nope, still needs time to grow on me, though.

      Call me Barty or Shitsurakuen-kun though, when referring to my blog. Thank you. 🙂

      Oh yes, seconding the SuperS movie, the HaruMichi in that is absolutely amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DrAnimaniac says:

        Lol sorry, I wasn’t sure what your actual name was so I just went with that. I’ll call you Barty then. Yea I didn’t want him to miss the movie so that’s why I recommended that too.

        Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      We may not have enough HaruMichi but we got plenty of ChibiTaru and it was glorious.

      Oh yes. Give us more of both in seasons 4 and 5.

      We shall see how it goes with the next season and whether I’ll cover it weekly or sporadically.

      I’m looking forward to seeing more HaruMichi in the classics at some point. I don’t need to go as far back so that’s good.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. cirno9fan says:

    I was one who actually looked at Sailormoon as something not so desirable because of the 90s anime. Tuxedo mask was just really really annoying. And it always seemed like nothing ever really happened. I really didn’t enjoy it much. Even then Chibi-usa was my favorite, but well, it wasn’t until the manga that that became much more solidified. I also grew to really like Mamoru. He was just so much better portrayed in the manga, rather than some “one-shot save everyone because I’m the knight in shining armor” guy. Seriously, he annoyed me to no end back then.

    As such, I really felt they did well with Crystal S3. I can’t speak on the previous ones, as I haven’t watched them, and likely won’t. Just too many things to watch already. But I can definitely say I very much enjoyed this. It felt a lot like Precure, but without the yuri barrier that usually exists. I mean, the yuritext levels can go pretty high in a few of them, but there’s always this wall that doesn’t seem able to be crossed. Still, it felt a lot like a precure. Part of that is because Precure was obviously inspired by Sailor Moon, but another part of it was because the Precure team was handling things. That final fight went longer than it did in the manga actually. but it was so much more intense because of that.

    I loved the OP. Very catchy, very beautiful, and very heartfelt~

    Loved the ChibiTaru signal boosting, hoping they keep that up, because the arc that I am most conflicted about is next. An arc that I have mostly exited from my head, but we’ll just have to see if it can be something I want to remember this time around.

    Also, the art is really nice. Reread a couple chapters of the manga to fact check a few things while it was airing, and man, the anime has waaaay better art I’d say. They really did find a nice balance between the 90s art, and the manga’s art.

    Chibi-Usa best girl (but Hotaru’s pretty great too) Excited to see more of them! And, really interested what the new OP will be. But, there’s probably going to be a wait.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Yeah I’ll start with S and watch all that for my HaruMichi fix. No need for me to go further back than that.

      I think most action heavy mahou shoujo anime were inspired by Sailor Moon.

      Yeah I heard about the pain the next arc will bring. Here’s hoping Toei does the right thing and brings balance to the yuri force rather than go to the “bait” side with our little heroines.

      The OP was good and the so were the EDs.

      Chibi Usa impressed me this season and Hotaru was wonderful.

      Patience is a virtue.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ArcaJ says:

    While i did miss the silly plots of the 90’s we got a taste of that in the last episode. (How DID Usagi manage to get into high school?) This season was all about righting the ship. It wasn’t sinking, but, it was listing a bit. No more creepy Electra Complex for Chibi-Usa (thank God!) really beautiful animation for the transformations and attacks. (Sailor Venus’s Wink Chain Sword is my favorite, because it’s so spectacularly Gay!)

    They brought back Sailor Pluto. I love that she’s visibly older than the others. (she’s in her 20’s, practically ancient in anime years.)

    While we didn’t get nearly enough of them, Haruka and Michiru really brought a new dimension to the show. A new, sexier dimension. lol Their position as Knights of the realm made a lot of sense. All the times they tried to push Usagi and the other Senshi away was because their fight to stop the Cataclysm was very personal. They witnessed the Moon Kingdom’s end. They would stop at nothing to protect Earth and the future Royal Family.

    Plus, they were all kinds of KYAAAA!!!!! Beautiful and noble.

    ChibiTaru is officially the Best thing Ever. Their blossoming love warmed the mushy parts of my insides. ^^ The fact that their love helped Hotaru break free of Mistress 9, (With actual Freakin’ RAINBOWS!) And I love that Hotaru is being raised by three awesome women. Just make sure she grows up quickly. I got Yamibou vibes for a minute there. –

    The art, characters, music, and story; this season of Sailor Moon Crystal was total win for me.
    I can’t wait for what comes next.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Usagi’s school progression is one of life’s greatest mysteries.

      Yeah that was part of the reason Chibi Usa sucked last season.

      I still love me some Jupiter Coconut Cyclone.

      I thought Pluto always looked the oldest of the Guardians. In any case her beauty was greatly enhanced thanks to Crystal 3’s improved animation.

      I dubbed the two and Pluto the Three Sexy Beasts for a reason.

      Yup. I liked seeing how devoted they were to protect everyone, even if it made them seem untrustworthy and mean at times. What we did get from HaruMichi was quite satisfactory but hopefully there will be lots more next time.

      ChibiTaru’s love story is one for the books…and hopefully they don’t mess it up later.

      Yamibou’s ending…”shivers”. I’m sure by the time Hotaru returns she’ll be back to her Season 3 age ready to snuggle with her beloved Small Lady…hopefully.

      That it was.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dimagnus_gia says:

    I….I’m sorry but gotta be honest. The design, the plot and the animation was good but i have a feeling of missing something and it’s because i was really hoping the culmination of Haruka & Michiru’s relationship. I mean, in the 90’S show, we all were witness of the most beautiful “subtext” (because actually it was not subtext, it was real, they were lovers, not cousins, friends or whatever) between them and in this version we had the hope of finally see the explicit demostration of their love. And didn’t happen…
    The protagonism was taken by Chibi-Hotaru, and it’s okay, i like that pair but, c’mon, you all know that this season was supposed being for Uranus & Neptune.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Can’t win them all. Valid arguments and not much I can do to refute. It is what it is. Hey at least you got the old show to give you your more HaruMichi.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The Otaku Judge says:

    From the images I have seen the artwork is certainly better.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Crimson Crusader says:

    As it would also be a matter of time before the 3rd Season of Sailor Moon Crystal gets dubbed into English, I cannot wait to see how the English voices of Sailor Neptune, Uranus and Saturn would fare in that season!

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      I know Saturn will be voiced by Nepgear so that has me excited. The other two will surely get great voice actors.

      Like

  8. Crimson Crusader says:

    They already have, and the casting choices for both of them are very promising.

    Haruka/Sailor Uranus will be voiced by Erica Mendez (was the voice of Kill la Kill’s Ryuko Matoi)

    Michiru/Sailor Neptune will be voiced by Lauren Landa (was Annie from Attack on Titan and Kyoko Sakura from Madoka Magica)

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Coolio.

      Like

      • Crimson Crusader says:

        Glad to see you are hyped.

        You will also be pleased to know that Sailor Moon S will be released in the US on November 2016, also with the English voices of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in that season.

        The comparison of both performances in Sailor Moon Crystal and Sailor Moon Classic will be something for me to look forward to.

        Liked by 1 person

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