You bet your A** I’m reviewing Sailor Moon Eternal! Right off the bat it’s probably worth mentioning this will NOT be a heavy review; it’s a freaking kids anime of girls transforming into sailors to save the world for crying out loud! It’s not that serious. However, as a 90’s kid who OF COURSE watched the series on Toonami, respect is owed.
Art: One of the complaints against the Sailor Moon Crystal revival has been the lack of consistency with the art; where season’s one and two are different from season three and these movies repeat the same trend. However, fortunately for 90’s anime fans, these two films bring back 90’s animation lead, Kazuko Tadano.
There ARE some frames that are a bit wonky, won’t lie. Winced a little bit considering they had five years, but I digress! For the most part the movies look great. Fingers are crossed Tadano sticks around for the adaptation of Stars so all five arcs can close a bit more uniform, but we’ll see.
The Whole Gang: Unlike the 90’s anime version around the Dream Arc, Sailor Moon Super S, the movies are faithful to the manga meaning all of the outer senshi are present and accounted for. If seeing all the senshi working together is something you want to see as a fan then congratulations- the movies do just that!
Finally Have the Balance: Something the anime has struggled with since season one was trying to figure out how to tell the manga stories and be their own project while also staying in tune with what made the property iconic back in the day. Unfortunately, it took them a while to find that balance but it pays off here with the Eternal movies. They are both extremely faithful adaptations of the books by Naoko Takeuchi while honoring the attack and transformation sequences the 90s fans remember.
Cohesion: This is more a nitpick, but the movies certainly get kudo points for keeping the connection strong to Crystal season 3. The plot picks up right after Infinity, and they also kept original attack animation sequences from that season to show consistency. Where the first three arcs received complete seasons, these movies still fit in nicely despite the shift in format to film.
Pulled it Off: Do we need two hour Sailor Moon movies? Of course not. The runtime for both movies is exactly 1hr21m and it works just fine. When looking at the manga issue and episode parallel I was concerned if the movies were going to be able to flow with the loss of time (the arc is about twelve issues meaning about an hour of footage was not done). Yet, in my opinion, they pulled it off!
QUEERNESS: 90s kids will remember when DIC gave us Haruka and Michiru and told us they were cousins when our seven year old assess knew DAMN well that was not the case; they preferred incest over same-sex relationships. haha. the 90s.
Both Eternal movies don’t shy away from Haruka’s non-binary approach to gender and her relationship with Michiru. Another thing that I hadn’t noticed was that all three of the animal servants of the Amazoness Quartet were male! The 90’s anime had me convinced Fish-eye was female! Dic, you son of a gun.
All three of them are unapologetically queer and it’s great. There is no doubt the Sailor Moon IP has been a queer icon for decades and its fantastic that these film adaptations fully embrace that.
That’s It?!: One of the highly anticapted things from diehard fans of the 90s series was that there would finally be a transformation sequence for Sailor Saturn. What did they make? Her standing up and the end?! Come on now! They could have played with that alot more, but took a really safe route. Shaking my head… Saturn doesn’t exactly have a transformation panel in the upcoming final arc but maybe they’ll revisit. It is what it is.
Look Alive Venus!: Guys, I’m sorry, but Sailor Moon is known for its transformation sequences so that’s where I’m going to poke. That being clarified, the Venus transformation was TIRED. she looked like she got home drunk at 3 am and is trying to make sure her mom doesn’t notice with that transformation sequence. That was not it, fam.
Maybe Not Your Thing?: I wouldn’t take off points for this but feel it’s worth noting; if you were a mega fan of the 90’s show and are hoping for something like that, you won’t find it here. By that I mean, many fans were not happy with the first three seasons of Crystal because of their fast pace and lack of attention to supporting characters. The truth is this time around they are just trying to adapt the manga faithfully and that happens to be the casuality of trying to do that. Understandable that some fans want those long fleshed out seasons, but, it is what it is. There is still a ton in these three hours for diehard fans and casual fans alike to enjoy memory lane.
Overall, Sailor Moon Eternal 1&2 earn a solid 4 out of 5 potatoes. Now just to wait another five years for the final arc. Yikes.