One of the most iconic anime of all time and the poster-child for the “Magical Girl” genre, Sailor Moon is considered a classic. With romance, cute characters, and the epic fight against good and evil, there’s a lot to like about the original. In 2014, the anime was given a reboot in the form of Sailor Moon Crystal.
This addition ended up sparking debates over which version of the anime was better, seeing as how both had their fair share of strengths and weaknesses. While there’s seemingly no clear victory on either side, what can be noted is that for as many things as Crystal improved on, there were just as many things the original did better.
10 WHAT CRYSTAL IMPROVED: ROMANCE
The romance between certain characters in the original was rough, to say the least. Usagi and Mamoru’s relationship was the shakiest in the beginning, and watching them relentlessly argue only to suddenly get together was a bit off-putting. This was something that Crystal handled way better.
Romance is handled with a lot more care in Crystal and Usagi and Mamoru’s romance becomes a lot more natural and compelling in this version.
On the other hand, Sailor Uranus and Neptune’s romance is hardly touched upon in Crystal so far as the series is more plot-driven, much like the manga. They get more romantic time together in the original, believe it or not. In Crystal, Haruka spends more time flirting with Usagi than she does with Michiru. Even Michiru has moments of flirting with Mamoru.
9 WHAT THE ORIGINAL DID BETTER: THE SAILOR GUARDIANS
While some could argue that the personalities of the main Sailor Guardians felt cliché and full of tropes in the original, it did give these characters some personality. Sadly Crystal’s versions of the Guardians appeared to be a lot more barebones by comparison.
Not much time is spent with one individual member of the team, so there isn’t a lot of time to get a feel for their personalities, resulting in them coming off blander than the original. Could some of the Sailor Guardians be annoying in the original, sure, but they were definitely more memorable than Crystal‘s.
8 WHAT CRYSTAL IMPROVED: CUTTING OUT THE FILLER
One of the biggest differences between the original Sailor Moon and the manga it was based on was a large amount of filler that got shoved in. The original had a heavy dose of “Monster of the Week” stories that focused on one-off villains that the Sailor Guardians would defeat. Some episodes even had moralistic lessons.
Crystal has a more focused plot that doesn’t get bogged down by distractions.
7 WHAT THE ORIGINAL DID BETTER: GOOD PACING
It’s true that the sheer amount of filler did stretch out the episode count for the original quite a bit. However, it can be argued that this created some much-needed pacing that Crystal was mostly lacking in.
A lot of Crystal ends up being rushed in order to cover the main plot-points and because of that characterization and letting the viewer breathe tends to suffer for it.
6 WHAT CRYSTAL IMPROVED: CHARACTERIZATION FOR A LOT OF VILLAINS
While the original was great at giving the Sailor Guardians time to shine, the same could not be said for most of the villains. Since the original anime relied heavily on the “Monster of the Week” formula, this sadly meant a lot of the villains were pretty one-note and generic.
Crystal ended up rectifying this, by giving the villains much more of a tragic background that underlined why they were doing such horrible things. The main villains especially received this treatment, giving them depth to go along with their intimidation factor.
On the opposite end, many villains became one-note in Crystal. The Ayakashi Sisters were disposed of quickly with no redemption arc like in the ’90s anime; members of the Witches 5 like Eudial and Mimete didn’t have much time to shine either.
5 WHAT THE ORIGINAL DID BETTER: DR. TOMOE & PRINCE DIMANDE
While a lot of the villains from the original anime got some improved characterization in Crystal, not every villain got the same treatment. Particularly Prince Dimande and Dr. Tomoe more or less regressed in their character when compared to the original anime.
Prince Dimande, while he did still managed to have a few emotional moments, failed to reach the same emotional heights that his original anime counterpart achieved. Dr. Tomoe suffered more, going from a desperate father possessed and trying to save his daughter to an apathetic mad scientist. It was closer to their manga versions, but they came off as watered down because of it.
4 WHAT CRYSTAL IMPROVED: THE ANIMATION
The original anime came out in the early 1990s and much of the manga’s style was streamlined by Kazuko Tadano, the character designer for the first two seasons as well as the upcoming Sailor Moon Eternal. So, due to its age, there are artistic issues with the classic anime.
While it did have a rocky start due to its meager budget and the fact it was an ONA series, the new style of animation in Crystal eventually improved on a more modern look. As a result of more modern techniques in animation, the animation became cleaner and the fight scenes became more intense and dynamic than ever thought possible.
3 WHAT THE ORIGINAL DID BETTER: ALSO THE ANIMATION…
Crystal did manage to make a decent reimagined version of Sailor Moon, but it didn’t start that way. For the first two seasons, the animation was a lot sloppier and characters looked a little off. Then there were those controversial 3D-animated transformation sequences that divided fans.
With all those stumbles in the visuals, it’s not hard to see why the classic design of the Sailor Moon is the one that is still featured heavily just about everywhere she appears. The original’s look is just too iconic to change so drastically.
2 WHAT CRYSTAL IMPROVED: ADAPTING THE MANGA
When it comes to living up to its lofty reputation, the original anime pulls this off in spades. When it comes to adapting the original story of the manga, it’s rather hit or miss. While it’s not to say that the 90’s classic was bad at adapting its source material, it can be said that it mostly went in its own direction.
Crystal meanwhile sought to stick as close to the manga as possible and as such it adapts the manga’s story arcs much better. It also avoids getting bogged down in filler, something the original was definitely guilty for.
1 WHAT THE ORIGINAL DID BETTER: BEING A MEMORABLE ADAPTATION
While it might not be the strongest adaptation of its manga, the original Sailor Moon anime was able to become one of the most famous anime in history regardless. While it is very different from its source material, it went it’s own way and by doing that, viewers were enticed.
Sailor Moon is a manga that's been adapted into an anime twice. How does Crystal improve on the original? How does it fall short?