When Wiseman joined forces with Black Moon, it gave Black Moon great power to achieve their goals. But at what price did that come?

Sailor_Moon_Crystal_Poster_ArtSailor Moon Crystal Act 22 – Hidden Agenda – Nemesis
Publisher: Toei Animation, Viz Media
Price: Free on Hulu, included in subscription to CrunchyRoll

Previously on Sailor Moon Crystal: Feeling alone, Chibiusa wanders into the far reaches of Time, and a storm is left in her wake. Meanwhile, Usagi has been captured by Prince Demande and unable to transform.

THE LADY IN CRYSTAL

Left powerless on the planet Nemesis, Usagi is given free reign to wander around Black Moon’s palace. And though every step is a struggle, she will not stop trying to gather any sort of intel that will help her and her friends escape, or maybe to help them later in the fight.

It is only because of Demade’s lust for her that she is still alive, but she does not let this stop her from letting her know what she really feels. After finding out some information and a chance encounter with Saphir, Usagi is able to transform into Sailor Moon with the help of Neo Queen Serenity.

This episode is heartbreaking by the end, but this is not a surprise to those who closely follow the manga.

There weren’t really any changes between the original manga and this episode, but seeing it animated helped make a few scenes clearer than they had been in the manga. This is a fairly common reality of transitioning from comics to animation, and isn’t exclusive to Crystal. For a diehard fan like myself, this is enough reason to watch Crystal at least once, despite the animation issues.

THE LADY IN SHADOWS

And the animation issues just don’t stop. Plenty of my previous complaints still hold true here, focusing on stills or stills that only have the mouth moving, but there are two examples here of bad animation that I haven’t been able to address before.

There was a moment with Sailor Venus, expressing some exasperation with the current situation, which does something similar that a previous episode did that I didn’t happen to review. The screen pulls away to look a little “silly,” and doesn’t work at all in the style of Sailor Moon Crystal. I think that it tries to harken back to the original anime, as well as moments in the manga. But the difference is that Crystal hasn’t really nailed down its own style of “silly” that fits. The result is jarring, but it gratefully only happened once in this episode.

But the most egregious animation sin of this episode was when the Sailor Guardians reunited. They are running to each other… and there is literally no animation happening. It’s two stills moving towards each other with mouths moving, like someone is moving multiple layers of an image. This is absolutely ridiculous.

On an art note, the black crescents of Black Moon are inconsistent to a laughable degree on the villains. The money just isn’t there in the budget to have someone go through and catch these inconsistencies, or they do know they’re there and can’t pay to fix them.

BOTTOM LINE: …REALLY?

I am starting to wonder how effective doing a reboot of Sailor Moon is, if the animation is so terrible. Many of the story elements that I have appreciated from Sailor Moon Crystal has been partially because I am a huge fan of the series, and know the manga story backwards and forwards. But what significance is Sailor Moon Crystal going to have for the causal Sailor Moon fan, or someone new to it? So, while I enjoyed it, I’m also growing more irritated at the animation failures.

When Wiseman joined forces with Black Moon, it gave Black Moon great power to achieve their goals. But at what price did that come? Sailor Moon Crystal Act 22 - Hidden Agenda - Nemesis Publisher: Toei Animation, Viz Media Price: Free on Hulu, included in subscription to CrunchyRoll Previously on Sailor Moon Crystal: Feeling alone, Chibiusa wanders into the far reaches of Time, and a storm is left in her wake. Meanwhile, Usagi has been captured by Prince Demande and unable to transform. THE LADY IN CRYSTAL Left powerless on the planet Nemesis, Usagi is given free reign to wander…
While the story is wonderful, the animation is making this a hard sell to new fans.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 22

Story
Art
Animation

While the story is wonderful, the animation is making this a hard sell to new fans.

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The Author

Becky Armstrong

Becky Armstrong

Becky lives in Philadelphia, but is from the Midwest, and is still weirded out by the ability to go to so many big cities on the Eastern Coast in a short period of time. She's been geek and nerd her entire life, and never grew out of telling her own stories about the characters she saw in TV/movies and books. This lead to thinking of some of her own stories too, and getting a B.A. in Creative Writing from Eastern Michigan University. Her second greatest love is sharing her interests with her friends. She was often called "the Library" with how often she let her friends borrow her books, and for her vast collection of manga that would put 98.72% of libraries to shame.

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1 Comment

  1. Russell Catt
    May 28, 2015 at 12:42 pm — Reply

    Good review.

    The animation issues here also trouble me.

    I wonder if Toei put themselves in a bad spot by having 3 larger series like Avengers: Disk Wars, Sailor Moon and the new Digimon season all in production at the same time? Perhaps all of their top animation talent were split to the different projects?

    However, I’m not sure if letting their quality standards lapse will hit their bottom line that hard. I guess it depends on how broad an appeal Toei’s marketing department were anticipating for Sailor Moon.

    Here’s a strange question: How much of a nostalgia market is there in Japan for Sailor Moon vs North America?
    Here’s my thought process: North America gets a relatively “Cherry picked” menu of anime because of international distributors. If they don’t pick it up, it won’t ever appear. Japan, by comparison, gets a whole new slate of shows every 3 months. Perhaps the nostalgia market in North America is stronger because the average viewer had less choices to watch when they were at “peak cartoon” age? Whereas Japanese viewers have a flood of shows to watch every year and their individual “attachment to series” quotient might be less?

    Thoughts?

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