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Sailor Moon is Back and Better Than Ever!

When I was little, I remember watching Sailor Moon every week during summer break. My eyes were always glued to the TV every time she appeared on screen. I adored everything about her - her lively personality, her beautiful sailor uniform, and her ability to fight off the forces of evil with the help of her fellow Sailor Scouts. It was the very first anime I watched before I even knew it was originally from Japan. When I found out it was actually Japanese anime and not just an American cartoon, I was quite excited. As soon as I learned this, I searched for the Japanese dub on YouTube, and being able to watch this series in its original language really helped my Japanese language abilities.

So when I heard in July 2012 that this legendary anime was going to have a reboot, Sailor Moon Crystal, I was quite over the moon.

Sailor Moon Crystal is an alternate retelling of the first arc of the Sailor Moon series. Usagi Tsukino, a 14-year old schoolgirl, encounters the black cat with a crescent moon on her forehead, Luna. Luna tells Usagi she is destined to be Sailor Moon, the guardian of love and justice. Usagi's mission is to find the Silver Crystal and find the Moon Princess, Princess Serenity. However, Queen Beryl from the Dark Kingdom is after for the Silver Crystal as well, so Usagi must transform into Sailor Moon so fight her off. Luckily, she's not alone. Usagi's friends have the same destiny as well and transform into the Sailor Scouts to save the world from impending evil.

Episode one was broadcasted worldwide on Niconico (with subtitles in 12 different languages!) on July 5th. I finally had some time last weekend to watch it and let me just say, it was a very nostalgic event for me. Personally, these are the highlights that stood out for me while watching the first episode and what the audience should watch out for Sailor Moon Crystal.

1. The artwork. The first arc of Sailor Moon aired in Japan back in 1992. So two decades later, the designs got a tremendous upgrade. I would say the new art style of the characters got "glossier".

2. The transformation sequence. When watching a magical girl series like Sailor Moon, this is a vital scene to the show. In fact, the transformation sequence in Sailor Moon popularized transformation sequences in magical girl themed animes that were released after Sailor Moon.  The all-new yet legendary transformation sequence has a twist: 3D animation. Most magical girl transformation sequences are being animated this way these days, so seeing my childhood hero changing into her alter-ego in 3D animation is very surreal. Nonetheless, the nostalgic feeling still remains.

3. The voices. The new anime may have a new cast for the characters, but only one voice actor reprised their role...you got it! It's the main character herself! Kotono Mitsuishi was the original voice actress for Usagi and became instantly famous for voicing this character. Other character voiced by Mitsuishi include Misato Katsuragi from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Murrue Ramius from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, and Boa Hancock from One Piece. Crystal definitely does not feel the same as the original anime with the new voices, but fans can be rest assured that the star of the story is the same as she always has been.

Overall, watching Sailor Moon Crystal is definitely a unique experience. The updates of the show are going to take time to get used to, but I look forward to continue watching the rest of it. The two year wait was totally worth it!

Besides Niconico, you can also watch episodes on Hulu and Neon Alley. New episodes are released on the first and third Saturday of each month.

So if you're a longtime fan of this epic series or are new to it, you should definitely check out Sailor Moon Crystal. If you don't, "In the name of the moon, I will punish you!"

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