Sailor Moon Crystal: Complication/Nemesis Review

Sailor Moon Crystal delivers a bland rehash of something we just saw, but shows Usagi in a cool dress.

It’s Sailor Moon’s turn to get abducted by the Black Moon, this time by Prince Demande himself. While Tuxedo Mask and company attempt to whip up some kind of strategy to rescue her, she squares off against Prince Demande who has sprung for her ticket to Creepy Town. Sadly, the power of the Malefic Black Crystal is neutralizing that of the Silver Crystal, and Usagi can’t transform back into Sailor Moon, so all she can really do is sit there and listen to Demande wax poetic about what an insane fuck he is. There’s a little more backstory filled in, but it’s really just elaboration on stuff we already know. And then Chibi-Usa runs off, loses the time key, and while wandering through the void she runs into Wiseman. Also, Ami, Rei, and Mako-chan finally wake up, but they can’t transform either. Bummer.

The degree of Demande’s rapey-ness varies from iteration to iteration, but it’s always there. First, he just completely sexualizes this woman he supposedly hates, and the idea of his conquer-fucking her is just incredibly disturbing, which I suppose was the point, so bravo there. However, the downside to his behavior in the latter part of this arc is that his sheer mad evilness is incredibly one-note and undercuts the more nuanced character built up early on, the principled rebel who broke away from Crystal Tokyo for his own moral objections to their way of life. He had politics and philosophy as a motivation, and while he still rambles on about those beliefs, it really just seems like something he’s given to talk about while he black hats his way through every scene and thinks about ways to creep on and/or violate Sailor Moon.

There was a little more time spent with Sailor Pluto, but we didn’t really learn anything new about her. She’s fond of Chibi-Usa. She’s got a thing for the king. It’s not like those points were developed in any significant way, so they’re really just redundancies carried over from the previous episode.

Aside from that, honestly… I just don’t have that much to say. There isn’t much to say about this show anymore. Almost every episode can be boiled down to these three points:

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1) It pretty much did exactly what happens in the manga.

2) It made one or two design tweaks.

3) There were some animation problems.

That’s really it. If you really wanted to know what happened in an episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, you could seriously just download a digital copy of the manga to the portable device of your choice, select the corresponding chapter, and flip through the images.

It’s sad to say, but I’m just not as excited about this show as I used to be nor as much as I want to be, and while certainly not all fans feel the same, many do. We want to be enthusiastic about it, because it’s Sailor Moon, and we don’t want to be lukewarm on any Sailor Moon property, especially something we’ve anticipated for so long, but watching this show has become the very definition of a chore. It is completely unoriginal, completely uninspired, and frankly I don’t see the point of it.

I mean, I know that the point is to animate the manga practically to the letter. I just don’t see the point in doing that. We have the manga. If we want to read it, we can pull it off the shelf or go online to any number of sites where it’s available for download.

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There’s more I could say on the matter, but I think John Green has articulated my position on cross-medium adaptation better than I ever could. So, I’ll just cede the floor to Mr. Green on this one after paraphrasing him by saying, “I’d rather Sailor Moon Crystal be good than be faithful.” Because it’s clear that faithful isn’t working.

All right, fine. You want my analysis, here it is.

This episode was pretty bland. Not much actually happened, and all the moments that could have been emotional weren’t, because they were ultimately just regurgitated moments from earlier episodes. It could have scored some points for world building if almost every plot point in this episode hadn’t been merely a retelling (sometimes more elaborate, sometimes less) of a plot point from an earlier episode…. and not just any episode that preceded it; the episode that DIRECTLY preceded it. But hey, we got to see Usagi in a nifty Art Nouveau inspired dress. That was kind of cool.


2 out of 5