After a lot of delay and anticipation, a modern adaptation of the very popular 1990s series was advertised as a faithful representation of the original work. The first season of ‘Sailor Moon Crystal‘ came out in 2014 and to say that it was off to a rocky start would be a bit of an understatement. The 1990s series had set up some really high standards and die-hard fans had some beyond measurable expectations from this new version.
‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ was originally just a web anime and lacked the support of any evident traditional sponsors who would feature this on television. Toei Animation Studios had clearly relied on their intuition and had to invest into this hoping that it would work out the way they expect it to. But even after their constant efforts to revive an old classic the outcome turned out to be the butt of all jokes and overall the series was considered to be subpar.
The first two seasons have 26 episodes which were released in a span of one year and this was followed by a short break of several months before the third season was aired. The directors of the anime noticed that it was about time they upped their game. The changes made in third season are quite apparent. The old director Munehisa Sakai was replaced by Chiaki Kon who is known for work in ‘Golden Time’ and the even the old character designer’s place has been now filled by Akira Takahashi who is known for his contribution in ‘Pretty Cure’. A distinct shift in the aesthetics of the show is pretty evident and that’s definitely a positive for the new season. The 3D sequences of the show have been kept aside for a while and an emphasis has been put on creating a youthful physiognomy of the characters.
As far as the storyline is concerned, it has been revamped in a way that is not readily evident in the initial episodes. The new season follows a pattern that was followed by the earlier arcs where a minimal episode count is maintained. This forces them to follow their previously used formula which involves the introduction of a few new characters who briefly stay in the limelight which is followed by a series of small-time villains being added to the story and defeated one by one. All of this leads to one final rung of baddies coming into the show who face the protagonists in a final showdown.
What’s very different in the first two seasons is that they entirely stripped down the source material and kept their prime focus on humor and further development on the planet guardians. But the third season, while working on those ends as well, adds a little more of screen-time to other innovative aspects of the show.
Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 Release Date:
‘Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3’ premiered on April 4, 2016, and ended it run on June 27, 2016. It has a total of only 13 episodes and each of these episodes is 23 minutes long. It is speculated that the fourth season of this anime will be in a movie based format and will be released in the form of two feature films, unlike the previous seasons. No official release date for the next season has come out yet but most likely it will be aired in the year 2019. Find the full details about Sailor Moon Crystal Season 4 right here.
Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 Plot:
The third season of ‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ mainly focuses on the “Death Busters Arc”. It also introduces the remaining of the Sailor Guardians which includes the ones from Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, and Pluto, along with some new powers to the gang. In this new arc, the Sailor Guardians start getting suspicious about a new university that has opened up and it seems like it may be the source of the new monsters that are destroying their town. Usagi and all of her Guardian friends which includes Ami (Mercury), Rei (Mars), Makoto (Jupiter), Minako (Venus), her boyfriend Mamoru, her future daughter Chibiusa and the other new Sailor Guardians Haruka (Uranus) and Michiru (Neptune), have way too many irons in the fire this season. All of them together take it upon themselves to defeat all the villains of the Death Busters Arc and eventually bring an end to their leader who is a smoke monster called Master Pharaoh 90.
Usagi’s daughter Chibiusa has completely transformed into a grown-up mature girl from the whiny little kid that she used to be in the previous seasons. She now has a more significant role and has a sweeter and more pleasant presence on the screen. She ends up becoming friends with a sickly girl named Hotaru whose father happens to be working as a scientist for the Death Busters. Chibiusa must be careful because Hotaru might have dark secrets of her own. Meanwhile, a love triangle starts to come into the picture between Usagi, Mamoru, Haruka and Michiru which gets resolved very easily.
Revelations are made later in the show about the true identities of Neptune and Uranus who were supposed to revive Sailor Pluto and take down the Death Busters. But they choose to work alone out of desperation because they know that they have to act fast or else the Guardian Pluto will awaken and destroy everything in their world just like he did to the Moon Kingdom. By the end of the season, a final revelation about Hotaru’s true identity is made and it is shown that she is actually a puppet of the Death Busters who is being used for bringing back Master Pharoah 90 back to Earth. The show also depicts a lesbian relationship between Haruka and Michiru probably because the makers wanted to have a progressive LGBTQ theme that is a common ground for a lot of shows and movies these days.
Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 Review:
Starting off with the story of the anime, we are glad that the directors realized that sticking solely to the manga won’t cut it. Substantial improvement can be noticed in the third season as compared to season 1 and 2. It gives out everything you would expect out of a recreation of Sailor Moon which includes a dark touch to each of the characters, some great action and also constant character development. Little minor additions have been made to each of the chapters of the manga episodes are based on. These minor changes have created a big positive impact on the overall character development of the show.
In certain parts, season 3 proves to be even better than the original 90s classic it has been adapted from. Even the silly and cute romantic moments add some elements of fun and humor to the show which was much needed. The new director indeed has made a lot of difference in the new season and has successfully revived the show by adding whatever that was lacking initially.
Getting to the animation and art side of this season of ‘Sailor Moon Crystal’, the transformation sequences of the characters are just beyond gorgeous. Thanks to Chikai Kon for the 2D transformations that have proven to be much better than the horrifying 3D ones. The colors in this one seem more vibrant and even the faces of all characters are much more symmetrical. The animation does go a little wonky at times and derpy frames can be observed from time to time especially during the stock footage battles. But clearly, all this was to save some budget for the last two episodes that make up for all this lackluster of animation. Even with all the flaws that it has, the animation in this season is far better than the first two seasons and if you’re still looking for flawless animation then you can always go for the upgraded dubbed version.
The title music score is just great and even the two new soundtracks that have been added to this season are exceptional and add some spice to the show.
Coming to the characters of the anime, the protagonists are great and one cannot complain about their perfect character development. But the villains remain as dull as a dishwasher and lack personality because the show heavily relies on generic space monsters who just obsess over power. An exception to this is Hotaru who shines along with the new favorite Chibiusa, who is the only character in the series that can give you some very emotional moments. Usagi remains the same and there has never really been a problem with her character even in the past seasons so it’s fair that they haven’t changed her much.
To sum it all up, Season 3 of ‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ has shown some great improvements but the anime might still need a little more work in the writing department and the character development of villains. Those few selected people who enjoyed this from the very beginning will rejoice the third season for being the best this anime has ever been. And those who gave up on it earlier and were starting to lose hope in the show will find their interest getting restored in the show after this season. By the end, the show’s conclusion does tease us with the fourth season and now that the momentum is in the favor of the show, the future of this anime seems super bright. We hope that it will live up to the standard it has set from this season and enough time will be given to focus a little more on the characters.
Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 English Dub:
For the western audience who want to watch the third season of ‘Sailor Moon Crytal’, the English dubbed episodes can be found on their official licensor’s website Viz Media.
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