It landed on Netflix last June 3, Sailor Moon Eternal – Il Film, the two-act animated feature film that follows up on the controversial Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal. Controversial because it immediately met more detractors than admirers, because nostalgic fans of the 90s anime probably expected a remake just as exciting and full of pathos.
Ma Sailor Moon Crystal e Sailor Moon Eternal they are not born with the intention of paying homage to the old anime, but the genius of Naoko Takeuchi.
Perhaps the project would have worked better if the series and the subsequent film had been able to overcome the obvious limits of the manga of the teacher Takeuchi (limits mainly related to the script and the poor characterization of any character other than Usagi Tsukino), amalgamating the original story of the mangaka to the magic that made the franchise’s fortune in the 1990s. But if we consider Crystal ed Eternal only as faithful transpositions of Takeuchi’s manga series, forgetting the historical anime broadcast in Italy (heavily censored) by Mediaset, then we can only consider them very successful adaptations.
But let’s go in order and retrace the history of the manga before going into the details of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal.
The revolution of the beautiful warrior who dresses in a sailor style
How was the Sailor Moon myth born? What are its origins?
To answer these questions we need to take a step back in time and go back to the mythical nineties.
It was in fact 1991 when Codename Sailor V before and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon then they made their serialized debuts in RunRun and Nakayoshi magazines.
The first of the two comic series featured the solo path of Minako Aino, future Sailor Venus, and his fight against the mysterious Dark Agency. Although it is an avant-garde and feminist manga, starring a young, beautiful, courageous and a bit crazy girl who fought against the forces of evil, Codename: Sailor V has never achieved the success achieved by Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, which instead gave birth to a real comics revolution, quickly becoming the majokko par excellence.
It was the first time that comics for girls moved away from the typical stylistic features of the genre. Before Sailor Moon, the landscape of manga for teenagers was populated by wizards and little witches, but It is with Sailor Moon that for the very first time the world of the majokko is colored with all new shades.
Between the Sixties and the Eighties, television has repeated us in slightly different sauces, more or less always the same story. From Bia to Lulù, from Creamy to Emi, passing through Sandy and Ransie and Stilly and so on and so forth, the protagonists of the majokko genre were all armed with magical objects capable of transforming them. A mirror, a bracelet, a bow donated by an elf allowed these very young girls to fulfill their wishes… which usually revolved around being more adult, more beautiful and popular, attracting the attention of the boy of their dreams.
There were no great battles, no truly fearsome enemies that threatened the fate of planet Earth and the protagonists were not real heroines as happened to their male companions.
If on the front of the super sentai there were groups of heroes such as the Knights of the Zodiac, the girls protagonists of manga majokko had to be content with using their magic for much less risky and important missions.
And then, finally, Sailor Moon arrived! It is with the warrior created by Naoko Takeuchi that things change. Sailor Moon defies the rules and makes its own the narrative structure that until a few years earlier belonged to shonen comics, aimed mainly at a male audience.
In Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, the perspective therefore changes radically. It is a group of young women who save the world, it is a team of girls who no longer find themselves fighting against each other as they did in Bia and Noa, but who fight side by side, who make each other strong. one with the other, they support and grow together.
When we talk about Sailor Moon, we can only define the work of Naoko Takeuchi a real cultural revolution, because it is the first example of an all-female story in which friendship, love – and not just the romantic one – and the value of sacrifice are celebrated.
Takeuchi’s manga has overturned every stereotype. Before Xena and Buffy, it was Usagi, Ami, Rei, Makoto and Minako who inspired us, it is with them that we witnessed the reversal of the stereotype that wanted damsels in distress waiting to be saved by the prince.
In Sailor Moon women are truly emancipated, there is no unblemished and fearless knight to run the protagonists to safety. You will say: and Mamoru / Tuxedo Mask? Well, if we look carefully, it is clear that if on the one hand it gives strength to Usagi / Sailor Moon, on the other hand it mainly serves to underline that reversal of the stereotypes we were talking about before.
Sailor Moon e Sailor Moon Crystal
The true success of the Sailor Moon is linked not so much to the manga, but to the cult anime of the nineties.
Anyone familiar with Naoko Takeuchi’s original work knows well that despite the historical anime is far from the more mature aura of the manga, has also been able to thrill the public in a way that the paper has never been able to do.
While Usagi was whiny and lazy in the 1990s animated adaptation as she never was in the manga, the five seasons of Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon Super S e Sailor Moon Stars) made viewers fall in love with this magical feminist icon.
And then it came Crystal, born from the idea of paying homage to Naoko Takeuchi on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the franchise that bears his signature.
From 2014 to 2016, Toei Animation produced three seasons of an anime titled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, a project far more faithful to the work of the master Takeuchi, in the spirit, in the drawings and in the story itself, an operation similar to that carried out with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
After transposing the first three narrative arcs of which the manga is composed (Dark Kingdom, Black Moon and Death Busters) into 39 episodes, the project was interrupted … or rather, has changed shape.
Sailor Moon Eternal – The movie, the review
The story of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon did not stop on TV. The fourth narrative arc of the story, titled Dream, was adapted into a two-part film released in cinemas in Japan and available on Netflix in the rest of the world.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal starts where Crystal ends, telling of the meeting between little Chibiusa and Helios / Pegasus, the advent of the Dead Moon Circus and the revenge plans of Queen Nehellenia.
Even those who grew up with the classic series of Sailor Moon and he feels nostalgia for it years later he is not particularly fond of this narrative arc, either because it is Chibiusa who is the absolute protagonist, or because it diverges from the manga in a more important way than in previous seasons.
For this, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal was particularly awaited, both by longtime fans, who could finally see the Dream bow made properly, and by those he loved Crystal, who waited a long time for the saga of the beautiful warrior Sailor Moon to continue in an animated guise.
Directed by Chiaki Kon and scripted by Kazuyuki Fudeyasu, the two films, lasting one hour and twenty minutes each, tell a single great story. But if the first part has a structure that we could define as episodic, divided into narrative mini-arcs dedicated to Usagi, Ami, Rei, Mako and Mina, the second follows a more horizontal path, in which we get to the heart of the battle against the Dead Moon Circus and Nehellenia.
With Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal, as happened with the anime Crystal, we are faced with a product certainly well packaged, which perfectly adapts the original work of Naoko Takeuchi, but which perhaps is not in step with the times.
One of the most obvious defects of the manga of the teacher is the lack of deepening of the characters. The whole characterization of Usagi’s companions revolves around their desire to protect one precious person, Usagi herself. L’arco Dream, ed Eternal as a result, he tries to make those characters a little more three-dimensional, but is that enough? If the classic anime has taught us anything, it is that Takeuchi’s hasty and Usagi-centric script needed some tweaking in order to be more engaging and thrilling.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal it is a good product from a formal point of view, it represents everything that Naoko Tkeuchi’s work lovers wanted, but could have done more, proving that it knows how to mediate between the manga’s rushed script and the excessive filler episodes of the historical anime of the 90s.
A character design that knows how to mediate
If he failed to do it best in plot development, Sailor Moon Eternal has been able to please nostalgic of the old anime and supporters of Takeuchi through the character design by Kazuko Tadano.
Although at the release of the first poster and promotional photos the stroke of the drawing did not seem up to the level of a long-awaited project, the result in the film is very pleasant.
The trait of Tadano, historical character designer of the first two seasons of the classic anime, manages at the same time not to upset the admirers of the old animated series, who regretted the old-fashioned drawings, and to pay homage to Naoko Takeuchi’s pencil, even if perhaps not as much as he tried to do Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal.
The dubbing and the Italian adaptation
From the point of view of Italian dubbing, nothing to say. The voices are those, as expected given a question of continuity, that we have already learned to appreciate in Crystal. If there are any flaws they are not in the voices of the actors, but in the adaptation itself.
While an excellent job is done in choosing to keep Japanese names and even suffixes, on the other hand some literal translations seem to come directly from one of Gualtiero Cannarsi’s adaptations.
In short, that Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss that becomes Honeymoon therapeutic starlight kiss not really the best.