I’ve done a lot of reviews online over the years. Most have been anime but I’ve also looked at comics like Civil War, live action TV shows like the First Doctor from Doctor Who, Films like DEBS, cartoons like Spectacular Spider-man and even video games like Miitopia. I’ve reviewed some of the worst anime out there, some of the most generic and some of the best. All from a wide variety of genres. And now, I’m reviewing anime number 400. With every hundredth review, I’ve had a tradition of looking at the next instalment of the Sailor Moon franchise. We’ve looked at the first series, R, S and, now it’s time for a look at SuperS. Who knows, maybe I’ll be going long enough to get to the controversial Crystal series. But we’ll worry about that when we get to it.
We open with our pretty sailor-suited soldiers observing an eclipse. Unbeknownst to them, but knownst to us, a group of villains called the Dead Moon Circus use the eclipse to enter their lovely Japanese town. Their mission is to find the person with a beautiful dream that Pegasus is hiding inside. From there, we get the usual Sailor Moon formula. Ordinary people are threatened by monsters, the soldiers power up and drive the menaces back all while getting steadily closer to the mastermind behind it all.
I don’t have any real issues with the Sailor Moon formula. Having a monster of the weak set up works when you’ve got media aimed for younger audiences, which this is. It’s not like they’re stupid enough to put monster of the weak episodes in something for older teenagers or adults. Only someone truly brain dead would do that. That being said, there is one element to the narrative I have a serious problem with. And that is the attempted romance betwixt Chibi-Usa and Pegasus. And it’s not just that he spends most of the series as an alicorn. That is part of it, but the bigger issue is that he’s thousands of years old and she’s a grade school kid. It would be like if the esteemed Princess Celestia was trying to put the moves on Pumpkin Cake. It’s beyond creepy and no one ever acknowledges it. Mamoru will speak out when he thinks she’s interested in a significantly older human, but is surprisingly taciturn when it comes to the paedophile Pegasus. I mean, yes he’s also older than Usagi to a degree where he should not be dating her but at least they have the whole reincarnated ongoing love story thing to somewhat excuse it. As opposed to Pegasus who is just a wannabe child molester.
That whole really terrible romance aside, the series does have a lot to like. There are some really strong episodes that let the other soldiers besides Usagi and Chibi-Usa have a taste of the spotlight. The series is also pretty good about giving the victim characters a sense of personality. There are exceptions, particularly towards the end where entire groups are getting checked. But it is mostly a strong point for the series. The handling of the dream motif is also quite interesting. They explore the dreams of our heroines and they use the villains to illustrate what happens with corrupted dreams, how lost people get without dreams and the danger of having a selfish, impossible dream. The series also has a pretty strong sense of humour, like the rest of the franchise.
Our main heroines all get their chances to shine and exploring their dreams does help flesh out and further their characters. Then we have the antagonists. That’s another strength of the series, the way the antagonists are fleshed out. Some of them are quite sympathetic even the big bad Nehelenia who’s pretty pitiable when it comes right down to it. Honestly, I think these are the best antagonists we’ve seen in the franchise thus far. Finally, we have Helios or as I like to call him, the worst part of this entire franchise. No, seriously. There’s nothing in any of the other series we’ve looked at that’s worse than mister ancient but young looking paedophile. And, sorry to spoil it, but I know there’s nothing in Stars that’s worse than him. The interactions that don’t involve him are pretty strong. I like the way the series develops the familial bond betwixt Usagi and Chibi-Usa and I like the way the sailor soldiers interact with the Amazoness Quartet. Those are the two strongest interactions in the series.
Yeah, the artwork continues to be rather dated but fine looking. One thing I really like in this series are the monster designs and the whole atmosphere you get in the Dead Moon Circus. The performers have interesting and varied looks. But, like every part of the franchise, you can expect a lot of stock footage and long transformation sequences. You can also expect the occasionally bizarre facial expression.
(I had to include this image from the second ending theme tune.)
Our all star cast returns. We get strong performances from Mitsuishi Kotono, Fukami Rica, Tomizawa Michie, Shinohara Emi, Hisakawa Aya & Araki Kae. We also get some great acting from our secondary cast. One in particular I want to talk about is Ishida Akira. Almost three years ago I reviewed the OVA, Ice. In that series Ishida Akira voiced a woman and gave a terrible performance,sounding completely masculine. This series lets us confirm for absolute certain that that was the director’s fault. In SuperS, Ishida voices the trans-woman Fish Eye and he sounds really feminine doing it. They don’t even use the shitty old joke where his voice turns super masculine at times. It’s feminine throughout. Arisawa Takanori’s soundtrack is nicely done. Even if the franchise has been using the same opening theme tune for every series.
This one dials back the les-yay quite a bit. There’s an episode where a young girl starts admiring Rei in a way that comes across as more than friendly. We also get to see Ami dance with Makoto. That’s something.
Honestly, I seriously considered going as low as a 6 for this one. Solely because of Pegasus. Like I said, worst thing in this entire franchise. However, I’m going to go a bit higher because the antagonists are really well done and there are plenty of other strong factors in the series. It’s still the weakest instalment of the franchise thus far but I would still say it’s enjoyable and pretty good. So, my final rating is going to be a 7/10. Next week, Uchuu Kaizoku Mito no Daibouken.
A big thank you to everyone who’s been a regular reader. I appreciate all of you whether you generally agree with my assessments or not.