Today, the third edition of the Sailor Moon manga is available in America. But as fans once again dive into the Dark Kingdom storyline, which has been covered several times before, what would be the best animated version? Even fans of Sailor Moon Crystal admit the story stumbles in several key areas, and the debate over whether it should have stuck to the Act-for-Act format will probably continue for the rest of the franchise’s history.
I’ve covered this before, but I decided to put up or shut up. No one will ever convince me that Crystal was the right way to do a reboot, and to explain why, I present to you Krystallina’s version of Sailor Moon Crystal — Sailor Moon Krystal perhaps?
Before I begin, my outline has two versions. The parts in * * are parts that would be in Version B, which includes the Senshi x Shintennou route like in Crystal.
Alert: Major spoilers for the entire Sailor Moon franchise ahoy! Lengthy post ahoy!
Okay, here were my goals:
Cover the Dark Kingdom saga in a two-cour anime. Sometimes, this could mean a slightly less number of episodes, but I went with the popular 26 episodes since it’s 13 + 13. Besides, it’s how many episodes Crystal originally had.
I wanted to keep the storyline as close to the original manga as possible. It may not be ideal, but I wanted to try to show that it was possible to follow the manga’s plot while both expanding the Sailor Moon manga universe and covering up some of its holes. I have an explanation section at the end discussing some of my choices. Ideally, though, I would change a couple of major plot points of the manga, although not nearly as unique as, say, the live action’s story. But only the staff at Toei know what Takeuchi demanded in the remake and what was left up to the staff.
I have included images for each episode, but they’re all not supposed to be exactly what would happen or how things would look. They’re there just to help break up the episodes and to give you a general idea of the feel or the important point of the episode.
Also, appearance-wise, I’d definitely go for a style closer to 90s anime over either of the Crystal designs so far. I literally burst out laughing at the news that Tadano was brought back, as many fans had been insistent that Sako’s designs were so perfectly on-target and how true they were. Takahashi (S3 character designer) overcorrected a bit with making them look different for the sake of looking different, and thus everyone ended up looking so much younger compared to Sako’s designs. I think Tadano’s and Ito’s styles could have been used as a base and changed to be a little more closer to Takeuchi’s later style. Marco Albiero also has enough different styles up his sleeve to find a balance between Takeuchi’s manga-inspired poses and animation-friendly action scenes. I know a lot of people prefer how the original uniforms all had their own unique traits (sleeveless Mercury, gem on Mars, etc.), but I’d probably end make at least the original Sailor Team identical since definitely by the third season, they all have the same styles anyway. Plus easier to animate if you don’t have to worry about a lot of little details.
Anyway, on to Sailor Moon Krystal!
Episode 1: Pretty much a carbon copy of the manga. I wouldn’t have had Mamoru hanging around Osa-P in his tuxedo though. It’s something the manga didn’t make clear initially. “Tuxedo Mask” at points seems like Mamoru literally putting on a tuxedo and a mask, but later in the manga, he’s seen transforming. Story-wise, it makes more sense for him to transform, and plus it adds some separation for Usagi to not realize the guy she saw earlier in a tuxedo is the same guy wearing almost exactly the same outfit. Oh, I’d probably change so that Usagi knows Motoki’s name and the Sailor V game, even if she only calls him Onii-san. Usagi hears Naru’s voice from her odango covers like in the original anime. Skip the goggles; they’re worthless.
Episode 2: This one, I debated. On one hand, Luna shouldn’t have much trouble tracking down Mercury, as Ami attends the same school. This adds to the reason why Usagi is so afraid later, as she has only had to fight alone once before. On the other hand, giving her more experience gives more credence to the other characters wondering if she’s awakening faster, as she had a little more time to be Sailor Moon than even Mercury. Ultimately, though, I think Mercury being so close would mean she was added to the team right away. Otherwise, pretty much like the manga. I’d even keep Usagi’s less-than-pure reasons for getting close to Ami, as it shows that Usagi still has some growing up to do. Mercury’s attack is named and shown.
Episode 3: Filler episode. While Ami has now had a little taste of life outside studying thanks to Usagi, she’s still a shy bookworm who now not only has an overly-excited friend but a life-or-death mission as well. In addition, Naru I think would be surprised that Usagi’s suddenly hanging out with the genius girl. Maybe not so much on Usagi’s part, but Ami’s part since she’s always been a bookworm. I’d go a little of the live action route with Naru feeling left out even with Kuri and Yumiko around, but ultimately becoming friends with Ami as well. Eventually, I’d have Kuri and Yumiko mention they’re aiming for a different high school or a particular major, explaining why they disappear from the story. Umino would become friends with Ami as well, but he’s more of a fanboy interested in Ami’s study techniques and how she’s so smart. Plus, show how Ami’s mother isn’t around much because she’s so busy. Someone takes a hazy picture of Sailor Moon with their (smartphone?) camera after being rescued by her, so it’s the first real image of Sailor Moon and helps explain the merchandise and news that starts showing up in-universe.
Episode 4: Mars debut. Maybe reference to Danburite from the Four Heavenly Kings (who are doing their own thing instead of just waiting for Jadeite to die) being defeated a while back to compare Sailor Moon’s attack level to Sailor V’s. Usagi is drawn to Hikawa Shrine because of rumors of fortune-telling (for love?) rather than just randomly stalking a pretty stranger. Rei calls Usagi “Usagi-san” or “Tsukino-san” at first. Also, Mars gets a real attack instead of just her Akuryo Taisan. That always bothered me that manga Mars never got a unique attack but just makes her miko powers fire elemental. Phobos and Deimos go crazy because they recognize Usagi or sense her power, not that they were attacking her. Usagi just freaks out because crows are suddenly swirling around her. First use of Sailor Teleport, even if not named. Tiara is not destroyed, and less Luna magically controlling the tiara and stuff. Jadeite is not defeated. *Upon seeing Jadeite in the fire, Rei mentions he seems familiar. Jadeite has a noticeable reaction upon seeing Rei for the first time.*
Episode 5: Combination filler and first half of Casablanca Memory. Jadeite is defeated. This shows that while perhaps they would have been equal in power when they were Endymion’s guards, now that they’ve sold their souls, the Four Heavenly Kings are more powerful than the Princess’ Guardians now and require a team to take down. Also, a little bit of Usagi interacting with Mamoru and Ami with Motoki to emphasize Rei’s different approach on romance. Although Rei thinks back to how she told Kaidou she has no friends, she now smiles to herself that maybe friends aren’t so bad after all. *Also explains Rei’s melancholy for having to defeat her past lover. Rei somehow feels a twinge when defeating him as he calls out, “Ma– [Mars]”*
Episode 6: Masquerade episode. The girls realize there may be more enemies as powerful or more powerful than Jadeite. Luna continues to wonder why she just can’t seem to remember certain things or access them on the computer. Nephrite’s shadow is chased away not by Moon Twilight Flash but a combination attack thanks to his shock that the “Legendary Silver Crystal” was just a statue. No Twilight Flash because it makes more sense later that she complains she doesn’t have strong powers like Mars’ fire or Mecury’s ability to blind and freeze; all she can do is toss a frisbee/boomerang. Sailor Moon keeps her original tiara since she gets her original tiara back at the end of the arc anyway.
Episode 7: Jupiter’s debut. Someone calls out “Furu-chan” (since Usagi knows his name already) which gives her the Mako-chan idea. The scene where Rei meets Makoto is changed so that she shows up at the arcade (meeting) instead of the shrine since it’s kind of odd Makoto is following her new acquaintances around because of ghost rumors. Considering only Jupiter attacks, probably remove Flower Hurricane to use Mercury’s attack to blind Nephrite first. Nephrite is not defeated. *Jupiter feels a twinge, but she assumes it’s because she’s already had her heart broken that day.*
Episode 8: Nephrite’s defeat. Much like the live action, Makoto’s friendly, easy-going attitude somewhat clashes with the studious Ami and the strict, cool Rei (although not as close to make room for Casablanca Memory). Plus, Makoto, who is new to the area and has no immediate family, is looking for companionship. Ultimately, Usagi ties them all together. And Ami and Usagi help Makoto also make friends with Naru, who is injured or involved this time around. Usagi wishes she had the power to heal Naru. Mamoru starts to wonder if he should come up with another strategy for the Legendary Silver Crystal. Kunzite seen onscreen. Another Mamoru/Usagi interaction. Usagi’s family notes she’s been busy lately… could she be secretly studying?! They see her next test and… Nope!
Episode 9: Second half of Casablanca Memory. Zoisite unofficial debut, wanting revenge for now two fallen comrades. Luna, talking to the computer, is told that it’s time to give Sailor Moon that item (Moon Stick) since she’s now strong enough to (has the will to) use it. Artemis/Minako, hidden from the audience, remark it’s time to start preparing the upgrade to the Sailor V game, and although Sailor Moon has gotten stronger, her heart is still wavering. *Emphasis on Kaidou resembling Jadeite, especially in the Rain Tree fight scene.* See Mamoru making firing up a recorder/video (or upload online if using modern tech).
Episode 10: Official debut of Zoisite. Mamoru’s public search for the Legendary Silver Crystal goes all wrong. Luna gives the Moon Stick at a meeting. Moon Healing Escalation first use. Usagi discovers Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask. *Zoisite hesitates a moment after Mercury et al burst in.* Employees at Rental Shop Dark remark their business should be picking up again, heh heh heh.
Episode 11: Much of the first half of Act 7 content. Slight expansion on Beryl’s flashback. The gang tries to investigate more about Sailor V. The others grow even more suspicious of Tuxedo Mask, even though Usagi knows the truth. She’s conflicted between helping her friends or Mamoru. Metalia is revived. Ami “challenges” Zoisite from the newly discovered Command Center to try to interfere with the broadcast, but ultimately, the girls need to charge the tower.
Episode 12: Zoisite defeated. Gets a little taste of Moon Healing Escalation before defeat, and first hint that he and the others once served someone else. *Venus witnesses this, and wonders if Sailor Moon has the ability to free/revive the Four Heavenly Kings. Mercury feels strangely melancholy after Zoisite’s defeat.* Tuxedo Mask appears in front of everyone and apologies for setting this plot in motion. Usagi tries to say it’s okay, and her reaction makes the others suspicious.
Episode 13: Kunzite debut. The others press Usagi on what she knows about Mamoru and Tuxedo Mask after he runs away. Everyone urges her to stay away from him; they need her to concentrate on their own mission since she’s the leader. Upset, Usagi flees and later asks Naru for advice since she’s upset (although she leaves out most of the details of course). Naru, wanting to support her best friend, says that if Usagi likes the guy, she should go for it. Ami fully checks out the Command Center with Luna. Such advanced technology make her dream of one day creating such an advanced device… perhaps a cute, portable one? (Luna-P) *Venus is reluctant to attack Kunzite, but does so anyway since the group is in danger.* Venus saves the group, and Mamoru feels frustrated for not being able to help.
Episode 14: Venus introduces herself as Princess Serenity. Some Sailor V flashbacks as Minako explains the situation. The others note that the Princess in their memories seems slightly different. Artemis and Luna reunite, although Artemis is the one truly moved. Minako and Artemis secretly discuss their plans, giving hints to unknowing viewers. “I’ll do anything so THAT won’t happen again!” *They also discuss “him” (Kunzite), with Artemis warning Venus that they may have no choice. Venus replies she knows what her priorities are, but she’s internally frustrated at both herself and Kunzite. “I’ll always fight for the one I dedicated my life to, so why couldn’t you?”*
Episode 15: Mamoru-centered episode. He’s conflicted, as “Serenity” sounds awfully familiar despite his attraction to Usagi. Plus, he still feels guilty for not being able to save her in the previous Kunzite fight, and he has his own Princess to find. But he can’t help but wonder if Sailor Moon’s mission is to defend Serenity, who will protect Sailor Moon? The two make a promise, and Artemis tells Luna to let them be, although she’s not so sure. Sailor Moon believes she needs to do her duty and protect the “Princess”. Realizing no matter who the person in his memories is, Mamoru jumps in and takes the blunt of the blast from Kunzite to protect Sailor Moon.
Episode 16: Sailor Moon and company regain their memories. Flashbacks. Kunzite kidnaps Mamoru on Beryl’s orders, and they flee as he cannot stand up to the Crystal’s power. Minako and Artemis explain their plans. More Codename: Sailor V flashbacks, noting they received orders from “Boss” only through a computer, unlike Luna who was contacting Artemis/Minako. Luna gets a little closer to Artemis as he comforts her. The computer idea leads everyone to decide to visit the Moon. The girls console Usagi. Secretly, Usagi wonders if they’re doing this because she’s the Princess. *Ami et al think about the Four Heavenly Kings and hope Minako at least can find happiness, thus reaffirming their friendship in this lifetime.*
Episode 17: Naru notices Usagi is depressed and assumes it’s about that guy she mentioned previously, and Usagi’s family also try to make Usagi feel better. Usagi’s concerns about really being Serenity and not Usagi is compounded when her friends put a lot of emphasis on defending her in a filler battle. Naru (and, to a more comedic extent, Umino) try to lighten Usagi’s spirits. Ami et al also do as well, but Usagi ends up blurting out that the only reason everyone hangs out with her is because she’s Serenity. Although Naru doesn’t fully understand what’s going on (since Usagi is avoiding Ami/Makoto), she eventually confronts Usagi, saying Minako and the others ha’ve been worried about her just as much as she [Naru] has. The others agree that they’re with her because she’s Usagi, obviously talking around the whole Serenity thing in front of Naru. The six truly become friends. Ikuko and Kenji note Usagi seems happier, and even Shingo says this cheerful, dumb Usagi is a better older sister than a sulking one… but only by a little.
Episode 18: Usagi actually looks forward to visiting the Moon. The group visits the Moon and speaks with the remaining will of Queen Serenity, taking the sword. *A little bit on Senshi x Shitennou, especially since Serenity x Endymion were forbidden.* Kunzite finally recovers enough from the Silver Crystal’s light to fully regains his memories. *He thinks about returning to Venus’ side.* Kunzite knows he can’t leave without saving his Prince. He spies on Beryl/Metalia to find an opening (discovers Metalia’s weak point), but he is exposed. Beryl regains control over Kunzite since he had already given up his soul, and he prepares to descend to Earth.
Episode 19: The girls discuss the sword. The comment about the Moon looking so dark and barren (i.e. in worse condition than they remember) includes a vague shadow for viewers (Saturn). A little more of Minako acting like her cheerful Sailor V self, showing everyone she’s like them and not the mature, mysterious one like they had imagined her to be. Kunzite once again appears in front of everyone and is finally defeated. *Venus sees Kunzite’s stone disappear, and she can only stare at the blank space and turning away, still trying to be the strong leader like she had originally presented herself.* The stones all teleport to Mamoru, trying to protect their prince. *Usagi thinks about how all her friends’ loves have ended tragically, and she tries to hide her worries that hers will end up the same. They’re all ordinary girls in love who have been swept up in a horrible battle.* Usagi thinks about how Kunzite et al were all her beloved’s guards and closest friends, and she vows not to let their deaths be in vain and will save Mamoru.
Episode 20: Now that all four Heavenly Kings have been defeated, Beryl/Metalia pour their full evil energy into Mamoru. Brainwashed Mamoru descends as “Endou”. *Usagi originally aims to cheer up Minako.* Even Naru notices Usagi’s odd sudden obsession with this guy and, because she’s friendly with them, talks about this with Ami and the others, who also try to watch over her as much as they can. The control room is threatened, and the Silver Crystal is ultimately stolen by Mamoru. Queen Beryl formally appears, wanting to see the one she loves (is obsessed with) kill the girl who “stole” his attention. Also, Motoki either collapses right away or is just plain absent from the scene so that he never discovers and/or remembers the secret base.
Episode 21: Usagi just wants to save Mamoru, but the rest are more full of rage toward Beryl for destroying Silver Millennium *and brainwashing the Four Heavenly Kings*. The combination of Mamoru attacking her and seeing her friends angry *and heartbroken over their lost loves*, the Silver Crystal reacts, and the Holy Sword, stored in the Command Center, shines and is purged of its toxins. Mamoru and Beryl are forced to retreat. “Hyperspatial Sphere Generate” is more computer-heavy rather than Mercury’s own powers. That, or she channels her power to the system itself to send everyone away from the Command Center.
Episode 22: Artemis tries to stop Luna from overworking herself, as she feels guilty for discouraging Usagi and Mamoru’s relationship. Mamoru and Beryl can’t figure out why the Silver Crystal isn’t reacting. Metalia once again orders them to attack Sailor Moon. Beryl thinks she can control Metalia as the true Queen of the Dark Kingdom, but she is turned into a pawn for Metalia. With the Holy Sword, Beryl is defeated, but this doesn’t free Mamoru. Instead, he kidnaps Venus. While the others protest, Sailor Moon follows.
Episode 23: The others ultimately track Moon and Venus to the North Pole. Mamoru fights Sailor Moon, even as she protests. Sailor Moon strikes Mamoru. She stabs herself. *She doesn’t stab herself, saying that she isn’t the only one who has to live with the pain of killing the one they love.*
Episode 24: The reunited Silver Crystal surrounds the fallen Mamoru and Usagi, who are then absorbed by Queen Metalia. *Sailor Moon loses consciousness as her Moon Healing Escalation attack is absorbed by Metalia.* Venus and the others attack Metalia to no avail. Luna and Artemis return to the Moon for guidance. Believing their ultimate powers can save their Princess, the others give up their pens. The powered-up Holy Sword flies off…
Episode 25: The Holy Sword appears by Usagi and Mamoru, who awaken. Its power also turns the Silver Crystal into its rose shape (Silver Moon Crystal). Usagi remembers the Sword’s inscription that Venus had revealed, and she tries to use the Silver Crystal. It doesn’t appear to be working, and she is being pushed to the brink. Mamoru encourages her, but he can sense how his planet is being affected by the battle. Kunzite appears and says to target Metalia’s mark. Usagi can’t narrow her attack so much, but a memory of Queen Serenity pointing the Moon Stick at someone inspires her to do the same. Meanwhile, first signs the Crystal Tower is beginning to grow. Doesn’t make much difference story-wise if Mamoru is blind or not here, as he gets it back next episode anyway, and but him being blind doesn’t serve much of a purpose either.
Episode 26: Metalia is defeated. She says they’ll meet again, hinting at Chaos. Silver Millennium is restored. The Crystal Tower shrinks/breaks into Usagi’s Crystal Star and the others’ Star Pens. Usagi heals everyone, and they all reunite on the Moon. The Silver Crystal now removed from the Moon Stick, both shrink back into their original sizes. The Moon Stick and the Holy Sword take their old places in the Castle halls to protect the Moon Kingdom in Usagi’s absence. (I know Crystal Season III has Venus’ Wink Chain Sword using the Holy Sword, but this gives it a reason why it’s never seen again.) The Queen wishes them well. *Usagi tries to restore the Four Heavenly Kings, but because their actual souls were corrupted/given to the Dark Kingdom, she cannot. They do appear as phantoms, and bid farewell/thanks to the others in a half-joking way as a way of showing they may meet again someday. Stuff like, “Keep a close eye on our Prince for us. You know how stubborn and straight-laced he can be.” Usagi hopes that someday her friends can be as happy as she is now. Mamoru tries to give the stones to the girls, but they say the stones need to protect him just as they need to protect Usagi.* Back on Earth, Usagi clutches her new brooch, but she hopes she won’t have to use it again. Meanwhile, somewhere, a strange storm blows with a voice wondering what’s going on… (Time Storm when Chibi-Usa steals the Time Key from Pluto.)
So, why certain things?
I am personally not a fan of the Senshi x Shitennou pairings. The whole thing about Serenity and Endymion was that their love was forbidden. It’s less impactful when there are four other couples in the same situation — and they all just so happen to be each of the main couple’s four closest friends. Crystal in particular took the super cheesy and lame way and made it all love at first sight. Such poor storytelling. Plus, then it makes less sense why the Four Heavenly Kings in the past would team up with Beryl as well since you’d think at least one of them would be like, “Guys, maybe selling our souls to attack the kingdom supported by our girlfriends isn’t a good idea…” Endymion resisted Metalia’s brainwashing (which is ironic, as Mamoru is so susceptible), but all four betray their loves and their prince? Well, even the entire Sailor Team get brainwashed at points, so it’s not totally unreasonable that Kunzite et al all go against the Silver Millennium.
To me, at best, they had crushes on each other as they kept running into each other as they went to fetch their Prince/Princess, who couldn’t stay away from each other. It could be possible to redo the story to either explain their mental takeover or have someone betray the Dark Kingdom (like in the La Reconquista musical), but that would diverge the story even more. Also, how unfair would it be that the five of them could all break the rules of Silver Millennium, but Uranus and the others all had to live lonely, forgotten lives? It’s more fair and less harsh if only Serenity is breaking the rules and everyone else is trying to get her ready to watch over the Earth from a distance like she is supposed to.
The Usagi committing suicide is another hot topic. Perhaps it’s easier to understand why Serenity killed herself: she, by all accounts, had an idyllic life, and she’s notably younger than her guardians. Her beloved has just been murdered in front of her eyes, and her entire world is literally collapsing. The Silver Crystal has seemingly been under Queen Serenity’s control, so maybe she never thought she would be the key to sealing Metalia away. (Who put that script on the sword anyway? The Moon Eternity System? A legend from the beginning of the Silver Millennium?) On the other hand, Usagi knows she’s the last of her bloodline and is needed to seal Metalia away, so her killing herself can be viewed as selfish and weak. Compare that to her 90s self who says, “I’m not going to run away. I still have something left to do.”
I don’t like it either, but to be more faithful to the manga, in Version A, she still does it. But in Version B, this seems less reasonable, as she watched as her friends dealt killing blows to their own beloved. Again, I think back to the 90s version where she declines to kiss Mamoru goodbye. To kill herself when her other friends are struggling to survive even without their true loves would be like saying her pain is greater than her friends, and that’s not the type of person Usagi is. She may be childish and selfish at points, but she fights for her friends, not to save the world.
However, if she does try to commit suicide, perhaps have a story-related reason. Like she “kills” Endymion, but the Silver Crystal doesn’t appear to reunite. Usagi feels like she has just murdered her true love and still can’t save the world. Thus she decides to kill herself, hoping that that will force the Crystal to come together. She pleads with friends to use the Silver Crystal in her stead. Something like that and not like, “My love died so I’ll kill myself even though this most likely means all people in the world will die. Let’s all hope we meet again in a couple thousand years or whenever.”
As for filler, it often is seen as a negative. However, one of the things I think filler could really help with is the girls getting to really know each other not just as comrades-in-arms but as friends. It’s one thing after their memories return, as they now remember supporting each other for years. When they first join, however, I don’t like the idea of social outcasts suddenly becoming all super-close as they risk their lives for some unidentified person. Usagi always being their friend is what makes them risk their lives again and again for her. I’m picturing the Moon Revenge solo parts of Sailor Moon R: The Movie as well as the live action, both of which capture this idea better than either of the TV series. At the same time, I don’t think the series should stall Jupiter’s and Venus’ arrivals too much.
I thought Usagi’s family could use a few more appearances. I do love the episode in the original anime where they all take a trip for her, even though the battle was lame and Prince Endymion’s strange sense of honor made no sense. The filler episode where Shingo learns to accept Luna is also cute. Anyway, more appearances by the Tsukino family and Naru/Umino help emphasize the titular Sailor Moon is still Usagi even if she’s fighting evil by moonlight. A little about Ami and the others’ families, but this would be covered more in the Black Moon arc. There’s more room there than in the Dark Kingdom arc which has to establish most of the main cast.
To me, Boss in Codename: Sailor V can only be the remains of Queen Serenity in the computer system. It’s possible that Boss is a completely unrevealed character, and they probably were originally back in the days pre-Sailor Moon. However, if going strictly by what we know in the manga canon, the only other option that makes sense is that the Eternity Main System is an advanced AI, and the memory/copy of Queen Serenity “hijacked” the AI temporarily to speak to Usagi a couple of times in Sailor Moon. So the Boss in Codename: Sailor V is never a real person, but the AI uses the last of its powers to project Queen Serenity later when the group visits the Moon.
Boss being Queen Serenity’s lingering will though makes more sense to me though despite how involved Boss is in investigations and the rather casual speech. Plus, it would provide a reason as to why they never try contacting Boss again: despite the revived Moon Castle, Queen Serenity officially “dies”, probably ready to be reborn in the Galaxy Cauldron. She had used most of her remaining power to help Venus, which is why Artemis/Venus had to play Boss for Luna. The two projections to see her daughter were her last wishes. After that, the technology in Game Center Crown relies on Luna, Artemis, and Mercury to do any further calculations or investigations.
A few hints to later arcs would be placed throughout the series, like a background poster of an up-and-coming racer (Haruka) or ads for Mugen Gakuen. The human Luna in Crystal was a nice touch of showing how to take advantage of a completed story. I wanted more of that.
Other changes I might add is a disguise feature in the girls’ communication watches (minus Usagi/Minako). It never seemed fair that they never got to go undercover considering how useful this could be. The live action made it so that their devices (a special cell phone) could give them a disguise, so even if rarely used, I’d put it in there. So Ami/Rei were there at the ball, though they were investigating different parts during the dance with Tuxedo Mask.
Motoki not finding out about the secret base is a combination of a) not fair that he discovers the truth first before anyone else, b) the manga doesn’t go anywhere with this, so it’s pointless, and c) keeps the control room available for further use if necessary. I’m actually not a fan of anyone — Asanuma, Naru, or anyone — finding out the truth actually. Makes it part of the burden they have to carry and have some separation between their two lives. Maybe suspect, but not, “Hey, I know who the Sailor Guardians are!!” Anyway, with all the technology Luna sets up to even build the base in the first place (plus Ami’s & Mamoru’s brains), there’s got to be a way for the group to later be able to sneak into Crown when closed or to enter the control central when people are around. Maybe it opens stairs in the corner rather than right under the Sailor V game?
Also, I’d be leaning toward not having a bunch of mid-air fights. Still more physical attacks in between the specials, but probably not having Sailor Moon and friends be able to float whenever they want. Teleporting in the manga is also funny, so I’d restrict it to needing either multiple members (Sailor Teleport) or the advanced Moon tech.
For me, the toughest part was the section after Usagi’s identity was revealed to the point Mamoru descends and is exposed as Endou. I wanted to give Minako an episode to be her true self and not the forced, determined leader, but there weren’t a whole lot of spots to do so. She can’t act so casually while she’s pretending to be Princess Serenity. I’d love to bring back her 90s recurring gag of butchering clichés and quotes (and Makoto thinking every guy looks like her senpai). Regardless, I also thought about making the Venus-as-Serenity section a little longer, but I think it would be hard for Minako to keep guarding Sailor Moon as everyone else is aiming to protect her.
Well, there you have it. I went way overboard with this. In short, fillers not always bad, especially in a series like this where fans were meant to follow both the manga and anime along.
So, what do you think of this version of Sailor Moon? Any plotholes or errors you noticed? What did you think of the Crystal version of the Dark Kingdom battle? Was it fine as it was? If not, how would you rework it?