It’s finally here! Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie Parts 1 and 2 premiered on Netflix this month, which means it’s time to discuss it. In order to avoid spoilers, we won’t be touching on any major plot points. In the name of the moon, let’s talk craft!
Don’t Start Here
Picking up where the Sailor Moon Crystal series left off, Sailor Moon Eternal is essentially the show’s “fourth season.” The movie assumes the viewer has preestablished knowledge of what’s going on in the story, so if you’re a new viewer or simply haven’t watched the first three seasons in a while, make sure you at least check out a synopsis to get an idea of what’s going on. The movie is just not interested in helping you out there.
Where the art and animation styles of Crystal’s first two seasons were more than a little polarizing due to their stick figure-esque character designs and inconsistent quality, Eternal improves upon Season 3, offering a more balanced approach. The movie draws from the manga’s wonderful details and touch of elegance while taking inspiration from the original anime’s childlike appeal. From the shimmering rainbow palette to the impeccable sound design, Eternal fully embraces the gloriously girly aesthetic we all love about the series.
Representation is integral to 21st century media discourse, so it’s all the more impressive when you consider these positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters originated from a manga that debuted in 1991. Together with Pluto, partners Neptune and Uranus raise Saturn as one of their own. This unconventional family unit plays an important role in the second part of the film, and it’s refreshing to watch their bond evolve throughout the story.
Repetitious & Repetitious
Here are some choice samples of dialogue:
And then there’s “Prince! Princess!”
And who could forget the iconic “Prince! Princess!”
Seriously, that line alone is repeated exactly one billion and one times, and it’s more than a little grating. While all monster-of-the-week structures are formulaic by nature, we’re not sure why the filmmakers couldn’t cut out some of the fluff. (More on that in a second.) That said, we’ll never get tired of all those amazing transformation sequences, no matter how many times they’re reused!
Since its inception, Sailor Moon Crystal has felt like a literal interpretation of the original manga, panel for panel. This already created some pacing issues in episodic form, but it’s felt tenfold within a full-length feature format. Part 1 in particular suffers from quick cuts and disconnected scenes that feel jarring onscreen. We could go on forever about the differences in storytelling between various media, but let’s just say the filmmakers didn’t lean on the strengths of cinema as much as we’d like. That said, Part 2 is much better about this, and the narrative does eventually develop an engaging flow once all the pieces are set up.
All in all, Sailor Moon Eternal is a step in the right direction, and we’re excited to see how the new series progresses moving forward. For more on entertainment, as well as info on upcoming local events, check out the Cape House blog.