Weekly Digest 7/20/14, Planetary Bodies Edition – Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal, Captain Earth

Sailor Moon - 02 -1 Sailor Moon - 02 -13 Captain Earth - 16 -2 Captain Earth - 16 -16

Douse yourself in water, and repent – heso forte is back!

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal – 02

Sailor Moon - 02 -2 Sailor Moon - 02 -3 Sailor Moon - 02 -4
Sailor Moon - 02 -5 Sailor Moon - 02 -6 Sailor Moon - 02 -7
Sailor Moon - 02 -8 Sailor Moon - 02 -9 Sailor Moon - 02 -10
Sailor Moon - 02 -11 Sailor Moon - 02 -12 Sailor Moon - 02 -14
Sailor Moon - 02 -15 Sailor Moon - 02 -16 Sailor Moon - 02 -17
Sailor Moon - 02 -18 Sailor Moon - 02 -19 Sailor Moon - 02 -20

So the new Sailor Moon turns out to be a bi-weekly series, interestingly enough.  And the second ep turns out to be somewhat better than the first one, though I pretty much expected that.  It’s funny that I don’t remember a whole lot about watching Sailor Moon, but I remember liking it better the less Usagi appeared in any given episode.

It seems the current version of the anime is going to dedicate the first several episodes to the introductions of the main Sailor Senshi, which is logical enough.  Sailor Mercury, Mizuno Ami (Kanemoto Hisako) was always my favorite, though I’d be hard-pressed to remember exactly why.  She’s the brains of the bunch, an honor student with a distinctly dignified manner about her (I’m starting to remember why, actually) who’s envied and largely disdained by her classmates.  Ami and Usagi could hardly provide a greater contrast, and neither could their actors – Kanemoto is a rock-solid professional with great range (she’s quite restrained here) but I’m really struggling with Mitsuishi Kotono as Usagi.  I get that some of the excess is called for by the part, but I find myself wishing they’d recast the Sailor Moon role as they did all the others.

Apart from that things are pretty good.  I still find the CGI transformation sequences a bit of an eyesore (and a blasphemous one) but I quite like the character designs, and this episode was better-paced than the premiere.  Watching Sailor Moon sort of makes me feel like I’m attending services for a religion I don’t belong to, but that can be an interesting experience in its own right (especially if it only lasts 22 minutes).  And any author than can put lines like “Agent of Love and Exams, the pretty sailor suited soldier Sailor Mercury! Douse yourself in water, and repent!” in a character’s mouth is OK in my book.

Next week episode seems to be Sailor Mars, which sort of interests me because I’ve actually visited her house

Captain Earth – 16

Captain Earth - 16 -1 Captain Earth - 16 -3 Captain Earth - 16 -4
Captain Earth - 16 -5 Captain Earth - 16 -6 Captain Earth - 16 -7
Captain Earth - 16 -8 Captain Earth - 16 -9 Captain Earth - 16 -10
Captain Earth - 16 -11 Captain Earth - 16 -12 Captain Earth - 16 -13
Captain Earth - 16 -14 Captain Earth - 16 -15 Captain Earth - 16 -17
Captain Earth - 16 -18 Captain Earth - 16 -19 Captain Earth - 16 -20
Captain Earth - 16 -21 Captain Earth - 16 -22 Captain Earth - 16 -23

Captain Earth continues to hum along nicely – it’s become quite an interesting series, in fact.  It’s nice to see patience rewarded after a pretty long stretch of inconsistency, because it showed quite a lot to like in the first several episodes.  There’s a lot happening in every episode, most of it makes sense, and almost everyone in the cast is finally getting something to do.

It’s definitely starting to feel as if the endgame is coming into view, now that Puck has made his move.  He’s certainly enjoying his time in Kube’s body (and so is Hitomi-chan) – is Kube himself still alive in there, or gone forever?  And now there can be no doubt that he’s playing everyone quite masterfully, including the Planetary Gears.  I’ve felt for a long time that they – or at least some of them – would end up fighting alongside the Midsummer’s Knights and GLOBE against Puck, and probably the key moment of the episode seems to confirm this.  That’s when Siren (Setsuna) expresses doubts about what the P.G.s are planning, reflecting on how it’s the same thing as what made her so angry as a human, being taken advantage of – and that she misses her squirrel, to boot.  The fact that it’s Baku she’s confessing this to is no coincidence – these are the two key players in this rainbow coalition, the most interesting, the most sympathetic and the most connected to their human pasts.

Both The Intercept and Ark (remember them?) factions are planning their endgame, too.  We know much more about the Intercept plan, “Operation Summer”, which is to take out the P.G. mothership Oberon as it orbits Jupiter – we even know it will start in ten days.  But the details of the Ark plan are somewhat vague still.  There’s also the manner of Hana getting her own Engine and taking it into battle against Ai, just as a (surely non-coincidental) solar flare knocks out communications.  It’s nice to see Hana as a fully functioning member of the team at last – there’s no dead weight in the main cast anywhere now.

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13 comments

  1. R

    One thing that is interesting in this episode (aside from Puck turning out to be the big bad), is that the Planetary Gears seem to be disturbed an d fascinated by the fact that Teppei chose to destroy his ego block and become human. And, with that talk between Setsuna and Baku, I guess they are the ones I guess they are the ones who would most likely to follow suit and eventually choose to become human (notice that they were also the only ones who were given extensive character exploration).

    As for the mecha combat, I dunno. It still feels to repetitive. Though, they, at least, did some tweaks to Hana's mecha transformation sequence and not make it look exactly like the first two. And I am not sure if the smaller Flare Engine mech she used is the same one seen a few eps back. This one has orange highlights, while that one had yellow if I recall correctly.

  2. R

    As for Sailor Moon Crystal, man, the "purists" are not gonna like Ami's transformation sequence (if you know what I mean *wink* ). And even though they tried to modernize the setting, it still feel a bit outdated to me.

    Also, I would agree that Mitsuishi Kotono just seems to struggling trying to sound like she did back in the 90's. Her attempt at being 14-year old "cute" is sometimes a pain in the ears.

  3. m

    I am 1000% with you on having had more than I can take of watching the same transformation sequence each week. Stop wasting episode time and just jump from saying launch to arriving in space. Even with all of it's numerous other flaws I found that to be what annoyed me the most about Star Driver. You list an ep as 23mins but with transforming/OP/ED it seems to be more like 17-18mins and that can add up over 2 cours. You could easily get another full episode solely off of the transformation sequence. At least the OP/ED is there for a reason, and I accept that me finding OPs/EDs to be time wasting, worthless, and boring is just my opinion (one that almost no one else shares) but I doubt anyone could argue (or would try to argue) that the transformation sequence needs to be in there, or that it does anything other than waste precious available run time.

  4. R

    It's not even the transformation sequence that's my issue anymore. The whole mecha combat itself has become boring and repetitive. It basically goes. PG launches an attack, Engine series mech flies off. They trade shots for a few seconds. PG gets upper hand. Then some lucky twist gives the kids the upper hand. Team Rocket, er, PG's go blasting off again. Rinse and repeat. And with how sparse the mecha combat has been for this series, it just feels very frustrating to watch and then be served the same thing over and over again. So, while I like some bits of the ep, the unimpressive mecha combat (and the characters' general lack of development) just kills it for me.

  5. m

    I'll admit that I didn't see Puck turning out to be the big bad until recently. When you think about it, it should've been obvious from early on. Mechs are living beings that somehow took over a human body, still not sure how the PGs got their designer bodies, (or Puck for that matter) so whatever it is that Puck is should also be able to do so too. Anyone who has read 'A Midsummer's Night Dream' would know that Puck would be the obvious choice, out of the available characters, to be the big bad. I get the feeling that Puck was once a PG, but didn't have a PG or human body and was just left living in that computer body he had. I don't think he's going to turn out to just be an AI gone bad like in the Terminator franchise.

    All that filler about the DC is now starting to make some sense, though I do think a few will end up having been unnecessary. They likely won't all have in depth stories from here on, and probably could have been introduced all in one go. I am worried that we're going to get too many unanswered questions regarding what exactly the PGs are, where they're from, how many there are in existence, why any human faction teamed up with them and gave them human bodies, how the original two got their memories back, about the history of the numerous factions, and probably many of other of the currently unanswered questions. Seeing as how entertaining it's been, and how it's poised to continue to be interesting, I can overlook it as being typical of a Bones mecha show. Still I hope they show more of Bugbear (worst name ever btw) and Siren than the original two PG's coming up because they seem to be far more interesting characters.

  6. w

    I remember why Ami was my favourite character back in the day. I was like nine, and she had blue hair.. It seemed pretty exotic back then.

    Also my only real problem with the art-style is how stiff it looks. One thing I remember well from the original is all the sweat drops and face-faulting. Even though that's present in pretty much another anime, I still kinda miss it here.

  7. D

    I hear you. I'm watching the original SM for the first time (thanks, Viz re-release!), and one of the things I love about it is how hilariously expressive the characters are. Given current animation quality and (one assumes) a larger budget, SM Crystal should look a lot better, but while it's very shiny, the animation itself feels almost static in comparison to the original (and those CG transformation sequences will never stop looking weird to me).

    Otherwise it works pretty well, I think. And it's always nice when a manga gets a remake that's a faithful adaptation of the original. Shame we can't get more of these, actually. (And by "more," I mean "RuroKen." Can we please get a remake of RuroKen?)

    Also, I'm starting to get the feeling that Ami is EVERYONE'S favorite character. Not that this is a problem, mind you. She's certainly mine, too. ^^

  8. Z

    Not mine. Ami was probably my least favourite back in the day. I mean, not only is she super smart (which is fine), and super rich, and super gorgeous (apparently) but she's the best student in all of Nippon! So perfect!~

  9. Z

    Also the stiff animation is not surprising at all. Toei's current approach is to make everything look glossy in an attempt to distract audiences from them skimping in other areas. I think most of their senior animators and composition people have moved on.

  10. s

    my favorite sailor scout joins the fray which made this better than the first. I totally agree that Usagi should have been recasted like the rest. Hearing Kanemoto Hisako do a good job as Ami throughout this ep just hammered that point in as i had to listen to her next to Usagi.

  11. s

    Not that kotono-san is doing a bad job (the actual acting is good); she's just straining her voice on a character that is already kind of annoying, making said character even more annoying.

  12. I'm not so sure she isn't also just doing a bad job, myself…

  13. s

    Yea…its like Kotono-san is making Usagi sound like the japanese version of a dumb valley girl, which makes me wonder if Kotono-san is just playing the part so well or that it sounds like she's trying too hard. I want to think its the former (still doesnt change the fact that it comes off as strained) because when Kotono needs to make Usagi sound concerned for others or genuinely upset, it's well done.

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