Manga arc vs. anime season

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Apr 9, 2019
If you had to stack up each manga arc against their respective 90's anime season and decide which you prefer, how would you do it and why?

Personally, I'd have to say:

Classic vs. Dark Kingdom arc: Classic! More emotional, better character development, and better finale. It may have had a lot of filler, but at least it was GOOD filler unlike some of the later seasons (SuperS, I'm looking at you) The Dark Kingdom arc of the manga was ok, but a little too rushed and straight-forward in execution.

R vs Black Moon arc: The manga wins out in this case. The R anime was entertaining and all, and had some high points (Nurse Minako!!) but one of my lower ranked seasons due to 1. Chibiusa -- she is SO obnoxious here, oh my god and 2. The whole break-up plot... contrived and poorly written drama, totally pointless. The manga improves upon both these things -- Chibiusa is more tolerable and the break-up arc is thankfully absent. The manga storyline is a lot darker and more serious overall. Also -- SAILOR PLUTO!! She is so much better in the manga, Takeuchi really takes the time to fully develop and flesh her out, and her death scene is a true tearjearker. The anime doesn't do her justice by comparison.

S vs Infinity arc: S by far. S is my favorite season of the whole series and is really Sailor Moon at its finest; the storytelling, characters, villains, music, art, episodes, etc. are all amazing here and I really don't have any complaints. The story is unlike any other season, much darker and more apocalyptic in tone and more philosophical/morally complex, with an addicting pace that hooks you from start to finish and some of the most emotionally poignant and unforgettable moments of the whole series. It also introduces Uranus and Neptune, my two favorite characters in the whole series, and really gives them a chance to shine here.

By contrast, I don't like the Infinity arc of the manga as much! It's ok on its own and all, it just lacks a lot of what I loved so much about S. It's like a much more straightforward and bare-bones telling of the story, without a lot of the epic feel or emotion of the anime counterpart. Uranus and Neptune also aren't as fleshed out or used to their full potential here, plus I HATE HATE Uranus kissing Moon, that is the single worst part of the whole manga series to me. I normally love Naoko Takeuchi's work, but feel this is one time the anime creators really improved on the source material and made something truly special with it.

SuperS vs Dream arc: The manga definitely wins out this time around. I have to agree with the consensus that SuperS is the worst season of the anime; a lot of wasted potential and poor decisions made when deviating from the source material. The Outers are missing for the whole season and all the focus is given to Chibiusa, my least favorite character. The story suffers from extremely poor pacing and takes a backseat to the filler this time around, and not just any filler but BAD filler; the end result is a season that's a chore to get through. It's not all bad; I love the dreamy, fairy-tale like look and feel, Fish Eye is awesome, some of the episodes are humorous, and the finale, as always, is great. But if I had to pick a worst season of Sailor Moon, this would definitely be it.

The Dream manga arc, thankfully, has none of the problems the anime season suffers from! The story is great this time around, epic and full of emotion, and feels fully fleshed out with none of the rushed pacing that Takeuchi's storytelling sometimes suffers from. The Outers also return and are used to great effect here, the Senshi in general are fully developed and don't just play second fiddle to Usagi and Chibiusa, everyone gets their chance to shine. Whereas SuperS is my least favorite anime season, the Dream manga arc might actually be my favorite story of the manga, Naoko was really at her finest here.

Stars season vs Stars arc: I'd have to go with the Stars season here... the story was a big deviation from the manga like with SuperS, however this time around I feel a lot of the changes worked. I'm not big on the Stars manga, the story is too rushed and frenetic; after everyone is introduced, they're all killed in rapid succession to make way for the big finale with Usagi going at it alone, and the final chapters try to do too much in too short a period of time, rapidly introducing new characters and plot points in such a way that the end result is a confusing, muddled mess. By contrast I think the Stars anime does a much better job with the story and it's one of my higher ranked seasons, with plenty of drama, humor, action and all the good stuff Sailor Moon is known for. I thought it made for a great send-off to the series as a whole, some people complain they could've done a lot more as the show's final season but honestly I have no complaints.

Overall I have a slight preference for the 90's anime, but I feel both the anime and manga are great works in their own right. More than anything I feel the two complement each other and should both be enjoyed to get the full experience, the anime sometimes improved where the manga lacked and vice versa.
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Aurorae Lunares
Jul 6, 2018
Classic vs. Dark Kingdom arc: manga - I like it more in general as the plot is tight, the Moon Kingdom part is fleshed out better and I am one o the few people that love the suicide plot.

R vs Black Moon arc: R is my favorite season of the old anime, it was actually the season that felt least repetitive for me, while the manga arc was just boring up to the few chapters on Nemesis and the whole random inclusion of x files plots felt weird, and the kidnapping chapters were extremely dragged on and.

S vs Infinity arc: Tie. Both are equally good. S has better villains and I loved the irony with Saturn and Neptune while the manga offered more Hotaru, Saturn and tied some stuff with previous plot points.

SuperS vs Dream arc: Dream arc is the best in the manga and, oh well, I think the reasons are obvious.

Stars season vs Stars arc: Not fan of the arc in both versions, but I will stick with the manga. It has better final battle and some nice ideas towards the end, while the whole Stars season felt like different show, a bit bizzare, and it was esentially a rehash of everything done in previous seasons.

As a whole complete story I love the overall plot of the manga better as it feels like one complete story. The anime as much as I love it eliminated a lot of the recurring themes and each season could have worked just as well as completely different series. Still I love both for different reasons.
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Sep 10, 2012
The Void
Here's mine:

1) Classic: I felt it made the best use of filler with plot episodes in the whole series. A few small things that I would change, but over all, I enjoy rewatching Classic than rereading Dark Kingdom arc.

2) Tie: Honestly, both really have things I like and hate about the perspective story and it all really evens out.

3) Again tie: Both stories I enjoy both watching and reading. It's a case of "they're both good in their own way". I like the pacing of S but I like the representation of the Outers, including Sailor Saturn, in Infinity.

4) Dream: Won by a landslide. Better story, great use of the main characters. Everyone involved, with a cool battle at the end. SuperS has the worst pacing issue and relies too much on the presence of Chibiusa.

5) Honestly, I don't like Stars in either one. The one version I like is one of the musicals, so I'm just going to go with that one. More specifically "1998 Winter – Eien Densetsu (Kaiteiban) – The Final First Stage"

Neo King Rose

Usagi's Rose
Staff member
Site Admin
Sep 13, 2008
in my aesthetic
a VS as old as time

Dark Kingdom: 90s Classic wins hands down no contest, I like the pace better and the rainbow crystal arc
Kun/Zoi being lovers I love, Neph x Naru I ship and if I could I love the idea of Jedite x Thetis
the final battle and what lead to it was more emotional to me

Black moon: both, manga cause cause no break up BS and I like the inners acts before each got kidnapped, but 90s got the sisters right by healing them, all the black moon deaths had weight in the 90s version as well with the addition of Doom Tree arc as a bonus 90s wins by a 80-20 with the manga

Infinity : both, 60 on 90s being better 40 on manga I love both of this arc
the story of both and the way everything was handled was to my liking in both ways

Dreams: Manga hands down best act in the whole manga in my view no contest
SuperS was a joke compared to the manga in my view I like the manga's story better

Stars: 90s got good with Nehelenia arc but not as much when starlights came in
manga did better but this arc in general isn't my fav no matter how you slice it I give it to the manga for the win

breakdown round up :
1= 90s
2 = 90s 1st then manga 2nd
3 = just about tied
4 = manga
5 = manga
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Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
Dark Kingdom Arc = Manga. I love the anime version too, of course, and I prefer the ending overall (mass amnesia and making all the girls have unrequited loves *blah* aside, it's just a lot more dynamic, there's no stupid history-repeating-suicide, and Mamoru doesn't go blind for five seconds a la the prince in Rapunzel), but even though it's probably the season that comes closest to the manga, they still made a lot of changes that I just really don't care for. I vastly prefer how Rei, the Four Kings, and even Reika are portrayed in the manga; I hate how they aged up Mamoru into a college student; and the manga definitely does a better job with the Silver Millennium/past life stuff. Plus, the Holy Sword is just cool.

Black Moon Arc = Anime. As much as I hate the contrived break-up arc, the excision of Diana, and the reduction of Sailor Pluto to a little more than a walk-on cameo, I just really, really, really, really love the Four Sisters' redemption arc. And I've just never been a fan of the whole "the Sailors get kidnapped one by one" thing in the manga. It's just.....bizarre to see things like Usagi going swimming at the community pool or whatever when she knows Rei is being held hostage (if she hasn't already been killed) by the enemy.

Death Busters Arc = Manga. The anime is just too unbalanced with its filler; I hate how we get a ton of MOTD episodes with Kaolinite, Eudial, and Mimete, and then rush through the remaining Witches. I also really dislike the lab/office aesthetic they went with for the Witches 5; the dark, Lovecraftian occult vibe in the manga is so much cooler IMO. I'm also just not a fan of how fan service-y the Daimones are, and the last few episodes are total duds. Talk about going out with a whimper instead of a bang.

Dead Moon Circus Arc = Manga. I mean... Do I really even have to say why?

Shadow Galactica Arc = Manga. The basic storyline is a mess in both versions, but Sailors Lethe, Mnemosyne, Kakyu, and Cosmos instantly make the manga version less tragic.
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Sep 6, 2014
Dark Kingdom= Anime. The Shitenou are more fleshed out even with their connection to Endymion removed. The girls do a tad more than hang out Usagi’s story. The final confrontation is more dramatic. I do wish the anime had incorporated more from the manga like the moon sword or the idea that the Shitenou were originally Endymion’s retainers.

Black Moon=Manga. No stupid break up arc. Sailor Pluto has more to do. Chibi usa is less annoying.

Infinity= Manga. No stupid monsters clashing with the tone. Uranus and Neptune are less antagonistic. The derpy pure heart crystals concept is nowhere to be found.

Dreams= Manga. The things people like best about the first six episodes of the Sailor Stars anime are here. The non-Usagi girls get some focus. Nehelenia is more dark and twister

Stars= Tie Neither were good.
Sep 8, 2011
Dark Kingdom - Anime - Its just better in many ways. The manga starts in a very episodic manner only to change into MamoUsa love story with a rather weak ending. The anime offers slow world building but a very good one. Each chapter (vs Jadeite, vs Nephrite and so on) gets better and better and it all leads into fantastic and a truly epic finale.

Black Moon - Tie - I feel like both have their pros and cons. The anime starts in a much better way. Plus the way the enemies are handled is just great. The manga on the other hand done a much better job in the finale (allthough Saphir and Demando deaths are better in the anime) plus Sailor Pluto gets a proper screentime and role. The last episodes in the anime are decent but in the manga they're amazing. On the other hand anime gets the beginning better plus the doom tree arc is great too so thats a nice bonus

Death Busters - Anime - Its funny because its probably the best manga arc in my opinion but still the anime tops it with possibly the peak season aswell. Ok the anime has its (serious) issues with little role for Saturn and some of the witches but other than that it wins with everything else. Uranus and Neptune roles and characters, Hotaru and Chibusa friendship, the enemies once again being amazing, the finale being epic even with Saturn's super small role... its outstanding

Dead Moon Circus - Manga - Its better in many ways including story, roles for main characters, ending. SuperS wastes way too many time on unnecesary filler. Even if some aspects of Dream arc are better done in the anime (like lets say the Trio) the manga just flows better.

Stars - Anime - The manga is way too rushed and way too packed with too many ideas and characters. The anime, even though it does skip a lot of the manga plot points it still does a better job with crafting the story around the part they covered. They did once again a great job with main characters and enemies. The ending is as epic as it was in the first arc.
Jun 17, 2019
Classic: While there are some elements I prefer in the manga such as the Shittenou having originally been Endymion's retainer, Venus's bigger role/Decoy Moon Princess plot, the Holy Moon Sword, the more fleshed out details on the Silver Millennium and even some stuff I like equal to the anime like Venus being the one to kill Beryl in the end & the Romeo and Juliet Fairy-Tale esque tragic romance of Serenity and Endymion, I'll ultimately have to hand it to the 90's anime here just for that incredibly powerful ending, plus the whole season was just better paced and more fleshed out and developed all together then the manga. PGSM is still the real winner when it comes to best portrayal of the DK arc though

Black Moon: This one's really tough because I honestly think that both the manga and anime each does something exceptional while the other falls flat on it's face. On the one hand R gave us that nonsensical break-up arc, completely neutered Pluto's role and character, made Chibs unbearable when she was just fine in the manga and completely took away all of Usagi's character development of the manga, but on the other hand it gave us some of the best villains of the series, not just the Black Moon Clan but Ail and En too and I personally find the Doom Tree arc to be incredibly enjoyable outside of a few dud episodes, despite it being filler I think it overall added to the series as a whole. Meanwhile the manga falls flat on it's face with it's villains. exceptions being Rubeus, Black Lady and Doom Phantom who I think are generally better in the manga I think overall I probably prefer the manga just for the general plot, lore/worldbuilding of Crystal Tokyo and characterization in general but the anime version of R has definitely got its portrayal of the villains over it's corresponding manga arc! Soo anime for villains, manga for everything else?

S: These are truly equal in my mind and I can't choose one, in fact it's my personal belief that the Infinity arc is the best paced arc of the manga! Anime has better fleshed out Outers (or rather just Haruka & Michiru)and a more fleshed out portrayal of the whole moral conflict of the arc regarding sacrifices (I loved the Pure Heart Crystal arc and the absolute tragic irony that Haruka & Michiru ended up being the holders of them in the end) but the manga does much better with Hotaru/Saturn and I personally love how they managed to connect Saturn's awakening to the fall of the Silver Millenium, it really helped add to the lore, also Hotaru is a cyborg which is freakin creepy and awesome! I also like how they dealt with Tomoe in both versions and I can go either way, redemption or him just being straight up evil that needs to be killed off. Soo yeah... I really can't choose here, it's a tie in my mind.

SuperS: You'd think this would be an easy answer right? I mean obviously the winner has to go the Dream Arc of the manga just on account of it's better plot, characterization, lore, Outers, Chibiusa/Helios romance, no-Chibiusa focus, everything? Well think again because believe it or not this wasn't so easy for me to pick between the two after all. On the one hand, yes the fandom is right Dream is everything the anime version of SuperS should've been and then some but I think people are too quick to discount SuperS in general, it's still an Ikuhara directed season and has that signature Ikuhara touch. While vastly straying away from it's source material, I think that while Dream tends to excel at overall traditional story-telling and world-building, SuperS takes a more philosophical and metaphorical approach, as befitting of Ikuhara and tackles some deep questions and themes if you really take the time to look into it, don't get me wrong it falls flat on it's face at the end and all but there's definitely more meat here to chew into then the fandom gives it credit for. I also really love how "chill" and "laid-back" this season is after the drama filled S. SuperS has some of the best filler episodes in the series and it honestly felt like it was trying to recreate the comfy atmosphere of the 1st season with all the callbacks to characters and plot threads from it (last time we would ever see them in the anime too, RIP Naru, Umino, Motoki, Reika, Yuichirou & Grandpa Hino) Also this season gave us the stellar Amazoness Quartet and Amazon Trio (well, moreso just Fish-Eye) as villains!

So yes, while I would say I overall prefer Dream in general just for how much it adds to the existing Sailor Moon mythos and for it's much better plot, I don't think it's miles better than SuperS and that there's still things to appreciate about the season. Honestly, like R I like them both for the different things they each excel and I don't agree with the fandom consensus that SuperS was the season where Toei stopped trying. (never mind that it had the best animation in the series too)

StarS: Now this season on the other hand... Yeah this was the easiest choice for me, it's not even a contest, I prefer the manga by leaps and bounds! God where do I even begin with how much the anime version [BLEEP]ed up this season? Should I start with how they completely neutered Galaxia as a villain? Downsized the scale and scope? Removed whole-ass characters?! I've said it once and I'll say it again, Stars was the arc that I felt elevated the manga from just "good" into the trail-blazing, deconstructive masterpiece that it is. Meanwhile the anime's corresponding season felt really phoned in in comparison and was just "off" in so many ways. (why have all the minor civilian characters that made the world feel bigger disappeared?) Now don't get me wrong there are a few things I like about it, I think the Nehelenia mini-arc at the beginning to help fully wrap up SuperS was generally excellent, there are some stand-out filler episodes for the Inners, (who barely get a chance to shine at all in manga Stars cause they're just killed off right away) more fleshed out characterization for minor characters like the Starlights, is always a good thing, even though they ended up stealing the spotlight from the Inners & Outers so it's still ultimately a double-edged sword Aluminum Siren and Lead Crow are genuinely great characters and I loved their dynamic, and I actually liked the whole Uranus & Neptune betrayal subplot at the end there. But other than that, the manga arc is just superior in every way, especially, especially when it comes to plot and world-building! No question, the manga wins this one.

Also say what you will about Sailor Cosmos and how her identity is confusing, she still makes a whole hella a-lot more sense than Chibi-Chibi being Galaxia's starseed! (Seriously 90's anime, wtf @ that plot point?!)
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