Rank every version of the Dark Kingdom arc

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Sep 6, 2014
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#1
1. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (anime)- My favorite season of the entire anime. Flawed but I love its energy. Some great story beats.

2. Dark Kingdom arc (Manga)- Pacing is a bit off and the characters that aren’t named Usagi fall a bit flat. I do enjoy how badass the girls are though and the romance is slightly more natural than the 90s anime

3. PGSM- Would rank higher but the low budget series trying to make a cartoon live action didn’t work a lot of the times. Great character and story development. Bad aesthetic. Imagining this series with a better understanding of its budget or with a bigger budget oh boy

4. Sailor Moon Crystal- Ha. Ha


Bonus- The Tokyopop novelizations. They never made it past the Nephrite arc where things got interesting so that’s kind of a bummer. Some of the positives for it were even though it was based on the DiC dub (for obvious reasons) it did cover the skipped episodes retained Make up! As part of the transformation phase and Moon Tiara Action. The downsides was how blatant it tried to appeal to tween girls and the Americanization and product placement. The novels are set squarely in 98-99 and never stop to remind you using a crap ton of American pop culture references.

Had it finished I’d probably put it above Crystal still :)
 
Jul 15, 2012
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#4
1. PGSM - Easy win. The interactions are great and it's one of the few adaptations (Barring musicals, which I still haven't seen) that fleshes out the Four Kings and Sailor Guardians together so well.

2. Manga - It's a unique spin on a classic Romeo and Juliet-style tale. While I like some of SM Crystal's additions, the manga is the purest version of the original arc and I appreciate it because of that. No additions or deviation from intent, just pure Sailor Moon.

3. Original anime - The ending is heart-wrenching, and it has some really good story beats. However, the addition of the Rainbow Crystal arc, the changes to Tuxedo Mask and his origin story, and other things really put me off it these days. I'd sooner rewatch SMC.

4. SM Crystal - Contrary to popular belief, I don't think it's unforgivably terrible, (And I'm not looking to have that opinion changed, thanks!) but it's not Crystal's best-told story. Trying to expand the Four Kings and "faithfully" adapt the manga into an anime at the same time just didn't work well.

An honorary mention to Crystal's English dub, which goes a long ways to adding memorability and taking away the "hive-mind" aspect of the Inner Guardians. Seriously, VIZ did something great with SMC. :)
 
Jun 30, 2010
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#6
My preferred adaptation is the first anime. It's the only one that tells a complete story, from beginning to end, with decent pacing and with character arcs that build up on each other and lead to a payoff. You see our heroine grow from a crybaby to a warrior princess. Other characters get to grow or at least show layers even when they are stagnant.

The only musical adaptation I've seen is La Reconquista, and it is a close second. Despite some of the narrative simplifications, the whole Zoisite/Ami arc is a Shitennou/Senshi romance done right and I also love how it showed the pivotal fight in the past life, complete with Beryl ready to rumble.

The manga is smack dab in the middle. The good is that it has decent art and moves at a brisk pace, but the panel arrangement is so atrocious that I can't tell what is going on at times, with important events visually subdued and indistinct.

I'd rank PGSM and Sailor Moon Crystal about the same, below the manga. PGSM's strengths were the ideas of pushing the idea of how reincarnation and a past life affects the present (even if only for one character) and the character development of the major characters, but as the original poster mentioned, there were too many times where it tried to be an anime in real life (and Usagi's antics were just grating, not cute), and for every good change there are plenty of bad ones, and even a lot of the good changes were poorly executed. Crystal wisely tried to include some foreshadowing at first, and also clarified some manga scenes, but then decided to change and excise critical scenes and messed up both the Shitennou and Beryl, as well as that awful, awful animation.
 
Sep 6, 2014
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#8
It was. But aesthetics and presentation matter too.The poor understanding of its budget and medium really hurt PGSM. Bless it for really strong character writing (debatably the best a Sailor Moon series ever had) but it’s still noticeably flawed in execution. It doesn’t understand that live action=/= animation.

Had it showed more restraint in its presentation (i.e not pretend it was an anime) it could have been truly great.

I still rank it above Crystal because Crystal is hideous to look at, horrible at character writing, and sucks at an adaptation. Among other things.
 
Sep 24, 2008
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#9
It was. But aesthetics and presentation matter too.The poor understanding of its budget and medium really hurt PGSM. Bless it for really strong character writing (debatably the best a Sailor Moon series ever had) but it’s still noticeably flawed in execution. It doesn’t understand that live action=/= animation.
I personally don't believe it was meant to emulate the "animation" but it was meant to lean towards more of the tokusatsu genre similar to Super Sentai, Kamen Rider which are usually shown during that time of the day.


For my ranking.
PGSM, La Reconquista, Manga, 90's Anime, Crystal

I don't like Crystal the least but the changes they made for a pacing that went one chapter per episode really hurt it. I did enjoy the aesthetics though.
 
Jul 6, 2018
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#10
It is pretty hard for me. For the story that has the most versions available out there, it is surprising how it still doesn't have adaptation free of major problems. The live action has problems with its tone, budget and lack of focus. The original anime stretched it way too much, while I love some of the filter that Rainbow Crystalssyory arc is unbearable for me. They also madeeveryone, including Ami too dumb in episode 45. Then Crystal waa.... Crystal and it has been discussed too many times. The manga arc is basically my favourite version ofthe story arc as it was well balanced and beautifuy presented. Just wish some aspect of the story would have been explored in more depth.
 
Sep 6, 2014
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#11
I personally don't believe it was meant to emulate the "animation" but it was meant to lean towards more of the tokusatsu genre similar to Super Sentai, Kamen Rider which are usually shown during that time of the day.
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It’s not so much they tried to “emulate the animation” as much as they tried to do things that would have looked fine in animated form (i.e the transformation sequences and some of the attack sequence) but just look stupid and incredibly tacky when done in live action.

And I realize Toku series like Kamen Rider and Super Sentai have transformation sequences and attack sequences too but they generally have a better idea of the medium they’re using and don’t look nearly as tacky. (Admittedly modern Sentai series have gone way too flashy for me and I preferred the comparatively more subdued style of the 80s and 90s)

It’s like the transformation and attack stock footage in the 90s cartoon. They look elegant and stylish in animated form but if you tried to recreate the effect in live action it would just look really really dumb.
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
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#12
Moon's transformation with those CGI pigtails was especially awful looking, but I think the Sailors' intro stock footage, where they're just standing in front of clouds, is actually the most offensive thing the show did CGI-wise because of how damn lazy and boring looking it was!

If PGSM had had double its budget, they probably could have pulled off all the transformation sequences, but given the money they had to work with...they should have just stuck to doing sparkly flash instant! transformations instead. The attacks didn't look too bad apart from Sailor Moon's with the weird ballet choreography in them that Miyuu just was not limber enough to execute without making it look super awkward.
 
Sep 8, 2011
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#13
90s anime
The best story. Each part of the first season was building up the world more and more and everything guided to a truly outstanding finale. It does have flaws but its still the best

PGSM
Best character building. Story wise its pretty great but i always felt the story started to fall apart after Darkury arc. The final episodes are pretty weak imo. Plus cheap special effects. First 30 episodes or so are fantastic and fun

Manga
One of the weakest arcs of the manga. It does have some strong and beautiful moments (as an example: Serenity's awakening) but it also feels a bit chaotic and the final battle isnt thrilling at all.

Crystal
Like the first 5 episodes. Later on it gets messier and messier...
 
Sep 10, 2012
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#14
I'll have to say that 90s anime beats Manga because of development.

While DK arc is not my least fave arc of the manga, it was kinda boring at parts, even if the story was decent.

With the anime. I have to say that with Jadeite and Nephrite's sections of the anime, Sailor moon's involvement in disrupting the evil plot of the week, is much less random than in later seasons, as Jadeite attacked masses of people, so it was understandable the Senshi would discover it; while Nephrite's victims had some connection to the Senshi most of the time or the target effected more than the one person (even a case where they discovered the plot because Ami saw and followed Nephrite when he was in his civilian disguise). As for the later sections of the first season, the Rainbow Crystals MacGuffin kept it interesting, since each episode I wondered who had what color crystal, and who would end up getting it. So it was still fun. And the finale was my most favorite season finale of the anime. So intense and everything working up throughout the episode was phenomenal.

Haven't finished PGSM yet. Need to do that.

And Crystal has some of the same flaws as Manga, but can be worse since I do not like its stale (while glamorous) art style. Plus their changes were not really implemented well, and some were just poor ideas in general.
 
Sep 6, 2014
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#15
With the anime. I have to say that with Jadeite and Nephrite's sections of the anime, Sailor moon's involvement in disrupting the evil plot of the week, is much less random than in later seasons, as Jadeite attacked masses of people, so it was understandable the Senshi would discover it; while Nephrite's victims had some connection to the Senshi most of the time or the target effected more than the one person (even a case where they discovered the plot because Ami saw and followed Nephrite when he was in his civilian disguise).
The Nephrite victims of the week were pretty much done like all the victims of the week moving forward. They were either someone the senshi already knew, someone they knew knew or someone they conveniently met before they became a victim. I don’t see how that’s any different than the rainbow crystal carriers or pure heart/dream mirror/star seed victims. It’s the exact same formula.


As for the later sections of the first season, the Rainbow Crystals MacGuffin kept it interesting, since each episode I wondered who had what color crystal
Until you realized it’s just going in order of the colors of the rainbow?

and who would end up getting it.
That’s a good point. Even when we knew eventually the Senshi would get the silver crystal it was still fun seeing who would walk away with a rainbow crystal. Even though after the first 3 going Zoicite>Tuxedo>Senshi it just went Zoicite for the following 3 and then Tux getting another.

I had the same excitement if not more so trying to figure out whose pure heart crystal would hold a talisman.


Suspense and mystery is generally an alien concept to Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon so any attempt at one is a plus for me.
 
Sep 10, 2012
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#16
The Nephrite victims of the week were pretty much done like all the victims of the week moving forward. They were either someone the senshi already knew, someone they knew knew or someone they conveniently met before they became a victim.
The Senshi getting involved feels much less random than the MOTW fights that follow, involving people the Senshi have absolutely no connection what so ever with. Yes, same formula, but done better than the later seasons.
 
Sep 6, 2014
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#17
The Senshi getting involved feels much less random than the MOTW fights that follow, involving people the Senshi have absolutely no connection what so ever with. Yes, same formula, but done better than the later seasons.
It’s the same thing?Usagi’s best normie friend’s sister figure that was never mentioned before or since. The caretaker at the park Ami played as a child, Usagi’s home ec teacher that was never mentioned before or since, some twink photographer Usagi had a crush on that was never mentioned before or since, Shingo’s girlfriend that was in only one episode prior, ananimator that was the working on the Sailor V movie Usagi was excited for.

It’s the same thing as all future victims of the week
 
Sep 10, 2012
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#18
It’s the same thing?Usagi’s best normie friend’s sister figure that was never mentioned before or since. The caretaker at the park Ami played as a child, Usagi’s home ec teacher that was never mentioned before or since, some twink photographer Usagi had a crush on that was never mentioned before or since, Shingo’s girlfriend that was in only one episode prior, ananimator that was the working on the Sailor V movie Usagi was excited for.

It’s the same thing as all future victims of the week
I will admit, that the writers could've pulled some of these episodes off without involving Senshi having personal interests in one way or another so it would seem less coincidental.

The friend-of-a-friend victim might just seem less random to me, so I'm willing to go with YMMV as to whether it them different from future victims or not.

Pretty much going after any teacher in Usagi's school could've gotten the Senshi involved, so it didn't have to be Usagi's class.

As for the photographer and the caretaker (I will concede that the caretaker's friendship with Ami was pretty random) these two victims' youma were effecting more than just one person, so Senshi involvement could've much less coincidental.

And I still think the Senshi finding the Sailor V movie animator was more justified since they followed Nephrite there, regardless that Usagi and Rei were fans.
 
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May 1, 2015
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sparklyheartsdiana.tumblr.com
#19
My ranking in terms of character growth/development:
  1. PGSM - Obviously!! I think everyone has grown as characters, even Jadeite. It has my favorite versions of Rei and Ami!
  2. 90's anime - It's okay for the most part, good for an animated adaptation.
  3. Manga - An okay job.
  4. Crystal - . . . . Uh... it's not good.
My ranking in terms of music:
It's a tie between all three TV adapatations!

My ranking in terms of friendship:
  1. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (2003)
  2. Manga
  3. A tie between the 90's anime and Crystal
 

litacan

Luna Nova
Jan 21, 2017
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#20
can't decide. the plot was better constructed in the manga, but i like drawings, VA's and some details (such as zoi x kun or naru x nephrite) each version has it's good and bad side.and it's equal..