At long last, the magical girl gang’s all here, and with a new character designer bringing them to life.
The first two arcs of magical girl anime reboot Sailor Moon Crystal ran back to back, starting in the summer of 2014 and ending a year later. Following that, the series took a two-season breather, but it’s coming back again for Japan’s spring anime season.
The first and second Sailor Moon Crystal arcs corresponded with the Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon R chapters of the original 1990s TV anime, and Crystal’s third arc is set to keep that pace by covering the same ground as the classic version’s Sailor Moon S. That means we’ll see the villainous Death Busters make an appearance, and ready to stop them will be the full brigade of all 10 Sailor Senshi.
Three of the sailor-skirted magical girls are yet to make their Crystal debuts, but a just-released piece of promotional artwork gives fans their first glimpse at the modern anime versions of Sailors Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn.
▼ Sailor Uranus (front row, left), Sailor Neptune (front row, right), and Sailor Saturn (back row, third from right)
If the returning cast looks a little different from their most recent onscreen appearances, that’s because there’s been a change in character designer, with Akira Takahashi taking over and bringing back just a touch of the cast’s ‘90s anime feel by ever so slightly toning down the willow waifishness that Crystal’s artwork has adopted so far in adapting series creator Naoko Takeuchi’s original versions of the Sailor Senshi.
Also worth noting is that the third arc of Sailor Moon Crystal will have a new director, Chiaki Kon, at the helm, which should give some hope to viewers who’ve expressed dissatisfaction with the pacing and tone of the reboot so far.
The official Sailor Moon website has also given us the tantalizing detail that a new Sailor Moon project will be revealed at the upcoming Anime Japan trade show. Whether the project is simply the formal announcement of the already-assumed-to-be-happening fourth arc of Sailor Moon Crystal, a movie marking the anime’s long-awaited return to theaters, or something else entirely is something we’re going to have to wait until March, when Anime Japan is held, to find out.