It’s NBA free agent eternal summer season (arguably more exciting nowadays than the actual regular season), and it’s fun to rosterbate about your favorite teams. Phoenix can dream about LeBron all they want, but it seems as likely as a 1998 Tiffani Amber-Thiessen sex tape emerging.
Sailor Moon is an iconic series that does not need to be remade. There’s really only one scenario where a remake makes sense: the original source material was so poorly adapted by Studio A that Studio B had to come in and save the franchise. Studio B’s rendition blows away the original, which had to be so disappointing that only Sentai would license it and only begrudgingly. That’s Clannad (and Kanon, which I questioned at the time but later totally understood why Key and Kyoto would do it) and Fate/Stay Night (I hope). Kyoto’s and Toei’s Clannad are worlds apart. Kyoto’s version is one of my favorite series ever. Toei’s got a, “Seriously, why are they showing this at AX 2014?!” reaction out of me.
In the same vein, I hope ufotable cleans up how poorly produced Studio Deen’s version was. (Giving FSN to Deen is like LeBron signing with the Bobcats. It makes no sense to give prime material to a studio that was in a bad rut.) In these examples, there is nothing endearing or sentimental in the original. I’m perfectly okay if we pretended that this fall’s FSN is its first anime adaption, and the only Clannad movie is Kyoto’s take on Tomoyo After (please?).
(If you want to remake something, go with GTO. Not one of Production IG’s finer moments. Since GTO came out, there’s been a live action series, an unnecessary remake of the live action series, and a Taiwanese live action series. Get Tatsunoko or Madhouse on board, and let’s do this.)
(Full Metal Alchemist, I think, can go either way. I don’t think Brotherhood was necessary, but it is an improvement.)
What doesn’t need a remake is something that wasn’t bad before or had sentimental value. A good example is the initial reaction (or thin slicing if you will) test where if I tossed out a title, do you think it should be remade. Who thinks a Cowboy Bebop remake is a good idea? Sister Princess? Code Geass? The Big O? I want to see more of all those series, but I want zero remakes. I want Ballad of Fallen Angels to be forever what it is, same with Wataru ditching his sisters for a guy, CC ordering Pizza Hut, and every Toonami promo for The Big O. It’s shoooowtime!
Another example: motherfucking Ducktales. The original NES game by Capcom is one of my favorite NES games ever. It had a lot of gameplay advances beyond its time and played fun and responsive. It didn’t need a remake. It certainly didn’t need one where they added bad voice acting, unskippable story sequences, or bad controls. Yeah, the graphics are slightly nicer looking but all the original charm was lost. I’d take Ducktales over Ducktales Remaster 125 out if 10 times. Same with Turtles in Time. If you are going to remake a beloved classic, at least try something different.
(Eva? Let’s see how it ends. But is different enough from the TV series that one seems like a coming of age apocalypse and the other is an action pirate story.)
As for Sailor Moon… it’s most likely the first introduction to anime for many people. It’s also an iconic classic. It’s beloved because if it’s flaws. There’s no reason to update it unless it brings something new (I’m not sure speeding up the manga even more is an improvement nor is adding mediocre CG segments) to the table. And certainly trying to fix the flaws will destroy the show. Imagine Mai Hime without Shizuru loving Natsuki or characters coming back to life. It’ll just be Mahouka. Sometimes flaws make a show, and that is why we like Sister Princess or Gundam Wing or Sailor Moon.
It’s 2014. The magical girl genre has through two shifts with Nanoha and Madoka. Going back to Sailor Moon being bailed out by Tuxedo Mask so she can toss her magical tiara feels so backwards. It’s like if Tesla announced their next car would be a horse-drawn buggy.
Sailor Moon needs to decide if it wants to satisfy its old fans, being in new fans, or push the limits. This is something Sunrise struggles with constantly with Gundam. Although I’m not the target demographic for Gundam Build, they made the decision to go after new fans, and they built a show around that. While it may not appeal to older fans, we understand why they did it.
This Sailor Moon Crystal though tries to satisfy the older fans just by being Sailor Moon. It doesn’t being anything new to the table, doesn’t try to capture new fans, and most certainly does not advance the genre. It’s just a lazy paint-by-numbers money grab.
What would be better? I don’t know. I’m not an anime executive, but if I were to rosterbate, I think you either go safe and try to appeal to new fans (9 year old girls and 28 year old men who frequent Tokyo Big Sight often) or go big and try to genre shift. I’m not saying that Tuxedo Mask should be Usagi’s older brother who is a super hacker and they meet through Tinder and Luna is replaced by a Vocaloid and Sailor Mercury is actually a guy, but something more than monster of the week and constant “It’s complicated” relationship status updates. Ok. We get it. Usagi is a teenaged girl.
Going big will alienate older fans, but you could strike it big. Think of how Nanoha and Madoka were. Think of Attack on Titan big. There’s three ways to do this. One, the safest, you go with the guy who worked on Nanoha and Madoka: Akiyuki Shinbo. I wouldn’t know what a Shinbo Sailor Moon would be, but it’ll be at least different and interesting. And full of head tilts. And confusing architecture. And moe. In any case, I’m on board.
Two, toss it over to the latest magical girl champion: Team Trigger. Little Witch Academia is a great example of what they ca– sorry, I meant–Hey! I lied. Three shifts, and the third didn’t involve Shinbo. You know those guys who brought us the super awesome and popular show about girls who gained magical powers by wearing certain school uniforms? KILL la KILL had phase shifted magical girls from the moe and despair of Madoka into something brutal and exhibitionist that it didn’t resemble magical girls yet is clearly magical girls. (And in 2014 Tuxedo Mask seems totally over dressed. He should start out in a tux, but he needs to undo his shirt every time he talks to Usagi, like Hosaka, and he needs glowing rose pedal nipples.) Trigger could pull it off again, but hot blooded burning skimpier Sailor Moon on steroids with Luna as a hoodie-wearing Boston Terrier? I’m so in.
Three… there was once a time when people sat around on 28.8k BBS forums lamenting that their favorites series could never be rebooted into something relevant because the originals are so beloved and so many reboot attempts have failed. There’s two dudes who defied that and reinvigorates two franchises: Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes. What a coup and story it would be if Moffatt and Gatiss wrote a new Sailor Moon? The NBA equivalent would be LeBron signing with the Beijing Ducks or Dendi and Burning joining my Dota 2 team (I’ll play offlane). It’ll never happen (neither has a little daughter), but it’s fun to rosterbate. But still… you’d get instant Western attention grabbing Moffatt and Gatiss. You’d also get a chance at modernizing the franchise without losing what made it special. (Take note, JJ Abrams!)
Watching the first episode only confirmed what I knew: Crystal didn’t have to be made. It brings nothing new to the table, rehashes the same story we’ve seen before, and it inexplicably has a two week schedule when it’s one of the weaker shows this shows in terms of production value. Try watching Sailor Moon Crystal between Ping Pong and Aldnoah.zero. Why does Toei need two weeks per episode? (Oh wait, Clannad… Kanon… they were both Toei before Kyoto took over… mmm… I’m all for Trigger’s take on Sailor Moon sometime in 2022.) If Gen Urobuchi can write two episode scripts on this way to AX, why the hell can’t Toei come up with anything better in the years they spent developing the show? Or were they too busy pre-jacking off to all the money they plan on making? Toei should have put a little more thought into the project. Revitalizing Sailor Moon properly would mean a lot to the community as well as bringing in a new generation of fans. It would mean a lot to both new fans and old, but, alas, shareholders man. They need a new cash cow to replace Pretty Cure.