Sailor Moon is one of the most iconic series in anime spanning two different tv series and 12 manga volumes. It has quickly become one of the most classic Japanese anime ever produced and is loved around the globe by fans resulting in record-breaking merchandise sells. The series has even gotten live- action plays and it’s own movie thanks to it’s growing popularity, in fact, there is even a museum dedicated to Sailor Moon in Tokyo, Japan. Around the world, a lot of young girls grew up watching Sailor Moon through Networks like Toonami by Cartoon Network. This huge fan flow caused the re-boot of the series titled “Sailor Moon Crystal” but to a lot of the old school fans surprise the show was quite different from the original that came out in the 90’s that they loved, even to a shocking degree for English dub watchers.
So, what is the baseline plot that Sailor Moon was about? Sailor Moon is about 14-year-old girl named Usagi who finds a cat while on her way to school one day, Upon removing a band-aid from the cat, it starts to follow her in secret until it finally reveals to her that she is a mystical Sailor Guardian charged with protecting the earth. The girl then finds out that she must find the moon princess and the rest of her teammates the Sailor Guardians. There is also a mysterious young man in a tuxedo that sparks a major romance in the show that is the driving force behind the whole plot during the first two seasons. You see the problem with describing the plot completely is the 90’s show and Crystal are vastly different.
Sailor Moon Crystal is currently up to the start of season 4 or the Dream Arc. So we are going to be comparing the two storylines up to that point. The two have some major issues in story comparison likely due to what was TV appropriate at the time of release. Sailor Moon didn’t even originally finish in the states thanks to the use of transgender characters being Sailor Scouts in the 5th season of the show. The 5th season actually never officially aired so Hulu and Viz decided to stream it with a new dub after Crystals release. The series also appeared to get much darker as it went along during the original thanks to the sugar coating of the first few seasons, even going as far as greatly altering the third to a less dark route. Thanks to this many fans of the old series where a little more than mad at the seemingly edgy tone Crystal had taken on with their beloved Sailor Scouts. What makes this even worse is by the time a lot of young girls could get into manga Sailor Moon was difficult to find in stores making the original story, which Crystal follows more closely, even harder to find.
The first season of Sailor Moon is all about finding Princess Serenity and uniting the Sailor Senshi back together. The season deals with fleshing out the back story of the guardians and what happened with the Moon Kingdom. The two storylines both show Usagi (Sailor Moon) learning that she is, in fact, Princess Serenity as well as uncovering her mysterious attraction for Tuxedo Mask. The show also goes into the Dark Kingdom and their plan to take over the earth and Moon Kingdom. This, however, is where Crystal will diverge with the original series in story content. In the Orginal, they are seeking to collect 7 colored gems that unite to make the Silver Imperial Crystal and in Crystal, well, they are mostly after the princess and defeating the Dark Kingdom so they can’t take over the earth.
The original Sailor Moon has episodes themed around a different enemy to beat each week. The anime ran around 200 episodes and took forever to progress during each season. In the first season, they mostly focus on gathering jewels faster then the Dark Kingdom or Tuxedo Mask can. The romance in the original is hugely dialed back compared to crystal and Usagi is a lot more childish. The other Sailor Senshi have differing personalities as well, which is shown when Sailor Mars who in the story canon is not interested in dating at all, actually ends up dating Mamoru for a short time causing a strange rivalry with Usagi. The Dark Kingdom is dialed back into general evil guys who just want to take over instead of showing their villainous side so it’s just a lot of back and forth with talking and different monsters trying to take energy from the citizens of Japan. The Sailors Scouts all take around 50 episodes to be fully gathered in the orignal series as well thanks to the high number of episodes.
In Crystal there is a huge focus on the story revolving around Usagi, Mamoru and the Moon Kingdoms fall. The first few episodes detail the collection of the Sailor Guardians all together as well as the start of a romance between Usagi and Tuexdo Mask that Luna works hard to prevent. The story goes more into the past with the Moon Kingdom showing Usagi committing Suicide after Mamoru was killed by who is now Queen Metallia of the Dark Kingdom. There is also a bit where Venus hardcore pretends to be Princess Serenity until Tuxedo mask is forcibly kidnapped causing Usagi to transform into Serenity and recover all her memories and make The Silver Crystal appear in her hands. A lot of difference so far huh?
Even the battle between the soldiers and The Dark Kingdom is hugely different. With Usagi trying to commit suicide and barely being saved at the end of it, the Sailor Scouts all watching the men they loved be wiped out as soon as they remember they are their romantic interests, and a sword Venus used to quickly dispatch enemies there area a lot of details and plot elements Crystal has that the original omitted.
In season 2 of Sailor Moon the Main focus is on the Black Moon Clan’s attack on Crystal Toyko. Crystal Tokyo is the future home of all the Senshi after Mamoru and Usagi take reign as the rulers and bring about an age of prosperity with the Silver Millenium Crystal. In this season their daughter Chibi-Usa accidently absorbs the crystal causing the Black Moon Clan to be able to successfully attack and wipe out almost everything, but the crystal palace where the Senshi lay unconscious with Neo-Queen Serenity (future Usagi.) In order to fix this Chibi-Usa travels into the past to find the legendary Sailor Moon with the help of Sailor Pluto’s time traveling abilities. There she masquerades as Usagi’s cousin and goes on a search for the Crystal to take back to the future with her. Sadly the Dark Moon Clan follows her into the past and starts causing trouble for the Senshi.
In the original, there is actually a huge filler arc around this time involving two alien siblings and the Doom Tree. The arc has the aliens falling in love with Usagi and Mamoru causing a weird love square. This arc was made to let the manga catch up to the anime and ended with the Senshi restoring the Doom Tree with love energy and saving the siblings. Afterwards, the actual second arc starts introducing a very childish Chibi-usa to the series. Like the first season, the story is sparsely spread out and a lot lighter toned. Towards the end battle Chibi-Usa is turned into a corrupted older version of herself and has a bad mitten match in the middle of the battle as an example of how the first series shied away from heavy adult themes. Also, Pluto’s role was only seen during the passage between times and Usagi barely spent any time in the future Crystal Tokyo.
In Crystal as things seem to be going the story was heavy and very different from the original series. The differences start with Chibi-Usa’s personality being more mature and she just kept growing. The arc starts with all of the Sailor Scouts getting kidnapped one by one until only Tuxedo Mask,Usagi, and Venus are left standing. It then jumps the arc into the future to stay to the finish. On top of that Sailor Pluto gets a lot of backstory even detailing the fact she has feelings for both Neo-Queen Serenity and King Endymion, as well as her deep care for and friendship with their daughter Chibi-Usa who often visited Pluto. The story also shows the appearance of duplicates in the same timeline that are currently awake such as Tuxedo Mask. On top of that Pluto, Usagi, and Chibi-Usa all have a horror story worth of events that happen to them in this ark of the show.
The stark differences at the end are what really sets the two apart. For starters, Usagi does get kidnapped and prince Demande tries to force himself onto her and gets a backstory detailing that he was sent away because he wanted the queen’s love. Chibi-Usa also falls into despair turning into Black Lady and kidnapping Mamoru, as well as having a romantic relationship with him after he was convinced he was part of the Dark Moon Clan. Sailor pluto ends up being a major player in the story and fighting during the final battle to be killed by the Dark Moon Clan causing Chibi-Usa to transform back from being Black Lady and into Sailor Chibi-Moon. Also, on top of all of that Usagi gets to meet Neo-Queen Serenity and see her future self. A lot of differences once again right?
Season 3 of Sailor Moon goes on two different paths as well with the original taking a complete change of path from Crystal. The third season of Sailor Moon introduces the Outer Senshi and gives Pluto more back story. The story focuses on the three Talismans and them coming together to make the Holy Grail which transforms Sailor Moon into Super Sailor Moon and the rush to stop Mistress 9 from being born. The enemies in this arc are called the Death Busters and are run by the Father of Sailor Saturn who is a mad scientist answering to Master Pharoh 90 along with his assistants the Witches 5. This season also has Chibi-Usa returning to the Senshi’s side to train to be a Sailor Scout in the future.
The orginal series once again focuses on an entirely different story using monster of the week themes to draw out the season. The Witches 5 stick around longer in the orginal dishing out monsters to steal the Pure Hearts of Japan’s citizens to try and revive Mistress 9. The Pure hearts are nearly stolen from about Senshi and in the end it is found out that Chibi-Usa posses the one they need for her revival, leading to her being kidnapped. The end battle is also mostly between Mistress 9 and Sailor Moon in this version, and Sailor Saturn is only shown to be a sickly young girl who is kind to Chibi-Usa. The Outer Senshi also are mostly rewritten in motive and personality aiming to gather the talismans and Pluto also is killed in a helicopter explosion near the end for using her time powers. On top of that the end leaves Sailor Saturn’s father alive and Sailor Saturn as a baby who goes to live with him while he is in recovery at a local hospital. The Outer Scouts Neptune and Uranus also constantly doubt and fight with the inner Senshi causing constant conflict.
In Crystal there is no such thing as pure hearts and the Talismans are constantly stated to be kept away from each other. Sailor Uranus and Neptune are shown to have a very clear romantic relationship going as far as living together and are loyal to Princess Serenity. Hotaru who is Sailor Saturn is a cyborg and has a back story that explains how insane her father is, as well as having powers that allow her to help Chibi-Usa when she see’s her get injured as sailor Chibi Moon. The Witches 5 are mostly quickly dealt with and some of them get barely any screen time in comparison to the first series. The end is also starkly different with Pluto fighting all the way along side everyone else and Misstress 9 being killed with the awakening of Master Pharoh 90 who succeeds in pretty much wiping out the earth. Sailor Saturn is also seen as a Deity of Destruction and her awakening pretty much means everything around her is going to be wiped out and restarted. The ending of Seaon 3 in Crystal is also completely different with the outer Senshi taking baby Hotaru to raise and her father being killed during the final battle. The talismans also are used as tools for awakening Saturn for the purpose of destruction as well as creating the Grail.