Despite getting off to a rocky start back in 2014, Sailor Moon Crystal has survived criticism and readapted the original Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon manga as a more faithful anime, following in the footsteps of the lauded Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. However, Sailor Moon Crystal has adapted only four out of the five arcs from the series – and we’re here to explain why the movie adaptation of Stars, the last arc of the manga, is such a big deal.
In the manga, the Stars arc lasted for the final 11 chapters and wrapped up the grand story of Usagi and her friends. In the 90s anime, Stars lasted for 34 episodes and felt like a hurriedly tacked-on conclusion trying to extract the last bits of cash from a franchise that had already gone over the top. Not to say the manga wasn’t also a cash-grab, as mangaka Naoko Takeuchi herself admitted that the entire series was supposed to end after the first arc — but at least the manga was a bit more subtle about it.
The Stars anime was far-and-away the least faithful adaptation of the original, tacking on a repeat arc with Nehellenia and elevating the Sailor Starlights to major characters, all while kicking Chibiusa out of the picture, among various other complaints. This, however, is exactly why the upcoming film duology that covers Stars, titled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie, is such a great idea.
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Several characters were cut from the anime, including Sailor Cosmos, Sailors Lethe, as well as Mnemosyne, and Chi and Phi. Sailor Cosmos, being the final version of Sailor Moon, definitely deserves a day in the spotlight, but diversifying Galaxia’s legion of Sailor Animamates also gave Usagi new challenges to face, instead of too many episodes of Tin Nyanko, Iron Mouse, and Aluminum Siren all futzing around and displaying their incompetence.
Existing characters were also changed for the anime, or had their backstories simplified. Sailor ChibiChibi became a version of Galaxia instead of Sailor Cosmos, Galaxia herself is given a heroic past and redemption, and the Sailor Starlights are given obnoxious personalities where they act as outright antagonists in the name of helping Princess Kakyuu. If that wasn’t enough, Kakyuu immediately turns around and tells them to help Sailor Moon as soon as she shows up. Additionally, Usagi mopes over Mamoru’s leaving for America and his subsequent radio silence for several months without doing anything, compared to the much more reasonable timeline of several weeks in the manga.
Additionally, Sailor Kakyuu gets more development in the manga. She gets to fight and show off her skills, rather than being killed almost immediately. The final journey that she, Usagi, and ChibiChibi take to reach Galaxia and Chaos at the end is much more interesting than the drawn-out final battle of the original anime and occurs in more interesting places in the galaxy than what is essentially a generic urban wasteland.
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While the original Stars anime provided some interesting character development for Usagi, and amusing subplots for the other main characters, it all boils down to being formulaic and drawn out for way too long. Giving Stars the Sailor Moon Crystal treatment through the upcoming duo of films will ideally not only complete the manga adaptation in a graceful manner and give us one last journey back to the world of Sailor Moon, but it would also spotlight characters who were adapted out. It could finally give the Sailor Starlights and Princess Kakyuu their due, and introduce Usagi’s final form of Sailor Cosmos. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie could end the series the way it was always meant to, but even if it doesn’t, they can’t do a worse adaptation than the 90s series did.