Day Eighteen - Manga or anime?
Well, I’d say that nobody familiar with my blog to this point should be surprised by my answer to this question. Let’s do a quick statistic. Not including the screenshot in this post, I’ve posted sixty-nine pictures from the anime and three from the manga, which equals… twenty-three anime for every one manga. Yes.
So why the anime over the manga? Well, let’s go over it point by point.
Point one: I watched it first.
Yes, as with most Americans familiar with this series, I watched a great deal of the anime long before I even knew the manga existed. As the first form of Sailor Moon that I was familiar with, it certainly does hold a special semi-nostalgic charm that the manga (and also the live-action and musicals) by extension lack.
For that same reason, it’s the version I’ve spent the most time thinking about over the years. I may own several volumes of the manga, I may have watched PGSM and Seramyu, but the amount of time I’ve spent watching, discussing, and writing about the Sailor Moon anime far outstrips all those others combined.
Point two: The music is gorgeous.
Can you recall the music that played in the background of Amazoness Quartet scenes?
How about Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto’s transformation and battle theme?
The Sailor Saturn/Holy Grail theme, both songs associated with the Starlights (and in fact the entire Stars soundtrack in general), and Moon Revenge…
The dub doesn’t get left out of this category - a good handful of truly delicious music is one of the few things I feel it really contributed to the Sailor Moon mythos. Sailor Jupiter’s theme requires a particular shout-out, as does Alan’s Pan Flute cue.
When I first started watching, it was back in the days when dial-up was premium internet. I’d listen to midis of the music, or watch the loading bar in fascination while mp2s and mp3s downloaded for minutes on end. This music has been such a part of my Sailor Moon experience that to me it’s completely inseparable from the series as a larger whole.
Point three: Additional length means additional character development.
Depending on which character you’re talking about at any given moment, this one could be arguable. It was much clearer in the manga that as Usagi grew in power, so was she growing out of her form as Princess Serenity and into her form as Neo Queen Serenity. Mamoru - with the Golden Crystal - and the Amazoness Quartet - with their future Senshi forms - also got the short end of the stick in the anime.
The characters that ended up benefitting from this additional development were, interestingly enough, mostly villains. Take the Amazon Trio for example - in the manga, they were one-shot enemies destroyed by the Guardian Senshi. In the anime, we got to see Tigerseye try to seduce his targets, we got to chuckle about Hawkseye’s preference for older women, and we got to sympathize with Fisheye’s yearning to have dreams of his own. And in the end, Sailor Moon used her powers to grant them humanity.
They aren’t the only ones to receive this type of treatment: the Shittenou, Ayakashi Sisters, and about half of the Witches 5 are also much bigger characters in the anime than the manga.
Point four: The sparklies, the shinies, the stock footage…
Even on a blog like this, where I try to make intellectual points about the media I’m covering, it’s hard not to at least mention the shiny from time to time. Especially when you’re talking about Sailor Moon, because let’s face it - there is a LOT of sparkly goodness to be had.
Frankly, it’s my last point for a reason. It’s not the most important, but it’s definitely a factor. The manga is in black-and-white, whereas the anime is in full color. The still shots of the manga lend themselves more to a delicate and serene gracefulness not present in the anime, whereas the anime’s… well… animation lends itself to showers of rose petals, sparkling crystals, and startling glows. The manga may be beautiful, but I grew up on Rainbow Brite. My life is about technicolor.
And there you have it - four reasons I prefer the anime over the manga.
It isn’t to say I don’t love the manga or, for that matter, the live-action and musicals. But the anime takes the top spot in my heart. Hopefully it’s for some pretty good reasons. ;)
(screenshots courtesy of The Oracle; 30 Day Sailor Moon Challenge by fyeahsailormoon, though since it’s unavailable there currently I’ve been using the copy over at rara avis)