Saturday, May 8, 2021

Usagi Tsukino's Origin Story, Sailor Moon Act 1, Comparisons.

I've finally gone and read the first chapter of the Sailor Moon Manga, so I can now properly compare it to both of it's relatively direct adaptions, the Pilots episodes of both the 90s Anime and Crystal.

There are differences still even between the Manga and Crystal, and every one of them makes the Manga the better of those two, but the nature of their mediums makes Anime always more enjoyable for me then reading a Manga, I need acting and motion to fully immerse myself.

I have repeatedly expressed the opinion that any criticism of an adaptation that only someone familiar with said source material notice or care about should not be treated as an actual criticism of the stand alone work as a work of art.  Out of context some stuff in this post could seem like I'm doing that very thing, so I want to make my intent clear.

This post is not arguing that the Pilot of the 90s Anime is bad, it did what it needed to do, I like the 90s Anime, especially the first season, and specifically the work of both the writer and director of this episode.  This is only about why it's the weakest version of this specific 20 minute story.  In particular with Clearandsweet in mind, as they alone of all 90s Anime fanboys has specifically said the Manga is not "well written" but the 90s Anime is.  Others like Vrai and Zeria at least seem to understand that their preferences for the 90s Anime are in concept rather then execution.  

And it's only in comparing individual episodes that it's even remotely possible to get away with arguing the 90s Anime is "better written".  You'd have to be delusional to not see how the overarching plotlines are so much more fundamentally broken in the 90s Anime.  I may or may not do equivalents of this for future episodes, I haven't made up my mind on that.  

I like Clearandsweet, their Madoka break down was awesome and I've already recommended it on this blog.  But their statements about Sailor Moon Crystal and The Manga do bug me.  They're in truth upset about that version not living up to their personal rules for this genre.  Sherlock Holmes doesn't always follow the rules of the Genre he started either, that's part of being the origin of it.

I'm still not gonna cover everything, some of what I will cover are ultimately nitpicks, but compared to differences I don't even know how to describe they feel quite worth noting.

The only difference between The Manga and Crystal that is really relevant to the first episode is Crystal having less of the first person narration, Crystal kept it only when having no other way to tell us a character's name.  In fact this is the only area in which the 90s Anime kind of has Manga material that Crystal doesn't, since it's opening monologue from Usagi prior to the story actually starting is pretty much all taken from the Manga's narration, but front loaded in that version.  Defending first person narration is something I want to do more of on this blog in the future, but for our purpose here it's only in dramatized mediums it's ever considered controversial, it's much more the standard operating procedure in Comics.

When it comes to comparing specifically these episodes I've only ever seen one argument for the 90s Anime being better, and that's Vrai's post made after the first episode of Crystal debuted.  That post was mostly them pre-emptively dismissing the value of a "more like the Manga" adaption and the Senshi/Shittenou shipping which we knew in advance was coming.  They had only one actual argument for the 90s Anime's pilot being better then Crystal's pilot.

In both The Manga and Crystal Usagi first meets Luna by seemingly accidentally stepping on her while running late to school and then stopping to apologize and make sure she's okay.  In the 90s Anime she sees some kids being mean to Luna and then chases them off.  To Vrai this moment is what "showed us that Usagi will be a hero" as if without that she won't be one.

Wanting to see Usagi scare off some bullies (especially if it's before she gets her powers) is very much a value instilled in Western Nerds by American Superhero Comics and their prominent adaptations.  From Captian America's "I don't like bullies, where ever they're from" to the 2019 Shazam movie, to Clark coming back to that diner at the end of Superman II which my parents tell me got the biggest applause of anything in that movie in the theaters in 1980.

The Magical Girl superhero is supposed to be built on very different foundations however.  Instead of the focus being on answering violence with violence, it's on a young girl's empathy for another living creature, stopping to care for it even though she's already running late.  In the 90s Anime doing what she did here only slowed her down further because of her Airheadedness which the 90s Anime will develop a pattern of exaggerating.  It's not a bad thing that Usagi stops kids form bullying a Cat, but it's thematically not useful to establishing her character and if anything is a distraction from what should matter here.  

Ironically as time goes on the 90s Anime will overall resemble post Sailor Moon Magical Girl shows more then the Manga does, largely since the Anime is more what inspired future creators.  But in these opening chapters where this newborn Genre is taking it's baby steps, it was the Manga that was stepping in the right direction.

The next worth commenting on is the conversation at the bench between going to School and Naru's family's jewelry store.  In the Manga and Crystal a total of 5 people are involved in this conversation, but in the 90s Anime it's just Usagi and Naru, but it tries to say all the same things making it seem much more random.

Next to talk about is the Meet Cute between Usagi and Mamoru.  I'm glad I double checked everything before writing this, because what Mamoru actually says isn't really any different, he comments on her hairstyle and the test score, but doesn't actually call her stupid yet.  My memory of Darrien in this episode was definitely filtered through what he will become by the end of the Jadite arc. Still in the 90s Anime version his tone is harsher, even when performed by the same Actor in the Viz Dub.

The 90s Anime completely skipped the introduction of Motoki and the Game Corner.  This is perhaps the most forgivable among the differences I'm actually mentioning, they knew they had way more episodes to work with so why not save time in episode 1 and introduce Motoki in episode 2 which for the most part wasn't based on Manga material at all?  It kind of ties in to leaving out Usagi's weird dream but again what's lost there is kind of made up for by material in future filler episodes.

The actual battle with the Youma of the Week at the end has a lot of small differences I'm not gonna comment on, what matters is the timing of Tuxedo Mask's contribution. In the Manga he says "crying won't solve all your problems Sailor Moon" after her sonic crying attack does it's damage, meaning it's clearly meant to serve as advice to not be dependent on that in the future, thus setting up in Act 2 where the same attack isn't effective.  

In the 90s Anime she doesn't use that ablity again in the following episode, or the episode based on Act 2, or at all till Dentist of Horrors during SuperS where it was as effective as it was the first time.  But more importantly for comparing the episodes at hand, Tuxedo Mask saying this is moved up to before the Sonic attack happens, thus making him look simply wrong.  This sets the tone for the 90s Anime's tendency to make Tuxedo Mask less then useless.

Those are the differences that are truly relevant to how they are written on paper.  But similar to one of the things I said about The Snyder Cut, even with what's on paper the same everything has more Gravitas in Crystal.  I have a lot of Nostalgia for the aesthetics of the 90s Anime, I'll never hate it, but the only thing I still prefer about it visually is how Kazuko Tadano draws Legs (she should team up with Naoko Yamada someday).

There was a time when I was with the people complaining about how Season 1 of Crystal looked, but I was an idiot blinded by Nostalgia in ways I usually try not to be.  Now that I've seen every episode more then once I can no longer relate to those complaints, Crystal looks great, those of us with attachments to the older Anime simply needed to get used to it.

Clearandsweet's panel on Sailor Moon is called "Grace v, Glamour", the irony of them being such a Crystal/Manga hater is that The Manga and Crystal are specifically better at what that very thesis is focusing on.  The 90s Anime loves to constantly undercut it's Feminine Grace and Glamour for a cheap laugh.  The Manga and Crystal also have humor but they are far less prone to becoming outright self parody, and I enjoy content that is Self Parody yet still Sincere, especially from Anime, so I do enjoy nearly all of the 90s Anime's sense of humor.  But I also greatly appreciate finally having an Anime that takes it's Grace and Glamour far more seriously.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Moonlight Knight, the only problem with the Doom Tree Saga

I've made clear on this blog that I love the Doom Tree Saga, the first 13 episodes of Sailor Moon R.  The Moonlight Knight plotline is it's one issue, the one thing I have to ask people to try to ignore as they watch it.

He is pretty unconnected to why I love this Arc so much.  I love it for how it's the last time a lot of characters and elements of season 1 are truly prominent, I love Ail and Ann and their wacky antics, and I love how looking forward this first time Sailor Moon truly looks like what the Magical Girl Warrior sub-genre will become.  I love it's one off Filler but I also love it's Eucatastrophe of a finale.

So if someone today did a remake or adaptation of this Arc I would not have a problem with The Moonlight Knight being removed. In I fact I would remove him even though in the American set Sailor Moon reimaging I've bene forming in my head I intend to cast Darrien Shields (name subject to change) as ethnically Middle Eastern, and then maybe just homage the concept by having him Cosplay as the Moonlight Mask as a Halloween Party or something.  Referencing the Moonlight Knight is not even my reason for that decision, it's more a result of my comparative mythology theories where I compare Endymion to Dumuzid/Tammuz, so I want Prince Enydmion to look like a plausible Iraqi in the flashbacks.  (On an off topic note I do want people to know that Usagi herself will remain Ethnically Japanese in this adaptation I'm imagining.)

This post is only an Apology for this plotline in the sense that it's important to remember Japan doesn't relate to "Race" the same way America does.  Now it's wrong when some reactionary Twitter Weebs want to make it sound like Japan is unaware of the very concept., modern Japan has clearly become aware of it, and Racism has been a theme in some Anime.  But it's not their main ancient grudge breaking to new mutiny like it is for the United States.  Tropes related to American Racism pop up in Japanese media because of how Japanese media has been influenced by American Media with originally no knowledge of the context, hence why the further back you go the more often Black people in Anime are full on Loony Toons Black Face.

But more importantly Japan is not one of the countries constantly bombing Middle Eastern countries back to the Stone Age.  Rather they are a Nation that knows what it feels like to be Bombed and so when 21st Century Anime does address the War on Terror in a show like Canaan it tends to do so from a very anti-American Imperialism viewpoint.

Positive Stereotypes are still a problem, I'm well aware of that, the stereotype that Asians are good at math for example makes things more difficult for Asians who struggle with math.  But I do feel like it's worth noting how the positive Stereotypes that used to exist for Arabs and Muslims have been pretty much gone from American Pop Culture since 9/11, they've just been Terrorists or in media critiquing the War on Terror passive victims.  Americans haven't been in the mood for a revival of 1000 Arabian Nights style fantasy.  And Arabs are kind of the only American Minority for whom that is the case.

So in that context discussing a character like the Moonlight Knight is a good opportunity to remind people that a lot of the tropes we associate with Chivalry and Courtly Love are the product of Medieval French writers borrowing ideas first innovated in Arabic Literature and Poetry they were exposed to during the Crusades.  And those tropes are somewhat baked into Sailor Moon right from the original Manga, so acknowledging the Arabic version of that was probably well intentioned, I just wish it hadn't been done so poorly.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Fate/Zero is the Darkest work of Fiction I give a 10 out of 10.

Possibly even the Darkest I give more then a 7.

It is the Darkest instalment of it's franchise for certain.  And like Revenge of The Sith ends as badly as it does because it's a Prequel, it's about setting wrong what our future heroes will set right.  Fate/ is overall a pretty optimistic franchise, it's name is meant to be Ironic, it's generally about beating Fate/ and rejecting Fatalism.  Now the average Fate/ Anime is not as much like a Magical Girl show as Fate/Khalied Liner Prima Illya, and that's fine, it's okay that there is a spectrum here.

But it's also in my opinion by far the darkest work of the "Urobutcher", as I've said repeatedly Madoka Magica and it's clones in-spite of everything are true Magical Girl shows where love and courage triumph.

Most other Anime thought of as being Dark Edgelord Anime have a limited appeal to me.  And plenty of the other Anime I like that are often considered super Dark and Edgy have a lot of light people don't see largely because of people who didn't watch them all the way to the end.

But I didn't say "Anime" or "Anime and Manga" in the title, I said fiction in general.  And when it comes to Dark works of Fiction I'm known for defending, it's often material related to DC Comics, Snyder Films, the Titans TV show, and Comics like Identity Crisis, War Games and the Bruce Wayne Fugitive Storyline.

And for each of those cases the answer to "do you like them less then Fate/Zero or are they less Dark then Fate/Zero" is BOTH.

The only things I can possibly say I like more then Fate/Zero that can maybe be described as at least more Dark then they are not Dark are the Anime named Noir from 2001 and The Dark Knight from 2008.  But both are works I have very optimistic interpretations of in-spite of everything.

Snyder of course is the real controversial subject here. I really don't think any of the people who've made hours long Video Essays on why Snyder is the most cynical, toxic, pessimistic, nihilistic, misanthropic film maker of all time have watched Fate/Zero.  There is no way they can be as unforgiving of what they're unforgiving of while also being as unable to see the light in the darkness as they are when comes to Snyder, and still be able to even sit through Fate/Zero.  Fate/Zero is much closer to being everything those people accuse Snyder of, and the optimism buried beneath the surface is visible only through knowing what it's a Prequel to.

And yet it would also be far more difficult for them to deny Fate/Zero was written by a good intelligent writer and directed by a skilled talented director.  Snyder allows his Style to hide his Substance, Gen Urobochi and UFOTable do not.

What does it say about me that Fate/Zero uniquely is able to be as Dark as it is and yet still appealing to me as it is?  I don't know really.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

April ends for Anime Torah Year

Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear’s final episode was frustratingly melancholy.  The show was fun but I don’t think I’ll feel compelled to watch a season 2 if it gets one.

Adachi and Shumamura episodes 9 and 10 were okay.

So I’m A Spider, So What Episode 10 was very good.

Attack On Titan season 4 episode 15 was very revealing.

During episode 9 I decided to put Tropical-Rouge! PreCure on hold.  Nothing wrong with it but I have personally started to get bored of the formula for now.

SlimeIncarnation season 2 episode 7 was very good.  The plot is truly starting to thicken now.

I decided to watch the first 4 episodes of Record of Grancrest War on Netflix, it’s pretty interesting.

I checked out episodes 16 and 17 of the HigurashiGou Dub, they were pretty good.  I think Ayu has gotten better at her Dark Rika voice and now I wish they could back and redo the scene from episode 7.

It’s been announced that the Sailor Moon Eternal films, Dubs included, will drop on Netflix on June 3rd.  So that has me excited.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Sailor Moon seasons, the Good, the Bad and the Fishy

First of all I want people to understand when I refer to certain seasons of Sailor Moon as "bad" that is in the context of my considering no episode of Sailor Moon truly without value.  I think it's worth it to eventually watch all 200 of the 90s Anime and 39 of Crystal, just for the former maybe not necessarily in order.

Even the good seasons have episodes I don't think make good first impressions, and even the bad seasons have some gems that are among my absolute favorites.  But some seasons are more of the latter then the former.

But first let me remind people of my take on how the 90s Anime compares to the Original Manga/Crystal versions of the story.  Naoko Takeuchi's version of Sailor Moon is undeniably better written, the overarching storyline is far more coherent and it lacks the plot holes and dumb contrivances that the franchise is known for thanks to the 90s Anime.  And yet without all the 90s Anime's fluff and filler, without it's further exploration of the characters, I would not be nearly as invested in these characters as I am.

When breaking down the seasons of the 90s Anime, I am perhaps more inline with conventional fandom opinion then I can usually be expected to be.  Season 1 and S are the must see great seasons, R and SuperS are the difficult to watch seasons.  While SailorStars being the season we westerners didn't get right away doesn't instill as strong a reaction either way, it's perhaps the definition of average for SM.

But when I call R one of the bad seasons, I need to qualify that.  Because The Doom Tree Saga is technically part of R in terms of branding and MAL classification.  But in both spirit and execution it really is a Coda to season 1, being the end of Junichi Sato's run as Series Director.

Which leads me to the mildly controversial take that as a complete picture Season 1 and the Doom Tree Saga are better then S.  And now I need to commit the ultimate Blasphemy one can commit in Leftist Anime Fandom and actually express some criticism of Ikuhara Kunihiko-Sama.

When people briefly mention Ikuhara's involvement with Sailor Moon as mere preamble for their deep dive Utena analysis.  They will say how he was in charge of Sailor Moon S and the R Movie Promise of The Rose.  But they will ignore how he was also series director of the Bad seasons.

I like Ikuhara's original works, Utena is a masterpiece but it's probably Penguindrum that personally speaks to me the most.  And in his contributions to Sailor Moon I like him as an Episode Director (under which designation I'll include the movie he directed which is the best of them and perhaps an ideal microcosm of what the 90s Sailor Moon Anime is), all his episodes are at least above average and they include a number of my absolute favorites.

But as a Series Director of something that was in fact an adaptation of someone else's artistic vision, he was the worst of the 3 the show had.  S was great in-spite of Ikuhara, it was great because it's source materiel was perhaps the Manga at it's best, because it introduced some of the most popular characters in Anime, and because it's the only season that had all of the 90s Anime's best writers working on it.  But I place it below season 1 for a reason, it does have issues, and frankly every one of them is exactly what the Series Director's job was, to keep the overall plotline from becoming a mess.  It's a Hot Mess that manages to be beautiful and moving in-spite of it's lack of coherency, but it's still a mess.

Now in terms of adapting the Manga the way Toei insisted on adapting it, the Dark Kingdom arc had an advantage over the others.  That's the one arc where even the Manga/Crystal feels like it's following an episodic Tokusatsu superhero show formula.  Every other Arc in the Manga really does get into the main storyline right away and so an adaptation meant to run weekly all year long, expanding the story without even knowing the endgame up front, will inevitably go off the rails a bit.  

Still I do think a lot of why season 1 and the Doom Tree Saga work so well is because of Sato, he also directed Hugtto Pretty Cure in 2018 proving he's still got it.  Sato is simply better suited then Ikuhara for being in charge of an episodic kid's show.  Sato also continued to return as an Episode Director or sometimes just Storyboarder after his time as Series Director ended, though not during R.  His episodes continue to be highlights though not as much as Ikuhara's.

However Takenouchi Kazuhisa was a recurring Episode Director of season 1 who left after the Doom Tree Saga, the Doom Tree Saga's finale was his last Sailor Moon episode, so he might have made a small difference.  His notable contributions to season 1 include episode 3(2 of the DiC order) Talk Radio which I'd kind of argue is where the 90s Anime found it's voice, the introduction episodes for both Mars and Jupiter, Ice Princess which is another highlight for Sailor Jupiter fans, and Fractious Friends which has proven to be a very memorable episode.  He also did Storyboards for episode 3 of Utena.

I also like to give the 90s Anime's Writers more credit then most do, but they don't much help explain the difference between the Doom Tree Saga and the rest of R.  Though Yanagawa Shigeru being seemingly the chief writer of the overall plot of the Doom Tree Saga is someone fans of that arc should take special note of.  As I have, but I've still yet to watch any of his non Sailor Moon stuff since most of it hasn't been Dubbed.

The thing about R and SuperS being the "bad" seasons is that they're bad for opposite reasons.  

SuperS is the season that actually is what a lot of people cynically think every season of Sailor Moon and it's Mahou Shoujo imitators are always like.  A much larger percentage of the season is skippable, and the filler this time truly does get annoyingly repetitive.  Every other season gives us something we might call a mid-season finale at least 13 episodes in, but SuperS leaves us stuck with the Amazon Trio doing their creepy routine for over half the season's total episode count before we get anything that feels even remotely like progress.

The 90s Anime Black Moon Saga besides being an overly complicated adaptation of a Time Travel plot (so already on shaky ground at making sense).  Also does something no other season does.  In every other season each episode fits into one of 2 maybe 3 categories.  Either it's a stand alone Monster of the Week episode that tells it's own complete story, or it's something important to the overall plot, and sometimes it might manage to be both.  The Sailor Moon R version of this saga however does the only type of Filler I actually consider a problem, filler that's pretending it's not filler.  It has multiple episodes that are about the overall plot with no MOTW in sight, that tries to evoke the emotional gravitas of a game changing episode.  And yet nothing actually happens, none of the Antagonists are permanently or ever temporarily disposed of, and no one learns anything they didn't already know, nothing about the status quo even superficially changes.

So in both cases it's not the individual episode quality per se that is the issue.  It's what it feels like to actually go through all of it so I can finally say on MAL that I've completed Sailor Moon.

Sailor Stars is again difficult for me to pass judgment on.  It feels like less of a chore to binge, and yet besides the opening 6 episodes and the very end doesn't reach any of the prior season's highs.

Sailor Moon Crystal has no Bad Seasons.  Even the Black Moon Saga was finally vindicated in my mind by seeing it as the Author truly intended (like how many feel about The Snyder Cut) and may be the subject of it's own post someday.  And now I'm hoping the Eternal films can do the same for the Dream Arc.

The people who hate Crystal, even if that antagonism is really only directed at season 1, are simply not Sailor Moon fans.  I don't care how many memeable jenky stills you throw onscreen in your YT video.  Story wise this is the characters and story finally being presented in dramatized form as their creator intended.  If that feels to you like a betrayal of why you like Sailor Moon, then you don't like Sailor Moon, you like Sailor Moon fan fiction.  And that's fine I in many ways ultimately like the Fan Fiction more too.  And the 90s Anime is closer to what I generally want from this Genre, but even it isn't fully there.

I appreciate Sailor Moon in all it's forms, from the PGSM Live Action show to the insane Last Dracul musicals.  My love for this franchise is unconditionally, but not without the ability to critique it.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Fantasy stories where Royal Blood gives you Superpowers.

I find this topic interesting to analyze.

On the one hand if you're going to have genetically inherited Superpowers or Magical Affinities be a thing in your fictional setting.  It actually seems far more plausible to me that they would become the ruling class rather then the X-Men based standard of making them oppressed minorities.

However on the other hand real world Hereditary Monarchies have been justified by claims that the Royal Bloodline descends from Demigods or when Christianized have some God granted miracle power to vindicate their Divine Right. So doing this in a Fantasy or Sci-Fi story can intentionally or not seem like vindication of actual Royalist beliefs.

"The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known." from The Lord of The Rings is the most directly based on the real world equivalent.  The Royal Touch associated with both French and English Kings.  And yeah the Inklings more then any other famous writers of Fantasy were Medievalists in their real world politics.  More recently the Royal Touch has been cited by Da Vinci Code supporters as evidence that the Merovingians descended from Jesus.

In Game Of Thrones and the Novels it's based on the Targaryen ablity to control Dragons is the source of their Divine Right to rule.  People who liked how the last season ended tend to paint the complainers like Lindsay Ellis as the ultimate White Feminists who suddenly support Hereditary Monarchy when it's a White Woman.  Those critics have in fact made it clear it's about the character development, and suggesting Targaryen madness is simply biological determinism does not actually disagree with Eugenics.

A lot of old 19th Century Novels that don't have fantastical elements do involve lost heirs to titles of Nobility, where the lost rightful heir is identified by same Heirloom or Birthmark.  I can see how it would make sense when translating those tropes into a Fantastical setting to use some sort of Super Power or Magical Ability instead.

In Attack On Titan those with royal blood can alter memories and it seems also command Titans, or help Titan Shifters control Titans.  And indeed Krista/Historia's arc over the course of Season 2 and the first part of 3 is the best Return of The Queen arc I've seen so far.

But I want to talk last about something more obscure.  Aldnoah Zero an Anime from 2014 I watched recently on HBOMax.  

It's a Real Robots Mecha show using a lot of tropes codified by Gundam.  But in Gundam the super powers that exist for the purpose of limiting the ability to pilot Gundams to specific people are more like Childhood's End (even calling them Newtypes seems to play on language from that book).  But in this show it's an ability the Royal Family of the Martian Empire was given by some technology of an ancient lost Martian civilization, but that they can also loan to others making them Nobles.  When The Princess does this it tends to be by Kissing them on the Lips.

So this show unlike a lot of Mecha does wind up seeming like a straight forward endorsement of Royalism.  The key to making Peace in the end is getting the good Royal on the Throne.

It also reminds me how a lot of the concepts related to Courtly Love in old Chretien de Troyes style Medieval Romances kind of resemble the modern Internet concept of Simping.  In this Anime whether you're a good guy or a bad guy isn't determined by which side of the War you're on, but whether or not you're Simping for Princess Asseylum.

Those are the four that popped into my head right away as I decided to make this post.  Feel free to comment with other examples you find interesting.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Anime Torah Year, will I actually criticize something this week?

Well I finished Aldnoah Zero on HBOMax.  It was a pretty decent Mecha show.

SlimeIncarnation episode 6 was interesting.

Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear episode 11 was fun.

So I’m A Spider, So What episode 9 was good.  I wonder if the Demon Lord is also a student?

I’m also thinking about how we have an Imouto with a Big Brother complex character who has two older brothers.  Why is she fixating on the younger older brother and not the biggest brother?

Attack On Titan season 4’s 14th episode was revealing.

Tropical-Rouge! Precure episode 8.  I feel like with this Precure series what I’m most enjoying is the slice of life stuff with the main girls, that alone justifies coming back every week.  And there is plenty of cool/fun stuff in the fight sequence.  But whatever the villains do to get us from the former of those to the latter quickly becomes a complete blur.

A more conventional critic would probably see that as a problem way more than I do.  Yes it does hurt the show’s ability to ever top the classic episodic Magical Girl shows with some pretty darn memorable Generals and MOTOWS.  But I’ve already explicitly defended on this blog the position that it’s okay for the villains to sometimes be just a plot device.

And it’s also maybe kind of the intentional theme with these villains that they’re lazy.