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Final Thoughts: This show is to Ai no Senshi what I wish Shin Densetsu Kourin was to Eien Densetsu. If you like Ai no Senshi but don't like it as a Death Busters adaptation, you'll find plenty to like here. It's a strong start to a new original story arc, and an interesting way to remake an old show. I give it a solid recommendation.
The Bad: Nothing in particular.
Final Thoughts: It says a lot that I couldn't find anything legitimately worth putting in the "bad" category. It's clear that they pulled out all the stops for this show, and the result is easily one of, if not the best Myu of all time. If this is the last of the musicals, then they're certainly going out on a high note.
Final Thoughts: This show is infamous within the fanbase, but it's not all bad - in retrospect, I think it suffers from a serious case of Tough Act to Follow after Eien Densetsu. There are some genuinely good ideas at play here, but they were executed sloppily.
Overall: The new cast is off to a good start and the returning cast keeps getting better. It's not particularly deep or profound (that's the Dream arc for you), but this show still brought something new to my least favorite story arc. However, they played it safe by falling back on things that had been done before and it often felt like the show was just marking time until they got to the big story beats (Chibi-Usa and Pegasus, sick Mamoru, Eternal Sailor Moon). Going forward, I hope they take a few more chances - especially with character development - because the Stars material is rich with opportunities to do something different.
Final Thoughts: Kakyuu-Ouhi Kourin is noticeably improved from its predecessor, but it's ultimately let down by its cast. Had this been performed by a stronger cast (see LDJ, Tn M K, or BL), I probably would have ended up liking it more. It's a decent take on the Eien Densetsu story, and a solid enough close to the Second Stage.
I thought I was done with this one as soon as I finished the recap, but nope, I've got ~opinions~, so here goes:
Final Thoughts: This is the weakest iteration of Eien Densetsu. It's clear that there were some interesting ideas at play, but the writing is so weak that they don't reach their full potential (Queen Beryl is the biggest victim of this). The Starlights are the titular characters, but the script gives them so little to do, and the absence of a princess to rally around only makes that more obvious. The music is worth checking out, but the show was hard for me to sit through.
Final Thoughts: I'll give Death Vulcan credit where credit is due: it looks like the writers learned from the mistakes of TNM. There are no extraneous plots or monologues, no scenes wasted on wandering around, and no trying too hard for darkness. What is here is something of a mixed bag. There's plenty to enjoy, but there is at least one major plot point that is left wide open, and Dark Cain ends up serving as a living plot device rather than an effective villain. If you don't ask too many questions, the show is great, but that is a big "if" in a story arc this complex. It's a solid end to an ambitious storyline.
I started writing about the Dracul Arc, so I might as well write about the rest of it.
The Kaiteiban: A major step up from the original. The script has been noticeably streamlined, though some potentially confusing areas of ambiguity still remain. My favorite Inner Senshi image songs, "Drive Me The Mercury" and "Traditional The Grace", were added. Lilith and Sheba's roles are reduced in service of story changes to set up the next show. This is required watching for anyone trying to follow the entire Dracul storyline.
Final Thoughts: TNM has some great ideas, but they get lost in its overly complex execution. The Kaiteiban streamlines it, but there are still some lingering issues, such as the Quartet subplot and the show trying too hard with its darkness. It is a unique show with some notable stylistic departures, and is worth watching at least once. Just don't be too hard on yourself if you have a tough time following it.
This was the first musical to feature entirely original villains and an original story. How does it hold up?
Final Thoughts: Kaguya Shima Densetsu was a strong first attempt at an entirely new story. The music is strong, the antagonists are interesting, the humor is balanced well with the drama, and the show is full of charm that stands the test of time. I give it a strong recommendation, especially for Myu newbies.
Final Thoughts: As far as adaptation is concerned, Un Nouveau Voyage is the best stage version of the Infinity Arc. It's not without its weak points, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable show that has earned my recommendation. I look forward to seeing where the musicals go from here. If we get a Dream Arc adaptation as strong as this one, I will be a very happy camper.
The Kaiteiban: Sadly, its follow up, Henshin - Super Senshi e no Michi was never released on video, so we may never know what, if any, alterations were made beyond the presence of Sailor Pluto and Super Sailor Moon.
Final Thoughts: If you don't go into this expecting a faithful adaptation and are ready to turn your brain off for some '90s cheese, then you'll be fine. This show is very flawed in ways that are otherwise difficult to ignore, and will not satisfy fans who are looking for a solid adaptation of the Infinity Arc.
The Death Busters arc is now on TV again, so let's revisit its stage incarnations!
The Kaiteiban: This is one of the unusual instances in which I don't like the Kaiteiban more than the original. The new Ura Nep actresses don't have anywhere near the amount of chemistry that their predecessors did, and the show's focus on their characters puts that front and center. Shirota Yu, the new Tuxedo Mask, is cute, but he sings way too softly and doesn't have much presence. "Pinky Typhoon" is a jarring tonal shift that does not work for the final battle. Kaolinite does get a neat song to herself, so that's there. The rest of the Outer Senshi join in on "The World Died Out" to help on the low notes, but the four of them don't blend well, and Ruria still doesn't sound all that great.
Final Thoughts: The strength of an Infinity Arc adaptation depends on the strength of Hotaru/Mistress 9/Saturn, and this show manages to do two out of three well. There are some strong performances here, and it's definitely worth watching the original to see Nao Yuuka in a show that spends time on their characters. There are quite a few missed opportunities, which is unfortunate when one considers that the writers had several years of hindsight to draw on when it came to telling the story and developing the characters effectively. All in all, Mugen Gakuen is an okay adaptation of the Death Busters arc.
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