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The Magical Girl Anime Movie That's Killing It On Netflix

Magical girl series are a subset of shoujo anime (simply referring to anime primarily intended for a young female audience) in which a girl or team of girls fight against evil using magical powers, typically under an alter ego to separate their heroics from their everyday school life. In recent years, the genre has come to influence a variety of critically acclaimed works.

American animated TV series "Steven Universe," for example, centers around a young boy and a team of magical aliens called the Crystal Gems. Scenes in which the Crystal Gems activate their special abilities are reminiscent of similar scenes in classic magical girl anime. Arguably one of the biggest anime influences on "Steven Universe" is none other than "Sailor Moon" (via The A.V. Club), something of the prototypical magical girl anime in that it codified a large number of tropes and hallmarks of the genre.

Japanese anime series "Puella Magi Madoka Magica," which is one of the best anime of the 2010s, is similarly influenced by series like "Sailor Moon" and, in fact, actively subverts a number of genre clich├ęs established by "Sailor Moon" and other magical girl series released in its wake. In short, the magical girl genre is alive and well, even if some of the foremost examples of the genre's influence are an American TV series and a show that actively toys with audience expectations.

That said, while the influence of "Sailor Moon" can be felt in a number of modern works, "Sailor Moon" itself was recently adapted into a new movie released on Netflix.

Sailor Moon is forever

"Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie," as the new Netflix "Sailor Moon" movie is titled in full, consists of two discreet 81-minute halves. Viewers can thus readily watch what amounts to a continuous 162-minute story in two chunks without needing to hit the pause button. The movie itself is a follow-up to the anime series "Sailor Moon Crystal," which wrapped up its third and final season in 2016. Both it and the original "Sailor Moon" anime are adapted from a comic series by author Naoko Takeuchi, and "Sailor Moon Eternal" picks up Takeuchi's original "Sailor Moon" story where "Sailor Moon Crystal" left off.

While the "Dreams" story arc of the "Sailor Moon" manga that serves as the inspiration for the new "Sailor Moon" Netflix movie has been adapted before, its prior adaptation, in "Sailor Moon SuperS," was considered inadequate by many fans in comparison to its source material (via Den of Geek). In fact, "Sailor Moon" adaptations, at least in the United States, have a history of modifying their source material. In one notable instance, a same-sex couple was edited out of the original "Sailor Moon" anime for its U.S. broadcast.

This latest "Sailor Moon" film, a deliberately faithful adaptation of the "Dreams" arc of the "Sailor Moon" manga, has been generally well-received by audiences thus far. It currently holds an 80% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, where user Danichuy M describes the film as "stunning, a must see for all Sailor Moon fan." A positive review on Anime News Network, meanwhile, describes the film as "the best Sailor Moon has consistently looked in years."

Netflix subscribers interested in Sailor Moon's latest adventure can stream both parts of "Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie" now.