I wouldn’t say all of it has been stripped out- Usagi’s literally swooning over Rei upon meeting her was actually something the original 90s anime actually toned down, and the original anime also had Rei profess interest in boys for no apparent reason and gave the girls potential love interests (Urawa for Ami and Yuuichiro for Rei- and Minako’s backstory as Sailor V was changed from her literally choosing her the Senshi over her first serious serious guy crush and killing him to protect her princess, later declaring that yeah, she values her princess over any potential heterosexual attraction and is fulfilled as long as she has her girlfriends (stating this WHILE REI IS HANGING ALL OVER HER SUGGESTIVELY)….to an older man not being attracted to her so she’s totes heartbroken).
So I can’t pretend the original 90s anime did not add lots of needless heterosexual affirmation. It did. That’s a fact.
What the original 90’s anime was, is much better written than Crystal, and any dalliances with boys were always incidental to the plot and also. though not as directly stated as in the manga, pretty easily trumped by female friendships. Minako gave up LoveInterestMcVolleyball (what even was his name) to continue fighting with her friends, even if she didn’t explicitly state that. Rei pretty much stated she valued her friendship with Usagi way more than any attraction she had to Mamoru. And there’s no way they didn’t know what they were doing with some of the moments they had between Usagi and Rei down the line.
Usagi was willing to attack and potentially kill Evil!Mamoru to honor her friends sacrifices and even refused to kiss him because her friends had died without romantic happiness, and if they don’t get it, she’s not getting it.
The 90’s anime did add in a lot of pointless heterosexuality, but it showed bonds b/t women as most important and there was a general “sisters before misters” undertone there. It also balances the sting of the pointless heterosexuality by developing the relationships b/t the girls way more than the manga ever did. And added additional queer stuff like Kunzite/Zoisite, at least.
Crystal kept Usagi’s super gay reactions to meeting all her girlfriends,something the 90s anime failed on re: Rei and stuff, but then chose to be really hyperfocused on Usagi’s relationship with Mamoru even more than the manga was- cutting out really small important moments of the girls interacting (Mako’s rabbit of the moon crack, everyone hanging out w/ Rei teasing Usagi and Mako comforting her) even.
And then of course it decided to give all the inners SUPERDESTINED male love interests that did not exist in the manga (sans Minako/Kunzite implications, which again existed in the manga mostly to show how Minako has always put her duty to her princess and allies before a man) which yeah, I do consider erasing queer undertones in the original manga mostly because REI. DOESN’T. LIKE. MEN. AND. EXPLICITLY. STATED. SHE. NEVER. WILL. IN. THE. MANGA. AND. ABSTAINED. FROM. THEM. IN. HER. PAST. LIFE.
This is a decision worse than the 90s anime made because these love interests aren’t incidental, forgettable and always secondary to female friendships- because in Crystal Senshi x Shittenou are set up as this HUGE IMPORTANT DESTINY thing that is JUST as important as the inners relationship with Usagi if not more so. They gave up fighting the Shittenou bc of their love even though it would mean danger to Usagi. I’ve seen arguments that it’s because the Shittenou were victims rather than feelings for them, but there’s really nothing in the text to support that- Usagi interrupts the Shittenou attacking the Senshi by yelling something to the affect of “don’t take advantage of girls in love!” so. I’d love to believe that, but Crystal isn’t giving me any reason to
I mean, you can’t even blame it on shock because Minako knew. She knew beforehand. And she still gave up here (and that makes no sense bc she was willing to attack Kunzite before IN THE SHOW so…whatever bad writing).
So yeah, the potential to read Rei as homoromantic/aromantic ace is gone. Kunzite/Zoisite was a 90s anime thing so that’s gone. A lot of it has been stripped away- all that remains is the bisexuality of Usagi expressed in earlier episodes and that’s dropped as soon as she and Mamoru become a thing. But most damning over all, we don’t have a vibe of female friendships being the most important. We have a CLEAR vibe of “every girl needs a man who is everything to her”. There’s this really neatly matched set of Senshi/Shittenou and this whole BECAUSE DESTINY reason they have to be bonded, and that’s really bizarre. A girl is destined for a man. All of them. That’s the message. Clumsily adding Senshi x Shittenou like this ruined a lot of things.
You can still read the Senshi as bi if you struggle, but you shouldn’t have to struggle. There’s no indication of bi-ness for any of them except Usagi at this point in Crystal, while there were much stronger undertones in the manga.
Re: Haruka and Michiru- yeah, I’m also at the point where I don’t want Crystal to touch them.
To be real here, Haruka and Michiru were already not very well done in the manga- the manga was more overt about Haruka’s queerness in that she kissed another girl on panel and the manga included pretty serious confirmation Usagi was bi by having her genuinely struggle with her attraction to Haruka- but Haruka and Michiru’s relationship itself? Was not developed at ALL. That was all the anime. It’s the 90s anime that made their relationship great and memorable, and was a big part of making their characters memorable.
In the manga, we got Haruka really seriously aggressively hitting on Usagi and no indication of how that was affecting her relationship with Michiru, which honestly makes Haruka look like a terrible girlfriend and also the plot point kind of dropping weirdly- I do interpret the whole thing as Haruka being confused about her feelings for Usagi and not realizing they were “destined princess” feelings, rather than attraction, and then their relationship settling into a sisterly one once they cleared that up, but it’s kind of a matter of interpretation where it really shouldn’t be.
My hope for a more manga-faithful reboot was that we’d take the aspects I thought were interesting regarding manga Haruka/Michiru’s storyline- the indication that Haruka was genderfluid/genderqueer, Usagi questioning her sexuality after meeting Haruka, only have this explored even more, with Usagi explicity coming to the conclusion “yeah I guess I like girls too”,….Haruka having confusing feelings about Usagi only ACTUALLY SHOW HOW THIS IMPACTS HER RELATIONSHIP WITH MICHIRU, GIVE THEM BACKSTORY AND DEVELOPMENT, HAVE CONFLICT, HAVE HARUKA BE REALLY TORN AND UPSET ABOUT THESE FEELINGS, AND THEN SHOW THE ISSUE BEING RESOLVED AND HARUMICHI’S RECONCILIATION ONCE THE TRUTH IS REVEALED… and yeah, give their relationship the same level of care and development as anime! Harumichi.
ALSO HAVE THEM KISS ONSCREEN.
But it’s very, very clear Crystal isn’t going to do that and is INSTEAD likely to make the whole issue with manga! Haruka and Michiru WORSE. Going by Crystal, they’ll stick to the manga but add way more nonsensical, infuriating things that damage the characters. I can only see the whole Haruka x Usagi bit becoming more problematic- I can imagine like, Crystal keeping Haruka’s shit behavior and leaving out the parts where Usagi felt attraction back. Having Haruka explicitly continue to pine over the straight girl and closing off the wiggle room for interpretation the manga at least provided. I can only see Crystal as making Haruka and Michiru with the problems the manga had but worse. And though i really doubt they’d be given a boyfriend even in Crystal, it’s sadly not outside the realm of possibility now.
However, I do at least have high hopes for a third musical if its made- the NEW musicals have shown a pattern of taking the manga but making major improvements, excising flaws and including more character and relationship development for the girls who need it.
There’s a high possibility this would happen with Haruka and Michiru in a new third musical- we’d stick to a lot of the stuff in the manga, but we’d get girlkisses (well the new musicals always have girl kisses bc all female cast, but you know what I mean), references to genderqueerness and more focus on the relationship with the nonsensical and problematic parts of_ the manga reworked, toned down and removed.
SO LET’S ALL JUST HOPE FOR THAT AND FORGET ABOUT CRYSTAL, I GUESS IT WHAT I’M SAYING. PLEASE COME TO ME, S MUSICAL. YOUR PLANET NEEDS YOU.