Today I began watching Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, which is the ambitious live-action version of the I'm-pretty-sure-you've-at-least-heard-of-it manga/anime. Sailor Moon was not my first brush with anime (many of the cartoons I watched growing up in the 80s were anime, but people didn't call it "anime" back then -- or even "Japanimation"), nor is it by any stretch of the imagination my favorite anime. But I feel a nostalgic fondness for it anyway as something I enjoyed when I was twelve. I love Power Rangers, too; whatever it is about nonsensical senshi series, I apparently like them!
A heavily butchered dubbed version of Sailor Moon, a notorious atrocity which nevertheless was many girls' first exposure (and gateway drug) to anime, aired in the mid-to-late '90s here in the USA. Even though almost everything was changed, from character names and relationships... and genders... to background music, somehow it retained a certain beauty and mystique. The transformation sequences, both in the strange watered-down English version and in the original Japanese, are mesmerizing to watch. I still like to go to YouTube and watch compilation videos of them to this day.
Still, when I saw pictures from and clips of the live-action version many years ago, I was like, "This looks totally ridiculous. I don't even love Sailor Moon but that looks like a rip-off." So I am not entirely sure what moved me to watch it today, other than seeing a playlist of it on YouTube and really wanting something to watch while I made Blythe hats. But I'm actually really really enjoying it! It really is ridiculous, but in a delicious way. It's bright and colorful and yet the quality is so cheap (I feel this way about many jdramas -- they are not very cinematic in comparison to a lot of British or American TV) that it feels very popcorny and entertaining. Regardless, I feel like this version, which is in some odd way even more cartoony than the actual anime, does the characters and their relationships justice in a way the anime somehow didn't. It differs in some key ways from the plot I remember and somehow has less of the cats and less of the bad guys so far, but I find myself actually liking the characters in PGSM more than in the anime. It's quite a strange feeling to like Sailor Moon herself, who is very, very endearing in this version.
Conclusion: PGSM is better than you think!