Sailor Moon S is commonly regarded as the best season of Sailor Moon. And for good reason. It has excellent humor, excellent evil minions, good stock footage and better animation than surrounding seasons, the best filler of any season, and two new Sailor Senshi who are at odds with our main group of heroines, creating an interesting story arc of the season.
Sailor Moon SuperS is commonly regarded as the worst, although I know some who think Stars is worse, and also for good reason. The animation and stock footage took a dive, the evil minions and filler aren’t as good, Chibi-Usa takes a more prominent role, and the Outer Senshi don’t appear for the whole season outside of the movie.
However the actual best and worst seasons aren’t either of them. It’s both of them. S and SuperS have the exact opposite strengths and weaknesses. S has a horrible ending, absolutely terrible, it’s the worst finale of any Sailor Moon season. Mistress 9 and Pharaoh 90 are the worst and least developed main villains and the season ends with two disappointing epilogue episodes after they’re taken care of. S also is where Sailor Moon became incredibly light on plot and became much more episodic with very little happening until a major event would take place. Every season has lots of filler but the first season had a lot of different story arcs and villains died relatively often, S is much more spaced out. Starting off with a long stretch of relative nothing before more important events happen later. Uranus and Neptune also, for all the shit they do and the way they act, never really get called out for this or have any repercussions for their actions. SuperS meanwhile has an excellent ending and main villain in Queen Nehelenia and better story overall. A truly well built final arc, it’s a season that gets better as it goes on unlike S.
SuperS, despite the minions not being as good, still has a relatively fun group. The Amazon Trio is alright and the Amazoness Quartet are very good. Unlike S where the later introduced villains get less screen time and aren’t as good as the earlier ones the Amazoness Quartet is a big improvement in the show.
One of the main complaints about SuperS is also Chibi-Usa being essentially the star and not Usagi. However I don’t have much of a problem with this as Usagi is still a huge part of the season and Chibi-Usa isn’t really annoying or anything. She could be bad back in R but as she is later there’s not really anything too negative to speak of. I will say that she’s a lot more fun in S though, S was the funniest season and Chibi-Usa contributed greatly to that.
S was also clearly the most Ikuhara season of Sailor Moon as well. The silly Professor Tomoe, the crazy comedy, and of course the lesbian relationship of Haruka and Michiru all combined into one really fun show. It just had such an Ikuhara feeling at parts. SuperS was also directed by Ikuhara but for whatever reason didn’t have the same flair that S did. There were pieces to be sure but it wasn’t as good in that way. SuperS does have plenty of comedy too but once again it’s just not as good as S in that area.
S and SuperS are polar opposites. It’s interesting how the two come right next to each other and seeing all the flipped around good and bad parts. Both have excellent music though. The Pegasus in SuperS can be pretty creepy with his strange relationship with Chibi-Usa and he’s largely an unwanted addition to the show. I don’t much care for him either but there’s at least some interesting story with him.
Overall S is a great season with a terrible ending while SuperS is a mediocre season with a great ending. But the good parts of S are still so damn fun, the difference between an average episode of S and SuperS is like night and day. Just like the difference between Pharaoh 90 and Nehelenia is like Kylo Ren and Darth Vader. S is more enjoyable on average but the ending will leave a bitter taste in your mouth at how awful it is, SuperS may be a fair deal more difficult to get through but the ending will leave you satisfied. SuperS has the same kind of format as S, where nothing much happens for a while and then you get some big plot event with also very little minor arcs and plot threads sprinkled about. So it can be kind of a slough at points but it’s worth it.
S has the best filler but the worst ending. SuperS has the worst filler but the… second best ending since I think Sailor Stars finale is the best. But hey that’s the grand finale of Sailor Moon so whatcha gonna do. Nehelenia is still great. The absence of the Outer Senshi is pretty harmful to SuperS since despite the addition of Pegasus and everything it doesn’t feel as important or “big” as S. The Dead Moon Circus is not as threatening or can really compare to the Death Busters in danger. So it feels like a step backwards, Death Phantom felt like a greater threat than Beryl and Metallia and Pharaoh 90 was a completely alien monster from beyond the solar system. The Dead Moon Circus isn’t anything like that. Nehelenia’s the best developed main villain at this point in Sailor Moon but the overall feeling of the season isn’t as intense as the previous ones. A more lighthearted season would be fine but then of course the comedy wasn’t as good as S either.
Both seasons have plenty to offer, I’m just disappointed by how I never see the good parts of SuperS get the praise I feel they deserve. It seems to get a disproportionate amount of hate. Meanwhile S for all of it’s positives doesn’t seem to get the criticism it deserves for certain aspects of it.
Well at least everyone can agree on how bad Crystal was. Sorry Takeuchi. The second part was better though.