I give what's considered the best Sailor Moon season...a 74/100!
I've just finished the third season of Sailor Moon S (and will watch the rest of SuperS starting tomorrow, as I'm a good chunk of the way through that), and it's generally considered the best season. And...I have to agree with them. The stakes are definitely much higher than both the first and second season, and it definitely improves on the second season A LOT. I may not be the biggest fan of Sailor Moon, but S definitely does a lot of things the previous seasons did wrong, and even improves on problems the previous seasons were riddled with, even though it still has a lot of problems.
One of Usagi's friends, Rei, has strange dreams about the world and everyone in it getting destroyed by a great evil. Later on, they find that an organization called the Death Busters, led by a professor named Souichi Tomoe and his gang, the Witches 5, are ripping jewels from people called pure hearts in order to awaken the Messiah of Silence, and the pure hearts they need have talismans which can bring about the Holy Grail, which can revive their Messiah. The girls meet two new sailor soldiers, Haruka Tenou, Sailor Uranus, and Michiru Kaioh, Sailor Neptune, who are very aloof and cynical, and feel no need to ally themselves with the idealistic sailor team. They're dead set on destroying the Death Busters, and feel the sailor team will be a nuisance. Later on, Chibiusa comes back from the future on a mission to make friends, and befriends one such girl named Hotaru. Can the sailor soldiers save the world?
One thing about Sailor Moon that often bothered me was the animation. It always felt stiff to me outside of the transformation sequences, and I never found it to be much to write home about. Much to my surprise, the creators seemed to hear me and improved on it a lot. There's a lot more movement both in and out of battle scenes, the facial expressions are more varied and polished, the characters don't look as stiff when they run or walk, the colors are more polished and vibrant, and some shots just look beautiful, like whenever Haruka and Michiru are together and there are pseudo-watercolor shots of them just looking pretty. Plus, there are a lot more added details during certain events, when in one very important scene near the end Usagi's hair looks really messy and about to come undone after a grueling battle to save someone.
Another thing that's improved is the music. Some tracks from previous seasons are still kept, but new ones are added, and not only do they really do their job well in the scenes they're placed in, they're so dang catchy and stay in your head forever! You know background music is good if it keeps playing in your head for weeks! There's a lot of screeching and haunting violin pieces used in this season, namely during the dark and scary parts. But the music for when Usagi transforms is changed, and I personally liked the transformation music she had in R, not to say the one used here is bad. Just personal preference.
The characters...again, haven't changed much, except for Chibiusa. New characters are added like Sailor Uranus and Neptune and...I have to admit, I liked them at first, but as the series went on, I grew to dislike them. Not hate them, just dislike because near the end, they become increasingly rude and mean to Usagi. While their reasons being so are understandable, they could have at least tried to see things from her point of view and be happy with the eventual outcome of the event. Also, remember when I said I originally hated Usagi before? Now, I don't feel that way anymore. In fact, I feel sorry for her now, mostly because of all the crap she has to go through, both in and outside battle scenes. God, I especially hated episode 18 because of the way Chibiusa and everyone else behaved toward Usagi when she was just trying to help, and the whole thing started when she made a mistake that could have easily been avoided had Chibiusa told her that she was making a pie for someone in school! But no, she doesn't admit to her mistake, blames the whole thing on Usagi, and everyone just agrees with her without thinking about what happened in a different perspective! NOW I get why people hate Chibiusa so much. But no, I still don't hate her. I've seen worse characters. Plus, the villains had varying amounts of focus. I liked some of the main villains, but I wasn't too fond of one girl Mimete. Her voice is annoying, and she got way more screen time than the more interesting members of the Death Busters. But I will give the creators credit for giving her a relatively decent personality, and making her more than just a out-and-out villain. However, in my opinion, the best character in this whole season is Hotaru. Without going into spoilers, she is the best character, and she drives the entire season.
Sailor Moon S, while still riddled with the most obvious problems that the other seasons have, is a major improvement, and I recommend it quite highly.