Hi Anon! Yes, in the meantime I’ve seen every bit of promotional artwork that has been released prior to Crystal as well as the actual (two) episodes.
Mamoru being younger this time around doesn’t present any particular problem to me - which might be due to the fact that I never really cared about this character in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all a “Mamoru hater”, he just never really sparked my interest as a character. What I’m saying is: I never watched Sailor Moon for Mamoru. To me, he was simply the main protagonist’s love interest and occaisionally turned into awsome mode when he showed up as Tuxedo Mask, threw his rose and delivered yet another hilarious speech about pseudo-philosophical stuff like love, friendship and justice. Civillian Mamoru, on the other hand, first behaved like a jerk in season 1, broke Usagi’s heart in season 2, had his best moments in season 3 (he was mostly well written here), played an even minor role in season 4 and was basically absent in most of season 5. In my opinion the writers never really cared for him either (especially ofter season 1); his overal importance for the story’s progression and the Sailor Moon franchise in general pales in comparison to the girls.
Now in the manga Mamoru was written quite differently; he was much more vital to the story and fought actively alongside the other Senshi. As Crystal claims to be much closer to the original manga I’m curious about what they are going to do with Mamoru this time. Making him a high school student (instead of a collage student) seems to be a first step in that direction. Since the age (and maturity) gap between him and Usagi isn’t that big any more, I’m hoping that this time the ensuing relationship between these two is more based on equality than (civil) Mamoru being clearly superior to (civil) Usagi (as it was the case in the old anime).
It might be entirely too soon to say so, but my “problem” with Crystal’s Mamoru so far is that we’re two episodes in and he basically showed up two times, each time wearing a fancy tuxedo in broad day light (he does the same in the manga, I know) and acting rather stiff and unfriendly towards Usagi:
In the orginal anime Mamoru initially acted arrogantly as well, but the writers added another vital quality to him: Hes’ not merely unfriendly towards Usagi, he is teasing her. Maybe that doesn’t make him a better person in a moral sense but it means a lot regarding his characterization. His and Usagis constant bickering becomes something like a running gag throughout the first season of Sailor Moon:
The manga characterizes Mamoru in very similar way, although he appears to be much “cooler” and aloof here:
Ha! Apparently manga Mamoru has a wicked sense of humor, too! All of these little, personal quirks are lost when it comes to Crystal Mamoru (so far). I may have never really liked Mamoru’s personality (i.e. the way he was written, especially during large chunks of the 90s anime), but at least both in the original manga as well as in the 90s anime he had a personality.