The five colorful members of Momoiro Clover Z never lacked in terms of charisma and beautiful concepts, and after Gounn and the excellent Naitemo Iindaio single, the girls are now back from the deep ocean and ready to release the long awaited (and announced) theme songs for the new Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal anime, that will take the form of their new single and represent one of the most important moves of this year, as they hit the stage of the huge Nissan Stadium for the second time right when I’m writing these words. Take on the responsibility of providing music for the remake of one of the most famous and worldwide successful anime ever created isn’t an easy task, and their energetic charisma and the ability of their production team will be the key for a successful release. Was the waiting worth it?
It doesn’t take long to realize that Momoclo are taking care of the new Sailor Moon opening: After a dreamy melody introducing a short verse, the sound we’ve loved in some of the best productions of the colorful unit comes to surface as the song take its shape with a melodic electric guitar hitting our ears, and the intentions here is already clear: Moon Pride is a track that doesn’t betray the Momoclo fans nor the Sailor Moon lovers, but instead make these two (not so far) worlds collide to create a perfect combination of personality and sound. The verses are calm, and the alternation of voices between the girls give the right variation in a part of the song that’s necessarily calmer to maintain the right atmosphere, also enriched by well placed back vocals as the pre-bridge charges up the atmosphere before a chorus that points everything on energetic singing and strong instrumental presence instead of relying on the easier catchy formula, in order to give a proper balance between the calmer and stronger parts while maintaing a variable but homogeneous vibe. The instrumental is truly an element to praise here: While built on a simple and pretty standard structure, the details make it worth listening to more than once, like the piano in the pre-chorus or the coupling synth in the absolutely amazing guitar solo that builds up the main bridge of the track: Everything is created with simpleness in mind but with great execution for a result that’s more than satisfying, and while not ranking at the top of Momoclo’s productions, Moon Pride does its work of opening theme greatly and unifies the artist and the concept in a smart way that will satisfy all the fans out there. Same can be said for the ending theme of the anime Gekkou, a slow ballad that doesn’t exceed in anything in particular but still delivers the right atmosphere thanks to the delicate vocals and the instrumental featuring some good moments made of orchestral sounds, dreamy synths and even organ parts, giving an “important” vibe to the track; The faster bridge directly leading to the final chorus, surely intended to offer a surprise effect and variation, feels a bit out of place and invasive where a simple progression would have fit better. Still, this B-side covers its role of ending theme properly, while from the mere point of view of a Momoclo fan it won’t probably offer many listens as the girls definitely have more entertaining songs of this kind in their discography. Moon Revenge, exclusive track of the regular version and cover of the original main theme of the Sailor Moon R movie that received the Momoclo treatment, is possibly the weakest track of the single: While it’s fair to adapt a personal style, the production team went a bit too far with it and made everything sound way too upbeat and even confusing than necessary both in the instrumental and in the vocals, compromising the original atmosphere made of mistery and magic, for a forgettable cover that could have been proposed in a better and smarter way knowing the talent of both the girls and their production team.
Moon Pride is a single that does its work plain well: The opening theme is energetic, well balanced, and offers a great and appropriated atmosphere for the concept, with some pretty epic moments here and there guaranteed by the sound we’ve learned to love in the best Momoclo productions, while Gekkou is a good and well executed ending theme, even though not outstanding or unforgettable. The Moon Revenge cover, on the other hand, is shallow and lacks in terms of pure entertainment and fidelity in the original track’s atmosphere.
All in all, Moon Pride is a good and enjoyable single for the fans of both Momoiro Clover Z and Sailor Moon fans, while those not interested in the anime will find an average release that will hardly be ahead of the most famous singles of the colorful idol unit. It’s kinda understandable though: The main role of Moon Pride is to provide good theme songs for one of the most famous anime ever created, and in this, it does its job well. Which is not something any idol group out there could have done.
01. Moon Pride
03. Moon Revenge (Cover | Momoclo version exclusive)