There are lots of free and legal streams. Watching on Hulu will make sure Viz sees the hits, and encourage them to invest in future English-language SM-related projects.
First episode was…beat-for-beat like the manga, except for Usagi’s dreams, which were probably my favorite part. I hope they find other ways to put their own spin on things as the series goes on, and keep taking advantage of the fact that they have the whole published story to work from, so they can do foreshadowing and pacing in ways the original anime couldn’t.
I’m really into all the choral music, especially on the big planetary pan shots at the beginning. Really gets across the feeling that this is epic. And the (watercolor?) intertitles, at the commercial break and the “Next On” screen — so classy.
The new OP is great. I don’t know if this is sacrilege in the fandom or not, but I’m glad they didn’t go with Moonlight Densetsu, even a re-recorded version. Gives them an opportunity to try something new — and the fact that this is much more of a battle song than a love song is really encouraging. (Love that the lyric “We are not helpless girls who need men’s protection” plays over the Moon-and-Mask scene. Because, yeah, that’s basically their relationship.) Fingers crossed for high-action fight scenes!
Speaking of Mamoru, he’s very pretty, and I like that he’s in high school in this incarnation. Umino, by contest, is drawn even more sloppily than last time. Not sure how I feel about that, joke character or not. Love all the detail in Usagi’s hair now, at least. So many strands!
Mercury next episode. One of the changes in the original anime that I think really worked was how Usagi got to fight alone for a bit, and we got episodes to focus on each new member getting into the role and learning to use her powers before the next one was added. Maybe we’ll get the implication that Usagi has been fighting other monsters in between episodes, instead of it being a perfect one-episode-one-monster lineup? It would fit better with the “target demographic: young adult women, more than ten-year-old girls” angle, IMO.
tl;dr I’m very excited. And overall feeling good about where this is going.