So with confirmation on the next two episodes introducing Ami and Rei, combined with the promo images and opening having a focus on everyone together, I’ve started to have hope that they won’t start expanding on the story until around Act Eight. (That’s not to say that I don’t want them to make changes and fill things in before that point, just that they don’t add in Acts/Episodes).
Apart from the musicals, we’ve never gotten a version of the Dark Kingdom Arc where Minako gets to be part of the group for the majority of the story. The manga comes closest, with her joining in Act 8 of 14, but she was a latecommer in Classic (33/34 out of 46) and really only occasionally was part of the group in PGSM (I still haven’t finished my rewatch, but episode 40 comes to mind as the first time she really interacts with everyone together outside of battle).
But imagine if she joins in in episode 8 of 26.
We’d get to see their group dynamic for 18 episodes. (Which is more than we got in Classic, even though it had a higher episode count overall.) We get to see them work together and maybe in smaller groups, and those smaller groups will be ones they choose, rather than just who they have at the time. I love seeing them in groups of two or three about as much as I love them altogether, but if they all get in the picture fairly quickly, there’s a chance that it’ll be more balanced. Like, rather than twenty episodes of Usagi-Ami-Rei, maybe we’ll get one of those, and then next episode Ami’s in cram school so it’s Usagi-Rei-Minako, and then Usagi’s so tired that Minako and Makoto take on the next monster without Usagi even there. (You can bet I’m excited for the girls to probably be able to kill monsters on their own like they can in the manga).
But also just. I want to see these friendships forming on equal grounds. Everyone new to this at the same time, slowly forming bonds with everyone else. Imagine everyone but Usagi being their own kind of nervous for an episode or two. Ami freaking out because she barely knows Usagi likes her for Ami and not Mercury, and there are three other amazing, beautiful people who are with her because she’s Mercury and is Ami really enough? And Rei not wanting to open up and not wanting friends but also secretly wanting them so badly because they feel right somehow. Makoto so ready to love these people, but also terrified because loving people has never ended well, and with so much danger she’d almost rather they’d decide they don’t want her like so many people have than leave the way her parents did. And Minako, who remembers all of the past, afraid it’ll all happen again, afraid that now she’s not the leader she once was, afraid that she is and she’ll never be enough of a normal girl to have real friendships with these girls.
I want to see them break through all that. I want to see how they break through all that, if Ami and Rei don’t have their bond forged through only having each other, and Minako’s integration isn’t overtaken by the plot.
But then again, I'm excited to see anything Crystal does. So we'll see.