Sailor Moon Vol. #02: Sailor Scouts to the Rescue (of 14) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, March 22, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2002



What They Say
The battle against the evil Queen Beryl and her Negaverse continues as new enemies attack the Sailor Scouts. First a dream vacation on a cruise ship becomes a nightmare when Jedite and Titus steal all of the love energy from the passengers, then the sinister Nephlite uses lies and disguises to trick innocent people into helping Queen Beryl's wicked plans! It will take all three Sailor Scouts to stop Queen Beryl and the forces of evil in the second fantastic volume of Sailor Moon!

The Review!
The second installment of the original Sailor Moon series in English continues here, and you realize quickly just how much of a boon it is to have six episodes at once, as the episodes do manage to go by fairly fast.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in the only language available, English. Though done back in 1995, the disc has a rather good pro-logic mix to it, with the music being the main beneficiary of it and sending a lot of sounds to the rear speakers. There’s some minor directionality with sound effects and dialogue across the forward soundstage, but the track overall sounds decent with no noticeable dropouts or distortions.

Video:
The video for the second volume is a few hairs better than the first volume. The main difference is that we saw less of the ghosting and mid-range blockiness than we did in the first volume. There’s still the usual amount of grain and a low level of cross coloration running through. But again, the show doesn’t have much in the way of a lot of vibrant colors and the backgrounds are done in a fairly minimalist way at times.

Packaging:
This cover uses a couple of different pieces from different VHS covers to produce a nice team shot of Serena, Ami and Rei with a nice blue background and nice bright colors. The back cover provides a few small animation shots and a rundown of the show and what it’s all about. Episode titles are listed, but no numbers and there’s no volume numbering either. The insert provides another shot of the cover while the reverse side has some new artwork and lists the episodes as well as the previews on the disc. For the first pressings, a character trading card (from Series III) is included).

Menus:
The menus are pretty decent and definitely shiny. With nothing on the disc outside of the extras, episode selection is the main menu. Unfortunately, there’s no episode numbering here either so unless you start with the first episode and let it play through, it can be very difficult to tell where to start and where to pick up again if you leave off somewhere.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second batch of six episodes does a good job of what the early segment of Sailor Moon is supposed to do, and that’s to continually add more characters to the cast. While at the close of the previous volume we went from just Serena to adding Ami as Sailor Mercury, we only go for another episode or two here before the potential for the next Sailor Scout is realized.

All the girls that hang out with Serena are a twitter over something that a local temple has. Apparently they’ve begun selling good luck charms that seem to do some good and are selling through them fast. So being junior high school girls, they decide to head up there even after hearing rumors that buses that visit there have been disappearing. The shrine is pretty much what you expect, and outside of the slightly perverted grandfather who works there, people come in to buy their charms and head off. But there’s definitely a feeling of something wrong there.

This is when the grandfather’s granddaughter comes into play, the fiery dark haired Rei in her Shinto outfit. She’s also sensing something afoot and is using her various skills to try and determine what it is. After a quick accident involving Serena, they all become fairly friendly with each other, but you can tell there’s something of a rivalry already brewing between Serena and Rei. When yet another bus disappears, Serena gets pushed into action by Luna at the same time that Rei realizes one of the shrines new caretakers is actually causing the problem and tries to take him out. The episode works well in bringing Rei to the forefront and giving her character something of a background and history to work with instead of just having yet another transfer student.

Once her ability to transform into Sailor Mars is revealed, and with her finger pointing fiery attacks, she’s a shoe in to be one of the more powerful members of the early inner circle, which is what we’re really seeing form here. With Luna still being the solid advisor, Serena’s general low level of advance thought for situations has now been covered by having Ami in the group and a bit of help from Rei as well. On the downside, Rei is a lot like Serena, just not as ditzy or obvious about it. The two are quite similar in their stubbornness, which comes into motion during several of the episodes after they all get together.

And that sort of fills out the remainder of the disc, where things get into the usual routine of something happening in the girls lives or at school which eventually culminates in Jedite having some sort of involvement in and causing all kinds of havoc as they continually try to absorb the energy of humanity for their own nefarious plots. Someday, I expect some fan will make things easier and just cut together a version of the series with only the first half of the episode and the resolution after the attacks and remarket the show as a part of an anthology.

Sailor Moon’s never been a huge show with me, though I definitely know its place in anime history and why it’s such a huge show for so many people. I just have a hard time really getting into something I know is so edited. But for those who love it, this is a pretty decent presentation and with the episode count and price, an easy guilty pleasure to give into.

Features
English Language

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: C+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 14.98
Running time: 135
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sailor Moon