Sailor Moon Vol. #08: The Doom Tree Strikes (of 14) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, August 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, September 03, 2002



What They Say
The devastating Doom Tree has arrived, and only Sailor Moon and the Sailor
Scouts can stop it! As the evil Anne and Alan continue to scheme up new ways
to steal the Earth's energy for the Doom Tree, will the combined power of
all the Sailor Scouts be enough? The power of friendship will be tested as
never before when our planet's mightiest protectors join forces in their greatest battles yet!

The Review!
The Doom Tree saga continues and while things have changed in some respects, things pretty much continue on as normal.

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 transfer for this release is somewhat better than some of the earlier, but that’s not really saying all that much. The main difference is that we saw less of the ghosting and mid-range blockiness than we did in those volumes. 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:
The front cover is a nice cast piece showing all the girls standing in front of the shadowed image of a tree done up in various shades of purple for the background. This is a big leap over that awful Beryl artwork on the previous volume. The back cover provides a few small screenshots of animation and a brief summary of the shows episodes as well as listing the titles of the six episodes. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while the reverse side lists the previews and the episode titles.

Menu:
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)
With the show moving along in its new season and new villains, we’re pretty much re-experiencing the midway part of the first season for the most part, but without the constant complaints of Queen Beryl over her lackey’s incompetence. That alone is a significant plus.

Anne and Allan, the two Negaverse people who’re trying to gain energy for their Doom Tree so that they can revive their way of life again, have immersed themselves into the social aspects of the area, getting involved in school trips and trying to date. In its own strange way, it sort of makes sense, but continues to be the most inefficient way of gaining the much needed energy for their tree. But, if they were efficient, this would be a much shorter series.

The Scouts are pretty much back up to speed nice and early here, as the threat of the Tree has indeed prompted Luna and Artemis to return everyone’s memories of their previous battles with the Negaverse. The main side affect of all of this is Serena now remembers how strong her love with Darien was/is, and isn’t sure how to go on since Luna can’t/won’t bring back his memories. So she’s essentially at square one with him, but there’s some glimmers in his attitude that shows deep down he may still have a memory or two of their relationship.

And when the Moonlight Knight, an Arabian style character, begins to appear on the scene to defeat the Negaverse inspired creatures from the Doom Tree Duo, Serena’s convinced Darien’s gotten part of his memories back that allow him to take up that mantle, though she can’t be 100% positive about it being him. This helps her get through her funk somewhat, and also through a battle or two. This is rather important, especially when her main weapon of getting rid of the Negaverse creatures goes bad.

With everyone up to speed, the main flow of the show is the typical episode where the first half is a setup of various characters and interactions and then Allen and Anne send off one of their creatures to acquire the energy they need, be it from an old friend of one of the girls to an entire kindergarten class. You can basically just watch the first half of each episode and skip the battles and not really miss much.

Things look a slight bit better here over the first season, but it’s still very much in the same style. People who are picking up this series surely know what to expect, so there’s little surprise here.

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: 150
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sailor Moon