Sailor Moon Vol. #09: The Return of the Doom Tree (of 14) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, August 24, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2002
What They Say
It's girl power to the rescue as Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts continue to fight the evil minions of the Doom Tree. Forced to find new victims to feed the monstrous vegetable's ever-increasing appetite for energy, Alan and Anne concoct their most diabolical scheme yet! Can Serena and the Scouts stop them in time, or will all their friends at school become veggie snacks? Find out in the 9th volume of SAILOR MOON® on DVD!
The Doom Tree saga continues, and the introduction of one of the most despised characters happens. Oh, so many conflicting feelings…
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.
The transfer for this release is pretty decent, but suffers from what most of the other volumes in this series have suffered from. 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.
The front cover has some decent character shots, though some of the feel closer to the awful Beryl picture from a few volumes ago than I care for. Serena looks decent in the front in a standard pose while Allen and Ann are behind her, looking a little more cartoonish than normal against a varying purple and orange background. 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.
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.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second season of Sailor Moon moves along fairly well here with some interesting bits, some repetitive bits and some ‘oh my god I can’t believe they made that’ bits.
The repetitive bits involve the standard battles of the week, though there are fewer of those on this volume than usual. The do continue to follow the same pattern, and there was really little to make them all that different than other monster of the week episodes. What did help them though is the way that the Ann and Allen parts in these episodes. These two characters find themselves becoming conflicted and unsure of how they’re doing in their job of getting energy for the Doom Tree.
Both Ann and Allen find themselves focusing more and more on their respective interests/enemies of Serena and Darien. Allen ends up becoming quite domesticated in his nature as he tries to make Serena as happy as possible while Ann becomes an overly aggressive woman in her attempts to seduce Darien. And each of them dislikes the others interest, which causes even more conflict among them. Serena is fairly oblivious to a lot of this, but Darien lays down the rules pretty early, which ends up getting Ann even more confused.
Things lead up to an interesting battle that brings about some revelations about the Moonlight Knight as everyone finally gets involved in dealing with a fairly major menace in the Tree. The advantage to this is that it ends up changing Darien’s relationship with Serena very quickly, a relationship that was already growing naturally again after Serena regained her memories and Darien started getting a second sense of what was going on. So how do you mess with this kind of relationship?
You send in a short pink haired version of Serena that will completely drive you nuts. I’ll be honest, it was the introduction of this character that had me stop watching these episodes when they were broadcast, and I can already feel my interesting lagging quickly with her in just one episode here. I know that she adds a dimension to the show that works well with young kids as well as providing some conflict, but it just cries out to me as a weak device.
Barring that, there’s some good stuff in these episodes that keeps the Doom Tree episodes flowing much better than the first season without being as overly repetitive. If you can handle the Chibi girl, then you’ll do fine here. I’ll be in the corner getting ready for my coma.
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
Running time: 135
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sailor Moon