Sailor Moon S: Hearts In Ice (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, February 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2000
Packaging: Can I say, GORGEOUS? A dazzling image of Sailormoon in her super fuku, this artwork just dazzles the eye with its beauty. Looking at it, you might think the art looks familiar. Well, it should. For those of you who own LDs of the Sailormoon S TV series, you will find that the artwork is similar to what appears on the Vol. 1 LD cover. (The artist changed Sailormoon's fuku from what it looked like at the end of R to her "super" fuku change in S.) All the Japanese LD covers are illustrated by the very talented Ikuko Itoh. I adore how this artist depicts the senshi.
The cover of the DVD also depicts gold foil lettering packaged nicely in a white keepcase. Similar to the Sailormoon R release, the insert has the cover art with various chapter listings. The only thing that annoys me here is the use of "Scout" everywhere.
Menus: After the great effort of the R movie DVD, I was expecting some great menus. And I wasn't disappointed. The creators did well to expand on the theme started in the previous DVD. In the main menu, Sailormoon has her scepter extended as she is about to attack. Stars glow around her and her costume while music plays in the background.
There are three animated menus in this release as in the previous. However, one plus is that the chapters menu has animated sequences for the chapter selections. It looks very nice. The extra stuff menu features Luna. Every menu has a crystalline, icy feel that goes with the movie's theme.
A little bit on the extras of this disc. In the character info section, each senshi's personality, date of birth and blood type is mentioned, as well as clips to their special attack. What is amusing, in Chibi-usa's section, since she has no attack sequence in the movie, is a humorous scene in how she runs away from a shadow dancer. For the dub, it looks like Sailor Chibimoon's name is changed. She is now known as Mini Moon. (I wonder, is this how it will be done when the Super S season airs on Cartoon Network later this fall?) Surprisingly, the bios of Uranus and Neptune artfully describes how the two are devoted to each other as 'loved ones' and are very dedicated to each other. A nice, if understated, description of their relationship.
A new section appears in the menus, where you can pictorially select a group of senshi with your remote control and watch their transformation sequences. The Outer Senshi transformations are awesome, especially with their separate music. The image gallery has many pictures of the film to choose from, totaling 24. You can also access the unaltered original ending sequence. For some reason Pioneer selected to go to a black screen to display the credits for these releases. Although unfortunate, that part does not stay intact, I like the option of being able to access this ending. What Pioneer should have done was had an alternate angle setting, so you could choose which ending you wanted to see at the touch of a button.
Sound: In all honesty, I was not expecting much in the audio department for this release. I figured sound quality of the Japanese track would be lacking in substance like the R movie. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised. Sound for the Japanese track, even though it is mono, used both left and right channels. And it just sounded more pleasing than the English track. Here, you can tell that background sounds are a bit more muted in tone and had poorer quality than the R movie. To me, it seemed less effort was put into the release. More words on that a little below.
Video: Sailormoon S is animated in a slightly different style than the previous seasons, and the movie reflects it. However you can see the old animation style sneak in now and then. For example, colors and lines on the Snow Queen are crisp, colorful and vibrant. Some footage of the Inners, especially during the opening credits looks a bit older and fuzzy. It just does not look completely cohesive and together.
As for the DVD, the video transfer is splendid. I did not see popping artifacts or much color shimmering from my player. The video did look a little flat and dated, but I attribute this to the age of the movie and how the Japanese are not known for preserving their film masters.
One major quibble: the subtitling. In the opening and ending song titles, both the translation and the Romanji of the song are both displayed. This is great, but not when they are the same color. It was hard to follow the words during these sequences. (On the R DVD, they were separate colors.) Otherwise, the font was easy to read with its yellow color with black outline.
Sub vs. Dub: I really recommend that those who are fans of watching dubs listen to the subtitled version of this movie. Otherwise, you lose the whole effect of what makes the Outer Senshi so special. Honestly, voices do make a world of difference in how you interpret a character.
The dub voice cast for Haruka and Michiru was all wrong. Michiru has a very feminine, musical voice in the Japanese version, and Haruka sound a bit gruff, more attune to her male-type qualities. In the dub they did the opposite. Haruka's voice is too high and sounds almost whiny. Michiru's voice is lower, and I think done in an attempt to make her sound a bit sultry. Sorry, it falls flat. Setsuna's voice is OK, but it her words are spoken so quickly the effect is just lost.
As for the names of their attacks, these also change in the dub, but sound like such poor replacements for the original attack incantations. Each senshi in the dub adds her planet to the attack. Instead of "World shaking!" you hear "Uranus world shaking." Sadly, Sailorpluto's is the most pitiful. In the Japanese version, Pluto kicks ass with this attack because she whispers it. You shiver at the intensity of her two words, "Dead scream." in the dub, she practically shouts it and quickly says, "Pluto deadly scream." It made me want to scream.
In conclusion: This is a no-brainer buy if you are a Sailormoon collector like I am. I would buy it for the beautiful cover alone. Seriously folks, pick it up. :)
Toshiba 27" TV, Pioneer DV-525 DVD player with component video cables, Onkyo 575 DD/DTS receiver with optical cable, Sony surround speakers.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A/B-
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A+
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sailor Moon