Sailor Moon S TV Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 165
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon S TV Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     February 06, 2001
Release Date: February 06, 2001


Sailor Moon S TV Vol. #1
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
New enemies! The Sailor Scouts are back on the job! Serena and her friends would have enjoyed the peaceful rest since their last battle, but they have been studying for their high school entrance exams! However, a new plot is forming and their new enemies plan to conquer the world by harnessing a mysterious power generated by pure hearts! Sailor Moon and the Scouts are in trouble, when mysterious warriors suddenly help them who are they? And what is this new power that Sailor Moon suddenly can use against stronger enemies?

The Review!
For the first time, Sailor Moon TV series is available subtitled commercially in the US. While it does start with season three, it's a clean-break from past seasons. The cast is already established, but new ones are making their entrance, allowing a "get familiar" chance with the original cast.

Audio:
For the primary review, we listened to the seven episodes on this disc in Japanese. Throughout the disc we heard little in the way of real problems, though there were a few moments where the high pitched voices got a bit scratchy, but not enough that it really bothered us. There's practically no directionality at all from this older mono soundtrack. It won't win awards, but it's very much true to the original source material.

Video:
This is a very nice looking transfer, considering both the age, style and the number of episodes on the disc. I'm still no fan of the packed disc for a variety of reasons, but with the minimal style animation used here, with the almost watercolor painted backgrounds and the general design of the characters, things look good. There's an edge fuziness in a few places, but characters look solid and hardly any line noise or rainbows to be found. The opening sequence is one of the highlights for the fluid nice animation for the series so far.

Packaging:
The packaging for this rates high for several reasons. The first being the fact that it's reversible, and in a clear keepcase so you can see both of them without feeling bad about not seeing one of them. The front cover, being for the first disc, sports a nice Sailor Moon pic, while the reverse side has an Sailor Mercury and Sailor Jupiter combo. Mercury is my favorite of the Sailor's, so naturally I've turned this cover around. The only downside is that the spine for the reverse side is not gold foil like the original side, so if you don't reverse all of them, you may have a few odd looking covers. The rest of the keepcase is nicely done, with a good summary of the show , some nice artwork on the back and a listing of all the episodes (no episode numbes however). The insert has a nice picture of Usagi and Tuxedo Mask holding hands in the middle of the chapter listings.

Menus:
The menus are pretty similar to the ones done for the movies awhile back. The animation for it is nicely done and doesn't slow down the load times or access times between menus. Things are laid out pretty well, though the chapter selection menu is a bit awkward in that it doesn't list which episodes you can view (the hint is that each episode has 5 chapter marks, and you can select chapter marks in groups of five).

Extras:
Of the two extras, the textless opening really wins here. There's nothing wrong with the conceptual artwork at all, but it looks like a lot of effort went into designing the textless opening section. While these aren't as hard to find on current releases as they were two years ago, Pioneer went a step further here. Two audio tracks are included for it. One track is the opening with the singers while the other is just the music. The subtitles are done in karaoke style, starting white and changing to green where you're supposed to be singing. This is great for Sailor Moon fans who love to sing. The only difference between the two audio tracks is that the voice-less version sounds a bit hollower.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I've never been a big fan of Sailor Moon, I've been glad that it came to the US, even in butchered form. Sailor Moon in the early 90's introduced anime to a generation of girls who've been getting into college the past couple of years and have either been watching anime since or are just discovering it anew now. The addition of so many women to the buyers of anime has introduced more varied anime to our shores which otherwise I'm not sure would have come out. Much like Gundam Wing is introduced young boys to anime, in a few years they'll be getting into all kinds of new shows, if some of them aren't already.

Thankfully though, Pioneer's worked with Optimum Productions to bring about the third season of Sailor Moon in a different way than the first two. While those seasons had their cuts made and then dubbed, Pioneer worked with Optimum to produce an uncut dub that allowed them to produce a fully bilingual DVD. While I won't be listening to the dub, the extra effort is definitely worth going through and has earned them some undying love from hardcore Sailor Moon fans.

The third season picks up relatively clean from a newcomers perspective. Barely any mention is made of their past exploits and battles beyond a few comments in the first episode. Introductions for the characters are sparse to none though, making it a tad difficult for newcomers to get used to them. But new characters and villains are introduced quickly.

In some hidden recess deep underground, a mad scientist who goes nameless has created something called a Daimohn. A mysterious woman who appears behind him is apparently the mastermind of this plan, which has the daimohn's shooting out into the world to steal the pure heart essence from people. Some of the essences are supposed to be talisman's that will help locate the holy grail that will give the mad scientist the power to rule the world.

And for the next six episodes, this is the set up. Sailor Moon is one of those TV series, for better or for worse, follows a working formula. Which isn't necessarily bad considering its original airing target audience in Japan. The girls all go about their lives and develop their characters in the first half of the show, often introducing a new "normal" character. The mad scientist sends off his little beastie which then ends up taking over some personal item of the new normal character and then steals their essence into a Pure Heart Crystal. The Sailor girls transform and fight off the baddie and save the day. Repeat as required.

In some respects, you could get by just watching the first half of each episode and not miss a heck of a lot.

There are some interesting new things though with this season so far. The addition of Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus adds a slightly older edge to the group (their being in the tenth grade as opposed to the original cast in the ninth) and the more open relationship between Usagi and Mamoru. The new sailors are pretty interesting so far, as they've arrived in town with an agenda of their own that they've had awakened in their memories. They know of the plot to get the grail, but not about the group behind it.

Overall this is a really nice looking disc with some great extra features and a ton of content. It's one of the few series that I think actually works good with the higher episode count due to its animation style and due to the absolute length of the two seasons that they've licensed. Hardcore fans will be pleased by how things look as well as the neat extras. The price is right and the quality is there. Good stuff.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening/Karaoke Opening,Character Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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