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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
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- Extras Rating: N/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 Zack Basler
February 18, 2002
Release Date: February 06, 2001
Perfection is a term I use very loosely, but I'm using it now. The first Sailormoon S DVD, "Heart Collection 1," is absolutely perfect. The cons are only nit-picky things (which I'll get to later), and they are completely dwarfed by the pros.
Upon loading the DVD, one is greeted by a very nice animation of Sailor Moon performing the Moon Spiral Heart Attack. The menus are all animated, and all feature various parts of Sailor Moon's attack.
The DVD contains the first 7 episodes of the S series. Each episode begins with the intro, something fans brought up by the dub have been missing out on since the first season. For those who don't know, each episode begins with a preview of the episode and Sailor Moon talking about what's going to happen, generally ending with her "punish you" speech. Then the opening, "Moonlight Densetsu," is played, followed by the first half of the episode (with original title cards with English subtitles). After that, there's a real treat for all: Pioneer included the eye catches! I love the Sailormoon eye catches, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them included (I was expecting them to be cut out). After the episode ends, the credits (in English) are displayed with "Tuxedo Mirage," the S ending song (with the exception of the first two episodes, which had "Otomo no POLICY," the ending for R. This wasn't a flaw; the "Tuxedo Mirage" ending was used starting with episode 92).
I only know a tiny pinch of Japanese, but the translation looks very good to me. I don't know how accurate it is, but I can guarantee you that they are far more accurate than the dub. Overall, the translation flows quite naturally, though I did spot one spelling error (can't recall where it was).
The original voices are, as they have always been, just wonderful. Now, the English cast did a fair job despite the horrible lines they were given to read, but they just can't compare to the originals. Linda Ballantyne's Sailor Moon has grown on me, but Kotono-san IS Sailor Moon, and I adore her the way DBZ fans adore Masako Nozawa. Also, anyone who hasn't seen the original episodes and are annoyed by the "monster of the day" should definitely check these out. I've sat through the dub for so long that I forgot the monsters could actually be quite entertaining and often times downright hilarious. They don't blabber on continuously, their jokes and puns are actually funny, and their voices are very good (as opposed to the bland, loud, screeching voices used for them in the dub). One final note about the voice acting is that I love Haruka/Uranus's original voice (Megumi Ogata). She is very serious and quiet most of the time, but can also be joking and flirtatious when she wants to be, as opposed to the dub where her voice is always very flat, emotionless, loud, and has a very "forced" sound to it. That's something dub watchers may not have ever realized, that the girls aren't always loud and chatty (boy, wait till they see the real Setsuna/Pluto).
The music is very beautiful, as always. The original music has been included in the dubs of S and Super S, so there isn't much to say about it, at least, not until episode 102 where people can hear "Ai no Senshi" in its true form.
The video quality is absolutely stunning. Far better than any fansubs you could ever find. The animation looks a little dated, but that's because it is a little dated. There were no scratches, rainbows, or any signs of wear and tear that I could see (though some people could probably find them if they were really looking for them). This is as good as Sailormoon is ever going to look (with the exception of the features).
This series is 38 episodes long, and the first 7 included on this DVD introduce us to the new enemy, the Death Busters, who are trying to locate three talismans said to be contained within people with pure hearts. When the three talismans are brought together, the legendary Holy Grail will appear, and with it one will have limitless power. The Death Busters' motive isn't revealed until later in the series, and for now they refer to the coming of "the Silence." Professor Tomoe, the leader of the Death Busters, creates Daimon seeds, which seek out people with pure hearts. Once the target touches an object possessed by a Daimon seed, the seed will manifest itself as a monster and remove the person's heart crystal. Without their heart crystal, people fall unconscious, and if it isn't returned soon, they will eventually die. We are also introduced to two new Sailor Senshi, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. Like the Death Busters, they are on a mission to find the three talismans, but they also reveal that the owners of the talismans will have to be sacrificed in order to find the Messiah and prevent the Silence from destroying the universe. Sailors Uranus and Neptune regard the other Senshi as weak and inexperienced, and have no desire to work together with them.
There really isn't much in the way of extras, but what they have is nice. First, there's an accurate biography of Usagi/Sailor Moon. It's nothing most fans of the series don't already know, but it includes information that dub fans may not have known (birthdate, favorite things, least favorite things, etc). The next extra is a textless opening with a sing along. Basically, it's the opening to S without the credits, and you can manually turn the subtitled sing along ("Moonlight Densetsu" with Japanese lyrics that turn green as they are sung) on or off. It's a nice feature because you can see everything that's going on in the opening without the credits blocking it (not that it's a problem anyway). The final extra is a listing of the DVD credits.
The packaging is just gorgeous. The front cover displays a quality image of Sailor Moon holding out the Spiral Heart Moon Rod, and the back features some very good images from the episodes. The cover itself is reversible, and both covers are extremely well done (the second cover features Sailor Mercury and Sailor Jupiter on one side, and another fine image of Sailor Moon on the top half and Princess Serenity with Prince Endymion on the lower half in a field of roses).
As stated above the only real "flaws" with this DVD are just nitpicks. The first thing one will notice when watching the episodes is that the animation used for the opening is actually the opening used after Sailor Moon gets the Holy Grail. The reason Pioneer did this is because this intro didn't have kanji. This isn't a problem for me, but it could potentially upset others. Each episode has an intro, but there isn't a preview for the next episode at the end. Of course, it would be redundant to put the previews in, because the intros are essentially the same (they refer to the episode about to be seen as opposed to recapping the previous episode). Personally, I'd rather have the previews at the end of the episodes, because they have more than one character narrating (this is always very cool in the final episodes of each season when Sailor Moon and the villain talk to each other). The titles are a little different than what anyone who is familiar with fansubs have, but they work just as well.
Kaolinite is spelled "Kaorinite." Both spellings are acceptable, but I'm used to the former. Haruka refers to Usagi as "the girl with the buns" and "Bun Head." I don't know how accurate that is, but it's also perfectly acceptable. I'm used to "Dumpling Head" or just "Odango Atama," but "Bun Head" is certainly better than "Moon Face," which Haruka called her in the dub (despite the fact that she didn't know that Usagi was Sailor Moon). Finally, daimons (the monsters created by Professor Tomoe) are spelled "daimohns." I think they were just spelling it the way it's pronounced. Again, I don't think it's wrong; it's just not what I'm used to.
Lastly, I took a look at the uncut dub, and it's identical to the edited dub, except that the many panning shots of buildings (which were either cut for time or because they thought buildings aren't appropriate for children) are included. I watched the uncut dub of episode 95 "Leave it to the Moon for Love Aid" and yes, Haruka and Michiru are referred to as cousins, which means the Sailormoon uncut dub is just about as "uncut" as Funimation's uncut DBZ dub.
Sailormoon S is a very enjoyable series. With many new and enjoyable characters, and a well-developed plot, it is a must see for any fan of Sailormoon and anime fans in general are encouraged to check it out. Often times humorous, often times serious, and often times exciting, there isn't a dull moment within the entire series. While the first half of the series is a little ambiguous, it all sets the stage for the remarkable twists and turns of the second half, exploding in a finale that no one should miss. All in all, this is a very worthwhile and touching series that should not be missed.
Buy this DVD. If you have eyes, you have no excuse not to. If you don't have a DVD player, make friends with someone who does (or settle for the subbed VHS tapes and miss out on the very nice menus).
27" Phillips Magnavox Television/speakers, KLH DVD 221 Player