Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: C/A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 145
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon S TV Vol. #2
By Josh Galloway
February 18, 2002
Release Date: April 17, 2001
Much awaited by fans, the next installment of the third series of Sailor Moon is out (and a particular store broke their release date, too)! This volume contains six episodes, instead of the seven that the first one carried, but I'm not complaining! It's a lot of anime for the price you pay. This disc wraps up the conflict with the Death-Busters' minion Kaorinite, and paves the way for some new interesting friends and villains to appear on the next volume.
Like the first disc, the audio is not something that really impresses. Although after the first two episodes on the first disc, the audio has improved a bit. This is an older, lower-budget TV series, so there isn't much that DVD can do for it. The English track was checked here and there; technically, it's a lot better sounding than the Japanese because it was recorded recently. One interesting point is that the image song "Ai No Senshi" is in Japanese on the English version even though it was dubbed into English when the episode was broadcast on American television. And I thought they did a good job dubbing it, too!
Okay, the lowest rating I've ever given out so far. It actually doesn't relate to the picture quality, either (that gets an A). Someone mentioned on a newsgroup a while back that the video on the Sailor Moon DVD release is cropped down from the laserdisc version. I had never noticed it, but when I put this disc in for a spin, I could tell. The cropping subsided after the third episode, but until then it was quite distracting, making a slightly zoomed-in view. And the way it is cropped takes a fair amount from the sides, enough to mess up the character positioning on screen. I've watched VHS copies of the laserdisc version, so I could tell when the tops of characters' heads and their feet were cut off. For example, when Sailor Moon transforms, at one point she points her leg upward and a boot materializes. In the first three episodes of the disc, her toes and the area that they connect to on her feet were unable to be seen. It's sad that these episodes were marred forever (unless Pioneer releases a fixed second run of this disc).
Well, casting aside those negative feelings about the video, let's move onto something Pioneer has done exceptionally well. Matching the style of the three Sailor Moon movie DVDs, the TV series packaging has received special treatment as well. The title on the cover and the spine are done in gold foil, with the "S" in Sailor Moon S in red foil. And the image? Fantastic! It sports a gorgeous picture of Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus, which was used on the Japanese laserdiscs. The back continues to be attractive and well laid-out. Because this DVD encompasses two VHS volumes, Pioneer has offered a reversible cover, so you can choose. One peeve I have is that the foil is only on one side, so if you do flip it over it won't completely match your entire collection. The picture reverse from Mars and Venus is a surprisingly sorrowful picture of Sailor Moon turned to the side, embracing herself (here's something only hardcore Sailor Moon fans would notice: this picture is actually from the ending sequence of the last season, Sailor Stars. However, in that picture, she has no clothes on! The Pioneer folks are good at editing! The cover for the SMS movie is actually laserdisc art from the SMS series, but they upgraded her outfit to her Super Form).
I was surprised when I popped the disc in, and Sailor Jupiter was spinning around! I figured Pioneer would use the same menu on all discs, but it seems they're going the extra mile to change it to a different character theme each disc. Cool, isn't it? The menu transitions are animated with music, and the main screen continues to have animation, sound effects, and sparklies. One note, however, that the music they use is from Sailor Moon's attack, not Jupiter's transformation! But that's no reason to dislike the work they did. The chapter listings are somewhat confusing, though. They divide the episode selection by chapter numbers, instead of episode numbers or titles.
Just like the last disc, the extras include a bio and a textless sequence with karaoke option. The bio is of Sailor Jupiter, keeping in with the menu theme. It has information that has appeared on the Sailor Moon movie DVDs, and they've added some more specifics (I think). There's also a mini-gallery of her, and I do mean "mini!" The pictures are about 1/4th of the screen size. The textless sequence is of the ending, Tuxedo Mirage. Pretty neat, although it seemed that the karaoke timing was a bit off. I'm hoping that as more discs are released, they'll start using some unusual and interesting extras (like commercials, interviews, design sketches--I know for a fact that there's collection of every daimon design in the series, complete with notes).
This is a satisfying disc. None of the episodes have that "filler feel" to them, as they all deal with the emotions of Usagi and her friends. And the end of the disc is a two-part episode that is awesome! We don't get too much into the enemies and the intriguing back plot, but each girl goes through a hardship (except for Mako-chan who had hers at the end of the last disc). And the mystery around Uranus and Neptune clears a tiny bit. The third disc will be chiefly filler material (although a new Sailor will appear); the rest of the series will blow you away with coolness! If they follow an episode schedule of 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, we'll have the whole thing on six discs! Much better than 12 or so VHS tapes clogging up your space...
"Labyrinth of Water! Ami the Targeted" Is becoming a doctor Ami's true dream or an objective she chose a long time ago? A lot is on her mind, and it doesn't help that a potential friend (Michiru) chastises her for holding back in her efforts. It's up to Ami to figure it out on her own, but this time by herself is a perfect opportunity for the enemy to target her. I like this episode a lot; nice storyline and one of the good character designers was used.
"Save Friends! Moon and Uranus Join Forces" It seems the men that Haruka wins against in motocross racing aren't too happy about being bested by a woman. They begin to threaten her with deadly force, butwhat's more deadly is the trap that the enemy has laid out for the Sailors. Just how far is Uranus willing to go to fulfill her mission? Although the character designs in this episode are very reminiscent of the first series of Sailor Moon, this is interesting because Moon and Uranus are forced to pair up, and we get to hear some motives behind Uranus's cold attitude.
"The Kindness of a Man! Yuichiro, Heartbroken by Rei?" Yuichiro is concerned about Rei lately. He tries to cheer her up and show he's worried about her losing sleep, but it seems she's determined to find out the meaning of her vision. But the young man is heart-broken when he sees Rei hanging out with a handsome 'young man' named Haruka. What's worse is Yuichiro suspects Haruka of two-timing with Rei and Michiru! Oh, and he gets attacked by a daimon. This and the following episode are probably the weakest on the disc, but they're still entertaining. And the most golden moment from this episode is Yuichiro's corny image song set to a very serious scene!
"Retire from the Sailor Soldier? Minako's Concerns" Minako is sad about leaving her normal life behind to be a Sailor Soldier. She's especially bitter about missing out on love! A friend from her past sparks her interest, and she considers leaving the Sailor Team. But this young man is targeted for his athletic pure heart, and Minako must prove her worth as a Soldier. I liked the designs in this episode, plus any episode featuring Minako is neat because her personality is harder to define than the others (but I've figured it out--she's insane! hehehe)
"Usagi in Tears!" & "The Pure Heart Stolen!" It's Usagi's birthday, but no one seems to care--especially Mamo-chan who didn't even remember the special day! Although her friends are throwing a surprise party, Usagi ends up missing most of it to go and apologize to Mamo-chan. All's well for about three seconds, then the present she gets turns into a daimon and tries to steal her heart. Instead of getting it, Kaorinite finds that Usagi has dropped her transformation brooch! The witch and her daimon encase Mamoru in glass and hold him for ransom in the Tokyo Tower! What can Usagi do without her way to become Sailor Moon, and with her boyfriend in grave danger? It ends with a fierce battle on top of the tower! In my opinion, these two episodes are the best part of the disc. And there's a teaser at the end for the changes to come...
Sony model DVP-S530D