Sailor Moon Super S TV vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: C+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • 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 Super S TV vol. #1

By Paul Grisham     March 02, 2002
Release Date: January 29, 2002


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


What They Say
Chibi Usa dreams of a beautiful and mysterious Pegasus that becomes her friend. Meanwhile, Sailor Moon and her friends barely have time to celebrate the peace from their latest victory when suddenly, an eclipse darkens the city. The Dead Moon Circus arrives in town, and the Amazon Trio emerges as the newest group of villains to threaten the earth! Sailor Moon's battle against them goes badly, until the Pegasus gives Chibi Usa the Super Sailor Chibi Moon power! Meanwhile, Artemis and Luna are in for a surprise when Diana arrives - their daughter from the future!?


The Review!
Fan favorite Sailor Moon returns for another exciting adventure. Is Sailor Moon Super S truly super?

Audio:
While the Japanese audio track isn't very loud, there is a lot of distortion when the action gets going. The lack of clarity is especially bad during the OP credits song. For the most part, this is a low fidelity mix that seems a step down from the audio on the Sailor Moon S discs. I had assumed that the show would be recorded in mono, but there were several instances where the sound was uneven in the left and right channels. I only spot-checked the English audio, and while it is clearer than the Japanese audio, it is recorded at a much lower volume. It also suffers from poor mixing, as music and sound effects are significantly softer than dialogue. With the muted SFX, there is no sense of place for the action. It sounds very much like actors reading lines in front of a microphone.

Video:
Whereas the audio seems slightly worse than the Sailor Moon S discs, the video seems slightly better. There are a few film blemishes, scratches, dirt, etc., but for the most part, the masters must have been in better condition than the previous series. What really hurts the video is a general lack of definition. Fine detail in busy scenes is hard to differentiate. Also, colors, while stable, are muted and suffer from a dithering texture. I suspect the source material was like this, but it leaves the image looking washed out.

Packaging:
Like Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon Super S's packaging is still its best feature. Like the SMS discs, this is a two sided cover in a clear keep case. The front side has foil embossing on the spine and logo and features a lovely picture of Sailor Moon herself. The back (while not embossed) is also nice, with a picture of Chibi Moon and Diana. The insert doubles as a poster of this inner image.

Menus:
Menus are responsive and functional. The design is nearly identical to the SMS discs, though there is significantly less animation and sound. They're not as nice as the SMS menus, but there's nothing really to complain about either.

Extras:
The only extra on this disc is the original Japanese text opening used during the first part of the series. I'm not exactly sure why they couldn't use a clean, textless version of this opening, but this is what we have. The real problem is that once again, the main program uses a different version of the opening than was originally used. There are characters in the show opening that haven't appeared yet, leading to possible series spoilers. I don't know why Pioneer can't get this worked out. Also, I really missed the character profiles and image galleries from the SMS discs.

Content:
(Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers.)

Disclaimer: I'm not really a Sailor Moon fan. While I was in college, the show was just starting to run on Fox Kids, and I found myself incapable of watching a single episode. Later, I picked up the movies on DVD when a video shop went out of business, and was surprised to enjoy them. I started in on the Sailor Moon S series, and found that, while I still had problems with the show, it was a lot better in its original language than I was expecting. Once I started paying attention to Sailor Moon, I started hearing how bad the Sailor Moon Super S series was, and about how annoying Chibi Moon could be. I tried to put those thoughts out of my head while watching.

So how bad is Sailor Moon Super S? Actually, not that bad at all. In fact, at this point in the series it's an awful lot like Sailor Moon S, and quite a bit more enjoyable at times.

The series starts with Chibi Usa firmly established in the Tsukino household dreaming peacefully. During her dream, she meets a winged unicorn named Pegasus who begs her to keep their meeting a secret. The next day, during a total solar eclipse, a magical circus tent descends over the city, but nobody seems to notice it because they're too involved with their own lives. Inside the tent are a strange band of alien circus freaks intent on world domination. Apparently, to complete their conquest, they must find and capture Pegasus who has hidden in the beautiful dreams of a maiden. One by one, they investigate candidates, looking for Pegasus.

The show is nearly identical at this point to Sailor Moon S. The episode formula is nearly the same as well. The gang interacts with a minor character who has some problem. They attempt to help with the problem. Usagi and Chibi Usa bicker. One of the alien gang, the Amazon Trio (Death Busters/Witches 5 in SMS), targets the minor character and draws out her Dream Mirror (Pure Heart Crystal). The scouts arrive to help, so the villain summons a Remless (Daimohn) to fight them. The villain examines the Dream Mirror (Heart Crystal) and determines that Pegasus isn't hiding there (it isn't a Talisman.) The villain escapes while the Remless (Daimohn) proceeds to beat up on the scouts. Just when things can't possibly get any worse, Chibi Moon summons Pegasus to turn Sailor Moon into Super Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon becomes Super Sailor Moon) and she uses her ultimate attack, defeating the Remless (Daimohn). The minor character awakens, solves her problems. Usagi and Chibi Usa bicker. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

The formula is made complete by the Amazon Trio, the villains searching for the elusive Pegasus. Their basic strategy is to use their supreme beauty and charm to seduce their female targets so they can get close enough to look into their dreams. These jokers are so bad at come-ons that it's a wonder that women don't run from them screaming. Oh, wait! They do. It's actually really funny watching these self-involved pretty boys get their comeuppance. In one episode, they go after Naru, whose relationship with Umino (described in Sailor Moon S) is a source of consternation. ("She chose that ugly boy over me...?" one of them declares after an unsuccessful pick-up.) In another episode, they target Usagi's mother, and in another a college friend of Mamoru's who has a serious crush on him, and in another a nun. Guys, don't take notes on picking up girls from these losers! Really, it's the humor and relationship irony that make Super S so much fun. It's not as angsty or dramatic as SMS, but at times, this is more fun.

The real drawback so far is that a lot of the intrigue of Sailor Moon S is missing, especially the outer scouts with their questionable morality. In the previous series, it was harder to tell who the bad guys really were, because the outer scouts were so ruthless. Fans may also rankle at the larger part Chibi Usa / Chibi Moon plays in this series. For the most part, she's not really that bad. In fact, she's a whole lot more appealing a character than Usagi / Sailor Moon herself. The only real fault with Chibi Usa this time around, is that she doesn't seem to have a life outside the scouts. She's always there, always hanging around, always offering her opinion. Considering that she's frequently more useful and smarter than Usagi, that's not really a bad thing. Unfortunately, she also fills the roles of many of the inner scouts, meaning that Sailors Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter don't have a whole lot to do.

In additition to the often mind-numbing repetition, a lot of the plot simply doesn't make much sense. Whereas in the previous series, the villains were looking for the person with a pure heart talisman, this time they are looking for Pegasus. It seems to take them a long time to realize that every time they fight the scouts, Pegasus comes to them. They finally work up a plot to capture a random girl to use as bait, but when that plot fails, they forget about it entirely. It's not like they don't know who the scouts are, since they ran around calling Mrs. Tsukino mother. I don't know. I think I'm a little to old to really enjoy this series. I just ask too many questions.

Perhaps this isn't really the release that Sailor Moon fans were hoping for, with its less than reference quality audio and video, but it's still a good, relatively inexpensive way to buy the series. But those who aren't already fans of Sailor Moon will find very little here to warrant a purchase, much less a rental.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original Japanese Opening (Version 1)

Review Equipment
Panasonic Panablack TV, Panasonic RP56 DVD player, Sony ProLogic receiver, Yamaha and Pioneer speakers, Monster cable. (Secondary equipment, Pioneer 105s DVD-ROM, ATi Rage Fury Pro, ViewSonic A90f, PowerDVD 3.0)

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