Sailor Moon Super S TV Vol. #6 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: C+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: D-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 140
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon Super S TV Vol. #6

By Paul Grisham     March 21, 2003
Release Date: February 18, 2003

Sailor Moon Super S TV Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
Imperfect Dreams... Rini wishes to be older and more beautiful so she can enjoy Serena’s privileges, a dream that becomes true thanks to Palla Palla’s magic! So why can’t Rini call on Pegasus to show off?

Then, in their secret identities, both the Amazon Quartet and the Sailor Scouts volunteer for Jubun City’s ceremony for new adults. What secrets will they learn about each other as they become friends?

The Secret is Out! Queen Nehelenia of the Dead Moon Circus makes her final move and covers the city with evil spider webs that trap everyone’s dream mirrors.

Then Pegasus reveals to Rini that the Queen seeks the golden crystal sealed inside his horn to preserve her immortal beauty. Pegasus decides he must flee to save everyone, but Rini promises that she will protect him. Now, the Sailor Scouts rally to attack the Dead Moon Circus, but during the battle, the Queen learns Rini’s secret.

The Review!
Without further ado… the good stuff.

For this review, the entire show was watched with the Japanese audio exclusively. Like all volumes in the series, the audio is an uninspired mono mix with some distortion as things get loud. This is probably the way it originally sounded, but it would be nice to at least have the opening theme song sounding better.

While the previous volume was free of the dirt and specks that have plagued the series, they make a dramatic return on this volume. Video here is still a little better than the first four volumes, but still very grainy.

Volume 6 uses another thematically inconsistent cover. Unlike the previous volume, however, this cover features personal favorite Sailor Mercury with a gorgeous indigo and aqua color scheme. Overall, this cover is much more appealing than the previous volume. The reverse cover features Sailor Jupiter, an image that is repeated on the mini-poster insert.

Menus are responsive and functional. The closing song plays in the background of the main menu. Finally, the transition animations are suitably short and non-intrusive.

The only extra on this disc is an art gallery of the 12 covers (front and back) used in the series to this point. The Sailor Moon Super S release from Pioneer has never been very generous with extras, but volume 6 takes things to a new low. Instead of showing the entire cover, the illustrations are heavily cropped to form close-ups of the main characters. It is positively impossible to enjoy the images in their current form. This is a classic case of if you can’t do something right, don’t bother doing it at all.

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

It has taken over 30 episodes, but I am finally starting to get a feel for what is working and what is not working about the Sailor Moon Super S formula to this point. Before starting into the season, I had been warned that the Super S season was the weakest of the various Sailor Moon season. I think that analysis is not entirely fair, but there is something critical missing from Super S that the previous season had in spades – intrigue.

There was a mystery and a darkness to the Sailor Moon S season that kept the viewer going throughout its excessively long and repetitive story. There were the mysterious outer senshi with their ambiguous sexuality, questionable morality, and hidden motives. There was the arch villain herself, whose identity was at first a mystery, and then, once revealed, developed suspense through her relation to the senshi. Perhaps most importantly, the objective of the quest, the Pure Heart Crystals, was hidden from view until late in the season.

From the very first episode of Super S even the most inattentive of viewers could figure out where Pegasus’ golden mirror was hiding. While the various stories were not uninteresting in their own right – in fact, some of them were wildly entertaining – each episode flaunted its irrelevancy once the target victim was declared. It has certainly made keeping interest in the series difficult.

However, the warmth and compassion that Super S has substituted in place of mystery makes it at times a more satisfying experience. By comparison, the Sailor Moon S series is more plot-driven and, at times, comes off as impersonal, even sterile and cold. While Sailor Moon S is a more efficient season, and its supporting cast are definitely cool (who among us doesn’t find Sailors Uranus and Neptune even a little alluring?) it simply does not connect with the viewer on an emotional level. Super S takes the time to build up its supporting cast. As I pointed out in my review of volume 2, I was finding that the episode subplots were, in general working better than in Sailor Moon S, full of a pathos that was missing from the previous season. Even the villains were sympathetic, especially the sexually desperate Amazon Trio. As episodes in volume 5 illustrated, even the Quartet had their own unfulfilled hopes and desires to explore.

While I had previously complained that volume 5 lacked a certain sense of progress in advancing the plot, each of the six episodes here work together to take the series into a new chapter of the story, providing the necessary exposition in an entertaining way, exploring the various characters’ motivations, and setting up the final showdown.

The first two episodes work together to form a nice arc focusing on Chibiusa’s growth into adolescence. In the first episode, a bit of magic causes Chibiusa and Usagi to reverse ages, leading to an adult (and quite attractive) Chibiusa, and a shrimpy Usagi. There’s something very satisfying about seeing the mature Chibiusa as an adult and the self-absorbed and childish Usagi as a child. The next episode focuses on Chibiusa’s developing romance with Pegasus. Though Chibiusa’s lesson, that maturity and adult romance comes with a heavy price, is an obvious one, the execution in these episodes is beautiful and moving. The new music in these episodes, including a very lovely insert song during an extended dream sequence, has a new bittersweet quality that shows that the series still has a few tricks up its sleeves. While a bit predictable and sometimes corny, there is a sincerity and innocence to these episodes that is immensely satisfying.

The third episode is the most conventional of the batch, with the Quartet attempting to take over a kind of commencement ceremony for young people becoming legal adults. The plot is complicated by the fact that the senshi and the Quartet, all in regular street clothes, are volunteering behind the scenes. Watching the two teams, oblivious to the others’ identities, cooperate to a common goal is strangely amusing. The Quartet, not having any desire to ever reach adulthood, questions the senshi on their hopes for the future. Though this episode doesn’t have as much action, it does give a bit of insight into the philosophical differences between the senshi and their enemies, and is an entertaining diversion.

The final three episodes kick the main plot into high gear. Frustrated with Zirconia’s lack of progress in finding the Golden Mirror, Nehelenia casts the world into darkness in order to travel to Earth and take over operations herself. Plans and identities are finally revealed, and the resting place of the Golden Mirror is exposed once and for all. It’s a ripping good time, full of action and revelation. The only narrative shortfall here is a subplot involving Mamoru falling sick as the world succumbs to darkness that tends to drag a bit. Other than that, we’re left with a truly suspenseful cliffhanger at the end of this disc that truly leaves me wanting more.

It is episodes like this that make me believe that somewhere amidst the repetition, Sailor Moon Super S is a good series trying to emerge. As I have been working my way through the series, I sometimes think that if one were to selectively prune out the weakest episodes, the resulting series would be far more entertaining and would have received a far more enthusiastic reception from fans. The good news is that each of the six episodes included here would make the cut. There’s nary a dud among them, which is a nice change from the inconsistency of the previous volumes.

The strong emphasis on developing the characters, especially Chibiusa, and the fact that the plot seems to be moving confidently into its final act has made Sailor Moon Super S volume 6 the most consistently entertaining DVD volume of Sailor Moon since the release of the Sailor Moon R movie. Definitely recommended!

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

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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