Sailor Moon Vol. #01: A Heroine Is Chosen - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 14.98
  • Running time: 135
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon Vol. #01: A Heroine Is Chosen

By Chris Beveridge     March 22, 2002
Release Date: April 16, 2002


Sailor Moon Vol. #01: A Heroine Is Chosen
© ADV Films


What They Say
To stop the evil Queen Beryl from taking over the Earth, Luna the magic cat seeks out 14 year-old Serena and reveals that she has the magic powers of Sailor Moon! Although she's unsure of herself at first, Serena quickly learns that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. Together with Luna, the mysterious Tuxedo Mask and her many other friends, Sailor Moon leads the fight for good and justice!

And when Sailor Mercury joins the battle, Queen Beryl and her Negaverse won't stand a chance! Earth has a new protector and her name is Sailor Moon!

The Review!
The original season of Sailor Moon finally arrives on DVD, but it’s hampered by the fact that it’s only able to present the English dub version. But for fans of that series, you know, the thousands of woman who saw it seven years ago and are now in high school or college and are getting hooked on new shows, this is a fairly decent treatment of the materials.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in the only language available, English. Though done back in 1995, the disc has a rather good pro-logic mix to it, with the music being the main beneficiary of it and sending a lot of sounds to the rear speakers. There’s some minor directionality with sound effects and dialogue across the forward soundstage, but the track overall sounds decent with no noticeable dropouts or distortions.

Video:
With this being the tenth anniversary of Sailor Moon in Japan, and the series originally being done on something of a budget, it’s definitely showing a bit of age. The main offense in the transfer here is the grainy feel, but that was just as visible on broadcast. With the disc, we also get some added cross coloration throughout and a fair amount of very noticeable ghosting in the characters. There’s also a problem on this disc with a lot of the mid-range shots of characters where their faces lose the smoothness of the linework and tend to look more blocky, particularly Serena.

Packaging:
Using the same artwork from the VHS version, the color is definitely bright and eye-catching with its blue and pink hues set behind the very clean artwork of Sailor Moon. The back cover provides a few small animation shots and a rundown of the show and what it’s all about. Episode titles are listed, but no numbers and there’s no volume numbering either. The insert provides another shot of the cover while the reverse side has some new artwork and lists the episodes as well as the previews on the disc. For the first pressings, a character trading card (from Series III) is included).

Menus:
The menus are pretty decent and definitely shiny. With nothing on the disc outside of the extras, episode selection is the main menu. Unfortunately, there’s no episode numbering here either so unless you start with the first episode and let it play through, it can be very difficult to tell where to start and where to pick up again if you leave off somewhere.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I’ll make my main gripe with this disc, outside of the obvious lack of a Japanese track, very plain. The lack of a subtitle track for the existing dialogue is bothersome, since there are more than enough people in the world who are hard of hearing and will want to know what’s going on here. Add in those who watch shows at low volume due to other circumstances, and the lack of them here is annoying to a wider crowd.

But beyond that, the show is pretty much what a lot of people have seen since DiC first brought Sailor Moon over in 1995 to mainstream audiences. The show introduces us to the somewhat ditzy Serena, a junior high school girl from Crossroads Junior High who loves to play video games, loves to eat, loves to have a good time and isn’t all that good at school. And she’s almost always late for whatever she needs to be doing.

Her life is up for a change though, as one morning she helps out an apparently defenseless cat whose being picked on by some neighborhood kids. Giving the cat some attention, she removes a bandaid from its head which reveals a crescent moon on it. The cat, we learn through its own thoughts, is surprised by the girl and what she may be. It doesn’t take long until we learn that the cat is named Luna and she’s been searching for the girl who has the ability to transform, with the help of a magical device, into the heroine Sailor Moon. The two have very different personalities and clash plenty, but Luna fills the role of mentor pretty well even though she’s in cat form.

With the first volume, we go through all the usual set up of a new series, such as the introduction of Serena and Luna as well as the masked hero Tuxedo Mask. We also learn of the nefarious plots by Queen Beryl to invade Earth from the Negaverse to acquire the energy humans possess for her own evil doings. And we learn that the first half of every episode deals with some varying item of Serena’s life and the second half with some coincidental attack or involvement of one of the Negaverse creatures, as sent to perform its evil by Beryl’s minion known as Jedite.

The opening four episodes keep things relatively smooth with just Serena as the main character and learning the ropes. By the fifth episode though things start to perk up a bit as a new Sailor Scout is introduced, my favorite, Sailor Mercury. Mercury is the blue haired hypersmart girl and new transfer student to Crossroads. The addition of her to the cast list works out well and provides some new direction for Serena and someone to help her with her schoolwork. The shows premise itself however continues along the same formula.

At this point in time, with numerous video releases over the years and ADV just doing the VHS run of this within the past year or two, I’m not entirely sure where the market is for the dub only version of this show, especially with the later seasons being released pretty much uncut. But for those who’ve avoided the VHS releases and still wants to have a bit of nostalgia for their younger days or who just can’t get enough of the show itself, getting six episodes for under 10 bucks online is definitely a steal, even with the varying video quality.

Features
English Language

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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