All three Sailor Moon movies will be released as a Blu-Ray set in Japan

Japanese Sailor Moon movie Blu-Ray set

The Sailor Moon movies are being released on Blu-Ray in Japan. The three film set will also include the Make Up! Sailor Guardians special which played with Sailor Moon R The Movie as well as the Ami’s First Love special which played with the SuperS Movie, referred to in Japan and in this set as the mouthful title “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole”. The set itself is being referred to as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray which as a name doesn’t really make much sense in English since there’s more than one movie included so it’s not really “The Movie” at all.

Japanese Sailor Moon movie Blu-Ray set

Why, you may be asking, should you be spending your hard earned money on this? The set will retail for 15,000 yen, about $130 US, and won’t include any English dub or subtitles. Meanwhile Sailor Moon R The Movie has already been released on an English DVD and Blu-Ray set for a fraction of that price. It seems like it’s only a matter of time, though likely a very, very long time, before the other two films are released as well. The R Movie release looked great on Blu-Ray and we should expect roughly the same quality from this Japanese release as they will actually go back to the film source to make a proper HD version rather than being lazy and using software to upscale standard definition video to HD as we’ve seen with all HD releases of the TV series.

The box art for this release is nothing too shocking. The sleeve has the art for the S Movie while the inner box has the art for the R Movie. This was used for the theatrical poster, the laserdisc and VHS releases back in the day as well as the DVD set of the films. We don’t see the art for the SuperS movie anywhere on here, though the discs themselves will likely have similar art on them. Many fans complained about the quality of the art on the Viz release. How much is nice box art worth to you? Over double the price?

Sailor Moon DVD-Box The Movie

Pictured above is the DVD set released in 2002. This set was titled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon DVD-BOX The MOVIE and retailed for 150,000 yen, which is the exact same price as this new Blu-Ray set. While these may be expensive keep in mind that DVDs and laserdiscs and any other home video medium has always been incredibly expensive in Japan. The DVD set used a different image for the cover and then had individual cases for each movie which used the original theatrical poster art. I find this approach more aesthetically pleasing and less confusing than having various movie posters as cover art that aren’t related to any single film. The nature of the Sailor Moon movies is that there is no single image that fully represents any of them. Even the cover for the DVD set includes Super Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon as well as Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto who aren’t in the first film as well as older costumes which don’t reflect the updated shoulder pads from the SuperS film.

Source: Sailor Moon Official Site

Sailor Moon Crystal season 3 will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD December 5th

Sailor Moon Crystal volume 3 Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD set

This past weekend was Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California. This event included Viz’s Moon Panel, showcasing all things Sailor Moon. The bulk of what we usually see at these panels is a recap of existing information but occasionally we get something new. In this case we have gotten details, including box art, of the third Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray and DVD set. The set then became available to pre-order on Right Stuf’s web site. The set looks like the other two we’ve gotten from Viz, with box art reminiscent of the Japanese releases. Since we had less Japanese releases for this season, grouping together 4 episodes per disc instead of 2, we have less postcards included.

Sailor Moon Crystal volume 3 Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD set - Suncatcher

The set will include Acts 27 through 38 which, because of the split up Act 27, is actually 12 episodes. Not much in the way of details on the special features but it looks like we’ve got a booklet with art as we did with the other releases. Right Stuf pre-orders will also include a collectible suncatcher because nothing says Sailor Moon like a sun catcher! MSRP for the set is $79.99 US but Right Stuf has the pre-order up for $71.99. Will you be picking this one up?

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition Manga

The other “news” from the panel was about the Eternal Edition Manga which is coming out in January. We got some art of the covers and the colour pages inside but this is mostly information we knew or had inferred from previously available information. It is nice to have confirmation of what we had suspected though. These will look like the Japanese Compete Edition manga versions which came out recently. They have the same new cover art and a lot more colour pages than we’ve seen in previous releases.

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition Manga - Colour Pages

Support the site by ordering the first two Sailor Moon Crystal sets or pre-ordering the Eternal Edition manga using the links below.

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition Manga - Colour Pages

Image source: @NJ_ on Twitter.

The new Japanese Sailor Moon Blu-Ray sets look good but not great in HD

Sailor Moon Japanese Blu-Ray Vol. 1 - Cover

The first of many Japanese Blu-Ray releases of the original Sailor Moon anime was out on June 14th. I got my copy from Amazon Japan and it is available in stores and via other online retailers. The set includes the first half of the first season, that being episodes 1 to 23, and sells for a whopping 15,747 yen which is $140 US. Why, you may ask, would someone bother to buy this release when they can get the Viz Blu-Ray release for a fraction of the price? I don’t have an answer which would convince most fans. This is a Japanese only release with no subtitles. There is however a significant improvement in picture quality over what we got from Viz, but this is no real surprise given what we’d had. Ultimately though this is a software upscaled HD version of a standard definition master. What this means is that they used video which was roughly DVD quality and extrapolated using software algorithms to make a 1080p HD video. While this will look better than a DVD to most people it’s still nothing close to what we would have gotten if Toei went back to the film source and made an HD transfer, like we recently got for the Sailor Moon R movie. Don’t take my word for it! Check out some sample screenshots.

Sailor Moon episode 8 - Viz Blu-Ray - Ami

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon episode 8 - Japanese Blu-Ray - Ami

Japanese Blu-Ray

Make Up! Sailor Senshi - Ami

Make Up! Sailor Senshi Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon episode 8 - Japanese DVD - Ami

Japanese DVD

In the above image, and many other samples included at the end of this post, we have a comparison between four versions of the same scene. The top two compare the Viz Blu-Ray to the new Japanese Blu-Ray, and it’s hard to see the differences with just a thumbnail but if you look at the full sized versions of each image you’ll see that there’s a difference. Also included for comparison are a screenshot from the Make Up! Sailor Senshi Blu-Ray which was included with Sailor Moon R The Movie and the original Japanese DVD. I include screenshots from Make Up! Sailor Senshi because when that special was done it used footage from the original film source which, in 1993, was not yet lost as it apparently is today. Since that film was then transferred to HD this gives us a look at what this release would roughly look like if we’d had the opportunity to have a better master. It’s not perfect as the aspect ratio was changed for cinema so we have a cropped image but it should give an idea of what we could have gotten. The Japanese DVD gives an impression of what the master likely looked like before software upscaling.

Sailor Moon Episode 1 - Viz Blu-Ray - Sailor Moon shocked by her transformation

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon Episode 1 - Japanese Blu-Ray - Sailor Moon shocked by her transformation

Japanese Blu-Ray

If you look closely at the fine details you’ll see that even with this new Japanese Blu-Ray there’s some blurriness to the image. We don’t actually see the imperfections in the lines that make these images and the backgrounds which aren’t using as solid colours as the foreground don’t look as nice as they could. All that said this looks nice on a TV. It doesn’t blow your mind when you’re sitting a few feet from your TV trying to put a crying 2 month old to sleep at 5:30am but if you’re sitting on a couch looking at the show it looks pretty good. In an alternate dimension where someone in the mid 90s knew better than to discard masters for a shows which, given the evolving nature of video and high definition TV, they should have known better than to do, we would have a nicer looking Blu-Ray. Unfortunately we don’t live in that dimension so this is what we have and it seems like this is the best looking version of Sailor Moon we’ll get. It’s not leaps and bounds above anything else we’ve seen but it is a mild improvement.

Sailor Moon Episode 1 - Viz Blu-Ray - Sailor Moon poses

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon Episode 1 - Japanese Blu-Ray - Sailor Moon poses

Japanese Blu-Ray

Make Up! Sailor Senshi - Sailor Moon poses

Make Up! Sailor Senshi Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon episode 1 - Japanese DVD - Sailor Moon poses

Japanese DVD

These are just a few comparison screenshots. Be sure to click them and then click the link that says “1920×1080″ to see the full image. I’ve included many more at the end of this post for reference. There will be some distortion due to jpeg compression on these but that should be minor.

Sailor Moon Japanese Blu-Ray Vol. 1 - Comparison between Laserdisc, Japanese DVD and Blu-Ray

Besides the image quality, what do we have here? Some pretty nice looking box art. Is it really classy and iconic to keep using the exact same laserdisc artwork or is it lazy? I think it’s a bit of both. Some people have criticized Viz for their Blu-Ray releases but I thought their artwork was on point. Here we’ve got art which has been used time and time again being recycled yet again. This was used in the 90s for the original laserdisc and VHS releases of the series, again when the DVDs were released in 2003, yet again when those DVDs were rereleased and once again with these. That art has been seen in other places over the years. This art is of course fantastic, as it was when it first appeared on those massive vinyl sized laserdisc covers which credit art director Kazuko Tadano for having made them. Once again the above image is just a sample. All of the disc art was reused from earlier covers and I’ve included photos of all of these comparisons at the end of this post.

Sailor Moon Japanese Blu-Ray disc 1 menu

The episodes included are… do I even need to talk about this? It’s episodes 1 to 23. It’s the first half of what might very well be the best season of anything ever produced on the planet in the history of history. This goes from Usagi becoming Sailor Moon right through her meeting Ami and Rei and fighting Jadeite and Nephrite. The next half will begin with Nephrite’s tear jerker final episode. Not a ton in the way of special features are included. On the fourth disc there are creditless lower quality versions of the opening and first ending theme as well as the 15 second commercials which played after every episode, promoting the next one. The laserdiscs for the first season actually had many more fun extras which have never been included in the DVD releases. Given what we see with the musicals it doesn’t seem out of the question to include a ton of silly bonus features. It would have been nice to see them here! I understand that there may have been no HD source for these but not every special feature in a Blu-Ray needs to be 1080p HD! The low quality credits and ads are proof of that.

Sailor Moon Japanese Blu-Ray Vol. 1 - Booklet - Episodes 8 to 10

The special booklet which is included gives episodes summaries for all of the episodes in this set. This is a nice addition. Each episode has one screenshot, some character art and a brief description to go with it. I would assume we’ll have something similar with the next set which comes out on August 9th.

Sailor Moon Japanese Blu-Ray Vol. 1 - Back

So what’s the verdict? Is it worth spending so much money on this release? This is almost certainly not something anyone but a hardcore collector would want to bother getting. There are less expensive ways to watch Sailor Moon in a language you understand. If, however, you are a videophile that absolutely needs to have the best of the best, well go ahead and get that line of credit approved so that you can buy all of these!

Keep reading for more screenshots, images of the packaging and photos of all pages of the included booklet.

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The Dream story arc of Sailor Moon Crystal will be two theatrical films directed by Chiaki Kon

Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Usagi's birthday live event

Yesterday there was a special live event to celebrate Usagi’s birthday, June 30th. The main news pertaining to new Sailor Moon Crystal, which is what everyone has been waiting for, was that the upcoming 4th story arc or 4th season will not be presented as episodes but as two theatrical films. These will be played in theatres in Japan but it isn’t clear at this time what that means for international fans. Will we get the films in theatres ourselves? Will it be streamed online at a later date, perhaps split into individual episodes? A free simulcast seems a bit unlikely as there wouldn’t be much of an incentive to get people into theatres if the movies were available online on the first day. We will have to wait and see for more details as we still don’t have any timeline of when this might happen. After the event this information was posted to the official site.

Chiaki Kon - Director of Sailor Moon Crystal phase 3

We’ve also learned that these two movies will be directed by Chiaki Kon, who was the director for the Infinity Arc of Sailor Moon Crystal. I really dug the animation style of the latest season so I’m happy to see her return, but it doesn’t look like all fans share that sentiment.

Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Usagi's birthday live event - Happy Birthday

The rest of the live event wasn’t all that compelling. Since it was Usagi’s birthday there was a cake and Happy Birthday to You was sung, which it seems is now public domain and not subject to copyright.

Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical trailer - The Starlights and Princess Kakyuu

There was also a new trailer shown for the upcoming Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final. This included another look at the new characters from this musical. This trailer can be seen embedded below.

Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Usagi's birthday live event - Reading a letter from Naoko Takeuchi

There was also a message from Naoko Takeuchi which was read by Sailor Moon’s voice actor Kotono Mitsuishi. No new information was included but it was about looking back at her time with the manga and thanking fans. This letter was also shared on the official site. This letter mentions that in 1992 she was 26 years old. This doesn’t match with many sources stating that she was born on March 15th 1967. If she was indeed 26 in 1992 this would put her year of birth at 1966. According to the Naoko Takeuchi Wikipedia talk page there are sources which indicate that she was born in 1966. It would seem plausible that this is in fact the case. This would mean that my most viral Tweet where I wished Naoko Takeuchi a happy 50th birthday in March of this year was in fact wrong as she would have turned 51 this year. Without confirmation of her year of birth we can’t be sure one way or another.

Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Usagi's birthday live event - Sailor Moon Crystal season 3 intro

The most annoying part of the event was when they screened the intro and ending themes from the last story arc. This would have been a great time to see something new instead of something we’ve seen well over a year ago!

For now we must continue to wait for more details about these two movies and what they mean for North American fans or the possibility of a Stars story arc. Sailor Moon fans have certainly learned to be patient with Sailor Moon Crystal!

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It has been a year since the last new episode of Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Usagi and Chibiusa see Pegasus

Today is June 28th 2017. The last episode of Sailor Moon Crystal which we saw was Act 38, Infinity 12 – Infinite Journey, on June 27th 2016. Surely we expected to have new episodes by now! Many fans are losing hope that we may ever see the Dream Arc of Sailor Moon Crystal but not all hope is lost. Later this week, on June 30th to celebrate Usagi’s birthday, there will be a live event in Japan. We don’t know what this live event will involve but it is possible that, after a long Sailor Moon Crystalless year, we might be getting some information about the upcoming season!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Viewing the eclipse

The last official thing we heard about the 4th season of Sailor Moon Crystal was back in January of this year when the Official Sailor Moon Site was updated to reflect the 25th Anniversary. This update included a mention that production would continue. No further details were mentioned and 5 months have since passed. Does the light of hope for Sailor Moon Crystal’s continuation still exist in your heart?

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 199 - The Light of Hope

Kenny has Sailor Moon’s Moon Stick in the trailer for the South Park: Phone Destroyer game

South Park: Phone Destroyer - Princess Kenny with Sailor Moon's Moon Stick

A new South Park cell phone game by Ubisoft is coming to mobile phones. The trailer for this game, released at E3 this week, includes Kenny as a Princess wielding Sailor Moon’s Moon Stick complete with the Silver Crystal it has once upgraded. This is not the first time we see Princess Kenny, who had appeared in the episode “A Song of Ass and Fire” back in 2013. In that episode Kenny transformed with the help of an item which closely resembled Sailor Moon’s Crisis Moon Compact. Watch the trailer for the game below. Princess Kenny shows up 44 seconds into the clip.

Thanks to Amanda who spotted this reference and posted about it on Twitter.

South Park: Phone Destroyer - Princess Kenny with Sailor Moon's Moon Stick

Sailor Moon episode 43 - Sailor Mars with the Moon Stick

South Park: Phone Destroyer - Princess Kenny with Sailor Moon's Moon Stick

No, Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon, is not the voice of Wonder Woman in the Japanese dub of the film

Kotono Mitsuishi is not the Japanese voice of Wonder Woman

This past weekend Wonder Woman was released in North America and in many cities worldwide. This film has been a tremendous success. Over the past few days I’ve seen the follow bit of trivia more than once on Social Media:

For the Japanese dub of the film, Wonder Woman is voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi, best known as the voice of Sailor Moon. Like Wonder Woman, Sailor Moon is a princess heroine of divine heritage and based on Greco-Roman mythology.

The source of this information is the IMDB trivia page for the Wonder Woman film. I’m pretty sure this isn’t true! Kotono Mitsuishi did the voice over narration for the Japanese Wonder Woman trailer, which many news sources including this site reported on back in March. It seems likely that this information was mistakenly used as evidence that Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Usagi in Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal, would actually voice Wonder Woman in the Japanese language dubbed version of the film. The narration in the trailer is not the actual voice of Wonder Woman who’s English voice can be heard in the trailer. I can find no indication by doing searches of various sites in English and Japanese that Kotono Mitsuishi will be the voice of Wonder Woman.

It seems quite unlikely that Kotono Mitsuishi would voice this role as she was not the one to do the Japanese dubbed voice for Wonder Woman in Batman V Superman. We can see from the Japanese Wikipedia page for Batman V Superman that this was actually done by voice actress Yūko Kaida who may be known to readers for some of her anime roles. It seems likely that she will be the one to voice the character for the Wonder Woman film. Actors will often dub the voices of the same actors in multiple films especially when there are part of a series where the actors appears in more than one film.

Wonder Woman in Batman V Superman

While it is certainly possible that independent of her doing the narration for the trailer Kotono Mitsuishi will also be included with the Japanese dubbed version of the film which isn’t set to be released until the 25th of August we don’t actually have any good evidence beyond this bit of IMDB trivia which indicates that this might be the case. Keep reading for more exploration of the specific research which led me to this conclusion.

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New images show Sailor Galaxia and the Sailor Animamates from Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical

Sailor Lead Crow, Sailor Iron Mouse, Sailor Galaxia, Sailor Tin Nyanko and Sailor Aluminum Siren from the Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical

We finally got our first look at Sailor Galaxia and the Sailor Animamates for the upcoming Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical this past week. The Sailor Animamates are Sailor Guardians who are being controlled by Galaxia. The photo includes Sailor Lead Crow, Sailor Iron Mouse, Sailor Galaxia, Sailor Tin Nyanko and Sailor Aluminum Siren. We’ve also gotten another photo including the entire cast, the rest of whom we’d already seen with previous announcements. We also previously had cast information about these characters. Coco Isuzu is Sailor Galaxia, Shion Aoki is Sailor Iron Mouse, Miyu Hashigaki is Sailor Tin Nyanko, Yuka Kobayashi is Sailor Aluminum Siren and Iriya Yuuto is Sailor Lead Crow.

The cast of Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final

In the second photo we see that Sailor Galaxia and her Sailor Animamates are on the ground while the rest of the Sailor Guardians are all flying! Will we be seeing some fancy wire work in this musical?

Check out the Sailor Starlights and Princess Kakyuu from the Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical

Princess Kakyuu, Sailor Star Maker, Sailor Star Fighter and Sailor Star Healer from the Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical

The official Sailor Moon site has been updated with an image of Princess Kakyuu and the Sailor Starlights, Sailor Star Maker, Fighter and Healer, from the upcoming Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical. The cast of this musical was previously announced with Asami Okamura as Princess Kakyuu, Riona Tatemichi as Sailor Star Maker, Meiku Harukawa as Sailor Star Fighter and Saki Matsuda. as Sailor Star Healer. What do you think of the new costumes?

satomi_okubo_as_sailor_cosmos_with_chibi_chibis

Last week we also got a look at the Sailor Cosmos and Sailor Chibi Chibi costumes as it was announced that Satomi Okubo, who previously played Sailor Moon in earlier musicals, will be returning as Sailor Cosmos.

Satomi Okubo, who previously played Sailor Moon, has been cast as Sailor Cosmos in the Le Mouvement Final musical

satomi_okubo_as_sailor_cosmos_with_chibi_chibis

Sailor Cosmos has been cast in the upcoming Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical and she will be played by none other than Satomi Okubo, the actress who played Sailor Moon before Hotaru Nomoto took over the role. Satomi Okubo was Sailor Moon in the La Reconquista, Petite Étrangère and Amour Eternal musicals. This is such an interesting casting choice when considering the actual identity of Sailor Cosmos. Spoilers below for those who may not have read the manga!

Sailor Cosmos

Sailor Cosmos is basically Sailor Moon from the very distant future. This is way beyond when she was Neo Queen Serenity. There is some disagreement amongst the fan community about what exactly this means. Is Sailor Cosmos just a really old but still alive version of the Sailor Moon we see in the series or is she a reincarnated version, much like Princess Serenity from Silver Millennium is the Sailor Moon we know? Alternatively some fans think of her more like a descendant of Chibiusa, which isn’t really an interpretation I can get behind. It seems like Sailor Cosmos once was Sailor Moon which is what makes this casting so brilliant. Here is a great way to have a slightly older version of Sailor Moon that looks totally familiar. With there being less than two years between the ages of the two actresses the difference isn’t all that drastic, but it’s a nice touch.

Spock and Spock - Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy

This reminds me of a few other instances in fiction where a similar interaction with a prior actor occur. The most similar comparison to me is the 2009 Star Trek movie which included a completely new cast but included interactions between the new Spock, Zachary Quinto, and older time traveling Spock played by the original actor Leonard Nimoy. In this case everything down to the time travel similarity is in place. The X-Men film franchise did something similar as the Days of Future Past film from 2014 included new cast members James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor X and Magneto acting alongside their original series future counterparts of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

Professor Xs - James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart

There are a few other not totally similar examples. John Wesley Shipp played the Flash in a 1990 TV series and returned to play the father of the Flash in the 2014 Flash TV series. His name changed but it was an interesting juxtaposition. Batman The Animated Series did similar things a few times. The Grey Ghost was a Batman like character from Bruce Wayne’s childhood who was played by Adam West who had played Batman in the 1966 series. In the 1999 series Batman Beyond Bruce Wayne was portrayed by Kevin Conroy who voiced him in the 1992 animated series. In this case the new Batman was Terry McGinnis, a completely new character, so it’s not really the same thing. Doctor Who is all about changing his face and time traveling so this has happened in the series more times than I would attempt to count.

All we need now is a movie in which Thomas Dekker and Edward Furlong meet! Can you think of any other examples in which an actor previously portraying the role met with a new actor?

Source: Sailor Moon Official Site