Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 was released on Blu-Ray and DVD a couple of months ago, on June 18th. Fans who haven’t already picked it up can get from stores locally or from online retailers such as Amazon. Since it’s been out a while I’ve had the time to watch the entire set and so I wanted to give some general impressions about it. Though the video quality of these releases has generally not been great, this series looks better than sets in the past have. The new English dub is pretty good, as it has been for the rest of the series, and the script remains mostly unchanged.
First let’s look at the video. The quality certainly does not compare with that of the Japanese Blu-Ray sets which have been released more recently, but it’s fairly good. To be sure this won’t look like a newer anime series such as Sailor Moon Crystal does on Blu-Ray. This Blu-Ray was mastered from older standard definition video which was put through software to upscale it to high definition. What that gives is something that I wouldn’t really say looks any better than the Japanese DVD releases which came out well over a decade ago. That said I’m not sure that comparison really matters. We’ve never gotten Sailor Stars in North America before. The subbed version was out on Hulu a few years ago but there was no dub and that release used similar source material as this. When it comes to comparisons, we don’t have an old North American release to compare it to. This release certainly looks better than nothing, which is the baseline!
In this post I have provided comparisons to the Japanese DVD release. Since the Japanese Blu-Ray releases have not gotten to Sailor Stars yet I don’t have that for comparison. It’s pretty difficult to conclusively say if one is better than the other. The Viz Blu-Ray is certainly HD, in that it is 1080p, but that HD image lacks detail that would be there if it had been mastered from a film source. Anime of the time was drawn on cels and shot onto a film intermediate which was then transferred to video before broadcast. We have been told that this higher quality film version of Sailor Moon is lost. It is fairly evident from close examination of screenshots, or even upon viewing the video itself, that this is an upscaled version of standard definition video. There has also been some amount of post processing done in order to clean up the image. This means the colours will look more solid and have less noise on them, but potentially at the cost of detail, but is it detail that matters? Sailor Moon, like most traditional animation, is largely chunks of solid colour separated by solid black lines. The filters used seem to be optimized to this, giving a consistent colour and clear lines. Had this been a live action series with actors with pores and hair as well as other textured things, a different type of upscaling filter would likely have been used. While we shouldn’t necessarily mourn the loss of some grain there is a loss of detail in the backgrounds which aren’t as much just solid colours as we can see from the example of the cherry blossom tree behind Professor Tomoe in the above pictured image. Had we gone back to the film source for these, something which we’ve been told is impossible, then the image would likely look much better. If you check out my review of the Japanese Blu-Ray sets and look at the samples of the Make Up! Sailor Guardians on Blu-Ray you’ll see what that could have looked like.
With earlier releases by Viz we had more ghosting, which means a double image or shadow near some lines, as well as some interlacing artifacts. I didn’t notice any such problems in this set. No doubt the quality has improved likely due to the fact that these episodes were made four years after the first season so the quality of the masters available get a little better with each year. This is likely also why the ADV releases of Sailor Moon seasons 1 and R were the worst while the Pioneer releases of Sailor Moon S and SuperS looked much better. Don’t take my word for it though! Check out the many comparison images here and later in the post to judge for yourself. There’s no objectively correct answer to how much post processing looks best, sometimes it’s just a matter of personal preference. While there has been some change in quality with these screenshots due to jpg compression it should give a good idea of what each looks like.
Moving on from the video quality to the content. This is the first time we’re getting an English dub of Sailor Stars which is quite a treat. For years people considered this season to be impossible to market to the North American public, though I never really understood why. Is it really all that scandalous to have men who transform into women and vice versa? Sure, the Sailor Starlights’ outfits are fairly revealing but as far as anime goes this isn’t terribly shocking. It’s a joy to finally hear Sailor Stars in English. This is a cast we’ve heard for the past four seasons and three films as well as for Sailor Moon Crystal so even though it’s a departure from the DiC/Cloverway dub of most of our youth, for me there was still enough familiarity with the cast that it feels like Sailor Moon. The new actors for the Sailor Starlights do a great job. Having women play them as both men and women works well. This was the same approach which was used for the Japanese dub many years ago. The alternatives, either having two actors per character or having men do the voices would likely not have worked as well. For those who don’t appreciate the English version they also have the option of listening in Japanese with English subtitles.
The episodes included are the first half of Sailor Stars. This includes the amazing six episode Nehelenia arc in which she is given a very different ending as she got in Sailor Moon SuperS. The rest of the episodes are about Usagi getting to know The Three Lights, more specifically Seiya, as she grows further and further out of touch with Mamoru who is away and somehow completely out of touch. This parallels the Sailor Starlights who have appeared and who fight Sailor Galaxia’s Sailor Animamates. My feelings on Sailor Stars have changed over the years. I originally found Seiya sort of annoying as he was just a distraction from Usagi’s true relationship which she never waivers from. This is generally true but I find the story much more appealing. She is hurting and though there is no infidelity he fills a need she has for companionship. His interests in her are not reciprocated which is more tragic than anything. I’ve given more thoughts on all of the episodes in my individual reviews which you can find by searching the episode numbers in the search field on the site if you are interested. So much to say it is a very good half season and I’m glad that everyone can see it now, assuming some fans haven’t already seen it some other way!
There aren’t a ton of special features included. Each disc has an Art Gallery which doesn’t seem to be Japanese concept art but more likely something by Italian artist Marco Albiero who does a remarkable job of duplicating the original anime style. For whatever reason the Blu-Ray viewing software I use to take screenshots couldn’t load the Art Galleries so you can take my word for that.
Also included are three voice actor interviews. The first is with Laura Post, the voice of Nehelenia. Having also been in SuperS it’s a bit odd to see this interview here but she mostly talks about her appearance in those first 6 episodes which fits.
Next we have an interview with Stephanie Sheh, the voice of Usagi. This is the longer of the interviews. She does the whole thing with her dog! A few things stood out to me. First she mentions that the season was pretty long. This is objectively untrue as Sailor Stars is the shortest Sailor Moon season with only 34 episodes. One can hardly blame her for thinking this though as Usagi and Sailor Moon dominate this season like no other. It would be difficult to count but it seems likely that Usagi had more lines in Sailor Stars than any other seasons except perhaps the first one. There was much less focus on other Sailor Guardians. Chibiusa who dominated SuperS is gone, along with her father, for most of the season. Stephanie Sheh also makes a joke that it was lucky that Usagi didn’t have a cell phone because if Mamoru didn’t respond to a few texts this would be a sign of trouble. More generally she is lucky that this occurred at the dawn of the Internet age where it would be believable that Usagi would not have access to e-mail or chat software. I consider myself an early adopter of the Internet and I had no Internet access at home while Sailor Stars was airing. Ami is shown to communicate with some people through the Internet, but she is clearly an outlier amongst her friends. She also mentions that she ships Usagi and Mamoru and thinks her relationship with Seiya is inappropriate. This is probably best as such a view reflects her character’s! There’s also a funny bit where she wonders what’s up with the Starlights, asking similar questions that many fans have like if they’re men who turn into women, women who turn into men, women dressing as men or what? All around I found the interview very humourous. It’s obvious that Stephanie Sheh has spent a lot of time with the Sailor Moon character throughout the years and has many thoughts about the series.
Finally we have “A Chibi Interview with Stephanie Sheh”, the voice of Chibi Chibi. It’s a short interview where she talks about that character. She mentions being happy to play Chibi Chibi and points out that in the Japanese version the voice of Usagi played Chibi Chibi as well, but it wasn’t clear why. This is funny because in the manga there is a clear connection between the characters which doesn’t actually exist in the anime. It might make more sense for Chibi Chibi to share voice actors with another character, but I’ll avoid the specifics for now. Fans who are familiar with the end of the series will understand why.
Beyond the interviews we have a “Clean Opening” and “Clean Ending” which basically means the intro and ending without Japanese credits overlayed. These are of a very poor quality! The Japanese releases humourously refer to these as being “Non Super” meaning they aren’t HD. While they are technically HD in that they are encoded on the disk as 1080p, they are clearly taken from something of roughly the same quality as a VHS tape. A nice extra to have though one we’ve seen on every Japanese release ever.
As for the packaging this set continues to look quite nice, as have other released to date. This is all new art, whereas the Japanese releases have continued to reuse the original laserdisc box art for decades. The special booklet that is included with the Limited Edition is quite nice, including episode summaries and art of a number of characters. I believe all of this art is once again done by Italian artist Marco Albiero. The booklet also includes a relationship chart which has been the source of some controversy which I posted about closer to it’s release as well as an ad which refers to the first three seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal as the entire series.
Since this booklet is meant to cover the entire series it has cast information and summaries for the entire season. It also includes a nice goodbye message to the fans which I will quote below.
To all the longtime fans and those who joined us during this journey: This previously unreleased season is here because of you. Your support makes the stars twinkle brighter and we couldn’t have done this without you!
Starlight Honeymoon… THERAPY KISS!
All considered I think this set it worth getting. The video quality is not the best possible but it is quite good. While the Japanese Blu-Ray which is coming in November will probably look marginally better, it won’t even have English subtitles, let alone English audio, so it’s of little use to most fans. If you’re only looking to watch the Japanese series with subtitles you can of course always stream these episodes, but buying this set or digital downloads of the episodes is the only way to get Viz’s English dub. I look forward to seeing part two of Sailor Stars and rewatching the final episodes. For those of you who are interested in this set but have not gotten it yet, you can support the site but buying it using the Amazon links below.
Keep reading for more images of the box art and comparisons of the video quality between this Blu-Ray and the Japanese DVD release.
Now did Viz Media say that they will make an announcement tomorrow about the booklet replacement? Also I’m totally pumped up for part 2!
yeah i thought was listed on viz media website in the release calendar page
The bad quality of VIZ s1-3 has nothingbto do with bad masters and tge better quality of Supers and Stars has nothing to do with their age. For the first 3 season Viz did their own upscaling, and basically screwed everything. For Supers and Stars as well as the films they got the remaster for tge films and the upsxale for the two season from Toei themselves, instead of doing thrir poop magic.
Sailor Moon has tons of releases of remastered editions in many countries. They are of varying quality based on compression and autoring. No official release of Dark Kingdom, R and S advertized as remastered edition looks asbad as Viz’s. So how exatly they would be the only ones given bad masters? Knowing how expensive aremaster isI doubt Toei made a cheaper and more expensive version. VIZ should rereleasethe first 3seasons using toei upscales and replace the garbage free of charge
Well the ADV releases are pretty much the worst DVDs of all time!
I said remastered editions.
And referring to the first part of the release are great and colorful graphics, very good quality video and dubbing from Viz media as well. Now I am looking forward to the second part of Stars, although it will be sad that this is the last release on BLU Ray / DVD of the first anime from Viz media.
We can only hope we get more Crystal soon!
We should be getting an announcement about Part 2 soon, shouldn’t we?
like later this week
But if not, they’re due to attend the NYCC beginning October 3rd.
right sorry i want to check back every day on the Viz Media Website
well we can hope that we will get some news for the final few episodes soon and hope that the songs are either sung by the new actresses or if they leave them completely untouched and save us the torcher of what they did to the op song for the first 4 seasons with there translations errors that somehow after 165 episodes they never caught including some of the episodes where it was actually sung by the actors but I digress, 17 episodes left for the fans and honestly what could the hold up be on it at this point im sure they have it all recorded and the video quality isn’t going to get much better as its been claimed they cant find the original film which im sure like Disney its locked in some master vault and they lost the key ha, at least the box art was pretty and aside from the translation errors and a few messed up relationship charts including that big infamous one that fans screamed with them saying oops our bad the cousins were lovers not friends lol
166 not 165
sorry was half asleep when I did that post, was very close all things considering, but my argument still stands that the subtitles for the music have errors in them and then the few episodes where they flat out sing were abysmal to say the least, one still has to wonder if they will be singing the three lights songs in translated English or will they ruin it hense the whole reason they were singing to begin with with broken engrish, my hopes at this point are they either leave the songs the three lights sing in there original Japanese or if there going to do them in English that they translate them and do it right not broken and messed up even with the words to the songs….
It’s okay that you made Mistakes
This is something else.
There’s a Staaarrrrrs Set waiting for me online!
I’d like to up and buy it, but I haven’t got a dime!
Which one part 2
Some times you must make sacrifices; like forgoing buying groceries so you buy Sailor Moon!
Eegads, you’re right, Karis! Priorities!! I don’t need food to survive! All I need is Sailor Moon. *Begins to giggle uncontrollably*
I got it Joseph Maybe I’m being too nosy to this comment
Oh, I wasn’t teasing you, Ricardo! I was replying to Karis. I believe there will be copies of Sailor Moon in my local Wal-Mart, yeah. I could wait for a discount there.
I Was Wondering to get more info today for part 2 Release Date cause want finish watching this show (Sailor Moon) by the end of this year (2019)
Yesterday Made a Countdown for For Season 5 Part 2 the link is below
Yeah, I wanted to make an update to keep you all posted on that release date. Let’s hope this is all true!
Yep i made many Countdowns in that Website like Stars part 1 which was Released on June 18 and Eternal which will be Released on 2020
Where did you get this date? I don’t see it listed on Right Stuf.
Somebody found it on DealsAreUs
Thanks! I’ve got a post up about it.
Post being reworked! Here’s a more official listing!
November 12th confirmed.
Hi it’s me, that annoying guy that pops up in your comments to ask the same question…
Okay, so is this the dub of Crystal that includes Saturn almost destroying the world to eliminate Pharoh 90? It’s SO hard to keep up with the new dubs! I just want to see all of Sailormoon in English, why is this so hard. Is it written down somewhere? Hey maybe you could make that a little page of your site! Have a list of all the dubs, sub, etc in chronological order for people like me who just want to buy the show and watch it!
Has the entire series (the original series) been dubbed? If so I NEED that!!!!! I understand Crystal is still making progress forward though. I hope they do the entire series… God I love Sailormoon, I still see gifs and stuff everywhere online of those episodes that were never dubbed and aired in North America. Those episodes are soooo elusive and mysterious and magical. It’s like they’re the “extra-special episodes” that we weren’t allowed to see. So now that I’m grown up and still seeing those glimpses of the Sailor Stars and all that I HAVE to see them!!!! So I hope hope HOPE they are or will become available in English dub. Just need to figure out how to sort through everything and get the correct stuff.
1. Original anime dubbed in to English, the entire series.
2. Crystal dubbed into English, the entire series up to the most recent season/arc.
<3 <3 <3
1.Not dubbed yet only Sailor Stars Part 2 Has not Released yet i’m sure That i get the copy soon
2. what about Sailor Moon Eternal Movies they not out yet
3. what dub you talking about? Viz
The original anime consists of the following seasons, each divided into 2 box sets on DVD or Bluray and also available in digital.
Sailor Moon (dub complete)
Sailor Moon R (dub complete)
Sailor Moon S (dub complete) (Sailor Saturn battles Pharaoh 90 in this season)
Sailor Moon SuperS (dub complete)
Sailor Moon Stars (dub part 1 complete, part 2 to be announced.)
The three films: R the Movie, S the Movie and SuperS the movie, all dubs completed.
Then we have the new series which tells the same story but much closer to the manga:
Sailor Moon Crystal seasons 1, 2 and 3.
These are the first three arcs of the first anime retold. Saturn battles Pharaoh 90 in season 3, like in the original anime but with a much more awesome battle scene.
We are waiting for the 4th and 5th seasons of Crystal, the fourth will be equal to Sailor Moon SuperS in the old anime and is actually 2 films instead of episodes.
I hope that helped answer your questions.
What about Season V of Crystal?
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! Now to find them!
Viz sells DVDs too. What’s the point of blu-ray if it doesn’t look any better?
Fair point, Wiseman. And I am not just sucking up because Wiseman is my favorite Sailor Moon antagonist.
I haven’t compared the DVD to the Blu-Ray. Though the Blu-Ray may be comparable to the Japanese DVD, the DVDs may look worse.
I have compared them and the DVD quality, well, varies. The overall presentation on the DVDs is lazy. Menus are low res and dull, they honestly are far inferior to the Pioneer sets. The subtitles are also bad, very fuzzy.
Quality of the video varies between seasons and episodes. I’ve seen some episodes that are comparable in both formats and some look better on one or the other.
The main reason people like me choose the blurays is better packaging and the discs are much better quality, not scratching as easily. Though I have received two Blu-rays (discs within the sets) so far that would not play and Viz said they could not replace them. Sadly I didn’t watch them until it was long past any store warranty and I could not return them. I’m hoping they will work on another player.
Yeah. One of my other reasons for preferring the Blu-Ray is… I already got several Blu-Ray sets. I don’t want one to stick out like a sore thumb and LOOK different!