Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1’s DVD and Blu-Ray release has been delayed until April 24th

Sailor Moon SuperS Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD

Fans waiting for Viz’s next Sailor Moon TV series release will need to be a little more patient. The release had originally been scheduled for April 10th, as we mentioned back in November, however some readers have noticed that pre-orders were being delayed until April 24th. Indeed the listings on Amazon and Right Stuf’s web sites now show an April 24th release date. After some concern in our comments section reader Drew reached out to Viz for clarification and they confirmed that the new release date for Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1 is in fact April 24th. This is only a two week delay but I know some fans have been waiting quite some time for this one!

Sailor Moon SuperS Special - Haruka and Michiru during SuperS

I’m not aware of any reason given for the delay, though such things are not uncommon. Since there haven’t been any dubbed episodes released to stream yet this will be the first chance we get to hear Viz’s new Sailor Moon SuperS dub. It will also be the first time the Sailor Moon SuperS Special will be available in North America. This shows, amongst other things, what Haruka and Michiru were up to during the Sailor Moon SuperS season. Are you planning on picking up this set? You can pre-order it from Amazon using the link below.

Japanese Sailor Moon movie Blu-Ray set review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Cover

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray, a set including all three of the Sailor Moon films, was released in Japan on February 7th. This is the first time the Sailor Moon S and SuperS films were released on Blu-Ray and the set looks really great. It also includes the Make-Up! Sailor Senshi and Ami’s First Love specials which played with the R and SuperS movies in theatres as well as a handful of special features. MSRP is 15,000 yen, about $140 US. You can order it from sites such as Amazon Japan or CD Japan. The set is Japanese only with no English subtitles. I believe the discs are region free as no region code is listed on the box but regardless Japanese Blu-Ray discs are region A which is the same region as North America. Fans looking to see the films in English can already buy Sailor Moon R The Movie from Viz which has similar video quality. Though the other films have not been announced they will likely be released eventually.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Princess Serenity

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Princess Serenity

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

A lot of people were wondering what the video quality is like. This release looks fantastic. That said, so did Viz’s Blu-Ray release of the R movie. With such poor quality in Viz’s Blu-Ray releases of the original TV series many blame them for the job they did with it but their Sailor Moon Crystal and R Movie releases show that they are able to make a nice looking product with nice looking masters. These films are HD versions taken from the original film source and it shows. They look considerably superior to the TV series Blu-Rays which have been released in Japan as these were simply software upconverted versions of standard definition video sources.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Usagi gives Mamoru a rose

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Japense R2 DVD 2002 - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

Japanese DVD (2002)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - English Pioneer release - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

English Pioneer DVD (1999)

I’ve got a lot of comparison screenshots between this new Japanese release, Viz’s release of the R movie and the Japanese version. You can also compare it to the original English DVD release but this doesn’t have much value as that was such a poor quality release. Still the English version has an unmated 4:3 picture so there is a bit more of the image to see. For all of the images in this post just click on it to enlarge and then click on the hyperlink showing the image dimensions (for example, 1920×1080) to see the full picture. These suffer from minor compression artifacts because they’re uploaded as JPEGs but you should get an idea for the difference or rather lack of any difference in quality between versions.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Umino cameo

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Umino cameo

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Japense R2 DVD 2002 - Umino Cameo

Japanese DVD (2002)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - English Pioneer release - Umino Cameo

English Pioneer DVD (1999)

These are just a few comparisons. I’ll include more at the end of the post with the rest of the images of the packaging.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Usagi and Mamoru

Now about the contents. The Sailor Moon films are really a great part of the series. Due to the nature of their release they’re often overlooked. Here in North America for example they were released fairly late with the original dub and with the entire series now released subbed to stream and coming out on home video we only have the first film which has been released theatrically and on video. Though it is often hard to fit the films into continuity, they still generally follow what’s going on with the associated series. Their standalone stories are enjoyable and an easy introduction to the series for new fans.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Young Mamoru and Usagi

First is Sailor Moon R The Movie. This is one of my favourite films of all time, let alone one of the better anime films and, in my opinion, the best of the Sailor Moon films. It centres around Fiore, a childhood friend of Mamoru’s who happens to be an alien. It isn’t explicitly mentioned in the film but Fiore is of the same alien race as Ail and An from the early episodes of Sailor Moon R. It’s full of all of what makes Sailor Moon great with emotional scenes, dramatic battles and of course Sailor Moon sacrificing herself and showing compassion for the enemy, which I consider to be her true strength. I’ve spoken at length about my love of this film before! It’s great.

Make-Up! Sailor Senshi - Chibiusa and Usagi

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Make Up! Sailor Guardians

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

As a bonus feature with Sailor Moon R The Movie is Make-Up! Sailor Guardians, a short which was originally shown with the film in theatres. I don’t have a great amount of love for this feature since it’s mostly clips, but there is a bit of unique animation. The quality here is not quite that of the film but better than any release of the TV series, of which it features many clips. As I mentioned in my review of Viz’s release of the R movie it seems like the original footage, which is claimed to be lost, was available back when this special was put together because the TV series clips featured throughout are of good quality authored from film source and not converted somehow from a standard definition video source as all Blu-Ray releases of the TV series have been.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Human Luna

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon S movie - Human Luna - Princess Kaguya

Japanese DVD (2002)

Next we have Sailor Moon S The Movie. This is the only film which is based on the Sailor Moon manga as Naoko Takeuchi wrote a standalone story “The Lover of Princess Kaguya” following her trip to Cape Canaveral in the United States. It is the story of Luna who falls in love with a man and turns into a human herself. Also some ice villain. My feelings are mixed on this one. Simply put I don’t care for it all that much. When I first saw it on bootleg VHS back in the 90s I was fairly underwhelmed. I can never really pinpoint why though. Upon reflection I find the villain uninteresting and having little to tie into the story and I think Kakeru is generally annoying and unintelligent for a scientist. His conflict with Himeko is a bit forced. Still I find the drama around Luna’s feelings compelling and certain aspects of the film are enjoyable, such as Tuxedo Mask dressed as Santa Claus.

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie - Sailor Moon in a Dream

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie - Usagi choses reality

Japanese DVD (2002)

Finally we have Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole. This is the only one of the films with a proper title and it’s a mouthful, hence I often just call it the SuperS Movie or SuperS The Movie, to keep with the convention set by the other films. It introduces us to Perle, or Peruru as I will always think of him due to the subtitles used on VKLL’s version of the film. Perle is a sort of fairy, possibly a bird animated through magic, who is defecting against Badiane, the villain who is possibly an alien who is attempting to enslave the world’s children into an eternal dream like state in which she syphons off their energy. Last year I wrote an article arguing that this film’s plot is similar to that of The Matrix, which was released a few years later. I really enjoy this film. The animation is good and the story interesting. It introduces us to some fun characters and concepts. The main plot is a sort of science fiction story and the idea of enslaving people into a perfect happy dream at the cost of their freedom presents interesting philosophical questions which are fun to think about. Perle’s character somewhat mimics that of Pegasus/Helios as Chibiusa has romantic feelings for him. Having seen this film before watching the later half of the Sailor Moon SuperS season it was this relationship which I was originally exposed to which is a bit backwards to be sure.

Ami's First Love - Ami in the bath

Along with the SuperS Movie is Ami’s First Love, a special which was included with the film in theatres. This short is entirely composed of new animation and tells the story of Ami receiving a love letter which she thinks is from a rival student but which turns out to be from a monster. Her “First love” in this case would be Mercurius though she doesn’t really have any direct interaction with this Umino looking guy. This is a funny special and well worth watching. It remains some of the last bits of animation, along with the SuperS Special, that we haven’t seen an official release for here in North America. I expect that if and when Viz gets around to releasing the SuperS film that it will include Ami’s First Love with it. I’m curious to see what rating it gets as it features a semi naked Ami getting out of the tub, but it really isn’t anything too explicit. Quality for this special is quite good and similar to that of the other films. As with the rest of the release the masters used appear to be the film source which means a high quality HD image.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Low quality creditless opening

Low quality “clean” opening

As bonus features go we have the same thing which was including in the laserdiscs and I do mean the exact same thing! All special features are standard definition source, converted fairly poorly to HD. This includes three commercials for every film, “clean” (no credits) opening and ending themes and an interview which is included with the R Movie. The commercials aren’t that great. Each has one which was clearly made before any animation on the films was done, in HD, another is a short one with clips and finally there’s a longer commercial with more clips.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Trailer - Mamoru in front of a billboard

Trailer

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Tuxedo Mask in front of a billboard

Completed scene

One interesting aspect of the commercial for Sailor Moon R The Movie is that it includes a clip of Tuxedo Mask when he first appears with a different billboard. In the film itself the billboard is of men in Tuxedos. Tuxedo Mask blends in with the billboard and then we see that he’s actually separate from it and standing on a lamp post. In the commercial there are no men in Tuxedos on the billboard which makes us wonder why he’s even perched so oddly in front of it. Was this unfinished animation where the Tuxedos weren’t filled in? An attempt to keep audiences unspoiled on the nature of this big Tuxedo Mask reveal? Given what I’ve seen from other Japanese film trailers not giving spoilers doesn’t seem to be a huge priority!

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Bonus feature - Kunihiko Ikuhara wearing Mamoru's jacket Sailor Moon episode 1 - Usagi and Mamoru

An interesting feature with the R Movie is an interview with Kunihiko Ikuhara, director of the film and one of the directors of Sailor Moon for which much of what made the series great is attributed. Unfortunately without subtitles there isn’t much to get out of this interview as is. I recall having seen this subtitled on my VKLL fan sub of the R Movie back in the day but what I never noticed previously was that he’s wearing Mamoru’s green jacket! This is a jacket which he wears consistently throughout the entire Sailor Moon series which makes me wonder if Kunihiko Ikuhara owned this jacket and based Mamoru’s jacket on it, if he went out of his way to get a jacket like Mamoru’s or if this is some sort of coincidence and green jackets are more common than I thought. I can’t take credit for noticing this! I believe it was something I saw on Twitter by Tuxedo Unmasked though I can’t pull up the original reference. As you can see in the caption of the photo on this blog post, he made a comment about the jacket at least as early as June 2017!

Sailor Moon R The Movie Laserdisc - Track listing Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Scene Selection Menu 1
Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Scene Selection Menu 2 Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Bonus Features Menu

An interesting thing I noticed while looking at the laserdiscs for the films is that the track listings are actually identical. The track numbers for each scene is the same on the old laserdiscs and the Blu-Ray. Similarly we can see from these comparisons that the special features are the same, just not always in the exact same order. The DVD release also had a lot of these special features included but the Kunihiko Ikuhara interview was previously only on the laserdisc release.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Booklet - Pages 2 and 3

The set also includes a cool booklet which is full of images and character art of all of the films. This is similar to the booklets which have been released with the Blu-Ray releases of the TV series. I’ve included photos of all pages of this booklet later in the post. While this is a nice thing to include I think the theatrical programs included with the DVD set were much better.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Comparison - Sailor Moon R The Movie

Finally let’s talk about the box art. With three movies there was no single image to use on the cover which covers all three and so for whatever reason the S Movie poster gets the cover. Inside we have the R Movie as the front and SuperS Movie as the back. I’m including photos of the laserdiscs for comparison but this is not the source of this artwork. The images used are the original theatrical posters for the films. I only have a poster for the R Movie myself! This art is also found on the insert for a U2 CD!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Inside cover Sailor Moon R The Movie poster
U2 in front of a Sailor Moon R The Movie poster

All in all this is a great release. Do I recommend it? Well it’s in Japanese and has no English so as always that’s of limited value given the price point. These are films I’ve seen a couple of dozen times each so I don’t find it terribly hard to follow along. That said there will probably be releases of these films by Viz at some point. This may be in a few years so the set is still worth getting if you would expect to watch it a few times before that happens.

Keep reading for more pictures of this release including photos of the box art, screenshot comparisons between releases and photos of all pages of the included special booklet.

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You’ll need to shell out a lot of Moon Bucks to buy these gold and silver Sailor Moon coins

Sailor Moon Collectible Coins - Gold and Silver

Good news for exceptionally wealthy Sailor Moon fans who like to flaunt their money! A couple of official Sailor Moon coins are being minted to celebrate the 25th anniversary. There will be a gold and silver coin and despite their coming in $10 and $2 denominations they are significantly more expensive. The gold $10 coin costs 39,800 yen, about $375 US while the silver $2 coin is a mere 19,800 yen or $187 US. Yes it would appear, based on the amount listed on the coin, that the more expensive gold coin is the better value! In truth, the economics of these Cook Island coins are a bit more complicated as I’ll explain shortly.

Sailor Moon Collectible Coin - Gold

The gold coin features Super Sailor Moon from Sailor Moon SuperS on one side with the face of Queen Elizabeth II on the other. The silver coin has Sailor Moon from Sailor Moon S with her Spiral Heart Moon Rod as well as Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus with the Moon Palace in the background on one side and again the face of Queen Elizabeth II on the other. Both are dated 2017 which is not actually the year these coins are being sold in. They come in nice collectible boxes. The gold coin box features Super Sailor Moon with her Kaleidomoon Scope and the silver coin box shows the Space-Time Door. Queen Elizabeth II is featured on these coins, as she is featured on many pieces of currency around the world including those here in Canada because the Cook Islands has a free association with New Zealand and New Zealand, though they have a Prime Minister, still has Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. Since Sailor Moon is technically royalty and the future Queen of Crystal Tokyo there really are two monarchs on these coins which seems like a bit of a conflict.

Sailor Moon Collectible Coin - Silver

What are the Cook Islands? Good question! I’d never heard of these before hearing about these coins. This series of small islands in the Pacific get their name from Captain James Cook and have a reputation for helping investors shelter their money, though not through investing in expensive Sailor Moon collectible coins. Since Cook Island’s Government allows private groups to mint commemorative coins for a fee they regularly produce this sort of collectible coin. Taking a quick look at the Japanese Mint’s list of collectible coins released to date we can see that unlike other countries they aren’t in the market of making anime and other pop culture based coins, which is likely why these are being made in the Cook Islands. What will the $10 and $2 coins actually be worth in Cook Island dollars then? The Cook Island dollar has a fixed exchange rate with the New Zealand dollar. The $10 gold piece has a value of about $7.30 US while the $2 silver coin is worth about $1.45 US … or at least they would be except for the fact that commemorative coins from Cook Island are not recognized as legal tender on the Cook Islands. That’s probably for the best since it would take you over 50 Sailor Moon gold coins to buy one Sailor Moon gold coin when exchange rates are considered.

Sailor Moon Collectible Coin boxes

As a Canadian I’m familiar with a number of collectible coins based on popular franchises being sold here for a fraction of this price with such coins often selling for $50 to $150 which seems cheap in comparison to these! Though only some of these are minted in Canada I was surprised, while looking into these, that some of them are produced by the New Zealand mint for places such as Nieu, near the Cook Islands. Since Canadian coins also feature Queen Elizabeth II such things are not always evident when examining a coin at face value. There is clearly a complex world of collectible coin politics I’ve only just scratched the surface of!

Are you a rich person who heats their home with the burning pages of Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art books who plans on getting these?

A Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album is coming April 4th

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album

A second Sailor Moon Tribute Album, this time called Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute, is coming on April 4th 2018. This one is to commemorate the 25th Anniversary while the previous tribute album, released in January of 2014, celebrated the 20th anniversary. The album will sell for 3000 yen, about $28 US, and is already available to pre-order from sites such as Amazon Japan. Like the last tribute album this will be a collection of songs performed by Japanese artists and bands. These will likely all be covers of songs from the Sailor Moon series. Since the 20th Anniversary Tribute Album was released before Sailor Moon Crystal began airing it only included covers of songs from the original Sailor Moon anime series. La Soldier, a song from the musicals, was also included though it also appeared in the original anime. It seems possible that we will be seeing songs from Sailor Moon Crystal and the musicals with this release but without a specific track listing we don’t have a ton of details. Since so many iconic songs were included with the last tribute album it seems reasonable to expect that an effort may be made to avoid duplicating too many of those tracks or at least to revisit songs which were not included on the last tribute album, but again this is simple speculation.

Amongst the talent included in this work are a number of Japanese artists and bands some of which were previously involved with Sailor Moon and many who were not. I’ll go through a run down of who’s been announced and where you can find more about them.

Yoko Ishida

First is Yoko Ishida who has been affiliated with Sailor Moon since back in the days of Sailor Moon R. She provided the vocals for Otome no Policy, Maiden’s Policy, the ending theme for Sailor Moon R. More recently she provided the vocals for a number of songs at the Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Classic Concert and can be heard on many tracks on the CD recording of this event.

Sonoko Inoue

Next is Sonoko Inoue, a singer and actress. You can learn more about her from her web site, Twitter profile and Instagram page.

Gesshoku Kaigi

Gesshoku Kaigi is a band composed of members who seem to like to dress is steampunk and other peculiar costumes. They’ve performed songs for games and anime series. Check out their web site and Twitter profile for more.

Silent Siren

Silent Siren is an all girl band who have an album titled “Girls Power”, which seems fitting for Sailor Moon! The group was formed by amateur models. For more on these girls check out their web site, Twitter profile and Instagram page.

Ziyoou-vachi

Ziyoou-vachi is a four piece rock band. They have a interesting fashion sense to say the least. Check out their web site or Twitter profile for more.

BiSH

BiSH, known as Brand-new idol SHiT, is well… an idol group that is relatively new, formed in 2015. Learn more about them from their web site or Twitter profile.

Etsuko Yakushimaru

Etsuko Yakushimaru, is the other artist who is not new to the world of Sailor Moon. She previously sang the vocals for the first version of the Sailor Moon Crystal Season III opening theme New Moon Ni Koishite or In Love With The New Moon. She has also performed theme songs for many other anime series. You can learn more about her from her web site.

LiSA

LiSA, short for Love Is Same All, is a singer who has performed songs for a number of anime series. For more on her check out her web site, Twitter profile and Instagram page.

That’s all the information we have for now. As April 4th approaches I expect we will be getting more information about the track listing and what artists are performing what songs. Are you a fan of any of these artists and bands? Who are you most excited to hear on this album?

The Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge game is now available for pre-order

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge box

The upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge game is now available for pre-order on the Dyskami web site for $35. The game should be ready to ship in April or May of this year. The pre-order page includes a bunch of details about the game including photos of what’s included. As an incentive those who pre-order the game now will get a special Sailor Pluto game card and Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge poster. The pre-order is a crowd funding campaign with a goal of $10,000 dollars and it seems likely that it will hit that goal before the deadline of March 9th. A video included on the page shows the game being played at the pre-release tournament held in Guelph in December. You can watch it below.

The game will ship to the US or Canada. Unfortunately it can’t be shipped elsewhere due to limitation of the licensing deal between Toei and Dyskami. The game is set to be released in May.

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge components

At this point we have images of all of the cards included with the game and the characters cover the Dark Kingdom and Black Moon story arcs of Sailor Moon Crystal. For heroes we have Sailor Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Chibi Moon as well as Tuxedo Mask, Luna and Artemis (as a single card), Queen Serenity, Princess Serenity, Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion with Sailor Pluto as a pre-order exclusive. For villains we have Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, Kunzite, Queen Beryl, a generic Droid, Esmeraude, Rubeus, Saphir, Prince Demand, Black Lady and Wiseman.

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge - Sailor Pluto promo card and poster

I’ve got my game pre-ordered. What about you?

Pre-orders for the Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge game will begin on February 8th

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge pre-order announcement

It looks like the upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge game is getting a bit closer to release! The game, which is currently scheduled to be released this Spring, will be available to pre-order on February 8th from Dyskami Publishing. Fans are being encouraged to follow their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and check out the Dyskami web site on February 8th for more details.

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge

I received news from Dyskami Publishing that those who pre-order the game should expect some amazing bonus Sailor Moon Crystal gifts. Some fans have asked if this game will be available in Canada, since often it’s harder to get some board games North of the border. Since Dyskami Publishing is an Ontario based company we should expect to see this in stores here in Canada. Do you plan on picking this game up?

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge

The Sailor Moon Eternal Edition Manga release has been delayed until April 24th

Sailor Moon Complete Edition Manga

The Sailor Moon Eternal Edition Manga was supposed to be out next week, on January 30th, but unfortunately it looks like it’s been delayed until April 24th! Listings on Amazon have been updated to reflect this new date as have the description of the first volume on the publishers Kodansha and Penguin Radom House’s web sites. No explanation has been given as to why there is a delay but some have speculated that it might be because they are waiting to get the best possible translation.

The bilingual Japanese/English version was released in Japan already. It remains to be seen if that updated translation is likely to be the one used for this Eternal Edition. If it is in fact that same translation than it seems unlikely that waiting for it was the reason for the delay.

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition Manga - Colour Pages

What, you may be asking, is the Eternal Edition and why do would you want it if you already have a copy of the Sailor Moon manga? I covered this in a post last May, speculating that the English Eternal Edition would be similar to the Japanese Complete Editions. It has since been confirmed that this is indeed the case as the image above from the Moon Panal at Anime Expo in July shows us. These versions will include larger pages, a glossy very white type of paper and most importantly all colour pages from the original issues of Kodansha. Usually only a handful of colour pages are included with a manga release so this is a nice addition. These versions will also include the new cover art which was drawn by Naoko Takeuchi. We can see from the cover art included in the existing listings and they match what was in the Japanese releases.

Following the release of volume 1 on April 24th we’ll also be getting volume 2 on May 29th and volume 3 on September 25th. It would only be logical for the following volumes, up to volume 10, to be released at regular intervals following that. A Japanese Complete Edition of Sailor V was also release and it would certainly be nice if these were released in English as well.

Codename: Sailor V - Complete Edition Manga - Covers

Do you plan on picking up these Eternal Editions?

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Classic Concert CD review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Classic Concert CD - Booklet

The Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Classic Concert CD was released in Japan on December 6th. This sells for 3500 yen which is about $31 US. Media in Japan is usually more expensive than in North America so this price is actually pretty reasonable. This CD includes the entire performance of the Sailor Moon Classic Concert which was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in Japan this past August. Now that I’ve given the CD a few listens I felt like sharing some thoughts on it. You can pick up the CD from Japanese retailers such as Amazon Japan and CD Japan.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Classic Concert CD - Back

All around the album is great. It’s a real mixed back of very classical sounding renditions while others have a more modern feel. It’s not simply the case that all songs are performed in the same style as we’ve seen with the Sailor Moon SuperS Orgel Fantasia album which makes everything sound like it’s played by a music box. The selection of music is also quite varied. While it is mostly renditions of popular opening and ending themes from the original Sailor Moon anime there is also a bit of background music as well as music from musicals and Sailor Moon Crystal. Sadly nothing from the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series has made the cut!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Classic Concert CD - Booklet 1 - Makoto Yoshida and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra

The CD comes with your standard sort of insert booklet that’s only a handful of pages. It includes a full track listing and information on the many people who worked on the music and this concert in particular.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Classic Concert CD - Track listing

I’ll give a few thoughts on each of the tracks. This won’t be anything thorough! I’m not really a music buff and I know even less about actual concert music. I took the trumpet in school for 3 years pretty much because it was part of the curriculum and after the end of the 3rd when some of my classmates who had started that same year had surpassed me in skill it was evident that it wasn’t happening for me so I concentrated on drawing and messing around with computers. One of those paid off. The set comes in two discs with a total of 21 tracks.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Classic Concert CD - Disc 1

Disc 1 track 1 is background music from the introduction to episodes.

Track 2 is Moonlight Densetsu (Moonlight Legend), the iconic Sailor Moon opening theme! This has been done in a variety of styles over the years and here is yet another! A fairly faithful adaptation.

Track 3 is Ai No Senshi (Guardian of Love), a song which was featured in Sailor Moon R and Sailor Moon S and that has been redone a few times. This is one of my favourite songs from Sailor Moon and it’s very well done on this CD. It has an epic quality that fits it quite well.

Track 4 is Heart Moving, the first ending theme for the first season. This is a decent instrumental version of the song but not the greatest. While I don’t have any strong feeling about this song as an ending theme there are a number of instrumental versions which feature in important and emotional scenes in the first season including when Sailor Moon is discouraged after the death of her friends and finds the motivation to continue fighting. This version doesn’t evoke the same emotional reaction in me than that particular version does.

Track 5 is Princess Moon, the second ending theme for the first season. This track reminds me of something out of ballet which I think suits it. It starts to show the range that this concert can offer.

Track 6 is Watashi-tachi ni Naritakute (Wanting to Be Together With You) which is the first ending theme for Sailor Moon SuperS. Why do we jump ahead so far instead of staying somewhat chronological? No clue. This is similar to the TV version and is a good track.

Track 7 is Otome No Policy (Maiden’s Policy) which is the Sailor Moon R ending theme. This is a punched up version which isn’t really classic as many of the tracks leading up to this have been. It includes vocals by Yoko Ishida who originally performed the song back in the 90s. I prefer the version on the 20th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album personally.

Track 8 is “Rashiku” Ikimasho (I’ll go with my looks) which is the second ending theme for the Sailor Moon SuperS season. It has a sort of big bang feel and includes vocals once again from Yoko Ishida though she did not perform this song in the original anime.

Track 9 is background music for Sailor Uranus and Neptune. This is a variety of music used in the anime mostly when the characters are introduced or transform. It features a lot of violin as the music in the original Sailor Moon anime did, with Michiru being a violinist. This is quite a good track for fans of those characters! They always did have great theme music.

Track 10 switches gears and gives us a song from Sailor Moon Crystal. Eternal Eternity is the first ending theme for the 3rd season, which is also all about Sailor Uranus and Neptune. All versions of this song just remind me of the Utena opening theme.

Track 11 is short and just gives us the music for the commercial break bumper for the first season. It sounds so much like the original version that I was expecting the weird “chirp” sound which can be heard on the laserdiscs of the first season.

I guess there was an intermission at this point? On to disc 2…

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Classic Concert CD - Disc 2

Track 1 has Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon, speaking over some background music and then transforming to Sailor Moon’s first season transformation music. A fairly faithful version of this music.

Track 2 is Moon Revenge, the theme song from Sailor Moon R The Movie. This is one of the better songs from the original anime. This version is great as well. It’s a more classical rendition lacking the more upbeat tone of the original song but it works quite well. Some portions remind me of the instrumental version featured in the film.

Track 3 is Tuxedo Mirage, the ending theme for Sailor Moon S. The version here is very similar to what we heard on TV, without the vocals. A good track but it just doesn’t give us anything new.

Track 4 is La Soldier which is a song which was used in a number of the early Sailor Moon musicals as well as the final episode of Sailor Moon R (Let’s pretend episode 89 doesn’t exist because I hate it!). This is a good rendition but not as good as the original and nothing could top the Tommy heavenly6 version from the Tribute Album for me.

Track 5 is a Three Light Medley which merges two songs which the Three Lights performed during Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, Todokanu Omoi -My Friend’s Love- (Unreachable Feelings: My Friend’s Love) and Nagareboshi he (To the Shooting Stars). When this one started I was a bit worried because the Three Lights are a pop group and their music doesn’t translate to classical music. Still the orchestra manages to give these songs a disco kind of 70s pop sound which I think works really well. The track lacks vocals I think because the concert hall didn’t have enough place to include Taiki’s forehead.

Track 6 takes a song from the recent Sailor Moon musicals with Ai No Starshine (Starshine of Love) from the Sailor Moon Amour Eternal Musical. Again we go with a somewhat modern sound almost fitting to an 80s TV drama theme song if that makes any sense. I appreciate the unique take on the song and that an orchestra can have such an atypical sound.

Track 7 is Moon Pride, the first Sailor Moon Crystal opening theme. It’s performed with a big band sort of sound. Enjoyable.

Track 8 is Gekkou (Moonbow), the first Sailor Moon Crystal ending theme. Again this track is quite similar to the original version which had a very orchestral sound. Decent but nothing new here.

Track 9 is New Moon ni Koishite (In Love With the New Moon), the Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 opening theme. It has what I believe is a lot of saxophone and other brass instruments. A fun track.

The final track is an encore which is the Sailor Stars Song, the opening theme for the Sailor Stars season of the original anime. Yoko Ishida performs the vocals for this version, though again she was not the one to contribute the original vocals. She does a decent job. She attempt to rouse the crowd and get them to sing along which doesn’t seem to work all that well. I’m not sure if this is because the crowd isn’t participating much or simply because they didn’t bother to put a mic in the crowd to properly pick up the audio. I don’t know how popular the Sailor Stars Song is in Japan but I wonder if this was really the best track to try to get people to sing along to. If they’d done this with Moonlight Densetsu, the iconic opening theme used for the first four seasons, no doubt a ton of people would know the words. Does the average Japanese casual fan know the words to the intro of the final season which had significantly poorer ratings?

All considered I quite enjoyed this CD and recommend fans import it if they’re interested.

Keep reading for more pictures of this CD including photos of all remaining pages of the booklet.

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Japanese Sailor Moon R Blu-Ray Collection Volume 1 review

Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Cover

The Sailor Moon R Blu-Ray Collection Volumes 1 and 2 have now been released in Japan. These are my thoughts on volume 1, which was released on October 4th. I delayed getting this review up so long that volume 2 was since released on December 6th. Some of you expressed interest in seeing the quality, given some issues with the Viz Blu-Ray releases of Sailor Moon R, so I’ve included a lot of screenshots within the post and at the end of it. This collection includes Sailor Moon R episodes 47 to 68 in Japanese and Japanese only! There is no dub and no subtitle track on this release so it may have limited value to English speaking fans. Be warned!

Sailor Moon R episode 59 - Viz Blu-Ray - Young Ail and An

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon R episode 59 - Japanese Blu-Ray - Young Ail and An

Japanese Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon R episode 59 - Japanese DVD - Young Ail and An

Japanese DVD

The video quality in this release is what I would again call good but not great. To see examples just click through on the images and then on the 1920×1080 link to see the full picture. There is a bit of loss from JPEG compression but it should give a decent idea of the relatively quality of the releases. Basically, as with the first season, what we have is an upscalled or upconverted and cleaned up version of existing standard definition masters. So while the video here is 1080p, Blu-Ray resolution, this was not obtained from going back to the film source (film is used as an intermediate in animation from this era) but instead the old video sources were used and with various filters these were extrapolated into high definition video. I’m not a fan of this technique. I’d just as soon see a good quality standard definition release than pretend this is “really” HD, but your mileage may vary. The techniques used to upscale these is fairly impressive and the image we get is probably the best we’ve seen for the original Sailor Moon anime, but it still isn’t what we’ve seen for things like the Sailor Moon R Movie which was released on Blu-Ray earlier this year.

Sailor Moon R episode 61 - Viz Blu-Ray - Usagi cries

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon R episode 61 - Japanese Blu-Ray - Usagi cries

Japanese Blu-Ray

All that said Viz used a similar technique when they released their Blu-Rays a few years ago but they seem to have had significantly inferior quality master video sources to work with. The actual techniques they used to convert the video to high definition were likely different as well, as we’ve seen minor differences in the various releases they had as the series was, and continues to be, released. I don’t think it’s fair to put the blame solely on Viz for the poor quality release we got from them, as they have done great work with high quality source material as we’ve seen with their Sailor Moon Crystal releases and their release of Sailor Moon R The Movie on Blu-Ray which is considerably nicer looking than the Japanese DVD. That said their releases of the Sailor Moon TV series are so bad that the Japanese DVD release and many other international releases are of much nicer video quality.

Sailor Moon R episode 60 - Japanese DVD - Chibiusa points a gun at Usagi - Interlacing artefacts

Japanese DVD screenshot with visible interlacing artifacts

Sailor Moon R episode 60 - Japanese DVD - Chibiusa points a gun at Usagi

Japanese DVD screenshot without any visible interlacing artifacts

Sailor Moon R episode 60 - Viz Blu-Ray - Chibiusa points a gun at Usagi

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon R episode 60 - Japanese Blu-Ray - Chibiusa points a gun at Usagi

Japanese Blu-Ray

One reason for which I was more excited for the Sailor Moon R release than the first season was that the Japanese DVDs for Sailor Moon R and beyond had interlaced video. What does this mean? A standard TV signal is interlaced, meaning the signal is sent one field at a time. Every second scan line is refreshed every 30th of a second but only one field is sent every 60th of a second. This means when you look at a still you’ll often see these lines in it looking like saw teeth or a comb. The images above illustrate this by looking at the interlaced DVD image. This isn’t really noticeable on older TVs or even modern HDTVs but if you’re watching video on a computer screen, pausing, getting screenshots or trying to convert the files for download, like many fan subs you may have downloaded, this can be a problem. You probably noticed this back in the VHS days when you’d pause a film and sometimes there would appear to be a double image while other times there would not. For a show which was at some point on film, like Sailor Moon, this isn’t visible in all frames. For shows that were shot on video, like the live action series and the musicals, there’s no getting around the fact that every frame will have visible interlacing. Because of this I often need to find scenes with little motion for my live action screenshots or to use a filter to remove odd or even lines. The DVD standard supports progressive scan, which does away with this interlacing problem, and the first season DVDs were converted to progressive scan which made them look a bit nicer on an HDTV. The deinterlacing process does not negatively affect picture quality because all of the information is there. For whatever reason, probably cost related, this was not done for Sailor Moon R, S, SuperS or Sailor Stars on DVD. Now that the video is going through all kinds of post processing to upconvert to HD resolutions, removing any interlacing artifacts was the first thing that was done. So much to say this is one way in which these Blu-Rays are objectively better than the Japanese DVD release. The upconverting is a bit of smoke and mirrors but the deinterlacing is one aspect which is a real noticeable improvement.

Sailor Moon R Part 1 Japanese Blu-Ray - Easy to read credits!

As an indication of the quality of the video in this release we can finally read the text in the Sailor Moon R credits with some success! If you’re like me you pass the time listening to “Otome no Policy” while trying to read some of this text. I’ve always been able to make out some words on the laserdisc and DVD releases but it seems like much more is visible now. Note that the quality changes as the season goes on and while it was harder to see the words in the early episodes this becomes easier with some of the later episodes. So what does this text say? It’s mostly nonsense. These are sentences which are grammatically correct english which seems to have some meaning but the text has no bearing on Sailor Moon. “CONVERSATION is impossible as the open topped rail diesel car clatters into the 3/4 mile Trebelica tunnel” … “For Bedimir the Trebelica tunnel is a masterwork, three years in building”. Web searches for terms like “trebelica” and “bedimir” don’t identify this text as being anything important or even references to real people or places. Others, however, like Stari Bar in Montenegro, appears to be references to a real things. This could be an actual magazine or newspaper clipping but the exact source isn’t something that is terribly obvious, even when the text is mostly legible. Often in movies and TV shows fake newspapers are used and this could be an example of such a thing. This is not Lorem ipsum, which is a sort of real looking but totally nonsensical pseudo latin text which is often used for fake newspapers and such in films.

Sailor Moon R episode 59 - Japanese Blu-Ray - The Moonlight Knight

Japanese Blu-Ray

As for the content on these Blu-Rays we have pretty much the first half of Sailor Moon R, episodes 47 to 68. These are episodes I have some fondness and nostalgia for! I got into Sailor Moon when there were only 65 dubbed episodes which included the first half of Sailor Moon R and I didn’t see the second half until I got some fansubs some time later, before they were eventually dubbed. It’s probably due to this that I have a greater level of nostalgia for those episodes which include only the first half of Sailor Moon R. My bias makes me want to argue that they are somehow of better quality but I simply can’t trust my own opinion on this issue to be unclouded. The first half of this release is the Makaiju story arc, known as the Doom Tree saga in the original English dub. I really enjoy these episodes even if they aren’t based on any manga story like the rest of the season. Ail and An, the villains, are compelling characters and these episodes tie in nicely to Sailor Moon R The Movie, though no one present seems to notice the similarity between these nearly identical looking enemies. The rest of the episodes introduce us to Chibiusa, the time traveling girl lost in time, and some of the Black Moon Clan. This set includes episode 67, the swimsuit episode where Chibiusa somehow befriends a plesiosaur, which for a long time was not available to English speaking fans but this episode has since been released to stream and on Viz’s release so its inclusion is less exclusive than it once was.

Sailor Moon R Part 1 Japanese Blu-Ray - Disc 4 menu

Not much in the way of special features here! Aside from the episodes themselves we have the same usual extra. “Clean” opening and closing credits which means the opening and ending theme animations without the actual credits. The picture quality for these is not too great, and not as good as the rest of the Blu-Ray. Also included are the 15 second commercials! These originally played on Japanese TV to advertise the next episode and they are not the same as the next episode previews, though they are quite similar. These weren’t included in the Sailor Moon R laserdisc release, as the only special features in those releases were on the first season discs, but they were included in the Sailor Moon R memorial. These aren’t terribly exciting but it’s better than nothing as features go! I’m including the disc 4 menu above, which includes those extras. The rest are available at the bottom of the post. The menus are basic. Links to the episode with an image showing the disc art in nice quality.

Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Episode guide episodes 58 to 60

Also included is a booklet with episode descriptions. Each description includes a bit of production art for that episode which is a nice touch!

Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Disc 1 art comparison Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Disc 2 art comparison

The cover art for this release and the included discs is mostly reused from the laserdiscs which were again reused for the DVDs. I’ve included a lot of images showing what art was reused for what. One exception is the image of Chibiusa on the cover which is a bit awkwardly out of place as it’s not from any laserdisc art for Sailor Moon R. The main thing which I liked about this release was the inclusion of Ail and An as well as the Moonlight Knight. These characters, unique only to the first 13 episodes of Sailor Moon R, dominated three of the laserdisc covers but were completely absent from the DVD cover art. Similarly they are generally absent from other home video releases as it seems like most people would rather just treat Sailor Moon R as “Chibiusa and Black Lady”. Though they aren’t featured on the cover art itself we see them on the disc art which is quite a nice inclusion! These are characters featured in a quarter of the season after all! It’s half of this set!

Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Back Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Sailor Venus's shoe mistake on the Blu-Ray
Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Sailor Venus shoe mistake laserdisc Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Venus's show fixed on the DVD

Also of note is the return of a Sailor Venus shoe error on the image on the back of the box. This error dates back to the laserdisc days but it was corrected with the Japanese DVD release. For whatever reason this error creeped back up! It’s clear that the DVD art wasn’t actually reused here but that we’re seeing laser disc art. The DVD art had modified colours that aren’t seen here. Basically the shoe problem, as discovered by Twitter user Sailor Mikey, is that Sailor Venus should have an open shoe with the top of her foot exposed but in this image it’s orange across the top of the foot.

Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Inner back art comparison

Also notable is the art on the back of the box itself, inside the sleeve, which is actually an amalgam of two laserdisc covers. The individual art is used for the discs, which you can still see, but this image is a new composite of the two. We have Sailor Mercury, Mars, Venus and Jupiter put together but the Ayakashi Sisters are removed. Again we don’t want the outside box art to actually represent characters restricted to these episodes! This was mostly seamlessly done as the Sailor Guardians were in front of the Ayakashi Sisters for the most part however if you pay close attention there is a bit of an odd point at the end of Sailor Jupiter’s hair as this was previously covered by Calaveras’s neck.

Sailor Moon R Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Inside back

All in all I’m not sure this set would appeal to most English speaking fans however if you’re a real completist and want the series in its best possible quality, and don’t have the Japanese DVDs or some other comparably nice looking international release, this might be worth picking up. It’s not cheap! Both collection 1 and collection 2 can be ordered from sites such as Amazon Japan. These will set you back about $150 US dollars plus shipping a piece! I’ve already gotten my second set in the mail though I haven’t had much of a look at it yet besides taking a few photos of the box art. It stands to reason that it’s more of the same but I’ll put together a nice review if I have a bit of time.

Keep reading for more screenshot comparisons, photos of the box art, the included booklet and the menus.

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A Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge tournament will be held in Guelph, Ontario December 3rd

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge

Earlier this year we mentioned that there were two Sailor Moon Crystal themed games coming out soon by Dyskami! The first, Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge, is near release! A free promotional tournament is being held next weekend, on Sunday December 3rd, at The Boardroom: Guelph’s Game Cafe in Guelph, Ontario. The event will be limited to 48 players so be sure to show up early! It runs from 3pm to 7pm. In addition to being able to play the game fans who are dressed as their favourite Sailor Moon character will get a free copy of the game when it’s released! No specifics on how they will determine who exactly your favourite character is, but don’t tell me I didn’t warn you if you’re turned down for only wearing a costume of your second favourite character!

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge - Sailor Moon character card

So when can we expect this game in stores? Dyskami Publishing posted an update to their Facebook Page mentioning that the reason for the delays were that they weren’t happy with the prototype they got from the factory they were dealing with, prompting them to look for a new factory. Current expectation is that the game will be available in stores in Spring 2018. As always we’ll have more information on the site as we get it. No indication of when the other Sailor Moon Crystal game, Truth or Bluff, will be available. By the original scheduled mentioned by Dyskami Publishing that game was to come out after Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge and it appears that this is still the case.

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge - Tuxedo Mask challenge card

Details about the event can be found on the Eventbrite page. Will any of you be attending this event? While I’d love to make the 5 hour or so car ride to Guelph to attend I have this thing on the Saturday where I’m getting married so I don’t think I’ll be there.