The Sailor Moon Complete First Season Blu-ray set is now available for purchase

Sailor Moon Complete First Season Blu-ray

The new release of the first season of Sailor Moon is out on Blu-ray today, June 14th. We have learned from fans that have received the set that these Blu-rays discs have new and improved video quality as well as features not on the releases from 2014. I got my copy today but have not have a chance to watch any of it yet. I did get myself a new Blu-ray drive and plan on doing a proper review as time permits. The release should be available in stores that sell this kind of thing as well as through online retailers. You can support the site by buying it through the link below.

This is a North American English language release by Viz which includes the original Japanese audio with optional English subtitles as well as the new English dub which was done by Viz using the same voice cast that appears in Sailor Moon Crystal.

Have you gotten your set yet? What do you think?

The upcoming release of Sailor Moon: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray will include improved video quality and a new interview not in the 2014 version

Sailor Moon Complete First Season Blu-ray

Sailor Moon: The Complete First Season is coming to Blu-ray … again. As the first season was originally release on Blu-ray in two parts in 2014 and 2015 many fans had been wondering if it was worth it to buy this again. When I posted about this in March I predicted these would just be the same discs bundled in new packaging. I was wrong! With fans starting to get their hands on the release we can now see that this is a new updated Blu-ray with superior video quality to the originals as well as some new special features. Considering getting it? You can support the site by using the link below to buy it.

The original Sailor Moon Season 1 Blu-Ray releases were, simply put, not good. The video quality was bad. It’s an old show. Viz obviously had some pretty low quality standard definition sources to work with. This show is not HD. The original film source was never scanned in high definition. What we got in 2014 and 2015 were pretty low quality releases with obvious video artifacts. At the time these looked much worse than the DVD releases in Japan as well as others which had come out in other countries prior to this. You can have a look at what that release looked like in my review of the Japanese Blu-ray release which looked better.

Sailor Moon Season 1 Part 1 Blu-ray (2014) - Episode 6 screenshot

Original 2014 Blu-ray

Sailor Moon The Complete First Season Blu-ray (2022) - Episode 6 screenshot

New 2022 Blu-ray

So what does this new version look like? Check out this Twitter thread by Fred Francis where he goes through his set and examines the menus and video quality with side by side comparisons of screenshots. I won’t repeat all of his comparisons here on the site but as you can see from the images above the difference really is night and day. The 2014 release is obviously worse looking than the much nicer looking 2022 release. It’s still not HD. It’s still a standard definition master which has been upscaled to 1080p using software. It just looks much better. The standard definition master was likely superior. More recent software algorithms may also been a contributor. Even as the Sailor Moon series went on the quality of releases by Viz improved dramatically to the point where Sailor Stars doesn’t have the same issues that the first couple of seasons did.

An interview with Katsuyuki Sumisawa

In addition to improved video quality the disc menus and even some features are new. This set has an interview with Sailor Moon writer Katsuyuki Sumisawa which had not been released in the earlier set.

Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Whether or not you consider this set worth purchasing is of course your own decision to make. For me it seems worth the upgrade at the reduced price. The full season costs less than what a half season cost eight years ago.

Will you be picking this set up?

Source: @fredjfrancis on Twitter

A new cheaper Blu-Ray set for Sailor Moon season 1 is coming from Viz in June

Sailor Moon Complete First Season Blu-ray

Good news for fans of the original Sailor Moon anime who for some reason didn’t actually buy the Blu-Ray sets that came out eight years ago. Viz has a cheap season 1 set which collects all 46 episodes in Japanese and in English on six discs coming June 14th 2022. Previously Viz had released half season sets for the entire Sailor Moon series. This meant five seasons across ten sets. This new set has a more affordable price tag of $49.99, less than even half a season used to cost! Amazon has the set listed for that full MSRP while Right Stuf has it for $44.99. You can support this site by pre-ordering the set from Amazon using the links in this post.

Viz’s Blu-Ray sets aren’t the best but they’re the best we’ve got. All Sailor Moon TV series Blu-Ray discs released anywhere in the world are basically upconverted to high definition from a standard definition source using software. This means the show will never look like something which is actually an HD remaster from the film source, as many anime series have done. Viz’s release, mostly in the early seasons, didn’t look that good. I compared Viz’s Blu-Ray release to the Japanese Blu-Rays and DVDs in my review of the first Japanese Blu-Ray set. The Japanese set isn’t perfect either, but it’s nicer than Viz’s set. As the years went on the quality of Viz’s Blu-Ray sets got marginally better until the Stars set which was actually pretty good. This was probably due to a number of factors including the quality of the video masters they had available and the techniques they used in order to clear up the video. This of course raises the question of what, exactly, this set will look like.

Sailor Moon Complete First Season Blu-ray

My prediction is that this set will just be exact copies of the Blu-Ray discs which were including in Viz’s first season Part 1 and Part 2 sets. Same menus. Same special features. Same marginal video quality. If that’s the case it’s a decent deal if you don’t have these already. It’s evidently a great series and this is your best way to watch it in English or in Japanese with English subtitles. When I watch my Star Trek The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine full series sets whenever I pop in the first disc of a season I get ads for the previous season set, which was included with the set I already bought. This happens because they didn’t author new Blu-Ray discs. They just reproduced more of the discs they had already authored and put them in a bigger box. We don’t know for sure that this is the approach that will be taken here, but that would be my guess. That’s common for rereleased movies and series. There is one bit of evidence which suggests that we may actually be getting reauthored discs. The Right Stuf listing mentions an interview with Katsuyuki Sumisawa as a special feature. As this wasn’t on the original release this would mean at least one disc, potentially all of them, is potentially going to be new.

Sailor Moon Complete First Season Blu-ray

It’s possible that Viz will go back to their source material and redo the video in better quality. It’s also possible that they’ll use other masters like the higher quality Japanese Blu-Ray releases or some of the other Blu-Ray releases which have been coming out around the world since 2014. They might also take some high quality masters and use newer technology like AstroRes to get the best possible HD version software algorithms can give! This is possible. I think it’s somewhat unlikely. If this were the case then there would be good reason for a fan to want to repurchase these sets in better quality. Personally I’ll be waiting until confirmation of what these sets are like before I decide whether or not to purchase the series again. Getting the same discs in different boxes isn’t enough of an incentive to me, if that’s what this set is. Getting new discs with similar video quality would also not be a terribly enticing release.

Sailor Moon Complete First Season Blu-ray

Here are some details about this release from the Right Stuf web site:

About Sailor Moon Season 1 Blu-Ray
Sailor Moon Season 1 contains episodes 1-46 of the anime directed by Junichi Sato and Kunihiko Ikuhara.

Usagi Tsukino is a cheerful schoolgirl who often finds herself in unwanted trouble. One day, she saves a talking cat named Luna who gives Usagi a brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon, guardian of love and justice!

Special Features: Clean Opening and Ending, Trailers, Art Gallery, Announcement Panel & Fan Reactions, Dub Recording Behind the Scenes, Official Announcement, Trailer Moonlight Memories Pt. 1, AX Sailor Moon Panel, Official Cosplay Team Interview, Sailor Moon Day Highlights, An Interview with Katsuyuki Sumisawa

See More
Details
Publisher: VIZ
Media: Blu-ray
Spoken Language: English, Japanese
Subtitle Language: English
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Themes: Battles, Magical Girl
Age Rating: 14+
Run Time: 1060
Year Created: 1992
Release Date: 6/14/2022
Dimensional Weight: 1
Region Code: A

The special features listed are more consistent with what we got in the older sets except for the Katsuyuki Sumisawa interview.

Will you be picking up this set?

The first episode of the Sailor Moon anime aired 30 years ago today!

Sailor Moon episode 01 Screenshot - Japanese DVD

On March 7th 1992 the first episode of the original Sailor Moon anime, The Crybaby: Usagi’s Beautiful Transformation, aired on Japanese television. The show quickly became a hit not only in Japan but worldwide and now 30 years later the franchise lives on!

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 133 - Chibiusa is an old lonely cat lady watching Sailor Moon

I certainly didn’t start watching the show until a few years later when it started airing on English TV here in Canada after which I became a fan quite early on. How about you? Are you doing anything special to celebration this milestone?

Toshiya Ueda, the voice of Kunitachi the gardener in the original Sailor Moon anime, has died at age 88

Toshiya Ueda the voice of Kunitachi

Some sad news for Sailor Moon fans today. Toshiya Ueda died earlier this month on February 8th at the age of 88. He had an extensive resume of anime voice work including a recent role as Vilk in The Promised Neverland. Sailor Moon fans would know him as the voice of Kunitachi the gardener in a first season episode of the original Sailor Moon anime. In episode 15 Toshiya Ueda’s character is transformed by Nephrite from a kind man to one who’s angry and violent in protecting his park from development.

Sailor Moon episode 15 - Ami and Mr. Baxter

Five years ago Chris Wiggins, the English voice actor of that same character, named Mr. Baxter in the DiC dub of the original Sailor Moon anime, died at the age of 87.

Source: Anime News Network

The Sailor Moon 4-D ride is returning to Universal Studios Japan in March with Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition Deluxe

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition Deluxe

The Sailor Moon 4-D ride is once again returning to Universal Studios Japan! This event originally took place in 2018 as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D and then came back in 2019 with more characters under the name Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition. Well we’re adding more words to what is now being called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition Deluxe coming in 2021. The ride will start on March 4th and run until August 28th.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition Deluxe

The big new thing for this version of the ride is the inclusion of the Sailor Guardians in their princess dresses. I’ve not actually attended this event but from what I understand the 4-D is basically a 3D film with some other stuff thrown in. Moving your seat around and other environment sort of things.

Evidently the pandemic is still very much a thing which may be why this event was not held in 2020 or 2021. It remains to be see what things are like in Japan or elsewhere from March to August of this year and whether or not fans from outside of Japan will be able to safely travel to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka to attend this exhibit.

Have you been lucky enough to attend any of these shows in the past? If so, what did you think? Do you hope to be able to attend in 2022 or are you going to hold out for a later year when they’ll have something like Super Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D The New Challengers Moon Palace Edition Deluxe Turbo HD Remix SuperS Eternal 30th Anniversary + Bowser’s Fury?

Source: The Sailor Moon Official Site

The Sailor Moon R, S and SuperS movies are now available to watch for free on YouTube

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Princess Serenity

Great news for cheap American Sailor Moon fans! All three of the original 1990s Sailor Moon films are now available to watch for free on YouTube! This includes Sailor Moon R The Movie, Sailor Moon S The Movie and the not so conveniently named Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole. Great … if you happen to live somewhere where you can watch it. I don’t. The movies are blocked in Canada and likely all countries outside of the United States of America.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Human Luna

But wasn’t the R Movie already on YouTube, you may ask? Well yes indeed. Sailor Moon R The Movie was uploaded to YouTube nearly two years ago on December 13th 2019, around the same time it was added to Crunchyroll. The two other films, however, were added only recently with Sailor Moon S The Movie being added on October 22nd of this year and the SuperS film being added just this past Friday on November 5th.

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie - Perle, Chibiusa and Diana

With TV and streaming I’ve gotten the impression over the years that although a lot of fans had seen a lot of the Sailor Moon anime many people hadn’t seen the films. These were generally something someone would have to pay to watch. The films did air on TV occasionally but not as often as the series. Now fans have no excuse not to watch the films!

Of course this still leaves some of us without the free option. If you’re looking to pick up the Blu-Rays of the films I would certainly recommend them. The quality is great. If you buy them through these Amazon links you will be supporting the site. The R Movie is only $9.99 right now which is quite a bargain. Unfortunately the S Movie is not currently available from Amazon but can be obtained from resellers. The SuperS film is also quite affordable at $15.99. Of course if you’re ordering from the US Amazon you are part of the audience that watch the movies for free so check out your local retailers. Amazon Canada has all three movies for a pretty good price.

Here’s more information on the planned Sailor V anime series

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V characters

Earlier this week I posted about some newly unearthed images which appear to be art from the original planned Sailor V anime series which was ultimately retooled as the Sailor Moon anime we all known and love. I mentioned a few character names but wasn’t sure where those had come from. Twitter user @MinakoMoments posted a couple of images and their translations which are the source of a lot of the older information around about these. While these looked familiar I had obviously missed out on this information. These are from the Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book, which is a very rare book showing a lot of images of characters from Sailor Moon drawn by other artists and people involved with the series. These images looked familiar to me because I have this book but as I don’t read Japanese I assumed these were simply early designs for Rei, Makoto and Ami. While this is technically true, these are actually Miyabi, Mamoru and Hikaru from the planned Sailor V anime!

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V information

Based on the resolution it looks like the Japanese originals from those pages in question come from the Three Lights dot net scans of the Infinity art book. The translation is attributed to a friend of the @MinakoMoments account’s poster @switchpoint. Some of the details from this image were mentioned in yesterday’s article but there’s a bit more here that we can dig into. While I fully realize this may be old news to many this was new to me so I’m sharing it here for the benefit of others who may not have known the specifics before. Close up photos were taken from my copy of the Infinity art book.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Amano Gurikazu

At the top of the page is Amano. He was the Umino lookalike from Codename Sailor V. Perhaps I’m saying this wrong. Umino looks like Amano much like Ami looks like Hikaru, not the other way around. Those characters came first and Sailor Moon’s characters came afterwards. It is mentioned that Amano looks handsome when he took his glasses off. In the Masquerade Dance Party chapter of the Sailor Moon manga when Princess D is found to be beautiful behind her googly glasses the girls speculate that Umino must similarly be handsome behind his. Amano seems to resemble Umino in this way as well!

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Minako

Minako is presented more or less as she is in Codename Sailor V and Sailor Moon with some minor differences. She, along with a few others characters, is 15. Minako was only 13 at the start of Codename Sailor V while Usagi and the other girls are 14 at the start of the Sailor Moon manga and anime series. The plan seemed to have been to age them up a bit for this series. This would put them all in high school, which is something which doesn’t occur until the Dream Arc of the Sailor Moon manga and the Sailor Stars season of the anime. Note that the crescent moon on Minako’s forehead is upside down compared to what we see in Codename Sailor V and Sailor Moon. She looks like a member of the Black Moon clan! In her character description it’s mentioned that she has no specific ability besides her super powers, which is a big difference in this story as her friends do not actually transform. They use their worldly and otherworldly gifts to assist Sailor V. It says that Minako’s special skill is love! She really was the Usagi of this series. It seems that Minako was retooled as Usagi but then was herself brought back into the series as another character, so it’s no surprise that the two characters share some similarities.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Miyabi Yoronu

Next up is Miyabi Yoronu. In my previous article I called her a Rei like character but now I see that she’s had a real name all along! The image seen through the page I mentioned is in fact this image of Miyabi. She uses a scroll with Rei’s catchphrase “Akuryou Taisan”, an incantation used to exercise evil spirits. That Miyabi had supernatural powers that weren’t related to being a Sailor Guardian is an interesting explanation for why Rei has powers that seem to be completely unrelated to her being Sailor Mars. The character she was adapted from needed these powers because she didn’t actually transform!

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Mamoru Chino

Mamoru Chino is not actually related to Mamoru Chiba in any way but by name. This character was clearly later adapted into Makoto Kino. This image of her smoking is why many people were mentioning that she smoked. She is 17, a full two years older than the other characters, and so she would not be in their class or grade though she would still be at their school as both 15 year olds and 17 year olds are high school aged in Japan. Mamoru is known for being strong, like Makoto, but is referenced as having “herculean strength”. Whether this means she truly had the superhuman strength of demi-god Hercules or not isn’t clear. Regardless she still has super powers! Mamoru has telekinesis, the ability to teleport and ESP (extra sensory perception). She also runs fast, which may simply be a side effect of her super strength. Surprised she doesn’t get out of breath what with her smoking. Surprisingly, Mamoru is associated with the planet Saturn and not Jupiter.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Hikaru Sorano

Next is Hikaru who is already a character in the Codename Sailor V manga. In this series she was to be the intelligent one which was the obvious inspiration for Ami. In the Sailor V manga Hikaru isn’t mentioned as being particularly brilliant. Though she physically resembles Ami her role was similar to Naru’s as she was simply Minako’s friend and classmate.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Human Female Artemis

So there were only four girls in this series instead of five? The fifth woman on this page is a female human Artemis! She is credited as “fifth beautiful girl” and is shown nude wearing a tiara adorned with Artemis’s crescent moon. What the exact plan was for this gender bending male cat who transformed into a a female human isn’t clear. Perhaps Artemis was meant to be female in this series? It is mentioned in the Codename Sailor V manga that Artemis is a woman’s name, though this seemed to be intended as a joke.

A Sailor V Manga Ad featuring Usagi as Sailor V with Artemis

One other odd piece is this ad for the Sailor V Manga where it appears that Usagi is the one dressed as Sailor V along with a white cat, presumably Artemis. This ad was published though by the time the manga it advertised was out, it was quite different than what was in the ad.

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V information

So what happened to this series? I believe it was incorrect for me to say that this series was abandoned or scrapped. It’s more accurate to say that Sailor V evolved into Sailor Moon. I’m not privy to all of the behind the scenes decisions but it seems like Codename Sailor V showed promise to be a series. The idea of a girl fighting crime alone was expanded into more of a group show, like we see with these characters who would have helped out Minako. This was in turn further expanded into the girl version of Super Sentai which was Sailor Moon. Minako become Usagi, Hikaru became Ami, Miyabi became Rei, Mamoru became Makoto and then the original Minako became the slightly different Minako. Many of the other elements don’t really map from one series to another. The Dark Agency is not terribly similar to the Dark Kingdom and there wasn’t a real equivalent to Mamoru in Sailor V, though surely some sort of love interest would have popped up eventually. It seems like Sailor Moon, the manga, was made with the intention of it being adapted into an anime series. The Sailor V anime concept was just a step on that path. Wouldn’t it be great if that series had been made? It kind of did, there were just a lot of changes in getting there. The Sailor V anime is like Star Trek with Captain Pike and Number One. Sailor Moon is what we got after the idea evolved a bit.

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V characters

Kazuko Tadano and Hiromi Matsushita from the Sailor Moon anime

Some images appear to be from a Sailor V anime that was almost made before Sailor Moon

Sailor V anime - Sailor V, Minako and Artemis

Some very interesting images surfaced online last week and started making the rounds in the Sailor Moon fan community yesterday, October 3rd. The earliest sign of these I could find were a series of Tweets from user @ayumikapimofu who posted a number of photos of a “new program plan” for both Sailor Moon and Sailor V. The Sailor V program appears to show details for a planned Sailor V anime based on the Codename Sailor V manga. This was in the works before that plan was abandoned in favour of a Sailor Moon anime which eventually became the show which was released in 1992. Along with the booklet featuring Naoko Takeuchi’s art are three colour images which appear to be from a Sailor V anime. These include characters from the Codename Sailor V manga as well as all new characters from this anime.

Sailor V Anime - Sailor V, Mamoru, a Rei clone and Hikaru

What’s in here is really interesting! We have Minako as Sailor V, obviously. Along with her were three girls who didn’t transform themselves, or aren’t shown to do so in these images. The one we know of is Hikaru, a girl who strongly resembles Ami from the Sailor V manga who is Minako’s friend and classmate. We also have a Makoto like character named Mamoru and a Rei like character to round out the group. Although there’s no Usagi equivalent, aside from Minako herself, this more or less resembles the group from the first season of the Sailor Moon anime. The villain seen in this is Ashura, a Jadeite looking character with blue hair. Ashura also resembles Higashi, the Dark Agency’s enemy from the first Sailor V story.

Sailor V anime - Ashura

I also spotted what looks to be the Rei type character seen through the page preceding the image of Hikaru. Messing around with the contrast it looks like she could have a crow on her shoulders. It’s also possible this is Natsuna Sakurada, the Superintendent General of the police who is obsessed with Sailor V. She has similar long black hair to Rei.

Sailor V Program - Is this Rei?

Are these authentic? It’s hard to say. These appear to have originated in a Yahoo! Auctions Japan listing which is no longer online. The art in the book looks like Naoko Takeuchi’s so those documents may be authentic but the colour images seem to be something else and their origin is not clear at all. These don’t look like some sort of concept art but rather high quality images from never before seen finished footage which I’ve never heard of, so this does strike me as a bit suspicious. Could there have been actual animation for this made and hidden for nearly 30 years? Perhaps these were just colour mock ups made in the style of what the finished animation might look like, even if no full scenes were animated. Alternatively a fan have made this art themselves inspired by the content of this booklet which is more or less a show Bible. The art style very much resembles that of an early 90s anime! I’m not able to make a definitive call one way or another. It seems plausible this is authentic, but that doesn’t mean it certainly is.

Sailor V Anime Program Plan - Index page

What’s next? Hopefully whoever buys this thing ends up scanning this or at least getting some better photos of it and then someone can do a good job of translating some of this text. If there’s more art where this came from I would love to see it but if it took nearly 30 years for this to surface new information about this series may be as elusive as the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot! I’ll be sure to post any more information about this if I get any!

Sources:

I first heard about this on the moonsisters.org Facebook page which includes some decent images.

The earliest images I found were posted on Twitter on September 25th. These included an image of “new program plans” for Sailor Moon and Sailor V, the first page of the Sailor V program, a manga image from RunRun, a colour image of Sailor V, Minako and Artemis, the group image of Sailor V, Mamoru, a Rei like character and Hikaru, an image of Ashura, Naoko Takeuchi’s illustration of Ashura, a photo of all three anime images, a post with many images including the Sailor V program index which hadn’t been posted separately.

Keep reading for more images from this book.

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