Kazuko Tadano returns to Sailor Moon after nearly 25 years as the animation director of Sailor Moon Crystal

Kazuko Tadano from the Sailor Moon anime

Today, June 30th, is Usagi’s birthday! As is often the case this meant a special live event was held in Japan. Many fans were hopeful to get some small tidbit of information about the upcoming two Sailor Moon Crystal films and we sure did get the smallest tidbit. Kazuko Tadano, character designer and animation director from the first two seasons of the original Sailor Moon anime as well as the Sailor Moon R movie, will be returning to be the animation director for the 4th story arc of Sailor Moon Crystal! As we have previously learned the Dream arc of Sailor Moon Crystal won’t be individual episodes as we had in the past but it will instead be two theatrically released movies. Not much else of interest seems to have been revealed today. This news was confirmed on the official Sailor Moon site.

Kazuko Tadano and Hiromi Matsushita from the Sailor Moon anime

Kazuko Tadano does fantastic work. The box art she did for the Sailor Moon laserdiscs is still used in releases in Japan to this day. Her designs from the first two seasons of the anime are the image of Sailor Moon that most people remember and certainly the one I have the most nostalgia for. The episodes she was animation director for are some of the best looking episodes of the series. I am looking forward to seeing what this new season will look like! I just wish we had a better idea of just when this would finally be released! Until then, we will just have to be patient. If nothing else this is some indication that things are progressing on the series. All indications seem to be that this is happening and fans should be used to waiting at this point. It has been over two years since the last episode of Sailor Moon Crystal aired. Let’s hope we don’t make it to three!

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

Fans interesting in watching the live event for Usagi’s birthday can check out this stream from the official Sailor Moon Twitter account. It includes a number of song performances, information presented by Fumio Osano and a teaser for the upcoming Sailor Moon Super Live musical.

Kazuko Tadano and Hiromi Matsushita as students from the Sailor Moon anime

Kazuko Tadano and her husband Hiromi Matsushita were both animation directors during the early episodes of the original Sailor Moon anime. They both worked on episode 21, Protect the Children’s Dreams: Friendship Through Anime, in which a version of them appeared as the two primary characters in that episode, named Kazuko and Hiromi. I was lucky enough to meet them when they made an appearance at Otakon in 2008! I asked them a question about the episode but unfortunately due to technical issues with the video camera I used at the time, I lost the footage of that panel. When I asked the two to sign my Volume Infinity Art Book they were surprised I had such a thing. When I told Hiromi Matsushita what I’d paid for it he called me “rich man”. This is of course not true as a substantial portion of my income goes to Sailor Moon merchandise!

Check out the box art for the Japanese Sailor Moon S Blu-Rays

Sailor Moon S Blu-Ray Vol. 1

After a long delay the next Japanese Blu-Rays of the original Sailor Moon anime are being released. Following a fairly aggressive schedule for the first season and Sailor Moon R, which saw the second volume released in December 2017, the Sailor Moon S releases didn’t continue with the same schedule. We now have details of those releases, included box art, release dates and vendor exclusives. Volume 1, including episodes 90 to 111, will be released November 14th 2018 while volume 2, covering episodes 112 to 127, will be out on January 9th 2019. This is an odd way to separate the volumes with 21 episodes on four discs in the first set and only 16 over 3 discs in the second. The price reflects this unevenness as well with vol. 1 starting at 15,892 yen, about $144 US, and vol. 2 starting at only 11,880 yen, about $107 US. In both cases there is a more expensive versions which, as far as I can gather, only has to do with the vendor exclusive which may prove difficult to get outside of Japan. I paid the premium for the first Blu-Ray but with my Canadian shipping address I wasn’t able to take advantage of the Amazon exclusive so opted not to bother with later sets.

Sailor Moon S Blu-Ray Vol. 2

The first set has Sailor Moon on the cover with the inside cover including Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon, who first transforms into a Sailor Guardian in the first half of Sailor Moon S. The second set has Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto on the cover and Sailor Neptune, Uranus, Pluto and Saturn on the inner cover. Hotaru, who eventually becomes Sailor Saturn, first appears in episode 112 making all of her appearances on the second set. All of these have repurposed laserdisc cover art. Since I’m in the middle of a move all of my laserdiscs are in boxes so I don’t have any photos on hand for comparison!

Sailor Moon S Blu-Ray vendor exclusive bonuses

Both volume 1 and volume 2 are currently available to pre-order from sites like Amazon Japan. We can see a number of the special incentives that come with ordering these from certain retailers. Ordering from the Japanese Sailor Moon Fan Club will include a sticker sheet while ordering both will include a laserdisc type of poster. Ordering volume 1 from Seven Net will include an acrylic plate and volume 2 will include a tapestry. Ordering both sets from Amazon Japan will include a box to store both sets. Animate orders will include an acrylic key holder for each set. Finally ordering from Neowing will include a cloth poster.

As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of these Blu-Rays, the quality isn’t great. While the original Sailor Moon anime was animated on cels and then converted to film before being put on standard definition video these HD versions were not authored from that film source. Instead the standard definition (480i/p) video source used for television, VHS, laserdisc and DVD, is used as a source and converted to high definition using software filters to extrapolate those extra pixels. Think of taking a small image and stretching it out so that it’s a bit fuzzy. The image this produces is certainly decent compared to the Viz Blu-Ray releases we’ve gotten but certainly nothing close to the movie releases which are authored from film source.

Note that these are Japanese Blu-Ray sets with no English dialogue or subtitles. These might have little use to many English speaking fans. Those looking for a similar quality Blu-Ray set with English audio might be interested in checking out Madman’s release of season 1, Sailor Moon R, Sailor Moon S and Sailor Moon SuperS part 1. These releases have comparable video quality to the Japanese releases which are quite a bit nicer looking than what Viz has released in North America. The problem is that these Blu-Ray discs are region B while North American and Japanese Blu-Rays are region A. This is good news for those in Australia as well as other regions covered by the Blu-Ray B region including Europe, Africa and the Middle East but bad news for those of us in region A such as North and South America and South East Asia. Not sure where you live? Check out this handy Blu-Ray region map. As with DVD players there are region free Blu-Ray players! Something I haven’t gotten around to getting yet.

Interested in getting these? Have you gotten any other sets?

Check out images of the Fan Club exclusives below.

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The Pretty Heroes convention featuring many Sailor Moon voice actors is coming to Toronto June 16th and 17th

Pretty Heroes banner

We’re only a couple of weeks away from a great convention featuring many Sailor Moon guests in Toronto. After two successful years as the Toronto Sailor Moon Celebration this event is being rebranded as the Pretty Heroes convention which will take place the weekend of June 16th and 17th. While this new convention, broader in scope, will still include all things Sailor Moon it will also cover other things which fall under the umbrella of Pretty Heroes. Naturally many Sailor Moon fans will also be interested in many other things which are covered by this convention and so I would suggest you check out the convention’s web site for all of the details. As in the past this convention will be taking place at the Ontario Science Center in Toronto.

Sailor Moon episode 47 - Ail and An

The convention will feature a ton of Sailor Moon related voice actors which includes, from the original English dub of Sailor Moon, Stephanie Morgenstern, the voice of Sailor Venus, Vincent Corazza, the 3rd voice of Tuxedo Mask and the voice of Alan the alien, Sabrina Grdevich, the voice of Ann the alien as well as the original voice of Sailor Pluto, and Barbara Radecki, the voice of Sailor Neptune. Also from Viz’s new dub of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal is Lauren Landa, the voice of Sailor Neptune, and Amanda Miller, the voice of Sailor Jupiter. There may be more guests announced as the convention comes up so keep an eye out on the guest list for the latest.

Sailor Neptune

I had a great time at the first Toronto Sailor Moon Celebration a couple of years ago but unfortunately I could not attend last year and won’t be able to make the trip to Toronto again this year. Will any of you be attending?

Sailor Moon S The Movie and Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie are coming to theatres in July and August

Sailor Moon S and SuperS movies

Great news! The 2nd and 3rd Sailor Moon films, Sailor Moon S The Movie and Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie, are coming to theatres in North America this summer. Sailor Moon S The Movie will be shown with an encore presentation of Sailor Moon R The Movie Saturday July 28th and Monday the 30th while Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie will be shown with the Ami’s First Love special Saturday August 4th and Monday the 6th. The Saturday showings will have Viz’s new English dub of the film while the Monday showings will be in Japanese with English subtitles. This was announced earlier today at Viz’s Moon Panel at Anime Central in Rosemont, just outside of Chicago. A trailer has been uploaded to YouTube and can be seen below:

The movie posters for these two movies are similar in style to what we saw when Sailor Moon R The Movie was released in theatres.

Sailor Moon S The Movie Sailor Moon Supers The Movie

Fans will be able to get tickets and a complete list of participating theatres from the Fathom Events web site. Currently no theatres are listed but there will surely be more added as we get closer to the dates. It seems practical to refer to the SuperS film as Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie rather than it’s full official title Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole. I hardly hold this against Viz as I’ve been known to do the same myself! This will be the first time Ami’s First Love is released here in North America. This short animated special, which was originally shown alongside the SuperS film in Japan, tells the story of Ami receiving a love letter which she suspects is from her intellectual rival Mercurius.

Ami's First Love - Mercurius

Sailor Moon S The Movie is adapted from a manga story The Lover of Princess Kaguya which focuses on Luna and her infatuation with a human man. It is well known for featuring Human Luna.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Human Luna

The Sailor Moon SuperS film is an original story not based on any manga chapter. It has Chibiusa befriending Perle, a sort of fairy boy who’s rebelling against Badiane, a villain who is attempting to put the Earth’s children into an eternal sleep in the Black Dream Hole. The film’s story has some similarities to the film The Matrix, which was made a few years after it, though these may be a simple coincidence.

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie - Perle, Chibiusa and Diana

Do you plan on checking out these films?

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Watch these clips for Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1, out on home video April 24th

Sailor Moon SuperS Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1 will be out on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 24th. Those looking to pre-order it should be careful to get the right version. I often get these from Amazon however the Special Edition is hard to find on the site. The Amazon listing for the product only includes the DVD and Regular Edition Blu-Ray but there is a separate page with no box art which has the Special Edition Blu-Ray. This includes a box to house both volumes and a special booklet. The set can also be pre-ordered from Right Stuf. They have Special Edition Blu-Ray, Standard Edition Blu-Ray and DVD copies listed on their site.

As is often the case with such a release Viz has given us a sneak peak at a lot of the voices in the form of some videos. These ones were posted to the Viz Media Twitter account as well as their YouTube channel. This includes a full trailer showing various characters and a couple of clips of the Amazon Trio. You can watch them embedded below:

We also recently got cast information about Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2! Long ago we learned about the actors appearing in Part 1 but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago at Anime Boston that we finally got an announcement of who would be voicing Queen Nehelenia (now spelled Nehalennia) and the Amazoness Quartet. This was confirmed on Twitter. The Amazon Quartet take the place of the Amazon Trio as the season’s villains once their story arc is completed. The cast includes Laura Post as Queen Nehalennia, Erica Lindbeck as Ves-Ves, Xanthe Huynh as Palla-Palla, Erika Ishii as Jun-Jun and Cassandra Lee Morris as Cere-Cere. Cassandra Lee Morris previously voiced Calaveras of the Ayakashi Sisters in Sailor Moon R.

Cast info for Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 - The Amazoness Quartet and Queen Nehalennia

Are you planning on picking up this set?

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album impressions

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album - Cover

The Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album CD was released in Japan on April 4th. I picked up my copy from Amazon Japan which meant that I got the Amazon Japan exclusive sticker featuring Usagi and Chibiusa. Having had a chance to listen to the album a couple of times I thought I would share my thoughts on it. Overall it’s enjoyable to hear these iconic tracks with a bit of a twist. All considered I much preferred the 20th Anniversary Memorial Tribute album released about 5 years ago as it had a bit more variety and a lot of the songs on this album are just a rehash of those. Some of the tracks are pretty good but I wouldn’t say any of them are superior to their originals for all that’s worth.

Moonlight Densetsu performed by LiSA is decent. We’ve seen this song redone so many times though and this is hardly the best we’ve seen! It’s a more upbeat version and a more significant departure from the original than the other one we have on this album.

La Soldier by Gesshoku Kaigi is one of the better tracks. La Soldier, although featured in the final real episode of Sailor Moon R, is a musical song. It’s actually the only musical song on this album and was also the only musical song on the last Tribute Album. It’s a great song and it certainly would have been nice to see more covers of musical songs.

Moon Revenge by BiSH is terrible! I’m all for switching things up but this one is a bit too much! It’s starts out fast and gets faster until it’s pretty much a joke at which point there’s a bunch of screaming. What a farce! We got a cover of Moon Revenge, which is from Sailor Moon R The Movie, by Momoiro Clover Z a few years ago. It would have been nice to get a cover of another movie song instead or in addition to this.

Otome No Policy is Otome No pointless. What a waste of time! Yoko Ishida returns to do a “cover” of this ending theme from Sailor Moon R. It’s pretty much the same as the version she recorded 25 years ago. Further she performed it just recently at the Classic Concert. What is the point of this? It’s a tribute album! You don’t just get the same artist to do the same song in the same style. What is this, Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone?

Kakumei wa Night & Day or Revolution is Night & Day by Etsuko Yakushimaru is finally something a bit new. Here’s a song we didn’t see on the last Tribute Album for a change! This is from Sailor Moon Crystal, sort of it. It’s a character song which originally featured the entire cast. While it’s certainly nice to hear something a bit different this really isn’t a song I had much affection for. The Sailor Moon Character Song CD was released in April 2015 but didn’t actually include any music from the series but instead songs performed by the cast. Character songs are common for Sailor Moon series. The original anime and live action series had many such songs released on CDs and singles, some of which actually appeared on the shows. This makes me wonder why this was chosen for inclusion instead of some perhaps more memorable character songs from the past? I would have enjoyed a duet of You’re Just My Love covered by a pair of popular artists. Regardless I do appreciate the attempt at something different on this album that is so much a rehash of songs we hear time and time again … and again.

“Rashiku” Ikimashou or I’ll Go As Myself, performed by Sonoko Inoue, is a fairly enjoyable track. This ending theme for Sailor Moon SuperS which was also included at the end of the Ami’s First Love special is a fun pop upbeat pop song which lends itself well to being covered by a new artist! This version is a bit different which is always good. Isn’t that the point?

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album - Insert - Pages 11 and 12

Kaze mo Sora mo Kitto or The Wind, the Sky, Surely, is the second track performed by Gesshoku Kaigi. This was originally the ending theme for Sailor Stars. This is a decent track which departs a bit from the original but doesn’t surpass it in quality.

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album - Insert - Pages 5 and 6

The Sailor Stars Song is performed by Silent Siren. This is a great opening theme so it’s kind of hard to do a bad job of it. Silent Siren’s cover is enjoyable.

Eternal Eternity is performed by Ziyou-Vachi. This is the first ending theme for the third season of Sailor Moon Crystal which originally featured Sailor Uranus and Neptune and was performed by their voice actors. Upon hearing this song I immediately recognized Avu-chan, who provides the Sailor Uranus part of the vocals on this song. Avu-chan was half of the duet which performed Ai No Senshi on the first Tribute Album. Since her performance was not as a member of Ziyou-Vachi on that album I did not originally spot that this was yet another artist who was returning for this album. Having a transgender woman to provide the voice of Sailor Uranus is a bit odd to me. Haruka is a woman with masculine tendencies. To have her voice performed by a transgender woman who herself identifies with femininity seems potentially insensitive. That said I don’t know much about this particular artist. Perhaps this is a character that she somehow identifies with so without specifics I can’t really pass judgement.

Finally we have two bonus tracks which are both performed by voice actors from Sailor Moon Crystal. This being the voices of Sailor Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus. They perform Moonlight Densetsu or Moonlight Legend, the Sailor Moon anime opening theme, and Tuxedo Mirage, the Sailor Moon S ending theme. While this is an interesting choice for performers the songs are pretty much like the ones we’ve already heard. Tuxedo Mirage in particular is almost indistinguishable from the original. Not too impressive but as so called bonus tracks I feel like it’s better than nothing.

Ultimately a limiting factor in my enjoyment of this album may simply be that I’m unfamiliar with many of these artists. If I were a Japanese music fan living in Japan and familiar with some or all of these bands I might be excited to hear them perform some of these songs which I enjoy so much but I really come at this only as a Sailor Moon fan who has no real investment in these artists. Still there were tracks on the first Tribute Album that really blew me away. When I heard Tommy heavenly6’s La Soldier I was so impressed with it that I sought out and listened to a number of her albums. This album didn’t encourage me to do anything similar with any of the artists involved.

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album - Cover

As packaging goes this one is nothing too extraordinary. The cover is a bit disappointing as it’s just recycled art from the recently released Sailor Moon 20th Anniversary Book.

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album - CD

The CD is pretty neat with a sort of rotational symmetry which may frustrate you if you’re trying to orient it correctly. I decided to try to line mine up straight with the hard to make out Compact Disc logo.

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album - Insert - Pages 1 and 2

The included booklet which includes 20 pages is quite nice. With so many CDs these days having little to no insert it’s nice to see a few pages of art and full lyrics for all songs as we see here. I’ve included photos of all pages of this booklet at the end of the post.

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album - Amazon Japan exclusive sticker

I also got a special sticker for having pre-ordered this from Amazon Japan. There are a number of different stickers which are included depending on where you got the album. These were all cover art from the Sailor Moon manga. The sticker I got featured Usagi and Chibiusa with the other Sailor Guardians in the background.

Do I recommend this? My feelings on it are pretty lukewarm. If it wasn’t evident I much preferred the 20th Anniversary Tribute album. Still there are a few enjoyable tracks that a fan might appreciate. It may not be worth the effort to import but should it become available to download from a digital service like iTunes down the line that would be a justifiable purchase. There is also, of course, the option of acquiring it less than legally. I will always encourage supporting the show though there are certainly no shortage of options for doing so with the way Sailor Moon is monetized these days. I won’t facilitate sharing such things on this site but ultimately I leave that kind of decision to you!

Keep reading for more images of the box art and all pages of the included booklet.

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Check out a preview of all tracks on the Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Tribute album

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album cover art

The Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Tribute Album will be released later this week, on April 4th, but you can now see a video previewing of all tracks on the Sailor Moon official site. I had previously posted a translation of all tracks on this album. We have now also learned of two bonus tracks which will be included. These are Moonlight Densetsu (Moonlight Legend), the original Sailor Moon anime opening theme, as well as Tuxedo Mirage, the ending theme to Sailor Moon S. Both of these tracks will be performed by the cast of Sailor Moon Crystal. That being Kotono Mitsuishi, Sailor Moon, Hisako Kanemoto, Sailor Mercury, Rina Sato, Sailor Mars, Ami Koshimizu, Sailor Jupiter, and Shizuka Ito, Sailor Venus. It sure is nice to see that they still have the contact information of the Sailor Moon Crystal cast, what with it having been so long since they’ve recorded any episodes of the show.

The cast of Sailor Moon Crystal reading the Sailor Moon manga at Usagi's birthday celebration

Check out the video below.

What do you think? I’ve got a few thoughts already! I don’t like Moon Revenge at all. I’m all for doing a cover in a different style but this fast pace just doesn’t fit the song to me. I’m pretty disappointed with Otome No Policy being so similar to the original version. Why get the original artist back to sing the same song in the exact same way especially after we just got a fairly similar version from the Classic Concert? Hearing Moonlight Densetsu with the new cast is pretty neat, though this song is generally done to death. We had originally gotten a “Pretty Cast” version of this song from the original anime. Pretty Cast was a name for a group composed of the five voice actors voicing the original Sailor Guardians. As they were also the original voices for Moon Revenge I would have preferred to see them do the vocals for this song as a bonus and perhaps give something more fitting to BiSH.

Any favourite tracks out of these? Are you picking up this album this week?

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album track listing and cover art has been revealed

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album cover art

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album will be released on April 4th. You can pre-order it from sites like Amazon Japan. The Sailor Moon Official Site has posted a track listing for the album which shows us what will be included and what artists will be performing them. It also includes the album cover which is somewhat underwhelming as it’s art we’ve already seen for the 25th Anniversary Book. I’ve translated the track listing below.

1. Moonlight Densetsu (Moonlight Legend) by LiSA
2. La Soldier by Gesshoku Kaigi
3. Moon Revenge by BiSH
4. Otome no Policy (Maiden’s Policy) by Yoko Ishida
5. Kakumei wa Night & Day (Revolution is Night & Day) by Etsuko Yakushimaru
6. “Rashiku” Ikimashou (I’ll Go As Myself) by Sonoko Inoue
7. Kaze mo Sora mo Kitto… (The Wind, the Sky, Surely…) by Gesshoku Kaigi
8. Sailor Stars Song by Silent Siren
9. Eternal Eternity by Ziyoou-vachi

A bit of a mixed bag here. I was hoping for a bit more of a variety of tracks that weren’t on the 20th Anniversary Tribute Album. Most of these are songs from the original Sailor Moon anime with only one musical song and two songs from Sailor Moon Crystal. I would have liked to have seen more songs from films, musicals or even the live action series which had not been revisited rather than rehashing the same songs yet again.

LiSA

As always the album starts out with Moonlight Densetsu or Moonlight Legend, the Sailor Moon opening theme, this time performed by LiSA. This is surely the Sailor Moon song which has been performed by the most artists.

Gesshoku Kaigi

La Soldier, performed by Gesshoku Kaigi, is a song which was used in most of the early Sailor Moon musicals. It was also featured at the end of Sailor Moon R episode 88. Gesshoku Kaigi will also be performing Kaze mo Sora mo Kitto or The Wind, the Sky, Surely, the ending theme for Sailor Stars. They are the only band to perform two songs on this album.

BiSH

Moon Revenge, performed by BiSH, is the first track that wasn’t on the 20th Anniversary Tribute Album. It was the theme song of Sailor Moon R The Movie which had the five Sailor Guardians each performing in this song. BiSH currently has six members. Perhaps one of them won’t be included in the song or will only sing in the parts where all members are involved. Previously Momoiro Clover Z performed a cover for this song which worked well as that group includes five members.

Yoko Ishida

Otome no Policy or Maiden’s Policy, the Sailor Moon R ending theme, is being performed by Yoko Ishida who originally performed the song for the Sailor Moon anime. This seems an odd choice for a tribute album which is otherwise all covers by new artists. I would expect that this version would be done in some other style especially after we just got a cover of it by Yoko Ishida for the Classic Concert.

Etsuko Yakushimaru

Kakumei wa Night & Day or Revolution is Night & Day is perhaps the most obscure inclusion on this album. It was originally included in the fairly unmemorable Sailor Moon Crystal character song CD. It was not, to my knowledge, ever included in the series itself. Character songs have existed for the original anime and the live action series but the more memorable ones of these were featured in those series although many were only included in singles and albums. There are surely many other character songs which could have been used instead of or in addition to this one. The song will be performed by Etsuko Yakushimaru. This is a particularly odd choice as this song, like Moon Revenge, was performed by the five members of the Sailor Team. Since Etsuko Yakushimaru is a single artist I’m not sure why this track was chosen. This, like all other Sailor Moon Crystal tracks, was not included in the 20th Anniversary Tribute Album since Sailor Moon Crystal did not exist at the time.

Sonoko Inoue

“Rashiku” Ikimashou or I’ll Go As Myself will be performed by Sonoko Inoue. This was the second Sailor Moon SuperS ending theme which was also used for the end credits of the Ami’s First Love special which played with the Sailor Moon SuperS movie.

Silent Siren

The Sailor Stars Song, the second opening theme used for the entire Sailor Stars series, will be performed by Silent Siren.

Ziyoou-vachi

Eternal Eternity will be performed by Ziyoou-vachi. This was the opening theme for Sailor Moon Crystal Season III.

Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album exclusive incentives

The post also included a list of vendor exclusive bonuses. These are art by Naoko Takeuchi which was originally included with the manga.

What do you think of the artists chosen for these tracks? Which are you most looking forward to hearing?

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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