Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray review

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Cover

The Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in Japan on March 20th and I’ve been working on this post since around then. The musical was originally performed in Japan last summer but I’d never gotten around to seeing any version of it until now. As such this will be a review of the Blu-Ray itself as well as my thoughts on the musical. If you’re looking to pick it up there are three version up on Amazon Japan. The limited edition Amazon Blu-Ray, now sold out, includes two folders. The regular Blu-Ray seems to be the same without the folders. Finally the DVD is a bit less expensive but of much worse quality. Keep in mind that as is often the case with Japanese Sailor Moon releases this set includes no English audio or subtitle options.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Back

Right off I have to say that I’m very happy to see that this release is on Blu-Ray and not just on DVD. I have not hidden my contempt for the sub par DVD releases we’ve gotten for the recent musicals, always featuring horrible looking 480i standard definition video. This release finally gives us a Sailor Moon in high definition! Looking at the fine print on the back of the box we see that it’s technically 1080i and not 1080p as you might see for most Blu-Ray releases. I guess they just love that interlaced video! What’s the difference? It’s nothing major! 1080i mean it’s interlaced instead of the 1080p progressive scan. Interlaced video works with scan lines where odd and then even lines are updated one at a time instead of the entire image being loaded one complete frame at a time. If you pause an old VHS tape you have probably noticed how there are often two images overlaid on the screen at a time which is the side effect of this. It can also affect the quality of screenshots. At such a high resolution it’s harder to notice and in motion it’s even less obvious. Most television is broadcast at 1080i and still of very high quality, so it’s really not a big problem as far as I’m concerned. Screenshots included in this post have not been modified to eliminate the scan lines and they still look decent.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Luna and Usagi

Overall the image quality is quite good! This musical looks great in high definition and after seeing so many standard definition releases, this really is a pleasure. The musical features a lot of fun special effects which are projected onto the stage and these are all captured beautifully in high definition. The sets, actors and costumes all appear clearly like only those who attend these shows in person have been able to see in the past! The camera work on the musical is good, following the important action when needed and letting us see the full musical. All special features included are also in high definition and those look great as well.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Zoisite, Kunzite and Jadeite

The musical itself is quite enjoyable. This is the Nogizaka46 musical meaning it features members of the band Nogizaka46 as the main cast. They make up two teams, Team Moon and Team Star, and this three disc set includes the full musical in both Team Moon and Team Star versions! From what I could tell both of these musicals were essentially the same, with the main cast of Sailor Guardians differing between teams. All other characters were played by the same actors in both versions. As this covers the Dark Kingdom story arc the extended cast includes Tuxedo Mask, Queen Beryl, the Shitennou, Queen Serenity as well as Umino and Naru. It’s great to see Usagi’s friends included in this musical.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Naru and Umino

The story of the musical follows that of the manga quite closely, which also follows quite well with the original anime and Sailor Moon Crystal. This is more faithful than most other musicals. Although there is no English dub or subtitles on this set fans familiar with the series should still be able to follow easily enough. We start out with the first story, introducing us to Usagi, Umino, Naru and even Haruna as well as Luna and Morga. We then move on to the second with the introduction of Mercury and then Mars, all somewhat following their introductions from the manga. Next we start to combine stories by having Sailor Jupiter introduced during the Masquerade Dance Party and things start to deviate.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - The Shitennou with the Sailor Guardians in the past

The main difference in this version, which we start to see at the party, are the pairings between the Sailor Guardians and the Shitennou. This was originally hinted at in some art in the Sailor Moon manga though those relationships, aside from a bit of Minako and Kunzite’s, were not really fleshed out. These were brought back in Sailor Moon Crystal which was a nice addition, though the series was so closely based on the manga that there wasn’t room for much deviation. They were kept alive to dwell on the pairing only to be killed off later before it really went anywhere.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Tuxedo Mask attacks Usagi

The rest of the musical goes through the story of the manga which has been touched upon in previous musicals. The gang go to the Moon and talk to a hologram of Queen Serenity. We get a series of deaths and suicides and evil Mamoru trying to kill Usagi and ultimately the world is saved.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Chibiusa arrives

Finally the musical ends with an interesting scene! The gang are hanging around and Usagi sees something falling from the sky. Is this meant to be Chibiusa? If so, why are we including this scene? The first story arc of the manga does indeed end with the arrival of Chibiusa to set up the Black Moon story arc but in that case there was the intention to have it continue! The Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical is, as far as I understand it, only meant to be a one time thing. Could this really be setting up a Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical 2? Not sure about that!

Nogizaka 46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Puppet Luna

Technically the musical looks great. The puppet work on Luna was particularly impressive. There was an actor who can very clearly be seen controlling Luna, which can be a bit distracting, but the actual cat’s movements were something which would not have been possible by other means. Beyond Luna there were also Phobos and Deimos puppets. These two crows were also controlled by human puppeteers which can be seen on the stage. Luna even gets a chance to ride on one of the crows!

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Star - Q and A

The musical is followed by the now expected seemingly never ending series of encores which includes an enjoyable rendition of La Soldier, a classic from the first Sailor Moon musicals, and a version of Moonlight Densetsu sung by the entire cast. We then have each cast member sharing a few words and crying, which has become another staple of the final performances of the musicals.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Bonus features - Team Star - Happy Birthday

Aside from the Team Moon and Team Star discs there is a third disc which includes bonus features. Each feature has both a Team Moon and Team star version. The first feature is a “cast cam” which is a bunch of behind the scenes footage of rehearsal and the performance of the musical. One moment includes the cast of Team Star singing happy birthday to Ranze Terada who plays Sailor Mars in Team Star. This was funny to me as it was, in September 2018, her 20th birthday which reminds us that she, and many others in this musical, are so young that they were no only born after Sailor Moon started airing but even after the original Sailor Moon manga and anime were done.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Bonus features - Team Star Game

Next there is a game! I should remind everyone at this point that I do not speak Japanese so it was a bit hard to tell exactly what was going on. In each case they pitted the Sailor Guardians, who were a different group between the Team Moon and Team Star games, against the Dark Kingdom, who are the same actors in both versions and therefore both games. As far as I can tell Team Moon did a game of charades and Team Star did a Pictionary or Win Lose or Draw style game where one sketches something and the others have to guess it. Both seem entertaining but it’s hard to get much from these features when you don’t speak the language.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Sailor Mars

Finally we have a series of clips to highlight the various characters. These are all clips from the musical but often the camera angle is changed to focus on that particular character. This sort of features seems mostly useless to me.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Star Disc and Extras

The packaging is good. This is a nice looking set with photos of both casts on the front. The art of the discs themselves is quite nice. There’s an insert with a few pages again showing both casts.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Amazon exclusive folders

Since I ordered the Amazon Japan limited edition version my copy also came with two mini folders. One features Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask and the other features the Sailor Guardians.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Minako and Rei

All in all I would say this set is quite worth it. Yes it is expensive compared to buying a movie in North America but it’s not much more than the other musical releases and it really is a much higher quality release. After so many sub part standard definition DVDs it’s a real treat to get this Blu-Ray. The image quality is fantastic. The set includes two full versions of the musical and numerous extras. The lack of English audio or subtitles is of course a problem for English speaking fans. This set was made for a Japanese audience but other fans should enjoy it.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Q and A

Ultimately fans may find that this istheir best chance at seeing this musical. Like many others I enjoyed watching the fan subbed versions of the musicals supplied by Miss Dream. After they received a takedown notice for four recent musicals, it seems that they will not be subtitling any of the newer musicals. (June 8th update: Miss Dream’s Dan Bednarksi has clarified in a comment on this post that the issue had to do with the trouble getting a translator for this musical. The two teams added complication to this issue as it would potentially double some of the work needed.) As a result importing the musicals on video may be the only way some fans will be able to see them! I certainly hope that some time soon we will be seeing international releases of these musicals with subtitles for fans to enjoy. Perhaps this will happen around the time we get more Sailor Moon Crystal!

Keep reading for a lot more photos of the set and screenshots from the musical.

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 is now available to pre-order on DVD and Blu-Ray from Amazon

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Blu-Ray set box art

Following last week’s news about Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on June 18th fans can now pre-order the set from Amazon. This includes the less expensive DVD version, selling for just $28.26, as well as the standard Blu-Ray version, which is selling for $61.12 and the Limited Edition Blu-Ray which is $71.73. This is slightly less expensive than pre-ordering from RightStuf, which currently costs $71.99, though users ordering from RightStuf will be able to get the exclusive coin. If you pre-order from Amazon using the links below, or any other Amazon links such as the ones on the left sidebar on the main page, this will support this site.

This set includes episodes 167 to 183. This includes the short six episode Nehelenia arc, which is a sort of bridge between the SuperS season and Sailor Stars, and the introduction of the Sailor Starlights and their alternate identities, the Three Lights! The set will end with the introduction of the mysterious Chibi Chibi! These will be available for the first time with English audio, featuring Viz’s new English dub of the series, as well as Japanese audio with English subtitles. We never got a straight answer as to why Sailor Stars wasn’t originally dubbed but some fans believe that it was because the content would have been considered inappropriate for some viewers. If that was ever true it seems like this is no longer the case!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - The Sailor Starlights

Do you ship Seiya and Usagi? Will you be getting this release? I’m certainly looking forward to watching it in English for the first time. Though I’ve imported the Japanese DVDs and laserdiscs of Sailor Stars over the years the copies I’ve watched the most were VHS fan subs and a bootleg DVD, both of which used the VKLL subtitle scripts.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 182 - Chibi Chibi

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 174 - Taiki, Seiya and Yaten - The Three Lights

Check out the cover art for the upcoming Sailor Stars DVD and Blu-Ray release

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Blu-Ray set box art

We’ve got our first look at Viz’s upcoming home video release of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars which is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray later this year. It was previously announced that this set would be out in the Spring, but we have not received any specifics about a release date beyond this. The box art features Eternal Sailor Moon with her Eternal Tiare. This was shared in an article on the Kodansha Comics web site discussing Sailor Moon. It is mentioned that the first 17 episodes of the season will be included in this first set which will also contain behind the scenes interviews. This is the English release by Viz which will include the first ever English dub of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars as well as Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Osabu

The article includes a humourous interview with Sailor Moon editor Fumio Osano, commonly referred to as Osabu, in which he seems to suggest that North American readers may be interested in the Eternal Editions of the manga because of their large hands. Perhaps he has been baffled by the size of American comics since seeing an Xbox controller years ago! He also discusses his involvement with the manga over the years and more specifically his work as it relates to the North American audience.

Source: @fredjfrancis on Twitter

The Eternal Editions of the manga which are mentioned really do look great. They feature new translations, larger glossier pages and all colour pages which originally appeared in Nakayoshi. Order the first two volumes and pre-order others using the links below:


Though Sailor Moon Sailor Stars is not yet available to pre-order you can support the site by buying previous releases using the links below:



The Sailor Moon SuperS Japanese Blu-Ray sets are coming starting in May

Sailor Moon SuperS Vol. 1 Blu-Ray

The next season of Sailor Moon will be released on Blu-Ray in Japan as Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1 and 2 are scheduled to be released. Part 1 will cost 19,800 yen, about $180 US, and be released on May 8th while Part 2 will cost 14,800 yen, about $135 US, and will be out on July 10th. These prices are probably a bit higher than what it will ultimately cost. Both sets are up for pre-order from Amazon for a bit less. There are two versions listed there, as is the case with other retailers, where the one with the vendor exclusive incentives cost significantly more. Note that these are Japanese releases with no English audio or subtitles. If the other seasons are any indicators they are of decent quality compared to the North American releases but still a software upscaled version of standard definition sources. Japan, like North America, is region A so these will play in a North American off the shelf Blu-Ray player or PlayStation system.

Sailor Moon SuperS Vol. 2 Blu-Ray

According to the TOEI web site each of the sets includes 22 episodes which is almost certainly incorrect. Sailor Moon SuperS is episode 128 to 166, a total of 39 episodes. The price discrepancy between the sets likely indicates that there are more episodes on volume 1 than volume 2, which has been the case with past sets. It’s likely that volume 1 includes 22 episodes, plus the Sailor Moon SuperS Special, while volume 2 includes the remaining 17 episodes. This would actually split the sets up quite well into the 22 episodes featuring the Amazon Trio and the 17 episodes featuring the Amazoness Quartet. The Amazon Japan listing states the length of volume 1 to be 573 minutes, which accounts for 22 episodes plus the hour long special, while volume 2 is stated to be 405 minutes, which would account for 17 episodes. This assumes roughly 24 minutes per episode without commercials.

Other special features are sparse as always. We have the 15 second commercials for each episode as well as the lower quality (non super) creditless opening and ending credits. Since Sailor Moon SuperS has two ending themes one would assume that each set will have one of the end credits.

Sailor Moon SuperS Blu-Ray - Bonuses

As always there are a bunch of vendor exclusive incentives. These include posters, stickers and other little knick knacks. In some cases these will come with each volume but with others you have to buy each. This is an annoyance for me as I do not live in Japan and the exclusives needing both volumes aren’t shipped with either order but need to be ordered separately. There are individual images of all of the exclusives below.

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The Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray March 20th

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical - Sayuri Inoue and Mizuki Yamashita as Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon in Weekly Shonen Magazine

Good news for musical fans who have TVs that were made after 1992! It has been announced on the official Sailor Moon site that the recent Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical will be released not only on low resolution DVD but also on high definition Blu-Ray! This 3 disk set will include two version of the musical, that being both the Team Moon and Team Star versions, as well as bonus features! This is great news given the last 5 musicals, all released long after Blu-Rays and high definition televisions were commonplace, were only released on a low quality 480i DVD. I’ve complained about this time and time again as the past musical releases are really not in keeping with where the rest of the video industry is. This has become particularly frustrating in light of the fact that streaming and digital versions of the musical, uniquely available in Japan, are available in significantly higher resolutions than the DVD releases. I had previously suspected that the reason for the low quality releases was that older style video cameras had been used for the recordings, but this does not appear to be the case.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical - The entire cast

This is particularly useful for North American fans who would normally not be able to play Japanese DVDs but are able to play Japanese Blu-Rays. Japan is in DVD region 2, while North America is in DVD region 1, requiring a region free DVD player to be able to watch a Japanese DVD. When it comes to Blu-Ray discs however a different system based on letters is used and both North America and Japan are part of Blu-Ray region A. I play all of my imported Japanese Blu-Rays on my off the shelf Canadian PlayStation 3 and 4 systems without issue. Keep in mind that these Japanese releases do not have any subtitles so fans will only be able to watch them in Japanese.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon Musical - Sailor Mercury, Mars and Moon

These releases unfortunately will not be cheap! The Blu-Ray release is 9504 yen, about $84 US, and the DVD at a modest 8424 yen, about $75. There’s certainly a good deal of content at that price but this still seems quite expensive! Bonus features on the third disc will include rehearsal footage, backstage video and more.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical - Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon

I certainly hope that this means we will be getting Blu-Ray releases of musicals in the future. While that may be the case this release may also be given more attention due to the fact that it involves members of the band Nogizaka46 and will appeal to a new audience. We don’t have any box art yet but I think a reversible cover with Team Moon and Team Star would be fun. Do you plan on picking up this release?

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray November 13th

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 Blu-Ray box art

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 has been officially announced. It is set to be released on November 13th. We have a good look at the box art which was posted on RightStuf where the set is available for pre-order. As I understand it this set was announced at the Moon Panel at Anime Expo last weekend. Though I did not attend or watch this panel I did attempt to follow along with #moonpanel on Twitter but I didn’t see anything related to this mentioned. Since SuperS Part 1 was released in April of this year this is a decent turnaround between sets. Fans have certainly had to wait longer between releases before! Let’s hope that the Sailor Stars sets aren’t far behind!

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 Blu-Ray - Postcards

Pre-orders from RightStuf will include the postcards you can see in the image above. These postcards feature the Sailor Team, Chibiusa, Zirconia, Nehelenia, Helios, the Amazon Trio and the Amazoness Quartet. Are you planning to get this set?

Thanks to Chad for bringing this to my attention.

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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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 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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