Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Set 1 impressions

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Set 1 - Contents

The first North American release of Sailor Moon Crystal is out on DVD and Blu-Ray! This came out on August 16th and is available in stores as well as online retailers such as Amazon. Yes I know this review is long overdue. I started it months ago and then just never got around to posting it. I’ll be talking specifically about the Limited Edition Blu-Ray set though the standard Blu-Ray and DVD versions are both out and since those are contained within this set you can get an idea of what they are with this review. The set contains the first 14 episodes of the series, spanning the entire Dark Kingdom story arc. I had pre-ordered the set from Amazon Canada but when it didn’t ship after release I canceled my order and bought it from HMV. I haven’t rewatched the entire set but have watched it a bit to see the quality.

The quality looks really good. This is probably the issue most people, or at least myself, had with the original series release. The old masters from the 90s weren’t great. The Japanese DVDs looked decent but every release we’ve gotten in North America has had significant issues. I don’t blame Viz for that. I think they did the best with what they had to work with. This is a whole other ball game. Sailor Moon Crystal is new. Viz has access to great masters and the quality of the release reflects that. I didn’t do frame by frame comparisons but the show looks generally good. The Blu-Ray looks like a Blu-Ray of a recent show should and the DVD is limited only by the format. Note that this is the same video as the Japanese home video release which had minor changes from the original streaming version. That was the same source that was used for the dub of Sailor Moon Crystal which is included on this set.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Set 1 - Extras menu

There aren’t a ton of extras in this release. There are art galleries which include a handful of character art from various characters. There’s also a “clean” version of the opening and end credits, meaning they don’t have any credits included, just the original visuals. There’s an English trailer for Sailor Moon Crystal which you may have seen before. There are also trailers for other Viz releases such as their release of the original Sailor Moon anime and some other anime shows.

The set also comes with an 88 page booklet. Since the Japanese releases of the first story arc of Sailor Moon Crystal covered 7 different releases, including a 24 page booklet each, it wasn’t practical to include these as a massive 168 page book, but this booklet is close enough. It includes episode summaries and character art from those included in the Japanese release. Not everything is included or translated word for word. Interviews are included but instead of featuring Japanese voice actors and staff who’d worked on the show these are replaced with interviews with actors from the English dub.

As you can see the character art included is nearly identical.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 3 Deluxe Edition - Booklet - Rei

Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 3 booklet

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Set 1 - Booklet - Character designs - Rei and Sailor Mars

North American booklet

While interview content is completely different the layout is very similar.

Sailor Moon Crystal Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Booklet interview with Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon

Japanese Blu-Ray vol. 1 booklet

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Set 1 - Booklet - Interview with Stephanie Sheh

North American Blu-Ray booklet

The packaging looks great. Since there was so much art for the various Japanese releases a series of art cards are included in this. There are seven cards in total which reflect the art included with each of the seven Japanese releases for the first story arc.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Set 1 - Character art

If you have been enjoying Sailor Moon Crystal then you should probably pick up this release. It isn’t necessary if you just want to watch the show, as the streaming version remains available on a number of services, but as more of those require users to pay to view content free of ads or at all we can’t know what the future may bring. Physical media continues to be less and less relevant but if you want to have this series and have it forever this is an affordable way to do it. The Limited Edition Blu-Ray may seem expensive for 14 episodes but a single two episode Japanese release cost about the same. It’s a bargain all thing considered. If you’re a completist and you need a reason to get this when you can still watch the streaming version consider that this set is the only way to watch the series in Japanese with English subtitles including the updated animation.

Keep reading for more photos of this set and the included special book.

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Sailor Moon Crystal Season III volume 2 Japanese Blu-Ray review

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray - Vol. 2 - Contents

The latest Blu-Ray release for Sailor Moon Crystal’s Infinity Arc was released on July 27th in Japan. This is the second of three releases covering this story arc and includes episodes 30 through 33. The set also includes a 24 page booklet with episode descriptions, interviews and character art. This is a Japanese only release with no English subtitles. You can order it from online retailers such as Amazon Japan for 6516 yen, about $65 US.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray - Vol. 2 - Front

The packaging for this release highlights Sailor Uranus and Neptune with a great cover image on the Blu-Ray itself. The colours on the box match Sailor Uranus’s Sailor Fuku with a yellow bow.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray - Vol. 2 - Disc

Episodes included in this release are Act 30, Infinity 4 – Sailor Uranus – Haruka Tenoh – Sailor Neptune – Michiru Kaioh, Act 31 – Sailor Pluto – Setsuna Meioh, Act 32 – Infinity 6 – Three Guardians, and Act 33 – Infinity 7 – Transformation – Super Sailor Moon. These cover the Witches 5’s Viluy, Tellu, Cyprine and Ptitlol, the appearance of Setsuna Meioh and Sailor Pluto as well as the origins of the Holy Grail and Sailor Moon’s transformation into Super Sailor Moon. Also included is the first appearance of Sailor Saturn, but only in flashback form, and a brief appearance by Mistress 9.

I watched all four episodes and didn’t notice any changes in animation from the original streaming release as had been done with the first 26 episodes. As there were no changes to the last release either I suspect we won’t be seeing any changes to the episodes of this story arc.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray - Vol. 2 - Special Booklet 2 - Pages 12 and 13 - Interview with Yukiyo Fujii, the voice of Sailor Saturn

The packaging advertises a 28 page booklet. Funny I only counted 24. I suppose we could be really creative and count the cover page and back cover as “pages”? Like with other booklets this includes episode summaries, interviews and character art. This one includes interviews with five voice actors Misato Fukuen, Sailor Chibi Moon, Junko Minagawa, Sailor Uranus, Sayaka Ohara, Sailor Neptune, Yukiyo Fujii, Sailor Saturn and Ai Maeda, Sailor Pluto.

Some audio commentaries are also included with the episodes themselves. The same voice actors appear for all four of the commentaries. This includes Hisako Kanemoto, Ami, Rina Sato, Rei, Misato Fukuen, Chibiusa and Yukiyo Fujii, Hotaru. I don’t speak Japanese so I don’t know what they talk about.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray - Vol. 2 - Blu-Ray

It’s a bit hard to justify buying this Japanese only release at this price which is close to what you’d pay for the entire 14 episode Dark Kingdom story arc in Japanese and English. Surely the four episodes per disc is a better deal than with earlier releases but since there are no changes to the animation this time around you can still watch the streaming version for free instead of buying this.

The third volume, including the final five episodes of this story arc, will be released on Blu-Ray on August 31st. You can preorder it online from sites like Amazon Japan. It costs a bit more, with an MSRP of 10,584 yen, about $105 US dollars. This post on the Sailor Moon official site indicates that the version will include a box to store all three volumes in, which seems to justify this roughly 50% increase from the previous volumes.

Keep reading for more images of the packaging including photos of all pages of the included special booklet.

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The first 14 episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD Tuesday August 16th

Sailor Moon Crystal set 1 limited edition Blu-Ray

The first English home video release of Sailor Moon Crystal is coming this Tuesday, August 16th, in stores and online. This set will include the first 14 episodes of the series, which covers the Dark Kingdom story arc, in Japanese with English subtitles and with the English dub of the show. Since the Japanese release had only two episodes per release this is quite a bargain. The set will be available for a prerelease sale at Viz’s booth at Otakon this weekend for only $65. You can order the limited edition from sites like Right Stuf, which includes a bonus sun catcher for some pre-orders, and Amazon for an MSRP of $80. The regular Blu-Ray version is a bit cheaper with an MSRP of $60. Order this from Right Stuf or Amazon if you don’t care about the booklet, sun catcher and art cards. If you hate life and want to watch the show in a lower quality than you can with the free streaming version you can also get the DVD version from Right Stuf and Amazon for a bit less. Don’t do this. Even if you are a time traveler who can’t bring a Blu-Ray player with you to the past because old TVs don’t have HDMI you get the DVD with the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack so just get that.

Viz has put together an unboxing video which can be viewed on their site or in the embedded clip below.

The packaging looks good. The art cards included are the cover art for all of the Japanese releases. The included special book looks a lot like the ones that came with the Japanese releases only with interviews with the English cast. The sun catcher catches sun. You really don’t have any reason not to buy this set. With the quality of the show there’s no reason to expect this release to be plagued by the video quality issues the releases of the original Sailor Moon anime were.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III volume 1 Japanese Blu-Ray review

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Contents

The first of three volumes of Sailor Moon Crystal Season III is now available on Blu-Ray. Volume 1 was released on June 29th in Japan. This is a Japanese language release so there is no English audio or English subtitles. You can import it from sites like Amazon Japan for 6909 yen, about $67 US. This release features four episodes, where the first 26 episodes of the series were only released on disks containing two episodes a piece. This time we get Act 27 parts 1 and 2 as well as Acts 28 and 29. The set comes in a smaller package than the earlier releases, which should fit more conveniently on your shelf. It also includes a 24 page special booklet with interviews and art.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Cover

The episodes included are Act 27, Infinity 1 – Premonition – First Part and Second Part, Act 28, Infinity 2 – Ripples, and Act 29 – Infinity 3 – Two New Soldiers. This covers the introduction to the Death Busters, the Sailor Guardians facing off against Eudial and Mimete, meeting Hotaru, Haruka and Michiru as well as Sailor Uranus and Neptune. With the first 26 episodes, plagued by sloppy inconsistent animation, a number of minor improvements and changes were done to the animation for the Blu-Ray release. None of this is present here. If you’ve seen the streaming version you’ve seen the version which is presented on this release. It seems they put a bit more time and money into the animation the first time so there was no need for updates.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray vol. 1 - DVD

The episodes include an optional audio commentary. These four episodes all feature commentary by Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon, Junko Minagawa, the voice of Sailor Uranus, and Sayaka Ohara, the voice of Sailor Neptune.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Special Booklet - Cover

As with earlier releases a 24 page special booklet is included. The contents are somewhat like what we’ve seen before. There are episode summaries, interviews and character designs. Osabu’s page is not present in this booklet. There are a total of five interviews included. These are with Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon, Hisaka Kanemoto, the voice of Sailor Mercury, Rina Sato, the voice of Sailor Mars, Ami Koshimizu, the voice of Sailor Jupiter, and Shizuka Ito, the voice of Sailor Venus.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III Blu-Ray vol. 1 - Special Booklet - Pages 18 and 19 - Rei and Makoto designs

All in all this set is a more worthwhile purchase than the previous sets were. The cost is about the same and there are twice as many episodes. Without any changes in animation though, there isn’t much to get from collecting these when the streaming version is subtitled and free, though not quite at Blu-Ray quailty. Further now that we know that English Blu-Ray sets are coming with entire story arcs costing close to what a single Japanese disc does, it seems a little pointless for an English speaking North American fan to buy these Japanese only releases. All said we haven’t seen the English release yet. It seems unlikely that it will be plagued with terrible video quality like all North American releases of the original series have been, but that’s still a possibility. We may find that this is the better quality set to have when all is said and done. The French DVD and Blu-Ray came out last week and seems to be of exceptional quality though, so it seems likely the English release will be the same.

The next set will be released on July 27th and can be pre-ordered from sites like Amazon Japan. It is similarly priced at 6909 yen. It will include four episodes, Acts 30 to 33, bringing us to Sailor Moon’s transformation into Super Sailor Moon and the first flashback look at Sailor Saturn.

Keep reading for more photos of the packaging and all pages of the included special booklet.

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Sailor Moon S is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray starting November 15th

Sailor Moon S Part 1 - Blu-ray

After waiting for an entire year we finally have some concrete details about Viz’s release of Sailor Moon S. This weekend at Anime Expo it was announced that the first part of Sailor Moon S is coming to home video on November 15th 2016. You can pre-order this set from Right Stuf Anime for $62.99 US. This first set will include episodes 90 to 108 of the series which is a few episodes before Hotaru first shows up. Box art seen above shows that this will look a lot like earlier releases and include a full colour booklet with a lot of art and other information about the series. This set will include the show both in Japanese and English dialogue with optional subtitles. This will have Viz’s new English dub of Sailor Moon S. An extended trailer showing many new English clips from the early episodes of Sailor Moon S have been released which you can watch below.

For a limited time pre-orders from Right Stuf will come with a collectible gold coloured coin showing Sailor Moon’s Cosmic Heart Compact, her transformation item during the S season of the anime. The set is exclusively available to pre-order from Right Stuf for now but it will be available from other retailers prior to its release.

Though no details about a Moonlight Party were mentioned, it seems likely that one will take place at some point to give us a sneak peak of some dubbed episodes of Sailor Moon S. This has typically been done before all sets are released as a way to advertise the upcoming release. We’ll be sure to share any information about such events or dubbed episodes being added to Hulu as we learn about them.

The Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity arc will have four episodes per Blu-Ray and DVD release

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - A DVD

Frustrated at the ultra expensive 2 episode disks of Sailor Moon Crystal that were released in Japan? Good news! It looks like the Infinity arc of Sailor moon Crystal will be released with 4 episodes per disk on DVD and Blu-Ray in Japan. News about these releases is out on the official Sailor Moon site. This season of Sailor Moon Crystal will span 13 episodes and only 3 disks are listed. Further the disk have been listed on Amazon Japan (Disk 1, 2 & 3) and CD Japan. Though there aren’t specifics on every release yet, the first release is listed at 100 minutes on both sites. Each episode of Sailor Moon Crystal is roughly 24 minutes, so 100 minutes covers 4 episodes. With 13 episodes this season it seems likely that the third release, with an MSRP of 1000 yen more than the other two releases, will have five episodes on the disk.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Haruka and Michiru

The first disk will be released in Japan on June 29th with the others being released at roughly 1 month intervals July 27th and August 31st. The first two disks are selling on Amazon Japan for 7,068 yen, about $64 US. The third disk is selling for a slightly higher price of 7,872 yen, about $72 US.

All Blu-Ray and DVD releases of Sailor Moon Crystal’s first two story arcs feature minor updates to the animation from the streaming release. We have no confirmation at this time what changes, if any, might be done to the Infinity arc as it is released on home video.

Still too expensive for something without subtitles? That’s fine. A single disk from Japan costs about the same as the entire first story arc, containing 14 episodes, will cost in the North American release which is coming in August. If you’re able to make due with the free streaming options we already have available it seems prudent to wait.

The first English Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Set will be released August 16th

Sailor Moon Crystal set 1 limited edition Blu-Ray

The first North American home video release of Sailor Moon Crystal is coming August 16th. This set will include the first 14 episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal, which covers the entire Dark Kingdom story arc and concludes with the appearance of Chibiusa. The set is currently up for preorder from Right Stuf for $63 US. It will likely be available for preorder at other stores soon. The set includes the episodes in Japanese and English, with optional subtitles, some extras, a full colour booklet and some art cards.

Sailor Moon Crystal set 1 limited edition Blu-Ray - Art cards

The box art looks like a lot like the Japanese releases and the included cards feature individual cover art for those releases. With the Japenese Blu-Rays including only 2 episodes a piece and costing as much as this entire set, this is quite a bargain for fans who have been enjoying the show. Right Stuf preorder will include an exclusive sun catcher.

Sailor Moon Crystal set 1 limited edition Blu-Ray - Suncatcher

The animation will almost certainly be the updated animation used for the Japanese home video release and English dub of Sailor Moon Crystal, which features minor changes from the original subtitled streaming version.

A trailer to announce this release is included below.

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Sailor Moon Crystal Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-Ray Vol. 11 Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 11 - Cover

Late as usual here is my review of the 11th volume of Sailor Moon Crystal on Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-Ray. This volume was released on August 12th and includes two episodes, Act 21 and 22, in a collectible set which includes a 20 page colour booklet and charm of Sailor Venus’s Star Power Stick. You can order this from Amazon Japan and other online retailers for about 5,194 yen, about $43 US, plus a ton of shipping. The next volume, volume 12, will be released next week on September 9th.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 11 - Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion

The art on the cover of this volume is of Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion, the future versions of Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask. Since a lot of this second story arc takes place in the future these characters feature prominently in the episodes on this disk.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 11 - Sailor Venus Star Power Stick Charm

The charm included this time is Sailor Venus’s Star Power Stick. As with all of the other ones you can put them all together on a charm bracelet and be really cool.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 11 - Special Booklet - Pages 2 and 3 - Act 21 summary

Included are Act 21, Complication – Nemesis, and Act 22, Hidden Agenda – Nemesis. These two episode are based on two chapters of the manga from the versions which were released in 2003 however both episodes were originally a single manga chapter, Act 20, Complication – Nemsis. Because of this the pace may seem a bit slow.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 11 - Special Booklet - Pages 6 and 7 - Act 22 summary

Like with other releases there are a number of mostly minor changes to the animation. These mostly result in touch ups which make the animation a bit nicer looking and very occasionally results in more significant changes to what appears on screen. I’m unable to take screenshots of Blu-Rays with my current AV setup but a great site for examining these differences is Crystal Comparisons.

Almost nothing of significance is changed for Act 21. In one scene a chair is added behind Usagi mostly to compensate for an earlier continuity issue where a chair disappeared and then reappeared behind her. Other than that the changes are mostly cosmetic.

The next episode previews remain unaltered. I’ve mentioned Chibiusa’s shirt gate time and time again. The next episode preview for Act 22 which appeared at the end of Act 21 originally included her blue long sleeved uniform, which was an error, and that uniform still appears in this version. This had been corrected in the streaming version of Act 22 and is still corrected on this release.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 22 - Chibiusa takes Wiseman's hand

If you check out the changes for Act 22, you’ll note some changes for the appearance of Black Lady. In the original streaming episode Black Lady first appeared pretty much as a shadowy black figure with glowing eyes who later became more visible. The intention was, and still is, to obscure her identity. Now in the Blu-Ray we see her as being more transparent and smokey than previously in her first appearance and then darker in her later appearance. It seems to do the job better, but was anyone really still wondering what her true identity was at this point? There are a couple of other minor changes to this episode. When Usagi is possessed by Neo Queen Serenity her eyes glow and in the streaming version they are a bit darker. The reactor effects have been redone a bit to add some circles around the main column of energy. We also see the Sailor Guaridans standing behind Sailor Moon in one scene where we previously didn’t.

Both episodes include an audio commentary. These feature Munehisa Sakai, director of Sailor Moon Crystal, Kenji Nojima, the voice of Mamoru Chiba and Misato Fukuen, the voice of Chibiusa.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 11 - Special Booklet - Cover

Also included is the 20 page full colour special book. This one features the usual episode summaries, character designs, backgrounds, page for Osabu and two interviews. The first interview is with Momoiro Clover Z, the musical group which performs the Sailor Moon Crystal opening theme, Moon Pride, and ending theme, Gekkou. The second interview is with the four voice actors who portrayed the Ayakashi Sister. Wasabi Mizuta provides the voice of Petz. Rumi Kasahara, who provides the voice of Berthier, had previously voiced many small roles in the original Sailor Moon anime including Ptilol of the Witches 5. Tomoe Hanba voices Calaveras and Satsuki Yukino provides the voice of Koan.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 11 - Special Booklet - Pages 4 and 5 - Interview with Momoiro Clover Z

As always I recommend this only to hardcore fans. English speaking fans should contend with the streaming version until the eventual multi language Blu-Ray is released by Viz. This is a cool set with some cool stuff in it, but it’s hard to justify the price tag for two episodes.

Keep reading for more photos of the set including all 20 pages of the special book.

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Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 10 review

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 10 - Cover

The latest volume of Sailor Moon Crystal was released on Blu-Ray July 8th. As always my review is so late that the next volume, volume 11, is about to be released on August 12th. Regardless, let’s talk about volume 10. This set, like many others, includes two episodes on Blu-Ray in Japanese only. You can order it from sites such as Amazon Japan for 5194 yen, which is about $42 US plus shipping.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 10 - Full cover

The art for this release features the often neglected but never forgotten Sailor Pluto! This is fitting since her character is featured prominently on the disk. We have Act 19, Time Warp – Sailor Pluto, and Act 20, Crystal Tokyo – King Endymion.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 10 - Sailor Jupiter's Star Power Stick

The charm is Sailor Jupiter’s Star Power Stick. This fits with the trend we’d been seeing.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 10 - Special Book - Pages 16 and 17 - Backgrounds

Included as always is a 20 page full colour special book. This includes summaries for Act 19 and 20, art, character designs for Sailor Pluto and some of the Black Moon Clan, a page for Fumio Osano, Osabu, as well as two interviews. The first interview is with Akiko Kosaka, a composer who provided many songs for the original anime as well as Gekkou, the ending theme for Sailor Moon Crystal. The second is with Ai Maeda, the voice of Sailor Pluto.

Quality for this release is great, as always. The video is 1080p and looks better than the streaming releases. There are a lot of minor changes to the animation from the original version. Nothing from these episodes in particular jumped out as me as being significant. You can always check out Crystal Comparisons to see changes for any episodes, includes the acts 19 and 20 which are provided in this set.

The disk is Japanese only and also include a commentary track featuring Munehisa Sakai, the series director, as well as Shizuka Ito, the voice of Sailor Venus, and Misato Fukuen, the voice of Chibiusa. I can’t really comment on the content of these commentaries, as I don’t actually speak Japanese.

I can’t tell you whether or not it’s worth it to buy this set. Do what you did with the last 9. The video quality is great and it’s worth having for a hardcore collector but North American fans who like their money may find it makes sense to wait for the English dubbed and subbed release we will be getting at some point in the future.

Keep reading for more photos of this set including pictures of all pages of the included special book.

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Viz’s Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 1 release does its best with poor masters

Sailor Moon R Part 1 Blu-Ray - Cover with sticker

The third Blu-Ray and DVD release of the original Sailor Moon anime was released on July 14th in North America. This release, with dubbed and subbed episodes by Viz, includes the first half of Sailor Moon R. As with other releases to date the packaging and extras are great but the video quality is quite poor. Viz has obviously gone to great lengths to provide the best product they can but it simply seems that they have continued to receive poor quality source material and are doing the best they can with what they have to work with.

I never did get around to reviewing the first season’s sets. My order was delayed for months on Amazon.ca and by the time and canceled I reordered the sets it was too late for a review to be relevant. Many fans have spoken about issues with those discs. Mainly it came down to the video quality. Viz made a blog post to discuss their issues citing bad masters as the reason for the poor quality. Unfortunately this post was essentially useless as all of the original images they have shown are a mix of two fields due to interlacing. Without getting into too many specifics with standard definition TV technology video comes one field at a time which is why with older videos you will often see stills with lines in them where it looks like two images appear at once. This is not apparent when watching video, but looks quite bad in paused or still images. The Japanese DVD releases for the first season of Sailor Moon were progressive scan, not interlaced, so all we can say for sure is that the masters Viz got were not the best TOEI had to offer, but comparing interlaced images to a final product is intentionally deceptive and gives us no actual indication of what the video quality of the masters are really like.

These sets have HD video, but they are not from an HD source. Sailor Moon was animated on animation cels and then recorded on 16mm film. That film was then converted to 480i standard definition video which is generally what is used as a source. In many cases with older shows, including many anime shows, the original 16mm film will be used as a reference to create an HD 1080p video and this creates a very high quality video. That is not what is occurring with these sets. TOEI provided Viz with 480i standard definition sources which are by all indications quite bad. Viz used video processing to clean up this source material and upscale it to 1080p for the Blu-Ray sources as well as the videos we’ve been seeing on Hulu for over a year. To say the results aren’t as good is an understatement.

The video quality here is not terrible, but not great. The first season sets were highly processed to the point where little grain on the video could be seen but the video quality suffered. It seems as if this set has undergone less processing so more of the original grain remains. While this may seem like it is a lower quality finish, this is simply because it is closer to the source material. I do not have the ability to make Blu-Ray screenshots with my current AV and computer setup, but I was able to find a few on Imgur. These are from episode 51 and I have included screenshots from the Japanese region 2 DVDs (resized to the correct aspect ratio) for comparison.

Viz Blu-Ray screenshot - Sailor Moon R episode 51 - Minako, Rei, Makoto, Usagi, Haruna, Naru and Umino

Viz Blu-Ray

Japanese DVD screenshot - Sailor Moon R episode 51 - Minako, Rei, Makoto, Usagi, Haruna, Naru and Umino

Japanese DVD

Viz Blu-Ray screenshot - Sailor Moon R episode 51 - Natsumi and Usagi

Viz Blu-Ray

Japanese DVD screenshot - Sailor Moon R episode 51 - Natsumi and Usagi

Japanese DVD

It should also be mentioned that, unlike with the first set, there is no pillarboxing. This means that the right and left side of the screen are black rather than being a weird decorative graphic which no one really liked.

What is the alternative? I think people may forget how much worse we’ve had it. The 90s dub was done with fairly low quality masters but as it was intended for standard definition TV broadcast we didn’t really notice. The DVDs were of low quality. ADVision’s DVDs for the first two seasons of Sailor Moon were probably the worst quality release of anything I’ve ever seen. We can be happy that episodes 67 is actually included on this release, where it had been completely omitted previously.

The episodes included on this set cover the alien story arc which introduces us to Ail and An as well as the beginning of the Black Moon Clan story arc which introduces us to Chibiusa, Rubeus and the Ayakashi Sisters.

Sailor Moon R Part 1 Blu-Ray - Rei, Sailor Mars

Video quality aside the packaging and included 96 page booklet are great. The booklet includes summaries for all episodes and a great deal of character art. The cover art looks great as the does the disk art for both the Blu-Ray discs and DVDs.

Sailor Moon R Part 1 Blu-Ray - Reversible cover

A reversible cover is included and pictures all of the members of the Black Moon Clan. Unfortunately some sets to not include this cover. This was acknowledged by the manufacturer as being a problem and so a replacement is available. Included below are the instructions on getting a replacement cover, as shown on the Right Stuf tumblr:

A number of customers have contacted us regarding the reversible covers of the Sailor Moon R Set 1 Limited Edition, reporting that their copy does not have a reversible cover. If your copy of Sailor Moon R Set 1 Limited Edition does not contain a reversible cover, a replacement cover will be provided to you directly from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment at no cost to you. Please call the toll-free number 1-800-553-6937, where you will be asked for your name, mailing address, and telephone number so you can receive your replacement. Thanks everyone for your incredible patience while we worked with the manufacturer to resolve this issue.

There are some nice extras included. Creditless versions of the opening and closing credits show the original opening and the only closing used in Sailor Moon R. There are interviews with cast members from Anime Expo as well as some behind the scenes interviews that were done during recording. A lot of the art which is included in the booklet is also included in photo galleries on the disc.

This set does not lack great special features. The packaging looks great and the booklet is full of good content. No doubt if Viz had access to better source material for the video, the final product would have been great. It’s unfortunate that this release suffers due to problems outside of their control. All the bell and whistles doesn’t change the fundamental fact that this is just not a good quality release, but it’s the best we’ve got. Fans of the show who watch it online should still consider getting this set. It is the best you’ll get in a domestic release. The only alternative would be to import a Japanese or other international release or pirate the series by downloading fansubs.

You can buy this set and the others which have already been released using the links below to support the site.

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