Japanese Sailor Moon R Blu-Ray Collection Volume 1 review

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

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

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

Viz Blu-Ray

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

Japanese Blu-Ray

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

Japanese DVD

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

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

Viz Blu-Ray

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

Japanese Blu-Ray

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

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

Japanese DVD screenshot with visible interlacing artifacts

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

Japanese DVD screenshot without any visible interlacing artifacts

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

Viz Blu-Ray

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

Japanese Blu-Ray

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

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

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

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

Japanese Blu-Ray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1 will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on April 10th

Sailor Moon SuperS Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD

Yesterday was Sailor Moon Day at Anime NYC in Manhattan. Viz Media held a Moon Panel with the cast of the English dub of Sailor Moon at which they revealed long awaited details about Sailor Moon SuperS on home video! The Blu-Ray and DVD release will be out April 10th and is currently available for pre-order from Right Stuf for $71.99. A Right Stuf exclusive coin is included for the Limited Edition. Though the release isn’t named “Part 1″ the episodes listed are only episodes 128 to 146, the first 19 episodes of the season, even though Sailor Moon SuperS runs up to episode 166, leaving 20 episodes for the eventual second part.

Sailor Moon SuperS Special - Haruka and Michiru during SuperS

Fans who attended the panel mentioned that the set would also include the Sailor Moon SuperS Special though this isn’t specified on the product listing. This special has never seen a release in English before. The Sailor Moon SuperS Special originally aired on Japanese TV between Sailor Moon SuperS episodes 131 and 132. Since it’s not standard episode length and doesn’t have an episode number it isn’t really considered to be part of the show proper. It also doesn’t continue the story of the Dead Moon Circus but instead involves a few flashbacks and some side stories. The first side story shows us what Sailor Uranus and Neptune were up to during this season and the other tells the story of a Vampire girl Lilica who is one of Chibiusa’s classmates. This story is an adaptation of the first of Chibiusa’s Picture Diary from the manga. It makes sense to include these with the TV series if that is indeed what is going on here. The Japanese DVD release included the SuperS Special along with the first SuperS DVD. One would expect they will be doing the same when Sailor Moon SuperS gets its upcoming Blu-Ray release in Japan.

Back of poster with confirmation that the Sailor Moon SuperS Special will be included

Update: A poster handed out at the event confirms that the “Never-before-seen TV Special” will be included in the set. This would be the Sailor Moon SuperS Special. This can be seen in photos of the pamphlet on Twitter. Thanks to Liza from our Facebook page for finding this confirmation.

Sailor Moon SuperS Special - Lilica Hubert

https://www.rightstufanime.com/Sailor-Moon-Super-S-Limited-Edition-Blu-ray-DVD

The Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical, which is now playing in Japan, will be released on DVD March 14th

Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final banner

The latest Sailor Moon musical, Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final, began being performed in Japan yesterday, Friday September 8th! The DVD has now been announced and it will be released on March 14th 2018. This DVD will have an MSRP of 7,800 yen, about $72 US and is currently available for pre-order from online retailers such as Amazon Japan and CD Japan.

I haven’t generally had anything good to say about these DVD releases in the past. This is a Japanese only DVD with no English subtitles or audio. The video quality of the last 4 musicals has been an embarrassingly sub par 480i which seems especially disappointing given there are HD versions of the musical available online in Japan. This is the kind of stuff we would have expected in the 90s but in 2017 there’s no excuse! There will be no Blu-Ray version of this release. Instead the DVD will simply have a Blu-Ray equivalent price! Will they somehow make this DVD a bit better and at least have progressive scan video? Seems unlikely.

There are currently no specifics about what special features may be included but these usually include a number of bonus features including interviews and other behind the scenes featurettes. Check out my reviews for the La Reconquista, Petite Étrangère, Un Nouveau Voyage and Amour Eternal DVDs to see what kind of special features those included.

Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final DVD ad

Additionally, as has been done in the past, some special covers for the previous DVD releases will be available exclusively at the venues where the musical is being performed. These exclusive covers feature manga art corresponding to the story arc being covered by the particular musical.

Viz’s Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray looks fantastic and is well worth buying despite the unpopular cover art

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Princess Serenity

Sailor Moon R The Movie was released on DVD and Blu-Ray April 18th and it looks amazing. I’m not talking about the lacklustre cover art which everyone seems fixated on but rather the video quality of the actual Blu-Ray. This is a top quality release which seems to come from the film source. The level of detail is absolutely not something which could have simply been gotten from software upscaling, which is what has been used for all of the home video releases we’ve seen for the Sailor Moon TV series to date. But don’t take my word for it! Look at these screenshots to see the difference. Prior to this release I watched the Japanese DVD as my gold standard. The French DVD release which came out in 2014 looks great too, but is still in the same ball park. It has a slightly cleaned up image and a higher resolution due to them having different TV standards. The old DVD we got from Pioneer in 1999 is borderline VHS quality, but it is an unmated full screen so there’s a bit more to the picture. This new Blu-Ray is in a league of its own. View the full sized versions of these pictures to see the difference. There’s a small amount of loss of quality from the JPEG compression on these uploads but it should give you a good idea of the difference.

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 - French DVD - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

French DVD (2014)

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

English Pioneer DVD (1999)

Pay attention to small details in the image like Fiore’s nose or the lines on Mamoru’s face. This new Blu-Ray image is not something which could have been extrapolated through software from any of the standard definition masters. This is a high quality HD transfer from film source and it looks as good as we could hope for! Fans who were lucky enough to have seen the film in theatres probably noticed that they could see a lot of detail in the image and we see that in this release as well. Look at another comparison between a wide shot of the street which gives us a lot of small details of individual characters.

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Wide shot of the street

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Japense R2 DVD 2002 - Wide shot of the street

Japanese DVD (2002)

It’s really refreshing to see such a nice quality release from Viz considering some of the earlier stuff we’ve gotten from them. I’ve always said that they’re doing the best that they can with low quality masters and this seems to confirm that idea. They’ve gotten a lot of criticism for using too much post processing and such but at the end of the day if you start off with a low quality master there’s really only so much you can do to try to make it look nice. The minor differences between the different releases of the original anime don’t add up to much but this release is on another level. This is a great movie, part of the best of what Sailor Moon has to offer, and at the relatively low price it’s being sold for it’s a no brainer to pick it up.

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray  - Cover

But wait, you’re all thinking, what about this terrible box art??? Indeed, the cover art isn’t the best. For weeks fans have been criticizing it. I’ll agree that it isn’t the best box art compared to their other releases but is that what’s most important? We’ve gotten a lot of really nice looking boxes with great little booklets and the video content always looked kind of terrible. Here we have the opposite, a box which isn’t that nice and a top quality release inside! All things considered I’d rather we get a release with a cover drawn by 3 year old with crayons if we could somehow keep getting quality releases like this!

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Sailor Moon returns to life

Let’s look at what else is in this release. First off is the feature, which is only 1 hour long. This is the first of the Sailor Moon movies and it includes both a new English dub by Viz and a Japanese audio track with English subtitles. Sailor Moon R The Movie is one of my all time favourite films and my favourite of the Sailor Moon movies. It includes some of the best animation seen in the series. I watched the film in Japanese with English subtitles as I’d already heard the dub in theatres and found it to be good. Having seen a number of different versions of the film countless times I didn’t notice anything amiss with the translation, but as I don’t speak Japanese I can’t comment on it more than that.

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

Also included is the Make Up! Sailor Guardians special. This originally aired with Sailor Moon R The Movie in theatres in Japan. It was also included in North American theatres when it played here. This is a fun little extra, running at only 16 minutes, with some new animation but mostly recycled clips from the TV series. This extra feature also looks great. This makes me wonder what kind of masters TOEI had access to when they put it together! This release was obviously mastered from a film source but the TV clips included also seem to come from a higher quality source even than we’ve seen with the Japanese DVD releases. With the upcoming Blu-Ray release of the original Sailor Moon anime in Japan being advertised as being software upscaled from standard definition sources I wish they had access to the same source material they used in 1993 when this special was put together. Just look at this shot of Ami from her first appearance early in the first season with the fine detail in the lines. It isn’t the best but it’s nothing like what we’ve gotten in any other TV release of the series. Let’s hope the Japanese release we get in June looks something close to this!

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Make Up! Sailor Guardians - Ami from the TV series

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Cast Interview

There are a few extras on this disc. When Sailor Moon R The Movie played in theatres it was introduced by an interview with the cast. This included Stephanie Sheh, Sailor Moon, Ben Diskin, Fiore and Robbie Daymond, Tuxedo Mask. When I saw this in theatres I thought it was a bit silly to have it before the main feature. I was there to watch the movie, not see something which wasn’t more thrilling than your run of the mill DVD extra. Having it as an extra like this however is totally reasonable. This feature is about 10 minutes.

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - LA Premiere Q & A

Also included is an interview which followed the LA Premiere. This included nearly all of the voice actors from the film, Viz’s Charlene Ingram and the ADR voice director for the film, Suzanne Goldish. The cast present included Carrie Keranen, the Xenian flower, Ben Diskin, Fiore, Cherami Leigh, Sailor Venus, Amanda Miller, Sailor Jupiter, Cristina Vee, Sailor Mars, Michelle Ruff, Luna, Sandy Fox, Chibiusa, Robbie Daymond, Tuxedo Mask, and Stephanie Sheh, Sailor Moon. The only main actors not present were Kate Higgins, Sailor Mercury, and Johnny Yong Bosh, Artemis. The interview included your standard kind of banter about how mind blowing it is to see Sailor Moon the big screen and the fan reaction. Suzanne Goldish, ADR director, tells a humours story about how her notes had her flip flopping from calling the villain Fiole, which means nothing, and Fiore, the objectively correct character’s name and the Italian word for flower. This explains why the voice actors refer to him as Fiole in the pre-movie interview. ADR directors don’t have the star power of the voice actors but they usually have some good insight into the production which makes for interesting stories.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Character art

Note that this book is not included with the film.

There is also some character art on the disc itself. I wanted to grab some screenshots but this feature wasn’t included on the DVD and the tool I used to get Blu-Ray screenshots doesn’t support menus. I’ll spare you photos of my TV and assure you these are character designs for the film similar to those seen in the above photo from the Japanese art book. It would have been nice to see a booklet with some character bios and maybe some of this kind of art but there’s nothing in the way of inserts with this release. The Japanese Sailor Moon R The Movie art book includes over 100 pages of content. It would have been easy for Viz to put together 20 or so pages to accompany this film!

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Discs

We also get the standard trailers which are included in all Viz releases. If you haven’t been convinced to buy the remastered uncropped Ranma 1/2 Blu-Ray release at this point it’s just not going to happen.

So what’s my final verdict? Isn’t it obvious? Just buy the movie! Don’t bother with the DVD as it doesn’t showcase the high quality video of the HD transfer. Buy the Blu-Ray which includes the DVD if you somehow don’t have a Blu-Ray player in 2017. I got mine on Amazon. You can also get it from other retailers like Right Stuf. If you don’t want a physical copy you can save a few bucks by getting it digitally on iTunes or Amazon Video, but be warned that the digital version is currently only available in English. This is a high quality release of a great movie which every fan should own. Go get it!

Now that we’ve agreed that it’s worth getting whether you have another copy of the film or not a practical question is whether or not it supersedes any other release. Should you just throw your old copy out? The old Pioneer release has some advantages, mainly the old dub which some people have nostalgia for an the unmated full frame image. For most people in 2017 with widescreen displays this has limited appeal, but to this day the English release is the only way to get this full pictured version. Even the original Japanese laserdisc version was presented in widescreen. As for the Japanese release it still has some special features which are nice. A rare DVD feature that all of the Japanese Sailor Moon movies have is an isolated music only track which is a nice addition which isn’t on this release.

Keep reading for more photos.

Continue reading

Sailor Moon S Part 2 will be released on home video June 20th

Sailor Moon S Part 2 Blu-Ray

We finally have a specific release date for Sailor Moon S Part 2 and it just squeaks in to Spring on June 20th! The DVD and Blu-Ray sets are up for preorder on Right Stuf and these include a June 20th release date. The DVD set has an MSRP of $39.99 while the Blu-Ray is priced at $69.99. Right Stuf has them for $35.99 and $62.99. We also have a good look at the box art including the back which has details about the release.

Sailor Moon S Part 2 Blu-Ray - Back

We’d previously learned from Viz’s Moon Panel at Anime Boston that we’d be getting the sets in June but we didn’t have a specific release date until now. Sailor Moon S Part 2 includes… well the second half of Sailor Moon S. This covers episodes 109 to 127 which concludes the story of Hotaru, the Death Busters and all that fun stuff. It includes Japanese audio as well as Viz’s new English dub of the original Sailor Moon anime. This will be the first time these episodes are heard in English as Viz has no longer been releasing episodes in an effort to promote their home video releases as they’d done in the past.

Sailor Moon S Part 2 Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon S Part 2 will be out on DVD and Blu-Ray in June

Sailor Moon S Part 2 on DVD and Blu-Ray in June 2017

We finally have confirmation from Viz Media that the second part of Sailor Moon S will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in June. We previously had only learned, based on an insert included in the Sailor Moon S Part 1 release, that it would be out in Spring 2017. The first day of Summer is June 21st so if the release is out before the 21st it will technically count as Spring! All of this was announced by Viz Media at Anime Boston’s Moon Panel which was held this past Saturday April 1st.

Sailor Moon S Part 2 coming in Spring 2017

Twitter user Absolute Zero Now was live tweeting the panel and snapped a couple of relevant photos. The first is of a slide stating the release would be out in May but the second stating it would be out in June. This was confirmed by Viz Media as being the updated and correct date at the panel and on Twitter.

Sailor Moon S Part 2 is not out in May

This release will include episode 109 to 127, concluding the Sailor Moon S season with the battle with Mistress 9 and the appearance of Sailor Saturn. The set will include the new English dub by Viz which has not previously been heard. Bonus features will include interviews with the cast, production art and more. This release still does not have a listing on the stores of online retailers such as Amazon and Right Stuf. These should be up in the coming months as a specific release date is determined.

Check out the box art for Sailor Moon R The Movie on home video

Sailor Moon R The Movie DVD

We previously announced that Sailor Moon R The Movie, recently released to theatres in North America, was coming out on home video April 18th. We now have a look at the box art for this release! The above image showing the cover art and the image showing a bit of the spine are on Right Stuf’s listing for the DVD. This is new art likely made by artist Marco Albiero who did cover art for many international releases of the original Sailor Moon anime. (Update: Marco Albiero has confirmed that he did not in fact make this cover) It includes Tuxedo Mask, Fiore and the Sailor Guardians. Some fans have some not terribly wonderful things to say about this art. What do you think?

Sailor Moon R The Movie DVD

The Blu-Ray version is also posted on Right Stuf’s web site but the cover art isn’t included. It seems likely that the image used will be similar.

Sailor Moon R The Movie poster

Some fans have said that they’d prefer to have seen the original Japanese poster for Sailor Moon R The Movie used. An image of that poster is included above. This poster has the distinction of being included in the liner notes of a U2 CD.

U2 in front of a Sailor Moon R The Movie poster

The Sailor Moon Amour Eternal musical will be released on DVD in Japan March 15th

Sailor Moon Amour Eternal DVD

The latest Sailor Moon musical, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Amour Eternal, is coming to DVD in Japan on March 15th. This was announced on the Sailor Moon official site and the Evil Line web site. This DVD will be in Japanese only and region 2, which won’t play on most North American DVD players. Why DVD and not Blu-Ray, you might ask? This is a question I’ve been asking myself for the past 3 musicals. Considering there was an HD stream of this musical, I’m a bit baffled we’re still only getting a standard definition DVD. Hopefully we will at least getting a progressive scan DVD as opposed to the 480i releases we’ve gotten for the rest. A commercial for this release was posted to YouTube. Watch the embedded clip below.

The DVD is available to buy on Amazon Japan for 6,265 yen, about $55 US or on CD Japan for 7800 yen, $68.82 US. This 2 disc DVD set will include the musical and a number of special features. The musical itself is 2 hours and 43 minutes. An audio commentary by the 5 main actors is included but it isn’t explicitly clear if this is referring to a full length audio commentary. The bonus disc will have 77 minutes of content. This includes an interview with Usagi, a video of the performance done on Usagi and Chibiusa’s birthday, June 30th, and a special focusing on the Amazon Trio and Zirconia. Also included will be a 28 page booklet which is a sort of program with information about the musical.

Sailor Moon Amour Eternal DVD - Special features - Audio Commentary

If you’re looking to support the musicals I would suggest buying this DVD. Fans looking to watch the musical with English subtitles can download the fan subbed version released by Miss Dream.

Sailor Moon Amour Eternal DVD - Special features - Sailor Guardians

The Pretty Guardian Amour Eternal musical is the 4th in the latest wave of musicals. It cover the Dream arc of the Sailor Moon manga, the equivalent of Sailor Moon SuperS in the original Sailor Moon anime, which has the Sailor Guardians teaming up with Pegasus and facing off against Nehelenia and the Dead Moon Circus.

Sailor Moon Amour Eternal DVD - Specs

Sailor Moon R: The Movie will be released on video April 18th

Sailor Moon R The Movie on DVD

As Sailor Moon R: The Movie premiered in Los Angeles tonight anime retailer Right Stuf added the film to their online store. The listing, currently only including a DVD option priced at $17.98, lists a release date of April 18th 2017! The film will include Japanese and English audio tracks with English subtitles. For now we only have a promotional image for the cover. (Update: a Blu-Ray DVD combo option has been added to Right Stuf’s web site for $26.98)

The film will be playing in theatres starting next weekend. A full list of theatres can be found on the Eleven Arts web site. If you’re not lucky enough to have the film showing in your city you will still have a chance to see it when it’s released on video in April. Do you plan on picking this release up?

Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray Review

Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray - Contents

Sailor Moon S Part 1 is finally out on DVD and Blu-Ray! These sets were released on November 15th and are available from stores and online retailers. This was also the first time Sailor Moon S episodes were released with Viz’s new English dub. With other releases some of the episodes came out prior to the home video releases on Hulu but this was not done this time around.

Support the site by buying the set with the links below. This could be a nice Christmas gift for a Sailor Moon fan in your life!

There are a number of options to purchase it. I got the Limited Edition Blu-Ray set, which comes with a number of extra I’ll get into below. You can also get the regular edition Blu-Ray or DVD releases or, if you’re not into physical copies, you can get the series from Amazon Video. Previous releases were available in standard definition and HD from Amazon Video but this release is only available in HD for $39.99 for the season.

Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray - Cover unwrapped

As with other sets I have pretty much the same to say. A good effort by Viz and some nice packaging, decent extras and a nice looking booklet but ultimately the set suffers from poor video quality likely mostly due to the fact that they had bad masters. Since it’s been so long since these episodes have been available here in North America and this is the only way to hear the new dub, fans will probably want to check it out.

Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray - Discs

I didn’t watch the entire set yet, but did watch it a bit to get an idea of the dub and video quality. I watched episode 96, Cold Hearted Uranus? Makoto in Trouble, specifically because it had a lot of lesbian references and if there was anything changed on the set this is the kind of episode we’d likely see changes in. I also had a taped off of Japanese TV fansub of this episode years before I got around to seeing the whole season so I was more familiar with it than others. All around I was quite pleased with the dub quality. While I miss the old cast I think the new actors do a decent job of providing an accurate dub of the show. References to lesbianism weren’t glossed over, though they are mostly heavily hinted at rather than outright stated even in the original version of the show. The only real change I noticed is that Rei referred to her magazine with a moustached woman on the cover as her “First edition Sailor Dudettes” which is just kind of weird and not consistent with anything from the original Japanese version.

Original Japanese credits are used. The Sailor Moon S credits changed throughout the series and here we see different intros being used as different characters are introduced. This was a change from the Pioneer and Geneon releases of the series that always used the same opening theme throughout the series. The “today on Sailor Moon” clip plays after the opening credits rather than before it as with the Japanese TV airing of the show and Japanese releases. A minor change all considered.

The video quality isn’t great. Viz appears to have gotten a fairly low quality standard definition interlaced video source. They upscaled it to 1080p using software and then used some filters to try to clean it up. What we’re left with is a fairly poor job which leaves us with video quality that is worse than what we’ve seen with the Japanese releases which I still use as the gold standard for quality for the series. Other releases, like the Italian and French releases, weren’t perfect but look better than this. Some people say it’s worse than VHS, but I think some people don’t remember the days of VHS! Still I think a faithful straight standard definition DVD version of this release would have looked better than what we got, but this is quite subjective. Viz does a good job with other series for which they have better masters. Their Sailor Moon Crystal release was fantastic looking. Because of this I am quite confident that they tried their best with what they had to work with but can only do so much. There are obvious artifacts from interlacing which are mostly visible between narrow lines which can be seen for tiaras and uniforms throughout every episode.

Sailor Moon S Part 1 - Interlacing artifacts in Makoto's tiara

There are some extras on the Blu-Rays, mainly about the new cast, which are not on the DVDs. The main feature is the “Sailor Moon Day 2016 Interview with English Cast”. Included in this interview are Ben Diskin, Umino, Cristina Vee, Sailor Mars, Amanda Miller, Sailor Jupiter, Robbie Daymond, Tuxedo Mask, Stephanie Sheh, Sailor Moon, Cherami Leigh, Sailor Venus and Sandy Fox, Chibiusa.

The rest of the extras are kind of lame. There are short galleries with some images for the characters. Clean opening and ending themes, that being without any credits, include the final version of the opening and the end theme Tuxedo Mirage. The trailers are similar to what we’ve seen in other releases which are ads for other Sailor Moon releases and other anime series released by Viz like Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha.

Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray - Limited Edition Book - Rei bio

The booklet which is included is quite nice. There appear to be 96 pages, which aren’t numbered, and this includes episode summaries for each episode, including those from the currently unreleased second part of Sailor Moon S, credits, lyrics, character art and bios. It also includes an ad stating that Season 3 Part 2 is coming in Spring 2017. After long delays in this release let’s hope the next one comes as quickly as they say! The outer box made of sturdy cardboard has room for the second set, as other releases did.

Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray - Ad for Sailor Moon S Part 2

Overall I’d recommend this set if you’re looking to see the new dub. Since these episodes are not available to stream in English anywhere, this is the only way to get them legally. The quality isn’t great but it’s watchable if you don’t mind a Blu-Ray that looks worse than a lot of DVDs. The booklet is a nice extra but the bonus features on the set aren’t terribly fantastic. I’m not sure my recommendation matters much though. If you bought the other sets you’ll probably buy this one and if you didn’t, you probably won’t. Viz has been somewhat consistent with the quality of their original series releases. Though quality issues have improved a bit, the release is still in the same general ball park as the others.

If you’re curious about the contents you can watch this unboxing video which Viz put together:

Keep reading for more images of the packaging and the special booklet.

Continue reading