In episode 31 Luna falls in love with a heroic obese alley cat named Rhett Butler! Unfortunately this was short lived as Artemis showed up just two episodes later!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
You thought the Japanese Sailor Moon merchandise was expensive? Has your love of Sailor Moon made you buy a car?! In the latest in Ford’s “Overdubs” ad campaign they have remixed a clip from Sailor Moon to have it look like Usagi and Luna are daydreaming about the Ford Fusion car complete with specs that only a car salesmen would bother quoting. Commercials don’t have credits but it sounds like Stephanie Sheh and Michelle Ruff, the new voices of Usagi and Luna, are reprising their roles here. Watch the clip below!
The original clip which was edited here is from episode 13 of the first season. It has Usagi stargazing at the Motoki and Tuxedo Mask constellations. I know what you’re thinking! We don’t have Motoki and Tuxedo Mask constellations! That’s because Japan is more down south than many parts of the US and Canada so they have Motoki and Tuxedo Mask constellations over there. That’s also why they see the rabbit on the Moon and we only see a face. QED.
At this point in the series, which is quite early, Usagi imagines that Motoki and Tuxedo Mask are the same person. Eventually Jadeite shows up to challenge her, her friends, and most of the city to come fight at the airport.
So … will you be buying a Ford Fusion? As much as I’d love to spend my hard earned money on a car that one of my favourite anime characters endorsed I just bought a van because I’m going to need room for a car seat and stroller in April.
Fans of K-pop will love this video from last night’s SNL Korea. The Korean pop band TWICE were on Saturday Night Live Korea on October 29th. One of their skits was a recreation of the Sailor Moon opening theme which has as its music the Korean version of Moonlight Densetsu. The skit has members of the band TWICE playing Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus as well as Kwon Hyuk Soo, the male host of SNL Korea, as Sailor Moon. Luna is played by a human and is absolutely creepy. You can watch the clip below.
Fans may notice that the scenes from this intro aren’t all from the original Japanese intro but from the intro of the first season and Sailor Moon R of the original anime. This is because the Korean opening to Sailor Moon, like the original English dubbed intro, has a mix of scenes from multiple openings. Check out the original Korean opening below for reference. The SNL Korea version isn’t a shot for shot remake but it does a pretty good job.
Source: Soompi. Thanks to Captain Genius for the heads up!
Toronto Sailor Moon fans will have a chance to meet stars from the original and new dubs of Sailor Moon at Fan Expo in Toronto the weekend of September 1st to the 4th. From the 90s dub of the original Sailor Moon anime the convention will feature Linda Ballantyne, Sailor Moon, Katie Griffin, Sailor Mars, Susan Roman, Sailor Jupiter, Toby Proctor, Tuxedo Mask, Jill Frappier, Luna and Ron Rubin, Artemis. This is the main group that’s advertised as “The Stars of Sailor Moon” who will have a Sailor Moon Q&A panel.
With a convention of this size there are a lot of other voice actors present, some of which are in the new dub of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal which is being done by Viz. Voice actors from the new dub include Cherami Leigh, Sailor Venus, Veronica Taylor, Sailor Pluto, Todd Haberkorn, the voice of both Jadeite and Kenji Tsukino and Cassandra Lee Morris, Calaveras of the Ayakashi Sisters.
Fans may know Veronica Taylor best as the voice of Ash Ketchum and Ash’s Mom in Pokémon. Does this mean a Sailor Moon/Pokémon crossover will be announced at the convention? No. Of course not.
Do you plan on attending? I’ll be there this year. This will be my third time attending Fan Expo. It’s a great convention.
The 2016 Toronto Sailor Moon Celebration is this Saturday, July 9th, at the Ontario Science Centre. Last year I attended the event and recorded the voice actor panel. This panel included Roland Parliament, voice director for the first 65 episodes and the voice of Melvin, Tony Daniels, the voice of Jadeite and Wise Man, Susan Roman, the voice of Sailor Jupiter, Ron Rubin, the voice of Artemis, and Jill Frappier, the voice of Luna. If you missed last year’s event you can watch the panel below.
This year’s event looks like it will be a lot of fun. It has some great guests including voice actors Vince Corazza, the voice of Alan and Tuxedo Mask, Tony Daniels, the voice of Jadeite and Wise Man, and David Fraser, the voice of Raye’s Grandpa and other minor roles in the series. Jennifer Cihi, who sang many songs for the English dub, will be there to perform a concert. For more information on this and other events at the convention check out the event’s web site.
Anime North is this weekend, May 27th to the 29th, at the Toronto Congress Center and 9 actors from the original dub of the first Sailor Moon anime will be there! This includes two voices of Sailor Moon. The first voice of Sailor Moon Tracey Moore, provided her voice for only the first 11 episodes as well as another four throughout the series. Linda Ballantyne was the third voice of Sailor Moon, providing her voice for the S and SuperS seasons. Also appearing are Katie Griffin, the voice of Sailor Mars, Susan Roman, the voice of Sailor Jupiter, Barbara Radecki, the voice of Sailor Neptune, Jill Frappier, the voice of Luna, Ron Rubin, the voice of Artemis, Toby Proctor, the second voice of Tuxedo Mask, and John Stocker, voice director for Sailor Moon S and SuperS. Toby Proctor, having himself replaced Rino Romano as the second voice of Tuxedo Mask, mostly acted alongside Terry Hawkes and not the two Sailor Moon voice actors in attendance, though he did appear in four episodes with Tracey Moore.
The panel with these voice actors will take place on Friday at 5pm. On Sunday at 11am Tracey Moore and John Stocker will be holding a behind the scenes of voice acting panel. The voice actors will be signing autographs throughout the weekend. Check out the Anime North schedule for the exact times.
The convention is full of Sailor Moon related events. A Sailor Moon panel will be held Saturday at 10am and a Sailor Moon Merchandise presentation will be held Sunday at 11am.
Though I am Canadian I don’t live in Toronto. I’ve been to Anime North a number of times and have always had fun but unfortunately I won’t be attending this year.
Well isn’t this just confusing. The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, the 28th episode, is also called Act 27. Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27, Infinity 1 – Premonition – Second Part, is now available on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu. This episode covers the second part of the manga chapter which is Act 27, and so in order to keep the numbering for future episodes, Act 27 is used for both parts. This will be a bit confusing in the future as the Act number for every episode will not accurately reflect how many episodes have been released to date. Crunchyroll, Hulu and Neon Alley all refer to it as Episode 28 – Act 27 … I will continue to refer to episodes as “Act XX” so it will be Act 28 next week, even though this is the 29th episode and some services may use 29 to refer to it.
Since this episode covers half an Act of the manga, the pacing is a bit off, but with two monster attacks in that original story it actually works decently. Overall this was another great episode full of lovely animation. I enjoy all of the cute animation things they’ve included which have super deformed characters and silly little things. These are often unrealistic such as Usagi pulling a hammer out of hammer space or Sailor Chibi Moon breaking the forth wall by blowing away a balloon which Sailor Moon pops up in.
There’s a massive Luna book in the Tsukino living room. What’s that about? I guess if I saw a book with a picture of a cat that looked just like mine on it I might buy it but I have a sort of generic looking black cat who is also named Luna. Coincidence? Of course not I named the cat after the Sailor Moon character.
A big change this week is this new fancy communicator that Mamoru has but absolutely refuses to use. First we see Mamoru on this ancient assed phone talking about his communicator, but not using it. It’s odd enough to see a man of Mamoru’s age and lack of family attachments not using a cell phone, but having him use a land line to refer to his communicator is absolutely absurd. Are there limited minutes on this thing? I don’t think it’s using the cell service of Tokyo. Pretty sure it’s being relayed through the massive super computer hidden under the arcade. Pretty sure these things can be used to do point to point or conference type calls as much as needed. Mamoru has no one in his home and given his willingness to divulge secret identities last week, it’s hardly a security concern to use the communicator which he’s openly wearing on his wrist as it’s designed for. In reality in 2016 he should have a cell phone and the communicators are not really something that needs to exist, but with this being such a faithful adaptation of the manga it’s not simply a case of upgrading a disk to a CD and a tape to a DVD when things are so closely tied into the story. This isn’t the live action series which beautifully adapted period relevant cell phone technology to suit the story after all. So Mamoru uses a lame phone and doesn’t really use his communicator like he should.
We get a decent look at the Witches 5 this week. They aren’t really supposed to be in it as much as they are. In the manga they don’t show up at the battle but then they needed to stretch out the battle with something. They’re supposed to show up one at a time starting with Eudial in the next Act. That seems to still be happening. Cyprine is shown but Ptilol is not. This may be because there are 6 members of the Witches 5 and showing them all makes their name seem stupid.
Chibiusa heads to the amusement park with her friends. Mamoru accompanies her and brings Asanuma along and how in love is this guy with Mamoru? Also in attendance are Chibiusa’s friends who are all basically slightly younger versions of characters we’ve seen elsewhere in the series. Kyuusuke, who we’ve seen before, is basically a small version of Mamoru. Chibiusa’s relationship with him isn’t that weird considering she’s totally made out with the fully adult version of her actual father. The Umino looking kid is Sorano. He also looks like Amano from the Sailor V comic. Speaking of originality, his name, Sorano, is like Hikaru Sorano, Minako’s Ami looking friend from Sailor V. I’m not sure what that other kid’s name is but he looks like a tiny Asanuma. Maybe he’s totally in love with Kyuusuke. Why not? I’m shipping those two.
Chibiusa loses her hat. This is a big deal because Ikuko Mama, who’s pretty much her 3rd most important mom, gave it to her. This hat travels really far, behind a massive building, and so far that Mamoru can’t follow. Chibiusa runs after it and Mamoru leaves immediately afterwards, but never quite manages to catch up. More than anyone needs to say about that later.
Usagi transforms into a student from Mugen Academy. Great plan! This school is huge, having student from all levels and with 60 floors! Somehow though she gets called out by a student that doesn’t recognize her. She must be really good with faces. Mugen Academy is a new school, but somehow one that has produced a great number of celebrities. I expect it didn’t actually spring up between seasons but I feel it can’t have produced that many important graduates in such a short time. The Daimon this week is a cat that really doesn’t seem to care about being turned into a monster. Classic cat!
Cue the transformation sequences. We did this last week. Stock footage has its cost savings purpose and when used properly it can look good and not be annoying. This week’s purely stock footage transformations, most of which we saw last week, ran from 13:55 to 18:22. That’s four and a half minutes of transforming and posing. The show is 24 minutes long with a minute long opening and ending. We don’t have time for this. This is excessive. I like what the new episodes are doing and the love improved animation but this is one aspect which I did not appreciate and I hope it is improved in the future. New here is only Sailor Chibi Moon’s transformation sequence which is cool if not kind of like the rest. She does a somewhat humorous “you have a small penis” pose with her fingers which I find funny but, given the wide variety of perversion on the Internet, I’m sure will actually be appreciated by someone out there.
Sailor Neptune and Uranus appear in this episode as cardboard cutouts. I felt like I was looking at frames of the manga. I get that they don’t really do much in this fight but they are so briefly shown in flashes that it’s a bit disappointing. Sailor Uranus in a mask and cape is cool though. Her gender is still ambiguous and Usagi seems to recognize her.
Hotaru is all over this episode. She doesn’t do a ton but it’s nice to see her and her wicked new hair cut. She seems to have changed the most of the new characters with just this. She seems to immediately discover everyone’s secret identities by asking “Who the hell are you?” and then Sailor Chibi Moon seems to think there’s no more reason to hide things. A funny exchange. Naturally we’ll be seeing a lot more of her as this season goes on because it’s not the original anime which downplayed everything about this character.
Enter Mamoru. Remember this guy? Yeah he just fails on every level in this episode. He ran after Chibiusa and her hat. Chibiusa is a child. He’s a grown man! He jogged in the original anime. This guy can’t keep up with a child and the wind. He even had an extra four and a half minutes to catch up while everyone was transforming and posing for the cat Daimon that didn’t really care about anything. If only Mamoru had some way to find out where everyone was! Oh right, he very specifically mentioned his communicator as a tool to keep in touch with Usagi at this exact time and he’s just not using it! Does this fossil from the 90s need a land line to stay in touch with his girlfriend? Maybe the girls should have started a fire and sent out some smoke signals so that Mamoru can keep up!
Next week is Act 28, Infinity 2 – Ripples, which is a confusing name for the 29th episode and 3rd part of the Infinity Arc but here we are. This episode will air next Monday, April 18th, and be available to stream at 10:30am Easter Time. The gang head out to a sort of school retreat by students of Mugen Academy where Eudial of the Witches 5, posing as a student, gets up to no good. She’s the paired Rei villain of this story arc, so it becomes a Rei episode! Since Act 27 Part 2 actually went a bit into the story of Act 28 it’s hard to tell where exactly this one will end. It should be easy enough to just wrap up the episode where the manga chapter does.
Good job if you made it this far. My review seems a bit more unhinged than usual this week. Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode and the next episode preview for Act 28.
There was an event today at the Anime Japan convention in which we saw the new Sailor Moon Crystal opening, closing, got a new trailer and even got a preview of what seems to be about half of Act 27. All of this footage is now available online, though the episode footage is of lower quality with people talking over it. Those people happen to be the voice actors for Sailor Moon, Uranus, Neptune and Saturn as well as the new director, but this is still a fairly terrible way to watch a clip.
This is not all of Act 27, yet it appears to be a continuous episode. Is this what people saw at the premiere event earlier this month? If it is then we may have been wrong in assuming Sailor Moon Crystal will not have a 1:1 ratio of manga chapters to episodes. Yes this clip concludes after the fight with the Daimon that comes from the girls at Mugen Academy but at less than 12 minutes we are hardly getting a full episode. Not everything seen here is in proper order either. We see Usagi disguised as a student of Mugen Academy. Is this a change in the order of the story or are we just being presented with a bunch of out of order clips from the first two episodes, strung together in a somewhat cohesive way? Regardless, it was mentioned that this season will span 13 episodes and there are 11 manga chapters for the Infinity Arc, so while this isn’t a 1:1 ratio, only two new episodes will be added to this season. It is still not clear if or how Act 27 will be split.
The better quality footage is of the music videos for the opening and ending themes. We previously mentioned that this is only the first of the ending themes and that many CDs would be released throughout the coming months. Also included is the CD cover art for the first single.
Here is the new opening In Love With the New Moon sung by Etsuko Yakushimaru. She previously sang the cover of Otome no Policy on the 20th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album and her voice here reminds me a lot of that song. This new opening has a lot of naked people in it, if you’re into that.
Next is the first ending theme Eternal Eternity sung by the voices of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, Junko Minagawa and Sayaka Ohara. This song reminds me of a few other anime themes including the opening theme for Revolutionary Girl Utena. Some of the visuals reminds me of the footage in the opening as well. The other that came to mind was a song from the Street Fighter II anime movie Itoshisa To Setsunasa To Kokoro Tsuyosa. Yes I know, I seem to only have watched anime the late 90s. It was better then.
Finally we have the new trailer, which includes some footage we’ve seen before.
There’s a lot of new footage here so I’ve included a bunch of screenshots for your convenience lower in the post. Of note is just how different Luna and Artemis look! Reminds me of something out of the Moon Animate Make-Up! project. What do you think of the new animation? I think it looks great, but obviously a bit different. I’m real excited for this new season which is a bit over a week away. Here’s hoping we get some news about a streaming version soon.
This weekend is the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago. This event will feature an Official Sailor Moon panel hosted by Viz and voice actors from the new dub of the original Sailor Moon anime and Sailor Moon Crystal. In attendance will be Stephanie Sheh, the voice of Sailor Moon, and Michelle Ruff, the voice of Luna. The official panel will be held on Saturday March 19th at 11:30am. This will be run by Viz Media staff including Charlene Ingram so we may have some news about the dub of Sailor Moon S that we are long overdue to get more information about. This is probably the topic I get the most e-mails and messages about! If things proceed as they have in the past we may very well be getting an announcement for a new Moonlight Party, some episodes to be released on Hulu and news about Sailor Moon S on DVD and Blu-Ray. We may also get news about Sailor Moon Crystal’s DVD and Blu-Ray release. This is all speculation of course. Keep checking this site for any significant news that may come from this event.
In additional to taking part in the Official Sailor Moon panel Stephanie Sheh and Michelle Ruff will also be holding a panel Bringing Characters to Life – An Hour with Michelle Ruff and Stephanie Sheh on Sunday, March 20th, at 10:45am. Both of the voice actors will also be available to signs autographs Saturday from 1:15pm to 3pm, 5:30pm to 7pm and on Sunday from 2:45pm to 4:30pm.
Charlene Ingram, the Viz Media rep who runs all of the Sailor Moon panels and Moonlight Parties, will also be holding the VIZ Media Industry Panel on Saturday, March 19th, at 4:15pm. While the important Sailor Moon info will probably be covered earlier in the day at the Sailor Moon panel, Sailor Moon may be covered a bit at this time.