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 Crystal Act 27, Infinity 1 – Premonition – First Part, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Haruka and Michiru

Sailor Moon Crystal is finally back! Act 27, Infinity 1 – Premonition – First Part, aired on Japanese TV April 4th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Shortly after this, around 10:45am Eastern Time, the show was available to stream for free on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Neon Alley. It seems that the show was only available to Hulu Plus users at first but could be viewed right away with commercials on the Viz web site Neon Alley. Keep this in mind in the future if you for whatever reason don’t like watching it on Crunchryroll.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Infinity 1 - Premonition - First Part

I guess we finally know what the episode title will be. Act 27 is split into two parts, aptly named “First Part” and “The 2nd Part”. Yes the subtitles do indeed inconsistently spell out first but write 2nd with a number. Hulu calls the episode “Part 1″ but the subtitle for the title is consistently “First Part”. As mentioned previously the season will have 13 episodes. Sailor Moon Crystal follows the later chapter break up of the manga which has the Infinity arc covering 12 manga chapters, meaning this is likely going to be the only episode which is split in two.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - The Sailor Team

The first thing which strikes me about this episode is the change in animation. Like it or not, it’s different. This seems like a totally different show. I personally think this new animation is fantastic as I’m going to appreciate anything that’s novel at this point. Not only is the style different but I all around get a sense that there has been a significant improvement in the quality of the animation. Perhaps more time and money have gone into these episodes. We should be happy for the delay if it means getting something that looks this good. There is also a lot of funny animation, which we’ve seen off and on earlier in the series. I hope this kind of thing keeps up. As always the show continues to be a faithful adaptation of the manga, so no big change there.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Haruka

Act 27 starts the new Infinity story arc which is all about Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Saturn and the Death Busters. We see only a glimpse of Hotaru and Kaolinite this week, but we do see quite a bit of Haruka and Michiru. Haruka is such a fascinating character. She is described using male gender specific pronouns in the subtitles. This is a bit of a complicated issue. Haruka is female, but at this point in the manga all characters, including the reader, are meant to assume that she is male. She’s not trans but is probably more accurately described as gender fluid. I have mentioned before that I don’t speak Japanese, but my understanding is simply that gender specific pronouns aren’t commonly used in the Japanese language. This leads to common situations in Japanese fiction, like anime and manga, where a character’s identity is confused but the person can still be openly spoken of without it leading to confusion like it might in English when a gender specific pronoun like he or she would come up to clear things up. And so Haruka wears men’s clothes and is fawned after by girls, including Usagi, Minako and Makoto who assume she is a man. Some of them of course will continue to be attracted to her when they learn she is a woman, which is just part of what makes this series great.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Diana on the table

Diana returns! She came to the present with Chibiusa from the 30th century, something which occurs in the manga but does not happen in the original Sailor Moon anime until late in the next story arc. Diana has a red collar in the original anime but her collar is grey in Sailor Moon Crystal. I only noticed this watching this episode but her collar was grey in the last story arc as well. Chibiusa seems to have no problems letting Diana sit on the dining room table. This isn’t something that bothers me much but I keep expecting my girlfriend to pop on to the screen and push her down.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Artemis and Luna

Speaking of cats, check out how much Luna and Artemis have changed. Their faces are shaped a lot differently that what we’re used to. One of the many changes in character designs.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Racing

The gang play a fake video game called Battle Lap. Or is it Speed Racer? It says Speed Racer on the side of the machine but it is clearly referred to as Battle Lap in conversation, which is the name of the game in the manga. I don’t know much about car racing but apparently in the Sailor Moon world being good at real car racing translates to being good at video game car racing! I am personally a terrible driver and I am also very bad at Mario Kart, so perhaps this is legit! Usagi mentions that she can’t tell how fast she’s going because of her helmet which Haruka seems to think is the sign of a good racer. I guess I will have to wear a helmet when I play Mario Kart from now on. This helmet peripheral doesn’t actually seem to have any in game functionality, unless it beats you up when you virtually crash.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Daimon

Fighting ensues! A Daimon comes out of a girl from Mugen Acamdemy, the school where all the scary stuff is going on, and this fight is much more than the few pages we get in the manga. This is probably why the chapter is split in two. We needed to reintroduce all characters and give everyone a full transformation sequence. These new transformation sequences look great, and are nearly identical to those from the original Sailor Moon anime.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Sailor Mars

We get some cool attacks. Sailor Venus uses her Wink Chain Sword which now features an actual sword! How cool is that? I mean she doesn’t actually hit the enemy with her sword but there is a sword in there. You know like the one she used to kill Queen Beryl. Oh that’s right…

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Venus Chain Wink Sword

Next week is Act 28, Infinity 1 – Premonition – The 2nd Part. No really, we’re not calling it Infinity 2? How confusing. At least we will be able to easily follow the manga titles even though the Act numbers will change. The preview has a border around it so I can’t be lazy and use these screenshots when the new episode comes out. Next week Usagi will disguise herself as a Mugen Academy student and try to sneak in. Looking forward to seeing if they draw all of Chibiusa’s friends like small version of the men of the series. Kyuusuke looks like a tiny Mamoru but in this coming story we have a tiny version of Asanuma and Umino. Or is it Amano? I guess Naoko Takeuchi got lazy! More importantly we will see Sailor Uranus and Neptune for the first time. Keep an eye out for Act 28 on Monday April 11th some time around 10:45am Eastern Time on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 Preview - Hotaru

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode and the next episode preview.

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Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27, Infinity 1 – Premonition, will be released Monday April 4th!

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Michiru and Haruka

After months of waiting the new episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal are about to start. Act 27, which I expect will be called Infinity 1 – Premonition, airs on Japanese TV tomorrow at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Since Japan is in the future, this is 10am Eastern Time, 7am Pacific Time. It will be streamed on Crunchyroll and Hulu at some point Monday. As always just click on the Crunchyroll and Hulu links to get to the Sailor Moon Crystal page for that service to view new episodes. I expect it could be as early as 10am, but we won’t know for sure until tomorrow. Both services have free viewing options and pay options to reduce commercials. Crunchyroll is available in the US and Canada but Hulu is restricted to viewing in the United States. Viewers elsewhere who have trouble getting to either service may require a proxy service to stay up to date.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Haruka

Some who have already seen Act 27 have commented that it only covers half of the equivalent manga chapter, which would be a departure from what the rest of the series has done. The Infinity arc of the manga spans 11 manga chapters but is said to be 13 episodes. It’s unclear exactly how that breakdown should happen. Based on what we’ve seen and what we’ve heard from those that have seen the episode we should be seeing Haruka and Michiru however we won’t be seeing their counterparts Sailor Uranus and Neptune until the next episode. We will also not be seeing Hotaru, Kaolinite or the Witches 5 until next week, though they will feature prominently in the rest of the season. The episode should end following a quick battle with a Daimon that comes out of a student from Mugen Academy leaving quite a bit of the story of that manga chapter remaining. I’m only assuming that the episode will be titled Infinity 1 – Premonition, but since this chapter will likely span two episodes, we may be seeing a different title.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Students from Mugen Academy

I’m looking forward to finally seeing more Sailor Moon Crystal! I’ll have my review posted to the site a few days after I see the episode.

New episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal will be streamed on release day on Crunchyroll and Hulu starting April 4th!

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Michiru and Haruka

We finally have confirmation of an international release of the upcoming episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal, which will cover the Infinity Arc, and it’s one of the best possible scenarios. Both Crunchyroll and Hulu will be streaming the episodes as they air in Japan starting with the upcoming Act 27 which airs on Japanese TV this Monday April 4th at 11pm Japan Standard Time, 10am Eastern Time, 7am Pacific Time.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Sailor Chibi Moon and Hotaru

This announcement was made by Crunchyroll and Viz yesterday. Nothing like a last minute announcement! Crunchyroll mentioned only that it would be available “in April” but Viz’s release, speaking specifically about Hulu, said that it would be a digital simulcast on the same day that it’s released in Japan starting April 4th. 10am Eastern Time is the local time here on the East Coast (Ottawa/Gatineau for me) when the show will be available in Japan. I can’t say with total confidence when exactly it will be online but it will likely be some time on Monday for both services. These episodes will be Japanese audio with English subtitles. A dubbed version will surely be coming but at a much later date.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 133 - Chibiusa is an old lonely cat lady watching Sailor Moon

I haven’t seen any news about it being available on Niconico. I generally found the quality on Niconico to be pretty much terrible but this was a good option for international viewers to get it in a language other than English. Hulu is course is region restricted to users in the United States. As a Canadian I have been legally watching the series on Crunchyroll without issues, though sometimes the device specific streams, like those on the PlayStation, are not available as the show launched. With a paid Crunchyroll subscription you can watch the show without commercial interuptions. Hulu’s a perfectly serviceable free option and I understand the pay version Hulu Plus does not have ads for Sailor Moon.

crunchyroll

Watch a ton of Sailor Moon Crystal season 3 footage including the new opening, closing and half of Act 27

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc Ending - Sailor Uranus and Neptune

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.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - The Sailor Guardians ready for battle

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.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc - Opening - Usagi with no shoes

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.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc Ending - Sailor Neptune and Uranus

Finally we have the new trailer, which includes some footage we’ve seen before.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc - Preview Trailer - Artemis and Luna

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.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal season 3 CD - Sailor Uranus and Neptune

Source: Sailor Moon Official Site
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The Infinity Arc of Sailor Moon Crystal will have more than one episode per manga chapter

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Sailor Chibi Moon and Sailor Moon

March 6th was the sneak preview of the first episode of the upcoming Infinity Arc of Sailor Moon Crystal, which will be aired on Japanese TV on April 4th. This was, we are supposing, Act 27, Infinity 1 – Premonition. Every episode to date has lined up with the chapter titles from the manga but it seems this trend will not continue. Two people who attended the premiere episode have confirmed that it only covered half of the manga equivalent of Act 27. Twitter user @uiyoe16 first mentioned that this only covered part of the story but later a user Andy added a comment to one of our posts with a lot of details.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Students from Mugen Academy

According to her the episode concluded after Sailor Jupiter and Venus defeated the Daimon which had come from the Infinity Academy Students’ backs. This means that the first episode would only include appearances by Haruka and Michiru, but not their Sailor Guardian counterparts Sailor Uranus and Neptune or Hotaru, all of whom show up towards the end of Act 27. By my count this means the episode covers pages 4 to 43 of the manga chapter, which goes up to page 73. This is a bit more than half, but close enough that the next episode would likely conclude Act 27.

Many users have also wondered if this could mean that, unlike the first two seasons, we could be having more extra scenes and character development not in the manga. Part of what set the original Sailor Moon anime apart from the manga was that, over a longer period of time, we got extra content exclusive to that series. Andy goes on to say that they did not change anything or add new scenes not present in the manga. This would mean that, even though we may not be doing the 1:1 ratio of manga chapters to Sailor Moon Crystal episodes, we might not necessarily be adding anything completely new. This just gives us the same story animated at a different pace. Many comments have pointed out that the stories in the Infinity arc are often longer, so this kind of approach makes sense rather than trying to cram more story into a short episode. How this will factor in throughout the season is not clear at this point, and we will only get an idea as the story goes on, though we can imagine longer stories may have more than one episode while shorter ones may keep the 1:1 ratio.

Here’s the complete Tweet from user @uiyoe16:

Here’s the full comment left by Andy on our post about the Sailor Moon/Pokémon crossover:

greetings to all Sailor Moon Crystal fans! I was one of the fans who had a chance to see the limited premiere of the third season and I want to share some news with you, although I know some news have already leaked out. So first at all – at that time there were no new opening and ending credits, they said they are still working on it, same with the new soundtrack – what we could hear were just unfinished samples. The transformations and attacks have brand new animation – and it is stunning, much more better than in the first two seasons, Guardians also have new Planet Power make-up pens! The episode was simply a half of “Act 27 – Infinity 1, Premonition”, they did not change anything and there was not any new scene which is not in manga, it was 100% faithful to the manga and ended after Jupiter and Venus destroyed on the street the monster which emerged from one of the Infinity Academy student’s back. There were not present Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune (their civilian form Michiru and Haruka were present of course), Professor Tomoe, Hotaru, nor Witches 5 and only a brief appearance of Kaolinite and Pharaoh 90.

How many episodes will we have? There are actually different numberings for Manga chapters in different editions. Sailor Moon Crystal had broken up episodes according to the new version of the manga which were reprinted in 2003. These are the chapters used in the latest English release of the manga. According to this numbering the first two arcs spanned 26 episodes and there are 11 chapters in the Infinity arc. It looks like the Infinity arc would at least cover 12 chapters if they only broke up the first Act but more likely would be closer to 20 or 26 for this story arc alone if they kept up this pace throughout the Infinity story arc. While it was originally expected that another batch of 26 episodes could cover both the Infinity and Dream arcs of the manga, this may no longer be the case. At this point I’m considering that the next Act will be Act 27, Infinity 1 – Premonition, but what will Act 28 be called if it doesn’t span Act 28, Infinity 2 – Ripples, of the Manga? We may not have specifics until April 4th when the episode airs, or some short time after that as we still have no details about international streaming options.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Sailor Neptune and Uranus

Source: @ukiyoe16 and the comments at Sailor Moon News

Watch the trailer for Sailor Moon Crystal’s Infinity Arc which starts Monday April 4th with a new opening and ending theme

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Sailor Chibi Moon and Hotaru

This morning was the premiere event for the first episode of the Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc in Japan. Some lucky fans were able to watch Act 27, Infinity 1 – Premonition, ahead of the rest of us. Only those in attendance were able to see it but a new trailer has been released so that we can see Sailor Uranus, Neptune and some of the Death Busters in action. On top of this we got a lot of news about the series, which is set to premiere on Tokyo MX on Monday April 4th at 11pm Japan Standard Time, 10am Eastern Daylight Time, and every Monday after this. It will replay on other channels throughout the week. There has been no mention of streaming options for international viewers. For now we are hoping for more information while relying on our friends in Japan to record the broadcasts so that they will be fan translated early in the week. Watch the trailer below.

The series has a new opening and ending theme for the Infinity arc. The new opening is “In Love With the New Moon” by Etsuko Yakushimaru who sang the cover of Otome No Policy on the 20th Anniversary album. The new ending theme is “Eternal Eternity” and will be sung by the voices of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, Junko Minagawa and Sayaka Ohara. A CD release with these new songs will be released on April 27th and is already available for pre-order from Amazon Japan and CD Japan.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Michiru and Haruka

The animation looks a bit different from what we’ve seen, though it’s hard to tell specifically from just these clips. My concerns about the lack of shading in the preview image aren’t worrying me with what we’ve seen from this footage. I think what we’re seeing in this trailer looks quite good, though they are likely just sharing the best looking stuff they have. What do you think?

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity Arc trailer - Minako and Makoto

Source: Sailor Moon Official Site

Update: [2016-03-09] I previously mentioned that 11pm Japan Standard Time was 9am Eastern Time. This has been corrected to 10am Eastern Daylight Time. I was not keeping in mind the upcoming time change occurring this weekend which puts this release under Eastern Daylight Time, as Daylight Savings Time will be observed for many in the Eastern Time Zone. I’ll be sure to include the correct time zones when April 4th approaches. Apologies to those in the Eastern Time Zone who do not observer DST who are probably just really confused by all this nonsense.

Keep reading for more screenshots from the trailer.

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The first episode of the Infinity Arc of Sailor Moon Crystal will be previewed at a March 6th event

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 Sneak Peak

An image was posted on the SailorMoonWorld.it Facebook Page which announced a special March 6th event which would screen the first new episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, likely to be named Act 27, Infinity 1 – Premonition, if the naming convention used for the first 26 episodes continues. This was confirmed on the Evil Line web site and Sailor Moon Official Site. This does not mean that the first episode will be available to fans on March 6th. We have only heard that the series will be released in “April” with no more specifics. This event, which takes place in Japan, will have very limited space, so I don’t expect many readers will be lucky enough to attend.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity arc character art

The event will take place on March 6th and include two screenings, one at 5pm and the other at 7pm, both in Japan Standard Time. This corresponds to 3am and 5am Eastern Time, if anyone cares to know the exact time something is happening on the other side of the planet they aren’t able to take part in. The event is meant to coincide with Sailor Neptune’s birthday, as Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Saturn will be seen in the upcoming episodes.

Sailor Neptune

If you would like to try your luck at attending, and are in the area, you can fill out the form on the Evil Line site for information on how to attend. I put my name, age and e-mail address in the form but did not receive an immediate response. If I get anything worthwhile I will share it on the site.

Source: SailorMoonWorld.it Facebook Page, Evil Line web site and Sailor Moon Official Site.