As Kristen Bell raises concerns about consent and kissing sleeping people, let’s examine the many inappropriate sleeping kisses in Sailor Moon!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 4 - Tuxedo Mask kissing Sailor Moon without consent

In a recent interview with Parents Magazine Kristen Bell made some comments about Snow White which have been making headlines. Basically she talked about how, while reading stories to her children, she asks them to think about the implications of certain actions in fairy tales and what they mean. One particular example which is relevant to Sailor Moon, as I’ll get to shortly, is Snow White. She asks her children to consider if it’s wise to take an apple from a stranger and if it’s okay to kiss a sleeping person. Various media outlets picked up on this by saying that she is calling out older Disney films, which is surely helped by the Parents Magazine article headline “Kristen Bell Worries Disney Princesses Teach Her Daughters Bad Lessons”. In reality she is specifically speaking to fairy tales in books, many of which happen to have been adapted as Disney films. Though Snow White includes a few questionable life choices the fairy tales of the likes of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm are ancient tales full of gruesome violence as they are products of an older and much more violent period in human history. Modern versions such as the story books we may see in stores and the Disney films we enjoy will often sanitize these to appeal to our modern sensibilities. Kristen Bell is herself the voice of Anna in Frozen, a film which sets itself apart from other Disney films by calling out tropes like marrying someone you just met, the evil queen and acts of true love coming from a newly acquainted love interest. I’ve probably watched Frozen with my daughter roughly 50 times in the past year so I’ll just stop myself from elaborating on my many thoughts on this film and its relation to other Disney classics. So much to say Kristen Bell has the privilege of having worked on a Disney film which questions the status quo of films that came before it and has a number of positive progressive messages.

Sailor Moon R episode 56 - Natsumi and Mamoru

All of this brings us to Sailor Moon! I’ve mentioned this time and time again and it always seems to be divisive amongst fans. The idea is that a number of non consensual kisses given to sleeping people in the series are inappropriate due to the sleeping person’s inability to give consent. I am aware of the risk of applying a modern lens to an older work as these weren’t things I thought of in the 90s but I don’t think there’s much harm in discussing these. I am certainly not calling to ban or boycott Sailor Moon but instead, as with the conversations Kristen Bell has with her children, use it as a reason to discuss issues.

Ultimately I think it may be a little simple to give a blanket statement like saying kissing someone who is sleeping is wrong. If I kiss my baby daughter or wife while they sleep this isn’t the same as kissing a stranger. People generally kiss babies when they are too young to give overt consent, though not on the mouth. There’s nothing terribly dangerous about this. That said if I try to kiss my daughter and she says no, I will respect that request and stop. The Snow White example is perhaps not such and open and shut case. It’s not that kissing a sleeping person you’ve never met without consent is okay, however, if there is a good expectation that this will cause the person to be brought out of a comma, one could easily argue that it is morally justifiable. Similarly it may be completely inappropriate to rip a stranger’s shirt off because they are attractive however in an emergency situation it is certainly justifiable to touch someone and remove a piece of their clothing in order to perform life saving intervention. An EMT of course shouldn’t be groping a patient for sexual gratification or go around kissing people they are treating. The motivation behind these actions are the important distinction here. Most adults appreciate this nuance though children may not, hence the value in talking about the stories and media you share with them.

Sailor Moon episode 22 - Drunk Usagi

There are two examples in Sailor Moon where a sleeping person is kissed and, to me, it does not seem appropriate. The first falls into a bit of a grey area because of reincarnation and that is the kiss following the Masquerande in the Dark Kingdom story arc of the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal which also takes place in episode 22 of the original anime, “Romance Under the Moon: Usagi’s First Kiss”. In this case Usagi accidentally drinks alcohol thinking it is juice. She passes out drunk after which Tuxedo Mask kisses her. This looks particularly creepy in the original anime as the animation in this particular episode is a bit cheap. The issue here is, as the title of the anime episode title suggests, this is Usagi’s first kiss. Had Mamoru and Usagi been in an established relationship in which this kind of exchange was commonplace enough to be considered normal and he kissed her while she slept, this would not have been the same kind of breach of etiquette however in this case no such relationship existed… well not in this lifetime. The complication of course is that Mamoru and Usagi are reincarnated versions of Endymion and Princess Serenity. They had a relationship in the past and are dealing with fragments of memories of that. In the real world if someone used this as a defense for kissing a person who was passed out drunk they would rightfully be chastised for it as reincarnation isn’t real however in Sailor Moon it’s a real thing so it’s a bit more complicated. That Usagi is herself infatuated with Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really clear him of any wrongdoing as one can’t just assume someone else’s feelings though I think this may be why people feel more comfortable about this exchange. The fact that Usagi and Mamoru ultimately do end up in a relationship makes this seem okay in but this logic only works in retrospect. Mamoru and Rei were actually in a relationship at this time, though that infidelity isn’t even factoring into my objections to this. If you’re not convinced that this is a problem then instead consider if Umino, or anyone else, had found a drunk Usagi and done the same.

Sailor Moon episode 22 - Tuxedo Mask kissing a drunk Usagi

This seems to have been a concern for someone at DiC when the original Sailor Moon anime was first dubbed. Episode 22 was heavily edited for a number of reasons, including adding some backwards footage to make it appear as if Serena went back and took the stairs instead of falling off the balcony. In this particular there is no alcoholic punch, Serena never gets drunk and never passes out. The “first kiss” between her and Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really take place. The scene is shown but a voice over by Tuxedo Mask states that it’s simply his dream. So much to say it’s generally considered okay to kiss pretty much anyone in your dream. As a result of this the first on screen kiss for the Sailor Moon English dub takes place in Sailor Moon R right before Rini drops in from the future. This momentous occasion is spoiled by an awkward joke about Darien tasting peanut butter and getting stuck.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Luna kisses Kakeru

Next we have a series of kisses from Sailor Moon S The Movie. These are fresh in my mind having just watched the recently released Blu-Ray release of the film. Many fans would have seen the film in theatres this summer. In this film Luna falls in love with a human. After asking Usagi what a kiss tastes like she takes advantage of Kakeru, the source of her affection, by kissing him while he is asleep. There is no past life relationship between Luna and Kakeru. In fact Kakeru himself has a love interest in Himeko. This isn’t cool! Kakeru does not consent to the act and is in no state to do so. The situation is a bit complicated by the fact that Luna is a cat. I have cats and I have been known to kiss them on occasion. Dogs enjoy licking people’s faces and this is generally not considered to be some violation or assault, but then dogs are animals without human intelligence. Luna is a cat, yes, but a cat who essentially has a human equivalent mind. As an aside there is very little that resembles consent in the animal kingdom as most sexual interactions are forced. This is more or less true of humans until recent history as well, but we’ve come a long way and we should all be glad to live in a world where a person’s autonomy is respected. This isn’t the only kiss in the film as Luna later kisses Kakeru while she is in human form and the two fly around space for a while. Kakeru may believe this surreal experience to be a dream but it is real and Luna doesn’t ask if it is okay to kiss him, but he is awake and he doesn’t back away. This is probably similar to how a lot of human on human kisses take place so I won’t harp on that one too much. In the 90s I don’t think anyone would bat an eye at this but in 2018 some people might take issue with such behaviour.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Tuxedo Mask kisses a dead Sailor Moon

There are a few Snow White style kisses in the series. The first takes place during Sailor Moon R episode 69 “Awaken the Sleeping Beauty: Mamoru’s Distress” in which Sailor Moon is very much trapped in a Snow White style sleep which Mamoru wakes her up of with a kiss. Something similar occurs in Sailor Moon R The Movie when Sailor Moon literally dies, again, but can be healed through the nectar of the Kisesian Flower. Mamoru sucks up the nectar and gives it to Sailor Moon in a kiss. In both cases this resembles Snow White in that it is a necessary life saving intervention but, unlike in the story of Snow White, Mamoru and Usagi have an established relationship when this happens.

Sailor Moon R episode 56 - An, as Snow White, tries to kiss Mamoru, as Prince Charming

Snow White style kiss that never quite happened however is the kiss between An and Mamoru in Sailor Moon R episode 56 “Steal a Kiss from Mamoru! An’s Project Snow White”. In this episode An orchestrates things so that she will play Snow White in a play and get a chance to kiss Mamoru, who is playing Prince Charming. Things don’t go as planned however as her attempt to kiss him during rehearsal fails and the play is cut short by an attack by a Cardian summoned by none other than her brother lover.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Sailor Uranus kissing Sailor Moon

Finally we have the kiss between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Moon in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal. This a sort of surprise kiss that Sailor Moon doesn’t expect and doesn’t have time to consent to one way or another. This in turn opens up the story to all sorts of interesting questions about sexuality which are quite worthwhile but it’s something I felt was worth pointing out.

All said I think Kristen Bell’s attitude of simply wanting to discuss what she’s reading with her children to be completely reasonable. She’s hardly arguing that Snow White is responsible for all of the ills of society and banning them in her household but rather finding a way to allow her children to consume media which she might not be totally okay with all while using it as a way to start a conversation about a serious topic. This isn’t quite the same attitude that Keira Knightley has, as her recent appearance on Ellen illustrated. She bans certain movies in her house, even some she quite enjoys, such as the Little Mermaid, because she’s concerned they might present a negative message. Far be it for me to tell someone else how to raise their kids! If this works for her than so be it. When I watch The Little Mermaid with my daughter I keep in mind the simple lesson this movie teaches. Don’t make a deal with a Sea Witch to get something you can get from your daddy for free if you’d just learn to communicate. I don’t think Disney is too upset about this either. If it bothers them they can wipe away their tears with some of that Pirates money.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you believe some of these kisses are inappropriate? Am I just overreacting and applying a modern lens to a harmless story? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

The new English voice cast for the Sailor Moon S and SuperS movies as well as the Ami’s First Love special have been announced

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Luna kisses Kakeru

Last weekend was Anime Expo in Los Angeles and, as has occurred at past conventions, Viz had a Moon Panel on Sailor Moon Day. One thing which was announced at this panel was the cast for the upcoming English versions of Sailor Moon S The Movie, Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie and the Ami’s First Love special which plays with Sailor Moon SuperS. The films will be showing in theatres in late July and early August. The cast is a mix of new voice actors, a few who are returning after minor roles and some main cast members doing minor roles in the films.

First up is the cast of the Sailor Moon S Movie which has Kakeru, the man who Luna falls in love with, Himeko, an astronaut and part of Kakeru’s love triangle, and Princess Snow Kaguya, the villain of the film.

Sailor Moon S The Movie English cast

Kakeru – Chris Hackeny
Himeko – Claudia Lenz
Princess Snow Kaguya – Melissa Fahn

Himeko is voiced by Claudia Lenz, who also goes by the name of Eden Riegel, who previously voiced Koan in Viz’s new dub of Sailor Moon R and Sailor Moon Crystal.

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie - Perle, Chibiusa and Diana

For the long titled Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole we have a cast which includes Poupelin, Banae and Oranja, the three villain henchmen, Perle, the reformed villain and love interest for Chibiusa, the Bonbon Babies, giant candy looking monsters, and Badiane, the main villain seeking to imprison the Earth’s children into an energy dreaming eternal slumber not unlike The Matrix.

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie English cast

Poupelin – Kyle McCarley
Banane – Ben Diskin
Oranja – Robbie Daymond
Bonbon Babies – Erica Mendez
Perle – Colleen O’Shaughnessey
Badiane – Tara Sands

We have a few returning cast members here! Banane is voiced by Ben Diskin who is Umino in the series and the Ami’s First Love special as well as Fiore from Sailor Moon R The Movie. Oranja is voiced by Robbie Daymond who plays Tuxedo Mask in the series and all of these movies. The Bonbon Babies are voiced by Erica Mendez who Sailor Uranus in the series and films and also voiced Reika. Badiane is voiced by Tara Sands who has played a number of single episode roles in Sailor Moon and was also Bulbasaur in Pokémon.

Ami's First Love - Mercurius

Finally we have the Ami’s First Love short which plays with the Sailor Moon SuperS film. The only new voices here are Bunnun, the voice of the monster, and Mercurius, Ami’s rival.

Ami's First Love voice cast

Bonnun – Colleen O’Shaughnessey
Mercurius – Kyle McCarley

Both of these actors were also in Sailor Moon SuperS. The voice of Bonnun, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, is also Perle in the SuperS film. The voice of Mercurius, Kyle McCarley, was also Poupelin in the SuperS film.

For show times and a list of participating theatres be sure to check out the Fathom Events web site. The Sailor Moon S movie will be shown with the R movie dubbed on July 28th and subbed on July 30th. The Sailor Moon SuperS movie will be shown with the Ami’s First Love special dubbed on August 4th and subbed on August 6th.

Though the Fathom Events site only lists US theatres Canadians will also have a chance to see these films on those same dates at select Cineplex theatres. Though show times and theatres are not yet listed on their site keep and eye out on their listings for dubbed and subbed showings of Sailor Moon R and S as well as dubbed and subbed showings of Sailor Moon SuperS and Ami’s First Love.

Are any of you going to be able to see these films in your cities? It was a real treat to see Sailor Moon R in theatres a couple of years ago and I hope to be able to get out to see the other films as well!

Japanese Sailor Moon movie Blu-Ray set review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Cover

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray, a set including all three of the Sailor Moon films, was released in Japan on February 7th. This is the first time the Sailor Moon S and SuperS films were released on Blu-Ray and the set looks really great. It also includes the Make-Up! Sailor Senshi and Ami’s First Love specials which played with the R and SuperS movies in theatres as well as a handful of special features. MSRP is 15,000 yen, about $140 US. You can order it from sites such as Amazon Japan or CD Japan. The set is Japanese only with no English subtitles. I believe the discs are region free as no region code is listed on the box but regardless Japanese Blu-Ray discs are region A which is the same region as North America. Fans looking to see the films in English can already buy Sailor Moon R The Movie from Viz which has similar video quality. Though the other films have not been announced they will likely be released eventually.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Princess Serenity

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Princess Serenity

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

A lot of people were wondering what the video quality is like. This release looks fantastic. That said, so did Viz’s Blu-Ray release of the R movie. With such poor quality in Viz’s Blu-Ray releases of the original TV series many blame them for the job they did with it but their Sailor Moon Crystal and R Movie releases show that they are able to make a nice looking product with nice looking masters. These films are HD versions taken from the original film source and it shows. They look considerably superior to the TV series Blu-Rays which have been released in Japan as these were simply software upconverted versions of standard definition video sources.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Usagi gives Mamoru a rose

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Japense R2 DVD 2002 - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

Japanese DVD (2002)

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

English Pioneer DVD (1999)

I’ve got a lot of comparison screenshots between this new Japanese release, Viz’s release of the R movie and the Japanese version. You can also compare it to the original English DVD release but this doesn’t have much value as that was such a poor quality release. Still the English version has an unmated 4:3 picture so there is a bit more of the image to see. For all of the images in this post just click on it to enlarge and then click on the hyperlink showing the image dimensions (for example, 1920×1080) to see the full picture. These suffer from minor compression artifacts because they’re uploaded as JPEGs but you should get an idea for the difference or rather lack of any difference in quality between versions.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Umino cameo

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Umino cameo

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Japense R2 DVD 2002 - Umino Cameo

Japanese DVD (2002)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - English Pioneer release - Umino Cameo

English Pioneer DVD (1999)

These are just a few comparisons. I’ll include more at the end of the post with the rest of the images of the packaging.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Usagi and Mamoru

Now about the contents. The Sailor Moon films are really a great part of the series. Due to the nature of their release they’re often overlooked. Here in North America for example they were released fairly late with the original dub and with the entire series now released subbed to stream and coming out on home video we only have the first film which has been released theatrically and on video. Though it is often hard to fit the films into continuity, they still generally follow what’s going on with the associated series. Their standalone stories are enjoyable and an easy introduction to the series for new fans.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Young Mamoru and Usagi

First is Sailor Moon R The Movie. This is one of my favourite films of all time, let alone one of the better anime films and, in my opinion, the best of the Sailor Moon films. It centres around Fiore, a childhood friend of Mamoru’s who happens to be an alien. It isn’t explicitly mentioned in the film but Fiore is of the same alien race as Ail and An from the early episodes of Sailor Moon R. It’s full of all of what makes Sailor Moon great with emotional scenes, dramatic battles and of course Sailor Moon sacrificing herself and showing compassion for the enemy, which I consider to be her true strength. I’ve spoken at length about my love of this film before! It’s great.

Make-Up! Sailor Senshi - Chibiusa and Usagi

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

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

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

As a bonus feature with Sailor Moon R The Movie is Make-Up! Sailor Guardians, a short which was originally shown with the film in theatres. I don’t have a great amount of love for this feature since it’s mostly clips, but there is a bit of unique animation. The quality here is not quite that of the film but better than any release of the TV series, of which it features many clips. As I mentioned in my review of Viz’s release of the R movie it seems like the original footage, which is claimed to be lost, was available back when this special was put together because the TV series clips featured throughout are of good quality authored from film source and not converted somehow from a standard definition video source as all Blu-Ray releases of the TV series have been.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Human Luna

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon S movie - Human Luna - Princess Kaguya

Japanese DVD (2002)

Next we have Sailor Moon S The Movie. This is the only film which is based on the Sailor Moon manga as Naoko Takeuchi wrote a standalone story “The Lover of Princess Kaguya” following her trip to Cape Canaveral in the United States. It is the story of Luna who falls in love with a man and turns into a human herself. Also some ice villain. My feelings are mixed on this one. Simply put I don’t care for it all that much. When I first saw it on bootleg VHS back in the 90s I was fairly underwhelmed. I can never really pinpoint why though. Upon reflection I find the villain uninteresting and having little to tie into the story and I think Kakeru is generally annoying and unintelligent for a scientist. His conflict with Himeko is a bit forced. Still I find the drama around Luna’s feelings compelling and certain aspects of the film are enjoyable, such as Tuxedo Mask dressed as Santa Claus.

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie - Sailor Moon in a Dream

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie - Usagi choses reality

Japanese DVD (2002)

Finally we have Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole. This is the only one of the films with a proper title and it’s a mouthful, hence I often just call it the SuperS Movie or SuperS The Movie, to keep with the convention set by the other films. It introduces us to Perle, or Peruru as I will always think of him due to the subtitles used on VKLL’s version of the film. Perle is a sort of fairy, possibly a bird animated through magic, who is defecting against Badiane, the villain who is possibly an alien who is attempting to enslave the world’s children into an eternal dream like state in which she syphons off their energy. Last year I wrote an article arguing that this film’s plot is similar to that of The Matrix, which was released a few years later. I really enjoy this film. The animation is good and the story interesting. It introduces us to some fun characters and concepts. The main plot is a sort of science fiction story and the idea of enslaving people into a perfect happy dream at the cost of their freedom presents interesting philosophical questions which are fun to think about. Perle’s character somewhat mimics that of Pegasus/Helios as Chibiusa has romantic feelings for him. Having seen this film before watching the later half of the Sailor Moon SuperS season it was this relationship which I was originally exposed to which is a bit backwards to be sure.

Ami's First Love - Ami in the bath

Along with the SuperS Movie is Ami’s First Love, a special which was included with the film in theatres. This short is entirely composed of new animation and tells the story of Ami receiving a love letter which she thinks is from a rival student but which turns out to be from a monster. Her “First love” in this case would be Mercurius though she doesn’t really have any direct interaction with this Umino looking guy. This is a funny special and well worth watching. It remains some of the last bits of animation, along with the SuperS Special, that we haven’t seen an official release for here in North America. I expect that if and when Viz gets around to releasing the SuperS film that it will include Ami’s First Love with it. I’m curious to see what rating it gets as it features a semi naked Ami getting out of the tub, but it really isn’t anything too explicit. Quality for this special is quite good and similar to that of the other films. As with the rest of the release the masters used appear to be the film source which means a high quality HD image.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Low quality creditless opening

Low quality “clean” opening

As bonus features go we have the same thing which was including in the laserdiscs and I do mean the exact same thing! All special features are standard definition source, converted fairly poorly to HD. This includes three commercials for every film, “clean” (no credits) opening and ending themes and an interview which is included with the R Movie. The commercials aren’t that great. Each has one which was clearly made before any animation on the films was done, in HD, another is a short one with clips and finally there’s a longer commercial with more clips.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Trailer - Mamoru in front of a billboard

Trailer

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Tuxedo Mask in front of a billboard

Completed scene

One interesting aspect of the commercial for Sailor Moon R The Movie is that it includes a clip of Tuxedo Mask when he first appears with a different billboard. In the film itself the billboard is of men in Tuxedos. Tuxedo Mask blends in with the billboard and then we see that he’s actually separate from it and standing on a lamp post. In the commercial there are no men in Tuxedos on the billboard which makes us wonder why he’s even perched so oddly in front of it. Was this unfinished animation where the Tuxedos weren’t filled in? An attempt to keep audiences unspoiled on the nature of this big Tuxedo Mask reveal? Given what I’ve seen from other Japanese film trailers not giving spoilers doesn’t seem to be a huge priority!

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Bonus feature - Kunihiko Ikuhara wearing Mamoru's jacket Sailor Moon episode 1 - Usagi and Mamoru

An interesting feature with the R Movie is an interview with Kunihiko Ikuhara, director of the film and one of the directors of Sailor Moon for which much of what made the series great is attributed. Unfortunately without subtitles there isn’t much to get out of this interview as is. I recall having seen this subtitled on my VKLL fan sub of the R Movie back in the day but what I never noticed previously was that he’s wearing Mamoru’s green jacket! This is a jacket which he wears consistently throughout the entire Sailor Moon series which makes me wonder if Kunihiko Ikuhara owned this jacket and based Mamoru’s jacket on it, if he went out of his way to get a jacket like Mamoru’s or if this is some sort of coincidence and green jackets are more common than I thought. I can’t take credit for noticing this! I believe it was something I saw on Twitter by Tuxedo Unmasked though I can’t pull up the original reference. As you can see in the caption of the photo on this blog post, he made a comment about the jacket at least as early as June 2017!

Sailor Moon R The Movie Laserdisc - Track listing Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Scene Selection Menu 1
Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Scene Selection Menu 2 Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Bonus Features Menu

An interesting thing I noticed while looking at the laserdiscs for the films is that the track listings are actually identical. The track numbers for each scene is the same on the old laserdiscs and the Blu-Ray. Similarly we can see from these comparisons that the special features are the same, just not always in the exact same order. The DVD release also had a lot of these special features included but the Kunihiko Ikuhara interview was previously only on the laserdisc release.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Booklet - Pages 2 and 3

The set also includes a cool booklet which is full of images and character art of all of the films. This is similar to the booklets which have been released with the Blu-Ray releases of the TV series. I’ve included photos of all pages of this booklet later in the post. While this is a nice thing to include I think the theatrical programs included with the DVD set were much better.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Comparison - Sailor Moon R The Movie

Finally let’s talk about the box art. With three movies there was no single image to use on the cover which covers all three and so for whatever reason the S Movie poster gets the cover. Inside we have the R Movie as the front and SuperS Movie as the back. I’m including photos of the laserdiscs for comparison but this is not the source of this artwork. The images used are the original theatrical posters for the films. I only have a poster for the R Movie myself! This art is also found on the insert for a U2 CD!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Inside cover Sailor Moon R The Movie poster
U2 in front of a Sailor Moon R The Movie poster

All in all this is a great release. Do I recommend it? Well it’s in Japanese and has no English so as always that’s of limited value given the price point. These are films I’ve seen a couple of dozen times each so I don’t find it terribly hard to follow along. That said there will probably be releases of these films by Viz at some point. This may be in a few years so the set is still worth getting if you would expect to watch it a few times before that happens.

Keep reading for more pictures of this release including photos of the box art, screenshot comparisons between releases and photos of all pages of the included special booklet.

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All three Sailor Moon movies will be released as a Blu-Ray set in Japan

Japanese Sailor Moon movie Blu-Ray set

The Sailor Moon movies are being released on Blu-Ray in Japan. The three film set will also include the Make Up! Sailor Guardians special which played with Sailor Moon R The Movie as well as the Ami’s First Love special which played with the SuperS Movie, referred to in Japan and in this set as the mouthful title “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole”. The set itself is being referred to as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray which as a name doesn’t really make much sense in English since there’s more than one movie included so it’s not really “The Movie” at all.

Japanese Sailor Moon movie Blu-Ray set

Why, you may be asking, should you be spending your hard earned money on this? The set will retail for 15,000 yen, about $130 US, and won’t include any English dub or subtitles. Meanwhile Sailor Moon R The Movie has already been released on an English DVD and Blu-Ray set for a fraction of that price. It seems like it’s only a matter of time, though likely a very, very long time, before the other two films are released as well. The R Movie release looked great on Blu-Ray and we should expect roughly the same quality from this Japanese release as they will actually go back to the film source to make a proper HD version rather than being lazy and using software to upscale standard definition video to HD as we’ve seen with all HD releases of the TV series.

The box art for this release is nothing too shocking. The sleeve has the art for the S Movie while the inner box has the art for the R Movie. This was used for the theatrical poster, the laserdisc and VHS releases back in the day as well as the DVD set of the films. We don’t see the art for the SuperS movie anywhere on here, though the discs themselves will likely have similar art on them. Many fans complained about the quality of the art on the Viz release. How much is nice box art worth to you? Over double the price?

Sailor Moon DVD-Box The Movie

Pictured above is the DVD set released in 2002. This set was titled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon DVD-BOX The MOVIE and retailed for 15,000 yen, which is the exact same price as this new Blu-Ray set. While these may be expensive keep in mind that DVDs and laserdiscs and any other home video medium has always been incredibly expensive in Japan. The DVD set used a different image for the cover and then had individual cases for each movie which used the original theatrical poster art. I find this approach more aesthetically pleasing and less confusing than having various movie posters as cover art that aren’t related to any single film. The nature of the Sailor Moon movies is that there is no single image that fully represents any of them. Even the cover for the DVD set includes Super Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon as well as Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto who aren’t in the first film as well as older costumes which don’t reflect the updated shoulder pads from the SuperS film.

Source: Sailor Moon Official Site

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.

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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

Sailor Moon R The Movie screening impressions

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Envelope and contents

This past Wednesday, March 1st 2017, I was lucky enough to see Sailor Moon R The Movie in theatres. I consider myself lucky for many reasons! For one I was lucky enough to live in a city in which the film was playing but more importantly to me because this was something I’d wanted to do for decades. I always hoped I would be able to see this, one of my all time favourite movies, on the big screen but as a Sailor Moon fan in the 90s this never seemed realistic. Because of this I am thankful that Viz Media and Eleven Arts brought this movie to select theatres for these special screenings. A lot of additional showtimes have been added for many Canadian cities. Fans should check out the Cineplex site for more information if they’re looking to watch it or watch it again.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Envelope

I saw the film at South Keys movie theatre in Ottawa. This was the theatre I spent the most time at as a teenager, in the years when I first watched Sailor Moon, as I would see one or two movies a week here for a number of years. There was no end to my nostalgia last night! As I entered the theatre I was given a gift of an envelope with a postcard sized card inside. Mine featured Sailor Moon, though there were also some featuring Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus. This was a nice touch as fans could be heard chatting about who they’d gotten, who they wanted and looking for people to trade. My girlfriend and myself both got Sailor Moon, as did many people around us, which makes me suspect that perhaps these weren’t shuffled or randomized terribly well. The envelope also contained a few ads. The ad for the manga featured an image of volume 12 of the recent manga release. The ad for the Sailor Moon R The Movie home video release also had an ad for the TV series Blu-Ray and DVD releases on the back.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Sailor Moon Card

The event itself was billed at being 90 minutes long, which didn’t ad up for an hour long movie and short special, but a bonus featurette filled out the time. Before the film the audience was presented with an interview with three of the actors from the film. Stephanie Sheh, the voice of Sailor Moon, Robbie Daymond, the voice of Tuxedo Mask, and Ben Diskin, the voice of Fiore, answered questions about the film. One oddity about the interview was that the voice actors called Fiore “Fiole” despite it clearly being pronounced Fiore throughout this English dubbed version of the film. Sure the R and L sound are interchangeable in Japanese but Fiore is the Italian word for flower which seems to be its meaning. Though I’ve seen this film some 50 times the occasional spoilers from this interview didn’t bother me, but I wondered if everyone else in the theatre felt the same. Audience reactions from some twists in the film made me think some of them may not have seen it before. Sailor Moon played on TV a lot back in the 90s here in Canada but the films were released a few years after the theatrical run. Though I’ve seen them play on TV they would have been more readily available to viewers on home video, so it seems likely that more casual fans or those that didn’t follow the show much after it was on TV may not have gone out of their way to see this film before last night. Overall the interview was nice and had some decent insight, but I’m not sure playing it before the feature was the best idea.

Make Up! Sailor Senshi - Chibiusa and Usagi at the Dam Dam Hamburger and Coffee Restaurant

Next was the “Make Up! Sailor Guardians” special which originally played with Sailor Moon R The Movie in Japan. This had not previously been released domestically so it is likely that many fans hadn’t seen it before. I’d seen it on the Japanese DVD release and fan subs so I was familiar with the dialogue and it seemed to be mostly accurate to the dub. This special is a series of clips from the series featuring the various Sailor Guardians inter spliced with footage of two girls at a cafe who are chatting near Chibiusa and Usagi. It’s funny because Chibiusa is on a poster behind them and they don’t really seem to notice. The quality of this film was great, despite using visuals from the TV series which were never intended to be seen on the big screen.

Sailor Moon R: The Movie - Mamoru and Fiore

Finally there was the main feature, Sailor Moon R The Movie. The film itself is fantastic, a story of Mamoru’s childhood friend who’s being manipulated by a magical and evil flower into doing all sorts of terrible thing. It’s full of action and drama and to me represents the Sailor Moon anime at its finest, keying in on elements which make the show what it is. It showcases Usagi’s strength, which is her ability to be a true friend and to save those around her from loneliness. I wasn’t sure what to expect as video quality goes. The video releases of the original Sailor Moon series have pretty marginal quality, but this film is nothing like that. The presentation was likely using some sort of HD video projector, likely with a 1080p Blu-Ray equivalent source. I’ve seen this movie a number of times on the Japanese DVD release, which had previously been the best quality transfer of this film, and the level of detail I could see on the screen was far beyond anything I’d seen before of Sailor Moon. The quality of the lines and small bits of animation showed me detail that was drastically better than the DVD version. It seems like this was an HD transfer of the original film source that had likely gone through some remastering work as opposed to a software upscale of a standard definition source like we’ve seen for the TV series. This is promising for the Blu-Ray release which is currently planned for April 18th.

Tuxedo Mask Kisses a dead Sailor Moon in the Sailor Moon R Movie

All in all seeing a Sailor Moon movie in theatres was a wonderful experience for a Sailor Moon fan and aside from the volume being a bit loud I though the whole event was handled quite well. I sincerely hope that there was enough fan interest that Viz and Eleven Arts are planning to do something similar with the Sailor Moon S and SuperS movies. Considering the turn out and extra showings which were added I am optimistic that we will be seeing Human Luna and Perle (Peruru?) on the big screen over the next couple of years.

What was your experience like watching the film?

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These Canadian theatres will be screening Sailor Moon R The Movie on March 1st

Sailor Moon R The Movie on DVD

Great news for Canadian Sailor Moon fans! We’ve gotten confirmation that Sailor Moon R The Movie will be playing in Cineplex theatres on March 1st at 7pm in theatres across the country. At this point there are showings in Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Halifax, Sydney, Winnipeg, Calgary and Burnaby. You can search to see if your city is playing the film by checking out the Cineplex site.

I had a bit of trouble finding listings for all of Canada so I just messed with the search URL to include every theatre within 5000 km of my city which seems to easily cover the entire country. It is possible that more theatres get listed as March 1st approaches. I can’t find any indication of whether these presentations will be dubbed or subbed, but I think it is likely these will all be English dubbed showings of the film.

I’ve included a list of theatres planning to show the film as of February 6th for your convenience.

Update: Many more cities have been added since I originally posted this list. Check out the Cineplex site to see if your city has showings.

Ottawa, Ontario:

Cineplex Odeon South Keys Cinemas

Toronto, Ontario:

Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas and VIP
Cineplex Cinemas Vaughan
Cineplex Cinemas Queensway and VIP

Niagara Falls, Ontario:

Cineplex Odeon Niagara Square Cinemas

Halifax, Nova Scotia:

Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane

Sydney, Nova Scotia:

Cineplex Cinemas Sydney

Winnipeg, Manitoba:

SilverCity St. Vital Cinemas

Calgary, Alberta:

Cineplex Odeon Sunridge Spectrum Cinemas

Burnaby, British Columbia:

Cineplex Cinemas Metropolis

Sailor Moon R The Movie on Netflix Japan - Endymion and Serenity

Looks like I’m going to be putting my wallet in my front pocket and taking a trip to South Keys! Is the film playing in your town? How far do you plan to travel to see it?

Sailor Moon R: The Movie is coming to Cineplex theatres in Canada in March

Sailor Moon R: The Movie listed on the Cineplex web site

According to this listing for Sailor Moon R The Movie on the Cineplex site we will be getting Sailor Moon R: The Movie in Canada on March 1st. Since the film was first announced I’ve been anxiously searching for the it on the Cineplex site as they are a major Canadian film distributor who have played anime films in the past. The movie opens in theatres across the US today. You can check out the many cities with showings on the Eleven Arts web site.

Sailor Moon R: The Movie listed on the Cineplex phone app

This is great news for Canadian fans hoping to see the film in theatres prior to it’s April 18th home video release. We don’t have a list of theatres in Canada which will be playing the film at this time but I will be sure to update you with details as we learn them.

The listing includes the following summary:

GENRE

Animation, Anime

CAST

Stephanie Sheh, Robbie Daymond, Ben Diskin

SYNOPSIS

Sailor Moon comes to the big screen in her first dazzling movie! Uncut and for the first time in theaters, Join Sailor Moon on an adventure to save not only the world, but also her true love! This limited engagement also includes the North American debut of the original theatrical short, Make Up! Sailor Guardians and exclusive extras. English dubbed.

Will you be watching the film in theatres if it plays in your city? For those of you living in the US, have you already seen it?

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?