Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray Review

Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray - Contents

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

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

Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray - Cover unwrapped

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

Sailor Moon S Part 1 Blu-Ray - Discs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sailor Moon S episodes 96 and 97 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon S episode 96 - Makoto infatuated with Haruka

The latest two episodes of Sailor Moon S are now available on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week two of the Sailor Guardians are targeted as first Makoto and then Ami have their Pure Hearts stolen by the Death Busters.

Sailor Moon S episode 96 - Rei is embarrassed by her All Girl Review Picture Album

Episode 96, Coldhearted Uranus: Makoto in Danger, has Makoto infatuated with Haruka. Makoto and Usagi are walking across the street on the appropriate crosswalk when Haruka flies in on her motorcycle. In her usual protective ways Makoto dives on Usagi to protect her, injuring her hand in the process. It’s clear here that Haruka has committed a traffic violation of some kind as she stops right in the middle of the pedestrian cross walk. What if this had been a child crossing the street? Or Luna who seems to spend a great deal of time in the middle of the road? Makoto is totally crushing on Haruka as she gets involved in a complicated scarf returning situation with her. The attraction is not in the slightest bit subtle. Usagi and her friends are concerned with this as Makoto gets targeted by this week’s Daimon and in doing so somehow gets Haruka’s attention. Another joke is thrown in here about Rei having a magazine with a lady with a moustache on the cover. It’s called “All Girl Review Picture Album”. I can’t say I really understood what this reference was actually about back in the day but I believe it is something similar to the all female actor troupes like those appearing in the latest Sailor Moon musicals. Makoto eventually explains her fascination with Haruka as being a sort of admiration, but it’s a bit hard to ignore the lesbian attraction that is fairly clearly demonstrated in this episode. This season has a lot of that. At one point the issue of the young Haruka driving is addressed. Haruka explains that she got her license abroad, but this appears to be a complete lie. The answer, it seems, is that Haruka is driving illegally.

Sailor Moon S episode 96 - Haruka got her license overseas

Sailor Moon S episode 97 - Ami swimming

Episode 97, The Labyrinth of Water: Ami Targeted, is of course all about Ami. She spends a lot of time swimming yet it’s her friends that get the flack for her ignoring her studies! A jerk teacher tells her that she needs to spend less time hanging around reprobates like her friends. We can only assume this mostly means Usagi and it’s really just Usagi and Minako that are terrible at school. Rei attends a fancy school which we know next to nothing about and we don’t really know how Makoto’s grades fare despite her living alone and supporting herself mysteriously. Usagi thinks that the best thing for Ami is for her to be isolated from her friends so that she can concentrate on her studies. This is a bit silly of course as she could have simply left the country to concentrate on her studies during the last season but chose not to. Ami swims a lot. Then she races Michiru, who is upset she didn’t give it her all. This is funny when we learn in SailorStars that Haruka always paces herself when Michiru runs. On a rematch they both go all out which Ami finds satisfying. A semi joking scene at the end of this episode insinuates that Ami is attracted to Mamoru. Does anyone ship these two? They hardly have the well established relationship that Mamoru and Rei share.

Sailor Moon S episode 97 - Makoto, Minako and Rei ask Ami for help with homework

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Sailor Moon S episode 96 - Haruka nearly kills Makoto and Usagi