Like most American girls and boys, one of my first exposures to Japanese anime happened in the early 90s after school. And like most boys and girls of a certain disposition, the first show that stole my heart was Sailor Moon. So, after over a decade since I had last heard the music and seen Tuxedo Mask’s beautiful face, the announcement was made that VIZ Media would not only be replaying the whole show on Hulu and Neon Alley, but the whole series would finally be released in its entirety (200 episodes!) on Blu-ray in the US. Finally, I can’t stress this enough, finally I would be able to relive so much of what my adult brain had erased; I finally had the opportunity to join the Sailor Scouts…if only vicariously.
Sailor Moon Season One Part One
Each season is split into two parts. The first part of the first season, which is the subject of this review, covers episodes 1-23. What I really like about the split, aside from its strategic placement (no spoilers!), is that the box the first half comes in has a space-saver for the second half so that they fit snugly together. Not to mention it really is a beautiful box. It may not be the huge elaborate box that they will be getting in Japan (only) for Sailor Moon Crystal, but it still displays very nicely, particularly because of the lovely subtle shimmer in the design.
In all honesty, the show is now over two decades old which should mean that the footage is outdated. But it’s not. The efforts in restoration are clearly evident right from the opening as the vibrancy of the colors and the details come through with gusto. You even overlook the dated 4×3 format (standard for the time), because you can’t tear your eyes away from the detail in the bubbles or the lace background. The love and care that went into the restoration process is not only evident, it is very well appreciated.
The automatic setting that the Blu-ray begins to play in is with English dub, including translations of signs and other on screen text, which I find really nice as that is my preferred setting. However, there is also Japanese audio with English subtitles and English Audio with English subtitles. The one option that I had been hoping against hope would be available (a total pipe dream, I have to admit), would have been to be able to choose between the original voice cast/theme music or the new. Although I completely understand the host of possible reasons why this option is not available, my inner child still aches for the voices and sounds that made me fall in love with the show in the first place.
Within every disk there is a Gallery in the main menu which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Though it does differ in content from disk to disk, this Gallery is still somewhat of a dull feature. However, in the 3rd disc, there are a couple of really nice bonus videos that make up for the lackluster Gallery.
- Sailor Moon Announcement Panel (ACEN)
- English Dub Behind the Scenes
- Official Announcement Trailer
- Fan Reactions
- AX Sailor Moon Reel
- Clean Opening
- Clean Ending
- VIZ Trailers
The bonus videos I really enjoyed were the Sailor Moon Announcement Panel, as well as the English Dub Behind the Scenes. While the Announcement Panel is pretty self-explanatory in terms of content expectations, the English Dub Behind the Scenes is a little more interesting. We get to see a little of Stephanie Sheh (Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon) and Robbie Daymond (Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask) on their first day of dubbing, along with some of the producers who share a couple of interesting tidbits regarding voice-over production.
Within the box set there is also a Limited Edition Booklet which mostly has some character art and episode synopsis. What I thought was a wonderful touch, however, is that in the booklet you can find the lyrics to the opening and closing songs, in Japanese with English translations, as well as Romaji (romanization of Japanese for easy English reading).
Final Thoughts ✮✮✮
After watching hours and hours of Sailor Moon, reading fan reactions on the internet, and having completely contradictory feelings about what I would like the box set to be, I still think this is a pretty wonderful set. The fact that we have the opportunity to own the series in its entirety is ridiculously astounding. The fact that we get to relive our childhoods again and have control over when, where, and even how (hellooo DVD) is nothing short of a dream come true. So for this I am grateful and if you like Sailor Moon, even in the slightest, this is the box set for you.
Sailor Moon is now available on Amazon.
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes