Last weekend, audiences at more than 590 movie theaters across the country got experience a Sailor Moon cinematic double-feature, viewing last year’s release of Sailor Moon R: The Movie and the brand spanking new Sailor Moon S: The Movie (coming to theaters courtesy of Fathom Events). Facing off against the deadlier sides of flowers, then ice (all from space, naturally), the Sailor Guardians use the power of love and friendship to save the Earth from unspeakable evil in both Japanese with English subtitles and an all-new English dub with the current VIZ cast.
This coming weekend will see the premiere of Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie, which takes the nominal series’ theme of dreams and spins it into a brand new nightmare for the Sailor Guardians to save the children of Earth from. Accompanied by the animated short Ami’s First Love, the English dub of the SuperS movie will screen nationwide on Saturday, August 4th, while the subtitled version will screen the following Monday, August 6th.
While yours truly has been unable to skirt the red carpet this time around (no longer living in the City of Angels), and thus will have to wait for the Blu-ray releases of the new films to review the new dubs, VIZ was kind enough to send a couple of screeners my way, allowing me to view the subtitled versions.
First off, the transfer is gorgeous. The remaster is clean and smooth, the colors vibrant, the special effects clear. We all know how VHS can do some pretty nasty things to color, especially on a third or fourth-generation transfer, which was the best many of us could get back in the day. Here, the films look beautiful. Just dig all the shades of blue on Princess Snow Kaguya from Sailor Moon S: The Movie. Just watching her monologue on screen is an experience. The Outers—and for that matter, even the inners—take a backseat in this movie to Luna’s love story with some rando astronomer, but it kind of works. Kakeru and his astronaut girlfriend, Himeko, are a surprisingly interesting couple for a pair of randos whom we’ll never see again. And while I’d prefer any non Usagi/Mamoru/Chibi time going to the development of the other Sailors, this was a sweet side-story adapted from one of the manga shorts that I think deserved telling.
Ami’s First Love, on the other hand, is exactly the kind of development I’m talking about. Of course, it’s about Ami’s neurosis, competitiveness, and academic diligence, and while it does show that Ami has an interest in romance that she could stand to nurture a little more, her passion for school is never painted as a negative. There’s a longstanding rumor that there was supposed to be a short like this for each of the Inners, in which they would get new transformation sequences like the one Ami gets here, but alas this never came to pass. So, Ami’s Mercury Crystal Power transformation is a one of a kind treat not to be missed.
Speaking of treats, we’ve got a whole plot predicated on juvenile diabetes, as a trio of evil pied pipers lure the children of Earth out of their beds and onto flying space galleons with promises of endless sweets. And they’re not even the real villains of the piece. They answer to yet another evil queen who… okay… take the Sun-Maid girl, merge her with Venger from Dungeons & Dragons, give her a penchant for harvesting energy from the dreams of children, and you’ve got Badiane, the villain of Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie. There’s some great action in this one, as well as some great outfits. Rei in that red jacket and those leather pants? Go, girl! Own. That. Playground.
As with all things SuperS, this movie is fairly Chibi-centric, complete with a new silver/white ethereal boy for her to pre-pubescently flirt with. The Outers show up toward the end of the second act, which, considering they’re not even in the SuperS series proper, was a nice surprise. Ironically, they seem to get more screen time here than in the movie based on the season that was all about them, but whatever. Unfortunately, Saturn doesn’t make the cut in any of the films, but it’s understandable. Narratively, there really wouldn’t have been any way to pull it off. Hell, PLUTO showing up in SuperS requires you to really shut your brain off on matters of continuity. But it’s a good time and well worth it.
With a nice, well-written subtitle track and an excellent remaster, the subtitled versions of the two movies and Ami’s First Love make for a delightful experience and have this reviewer eager to see how Stephanie Sheh, Robbie Daymond, Sandy Fox, and the rest of the cast tackle the English dubs.
Get these out on Blu-ray soon, VIZ! Don’t make us wait too long!
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