Following its theatrical premiere back in August, VIZ Media’s home release of Sailor Moon S: The Movie, the second feature film in the Sailor Moon franchise. For the uninitiated, Sailor Moon is the story of Usagi Tsukino, a less than ideal chosen one destined to fight the forces of darkness as Sailor Moon along with her friends, the Sailor Guardians, and her dapper, rose-wielding soul mate, Tuxedo Mask. This film, however, isn’t really about any of them, rather it shines a long overdue spotlight on Sailor Moon’s companion, mentor, and pet cat, Luna.
Luna is a character that really doesn’t get a lot of attention despite how ubiquitous she is. She’s always kind of forced into the role of critic and wet blanket, and while her frustration with Usagi’s immaturity and irresponsibility is certainly relatable, it doesn’t give her many dimensions to play. This movie, based on a one-shot story from the manga, makes an effort to remedy that situation by focusing almost exclusively on Luna falling in love with a human. From what we can tell, it’s the first time she’s ever fallen for anyone (poor Artemis; even the Sailor Guardians lament how oblivious Luna is to his affections), and just her luck, it’s the astronomer who just happens to be keyed into the plot, but I’ll allow it.
The supposed A-story for this movie is about a spacefaring ice queen who wants to turns Earth into a frozen wasteland for… reasons? Her monologuing is good stuff, but her plan is a pretty thin retread of the R movie. “Hey, there’s this planet I want to remake in the image of my personal motif. Let’s kill everybody to make that happen.” Honestly, the R movie pulled this off better with a far more personal connection to the antagonist, but I digress.
The fight scenes are actually pretty good, but the entire storyline is kind of an afterthought to facilitate the real story of this movie, which is Luna crushing on some dude she can’t have while he works through some admittedly character-driven relationship drama with his girlfriend. Honestly, you could remove every Sailor Moon-related element from this movie and still have a pretty interesting story about a mature, adult couple realizing their value to one another. I just don’t think that’s what a lot of Sailor Moon fans are coming to the table for, but maybe that’s not for me to say.
Honestly, this is probably the most “Your Mileage May Vary” installment of the entire ’90s anime. One’s appreciation of this movie is going to rest entirely on how interested they are in spending an hour watching Luna work through a doomed crush, and if that’s your cup of tea, you are going to love this. If not, well… the visuals are undeniably gorgeous, and there are some good jokes and quality action, but they’re going to be few and far between a lot of kitty angst.
The special features on this one are rather spare on the Blu-ray and even more so on the DVD. They actually attempt to package the English language credits as a bonus feature, which is sad bordering on insulting. What reaction were we supposed to have to that? “English credits for me? What a treat! You shouldn’t have!” There are two interviews, one with Michelle Ruff, the voice of Luna, and another with Chris Hackney, the voice of Kakeru. The latter is the real win here. The questions handed to Hackney are actually pretty interesting and his responses are even better. He reveals himself to be a longtime fan of the franchise, and when he mentions watching it at 6 AM every morning before school, it definitely establishes his cred. It’s always nice when an actor has a real personal connection to the material.
Michelle Ruff’s interview isn’t bad. It’s certainly a long time coming; in the four years since the VIZ dub’s debut, she hasn’t been given much spotlight, and it was nice to hear from her, but her interview felt kind of… fluffy. Not a lot of meat there, which was a little disappointing considering this was finally her turn to speak up.
So, yeah. This set it short on extras, and the feature presentation is kind of a polarizing piece, so if you’re not a completionist and you’re on the fence about buying this one, it’s really a matter of how much you like Luna and are interested in seeing a character piece about her. If you’re not, this probably won’t be for you, but if you are… you are going to have a lot of fun and maybe a misty eye or two.
The Sailor Moon S: The Movie Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack carries an MSRP of $29.98 US / 34.99 CAN, while the Standard Edition DVD set has an MSRP of $19.98 US / $24.99 CAN. Both feature English tracks as well as Japanese tracks with English subtitles and are now available online and in stores.