Sailor Moon Crystal Part 1 Review

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL looks refreshing on the home release, which I didn’t expect. When I first sat down to watch it on DVD, my expectations were low. I mean, really low. It is well known that the initial stream looked sloppy and quickly thrown together. A lot of people are fairly surprised that it even went into a third season because the quality was so poor. The poor quality truly enraged fans who were looking forward to something modern.

For the most part, this has changed in SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL’s DVD release. I wish I could tell you about the Blu-ray, but I have to work with what I’ve got.

Image Quality

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My eyes are lined up here! Must be my prescription glasses.

The image quality is where SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL really shines through. Almost everything I hated about the stream is eliminated here. They really combed through the episodes and cleaned up a lot of the muck. There were plenty of scenes during the stream where eyes were two different sizes, or one was where it should be and another was floating around on a cheek. It was sad to the point of comedy. As I said, most of that is cleaned up here with a few exceptions. Maybe I’m being nit-picky but if they’re using the uneven eye thing to convey that the character’s face is turned or angled, the studio should stop. 

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For 3 seconds, my eyeballs do this.

Eyes have been a topic for this series since the beginning. I understand the complexities of creating an animation and I also get that a lot of anime artists work under extreme conditions. But this studio has had two tries to get the eye thing fixed up 100%. Yes, I stated earlier they combed through the season and cleaned up a lot. That doesn’t mean they didn’t miss the few seconds of uneven eyeball that occasionally still pops up. 

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Eyes are sisters, not twins!

I bet if I blinked, I wouldn’t have noticed. Unfortunately, it still happens frequently enough that it’s noticeable to someone who is closely watching for it.

Sometimes it’s not an eyeball, it’s just asymmetrical design. This isn’t nearly as big of a deal as the uneven eyeball issue that still plagues Ami. If you remember, Usagi was the biggest victim and she’s all cleaned up and beautiful now. The studio ought to pay attention to the other characters even if they don’t occur as often as Usagi.

Now as for the asymmetry of the eyes, I’m not sure if that is intentional or not. I get it that eyes are not identical, but if you’re going to draw a line for an eyelid, you may as well add it to the other eye, right? 

My other pet peeve, which I know will not go away, are the cheesy transformation scenes where you can clearly see where some extra effects were added in. They contrast terribly with the animation, but somebody somewhere thought this was a good idea.

I’m going to restate that the quality has stepped up in the release. The series is very enjoyable on DVD and I had a lot less to complain about. I’m now finding myself really falling into the world of  SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL in a way that just wasn’t happening during the initial stream. Sometimes I forget I’m watching a remake because I get so caught up into the story. This series really is beautiful and elegant looking. I’m no longer ashamed to say, “I like SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL.”

Sound Quality

Raise your hand if you needed to lower the volume on your television! By default, I always keep my TV volume somewhere around 13-18. It’s good for playing video games and watching Netflix without disturbing people in nearby rooms. When I popped this DVD in I immediately needed to lower this from 18 because it was LOUD and CLEAR. This is refreshing because the re-release of SAILOR MOON is nothing like this, which is understandable since they’re working with old material. This new release sings from the mountaintop that it is 2016. The sound is crisp and worthy of any audiophile’s ears. Unfortunately, I hate the theme song so I just skip forward to the episodes.

Voice Acting

The stream was in Japanese with subs so I took the opportunity to watch the dub, which Viz has been promoting as the best thing since sliced bread. Honestly, they’re not wrong. Fans will recognize the voice actors as the same ones who are re-dubbing the classic series. I think this was a great idea. In SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL they all made a real effort to make sure the voices that came out of these new faces matched. Stephanie Sheh and Robbie Daymond do an amazing job that carries us through the episodes as more characters and voices come on board. From the first encounter between Usagi and Mamorou I was hooked. The voices definitely make the characters more believable. For a long time I was abhorrently opposed to watching dubs, but I’ll watch SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL in dub.

Overall Thoughts

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL is not perfect, but it has all of the things that made the original series great. The poor quality of the stream was what put me off from this series. With that mostly corrected, I’m excited to be back on board. This also means I probably won’t watch the stream ever again. I’m just going to wait until the DVD release because I find it really painful to watch the stream. Occasionally I watch an episode because I’m curious and want to know which arc they’re at. I’m definitely not watching the stream as religiously as I did because the quality is laughable. For anyone who stopped watching the stream, you should check out the DVD or Blu-ray release because it’s much better even if there are a few questionable moments that missed the clean-up.

 

 

*This was provided for review by Viz Media.

About The Author

Elizabeth Lotto

Elizabeth loves ASSASSIN'S CREED, SAILOR MOON, and Pusheen the Cat. When she's not reading manga, watching anime, or playing video games she's stepping up her fight game. She trains in a traditional, full-contact style of karate and practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Just like Sailor Jupiter, she will knock you on your butt if you even think Cosplay is Consent.