It is undeniable that Sailor Moon continues to enchant fans with its action, goofy characters, and serious undertones. As one of the most popular anime/manga franchises to date, the series has been aired in multiple languages and reaches audiences of all ages and genders.
This new release is a true translation into English with the same voice cast we love from Sailor Moon Crystal. As always, I wondered if it’s really worthwhile to to repurchase the series since I already have the original uncut Japanese releases from Pioneer (which include the original dub for those who prefer English.) After watching the first few seasons from Viz, I have to say there are a multitude of reasons to embrace the new dub. Normally I watch the Viz releases in Japanese but this time I decided to take a different approach and watch the dub.
First, let’s take a look at the packaging. Part 1 has the same awesome treatment as the previous seasons, coming in a shimmery box set with a placeholder for part 2. It also features a limited edition booklet that covers each episode along with character biographies and artwork. This is pretty standard for the series; however, I would like to remind you of this:
The top three you may remember from the 2000’s. These are just the first three “parts” of Sailor Moon SuperS. If you remember like I do, collecting all of the discs was a huge pain in the butt and certainly took up a lot of space on the dvd shelf. I have the entire season, there’s a total of 7 discs each in their own DVD case. You may also notice there were two releases, one was the “Special Uncut Version” and the other was the “Signature Series.” There is no real difference between the two ‘collections’ since they both contain uncut bilingual episodes of Sailor Moon.
On the bottom is the newer, Viz Media release, which uses intelligent packaging. All of the discs are neatly collected into one blu-ray case which saves a ton of room on your shelf and looks nicer. I suppose you’re missing out on each case having a different Scout but in the age of small apartments I don’t think anyone is going to cry over that loss.
I know from the grapevine that a lot of people dislike the image quality of the Viz Media releases, but I don’t think that is really a fair reason to avoid the new release. You have to remember that Viz is working with old material from the last century and the quality wasn’t that amazing to begin with.
In the two above images, you can’t really see a major difference (if any) between the two which is impressive in comparison to previous releases from Viz, where people complained about tone and color saturation. You cannot see it in these screenshots, but throughout the original release most scenes are not crisp. Lighter colors look noisy and distracting. These are definitely things I don’t remember noticing back when I watched Sailor Moon on a SDTV, however, watching the original release on an HDTV definitely brings out the imperfections. Viz cleaned that up nicely, helping the show age a little better. Consider this treatment as a face lift or chemical peel. Their changes were not drastic but they made a difference.
Given that Viz is working with limited material, the audio hasn’t changed much from the original release. They did a great job with the new cast and script but you can’t hide that they’re working with the original soundtrack. It is a bit like watching a poorly edited YouTube video, where you need to keep changing the volume depending on the scene or vine compilation. I don’t think this is a deal breaker, though.
Obviously, if you don’t own any Sailor Moon on dvd it’s a no brainer that you need to getthis set. I had a lot of difficulty acquiring the first round of releases back on DVD and VHS so I can’t imagine too many people have it unless they were hardcore fans. The Viz Media releases are a great way to reintroduce Sailor Moon to old and new fans alike. For many, these sets are the first time they have access to owning the series.
I care about owning the new releases because the Viz script is different enough to change the personalities and interactions of the characters. This is the first time we have a translation of Sailor Moon that is accurate and portrays characters’ relationships the way we were meant to see them. We don’t have to eyeroll at Neptune and Uranus being identified as “cousins” or pretend Fisheye is a woman. This is Sailor Moon the way we were meant to see and hear it.
*This was provided for review by the publisher.