Sailor Moon S: The Movie Review

Sailor Moon S The Movie is a good movie. It tries something different rather than just being a Christmas special. These changes really help the first half of the film bring character development to someone who doesn’t get enough screen time. However things are brought down again due to this being Sailor Moon doing Sailor Moon things.

Sailor Moon S The MovieTitle: Sailor Moon S: The Movie
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Magic, Romance, Fantasy, Shoujo
Details: 1 Feature Movie
Release Date: December 05, 2018 (Australia)
Languages: English 2.0, Japanese 2.0
Subtitles: English subtitles
Number of Discs: 1 (DVD) | 1 (Bluray)
Runtime: 60.0 mins
Distributor: Madman Entertainment (DVD)(Bluray)
Special Features: None
Rating: PG: Mild fantasy themes and animated violence

A snow storm has hit Tokyo, marking the arrival of the deadly alien Princess Snow Kaguya! She has a chilling plan to freeze the earth, but it requires a single piece of her ice comet to returned to her. After falling ill due to the cold, Luna is rescued by a handsome astronomer, Kakeru, who happens to have the remaining shard of the comet! Called into action to protect Luna and her new found crush, Sailor Moon and the 8 Guardians are now the only hope the world has of avoiding an eternal winter!

Sailor Moon S The Movie

Character wise there isn’t much to talk about for the Sailor Moon S movie. The girls themselves take a back seat to three characters for the majority of the movie: Luna, Kakeru and Himeko. Luna we all know from the series as Usagi’s pet cat. However this time around she is the focus of the film with her falling in love with a human called Kakeru, an astronomer who has an obsession with a Moon Goddess. Kakeru is also getting sick thanks to a part of a meteor that belongs to the main big bad of the movie: Princess Snow Kaguya, who has awakened from sleep and looks to freeze the planet and take things over. The other piece of the puzzle here is Himeko, an astronaut who wants to go to the moon for purely scientific reasons and also loves Kakeru. The love triangle between the three doesn’t seem to be too bad for the most part, with both girls secretly pining for the guy while his only love is a fictional character that turns out to be evil. So there’s your character development for the movie.

Sailor Moon S The Movie

Animation & Sound wise I was expecting a lower quality than I really got. You can see that there was either real effort or a real budget for this film. Backgrounds are nice and crisp and the character animation is bright and active. I especially like that they did with Princess Snow Kaguya, as she is sort of dulled because she is made of ice and snow, it’s a good contrast against all the brightness that comes from the typical Sailor Moon animation. As for the Bluray transfer, you can see that the company went ahead and made sure to clean everything up instead of just slapping the whole thing into the new format; which helps keep the animation looking as good as possible. While this does create a small problem where flaws in the original animation are made all too more apparent. Some of the middle frames of animation hit Dragon Ball Super levels in how horrible they look (See the image of the three extra Sailor Guardians above), while others look very viable of the animation style of the time. These areas where the animation pops from the background due to these scenes being in the older traditional hand painted style stands out way too much, but when in action only lasts long enough that you barely notice it.

One other thing that needs to be mentioned is that this is a whole new voice cast since the original version was dubbed back in 2000. This was mainly done to keep the movie in line with the new releases of the series that are out there, which I don’t mind so much since this also keeps the scripting the same too. No more Sarina junk, it’s Usagi. The more literal translation of names and moments just keep to tradition and I love tradition. Though there is a part of me that wishes that the licensing agreement allowed the original FOX Kids dub to be included with these releases. But a new dub isn’t too bad once you get used to it.

Sailor Moon S The Movie

What I loved about Sailor Moon S The Movie was that instead of just giving us the usual extended episode featuring something that is non-canon like so many other series did at the time, we got a story that focused on a character who really needed more screen time: Luna. Yes, this is a story about the cat. While is great because we never really got to know much about Luna and what drives her, what she likes, and in the case of this movie, whom she likes. Sure the whole obsession with Kakeru revolves around the fact that he loves the moon, where Luna is originally from, but it’s something more than just Luna being the mission keeper for the Sailor Guardians. Speaking of the Guardians, they essentially take a back seat to Luna in this story, only really appearing to help work out why Luna is suddenly so happy, what her main wish is and to admit to a long rumored romance between Luna and Artimus. Hell, even the traditional Tuxedo Mask appearance get’s a slight change here since things are in a winter climate and for a moment we think Santa saves Sailor Moon, but it was Tuxedo Mask the whole time.

Sailor Moon S The Movie

What doesn’t work with the Sailor Moon S movie is that in the end it is nothing more than an extended episode of the series. We end up getting a lot of the usual story beats in the movie such as Tuxedo Mask saving Sailor Moon, more romance stuff between Usagi and Momoru, additional help coming in the form of Pluto, Neptune and Uranus when things get tough, Sailor Moon going Super mode in order to defeat the bad guy, long transformation sequences and attack motions. All of them take up the back half of the movie. While is a real shame because having such a Luna focused first part of the movie was really different and interesting, then to see it decay into the usual stuff was just boring. At least we get to see something that we know will never come about again: Luna in human form. Sometimes all the crap is worth it for just one moment that you know is worth everything.

Sailor Moon S The Movie

At the end of it all, Sailor Moon S The Movie is one of those movies that I have been happy to watch. Having a Luna centric story for once was a nice change of pace, but it’s all brought down by the usual going through the motions of the Sailor Moon series that it loses something along the way. It’s nice to have seen this movie and as a Sailor Moon fan I’m happy to see such care taken with the original animation to make sure it still pops on a HD medium. Well worth adding to the collection.

Film©1994 Toei Animation Co., Ltd. ©Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation
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A Good Luna Story Spoiled By Sailor Moon

Summary

Sailor Moon S The Movie is one of those films that you are going to forget as soon as it ends, but given the first half of the movie is so good it’s a real shame that is the impression you are left with. I like the changes here with a minor character getting a lot of focus, but at the end of it all it’s still Sailor Moon on the cover and in the title, which means all the tropes will happen.

Pros

  • The animation looks great for the transfer
  • New dub isn’t too bad when you get used to it
  • Luna getting some focus and a human form

Cons

  • Non-key animation frames look terrible
  • Sailor Moon tropes drag the second half down
Overall
3.5