Set during the later events of the shows second season, Sailor Moon R The Movie, also often referred to as The Promise of the Rose is a short but entertaining film that provides a self contained story line involving the Sailor Scouts and Mamoru fending off an invasion of a plant-like species trying to destroy humanity on Earth. It has a real focus on friendship and a running theme of eliminating loneliness that provides a heartwarming note that resonates throughout.
The movie opens with a character intro sequence that introduces the Sailor Scouts individually. It acts as more of a refresher for those that may not have watched for some time rather than something that could bring a complete newcomer to the series up to speed to the series’ current events.
This is the first time this film has been available (at least here in Australia) on Blu-Ray and right off the bat the opening sequence showcases how well this film holds up after being remastered. The sequence is full of vibrant foliage and the colours of the various flowers and backgrounds really pop on the Blu-Ray release.
The main plot of the movie revolves around a long forgotten friend of Mamoru’s named Fiore. Long ago he gave the boy a single rose and ever since Fiore has been searching the galaxy for the perfect flower in the hopes that one day he can repay Mamoru for his kindness.
When Fiore eventually returns to Earth many years later he is quite jealous of the relationship Usagi shares with Mamoru and attacks the Sailor Scouts before revealing he has brought the Kisenian flower to Earth and plans to unleash an asteroid filled with the flowers down upon Earth as payback for the loneliness they made him feel many years prior. The Kisenian is a flower with the ability to control weak hearted people and cause destruction massive enough to wipe out life itself.
The Scouts teleport up to the asteroid in space and prepare to stop Fiore before he can achieve his plan. The film up until this point had looked spectacular, especially for something originally released back in 1993. But the shot of the scouts approaching the asteroid had some of the worst 3D CG I think I’ve even seen. I was honestly shocked that it hadn’t been removed or touched up in the many years since the original release.
Without spoiling the ending too much, the Sailor Scouts as expected save the day but not before coming together and showing the true bond they all poses with each other in a moment I found to be quite powerful for the whole group.
The film is quite short, coming in at 60 minutes. It felt more like a long episode with slightly higher production quality rather than a feature length film. But the pacing was pretty much spot on, except for one moment you’ll see in the film that is a static, silent shot that lasts for 30 seconds. And of course there are still the lengthy transformation and special attack sequences which do take away some impact from the action packed battle scenes but that’s fully expected at this point.
The home release Blu-Ray features both the original Japanese dub and the new Viz English Redub and is completely uncut. It has been remastered into a widescreen format in a similar way to how the Dragon Ball Z remastered sets were done by cropping the film to now fit a 16:9 aspect ratio instead of it’s original 4:3.
The set also includes the Make Up! Sailor Guardians bonus feature. This originally aired before the theatrical release of the film but has now been dubbed for the first time and included on the disc. It’s a 15 minute sequence that does a more in depth recap of the series’ core characters than the one we see at the beginning of this film.
Make Up! Sailor Guardians is comprised of some original animation as it’s a short story told from Usagi’s perspective but the recap sequences are segments pulled from the anime series. If there was someone out there using this film as their entry point to Sailor Moon this short feature does a fairly decent job bringing them up to speed, at least enough to enjoy the film.
Sailor Moon R The Movie is a great stand alone companion piece to the Sailor Moon R series and truly showcases the bond that the core characters in this series share with each other. It is short for an anime movie but the story they wanted to tell was presented well and didn’t need a longer run-time. In fact it’s short run-time is probably what kept the pacing of the film near perfect.
Keep an eye out on the site real soon as we’ll have our full season review of Sailor Moon R going up really soon.
A Blu-Ray review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment for the purpose of this review.