If you’ve been following my content for a while you’ve likely seen the numerous reviews for Sailor Moon releases in the current months. Madman have been rapid firing out the Sailor Moon sets recently and over the past few months I’ve reviewed the Season One, Sailor Moon R and the Sailor Moon R movie releases. But fans of the series will know it doesn’t end there. This is my review for the Blu-Ray release of Sailor Moon S, the third season in the popular 90’s franchise.
The plot of the season takes place after Sailor Moon R. It’s coming to the end of the middle school years for Usagi. But when Rei starts to have Ragnarok style dreams, predicting that the world will soon face a massive threat that could see it’s complete destruction. After a new demon appears and, takes Sailor Mars’ pure heart crystal and then defeats the other Sailor Scouts the day is saved by two new Scouts who have come to town on their own mission, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune.
Uranus and Neptune initially look down on the other Scouts because they perceive them as weak and refuse to work with them. But as they a new threat emerges in the form of the Death Busters lead by Dr Tomoe, who in a first for the series is a main villain that is human, along with his underlings known as the Witches 5 the new Sailor Scouts realise that their goal is the same as the Death Busters. Finding the pure heart crystals. The Death Busters need them to reawaken the sinister Mistress 9 while Uranus and Neptune wish to locate the three Talismans located in some of the pure heart crystals leading to an intertwined story between the Sailor Scouts, Uranus & Neptune and the Death Busters, who possess monsters capable of locating the crystals.
One of the key highlights of the S series is that it’s story feels darker, more mature and feels slightly more grounded having a human master villain behind everything pulling the strings and being involved in many of the season’s plot twists. There also seems to be an increased number of emotional moments that are presented with real weight and consequence when they occur. I appreciated this slight change in tone over the previous seasons and now that they are available in Australia fully uncut for the first time it’s a story that is engaging to adults as well as younger audiences which couldn’t really be said for the original DiC Entertainment releases back in the 90’s.
Another big positive in the S series is that the characters undergo some of the most development as individuals. Even though we’ve spent almost 100 episodes with them by this point, it’s very much been the Usagi show for most of it. While she is still very much at the forefront of the show, all of the other characters get their own development and time to shine in this season and each gets their own time’s throughout to interact with the new Scouts Sailor Uranus and Neptune which helps them feel like more rounded characters and not just season fillers.
In the later half of the season the ‘Monster of the Week’ stories return which I know quite a few fans of the series aren’t fond of but for me personally I love these kinds of episodes. Not just in Sailor Moon but in other anime and media as well. They each get to tell a self contained story that doesn’t bleed over far too many episodes, introduce new villains to defeat, forward the plot and character developments quickly and also keep the viewer engaged because of their fast paced nature.
The S series also has a noticeable increase in animation quality over the previous seasons as well, which is expected as animation in the 90’s increased at a rapid pace so it makes sense things continue to look better and better. And now that the series is on Blu-Ray it has really never been better. The colours pop on the screen and the linework of the characters really shines on this release. The home release set is presented in full 1080p and retains the original 4:3 aspect ratio of the show.
The set contains all 38 episodes of the Sailor Moon S series across 5 Blu-Ray discs. The episodes all feature the new VIZ dub and are fully uncut so if you grew up watching the DiC dub expect some big changes here. Because not only are the violent nature and darker scenes retained here, the character traits of characters DiC decided to cut are back here too including the same sex relationship of Sailor Uranus and Neptune.
The limited edition Blu-Ray set comes in a nice hardcover chipboard box covered in Sailor Moon artwork and contains the 2 Blu-Ray volumes containing the 5 discs. Inside the first volume is an additional artbook for the S series that features character bio’s and season art-pieces similar to what was found in the sets of the first 2 seasons but a nice addition to this book is the character relationship tree that shows the main characters in this season and visually shows their relationships and links to the other characters.
The Sailor Moon S series is one of my favourite seasons probably for the reasons it’s some other fans’ least liked. It features a darker, more emotional story, spends time developing the lead characters and looks fantastic on Blu-Ray. While it does see the return of the monster of the week episodes which aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I rather enjoy them and like their fast pace and storytelling. If you’re a fan of Sailor Moon and have seen the first two season’s you should definitely check this one out. It may also be your favourite set too.
A Blu-Ray review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment for the purpose of this review.