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Sailor Moon S
Heart Collection I - Pure Hearts/Love War
Sailor Moon S Heart Collection I is the DVD that includes episodes 1-7 (90-96) of Sailor Moon S and is a combination of the VHS volumes 1 and 2. It includes both the uncut dub and the sub on one disc. For new Sailor Moon fans, this is not an ideal starting point since characters that have already been established in the series have almost no introduction. But for the veterans, this is the best place to start a subtitled commercial release of Sailor Moon since most fans consider this the best season and a 7 episode DVD is enough to satisfy any fan. Sailor Moon is one of the most popular magical girl anime which has gained hordes of fans all over the world with its stories of average girls fighting evil while trying to live a normal life with school, parents, and crushes. Each episode superficially follows the same pattern but it's the characters and the events in their lives that make the differences. This particular season covers many of the things in the past two season but adds a new twist by introducing two main characters who are somewhat ambiguous yet open with their relationship in a tasteful manner.
Audio for both tracks is good but Sailor Moon S is a little old so a wonderful THX certified 5.1 track can't be expected and mono sound is just fine for the whole thing. It would have been nice to have some stereo during the transformations and attacks though. Fortunately both tracks, the English and teh Japanese, were as clear as could be expected.
The differences between the English VAs and the Japanese seiyuu is quite drastic. Usagi's voice was pleasant throughout since her seiyuu had been playing Usagi for most of the past two seasons. However, Serena's voice could have used some work. In some parts, her voice sounded as if she were a thirty-something trying to do a child's voice. Hearing her scream or cry made my ears hurt in the earlier episodes. After a few episodes, it get's a little better. It's understandable since Serena received a new VA, as did most of the cast. The best performers seemed to be the VAs of Luna and Kaorinite since they had been on Sailor Moon ever since the first DiC dub. Unfortunately, at times the differences between the original scripts and the English script add up to more than just using different words to convey the same meaning. However, the basic story line does remain the same for the most part, most of the significant dialogue changes took place the parts where nothing major was happening. Also, since the English track is nothing more than the Toonami dub with the cut scenes added back in, all names, relationships, and corny speech are the same as on the American televised version. The ED song doesn't change between the English and Japanese tracks. However, the English theme song is played over the Japanese OP. Surprisingly, it fits in extremely well with the animation; this is because the English theme song is based on the original Japanese "Moonlight Densetsu."
The only subtitles included on this disc are the English translation. They sometimes look a little fuzzy around the edges when viewed close-up. However, they were readable and used correct English. They were even sometimes funny. In the second episode, the daimon-of-the-day's line read "Who the NELL are you?" Also, they did do some adjustments to the names used. For example, Nekonneru became Nekonnell and daimon became daimohn. It's no big deal since that's how the words are pronounced and these little changes are done consistently. There was a little inconsistency with the choice of words. In some of the episodes, "daimon no tamago" was translated "daimohn egg" and in others "egg of daimohn." Either way is acceptable but it would have been nice if they chose one or the other.
Sailor Moon S is old and often films deteriorate as they get older, but this one remains very beautiful. It was stunning to see the show's OP in vibrant colours. If you were to look closely, you would see only a few stray marks every now and then, but none of these blemishes will be apparent during casual viewing. However, there is one small problem. The video is zoomed, cuttng off a portion of the image on each.
Pioneer really went out of their way with this release. Not only with 6 VHS and 1 DVD release, but with the cover art. You can easily tell the uncut releases from the cut releases. All the uncut VHS volume 1 releases feature a new drawing of Sailor Moon based on an existing image in a similar design to the Japanese LD covers (LD 1's cover was modified for the edited and DVD releases of Sailor Moon S: The Movie). The second volume features a modified version of LD 2's cover with Sailors Mercury and Jupiter. The DVD release is extra special since the cover is reversible between the two unedited cover designs allowing the owners to choose their preferred cover. If you don't want to reverse it (since the reverse doesn't have the shiny foil accents), you don't have to since the case is transparent. However, this is not an Amaray and the disc is a pain to remove. The disc itself is silk-screened with a lovely image of Sailor Moon holding her wand close to her. The edited tapes feature cute, images redrawn from other images that look more kid-friendly.
Each episode is given the original preview, opening, title screen, eye catches, and endings. However the previews of the following episode which originally followed each episode, were not included. There was also a slight problem with the OP, the OP included is not the correct OP for any of the episodes on the disc. If everything were done correctly, there would have been two openings: the original and the one that added Uranus and Neptune to the animation, not the one that is given. But they did make credit changes in the OP to reflect the change from the "Otome no Policy" ED to the "Tuxedo Mirage" ED except in one episode but it's not too noticeable. The ED credits were also changed, giving credit to the writer of the episode, the daimon-of-the-day's seiyuu, and not revealing the names of character yet to come. A dub cast was presented but the characters they played were not mentioned. The placements of the credits in the ED seemed a little odd since there was plenty of space on the side to place the credits, but they decided to center the credits which partially blocked the animated part of the ED at times. The OP and the EP both have subtitles for those who want to sing along with the translation above the Romaji. During the episode, if any Japanese writings appear, there is now translating text displayed on the screen and not as removable subtitles. The font they use for the credits is beautiful and large enough for anyone to see. It blends in perfectly with the whole feel of Sailor Moon.
The DVD is beautiful. If you are able to use S-Cable input, use it! After the FBI warning and Pioneer logo, Sailor Moon's Moon Spiral Heart Attack starts up. The moment she poses in the middle of the attack, the menu fades in with the background of Sailor Moon in the middle of her attack and some starry music plays. The main menu is beautiful and simple. A small heart on the left contains Sailor Moon's transformation without the background music so the sound effects shine through. Entering each main submenu, there is another part of her attack that either pauses to become another background or slides out to reveal the next menu. The episodes were divided logically with Preview-Opening-Part A-Part B-Closing which made getting to the part you want to see easier. The menu used for the chapter selection menu uses the same background as the DVD insert card. The special features are minimal but a disc like this doesn't really need them. A text-less karaoke opening is included that allows you to see how good of a singer you are without the vocals if you choose. Also, they created as Sailor Gallery featuring Sailor Moon. It's very pretty and it's very tiny as far as the special drawings of Sailor Moon's outfit, transformation locket, and wand. But that's what the zoom button is for.
There is nothing truly offensive with the visuals. However, some parents may feel a little hesitant about letting their young children see the body lines on the sailors during their transformations and the way some of the daimons like to reveal their pure heart-removal stars. Some things in the English translation may go over the heads of many of the younger children with the current ambiguity of Haruka and Michiru's relationship in this release. The English script keeps everything kid-friendly, however, it does contain some mild swearing.
Everyone said that it would never be done especially after it took DiC so many years to even get the last 17 episodes of Sailor Moon R dubbed. But now, we have all the movies dubbed and subbed and, now that it has been aired on TV, the first volume of Sailor Moon S released beautifully in four different formats. An extremely long wait that seems to have turned out for the better in the end. It can only get better after this.
Overall (dub) : A
Overall (sub) : A
Music : A
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