Reviewby Bamboo Dong, Jun 6th 2002
Sailor Moon Super S
Pegasus Collection DVD 1
When the Dead Moon Circus comes to town, it brings with it the Amazon Trio, the members which will inadvertently become the Sailor Scouts' new archenemies. Their mission is to capture a mysterious Pegasus that hides in women's beautiful dreams, so the evil trio goes on a rampage of kidnapping women and viewing their innermost dreams and desires. The Sailor Scouts must embark on a mission to keep the women, and the Pegasus safe.
An entire generation of new anime fans has grown up in the wake of televised anime, one which includes Sailor Moon, possibly one of the foremost recruiters of fans. Luckily for Sailor Moon fanatics, Sailor Moon Super S is now also available in North America. Released by Pioneer Entertainment, the first Pegasus collection contains the first six episodes from the series. In addition to the episodes, the DVD release also includes the first version of the original Japanese opening theme for Super S. This extra, unfortunately, is rather pointless, as it still has the credits in it. The exact same thing can be viewed just by watching the Japanese version. Pioneer deserves credit for the nice job they did on the DVD packaging however. The cover comes double-sided, with the front side featuring a shot of Usagi with gold lettering, and the disc summary on the back. Interestingly, the character names on the summaries and the chapter titles bear the names of the Japanese characters, which is pleasant. This may throw off viewers who have only heard the English dub names, but it's a pleasing touch for the viewers who prefer the original Japanese version. The flip side features a picture of Chibi-Usa and Diana, with a back side featuring two pictures of the characters. Albeit, one of the pictures of the Sailor Scouts on the back is of poor quality and lacks definition, it is still nice for viewers to have the option of variable covers. Luckily, the DVD insert also doubles as a fold-out mini poster that bears the same art as the backside of the DVD cover. Other than the packaging, there is nothing incredibly spectacular about the DVD, except that the six episodes come at a convenient price.
For viewers that are already rabid fans of Sailor Moon, then this DVD is right up their alley. However, for casual viewers, the episodes are rather hard to sit through. Every episode follows the exact same formula, and after a few episodes, this gets very tedious and monotonous. If watched in its intended form of one televised per episode a week, this system of story telling might be bearable, but as it is, it is extremely hard to sit through all six episodes in one viewing. As for the story line, there is none. Each episode has its own mini-plot, but there is no continuity between the episodes, not even a subplot. It is never explained to the viewers why the bad guys are after Pegasus, and what it would accomplish if they had him. It is never explained how the bad guys track down the girls with the beautiful dreams, or even how their attack powers work. In essence, the episodes are a string of random ideas and shoujo ideals held together by force with no flow in between them.
If viewers are interested in seeing a series with breathtaking art and fluid animation, Sailor Moon Super S is not the place to find it. The artistic elements in the series fluctuate on the quality scale, but never quite hit a high constant mark. At times, there are pleasant watercolor backdrops that make the viewers admire the scene, but these last only momentarily. Also, there are brief scenes dashed here and there where the art almost looks three dimensional due to shifting foregrounds; these scenes make for momentary breath catchers, but also last only momentarily. For the most part, the art is bland and almost sketchy. This is the most noticeable in scenes with large crowds, as the people have mostly blank faces and no defining characteristics. Often, the characters and objects will be devoid of any shading, making them appear very flat and two-dimensional. Aside from the art, the animation is nothing to gape at either. Throughout most of the episodes, the character and camera movements are jerky and make the series look extremely low-budget. It doesn't help that the same few sequences are used almost the entire time throughout the episodes. Granted, most mahou shoujo series reuse transformation sequences, but in this case, scenes are overused to almost absurdity. Every time the setting shifts to inside the circus tent, the same exact sequence is used every single time, except with altered dialogue. After awhile, these over recycled scenes are very frustrating, and almost pain inducing as viewers are torn between fast forwarding through the already viewed scenes, and waiting to see if maybe the dialogue has been changed. The usage of the same exact sequences over and over and over again in the episodes is one of the main reasons why the story line seems to follow the same mundane pattern endlessly. In fact, the story line, or lack thereof, would be drastically improved if each episode had more than a few minutes of new animation. On top of everything, the video transfer quality of the episodes is poor, allowing for blurry scenes and film graining.
The music department of the series doesn't fare any better. The music is either cute and bouncy, or an infernal melody that is supposed to pass off as circus music. Every time the viewer is led into the circus tent, or one of the enemies shows up, the same annoying tune is played repeatedly. It is overplayed to the extent that every time the first note of the tune is played, a few of the less jaded viewers might feel the urge to either groan, cry, or curse the sheer repetition of the series. The opening theme is the same that is used for all the Sailor Moon series, and if one is already a fan of the song, then it's nice to hear. However, the only nice vocal track is the ending theme, "Watashi-tachi ni Naritakute" which is a slow, relaxing song that is fun to sing along to. Other than the ending theme, the rest of the music for the episodes is hardly anything that would warrant rushing out and importing the soundtrack.
The Japanese voice actors performed admirably, delivering their lines with as much emotion that could possibly be squeezed out of a Sailor Moon script. There was one scene, however, where the Japanese script was inconsistent. When one of the Amazon Trio members attempts to distract one of the girls, he poses as a foreigner that has lost his tour guide. He starts off asking questions in English and bemoaning the fact that he doesn't know any Japanese. A few lines later, he explains his situation to the girl in perfect Japanese. The dub actor for this scene sports a cheesy French accent, but he at least keeps the accent throughout the scene. Aside from that one example of consistency in the English dub, the rest of it was horrid. As per United States televised tradition, the character names were changed, but this can be excused. The acting, however, was horrendous, with flat lines and monotonous acting. Sailor Moon is also possibly one of the worst cast dubs in anime history, with "Darien" sounding like a drunken frat boy, and "Serena" sounding like a middle-aged woman trying too hard to sound fifteen. On top of that, the script was abhorrent, with lines changed enough to actually alter the meaning of the scenes. In addition, the English script just wasn't as funny as the original. In the Japanese script, the torturously repetitive scenes are at least relieved once in a while by an amusing comment or a bit of comic relief. In the English script, even such a minor relief is denied to the viewers, making the episodes one form of torture after another.
Possibly the only viewers that could fully enjoy Sailor Moon Super S are those fans that are already rabidly attracted to the series. Casual viewers of anime, or mild fans of the series are likely to have a hard time sitting through the episodes unless they are spaced out within a span of a few weeks. In comparison to the other Sailor Moon series, Super S just doesn't hold its weight and is one of the worst in the series. Although the six episodes come at a convenient price, they are only recommended to Sailor Moon fanatics. For viewers that are anxious to see a series with an engrossing plot and decent animation, even the boon of six episodes on one disc isn't worth the anguish to sit through them. Casual fans of Sailor Moon are recommended, if at all possible, to at least rent the DVD before purchasing it, though even that price may be too much for it. In fact, if one can manage to live without ever seeing Super S, that may be the best path to choose.
Overall (dub) : D-
Overall (sub) : B
Story : D
Animation : D
Art : D+
Music : C
+ Great chance for Sailor Moon fans to see their favorite characters again
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