Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
In the Sailor Moon Super S volume entitled as the second Pegasus collection, the Sailor Scouts continue to fight the Amazon Trio from the Dead Moon Circus. Receiving help from the Pegasus, they are coming closer and closer to discovering who the Pegasus really is.
Dedicated fans of Sailormoon will rejoice, as the second installment of the Pegasus collection of Sailor Moon SuperS is now available in North America, thanks to the folks at Pioneer Animation. Viewers who are already fans of the series will be glad for the chance to see more of their favorite antics saving the world and goofing around. Unfortunately, the series seems to target those who are already rabid fans of the series; as for the casual viewer, seeing episodes that are virtually the same continually throughout the disc can be trying on his or her mental peace. On the positive side, if one is unsure of how badly they want to see the series, they can get six episodes on one disc at a reasonable price. Thankfully, the DVDs are also uncut and bilingual, giving viewers a chance to view the series in its original state. The disc also comes with a karaoke version of the Japanese opening theme, allowing viewers to turn off the vocals and sing along with the Romaji lyrics shown on the screen. While this is a fun extra, this is the only one that comes on the disc.
On another note, the DVD packaging is rather cool, as the cover is reversible. The back of the outside carries the disc synopsis; oddly, the names are written as the English version, with the Japanese version in parenthesis. Although this is a nice touch, it's quite annoying, especially since on the first Pegasus collection, only the Japanese names were used. This does make it more accessible to viewers only familiar with the American release, but the English (Japanese) format feels like overkill once the name dropping becomes severe. The other side of the cover features a different front picture, as well as screenshots from the series on the backside to replace the episode synopses. The same cover featured on the other side is also reproduced as a mini-poster on the DVD insert. Even with all the added features, however, the value of the series itself is hard to redeem.
One of the most bothersome aspects about the series is the characterization. Frankly put, many of the characters possess traits that are very grating and hard to stand. Most of the characters are very single-minded, making all the episodes very blasé. Since all the episodes are virtually the same plot wise and story wise anyway, the dry, repetitive nature of the series is just accentuated by the characters who respond to each situation exactly the same, regardless of the scenario. Not only are the characters absurdly static, the few traits that they do possess are overdone, such as Usagi's jealous nature, and Chibiusa's desire to be friends with every living creature in the world. At times, the characters are so annoying that only rabid fans of the series could possibly stand them. It certainly doesn't help the series that, like most shoujo series, every episode follows the exact same formula every single time. Because every episode has the same conflicts and resolutions, it is hard to find any motivation to watch the following episode, as the viewer already knows what is going to happen at any given time.
The repeated storyline is also exaggerated by the usage of overused footage. The transformation and fighting sequences are used in every episode for nearly half the time, meaning that only about half the scenes are actually new. The only positive perk about the overused footage is that the music played in the background of Sailormoon and Sailor Chibi Moon is perky and gallant, and makes the scene somewhat enjoying to watch. The rest of the fight sequences are frustrating to watch, as the enemies are always beat with the same attacks every time. The art for the series is not much better than the animation; while the animation is jerky and slow at times, the art itself is undetailed and sloppy. It often seems like many of the secondary subjects in the frames were drawn hastily with as little time spent on them as possible. In contrast, however, the backgrounds are done superbly. Ranging from light pastels and watercolors to rendered designs, the backgrounds for the scenes are beautiful and often breathtaking. In fact, the backgrounds are one of the redeeming qualities about the series.
Another aspect of the series that makes it respectable is the Japanese voicing cast. Bland as the characters are, the actors were able to give them life and emotion, so that the series is at least enjoyable to watch from an acting perspective. Sadly, the same cannot in any circumstance be said for the English dub. Plainly speaking, the dub was horrid, as all Sailormoon dubs are. “Serena's” voice possesses every vector of an annoying voice that can possibly be produced. She sounds no where near fifteen, but instead sounds like a middle-aged woman trying her hardest to sound cute by exaggerating her voicing inflections to the point of absurdity. The other actors do a decent job, but “Serena” manages to single-handedly ruin the entire dub experience. Luckily, the dub is barely salvaged as the English script somewhat matches the original Japanese script. Granted, there are lines that have nothing to do with the original at all, but considering the poor quality of the dub, even the somewhat close script is a relief.
With a release such as this, there can be many mixed emotions in regards to it. Pioneer did a pretty good job with the DVD, so the factors regarding the desirability of purchasing such a product lie in the series itself. On the one hand, rabid Sailormoon fans will enjoy the Super S season of the series as they are already hardened to the repetitive nature of the series, and will enjoy seeing their favorite characters again. On the other hand, to casual viewers of the series or anime in general, viewing what seems like the same episode over and over can be very trying on patience. Out of all the Sailormoon seasons, Super S is quite possibly the worst one, as the episodes don't seem to have a point or goal they are trying to achieve. Whether or not one is planning on buying the series depends solely on how badly they already like the series, as at best, the second Pegasus Collection is only worth a brief rental.
Overall (dub) : D-
Overall (sub) : B
Story : D-
Animation : D-
Art : C
Music : C-
+ Pretty backgrounds that are easy on the eyes
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