Reviewby Zac Bertschy, Feb 20th 2003
Sailor Moon Super S
DVD 4: Pegasus Collection IV
In this fifth collection of Sailor Moon Super S episodes, Rei deals with a sudden popularity boost from appearing on a magazine cover, Maki and Minako fight over romance, and the Amazon Quartet make even more trouble for the Sailor Senshi. Harvesting pure dream after pure dream, it seems the Senshi can't go anywhere without having to duke it out with the four evil Amazons. It doesn't look like the end is anywhere in sight.
Sailor Moon Super S stands as one of the most reviled sequel series in anime history. This particular DVD, Pegasus Collection IV, represents a low point for the series. Since Sailor Moon Super S was a low point for the Sailor Moon series and some consider Sailor Moon to be a low point for anime in general, this collection of episodes is, all things considered, the bottom of the barrel. It's as bad as you can reasonably get without having had Go Nagai on the production staff.
Most people complain about the episodic nature of Sailor Moon. The series set the standard for the “monster of the week” formula, and it's easy to see why. This disc includes episodes 25 to 30, and there is absolutely no plot progression whatsoever. It's easy to expect this kind of stagnant, repetitive storytelling from a children's show, but the problem with Sailor Moon Super S is that it loses all of the charm that the first two seasons of the show had due to horrifyingly uncreative and downright stupid storylines. It was easy to forgive the fact that Sailor Moon S had some 30 plus episodes that all had the exact same plotline because the villains involved were somewhat interesting and enigmatic. Sailor Moon as a concept doesn't work with uninteresting villains, and Super S has some of the most poorly conceived villains in anime history. They are badly designed, uninteresting to watch, and are doing exactly what the villains did in Sailor Moon S, except this time, they're pulling coquettish mirrors out of “pure souls” instead of glowing 99-cent Christmas ornaments. It's repetitive to the point of being unwatchable.
To top it off, Sailor Moon has never had excellent characterization. The lead character is the typical easy-to-hate shoujo manga heroine. Usagi has very few likable qualities, which isn't necessarily a desirable quality in a lead character. Her boyfriend and his dubious ability to change into a tuxedo and proclaim himself a superhero (even though his super power seems to be that he's incredibly easy to capture) lend nothing to the series and after a million Sailor Moon episodes, the character is still not developed fully. This series also has a lot of Chibi-Usa, Sailor Moon's daughter from the future. She isn't as annoying as people tend to think she is, but her appearance is enough to give anyone cavities and again she's completely undeveloped. Chibi-Usa is the “cute” archetype, Usagi is the “clumsy” archetype, Rei is the “aggressive” archetype, and so on and so forth. They try to develop the characters, but what winds up happening is that each episode is dedicated to watching one or more of the girls fill out her archetypal role. In an episode that focuses on Rei, we'll see her be aggressive for a whole 25 minutes, instead of just being aggressive in the background. Effectively, nothing in this series moves; it's a stagnant puddle of clichés and recycled storylines.
The dub isn't anything to write home about. Usagi sounds like she's about 28 or 29, and her voice is way too deep. The dub script is far too verbose and the characters are forced to run sentences together so they can fit in the ridiculous amount of expository and establishing dialogue into the relatively short mouth movements. They even tried to make the dialogue ‘hip’, with the characters saying things like “You're the bomb! You're all that!”. I realize that perhaps that slang was popular a few years ago but they should've had some foresight when attempting to include modern-day slang in a show they knew would be watched over and over for the next several years. Furthermore, it's a mystery why they included the dub on this disc at all; clearly it's marketed towards hardcore Sailor Moon fans who want to see the show subtitled and are sick of watching fansubs. I doubt many of them will want to watch the dub, considering that most of them seem to hate it.
As easy as it would be to say that Sailor Moon fans might find something to like about this, even hardcore Sailor Moon fans will admit that Sailor Moon Super S is terrible. Perhaps future volumes will include a storyline that progresses; in general, Sailor Moon is always better near the end of the season when they're forced to throw a story in to finish things off. This volume, however, is representative of the worst that this series has to offer. Even the die-hards won't argue with that.
Overall (dub) : C-
Overall (sub) : C
Story : D
Animation : B-
Art : B
Music : B-
+ Animation isn't bad; Sailor Moon fans might find something they like.
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