Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 1 Blu-ray Review
Viz Media recently released Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 1 on Blu-ray and DVD, with an all-new English voiceover dub, Japanese subtitled dialogue, restored footage that was cut from the original Western release, all-new extras, a beautiful 96-page art booklet, and an updated visual presentation. In this 22-episode set, Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon) and her friends are returning to their normal everyday lives, with their memories having been wiped after the epic battle against the Dark Kingdom. It’s not long, however, before evil is lurking on the horizon in the form of two aliens named Ail and Ann, and Luna has no choice but to restore Usagi’s memories and her ability to transform into Sailor Moon.
The packaging for Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 1 is simply gorgeous. The chipboard box is quite cool looking, with reflective moon and star designs accenting the artwork of Sailor Moon in her signature transformation pose. The included 96-page art book is something all fans of the show will truly enjoy, as it contains not only an episode guide for every episode on the set but also character posters, production artwork, character biographies, song lyrics, photos of the new voice cast, and more. The bonus features on the Blu-ray include interviews with the new voice cast, footage from the recording sessions, and clean opening and ending segments. The set also includes 3 DVDs with all of the content that is on the Blu-ray discs. It’s obvious that the people at Viz Media really care about this series and strived to bring fans the best possible release they could.
And so it’s a shame that the main component to this Blu-ray re-release, the video quality, is rather poor. As Viz mentions in this blog post, they did the best they could with what materials they were given, as the original masters from 1992 no longer exist, apparently. So they had to do a bunch of post-production video processing, detailed in that blog post, to upscale the 2009 Japanese re-release to 1080p for Blu-ray. Since the source was a 480i standard definition DVD release, the results were of course never going to be as good as if Viz were able to re-scan the original film cells in HD, and so you need to lower your expectations here a bit.
I had heard a lot about how bad the video quality on the previous Sailor Moon Blu-ray sets was, and I have to say watching Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 1 it was not that big of an issue for me. Sure, there is a fair amount of pixelization if you look closely or pause the video, but when it’s in motion it looks pretty good. The colors are vibrant, the edges are relatively sharp, and I’m sure this release is a pretty substantial upgrade from the VHS tapes that most fans grew up watching.
I think the majority of Sailor Moon fans will be happy with the content of this release, but those who are sticklers for video quality and want to show off their high-end HDTVs may want to reconsider purchasing this set. Those who hold Sailor Moon near and dear to their heart will absolutely want to pick up this set for the quality of the packaging and art book alone, as well as the new extras, uncut content and voice dub. Additionally, the packaging has a space for Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 2, which will be releasing soon!