Archive for the English Anime Category


Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 2, Disk 3 Anime (English)

January 29th, 2016

SMR22-275x318 At last, we have enough information to piece the story together in Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 2, Disk 3. And immediately upon doing so, the final battle is upon us. So, in time-honored tradition, I would like to digress completely to discuss Chibi-Usa and Sialor Pluto.

First, let us discuss Chibi-Usa. She is a near millennium-old 5 year old. This is a critical piece to understanding the things that go on on “R”. Children are pretty basic animals. They get how training works and then they turn it around on you. I throw this binky and start to cry, you retrieve the binky. I cry, you feed me, I cry, you change a diaper. This makes sense. And because most children exist in a bubble of one, they don’t really consider that their experiences are not utterly normal. So, when Small Lady cries and no one picks her up, this is a frankly shocking change to her life. She has no idea that this is normal or that being self-reliant is a thing. Like so many humans (often much older than 5) she presumes that the general is personal, so when her friends aren’t there for her, she imagines the worst.

All of this is not beside the point – it is the point. She cannot grow up until she has to grow up. And the worst part about this has to be that both Serenity and Endymion know all this and they have to let it happen. And that is the big UGH of the series.

Which brings me to Sailor Pluto. There are literally two things she may not do – open the Doors of Time and stop time, and in both anime and manga version, she does both. Worse, she knows she’s going to do both because she’s already done them when we meet her for the first time. I mean, how *annoying* is that?

So is Pluto the worst Senshi or are the rules idiotic? Obviously, the rules are idiotic. We can see that right away, because the rule “Don’t open the Doors of Time” clearly don’t apply to the Royal Family, so it now becomes “Don’t open the Doors of Time to anyone but us and anyone we bring with us” and BAM! security is breached. And “You may not stop Time or you will die” makes perfect sense, except she doesn’t. And remember, we first meet her 1000 years in the future when she has *already* done these things…and there she is. If the conundrum around Chibi-Usa is ugh, then this one is argh. ^_^;

But all of this resolves when it turns out, as we and Saphir suspected, that Dimande is an idiot. And Serenity, joined by Princess Small Lady (as opposed to Chibi Moon in the manga) defeat the Wiseman as we had no doubt they would.

I had become somewhat complacent about the quality in this remastered version of the 90s series, so upon completion, I pulled out the Pioneer (remember them? they became Geneon, then pulled out of the US completely) edition of the Sailor Moon R Movie. Holy crap do the Viz disks look a million times better. Color, quality, sound all better. So, once again folks complaining about the visuals – the remastered version is *way* better.

Viz will be putting out the R movie, so if you haven’t yet seen it, you should. It’s 1) surprisingly gay (Minako says in the background that there are two guys at her school that “are that way” and another major plot point, I’ll keep for a later review) and 2) has an awesome end scene in which we see “Moon Revenge” sung to it’s best advantage. (Another song I jog to, so it is constantly in my ears. It’s a damn fine song.)

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 7 In the end it actually makes sense
Characters – 7 In the end, only Saphir has a lick of sense
Yuri – 0
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – 7 I’m a sucker for “La Soldier.”

I’m really glad to have watched all of “R” and I am SO ready for “S”! The little clippy/trailer episode only made me want it more. ^_^ Ogata Megumi plays young Mamoru in the “R” movie, as well. I am on tenterhooks for the big “S” rewatch. Back in the old days we watched the entire series in one day by skipping the OP/EDs and all the henshin and attacks after watching them once through. It’s a testament to how much I like “S” that I didn’t hate it with a passion after that marathon. ^_^

Once again, many thanks to Viz for the chance to engage in all this fannishness!





Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 2, Disk 2 Anime (English)

January 28th, 2016

SMR22-275x318OMG, you guys! Chibi-Usa is being targeted by the enemy!

Yes, yes, we established that last disk, but I’m re-establishing it for Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 2, Disk 2 because if you were hoping the plot had any intention of moving forward, you’d be sadly mistaken. In fact, let me assure you that, despite the fact that the Black Moon clan has specifically stated that they are targeting this small child that fell out of the sky, it takes the smartest one of the group 21 episodes to think to ask “Why?”

Look, I love Sailor Moon as much as the next besotted fan, but come on. ^_^

But before we get there, we get a few side episodes that give us insight into Ami and Minako, including the infamous Nurse Venus episode, the moral of which is “nothing.” Life is meaningless and eventually we will die of good intentions. Or, at least, that’s what I gathered from it.

While we don’t really get an answer to the question of the enemy’s motivation (yet), we get a free trip to the future and the Moon, so okay, we’ll set the explanation on the back burner for the moment.

When the gang arrives at the future Moon they meet something they never expected at all – another Senshi! Sailor Pluto has the unenviable task of guarding the Doors of Time and is therefore isolated from the rest of the Moon Kingdom, we learn when Luna’s ability to remember important facts after they become plot points kicks in.  I have always felt that this crappy job ought to be a rotation position, so Pluto gets a chance to party with the Queen, too.

And we meet King Endymion, who looks exactly like Tuxedo Mask in lavender. Why does the King still wear a mask?… asks no one except me. He’s the *KING*, you’d think that hiding his face, even lamely, isn’t a critical piece of consorting. Maybe they just let him do it to relive the good old days.

And we learn the biggest OMG of all, Chibi-Usa’s true identity, as Serenity and Endymion’s future child.  Everyone overreacts, but the King gives us the closest thing to an explanation so far about the nature of the Black Moon and the destruction of Crystal Tokyo.

Chibi-Usa disappears, we defeat Esmeraude (we hardly knew ye) and are forced, like Saphir, to listen to both Dimande and Wiseman bore the pants off us with their obsessions.

Technicals were perfectly fine, and only one bizarre translation to note. While Diamande is waxing stalker-y about  Serenity, he comments on her beautiful green eyes. Not a horrible mistranslation, as aoi can be green but not in this case. Her eyes are blue in every version of the story. Woops.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 7 Sailor Pluto, thank god you’re here.
Characters – 7 Did I mention Sailor Pluto’s here? And that her role makes no sense at all? ^_^
Yuri – 0
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – 6

So…why are the bad guys after Chibi-Usa?

Tune in next disk to find out. ^_^;

As always, thanks to Viz for providing the review copy!





Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 2, Disk 1 Anime (English)

January 27th, 2016

SMR22-275x318Having established that Chibi-Usa is actually the “Rabbit” targeted by the bad guys,  Sailor Moon R Season 2 Part 2, Disk 1 immediately sidetracks the story into the most pointless rivalry ever, as Rubeus’ henchwomen fight for his attention. Happily they  – and he –  are defeated with alacrity.

We learn of the existence of a mysterious Sailor Pluto through Chibi-Usa, but not much more. Maddening isn’t it? ^_^

And, finally, Esmeraude appears. Yay! I don’t know why, but of the this particular crop of baddies, the Black Moon folks, she’s the only one I actually like, even though she spends the entire time moping about Dimande. But then, so does Saphir.

And we learn that Dimande is being manipulated by “Wiseman” who looks just like Death Phantom. Hrm. Related or lack of creative juice? We’ll have to wait and see!

Technically, this disk is fine. The visuals are clear, the sound is good, the plot is excruciating and  I’m twiddling my fingers until Pluto shows. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 5, we’re treading water until next disk
Characters – 6
Yuri – 0
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – 6

Change and plot progression is coming. Just not yet. Wait for it. ^_^

Thanks to Viz for providing the review copy and being super responsive to comments.





Sailor Moon Anime, Season 2 Part 1 Disk 3 (English)

December 9th, 2015

SMR21It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for! For the first time ever in the US on legal media, Sailor Moon Season 2 Part 1 Disk 3 brings us the two most amazing episodes of Sailor Moon R, in which Chibi-Usa is saved by dinosaurs and in which Chibi-USA wets the bed.

Oh, and the plot officially starts in the last episode of the disk, too.

I wish I was kidding, but I’m not.

What is there to say about this disk? We spend a lot of time feeling bad for Chibi-Usa, but she’s really hard to feel bad for. It’s obvious she’s terrified, lonely and miserable, but she compensates for it by being a jerk – which is totally human, but no less annoying when she does it than when anyone else does. Like Mamoru, who is also being a jerk for the same reasons. It is at least a little more understandable when a 5 year old is a jerk because she’s scared than when the jerk is an adult. It’s still not all that fun.

Technically, any previous issues with the BD/DVD appear to have been resolved, and although the translation sometimes slips into odd slang – “you must find her, stat” (who knew Luna was on a doctor drama!)  – it’s all pretty smooth sailing technically.

The original animation has sunk low again, compensating for poor art with hypersaturated colors. And poor Mamoru continues to have appalling taste in workout gear.

But…as I sat working to the sounds of Ai no Senshi playing too loudly from the TV in the climactic fight of the series while eating Sicilian lemon pocky (it’s pronounced poe-kee, not pah-kee, btw,) I enjoyed a moment of pure, heavenly otaku nerdliness…and all was right in the world. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 4, until the last episode
Characters – 6, because it is mostly Chibi-Usa
Yuri – 0
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – 6, until the last episode, then 8

Thanks again to Viz Media for a review copy and a chance to remember how annoying Chibi-Usa is…even though I know I’m going to cry at the and of this season. (T_T)





Sailor Moon Anime, Season 2 Part 1 Disk 2 (English)

November 27th, 2015

In SMR21Disk 2 of Sailor Moon Season 2 (known as Sailor Moon R), the interminable intro arc with Ail and Ann wraps up and a new, more critical, interminable arc begins.

Before I get into that arc and just what it means, I need to point an unfortunate bit of quality control failure. So far, Viz’s Sailor Moon release has been pretty top notch, especially given the age and quality of the original. The single episode that defines the second season is episode 54, during which Usagi and Mamoru are kissing romantically and a small child falls out of the sky onto their heads. For whatever reason(s) episode 54’s subtitles are riddled with errors including, but not limited to, spelling Tokyo as Tokio. If this kind of thing had happened in just about any previous episode, it wouldn’t have been as a big a deal, but in the single most iconic episode of the series? I spent the rest of the disk scanning the subtitles obsessively for errors, instead of just watching the story. Not really good, considering the story was finally actually happening.

At last Chibi-Usa has arrived and we can’t stand her. Of course, we are not meant to. She is violent, she lies, she is manipulative, and worst of all, she’s mean to Usagi. And yet, we might forgive her some of this but she becomes intolerable not because of her own behavior but because Mamoru plays along with her. Could he be an bigger asshole to Usagi than he is in “R”? I do not think so. While I’ve never liked him all that much, he basically spends all of R being a jerk after that one romantic moment.

As I’ve said several times, Sailor Moon Crystal was kind to Chibi-Usa, removing almost all of the endless monsters of the day that will wear us down to our last nerve, and emphasizing her emotional trauma, her fear and hopelessness. Here, we’re just going to have to buckle down and wait it all out while she and Usagi become increasingly strident and Mamoru is an asshat. Whee.

So, that having been said, the first thing we do, in the time-honored tradition of new arcs, is run through a series of “Senshi go through a crisis, then power up” episodes! First up, Ami, in she which gets one of her two best attacks, Shine Aqua Illusion.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 5
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – 6

Disk 2 is infuriating in a dozen different ways, both in regards to content and technical quality, but we’ve still got many disks to go before we see the end. Onward!