When Sailor Moon was originally renewed after a successful first season, the change in art quality was immediately apparent. Toei, for once, was actually spending a little money on the animation. And so, the newly remastered version of Sailor Moon, Season 2, aka Sailor Moon R, looks fully drawn in a way that the first season never did.
Viz, in their infinite wisdom, sent me Part 1 on Blu-ray and Part 2 of this set on DVD. I’m gonna have to say that as much as the art has improved from Season 1, I don’t think Blu-ray is the right way to watch this series. The art doesn’t hold up to being seen in high resolution is on a large screen. It looks much better on my laptop, with it’s smaller 15″ screen.
The sound, however, works the other way around, coming out of my reasonably new laptop speakers as a tinny almost monotone track, and coming out of my TV much more balanced. So I have to decide if I want it to sound good or look good, but both is not an option, which is not Viz’s fault per se, but is a little strange.
As Sailor Moon R begins, we recall that Princess Serenity removed everyone’s memories of being Senshi and we all returned to our normal lives. But a new threat arrives as aliens Ail and An (ailu-an=alien, get it?) chose “transfer student” as their cliche of choice. What follows, plot-wise, is relatively uninteresting, with the monsters of the day, this time called Cardians, being neither people introduced for the purpose of possessing them nor everyday objects that turned into monsters in order to be defeated. The aliens might be sympathetic if they just asked for help, so the entire plot of this arc revolves on them not having a conversation. It’s not good writing, nor need it be, as it’s not about them. The entire arc is a holding pattern while the Senshi get their memories back, then a longer holding pattern until we deal with Mamoru, who seems to have become a split personality, in which all possible versions of Chiba Mamoru are cheesy. ^_^
The high point of this arc is the episode when Usagi, heading to see what a mysterious thing is, sees Ami, Rei, Makoto and Minako in the crowd and understands that, while they don’t remember who they are, they seem to have somehow gravitated there anyway.
Art – 8
Story – 5
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 2
Overall – 7
One of the best things about Sailor Moon Crystal was the compression of the R series. Without the massive amounts of filler, the story was relatively tight and, IMHO, more interesting. Back here with the original anime, we’ve got a *lot* of filler to wade through before we get to the meat of the season, and then more filler before anything is done with it. Of all five seasons, R may well be the hardest to rewatch in the original.