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Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Entertaining and quite enjoyable, if you are a fan of Sailor Moon and friends, “Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2” is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © Naoko Takeuchi / PNP / KODANSHA / TOEI ANIMATION. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2

DURATION: Episodes 15-26 (276 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: February 28, 2017


Originally Created by Naoko Takeuchi

Director: Chiaki Kon

Series Composition: Yuji Kobayashi

Character Design by Akira Takahashi

Music by Yasuharu Takanashi

Art Design by Takashi Kurahashi

Anime Production: Toei Animation


Featuring the following voice talent:

Kotono Mitsuishi/Stephanie Sheh as Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon

Rina Satou/Cristina Vee as Rei Hino/Sailor Mars

Ami Koshimizu/Amanda C. Miller as Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter

Hisako Kanemoto/Kate Higgins as Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury

Shizuka Itou/Cherami Leigh as Minako Aino/Sailor Venus

Sayaka Ohara/Veronica Taylor as Michiru Kaiō/Sailor Neptune

Kenji Nojima/Robbie Daymond as Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Kamen

Misato Fukuen/Sandy Fox as Chibi-usa/Sailor Chibi Moon

Ryou Hirohashi/Michelle Ruff as Luna

Youhei Oobayashi/Johnny Yong Bosch as Artemis

Shoko Nakagawa/Debi Derryberry as Diana


The next set in the brand new anime series, Sailor Moon Crystal!

Usagi Tsukino is a little clumsy and a crybaby, but she’s also one spirited eighth grader. One day she meets Luna, a black cat with a crescent moon mark on her forehead, and transforms into the pretty guardian of love and justice in a sailor suit, Sailor Moon! As a chosen guardian of justice, Usagi apparently has a mission to protect a princess, and to find her fellow Guardians and the phantom Silver Crystal. Meanwhile, Queen Beryl of the Dark Kingdom sends her subordinates to the town where Usagi lives. They cause strange events to occur there, all in an effort to acquire the tremendously powerful Silver Crystal… Can Sailor Moon and the other Guardians successfully find the phantom crystal, and protect the princess…!?


Back in 1991, mangaka Naoko Takeuchi would create her shojo manga series “Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon”.

Serialized in “Nakayoshi” (from 1991-1997) with a total of 18 tankobon (graphic novel) versions published, the series would reach enormous popularity with over 35 million copies sold worldwide and the release of the anime series would further the popularity worldwide with 200 episodes created (1992-1997), three animated films, a live-action TV series, musicals, video games and more.

In 2014, Toei Animation did a reboot of the anime series titled “Sailor Moon Crystal” to celebrate the 20th Anniversary but instead of releasing the anime on television, the series was released online on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

The anime series would feature voice actress Kotono Mitsuichi reprising her role as Sailor Moon in Japan while in America, the series would feature an all new English cast.

There first arc titled “Dark Kingdom” was featured in episodes 1-14, while the second arc “Black Moon” is featured in episodes 15-26.  A third season “Death Busters” aired in Japan on April 2016 and a sequel/fourth season was announced in January 2017.

And now the second arc (“Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2”) will be released on Blu-ray/DVD as a normal and a limited edition courtesy of Viz Media.

In the second arc, while Usagi and Mamoru are alone, a pink-haired girl falls from the sky.  She immediately points a gun towards Usagi and demands that Usagi give her the Legendary Silver crystal.

As Mamoru goes to the pink-haired girl, he finds out it is a fake gun and because her name is also Usagi, she is called “Chibi-usa”.  When they take Chibi-usa back to Usagi’s home, she immediately hypnotizes Usagi’s parents and they allow her to stay with them.

As for the others, Rei and Minako are looking into incidents of people being abducted and spontaneously combusting.

Meanwhile, the Black Moon Clan is after the Legendary Silver Crystal and with the Spectre Sisters, Rubeus and Prince Demande after the Crystal, they start to go after each of the Sailor Senshi’s and try to kidnap them in order to lure Sailor Moon.

But who can Usagi and Mamoru turn to for help?  Perhaps King Endymion and Neo Queen Serenity?


VIDEO:

“Sailor Moon Crystal” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the animation from Toei Animation is vibrant and colorful.

While the first series of “Sailor Moon Crystal” received a lot of flack with its earlier animation (which had to be redone for the Blu-ray and DVD release), this second series features much better character design and animation, as well as background art.  Better shadowing and for the most part, the series looks much better!

Picture quality is great and I didn’t notice any major artifacts or banding issues.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sailor Moon Crystal” is presented in Japanese and English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. Both soundtracks are done quite well and dialogue and music are both crystal clear through the front channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2” comes with the following special features:

  • Interview with the band Momoiro Clover Z Part 2 – (9:58) Featuring footage from Momoiro Clover Z’s appearance at Anime Expo and an interview with the group about their feelings of “Sailor Moon Crystal” and the characters.
  • Art Gallery
  • Clean Opening
  • Clean Ending

As a person who watched the anime series as it was airing in Japan and also reviewing it when the DVD’s were first released in the United States, “Sailor Moon Crystal” is no doubt an entertaining, action-packed, dramatic reboot without the filler episodes.

Back in the ’90s and even with today’s popular anime adaptation of successful manga, filler episodes are important to not just to allow for a mangaka to continue their work on a manga series and further the story, so the manga doesn’t catch up too quickly.

The caveat, as some have seen for series such as “Dragon Ball Z”, “Bleach”, “Naruto” and even “One Piece”, filler episodes can drag on for a long time.  But for companies banking on the successful anime to produce merchandise for years, filler episodes have become part of anime culture.

The same was the case with the original “Sailor Moon” series, as much was focused on to give various members their own identity through many character building episodes, establishing friendships, quarrels and such, and adding so many episodes that in the process, not only was there a ton of merchandising but the character was popular enough to get fans or parents to purchase the merchandise for their daughters.

In America, fans were purchasing soundtracks and video games for the 3DO and the original PSX back in the ’90s and every year since Sailor Moon appeared in Japan, conventions have always had someone sporting an outfit from the series.  It was a popular series and eventually, “Sailor Moon” was released in America.  So popular that even American band Barenaked Ladies featured the mention of “Sailor Moon” in their 1998 hit song “One Week”.

So, “Sailor Moon Crystal” as an ONA (Original Net Animation) versus being shown on television would seem like a big surprise but there was no doubt that Toei Animation was already banking on the series popularity that people would turn into the series online and for the most part, their gamble paid off as people were watching, people responded (especially about the animation in the first arc) and while opinion was mixed, “Sailor Moon” merchandise not just for children but also for adults have become popular in Japan.

But with “Sailor Moon Crystal”, no filler, it’s a series straight-up trying to complete various arcs within 12-14 episodes.  No long seasons and as I grow less patient with anime filler episodes, so thrilled that “Sailor Moon Crystal” arcs manages to achieve completion quickly and not test my or others who are low on patience.

And here we are with the “Black Moon Arc”, the second series featuring episodes 15-26.  Now featuring better character designs and animation, the storyline now introduces Chibi-Usa, as well as an appearance of Sailor Pluto.

While there are not too much of an emphasis on the other Sailor Senshi, there are a few episodes where we get to see each character put up a fight against the servants of Black Moon.

This latest arc primarily focuses on Chibi-Usa and the connection she has with Usagi and Mamoru and how she entered the present-time and left the future and what had happen to everyone, but also the origins of the Black Moon.

There is no doubt an emphasis on emotional drama especially between Usagi and Mamoru but also the two and their relationship with Chibi-Usa but this latest features a focus on the emotional ties that bond these three forever.

As for the Blu-ray release, animation is no doubt better with better shading and detail, while colors are vibrant and the series looks great in HD, part of the benefit with watching this series on Blu-ray is to find out how wonderful the acting is for both the Japanese and English dub.

It was awesome to have Kotono Mitsuishi return to voice Usagi/Sailor Moon for the Japanese dialogue and the Japanese voice acting by everyone else is great.  But with the English dub, I just felt that Stephanie Sheh did an amazing job as Usagi.  Both voice actresses were able to nail the emotional scenes with efficacy and also big kudos to Sandy Fox as Chibi-Usa.

Also on the Blu-ray release, the included interview with Momoiro Clover Z was also fantastic and it was great to see them discuss Sailor Moon and their opinion of the characters and hearing about their favorite character in the series.

Overall, “Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2” features the entire “Black Moon Arc” and features a great balance of humor, drama and action.  The voice acting in Japanese and the English dub was superb and the animation is much better.

Entertaining and quite enjoyable, if you are a fan of Sailor Moon and friends, “Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2” is definitely recommended!

 

VIZ MEDIA HOSTS SAILOR MOON MOONLIGHT PARTY V TO CELEBRATE THE ENGLISH DUB PREMIERE OF SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL

November 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Join VIZ Media For A Special Virtual Live Stream Party To Mark The English Dub Premiere Of SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL With Live Commentary, A Real Time Q&A And Trivia Prizes!

VIZ Media sends a call out to all U.S.-based anime fans and SAILOR MOON aficionados to join the company as it stages a special virtual Moonlight Party to mark the English dub premiere of SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL on its anime streaming platform on VIZ.com.

The SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL Moonlight Party will take place on Friday, November 20th, beginning at 6:00pm PST on VIZ Media’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlIgAQpSK-Y. The interactive live-stream event will complement the VIZ Media/Hulu streams that evening of SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL Episodes 1 and 2.

Based on Naoko Takeuchi’s legendary manga series, the SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL (rated ‘TV-PG’) anime saga, retells the story of Sailor Moon as she searches for her fellow Sailor Guardians and the Legendary Silver Crystal to stop the dark forces of Queen Beryl. VIZ Media has given the 26-episode sci-fi action series a fresh English dialogue track featuring a cast of some of the most talented anime voice actors in the business.

In SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL Episode 1: Act 1, “Usagi – Sailor Moon,” Usagi Tsukino is a bit of a klutz and a crybaby in the 8th grade, and Luna, a black cat with a crescent moon on her forehead, gives Usagi a miracle brooch. In Episode 2: Act 2, “Ami – Sailor Mercury,” through an unexpected turn of events, Usagi becomes close with Ami Mizuno, a genius girl with an IQ of 300. But there’s something odd about the students at Ami’s seminar…

As the episodes stream on VIZ.com/Hulu, fans are invited to submit their SAILOR MOON questions via the official VIZ Media Facebook page, and Twitter by using the special hashtag, #MoonlightParty for a real-time Q&A with VIZ Media staff that will run throughout the event. Viewers also can join in a fun SAILOR MOON trivia contest for a chance to win a variety of SAILOR MOON home media box sets, special autographed items and other premiums and collectibles from Japan.

Season 1 of the original SAILOR MOON series, as well as the first-half of Season 2, are available now from VIZ Media on home video as Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs and Standard Edition DVD sets. Fans can catch all 26 subtitled episodes of SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL on Hulu and VIZ.com.

For more information on SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL, please visit www.VIZ.com or Hulu.com/sailor-moon-crystal.

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES EXCITING NEW SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL ANIME EPISODES ON NEON ALLEY

January 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Thrilling Conclusion Of The Dark Kingdom Story Arc And The Launch Of The Black Moon Arc In Brand New Episodes Available For FREE On Neon Alley!

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VIZ Media delivers exciting news to anime fans and followers of the SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL anime series as it begins 2015 with the final episode (subtitled) of the Dark Kingdom story arc. Beginning on January 3rd on the Neon Alley streaming platform, the Sailor Guardians head into their epic showdown with Queen Beryl in Act. 13: REINCARNATION.

The SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL thrills continue with the premiere of the new Black Moon story arc on January 17th with Act. 14: CONCLUSION AND COMMENCEMENT – PETITE ÉTRANGERE. Catch new Black Moon episodes into next month with the simulcast premiere of Act. 15: INFILTRATION – SAILOR MARS on February 7th. The Black Moon arc follows the Sailor Guardians as they are reawakened with stronger powers as an enemy force comes from the past to destroy Usagi and her friends’ future. New Sailor Guardians also appear to help Sailor Moon face her toughest foe yet.

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL reboots the beloved shojo fantasy action property and VIZ Media debuts new subtitled episodes simultaneously in North America at the same time as their online streaming premiere in Japan.

Brand new episodes launch in the U.S. and Japan the first and third Saturday of each month. SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL is available in the U.S. on NeonAlley.com, VIZ Media’s consolidated online destination for FREE streaming anime content. Episodes also are available to stream on Hulu. For more information, please visit http://www.viz.com/anime/streaming/sailor-moon-crystal and Hulu.com/sailor-moon-crystal.

Based on Naoko Takeuchi’s legendary manga (graphic novel) series, SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL (rated ‘TV-PG’), retells the story of Sailor Moon as she searches for her fellow Sailor Guardians and the Legendary Silver Crystal to stop the dark forces of Queen Beryl.

The original smash hit SAILOR MOON anime series was inspired by the bestselling manga series created by Naoko Takeuchi (published in North America by Kodansha). In the series, Usagi Tsukino is a clumsy but kindhearted teenage girl who transforms into the powerful guardian of love and justice, Sailor Moon. Meeting allies along the way who share similar fates, Usagi and her team of planetary Sailor Guardians fight to protect the universe from forces of evil and total annihilation!

Additional information on Neon Alley is available at: www.NeonAlley.com.

For more information on SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL, or other award-winning anime titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

VIZ MEDIA PREMIERES ANTICIPATED SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL ANIME SERIES ON NEON ALLEY AND HULU ON JULY 5TH

June 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

North America’s Leading Anime Distributor Launches Reboot Of The Famed Fantasy Action Series; Free Streaming Episodes Premiere At The Same Time As Japanese Debut!

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San Francisco, CA, June 19, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, delivers the much-anticipated launch of the new SAILOR MOON anime series – SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL – on July 5th on Hulu and Neon Alley. The series, which reboots the beloved shojo fantasy action property, debuts simultaneously in North America at the same time as its online streaming premiere in Japan, making a true simultaneous release. Future new episodes (subtitled) will debut in North America and Japan the first and third Saturday of each month.

Based on Naoko Takeuchi’s legendary manga (graphic novel) series, SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL (rated ‘TV-PG’), retells the story of Sailor Moon as she searches for her fellow Sailor Guardians and the Legendary Silver Crystal to stop the dark forces of Queen Beryl. Visit www.NeonAlley.com and Hulu.com/sailor-moon-crystal for more information; the trailer may also be viewed at http://www.hulu.com/watch/651047 and http://youtu.be/I0B5gnKvHKQ.

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL will be available through NeonAlley.com, VIZ Media’s consolidated online destination for FREE streaming anime content in the U.S. Episodes will also be available on the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus subscription service, where users can watch on a variety of devices including Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation®3 (PS3®) or PlayStation®4 (PS4™) systems Roku, Chromecast, and mobile devices. A full list of Hulu and Hulu Plus-enabled devices can be found at http://www.hulu.com/plus/devices.

“Fans everywhere have eagerly awaited the launch of the new SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL series, and we are very excited to announce its premiere on Neon Alley and Hulu starting next month,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “More than two decades after it first captivated millions of fans, the smash hit story of the valiant sailor guardians returns in a big way to thrill a whole new generation of viewers. Join in the celebration throughout the summer as VIZ Media marks the return of this legendary anime property!”

The original smash hit SAILOR MOON anime series was inspired by the bestselling manga (graphic novel) series created by Naoko Takeuchi (published in North America by Kodansha). In the series, Usagi Tsukino is a clumsy but kindhearted teenage girl who transforms into the powerful guardian of love and justice, Sailor Moon. Meeting allies along the way who share similar fates, Usagi and her team of planetary Sailor Guardians fight to protect the universe from forces of evil and total annihilation!

Additional information on Neon Alley is available at: www.NeonAlley.com.

For more information on SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL, or other award-winning anime titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan. Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages. VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products. Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

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