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Sailor Moon Sailor StarS Part 2 Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read
It was the end of an era...

It was the end of an era…

What They Say:
Setsuna comes to take baby Hotaru from Professor Tomoe. Meanwhile, as Chibiusa prepares to go back to the future, a mysterious presence frees Nehelenia, who learns of Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon’s survival as she sends glass shards from her broken mirror to Earth. One of the broken shards falls in Mamoru’s eye, while the disturbance interferes with Chibiusa’s attempts to go back to the future. Meanwhile, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus fight glass monsters that appear from the glass shards. Sailor Pluto arrives with baby Hotaru, who gives Uranus, Neptune and Pluto the power to transform into their newly evolved and strengthened Super Sailor forms, just like the rest. After the battle, Hotaru suddenly starts growing up and gives a warning of a revolution that will put the Moon Princess in danger.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series is pretty good considering the age and elements as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo along with a newly created English language dub, also in stereo. The original elements come across cleaner than I thought they would as there are no real problems to be had with it such as hiss or background noise creeping into it. The show has a fairly simple forward soundstage mix that’s representative of its time and it definitely captures things well with the lossless DTS-HD MA codec that’s used. There’s not a lot in the way of strong directionality, but it hits the right notes that match the material. The new English language mix comes across louder as one would expect in general due to it being newer and mixed in cleaner and sharper ways and there’s a touch more directionality to it overall, but not a significant amount. Both tracks are pretty good and the end result is one that will generally please and leave fans happy.

Video:
Originally airing in 1997 and 1997, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio in 1080p using the AVC codec. The episodes of this set, 184-200, are spread across three discs that give it enough room to work with. Produced by Toei Animation, the release largely looks like the previous one in terms of color saturation and the solidity of detail to it. The pink characters are definitely still a thing, and it feels a bit stronger this time around, but the whole thing is pretty much baked into every release we’ve had for the last couple of years. The colors are nicely defined and solid throughout with no problems such as breakup or noise amid it all. The high motion sequences, especially the transformations, look great with a clean look to them that doesn’t suffer from macroblocking or any other issues, resulting in some very appealing sequences. The show is certainly the best it’s looked in North American release and is well spread across the three discs.

Packaging:
The packaging design for this release is similar to what we’ve gotten in the past which means I like it a lot and the general consistency is welcome. The set comes with an o-card that replicates the case artwork but with the metallic touches that definitely boosts its in terms of catching your eye while the cardstock quality just represents the colors better. The final cover is one that gives us a big cast of characters and it looks great here with a whole lot to like as they fill the bottom half as Usagi leads it up through to the logo along the top. The back cover is fairly standard to past releases with a little cute character artwork to the right while the left has the summary and a few shots mixed in with what extras are available with this set. The case artwork is identical with the difference being artwork on the reverse side which does a nice inner/outer split that puts Usagi in the middle of it all. No show related inserts are included with this release. As it’s the last of the run, I have to say that generally speaking, all of these sets look great together and I’m very pleased by the consistency over so many years.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is really nice and shows a lot of love and attention given to it rather than just duplicating things easily and moving on. The overall structure of each disc in the set is the same where we get an array of clips from the show playing out as pieces move across the screen and we get the same tiara-type navigation strip along the bottom that has a lot of clear space throughout it that makes it look great during playback as a pop-up menu. The logo resides brightly at the top center which gives it a lot of shine. Each disc works its own color hue pattern aligned with the Scouts themselves and it also has its own music piece associated with it, which is delightful and will certainly inspire some to haul out their music again and reconnect with it. Navigation itself is a breeze and while I dislike that the language tracks are locked from changing on the fly, you can change it through the pop-up menu during playback and easily check differences in the tracks.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty good as we get some familiar material and some new interviews. The individual interviews are solid with what they present as Carrie Keranen gets one as does Robbie Daymond while Suzanne Goldish as the ADR director gets another. There’s also a piece with the Sailor Animanates that breaks out these three characters for their own piece while the Sailor Starlights get the same. There’s variation to a lot of them but most seem on average to run about ten minutes or so which provides for some good Q&A time for not just the fans but for the actor to talk about things. In addition to that, we get the clean opening and closing as well as an art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sailor Moon draws to a close with this season and while there are a lot of things to like throughout this season, you can certainly feel the tired aspect of it as well for all involved. These episodes landed in the fall of 1996 and wrapped up in early February 1997, so it’s hard to believe that it’s been so long since they came out. The show has managed to find ways to reinvent itself along the way so that most of each of the new seasons felt distinct and they could still keep the cast fairly young overall while also nudging them up just a little bit. But like any long-running series you just run into this place where unless you’re willing (or able) to reinvent it entirely, you just have to let it go. Sailor Stars has some good material to it but at the same time, it’s the season where you do admit that it is time to let it go.

As is the case like most seasons, a lot of what we do get here until toward the end is fairly episodic. And that’s going to be hit or miss because fans of the Sailor Stars season will have ones that stand out for them because of certain characters that appear. Any episode with Chibi Chibi just left me feeling a little hollow inside and I’ll admit that that’s probably a bit strong considering how many episodes she does appear in. But there are some fun ones that work here as well. Well, fun not being the operative word for those involved. One of the early episodes involved a young woman who’s being treated at the hospital where Ami’s mother works and the underused aspect of the parents just makes me frustrated yet glad to see them at all even in brief. The focus on Misa here with an incurable illness is interesting in that we get a Phage actually performing it and doing so successfully, making their role a bit less certain for the girls that were already struggling with them.

The use of the Three Lights group comes up pretty regularly as their time just being themselves opens all kinds of doors. We even get that utilized on the school side when Usagi gets caught up in it and there’s an amusing softball game that gets underway where the stakes raise up quickly. I tend to like these types of episodes because it takes something so mundane and familiar, such as some teenage girlish jealousy, and elevates it to a life-threatening issue and runs with it from there. But even stuff like this has its usefulness as with Usagi’s transformation amid the game it makes clear to those opposing her that she’s got the true Star Seed within her, and that helps to shift their focus and narrative going forward as they’ve narrowed down their target list significantly.

Fans of the Outer Guardians will enjoy the time that we get with them as they find themselves involved in events here, especially the wonderful moment where they reveal who they are to each other. It’s always fun because of the surprise even though the whole thing is so incredibly obvious in that oblivious kind of way. But the results deliver and this lets the two sides figure out more of how to deal with events going forward, especially as more and more people are being turned into Phages and the concern is growing. And as those events happen and the realization of things wrapping up soon comes to the forefront, I really liked how the Three Lights group handle things with their princess known in that they announce a final concert and disbandment. It’s like, once they found what they were looking for they were content to move forward, which makes the whole music side just feel a bit weak.

All events lead toward that final battle, however, as they discover of what happened to Mamoru’s Star Seed is dealt with. Galaxia’s involvement once again puts everyone into fighting mode and it all follows traditional paths from there. I really like Galaxia as she feels different enough from past major opponents that the series has thrown at us, both in design and personality. There’s the obvious difference in scaling up her power to be the most powerful of all, which is always a problem in series like this that continually up the ante, but I think her final episodes here are ones where it pays off more than it likely would have otherwise. The original season and the dealing with the opponent there was always my favorite in general because it felt so straightforward and honest in a way, but Sailor Galaxia and what she presents makes for a compelling final few episodes as everyone works and sacrifices together to deal with the threat.

In Summary:
While I’ve come to prefer the modern era remake more than the original because of its tighter storylines, and having not seen it repeatedly like I had with releases of the original, the original run will always hold a lot of specialness to it. This set brings the whole thing to a conclusion at long last, twenty-plus years later than it should have. Fans have longed to have well-done releases like this with an accurate dub so that it can be enjoyed by all, young and old alike. This property was a real gateway show for my own daughter who is out there buying up manga and figures as an adult now and I cannot express how much it delights me in seeing her giddy with every new Blu-ray release. While there may be quirks or issues that frustrate fans, the core of it is that the show hits that sweet spot and most people are excited to finally have it all in their hands. And Viz definitely earns some major kudos for that.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Art Gallery, Trailers, and Opening and Ending Songs

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: November 12th, 2019
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 408 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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