March 2019, Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2, Feature image

Review: Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 (Blu-Ray)

90s Sailor Moon excite continues with the release of Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 to Blu-Ray, officially catching up to the previous R1 releases of this magic girl classic.

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 continues the usual monster of the week formula from its predecessors with the Amazon Trio being reasonably useless at their job, which, if we’re being honest, was starting to come off a little tired by this point. Thankfully the story takes a swift pivot before the first disc was done to introduce the Amazon Quartet to walk the Sailor Senshi through the remainder of the series. Over the course of the discs we learn more about Pegasus and his world, as well as the driving forces behind the Dead Moon Circus. In true Sailor Moon style, we’re also treated to a great multi-part finale that mixes things up a little to get everyone ready for the final series of 90s Sailor Moon, Sailor Stars.

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Coming off the first half of this series, my feelings were a little mixed – Sailor Moon S was a tremendous ride and the focus for Sailor Moon SuperS on Chibi-Usa and Usagi as the core rather than spending more time with a wider cast made it feel a little less dynamic by comparison. Back in the late-90s when I first started watched the VKLL release I didn’t mind the change of pace, and it really wasn’t until we hit the second disc in this set that I got that feeling back. Granted I’ve watched SuperS more times than I can count so the novelty of its newness has worn off, but I thought it interesting that it took me a while before getting back into the groove, and that once it hit, that same crazy mahou shoujo warmth made it an awesome ride through to the finish.

There are some really solid episodes in Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2. Similar to the first set, the stand-out ones are where they focus a bit more time on the slice of life stuff. Ami’s foray into collaborating on an online message board with some musicians was a sweet episode that doubled as an interesting snapshot into how the internet was being thought about in 1995/1996, while the episode where everyone tries to guess Chibi-Usa’s secret crush pushed hard on all the comedic elements that make 90s Sailor Moon so much fun. Towards the tail end of the series before the final saga there’s some super cute episodes focus on Chibi-Usa flying around with Pegasus while the multi-part finale threw in a few interesting twists to keep it engaging. The big surprise was the concluding episodes of the Amazon Trio arc – it’s been a few years since last watching SuperS, but they did a great job redeeming what felt like a bit of an aimless (though often entertaining) series of monster of the week episodes.

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So objectively it’s arguably a bit up and down as far as the longform narrative goes, but Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 is a stronger performer than the first collection and finishes really strongly.

For Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2, we once again have the impressive standard def upscaled Japanese masters powering this collection. This means we don’t have all the benefits of a native HD scan of the 16mm masters, but by Toei sourcing the best quality telecine available and applying some good upscaling algorithms we’re presented something that definitely goes beyond the previous DVD releases. Colour and line detail seemed surprisingly strong for this release compared to previous releases, though this may be more reflective of improved budget, the team’s experience and the masters being in better condition compared to previous seasons (a recurring theme I’ve commented on when reviewing Sailor Moon R and Sailor Moon S). The Japanese language track sounds great and there’s the new Viz dub created for this uncut release on there as well if you’re so inclined – given how much talent of this era is in the Japanese release though, it’s really worth a listen if you don’t normally watch your anime in Japanese.

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Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 does a great job closing out this arc of the story. As the last of Ikuhara’s run on the series and the final season to ever be officially licensed outside Japan, it is awesome to be able to revisit and watch this series. While there are a few bumps on the way, this set delivers a great conclusion to this arc and sets everything up for the final season, Sailor Stars. In this sense it’s been great to tread back down and reflect just how far we’ve come from the days where there was no prospect of closing out this iconic series, and now we’re on the cusp of diving into Sailor Stars on Blu-Ray with the masters fresh from the Japanese release. It’s a great time to be a Sailor Moon fan!

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A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.