Sailor Moon R: The Movie Review

Posted February 9, 2017 by Panda Emily Jarrell in Movies

I can still remember being a child and eagerly renting Sailor Moon R: The Movie more times than I could reasonably count. My fervor for Sailor Moon would wane when I discovered the joy of Pokémon, but in the years between then and when I finally decided to watch all 200 episodes of Naoko Takeuchi’s 1992 hit magical girl anime in their original Japanese, I maintained a soft spot in my heart for the film, which gave viewers their first glimpse into the mysterious and tragic past of Sailor Moon’s rose-throwing destined moon lover, Tuxedo Mask.

This being the case, I was thoroughly ecstatic to hear that, along with their continued work dubbing all 200 episodes of the anime, Viz Media would also be dubbing the anime movies as well. Even better, this announcement came with the news that the first movie, Sailor Moon R, would be getting a limited theatrical release—I would get to see Sailor Moon, gloriously remastered in high definition, on the big screen!

Sailor Moon R: The Movie centers around Mamoru Chiba—Tuxedo Mask—and a mysterious figure from his past named Fiore. When Mamoru was very young, he lost his parents in a car crash that he managed to survive. He felt alone until he met Fiore, an alien boy who had found his way to Earth. Although they became fast and close friends, it came time for Fiore to go back to space. When he left, Mamoru gave him a red rose, and the kindness of this gift set Fiore on a course to find the perfect flower to bring back to Mamoru someday.

The movie begins with Fiore returning to Earth with the intention of making good on his promise, but the flower he found in space is actually an evil Xenian blossom. The Xenian has brainwashed Fiore into thinking he needs to conquer the Earth, ridding it of its human inhabitants and repopulating it with Xenian blossoms that will destroy the planet. Being inhabitants of the Earth, the sailor guardians and Tuxedo Mask don’t want this to happen. As usual, it’s up to Sailor Moon and her friends to save the world from evil, in the name of the moon and friendship and love and stuff.

The version of Sailor Moon R: The Movie I watched as a kid had been dubbed into English, but, like the original English-language version of the show, portions of the dialogue had been heavily edited. In addition to removing anything that might hint towards Sailor Moon taking place in Japan, edited English version of the film took out language that hinted at Fiore having romantic feelings towards Mamoru.

I’m not looking at the film through rainbow-colored glasses when I say this—Sailor Moon herself says they “didn’t seem like just friends,” Sailor Mercury says that “Mamoru seems to be popular with men,” Sailor Mars refers to them as having “had that kind of relationship,” and Sailor Venus says that “there’s a couple in that kind of a relationship at [her] school too.” The new, uncut English dub that was just released in theaters has kept all of this dialogue intact.

Having already bought the Blu Ray/DVD box sets for the first two seasons of Sailor Moon, I was familiar with the main cast of Viz’s English dub, which includes: Stephanie Sheh as Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon, Kate Higgins as Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury, Cristina Vee as Rei Hino/Sailor Mars, Amanda C. Miller as Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter, Cherami Leigh as Minako Aino/Sailor Venus, Sandy Fox as Chibiusa, and Robbie Daymond as Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask. Joining the cast for this movie as the voice of Fiore is Ben Diskin, who has previously provided the voice of Sailor Moon’s nerdy classmate, Gurio Umino. I’m quite the fan of this cast; despite just being an accurate translation of the series/film from Japanese to English, I feel like they do a good job embodying the personalities of each character, breathing new life into a beloved, classic series.

Being able to sit in a theater full of fellow Sailor Moon fans, who all laughed when things were funny and cheered when the day was saved, was an incredible and moving experience. But as much as this was for pre-existing fans of the franchise, I also would like to think that re-releasing Sailor Moon with a more authentic translation into English presents an opportunity to introduce a new generation to this series that so many people hold dear to their hearts.

If you liked Sailor Moon when you were a kid and want to check out what the new dub cast sounds like, the English language versions of seasons one and two can be found on Hulu, where you can also find all four seasons in Japanese with English subtitles.

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for this to have a home video release, slated for April of this year, so I can add it to my shrine collection.

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Panda Emily Jarrell