Sailor Moon-Volume 8: The Doom Tree Strikes (1995)

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Released 15-Jan-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 130:55 (Case: 135)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:27) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Junichi Sato
Studio
Distributor
Toei Animation
Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Bob Summers
Michael Benghiat


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

This is Volume 8 of Sailor Moon on DVD. Newcomers to the Sailor Moon series should definitely start with my review of Sailor Moon Volume 1: A Heroine is Chosen.

Skip to the discussion of the transfer if you haven't watched the first seven volumes I'll be trying not to give anything away, but even episode titles can be a bit of a spoiler. Six episodes per disc is good much better than the four, or three, (or even sometimes two!) you get with other series.

The episodes on this disc are:

  1. A Knight to Remember - with Darian's memory lost, Tuxedo Mask can't rescue the Scouts, so who is the masked man in white?
  2. VR Madness - Serena, her father, her brother, Darian, Alan, and Anne, are inside a VR game when a Cardian attacks
  3. Cherry Blossom Time - something of a time-out, as everyone has a picnic to celebrate the cherry blossom, but an attack by a Cardian interrupts everything
  4. Kindergarten Chaos - a Cardian is draining energy from kindergarten children; Mina makes friends with a small girl
  5. Much Ado About Babysitting - Serena and Darian with a baby? And them not even married yet...
  6. Raye's Day in the Spotlight - Raye/Rei takes over a concert at her school, organising everything, and even writing the songs and music

This volume is The Doom Tree Strikes, following on from the last two episodes of Volume Seven, with Alan and Anne trying to steal energy from people to feed the Doom Tree (sense of deja vu, anyone?). Things are made more complicated by Anne's attraction to Darian, and Alan's attraction to Serena. Alan and Anne are playing brother and sister on Earth, but their relationship seems much more complicated than that.

Rei's magic skills seem to be increasing. She finds out information for the Scouts using a fire for divination. She is also using that Japanese form of magic that involves slips of paper printed with Kanji (seen in a variety of Japanese films and anime).

The Scouts' existing attacks seem a bit inadequate against the Cardian monsters that Alan summons from cards using his flute (echoes of Pokemon mixed with Cardcaptors) each episode he summons a new Cardian. Combination attacks (two Scouts at a time, with interleaved invocations) are a bit more effective, but they need more. The later episodes show the Scouts acquiring new attacks (really rather pretty, some of them) each of the Scouts acquires her new attack under extreme circumstances. Serena also suffers a crisis of motivation does she really want to be Sailor Moon? Her new transformation sequence is complete with feathers are they implying she's an angel?

There are some new songs. In A Knight to Remember, Lita tells the story of her relationship with Ken, Rainy Day Man is being sung in the background. In Raye's Day in the Spotlight, Rei sings both Call My Name (well, the start of it) and Starry Night. All three of these are decent songs, sung nicely.

The Moonlight Knight (in Arabian knight garb) is protecting the Scouts in the way that Tuxedo Mask used to, but he throws white roses instead of red. Is he Darian? Evidence to the contrary appears, but it's an interesting puzzle. The other big (on-going) puzzle is why no one recognises the Scouts out of uniform, but at least it's symmetric no one recognises Anne or Alan out of uniform, either.

The moral at the end of every episode is a bit more clearly defined, and they address a wide variety of subjects: knowing what to do in an emergency, there's more to life than video games, mot taking friends for granted, setting a good example for younger kids, being patient with babies, and encouraging shy people.

One thing I haven't noticed before is a piece of slang the girls use on occasion: they talk of having to "book it" when they mean having to leave, or get going.

This is another worthwhile Sailor Moon disc. Although they are self-contained, the long-term story arc advances a bit with each episode. Good stuff.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. That's the original aspect ratio, as is appropriate for a TV series that was made in Japan in 1992 (the 1995 copyright is for the English adaptation).

This disc plays all the episodes in sequence. You can select an episode from the menu, but it will play from there to the end of the disc. All the timestamps mentioned in this section are cumulative from the start.

The picture is rather soft, but is mostly fairly clear. Shadow detail is irrelevant to anime. There's no significant grain and no low level noise.

Colour is vivid and bright, with some subtle colours. There are no colour-related artefacts.

There are continual tiny film artefacts, but they are not a problem. There are few larger ones: the white splotch at 24:30, the minor watermark at 31:48, the yellow smudge at 50:46, and the hairs at 72:24 and 115:29.

There's quite a bit of telecine wobble, unfortunately, but it's fairly minor most of the time. There are minutes of wobble starting around 8:35. At 77:55 the telecine jiggle causes some nasty aliasing (compound artefacting yuck!). The bouncing at 98:30 is a bit irritating.

There's a lot of minor aliasing, with dot crawl on many of the black lines outlining the characters, but no moire and no shimmer.

The breaks where commercials were inserted are over-long, typically running to 3 seconds of black screen they are normally edited down to much shorter than this.

There are some brief (one-frame) MPEG coding errors: at 78:26, 78:37, and 78:39.

However, despite all these artefacts, the disc is quite watchable.

There are no subtitles I wish there were, so I could get the correct spelling of all of the names.

The disc is single sided and RSDL-formatted; the layer change is at 65:27, between episodes 45 and 46 exactly where it should be.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

On offer on this DVD is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, not surround encoded. It sounds mono. The only audio artefact on this disc is some distortion at 127:30.

The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. There are no obvious mismatches between dialogue and mouth motion.

The English title music is credited to Bob Summers. The songs are: Rainy Day Man by Michael Benghiat and Lois Blaisch, Call My Name by Michael Benghiat, John Author, and Sandy Howell, and Starry Night by Michael Benghiat and John Author.

Your surrounds and subwoofer get a rest with this soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

The menu is lightly animated (a moving background behind a picture of the five Sailor Scouts) with music. It offers a choice of which episode to start at, but when you select an episode it starts playing there and continues through the remaining episodes. There's a hidden entry on the menu, but it just leads to a still shot of the DVD Credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The R1 and R4 versions of this disc offer the same features. Nothing to pick between them, really, except that ours is PAL, and theirs is NTSC. Even the package artwork is the same.

Summary

Six episodes of the Doom Tree plot arc. Perhaps the poorest quality transfer to DVD of the entire Sailor Moon series, unfortunately, but still quite watchable.

The video quality is poor, but it gets the job done.

The audio quality is adequate.

There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, January 23, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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