Sailor Moon-Volume 4: The Secret of the Sailor Scouts (1995)

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Released 18-Sep-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Easter Egg-creditless closing song
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 130:47 (Case: 135)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:08) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Junichi Sato
Studio
Distributor
Toei Animation
Madman Entertainment
Starring Terri Hawkes
Mary Long
Case Click
RPI $24.95 Music Bob Summers


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 No
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 the fourth volume of the first series of Sailor Moon. I'm not going over the basics of Sailor Moon again - I recommend you read my review of Sailor Moon Volume 1: a Heroine is Chosen first.

    The episodes on this disc are:

  1. Molly's Folly - Molly's crush on Maxfield Stanton (really Neflite) causes her to do something foolish
  2. A Friend in Wolf's Clothing - Neflite is torn between the Negaverse and Molly
  3. Jupiter Comes Thundering In - Sailor Jupiter joins the team, just as we learn of the threat of the rainbow crystals
  4. The Power of Friendship - we learn more about Darien and Tuxedo Mask
  5. Mercury's Mental Match - Amy finally gets some scholastic competition
  6. An Artful Attack - an artist is making insightful paintings of the Sailor Scouts, Serena, and others

    This volume is The Secret of the Sailor Scouts, but I don't think that's a good name for it. Yes, we learn a little more about the Sailor Scouts, Jupiter joins them, and the Crescent Moon Wand makes its first appearance, but there are still many mysteries remaining.

    The plots are developing nicely - now we learn that the energy collecting that Queen Beryl was so enthusiastic about is but one step along the way. The goals of her minions change during these episodes, and that's no bad thing (three volumes of "we're out to suck the energy from as many people as we can" are about all I could stand!).

    Sailor Jupiter is a welcome addition to the Sailor Scouts - she has some serious power. And her alter-ego makes a nice counter-point to the others - good to see her supporting Serena. I was amused to see that Jupiter's symbol looks like an ornate numeral "4" - they used a similar symbol in numbering this volume - interesting that we see this symbol first on volume 4.

    The conflict between Neflite and Zoocyte (and her backer, Malachite) is hotting up. And we see a bit more to Queen Beryl's character.

    I think they changed writers for these episodes, because the Sailor Scouts are saying something that doesn't mesh with their earlier pronouncements - they used to talk about justice before attacking a bad guy; now they say something like: "In the name of the Moon I'll punish you!" - that's rather more aggressive, and unlike the earlier episodes. Not a huge change, but I didn't like it.

    The morals are better in these episodes - they vary a lot; each is quite a good point, and most are relevant to the target audience. They include: "it's not right to spread gossip; telling the truth to your friends can be hard, but it's important", "it's easy to write people off, but even bad people can change - there's good and bad in all of us", "don't give in to peer pressure - be true to yourself first" (the last mentions drugs specifically). I doubt any parent is going to object to the sugar-coated morals presented.

    There's an Easter egg on this disc (a small one). It's not too hard to find, so I encourage you to try for yourself. If you give up: (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) go to the third or fourth episode in the menu, then press Left, which highlights the star at the top - press Enter.

    Sailor Moon is good fun, and something parents can enjoy with their children. Recommended.

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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 made in Japan in 1992 (the 1995 copyright is for the English adaptation).

    This disc is designed to play all the episodes in sequence, which is handy enough. You can select an episode from the menu, but it will play from there to the end of the disc.

    The picture is rather sharp and about as clear as this style of animation can get. Shadow detail is irrelevant to anime. There's no low level noise.

    Colour is clear and bright - the palette is not exclusively undiluted primary colours, and that's a good thing - Leta's skirt, for example, is light brown. There's no colour bleed or over-saturation.

    There are quite a few tiny film artefacts, but they are not distracting. There are a few larger ones: like the white spots at 20:22 and 58:09, the thread at 26:12, and the blotch at 71:30. There's occasional telecine wobble, which is unfortunate. There's not a lot of aliasing, which is good - this style of animation encourages aliasing. All up, these artefacts are not too bad.

    There are no subtitles.

    The disc is single sided, RSDL; the layer change is at 66:08, in the middle of the opening song to the fourth episode. It is dreadful, stalling the song for a moment and freezing the video - this is the first bad layer change on a Sailor Moon disc.

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

Audio

    There is only one soundtrack, in English Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded. In fact, it is mono. There are no audio artefacts on this disc.

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible. There are no obvious mismatches between dialogue and mouth motion.

    The English title music is credited to Bob Summers.

    You'll get nothing from your surrounds or subwoofer with this soundtrack.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is lightly animated (scrolling background) with music. It offers a choice of which episode to start at - when you select an episode it starts playing there, but it continues through the remaining episodes.

Easter Egg

    This is not a big thing - it is the closing song without credits overlaid - all of 0:40 in length. If the cost of getting this Easter Egg is having to put up with a poor quality layer change, then I don't think it is worthwhile.

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, but I gather that the R1 lacks the Easter Egg (not that it's a big thing).

Summary

    Six more episodes, with quite a bit of plot development. Not a fabulous DVD.

    The video quality is flawed, but adequate.

    The audio quality is fine.

    There is an Easter Egg on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
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

Other Reviews NONE
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"In the name of the moon I will punish you" -