Sailor Moon's time on the big screen can be somewhat questionable. Where Sailor Moon R: The Movie had its weird moments, Sailor Moon S: The Movie felt too rushed. Whatever the issues those two films had, they're practically non-existent in the final movie adaptation of the famous anime characters: Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie.
Taking inspiration from the fairy tale The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie has an evil group of flutists hypnotizing children onto a floating ship. As Chibiusa is taken in by the melody, the rest of the Sailor Senshi rush to keep her and the rest of the children from boarding the ominous boat. With the aid of a young flutist named Perle, the Sailor Senshi discover the true intention of the mysterious ships: to take the children away, lock them in Dream Coffins, and use their energy to power up a black hole to overtake the Earth.
The film, using a script by Yōji Enokido (FLCL, Ouran High School Host Club), feels more intact with what a Sailor Moon episode would deliver. Its villain, Queen Badiane, is better aligned with a monster-of-the-week character than a legit antagonist seen in the main series. She has no hidden reason for what she wants to do; she's evil, and wants to do bad for those in the light. Thankfully, her wicked personality and treatment of the kids and Chibiusa make her one of the better movie villains out of the three. And as always, Sailor Moon and the gang are there ready to deliver a love-filled beating.
It's because the film isn't pushing something serious into the faces of its viewers that it holds up much better than the other two. In general, Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie is more about having fun than delivering a serious message. Even when Sailor Neptune arrives to spout a moral about the importance of growing up, it's made with a comment that causes her beloved Sailor Uranus to lose her cool composure. The humor is also pushed out more into the forefront, with Usagi and Chibiusa bickering over baked goods and Sailor Moon almost breaking her teeth on a jungle gym ring. (Its opening credits, which depict the main Sailor Guardians as kids, also delivers a lot of laughs, especially when watching Rei attempt to take a nice picture in her kimono.)
Animation-wise, there seemed to be more in the budget this time around than in past film incarnations. Besides the transformation sequences, every powerful attack is fully animated uniquely each time, and the character movement is swifter than its TV version. Remastered onto Blu-Ray, the visuals look more bright and beautiful than they ever have been seen outside of Japan. Though there is signs here and there of an older animation style, what is presented is just as clear gorgeous as any modern anime film.
For the first time in the States, viewers can also watch the short film that was placed before the film: Ami's First Love. The short places Ami in school entrance exam mode, with her discovering a study rival with a name similar to her Mercury one. Through this, she experiences first love jitters and a monster battle that has her taking care of the problem without the aid of the others. It puts Ami in a much different light than the TV or manga ever did, using her studying aspect as comedic fodder towards both a new powerful attack and an overall funny punchline.
Blu-Ray Bonuses also include the original art work made to both create the film and promote it, with designs evolving into the movie-original characters that came to be. VIZ Media also showcases three fun interviews with three of the cast members: Sandy Fox (Chibiusa), Kate Higgins (Ami), and Tara Sands (Queen Badiane). The Q&A aspect dives into how the cast became familiar with Sailor Moon, as well as placing them into what-if scenarios regarding the film's plotline and relatable character aspects.
Out of all of its theatrical adaptations, Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie stands as the best of the three. With its memorable script, better animation, and a fun bonus short to boot, this big-screen adventure with the Sailor Guardians shines in all of the right places. It's neither too bitter nor too sweet; it simply has the right amount of flavoring to deliver one delicious treat.
Promotional consideration provided by Erik Jansen of MediaLab PR