Sailor Moon R: The Movie review

Credit: Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation

By Nicole Harmony

As the first of the Sailor Moon standalone movie, Sailor Moon R: The Movie explores the lonely and mysterious past of Mamoru Chiba aka Tuxedo Mask (Robbie Daymond). As the accident that killed his parents left Mamoru alone as a child in the hospital, he befriends an equally lonely alien boy, Fiore (Benjamin Diskin), who is unable to stay on Earth for too long. Sadden by the fact, Mamoru hands him a beautiful red rose. Fiore leaves with a promise to bring Mamoru a flower equally as beautiful as the one Mamoru gives him. Unfortunately for Mamoru, Usagi, and friends, Fiore finds an evil demon flower to give Mamoru, putting the lives of the Scouts and Earth in danger. It’s up to Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, and her Sailor Scouts to find a way to stop Fiore, save the Earth, and make room for romance and friendship.

Originally released in 1993 in 35 mm printed format and then later in 2000 by Pioneer on DVD and VHS, The current re-release remastered of Sailor Moon R the Movie has been very well formatted to fit today’s viewing standards. Aside from a few over-exaggerated frames that are almost unnoticeable, VIZ Media did an excellent job creating a version of this 1993 classic that is beautiful to watch on the big screen yet manages to preserve the classic animation style of the Sailor Moon that we love so much. However, what makes the new re-release of Sailor Moon R the Movie all the more special is the subtle changes and update in the dialogues that gives every character a much more authentic growth.

Credit: Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation

As we all know being a teenager is not easy. Everything always seems like it’s the end of the world, and while in the case of teenage superheroes, the world ending is an actual possibly. This new 2017 re-release puts more focus on the teenage drama, such as the idea that someone can come between you and your love, loneliness because you feel different than everyone else, and the uncertainty that you might not be good enough. The new dialogue gives much more weight to the idea of subtle growth, and that trust in yourself takes time and encouragement from yourself and those around you.  

The wonderful voice acting done by Stephanie Steph highlights that Usagi, aka Sailor Moon, is like all other teenage girls. She’s still trying to figure out who she is and the best way to navigate the relationships around her, compared to the previous portrayal which tends to jump from an imperfect Usagi to a regal princess/superhero who can easily get her act together. In the 2017 re-release, we get a more honest and authentic growth from  Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, and her Sailor Scouts.

Credit: Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation

We even see a more balanced relationship between Mamoru and Usagi compared to the original re-release that often has Usagi pining over an aloof Mamoru in a puppy dog manner. In the previous re-release English Dub, we have a voice over that has Usagi promising to herself that she will always be part of the Mamoru family. However in this version that voice over is removed during reminiscing, leaving us with a memory of Mamoru voicing that he is happy that he found a family in Usagi and their friends. Removing that one line was subtle enough to show that both Usagi and Mamoru are committed to their relationship.

It’s hard to believe that Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon R: The Movie was released in theater over 24 years ago. Within that time a lot has changed, while a lot remained the same. The newly remastered Sailor Moon R: The Movie with a new voice cast manages to capture the old essence of the Sailor Moon story while creating a new dialogue that is updated for the modern day. It is a wonderful trip down nostalgia lane that should not be missed.

Credit: Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation

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