Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: Sailor Moon - Dark Kingdom Arc (VIZ Dub)

(Oops, it has been pointed out to me that this is VIZ, not Funimation.  That's what I get for posting this so early in the morning.  Sorry it still shows on my Facebook link as Funimation, it won't change the title associated with the link, even though it's been corrected on this page.)

What's it about?

Usagi is a normal school girl who's biggest worry in the world is hiding her bad grades from her mother and when the next Sailor V video game will come out.  When she comes across a cat with a strange crescent shaped moon on her forehead, she learns that she is actually Sailor Moon, a guardian from the Moon Kingdom and tasked with several new challenges - the most important of which is to stop the Dark Kingdom from taking over the Earth, just as it tried to take over the Moon Kingdom so many years ago.

My review:

There's something magical about going back and watching a redub of an anime series you grew up with.  I remember watching Sailor Moon for the first time when it was shown on American TV and produced by DiC and had to wake up way too early for each episode.  Something about the series stuck with me, and while it wasn't my first anime, it had probably the biggest effect on my life, especially in the growth of my writing and imagination, even to this day.

When VIZ got a hold of the series and announced a redub and retranslation, giving the entire series a major facelift, I'll admit I was hesitant.  This series was close to my heart and while I admit there were issues with the original version I'd seen, it was still important to me, and it's so hard to watch something from your childhood be picked up and brushed off, because you're worried the memories will disappear with it.

Now that I've watched the entire first season (the Dark Kingdom arc) in the VIZ dub, I can happily say I'm impressed and seriously thankful they did this.  Having a new dub and a better translation added to the show and while I miss some of the original voices and that corny american soundtrack, it was replaced by something better and more true to form, that really made the series that much more impactful.  Now watching the new dub with my memories intact honestly almost makes it feel like the series grew up with me and matured just as I did over all these years.

That sounds seriously whistful and dreamy, I know, and maybe that fits the show.  But honestly it's how it is.

Of special note, I'm impressed with the voice cast brought on to the series.  Many of these voice actors I recognize from other shows and they were a welcome edition to this show, each lending just as much emotion to their characters as was needed.  The only voice that felt a little off to me was Johnny Yong Bosch as Artemis, but only because his voice is so recognizable to me.  After a couple episodes it blended in with the others and his performance lacked nothing, so it really didn't ruin the experience at all, just gave me a little pause.

I think what I love the most is the fact that after surviving with the DiC translation and reading about what I missed on the internet, I now have a chance to experience the series as a whole, without the edits and the cuts I was 'raised' on.  Zoisite has been returned to his correct gender, and the relationship between him and Kunzite (not Malachite) remained intact.  The relationship between Usagi and Rei felt more genuine rather then just annoying bickering.  And Minako was allowed to show her maturity with the restored Sailor V episodes that delved into her past - you really felt the weight of the fact that she'd been doing this for so much longer then the others.  Finally Luna's voice was returned to its youthful tone, rather then the older Angela Lansbury style - which showed that she's not really an all knowing teacher - instead she's learning just like the others about their past and struggling to fight this horrendous force that's been reawakened.  There's plenty of other things that were added back into the new dub, but those were the important ones that stood out to me and rounded out the whole experience.

I look forward to seeing the rest of the series released in the same manner and I look forward to revisiting some of my favorite characters and episodes.  It's weird, because in an age where everything is being rebooted and reskinned for the next generation, this new dub stands out as a faithful rerelease of the series I grew up with and loved so much.  If revivals like this keep happening, I'll happily be on board.

Watched on: 


Any cosplay?

Yep!  Just in time for this year of conventions, I've fixed up my partner's Neo Queen Serenity dress and she also has a Sailor Moon dress made from a wallscroll.  I would like to make a Queen Beryl cosplay for myself, I just haven't gotten the time yet.

Sailor Moon wallscroll dress (modeled by Brichibi Cosplays)

Neo Queen Serenity, based on the fanart below by AsieyBarbie (modeled by Brichibi Cosplays)

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