[Five] The Sailor Moon S movie is pretty bad but it still means a lot to me

At least we’ll always have Mamoru’s comical, “Merry christmas! And a…happy new year!” line. The Sailor Moon S movie really is a holiday classic.

There’s a general consensus on which Sailor Moon movies are the best and Kunihiko Ikuhara’s Sailor Moon R movie always takes the top spot. The Sailor Moon SuperS movie is the one that everyone forgets exists (the only thing I remember about it is that there’s something called a “black dream hole”), and the Sailor Moon S movie is the mediocre one. It’s the one that people watch because the R movie and the S season are both so good — and directed by Ikuhara so their quality is not a coincidence — only to come away mildly disappointed.

I was recently talking to a friend who is making his way through the entirety of Sailor Moon. He was very confused when I said that the Sailor Moon S movie was my favorite of the auxiliary Sailor Moon movies, especially after he watched it. The isolated ice princess storyline didn’t match up with Luna’s romance plotline, he said. Furthermore, the romance plotline also didn’t make much sense given the fact that Luna is, well, a cat, and her love interest is a human man who once wanted to be an astronaut.

This is all true, the movie itself doesn’t make much sense, and also doesn’t fit well in the grand scheme of Sailor Moon S. It’s an excuse to see your favorite characters again, using a small manga side story. I won’t defend it’s plot, or even recommend it as a movie, but I will defend my love for it.

By the time I was in high school, I had watched the English-language dubbed version of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon R. This was my only Sailor Moon experience until Cartoon Network began to air the S and SuperS seasons. By the time that happened, I was savvy enough to know where to pick up SailorStars which I knew was never going to air on US television.

Prior to renting SailorStars on DVD and hiding it from my parents, I bought the VHS tape of the Sailor Moon S movie. I remember that I bought it at a now-defunct video store when I was at the mall with my friends and the cashier was not only ridiculously hot but also knew about Sailor Moon. The movie was only available in VHS and not DVD but fortunately my parents were behind the times (and still have their VHS player to this day) and it was the only Sailor Moon thing I could afford. This movie became my first window into uncut and unedited anime, which I later sought out with SailorStars. Some of my favorite parts were the outer sailor scouts’ transformation sequences, which I had yet to see in the dubbed S season at the time I bought this movie. I was a fairly sickly child and caught pneumonia frequently. When I was stuck at home and ill, I would dig out this movie and watch it over and over again. Everything about it from the outer scouts to the new attacks to the winter fashion seemed amazing to me at the time.

None of this makes it a good movie, but all of it makes it my favorite. Every year I find myself returning to some part of the Sailor Moon universe, and this year was no exception. Rather than returning to my favorite season (SailorStars) or the best season (S) or the season I’ve only watched once in full and it was the English dub only (SuperS, which I never may watch in full ever) I returned to the most comforting piece of Sailor Moon media for me, and found that I still loved it even though it’s bad.



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