Sailor Moon R

TV series - 43 episodes

The Sailor Soldiers are back in an entertaining second series that doesnít quite manage live up to the first.

In two major arcs we first find some alien twins and their Doom Tree threatening Tokyo, so the sailor soldiers are called back into action, calling back the memories of the last year and donning their transformations once again. However, Mamoru seems to be having trouble with the whole situation. Then the Black Moon clan appears, rivals of the Earth of the future, and they have the upper hand over the idyllic Crystal Tokyo that Neo Queen Serenity presides over. In our time they are chasing the ĎRabbití, an annoyingly cute brat of a child who shares Usagiís name and hypnotises her way into her life. Together the sailor soldiers have to combat this enemy, find out why it is all happening and keep Chibi-Usa (as the girl is known) safe. And the mysterious Sailor Pluto makes her appearance as well.

If youíve seen the first season then youíll know what to expect. Warm and light hearted comedy, silly speeches and some real drama when the going gets tough. It never gets as harsh as the first season did though. Thatís understandable since they donít want to be recycling old material, but I do feel that the original benefited from the slightly brutal moments to show how needed the sailor soldiers are. The characters also donít get quite the same level of exploration as before. Ami is as shy and bookwormy as always and gets some good time to herself, but Makoto in particular doesn't get to show her tough side as often as she did. Keeping her more domestic is understandable as she has her friends and is happer, but it gave another layer to her personality that doesnít get as much attention here. Likewise Rei tends to get sidelined in the development department, aside from her relationship with Yuichiro. Minako comes out the best with some fun time to be herself. Coming in so late in the last series makes that very welcome here.

And then thereís Chibi-Usa. Frankly she has very few redeeming qualities aside from being a pivotal part of the plot, and as expected she takes up a lot of screen time. Sheís basically Usagi but less kind hearted and trusting. She fares better in the S series than here, but she does at least get some good visual gags and allow Usagi to play off her.

Story wise the Doom Tree isnít as interesting as most other Sailor Moon material, but it makes a decent springboard to get back into the flow after the end of the original series, and the finale is an enjoyable one. The Black Moon Clan however shines just as brightly as the Dark Kingdom did with a good cast of villains who have more than two dimensions to them. Wiseman also makes for some good material as more about them is revealed. A good central plotline to hang the usual monster of the week formula off.

As before in terms of possibly offending content, but with less severe tragedy.

The animation is the same quality as before, so you know what youíre getting, but a special note must be made for the music. The usual combat music is the quirky and perfectly acceptable norm that we got in the last season too, but the special songs are particularly well put here. Ai no Senshi helps the five duel battle between the senshi and the Dark Moon overcome some animation shortcuts and the final climax is made far more involving thanks to La Soldier, which is heavier than you might expect but fits very well. And thankfully the closing title song here is better than the last two as seen in the first season.

No dub information here, but again I recommend you avoid it from what Iíve heard.

This doesnít quite manage to live up to the first season, but it makes a very good fist of it and the Black Moonís intrigue and involvement make up for the more lacklustre plot of the Doom Tree. If you likes the first itís safe to say youíll like this too.

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