Back in late January, the 1993 Sailor Moon R Movie was released into theaters thanks to Viz Media. It was a big question whether or not Viz would dub and re-release the movies…but I guess we have our answer! How exciting!
I first found out about that movie by accident. It was 1999 or 2000, and I went to my local comic book store to get my monthly VHS tape of Sailor Stars (they used to come in a VHS tape of only four episodes at a time…so it took a while!). When walking to the register, I noticed a large bookshelf with lots of anime VHS tapes in it – one being Sailor Moon. I didn’t know what it was, but it said “Sailor Moon” and “movie” so, I was sold. So to see this in theaters… I was excited. I didn’t want to see the new Viz Media dub, though. Nothing against Viz or the dub, but I wanted to relive my childhood; I wanted to hear it in its original Japanese format just like how I first watched it as a kid.
Not only were they playing the movie, but a short feature called “Make up!! Sailor Guardians!” that featured Usagi and Chibiusa in a café (Crown, perhaps?) overhearing a conversation between two girls about the Sailor Guardians. They talk about who’s the strongest, the most mysterious, the smartest, the best leader…all while Usagi keeps saying “They’re clearly talking about me!” No,girl, they’re not. In fact, they totally forgot about you until you got up to remind them. I didn’t really like this little short because of how much second hand embarrassment I kept getting from Usagi. It’s a strong reminder of how young she is for sure, but it was a bit too much for me. She was just… so… loud.
Much to my chagrin, I had to watch this short twice – the dub, then the sub. The theater I went to sold our showing as the Japanese version with English subtitles. Regardless, the dub short and movie began to play until many viewers got up to complain with staff. It wasn’t until after the short played that staff switched the movie to the sub and we had to watch the short again. Let me tell you – didn’t matter what language it was played in, it was a struggle for me to watch it. That comes with the territory…an early ’90s anime and a 14 year old crybaby main character. C’est la vie.
What made the whole experience amazing was the fact that I wasn’t alone – I was with my boyfriend and with a big group of friends to share the experience with. I’d seen the movie a zillion times, but seeing it on a big screen, reliving memories, and doing it with friends… it just added to the night as a whole. It was great to hear the cheers and laughter, and hear the audience sing along. I’m looking forward to reliving the moment with the S and SuperS movies eventually.
A cool add-n was that theaters were giving black envelopes with cards inside featuring one of the five girls on it. They were limited collectibles and it was completely at random who you got. Inside was also a couple of printed images of the manga and an advertisement for the movie returning to theaters.
Anime is making great strides in theaters lately. Sailor Moon definitely isn’t alone… Back in the very beginning of January, Princess Mononoke returned to theaters to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Then there was Yu-Gi-Oh: The Dark Side of Dimensions, just to name a few. It’s a new experience to be able to watch your favorites in a theater, and if your favorite anime happens to find its way into theaters too, I highly recommend giving the experience a shot.
Personally, I really think Viz should consider putting the first few episodes of Sailor Stars into theaters somehow because of how different it was compared to the rest of the season…but that’s just me. Let’s see what else is in store for us in this 25th anniversary year!