Characters that always deserved more screen time on Sailor Moon are the cats. Their interaction with the soldiers was always entertaining but that was also at the expense of giving them a "backbone" so to speak. This movie allows us to see a side of Luna that makes her a little more coherent as a character and also provides an entertaining way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Artemis is also given a chance to shine but sadly not as much as he should have been.
The animation of this movie is like a cleaned up version of what's on offer in the TV series. So if you like the artwork from the series (which I love) this is like seeing the true potential of the franchise. Being a movie the animation is also a lot more fluid and there is less repeated footage (something that plagued the series for some).
Overall the movie has a look that is very much in keeping with everything we like about Sailor Moon with the bonus of seeing a story that does not get stretched out for too long.
The sound is your standard Sailor Moon fare (yes the wonderful Moonlight Densetsu is included) with a couple of tracks I had not heard before that served the movie quite well. The voice acting is top notch in Japanese with Luna and Artemis' seiyuus the stand outs.
The interesting sidenote about the sound is that the English cast also did a fairly good job at bringing their characters to life. Sailor Moon's voice actor is probably the best here as you feel the hard work she's putting into it.
The story is a standard Sailor Moon one, this time with a Snow Queen wanting to freeze the Earth and the scouts having to protect it. What saves this movie from having an ordinary story is the inclusion of a side one for Luna. This movie is also about Luna's "first" love. The scenes with Luna are done very well and also help move things along at a nice pace. It would have been better to make her struggle a little more inclusive of Usagi as their relationship is one that can always be built upon.
The Sailor Soldiers generally speaking are not given much screen time but considering the movie's length, this is hardly surprising. The inclusion of the Outer Warriors was a nice touch as they are interesting characters.
The only characters that really get a chance to come forward are obviously Luna and her love interest. They are performed quite well as characters so they do keep the story afloat, although more Artemis and a better exploration of his feelings for Luna would have been better in the long run. As it is, we do get a nice insight into his sentiments but not quite enough for him to come forward as a main character here.
Everyone else takes the side character part so they are mostly just there as a service for fans but some of ChibiUsa and Usagi antics are never a bad thing. As the story is also a fairly simple one, you can forgive the creators for not doing more with them as there just wasn't enough time...
This movie is overall a lot more satisfying than say the Rahxephon movie or End of Evangelion as it never takes itself too seriously and does not try to accomplish too much. As it is, the creators did succeed in what they wanted to create. It does not try to alienate its audience and gives them just what they want, some people could classify this as safe but it is successful nevertheless. It is also fairly easy going and quite engaging. A worthwhile addition to your collection and an entertaining hour or two.
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