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Film Review: Sailor Moon S: The Movie: Hearts in Ice
In 1994, Hiroki Shibata released Sailor Moon S: the Movie, based on Naoko Takeuchi's 1995 story, The Lover of Princess Kaguya as well as Hans Christen Andersen's 1844 fairy tale, "The Snow Queen." Starring Kotono Mitsuishi, Masama Kikuchi, Megumi Hayashibara, Eiko Masuyama, and Keiko Han with Terri Hawkes, Katie Griffin, Karen Bernstein, Susan Roman, Stephanie Mergenstern, Tracey Hoyt, Sarah Lafleur, Barbara Radecki, Sabrina Grdevich, Vincent Corazza, Jill Frappier, Ron Rubin, and LInda Ballantyne providing English voices, the film had an unknown box office gross.
An extraterrestrial entity named Princess Snow Kaguya arrives on Earth and attempts to permanently freeze it. However,she cannot do so without a lost fragment of her comet, found by an astronomer named Kateru who is having his strength drained by the shard.
Sailor Moon S: The Movie seems like it’s set following the events of the S season and unfortunately, the slow downturn of quality in the series at that point shows. It’s not terribly bad, and definitely not as bad as the Super S season, but it’s not great either. The best parts of the film are probably Princess Kaguya’s motives and how Sailor Moon defeats her. The former is a being made entirely of ice and has been covering worlds in ice while traveling on a comet. She wants to freeze the earth because of her beliefs that cold and heartless is how life should be spent. She also goes so far as to put the people of Earth into a deep, frozen sleep because it’s free from suffering and pain. While the audience doesn't get a whole lot of backstory from her, it’s apparent that she has something in her past that causes her to want to encase entire worlds in ice. As for Sailor Moon, who defeats her with the power love and friendship as is per usual of the series, she rebuffs her notions that a cold life without pain and suffering is no life worth living. Instead, she informs her that life may have pain and suffering, but the warmth found in love triumphs over the pain and suffering, which is what makes life bearable.
At the same time, the secondary plot is also a pretty decent complement to the first. Luna feels like cats don’t have soulmates, but finds herself attracted to a human. Her seeing his health continue to decline due to the shard does bring a sort of relatability. Nobody can really do anything to help him because they don't know wha the problem is and she can't really do anything due to her being a cat. Sailor Moon turning her into a human so she can save him proves the point she makes about how the warmth of love can make life worth living. Yet, Luna also knows how much Kakeru loves his girlfriend, Himeko, and advises him to reconcile with her. It makes sense as she knows she’s not permanently human and a cat can never have that kind of love, but it also drives her to reconcile with Artemis, who she actually can have a relationship with.
As stated earlier though, the movie isn’t completely perfect. Being connected to the S season, it was part of the shift from superb story to pretty good. As such, the story itself was sacrificed to make way for more fight sequences. The two in the film were both fine, but the story could have been much better if Kaguya’s backstory was more than having traveled through space encasing worlds in ice and having tried to do it once already. With the previous movie, fans of the series could piece together why Fiore felt alone, and could understand his backstory. Here, there really isn’t much of an explanation why Kaguya is doing what she does.
Also, the Outer Senshi really don’t have much to do. They had a huge part in the S season and in this movie, they really only show up to make a couple speculations and spend time fighting. Pluto’s character is also a bit derailed too, making two references to time that feel pretty forced. She may be the Senshi of Time and Space, but in the series, she has a mystique about her that these references kind of ruin.
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