Film Review: Sailor Moon Super S: The Movie: Black Dream Hole
In 1995, Hiroki Shibata released Sailor Moon Super S: The Movie, based on the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Starring Kae Araki Chika Sakamoto, Kotono Mitsuishi, Nobuo Tobita, and Rihoko Yoshida with Terri Hawkes, Tracey Hoyt, Vincent Corazza, Katie Griffin, Karen Bernstein, Susan Roman, Stephanie Morgenstern, Ron Rubin, Naomi Emmerson, Jill Frappier, Barbara Radecki, Sarah Lafleur, Sanbrina Grdevich, and Robert Tinkler providing English voices, the film had an unknown box office gross.
All around the world, young children are being hypnotized by mysterious people with flutes to board a ship that sails off into the sky. One night, Chibiusa hears the music and begins toward the source. While the Sailor Senshi awaken her, she is still taken to Queen Badiane, who is conspiring to keep the children happy and safe in her world of dreams.
Seemingly set after the events of the season it’s named after or exists outside the continuity of the main series Sailor Moon Super S: The Movie reflects how the Super S season lacked everything that made Sailor Moon what it was in the first place. Like the movie before it, the story was sacrificed in lieu of fight sequences. However, that one still had a decent plot and enjoyable subplot where this movie’s plot is paper thin and while there is a subplot, it’s essentially nonexistent. Queen Badiane is kidnapping children and sealing them in an eternal sleep in Dream Coffins for two reasons: she wants them to be able to stay young forever and she wants to grow and power her Black Dream Hole large enough to swallow everything and put it all under her control. While these seem like some good schemes for an evil villain, that’s all that is given about her. There’s nothing about who Badiane is, where she’s from, why she wants children not to grow up, why she’s using their dreams specifically, and what motive she has for wanting to use the Black Dream Hole for controlling everything. She has no character other than power hungry villain. Kaguya in Hearts in Ice didn’t have a fully fleshed out backstory either, but she at least had an explanation of traveling through space encasing worlds in ice along with a motive.
As for the subplot, it revolves around Chibiusa making friends with one of Badiane’s henchmen. Though it does affect him by providing the reason to switch sides and help the Senshi to rescue her and the other children, the only time their friendship is furthered in anyway is at the beginning and end. It feels like a device from the main plot trying too hard to be a subplot. In the previous film, Luna had Kakeru on her mind the entire movie and commented on it to Usagi midway through it.
There’s also the Outer Senshi, who didn’t appear at all in the Super S season. They’re nonexistent through the entire first half and just happen to show up and save the Inner Senshi at the last second with no explanation of how they got to Marzipannu Castle in the first place. One of the henchman even calls it into question, because the castle is hidden in deep space, it's never answered. They don’t even do anything other than attack the villain either. Once again in a comparison to the previous film, they at least provided some speculation in Hearts in Ice, even if it was brief and rather grating.
What burns most about this atrocity to the franchise is that it could have been so much better. Before Kunihiko Ikuhara and producer Iriya Azuma left the series, they had envisioned a movie where Sailors Uranus and Neptune were the main characters. The latter was going to be in a deep sleep and the former would have to steal talismans from the Senshi to revive her. Not only does a plot like that sound so much better than what the finished product was, but it could have reinvigorated the series for its final season in a much better way than the first arc of Sailor Stars ever could. Fortunately though, a terrible film and pretty decent final season did't kill the series' popularity, seeing as it eventually got a reboot and a remastered original series.
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