Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon the 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute
美少女戦士セーラームーン THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL TRIBUTE (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon the 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute)
King Records (Evil Line Records)
Featuring classic songs and new hits as well as some returning artists, once again, songs from the Sailor Moon franchise are revisited and redone.
Unlike the previous cover album, this one has not been released digitally in the West. If it ever does, I doubt the final two tracks will be available. They are considered bonus tracks, and The 20th Anniversary Memorial Tribute‘s digital release did not include the French cover of “Moonlight Densetsu”, which was also considered a bonus track.
Let’s start with the set itself. I do like this album cover much better though. First of all, all the girls >>>>> just Sailor Moon. But by making the cover busier, any lankiness or other artistic oddities are easier to cover up or distract from. I believe this is a newish piece of artwork, but it’s heavily inspired by some of her pieces in the third artbook. The jeweled-up collars are a nice touch though, and the back slipcover matches some of the Crystal merchandise. Yes, I said slipcover. The actual album cover is fairly simple, feature crystals and some other imagery. Anyway, the back case is an old manga image of Eternal Sailor Moon.
Inside is the lyrics and features images from the anime. The Starlights were featured in pictures too, and I don’t remember seeing them in the first set.
The CD itself continues the crystal theme.
No glitter on the cover, so that’s a big disappointment. Also, why a slipcase? It wasn’t needed. Even the 20th Anniversary Memorial Tribute went the extra mile and put all the planetary symbols in the front spine gap. Here, nothing. Even with the slipcover and the arguably more elegant crystals and stuff, the set feels like a step down.
On to the music. If you take a look at the track list… it’s crap. SIX of the nine main songs were covered on the previous tribute album. (Eight of 11 if you include the full CD.) Nobody thought of mixing it up with even “Watashi-tachi ni Naritakute”, “Sailor Team no Theme”, or heck, even “Onaji Namida wo Wakeatte”?? If they can throw in a couple of Crystal covers, why not “Moon Pride”? I’ve seen Sailor Moon special karaoke events in Japan, and the selection has included more than the list of songs on these two albums. It just feels so lazy. “Well, we got the sheet music and the rights/licenses pulled out of the archive anyway, so let’s just use them again!”
I can understand “Moonlight Densetsu” reappearing since it’s one of the most iconic anime songs ever in Japan. A couple of more crossovers, fine. But six is ridiculous when the number of main tracks doesn’t even hit double digits. Plus, if you’re a singer who really likes one of these versions, it’s not like this set features instrumental versions for you to do your own cover.
“Moonlight Densetsu” – LiSA
While MomoClo’s version was more of a straight cover, LiSA’s version adds rock influences. Changing up the song to match her style (but keeping the overall arrangement) makes this a better cover than MomoClo’s in my opinion. It sounds like a version that would be used in a movie version of Sailor Moon honestly. It has a lot of flair to it and sounds like a big budget modern spin of the iconic song.
“La Soldier” – Gesshoku Kaigi
I had listed all the songs on a draft before I started writing. Honestly, if I wasn’t staring right at the words “La Soldier” when the music had started, I wouldn’t have guessed. Even then, I had to do a double take. It’s easier to recognize on the second listen, but the first time, the 1-2-3-4 countdown threw me off. The main problem with this song is that tommy heavenly6’s rendition was so well-liked that a band version of the song just doesn’t stand out as much. It’s also less unique, torn between trying to be a rock cover or a straight cover. The singer has a wonderful voice though, and I wish she had been given or chosen a different song.
“Moon Revenge” – BiSH
Picking my favorite Sailor Moon song is hard, but “Moon Revenge” often takes that #1 slot in my list, especially since the whole climactic sequence in the R movie was designed around this song. BiSH is a group, but I don’t know how many members there are. The original has each of the five seiyuu singing two lines (three in Venus’ case) and the rest singing as a group. Here, BiSH divides up most of the song so that a few sections (like the main “It’s moon revenge, woo” line) are sung together. But I got a shock when the last chorus or whatever has at least one of the singers switching to visual kei or goth rock or whatever you want to call it. Scratchy sing-shouting the last 45 seconds or so. It’s like some crazed version of Black Lady or Mistress Nine suddenly hijacked the song. I will never play this song again. This might be the worst Sailor Moon song ever.
“Otome no Policy” – Ishida Yoko
… Wait, wasn’t there already a new version made of this song, also done by the original artist? *checks* Yep, called “2010 New Version”, available on her album Another Sky. Well, this self cover isn’t the 2010 New Version… but it’s also nothing new. Seriously, like 95% of the song is the exact same as the original “Otome no Policy”. Sure, she sounds a little older considering it’s been 25 years, a few different instruments are playing, and the backing track sounds neat when her current and old self sing together. But… why is this on here? At least have her do a duet with someone if the original arrangement was going to be used. Or if she was going to rerecord this anyway, at least also have her do “Ai no Senshi” as well and inflate the number of tracks. Such a pointless song.
“Kakumei wa Night & Day” – Yakushimaru Etsuko
The singer wrote this song for the Crystal Character Music Collection: Crystal Collection CD for the five main Sailor Guardians. Like some other songs, I have mixed feelings about “Kakumei wa Night & Day”. It’s not bad, but it will never be iconic. Perhaps it would have been had it been used as an insert song in Crystal. Anyway, obviously, this is going to sound different as a solo song, and it does sound lonely. And soft, which is unsurprising considering the singer. At least the original I get invested in because it’s Sailor Moon and company singing. Here? *shrugs* I don’t really care for Yakushimaru’s style to begin with, but if you preferred the first version of “New Moon ni Koishite” for Sailor Moon Crystal Season III, you might also be fond of this version of the song.
“‘Rashiku’ Ikimasho” – Inoue Sonoko
Not much different from the original except Inoue’s voice doesn’t have the power of Meu’s. Momoi in the previous tribute album was better to suited to the song in my opinion.
“Kaze mo Sora mo Kitto… ” – Gesshoku Kaigi
I have no idea who this artist is and why she was given two songs to sing. At least they chose a good singer to cover two tracks and not have BiSH decide to butcher another one. This rendition of “Kaze mo Sora mo Kitto…” isn’t too far off from the original, and I like this version better than the long one on the previous album. I especially like the final bridge.
“Sailor Star Song” – SILENT SIREN
Another artist I wasn’t familiar with, but I was worried with a name like “SILENT SIREN”, this was going to turn into another shouting match. A fun modern version of the song that trades the power of the original for a girl’s pop version. That might sound like an insult, but I enjoyed this.
“eternal eternity” – ziyoou-vachi
I think a lot of — dare I say most — people would agree with me: “eternal eternity” is the best song to come in the Sailor Moon Crystal era. So the chances of any cover living up to Minagawa & Oohara’s performance is very slim. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t. This version is more… chill? I guess I’d say. Slower paced, some la la las. Coffee shop version of the original.
“Moonlight Densetsu” – Sailor Moon (CV: Mitsuishi Kotono) & Sailor Mercury (CV: Kanemoto Hisako) & Sailor Mars (CV: Satou Rina) & Sailor Jupiter (CV: Koshimizu Ami) & Sailor Venus (CV: Itou Shizuka)
I mentioned before how disappointed I’ve been over the years Peach Hips never sang “Moonlight Densetsu”. Mitsuishi is almost unrecognizable here. Okay, I know it’s here, but she’s not as Usagi-ish as she was in the previous Crystal songs. The girls shout their second transformation phrases before the final bridge. Fukami was usually the standout vocal in Peach Hips; here, it’s Koshimizu’s Jupiter. Considering this came out after Crystal Season III, it would have been really awesome if the producers had gone the extra mile and made this a 10 Senshi version.
“Tuxedo Mirage” – Sailor Moon (CV: Mitsuishi Kotono) & Sailor Mercury (CV: Kanemoto Hisako) & Sailor Mars (CV: Satou Rina) & Sailor Jupiter (CV: Koshimizu Ami) & Sailor Venus (CV: Itou Shizuka)
Mitsuishi sounds a little more like Usagi here, but she still struggles. The rest of the group comes in much earlier than in the 90s “Tuxedo Mirage”. Mitsuishi doesn’t even sing solo in the second half. It’s really noticeable that the five aren’t harmonizing like Peach Hips. To my untrained ear, it sounds like they’re all singing the same note on parts like “manto” (mantle). It’s hard to tell there are five singers. Otherwise, despite being a song catered toward Usagi’s point-of-view, having the full group for more than the chorus and pre-chorus doesn’t hurt the song. Again, all 10 singing would have really given this “Tuxedo Mirage” its own identity.
What a disappointing album. I thought the first tribute album wasn’t all that great, but I’d rate this one even lower. Part of the problem could have been eliminated by having a totally different track list. I don’t know why King Records didn’t release this internationally, but you aren’t missing much.