Rising Sun: Promise of the Rose is Spectacular

Noah Meyer, Blogger

Hey there! It’s time for another Rising Sun, and today’s topic anime shines as brightly as the Legendary Silver Crystal!

Today’s review is Sailor Moon R: Promise of the Rose, the first of the three Sailor Moon films, fresh from a theatrical release courtesy of Viz Media. I had the pleasure of going to see the film as a date with my girlfriend last Saturday, and now I have the pleasure to write about it.

Shortly after the events of the series’ second season, Usagi (Stephanie Sheh) is meeting Mamoru (Robbie Daymond) for a lovely date at the botanical garden, and the other Sailor Guardians are coming along for the ride. But things take a turn for the bizarre when a mysterious young man appears before Mamoru saying he’s about to fulfill an old promise.

As it turns out, Mamoru had befriended the mysterious stranger, a worldless alien named Fiore (Benjamin Diskin), when they were children. On the day Fiore left Earth, Mamoru presented him with a single red rose. Touched by the gesture, Fiore promised to return to Earth with the most beautiful flowers he could find. Unfortunately, the first one he found was the Xenian Flower (Carrie Keranen), a sentient plant with a thirst for destruction, and it’s up to the Sailor Guardians to rescue both Mamoru and Fiore from the Flower’s schemes to destroy humanity.

Simply put, the story is one of my favorite things about Promise of the Rose. It primarily focuses on the drama and character relationships, and expands upon Mamoru’s background with aplomb. Of course, the film also takes the time to levy the tension with a cartoonish sense of humor that I adore. For instance, at the start of the film, Usagi is getting ready for a romantic kiss with Mamoru, who awkwardly sneaks away and leaves Chibiusa (Sandy Fox) and Rei (Christina Vee) to stick a caterpillar in her face.

Despite the excellent story, we can’t forget that Promise of the Rose was released in Japan in 1993. With that in mind, I was quite surprised to find that Toei’s production values for the film were much higher than those of the Dragon Ball Z films of the time. Not only is the animation spectacular, which we can expect of a feature-length film, but the animators were bold enough to include a computer-animated sequence of the Xenian asteroid at the start of the climax. I was also relieved to find that the film was not as willing to use stock animation from the series for the fight sequences, which kept the action from getting too stale.

And then there’s the audio, which is where the theatrical release of Promise of the Rose outshines the original broadcast release of the film. Not only does Takanori Arisawa’s musical score from the series tune in here, it also sees some of the pieces receive special movie remixes. At the climax, our ears are treated to a kick-butt girl-power anthem titled Moon Revenge, which is quite the high chord for the film to go out on. It’s a score that perfectly accommodates the series and the film, and the new dub sees Stephanie Sheh at her high point as Usagi.

It’s quite clear to see that while Sailor Moon R: Promise of the Rose is not a very long movie, clocking out at exactly one hour, this is a must-have anime film that you do not want to miss out on when it releases on Blu-Ray and DVD on April 18.