Sailor Moon was one of the titles that brought anime into the mainstream in the States. Before it was shown on TV, anime was much more of a niche product, and it rarely occupied more than a shelf or two at the local media superstore. Sailor Moon changed all of that.
Sailor Moon is based on a manga series titled Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, by Naoko Takeuchi. The main character in Sailor Moon is Usagi Tsukino, a ditzy junior high school girl (9th grade) who is constantly running late, getting poor grades in school, and driving her little brother and parents insane--a pretty typical teenager. On the way to school one day, she happens upon a group of elementary kids who are torturing a little black cat by sticking bandages on its head. She chases them off and removes the bandages from the cat's head, revealing a crescent moon-shaped scar on the cat's forehead. Suddenly, the cat leaps out of her arms and onto a nearby wall, only to turn and stare intently at young Usagi. Commenting on how weird the cat seems, Usagi runs off to school--late as usual--as the bell begins to ring.
Later that day, Usagi finds the cat staring at her from outside her bedroom window. As she goes to shoo it away, it comes into the room and tells her she's destined to become the legendary soldier, Sailor Moon. The cat tells her its name is Luna and then gives her a magical wand she can use to transform into Sailor Moon.
So begins the tale. In this first season (there are five TV seasons), we meet Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter), and Minako Aino (Sailor Venus). We also meet the mysterious--and drop-dead gorgeous to Usagi--Tuxedo Kamen. His alter-ego in normal life is Mamoru Chiba, a freshman in college who enjoys teasing Usagi about her "dumpling head" and her bad grades.
The bad guys are ruled by Queen Beryl, who governs the Dark Kingdom with an immaculately manicured iron fist. Her four generals, bishounen characters one and all, do their best to help her steal the energy from humans so she can eventually rule the human world in addition to her own. All of them are named after various minerals: Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite.
The series follows the typical "monster a week" format of most fighting team shows (like Ultraman, Power Rangers, and others). However, Sailor Moon has an endearing quality that makes it enjoyable to watch, even for older viewers. The characters are put through many of the different trials--although usually exaggerated--that we "normal" folks had to go through when that age, making it easy for people to identify with them: breaking up with boy/girlfriends, parents divorcing, fighting with friends, jealousy, dealing with bullies, etc.
The DVD set is quite nice, with a beautiful full-color art box. The case, inserts, and DVDs are high quality and only add to the value of the set. There are 46 episodes in the first season, collected in two multicases stored within the box. The multicases are not the best quality, however, and are not designed very well. This makes it sometimes difficult to snap shut the cases due to the multiple "pages" within the case, each of which must snap precisely into place.
The image transfer was done very well, with very little artifacting. The only time any is noticeable is in very dark scenes, which is quite normal for the DVD format. The audio quality during the episodes is very good as well. However, the opening and ending themes sound as if they were recorded through a tunnel, giving a tinny, echoing quality to the sound, similar to what happened with the Marmalade Boy: Ultimate Scrapbook Volume One opening and ending themes. The subtitles are clean and easy to read, and do a good job of translating the meaning of what is said. They are not simply "dub-titles".
Sailor Moon is recommended to everyone, and is usually acceptable for all ages. It does deal with some more difficult subjects (such as death, possession, divorce, etc.), but not generally in a graphic sense. If you are unsure, simply watch it first before letting your kids watch it.