Magical Girls, Rejoice! Sailor Moon is back!
In 1992, Naoko Takeuchi’s Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon debuted as a serial release in Kodansha’s monthly manga magazine, Nakayoshi. It followed the life of a young girl who was awakened as a Sailor Soldier, charged with the mission to defend against the Dark Kingdom and protect the Moon Princess. The story ran from February 1992 to March 1997. Concurrently, collected volumes were printed and a long-running anime adaptation were produced. The anime had five arcs consisting of 200 episodes, special episode features, and three films. Since then, the franchise has had a second and third collected edition release, a live-action series, several art books, stage musicals, collectable merchandise, and video games.
At the 2012 celebration of the series’ 20th anniversary, it was announced that a new Sailor Moon anime was coming. With this announcement came the release of the manga’s 3rd collected edition kanzenban (complete). The anime was supposed to premier in the summer of 2013, it was delayed until winter 2013 and then again until summer 2014.
While moonies patiently wait for the series, the release of new licensed merchandise is tiding them over. Items include proplicas, cosmetics, jewelry, apparel, figures, and stationary and, while priced quite high, die-hard collectors and fans are eating it up.
Though some merchandise is not accessible in North America at all, some more coveted items are available through import sites like J-List. Pre-ordering seems to be the only way to compete with the collectors though; most items sell out with no restock in sight. With such a demand, most don’t bat an eye at the high retail price. For example, a themed pen was $32 retail and now goes for $50-75+ on ebay.
During the last two years, details surrounding the anime have been few but with the release right around the corner more have been shared. The new anime will be called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal and will stream simultaneously worldwide on Niconico starting July 5, 2014. The new anime, produced by Toei Animation, will be subtitled in 10 languages (including English) and will follow the story of the manga more closely than the original anime. Episodes will air on the first and third Saturday of each month at 7pm in Japan, with 24 episodes announced (so far).
The official website has released this synopsis:
“Usagi Tsukino is a second-year middle school girl who is a little clumsy and a crybaby, but she is full of energy. One day, she meets Luna, a black cat with a crescent moon on her forehead, and she transforms into Sailor Moon, a sailor-uniformed pretty guardian of love and justice! As a chosen guardian of justice, Usagi seems to have a mission to find the Illusionary Silver Crystal with the other guardians and to protect the princess.
Meanwhile, the queen of the Dark Kingdom, Queen Beryl, also sends minions to the town where Usagi lives to obtain the Illusionary Silver Crystal, which has immense power. This causes strange events to unfold…
Can Sailor Moon really find the Illusionary Silver Crystal with the other Sailor guardians, and protect the princess…!?” – Sailor Moon Official Site
The first image of Sailor Moon Crystal was released with the synopsis. Character sheets for Usagi, Ami, Rei, Makoto, Minako, and their Sailor Senshi forms have since been published along with the voice cast. Kotono Mitsuishi, the original voice of Sailor Moon, will be reprising her role in the reboot much to delight of her fans.
Then this past Friday Viz Media announced that it licensed the original Sailor Moon anime franchise. For the first time, North America will see all 200 episodes, feature films and tie-ins remastered and completely uncut. They’re also producing a whole new English dub with a new cast.
Digital subtitled episodes of the original series will begin streaming on Neon Alley and Hulu Plus on Mondays. Viz says they’re aiming to release the English dub starting in late 2014 with plans for DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo releases in half-season sets this fall.
This is an exciting time for Sailor Moon fans everywhere and for those new to the franchise.Those previously unacquainted with Sailor Moon or the generations who’ve come after will now be able to get their own dose of Moon Prism Power.