[Staff Editorial] Bright Side of the Moon: Sailor Moon Returns

As the House of Scarlet Personae was recording the latest episode of “The Bizarro Files,” we were patiently awaiting the news to come out of Japan. Sailor Moon was celebrating the 20th anniversary and there was going to big announcement. The news was kept tightly under wraps, but Moonies already were predicting a revival of the beloved anime series. Sailor Moon’s popularity in the US has been gaining steam because of the manga re-release and the plethora of new merchandise. People still cosplay as their favorite sailor senshi (or scout). Yet, it never was as big as it was in the mid 90s to early 2000’s. For many, Sailor Moon has been their gateway into wide world of anime. Veteran fans can recall setting up their VCR’s early in the morning to catch the latest episode of Sailor Moon. This is a show that holds a ton of nostalgia and sentimental memory for Moonies world wide. This was a defining part of our childhood and collective otaku experience. Sailor Moon brought a new generation of anime fans.

This is how we did it back in 2000. No tutorials – played it all by ear and made with love!

When the news broke out that Sailor Moon would have an all new television series, news feed on every active social media network went ablaze. People were tweeting and trending #Sailor Moon. Though news regarding Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventures having a new game and television series broke days before, this woke up a sleeping giant. All of a sudden, I see my cosplay friends expressing to fix up Sailor Moon cosplays or make new costumes. My voice actor compatriots started tweeting about wanting to be in a new dub of Sailor Moon. The new Sailor Moon animation is said to be a world wide release, meaning that not only Japan would be debuting the new series, but the rest of the world would. For fans in the USA, we can only wonder who will pick up the streaming rights. Crunchyroll and Viz seem like likely candidates to simultaneously stream the series. Viz has dealt working with long running series (but please, don’t do microscopic subtitles!). Crunchyroll has been very good at streaming new anime episodes of series that are still broadcasting in Japan. Production wise, I am hoping this revival is closer to the manga and that Naoko Takeuchi has more creative control. While I did enjoy the original animation, it is flawed (oh hi SuperS and R part 1). The animation has it’s moments (Rei sings!), but the manga has so much more depth and drama. I am hoping we can enjoy the spirit of the original manga in the new animated series.

The popularity is still going strong in current anime. This Idolm@ster photo has the cutesy Haruka cosplaying as Sailor Moon. She even does a cover of “Moonlight Densetsu.”

Either way, the Sailor Moon revival is big. There is no doubt that the Japanese are aware of Sailor Moon’s worldwide success. We can only wonder what this means for us fans who have a special place in our hearts for Sailor Moon. A few friends have expressed wanting to see better Sailor Moon figures. I was talking to a dealer at Anime Expo this year and they wanted to see a SH FigArts version of the senshi. Personally, I think Nendroids of the inners and outers would be super cute. Of course, a lot of us stateside Moonies are patiently awaiting for a legit release of the original 200 episodes. While ADV and Geneon did release the series on DVD many moons ago, much of these are out of print. The kids who set up their VCR timers have the income to buy special editions of the DVD boxsets. Yes, there are a contingent of fans who would pay a little more for extra bonuses. The bottom line is whomever has the rights to the Sailor Moon USA license gets the gold. There is a lot of money to be made and it is a business risk worth taking.

Disney Princesses as Sailor Senshi!

Anime, at least in the US, has been on life support. The content is not the same as it was back in the early days. Moe sells while the classics lay dormant. This year, Funimation pushed the release of “Panty and Stocking,” despite the fact they have acquired some classic titles from Geneon and ADV. The older titles are what’s going to sell and are worth investing in. While one can have their cake and eat it too, there’s a lot of money to be made for special edition releases of classic anime. I remember scouring the dealer’s hall at Anime Expo for copies of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures and Bubblegum Crisis. People still hold the classics to their heart dearly.It is really nice to see Moonies pick up Sailor Moon related paraphernalia at either Hot Topic or at an anime convention. In a fandom where it’s shameful or “weaboo” to rock an anime phone charm, I wear my Sailor Mars phone charm with pride and dignity.

Remember this fan campaign and the Prince Uranus incident? Someone call the Lunarian Inquisition!

All of us are predicting that we will be seeing a ton of Sailor Moon related cosplay in the coming months. The Sailor Moon gathering at Anime Expo was very humble, but pales in comparison with Sailor Moon gatherings at Anime Central and Fanime. Sailor Moon cosplay was really big in 2001. Even I was a part of the mayhem in my commissioned Princess Mars dress. Sailor Moon cosplay will come back in droves. I am actually looking forward to this. In the early 2000s, Sailor Moon cosplay groups were very popular. Groups of note were Senshi Mysterious, Sailor Jamboree, Yume no Senshi, etc just to name a few. It would be nice to see performance groups take over the masquerade stage again. AX 2001 had a handful of Sailor Moon sketches. AX 2012’s masquerade did not have one Sailor Moon act. This also means good business for people who specialize in Sailor Moon wigs and cosplay accessories. Though I know that I will be hearing the whole, “Omigod! Sailor Moon is so overdone!” as I did back in 2002, I’m not going to mind. It just opens doors to new friendships and meeting likeminded cosplayers.

No kidding, Mr. Stark! I’m not complaining one bit.

Speaking of conventions, I certainly hope to see major anime conventions invite Sailor Moon related guests of honor. Anime Expo blew it this year. Many of us were hoping Anime Expo would do something nice for the Moonies. I was happy to do Moon Prism Poptarts: A History of Sailor Moon in North America, yet I had to appeal for the panel because it was initially rejected. Why anyone would reject a Sailor Moon panel at a major anime convention boggles my mind. However, I certainly hope to see more Sailor Moon related guests of honor at our stateside conventions. Terri Hawkes, the DiC actress for Serena / Sailor Moon, has made a few appearances this year at anime conventions. It would be a real treat to see Naoko Takeuchi at an anime convention. However, I do pray for the brave souls who would have to coordinate that autograph line. Let’s see some Sailor Moon guests come back! I was fortunate to meet Rika Fukami (Sailor Venus) and Toru Furuya (Tuxedo Mask) in my convention journalist career.

My first Sailor Moon related cosplay, Princess Mars. Remember Setsuna Kou? I asked her to commission it for my senior homecoming dance.

This is good news for the anime community. This is something we should be supporting. The Sailor Moon fandom is still around and still proud. We can expect a sea of Sailor Moon cosplayers in the next couple of months. I am know I’m ready to rock my new Super Sailor Mars cosplay, but I won’t stop there. This news makes me proud to be an anime nerd. I just ask the fans to keep the elitism out of the fun. For once, we don’t have to worry about stocking up on strawberry poptarts to be a part of something big. Keep supporting the franchise. Keep buying the manga, keychains, t-shirts, and other legit goodies. I really have to thank all of the fans world wide for continuing to keep the love going. We all did this together to make this happen.

Happy 20 Years, Sailor Moon!

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to find my first edition print mangas and find a better curio for all my Sailor Moon dolls. It’s good to be a Moonie!

Summer 2013 – let’s do this!


Links of Interest

+ Miss Dream – 20th Anniversary Special

+ That’s What He Said – Thoughts on the Sailor Moon Revival

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