|Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal|
Junichirō Tsuchiya Yū Kamiki
July 5, 2014 – ongoing
Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, later retitled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn), is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi. It was originally serialized in Nakayoshi from 1991 to 1997, with the 52 individual chapters published into 18 tankōbon volumes. The series follows the adventures of the protagonist Usagi Tsukino, from her time in middle school through high school as she transforms into the titular character to search for a legendary princess and a powerful artifact known as the "Legendary Silver Crystal" (「幻の銀水晶」 Maboroshi no Ginzuishō, lit. "Phantom Silver Crystal"), which can revive an entire world from ruin. Along her journey, she leads a diverse group of comrades, the Sailor Soldiers (セーラー戦士 Sērā Senshi) — Sailor Guardians in later editions — as they battle against a wide variety of villains to prevent the destruction of the Solar System and the Silver Crystal.
The manga has been adapted into a anime series produced by Toei Animation: Sailor Moon, which was broadcast in Japan from 1992 to 1997 over the course of five seasons. Additionally, Toei has developed three feature films, three television specials and three short films, as well as a live-action television adaptation, titled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. Beginning in 2014, Toei Animation streamed a reboot of the anime series, titled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal. Several companies have developed various types of merchandising based on the series leading to a large media franchise that includes animated films, a live-action television series, light novels, collectible trading card games, numerous action figures and musical theater productions, along with several collections of soundtracks and a large number of video games.
In North America, the manga series was licensed for an English-language translation by Mixx Entertainment. Kodansha Comics USA eventually acquired the rights to release the manga in 2011. The entire anime series has been licensed by Viz Media for an English-language release in North America, although the series has not always been dubbed by the same studio.
Since its release, Sailor Moon has received wide critical acclaim and has become one of the most popular manga and anime series. It is often cited with popularizing the concept of a team of magical girls and revitalizing the magical girl genre itself. Sailor Moon is also credited with redefining the genre, as previous magical girls did not use their powers to fight evil, though the concept is now considered one of its standard archetypes. The manga has sold over one million copies worldwide. Reviewers have have praised the art, characterization, and humor of the story. The anime is also highly popular in various countries and was arguably one of the most influential in boosting the popularity of Japanese animation in Western culture.
The series begins with a teenage girl named Usagi Tsukino befriending Luna, a talking cat who reveals Usagi's identity as Sailor Moon, a magical "pretty soldier in a sailor suit" destined to save Earth from the forces of evil. Luna accompanies Usagi to assemble a team of fellow Sailor Soldiers, find their princess and the "Legendary Silver Crystal." The journey leads them to the studious Ami Mizuno, who awakens as Sailor Mercury; Rei Hino, a local shrine maiden who awakens as Sailor Mars; Makoto Kino, a transfer student at Usagi's middle school who awakens as Sailor Jupiter; and Mamoru Chiba, a young man who also assists them as Tuxedo Mask. A young aspiring idol named Minako Aino, who also operates as Sailor Venus, later joins them, accompanied by her feline companion Artemis.
In the first arc, the group battles the Dark Kingdom. Led by Queen Beryl, a team of generals — the Four Kings of Heaven (四天王 Shiten'ō, lit. "Four Heavenly Kings") — attempt to find the Silver Crystal to free an imprisoned evil entity called Queen Metaria. Usagi and her team eventually discover that in their previous lives they were members of the ancient moon kingdom called Silver Millennium. The Dark Kingdom waged war against them, resulting in the moon kingdom's destruction. Its ruler, Queen Serenity, later sent her daughter, Princess Serenity, her guardians, their feline advisers and the princess's true love, Prince Endymion, into the future to be reborn through the power of the Silver Crystal. They also realize that Usagi is the reincarnated Serenity and that Mamoru is Endymion. The Four Kings are killed by the Soldiers and are revealed to have been Endymion's guardians who defected in their past lives. In the final confrontation with the Dark Kingdom, Minako kills Queen Beryl; after she and the other Soldiers sacrifice their lives to no avail, Usagi uses the Silver Crystal to destroy Queen Metaria. She then uses the crystal to resurrect her friends.
Usagi and Mamoru's daughter Chibiusa arrives from the future in search of the Silver Crystal at the beginning of the second arc. As a result, the Soldiers encounter Wiseman and his Black Moon Clan, who are pursuing her. Chibiusa eventually brings the Soldiers to the future city Neo-Tokyo, where her parents rule as Neo-Queen Serenity and King Endymion. Along the way, they meet Sailor Pluto, guardian of the Time-Space Door. She sacrifices her life to prevent the Clan's ruler Prince Demand from destroying the time-space continuum. Chibiusa later awakens as a Soldier — Sailor Chibi Moon — and assists Usagi in killing Wiseman's true form: Death Phantom.
The third arc revolves around a group of lifeforms created by Professor Soichi Tomoe called the Death Busters, seeking to resurrect the entity Pharaoh 90 and destroy the Earth. Tomoe's daughter Hotaru is absorbed by the entity Mistress 9, who must open the dimensional gateway through which Pharaoh 90 must travel. Auto racer Haruka Tenoh and violinist Michiru Kaioh appear as Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, who guard the outer rim of the Solar System from external threats. The protagonists are joined by physics student Setsuna Meioh, Sailor Pluto's reincarnation. After obtaining the Holy Grail and transforming into Super Sailor Moon, Usagi attempts to use the power of the Grail and the Silver Crystal to destroy Pharaoh 90 from within. This causes Hotaru to awaken as Sailor Saturn, who is initially perceived as a threat by Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna. As the harbinger of death, Hotaru uses her power of destruction to sever Pharaoh 90 from the Earth and instructs Setsuna to use her power over time-space to close the dimensional gateway. Usagi (as Serenity) then uses her power to re-create the planet.
The next arc subsequently introduces the Dead Moon Circus, led by Queen Nehelenia. The self-proclaimed "rightful ruler" of both Silver Millennium and Earth, Nehelenia first invades Elysion, which hosts the Earth's Golden Kingdom. After capturing its High Priest, Helios, she instructs her followers to steal the Silver Crystal. As Prince Endymion, Mamoru is revealed to be the owner of the Golden Crystal, the sacred stone of the Golden Kingdom. When Mamoru and the Soldiers combine their power with the Holy Grail, it enables Usagi to transform into Eternal Sailor Moon and kill Nehelenia. Additionally, four of Nehelenia's henchmen, the Amazoness Quartet, are revealed to actually be Soldiers called the Sailor Quartet, destined to become Chibiusa's guardians; they had been awakened prematurely and corrupted by Nehelenia.
In the final arc, Usagi and her friends enter high school. They are drawn into a battle against Shadow Galactica, which consists of a group of false Soldiers known as the Sailor Animamates. Their leader, Sailor Galaxia, plans to steal the Sailor Crystals of true Soldiers in an attempt to overthrow the galaxy and kill an evil life form known as Chaos. To defeat her, Usagi travels to the Galaxy Cauldron, joined by the Sailor Starlights, their ruler Princess Kakyuu and the infant Sailor Chibichibi, who came from a distant future. After numerous battles, Sailor Chibichibi revealing her true form as Sailor Cosmos, the death and revival of Usagi's fellow Soldiers — and Galaxia's own death — Usagi destroys Chaos with the Silver Crystal. After returning to Earth, the story concludes six years later with Usagi and Mamoru's wedding.
Naoko Takeuchi modeled Sailor Moon on her 1991 one-shot manga Codename: Sailor V, which was first published on August 20, 1991 and featured Sailor Venus as the main protagonist. Takeuchi wanted to create a cute series about girls in outer space, and her editor Fumio Osano asked her to put them in sailor fuku. When Codename: Sailor V was proposed for adaptation into an anime by Toei Animation, Takeuchi redeveloped the concept so that Sailor Venus became only one member of a team. The resulting manga series became a fusion of the popular magical girl genre and the Super Sentai series, of which Takeuchi was a fan. Recurring motifs include astronomy, astrology, Greek myth, Roman myth, geology, Japanese elemental themes, teen fashions, and schoolgirl antics.
Takeuchi has admitted that discussions with Kodansha originally envisaged a single story arc, and the storyline developed in meetings a year before publishing. After completing the arc, Toei and Kodansha asked Takeuchi to continue the series. She wrote four more story arcs, often published simultaneously with the five corresponding seasons of the anime adaptation. The anime would only lag the manga by a month or two. As a result, "the anime follows the storyline of the manga fairly closely." Takeuchi later stated that due to Toei's largely male production staff, she feels that the anime has "a slight male perspective."
Takeuchi later explained that she intended to kill off the main characters, but Osano rejected the notion, remarking that "[Sailor Moon] is a shōjo manga!" When the anime adaptation was produced, the protagonists were in fact killed off, although they came back to life, and Takeuchi harbored minor resentment that she was unable to do that in her version.
The Sailor Moon anime adaptation was originally intended by Takeuchi to run only one season, but the first became so popular that Toei asked Takeuchi to keep drawing her manga. At first, she struggled with developing another storyline to extend the series due to the company's request. The basic idea of the second season, introducing the daughter of Sailor Moon from the future, came from Osano.
Written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi, Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon spans 52 chapters, known as "acts," and ten separate side-stories. It was first serialized in the monthly manga anthology Nakayoshi starting on December 28, 1991, and the series ended on February 3, 1997. The side-stories appeared simultaneously in another of Kodansha's manga magazines, RunRun. The 52 individual chapters were published into 18 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha from July 6, 1992 to April 4, 1997. In 2003, the chapters were rereleased in a collection of 12 shinzōban volumes to coincide with the release of the live-action series. The manga was retitled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, and included new cover art, revised dialogue and illustrations. In addition, volumes 1 and 2 of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Short Stories were published. In 2013, the chapters were once again rereleased in 10 kanzenban volumes to commemorate the manga's 20th anniversary, which includes digitally remastered artwork, new covers and color artwork from its Nakayoshi run. The books themselves have been enlarged from the typical Japanese manga size to A5. The short stories was republished in two volumes, with the order of the stories reshuffled, while Codename: Sailor V was also be included within the third edition.
The Sailor Moon manga was initially licensed for an English release by Mixx (later Tokyopop) in North America. The manga was first published as a serial in MixxZine but was later pulled out of that magazine and made into a separate monthly comic to finish the first through third arcs. At the same time, the fourth and fifth arcs began printing in a secondary magazine called Smile. The series was later reprinted into three parts (Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon SuperS, and Sailor Moon: StarS) spanning eighteen volumes, which were published from December 1, 1998, to September 18, 2001. After Tokyopop's license expired in 2005, their edition went out of print.
In 2011, Kodansha Comics USA announced that it would publish the Sailor Moon manga in English, along with the lead-in series Codename: Sailor V, and re-published the twelve volumes of Sailor Moon simultaneously with the two-volume edition of Codename Sailor V, from September 2011 to July 2013. The first volume of the two related short stories was published on September 10, 2013, with the other published on November 26.
Pretty Soldier Sailor MoonEdit
Toei Animation produced an anime television series based on the manga, also titled Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. Directed by Junichi Satō, Kunihiko Ikuhara and Takuya Igarashi, the series aired in Japan from March 7, 1992 to February 8, 1997 on TV Asahi lasting over 200 episodes.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon CrystalEdit
On July 6, 2012, Naoko Takeuchi, Kodansha and idol group Momoiro Clover Z announced that a new anime adaptation was in production and scheduled to premiere in Summer 2013 for a simultaneous worldwide release as part of the series' 20th anniversary celebrations, with Momoiro Clover Z performing both the opening and ending theme music. However in April 2013, the new anime had been delayed.
On August 4, it was confirmed that the new anime will be streamed in the winter. On January 9, 2014, it was announced that the new anime will premiere in July. On March 13, 2014, the official website for the new anime was updated to reveal a countdown (beginning on March 14), regarding a special announcement that will be revealed on March 21, 2014. That same day, an image displaying the key visual art, synopsis and staff for the new anime were announced on Toei's website, revealing the name for the anime, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal (美少女戦士セーラームーンCrystal Bishōjo Senshi Sērāmūn Kurisutaru). The series is animated by Toei Animation and directed by Munehisa Sakai. At the 20th Anniversary Project Special Stage on April 27, 2014, the cast and premiere date were announced; the anime would premiere on July 5, 2014, with episodes premiering on the first and third Saturdays of each month.
While Kotono Mitsuishi reprises her role as the main protagonist Sailor Moon from the previous series, a new cast of voice actresses were chosen for the four Sailor Guardians. Sailor Mercury's voice actress is Hisako Kanemoto, Sailor Mars is voiced by Rina Satō, Sailor Jupiter by Ami Koshimizu, and Sailor Venus is voiced by Shizuka Itō. The first trailer for the new anime was published on YouTube on June 5, along with an announcement of the voice talent slated to play Tuxedo Mask and Luna (Kenji Nojima and Ryo Hirohashi respectively.)
On April 30, Toei confirmed that the series will run for 26 episodes, streaming worldwide via Niconico with subtitles in 12 languages on the first and third Saturday of each month.
On May 16, 2014, to coincide with the licensing of the previous anime series, Viz licensed the Sailor Moon Crystal anime for simulcast streaming in North America. Crunchyroll also began streaming the series on their website on July 5, 2014 at 6:00am ET (10:00 UTC).
Films and TV specialsEdit
Three animated theatrical feature films of the Sailor Moon series have been released in Japan, based on the original Sailor Moon series. However, the films are generally extra side-stories that do not correlate with the same timeline as the series. In addition, a single television special aired in Japan on TV Asahi. The one-hour long special consisted of three animated segments and aired on April 8, 1995.
There have been numerous companion books to the Sailor Moon. Kodansha released some of these books for each of the five-story arcs, collectively called the Original Picture Collection. The books contain cover art, promotional material, and other work done by Takeuchi. Many of the drawings appear accompanied by comments on how she developed her ideas, how she created each picture, whether or not she likes it, and commentary on the anime interpretation of her story.
Another picture collection, Volume Infinity, appeared in a strictly limited edition after the end of the series in 1997. This self-published artbook includes drawings by Takeuchi as well as by her friends, her staff, and many of the voice actors who worked on the anime. In 1999, Kodansha published the Materials Collection; this contained development sketches and notes for nearly every character in the manga, as well as for some characters who never appeared. Each drawing is surrounded with notes by Takeuchi about the specifics of various costume pieces, the mentality of the characters, and her particular feelings about them. It also includes timelines for the story arcs and for the real-life release of products and materials relating to the anime and manga. At the end, the Parallel Sailor Moon short story is featured, celebrating the year of the rabbit.
In the summer of 1993, the first musical theatre production based on Sailor Moon premiered, with Anza Ohyama starring as Sailor Moon. Over the next 12 years, 29 musicals have been produced. The stories of the shows include anime-inspired plotlines as well as a large amount of original material. Music from the series has been released on about 20 "memorial" albums. The popularity of the musicals has been cited as a reason behind the production of the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon TV series.
Musicals ran twice a year, in the winter and in the summer. In the summer, the musicals showed only in the Sunshine Theatre in the Ikebukuro area of Tokyo; however, in the winter they went on tour to the other large cities in Japan, including Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Shizuoka, Kanazawa, Sendai, Saga, Oita, Yamagata and Fukushima.
The final incarnation of the series, New Legend of Kaguya Island (Revised Edition) (新・かぐや島伝説 <改訂版> Shin Kaguyashima Densetsu (Kaiteban)), went on stage in January 2005. Following that show, Bandai officially put the series on a hiatus.
On June 2, 2013, Fumio Osano announced on his Twitter page that the Sailor Moon musicals would begin again in September 2013.
Megahouse will release a set of Sailor Moon trading figures for release in early 2014, consisting of twelve figurines, two for each Sailor Soldier and two for Tuxedo Mask.
A live-action television series was produced by Toei Company. The series, titled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and produced by Toei Company, used an entirely English-language title for the first time in the Sailor Moon franchise. It was broadcast on Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting from October 4, 2003 to September 25, 2004, lasting for 49 episodes.
The series an alternate retelling of the Dark Kingdom arc, adding a significantly different storyline as opposed to the manga and first anime series, with original characters and new plot developments.
In addition to the main episodes, two direct-to-video releases appeared after the show ended its television broadcast. These were the "Special Act", which is set four years after the main storyline ends and which shows the wedding of the two main characters, and "Act Zero", a prequel which shows the origins of Sailor V and Tuxedo Mask.
The Sailor Moon franchise has spawned multiple video games across various genres and platforms. Bandai and a Japanese game company called Angel made most of them, with some produced by Banpresto. The early games were side-scrolling fighters, whereas the later ones were unique puzzle games, or versus fighting games. Another Story was a turn-based role-playing video game.
The only Sailor Moon game produced outside of Japan, 3VR New Media's The 3D Adventures of Sailor Moon, went on sale in North America in 1997.
A video game was released in Spring 2011 for the Nintendo DS, called Sailor Moon: La Luna Splende (Sailor Moon: The Shining Moon).
Several soundtracks were released in the anime, movies and the games. The music for the first anime was composed by Takanori Arisawa and the music for Crystal was composed by Yasuharu Takanashi.
Sailor Moon is one of the most popular manga series of all time, and it continues to enjoy high readership today. By the end of 1995, more than one million copies of its tankōbon volumes had been sold in Japan alone. The manga won the Kodansha Manga Award in 1993 for shōjo. The English adaptations of both the manga and anime series became the first successful shōjo title in the United States.
Sailor Moon has also become popular internationally. Spain and France became the first countries outside of Japan to air Sailor Moon, beginning in December 1993. Other countries followed suit, including Australia, South Korea, the Philippines (Sailor Moon became one of its carrier network's main draws, helping it to become the third-biggest network in the country), Poland, Italy, Peru, Brazil, Sweden and Hong Kong, before North America picked up the franchise for adaptation. In 2001, the Sailor Moon manga was Tokyopop's best selling property, outselling the next-best selling titles by at least a factor of 1.5. In Diamond Comic Distributors May 1999 "Graphic Novel and Trade Paperback" category, Sailor Moon Volume 3 ranked No. 1 in sales of all the comic books sold in the United States.
Both the manga editorial vid and the anime series were released in Mexico twice in a quite accurate translation in Imevisión (what is now Azteca), which also aired almost complete versions of Saint Seiya, Zenki, Candy Candy, Remi, Nobody's Girl, Card Captor Sakura and Detective Conan. With quite a success and in the United States censored version in the Cartoon Network that was very quickly taken off the air due to the lack of viewers being lackluster compared to the original version; due to sensitive or controversial topics a Catholic parents' group exerted pressure to take it off the market, which partially succeeded – but after the whole series had been aired once from Sailor Moon to Sailor Stars and some of the movies.
In his 2007 book Manga: The Complete Guide, Jason Thompson gave the manga series 3 / 4 stars. He enjoyed the blending of shōnen and shōjo styles, stating that the combat scenes seemed heavily influenced by Saint Seiya, but shorter and less bloody, and noting that the manga itself appeared similar to Super Sentai television shows. While Thompson found the series fun and entertaining, the repetitive plot lines were a detriment to the title which the increasing quality of art could not make up for; even so, he still states that the series is "sweet, effective entertainment." Thompson states that although the audience for Sailor Moon is both male and female, Takeuchi does not use excessive fanservice for males, which would run the risk of alienating her female audience. Thompson states that fight scenes are not physical and "boil down to their purest form of a clash of wills," which he argues "makes thematic sense" for the manga.
When comparing the manga and anime, Sylvian Durand first states that the manga artwork is gorgeous, but that the storytelling is more compressed and erratic, and that the anime has more character development. Durand felt "the sense of tragedy is greater" in the manga's telling of the "fall of the Silver Millennium," giving more detail on the origins of the Shitennou and on Usagi's final battle with Beryl and Metaria. Durand feels that the anime leaves out information which makes the story easier to understand, but judges the anime more "coherent," with a better balance of comedy and tragedy, whereas the manga is "more tragic" and focused on Usagi and Mamoru's romance.
For the week of September 11, 2011 – September 17, 2011, the first volume of the re-released Sailor Moon manga was the bestselling manga on the The New York Times Manga Bestsellers list, with the first volume of Codename: Sailor V in second place. The first print run of the first volume sold out after four weeks.