skip to Main Content

Moon Prism Power, Make-up! : A “Sailor Moon” retrospective | new university

The first episode of the popular Japanese anime series “Sailor Moon” aired on March 7, 1992. Since then, the series has managed to gather a large number of fans around the world, becoming one of the three main pillars of the Japanese anime alongside “Pokemon” and “Dragon Ball Z” in the late 1990s in America.

Plot

“Sailor Moon” is about a clumsy, whiny girl known as Usagi who meets a cat named Luna who tells her that she is actually a magical warrior known as Sailor Moon and must defeat an evil witch known as Queen Beryl. Along the way, she meets various friends who help her in her quest, such as intelligent fighter Sailor Mercury, Shinto shrine priestess Sailor Mars, tomboyish girl Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus, who already has a career in the fight against villains as “Sailor V”. with her own cat, Artemis. Collectively they are known as the Sailor Guardians. Usagi also has a boyfriend named Momoru who usually tries to help the heroes as “Tuxedo Mask” by impersonating a mysterious figure who not only gives the girls pep talks but also helps distract the villains.

In terms of episodes and story structure for its five seasons, “Sailor Moon” is a formula. The seasons center around evil villains who want to capture some kind of supernatural energy for nefarious purposes. As the villains target corrupted humans and turn them into monsters by taking advantage of their anxieties, desires, and fears, it’s up to Sailor Moon and her friends to fight these monsters.

Sailor Moon’s battles are similar to the battle scenes depicted in “Power Rangers”, but they include more magic powers and fewer punches. Additionally, both are team-oriented shows featuring color-coded characters licensed from Toei, a famous Japanese company founded in 1948 known for producing both live and animated media, usually with state toyetic spirit.

Changes and Releases

In later seasons, many additional characters are introduced. These include Chibi-Usa, Usagi and Momoru’s daughter from the future, athlete Haruka and violinist Michiru, a lesbian couple, and boyband lead singer Seyia, Usagi’s new love interest in Season 5. All of these characters become new heroes who help Usagi.

The series also has many different villains, each with their own gimmick. After defeating Queen Beryl and her group of mineral-based royalty, the Sailor Guardians battle the Black Moon Clan, a family of gem-based wizards, the Death Busters, the Dead Moon Circus, and Shadow Galactica.

Although there are several versions of the series, each has slight variations. For example, the original 1992 anime has 200 episodes, most of which consist of non-essential “filler” storylines. On the other hand, the 2014 manga and anime – known as “Sailor Moon Crystal” – cut the plot to around 50 episodes, containing only the important storylines for the overall plot.

Along with the many versions of the show, Corporate America has also changed the franchise in many ways. The first attempted — and failed — version of the show was a 1993 version by Toon Makers. This version would have presented the Sailor Scouts as a multi-ethnic force that has spent its civilian life in live action and battling monsters in animated form. The fandom called this version “Saban Moon” because it was meant to look like “Power Rangers” and be pitched to the animation company that created it, Saban Entertainment. However, it was ultimately deemed too expensive to produce, and a dub of the original anime was created instead.

Dubbing work for the anime fell to Dic Entertainment with Canadian distribution, resulting in several notable changes.

First, most of the character names were changed – Usagi became “Serena”, Momoru became “Darien”, and Ami became “Amy”. Many episodes and aspects were also edited for cultural and content standards. In the first episode, Serena eats her sorrows with donuts after getting a bad grade on a test while in the original she eats dumplings.

This voice acting was also added in moral segments known as “Sailor Says”, which were short public service announcements loosely related to the episode. This dub ran for two seasons, initially airing in syndication before Cartoon Network’s Toonami block began airing it. Because Toonami’s screenings were successful, they eventually commissioned Toei Animations’ North American subsidiary, Cloway, to dub subsequent seasons.

With a new cast, Cloway’s voice acting covers seasons three and four, though they retained the name changes that were established in seasons one and two. Perhaps most infamously, this version of the anime censored Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus’ lesbian relationship and turned them into cousins. Unfortunately, after the season four dub was released, the license ran out and season 5 would not be dubbed for 13 years.

When Viz Media took over the license in 2014, audiences enjoyed easier access to the Japanese original, a North American release of “Sailor Moon Crystal,” and a new, less censored dub. This version featured many anime personalities, such as Cristina Vee as Rei and Veronica Taylor as Sailor Pluto.

Being a popular anime, it’s no surprise to find that “Sailor Moon” has spawned countless merchandise. During the anime’s and Toonami’s initial run, various merchandise was sold, including dolls, soundtrack albums, and a translated version of the manga. Coinciding with the manga re-release in 2011 and the revised anime dub in 2014, Toei licensed more merchandise to appeal to adult fans of the franchise, such as swimsuits, jewelry, and mugs.

“Sailor Moon” obviously popularized the magical girl genre. Not only did he achieve fame in America, introducing the country to anime shojo, a series aimed at young women, but his influence can be seen today in shows like Toei’s Precure, which has a structure and archetypes of similar characters.

Bailey Kanthatham is an entertainment writer. He can be reached at [email protected].

Back To Top