Wouldn’t ya know the moment I go on a vacation, something spectacular happens in the anime community! As a rule, I stay off the internet while on these breaks but friends texted me for all this news about Sailor Moon.
We have been waiting a long time, too long really, for a Sailor Moon anime license rescue. But now here it is and it wasn’t just a rescue, it is a whole package of epic proportions.
After Rose of Versailles, Mazinger Z, and Galaxy Express 999 available in English it seemed clear that not every anime would ever be licensed but there were no anime that were clearly off the table (other than maybe Anpanman and Doraemon). No one expects to hear that Legend of the Galactic Heroes got licensed but if it were picked up tomorrow a large number of people who would be happy but not many that would be utterly flabbergasted. At this point it is more surprising what has still not picked up more than what is. While it is probably a matter of cost it is still a little surprising that in world were you can buy DVDs of Uta no Prince-sama you can’t do the same with Free!.
The biggest headscratcher has always been the fact that no one had ever got the rights to re-release Sailor Moon. It was one of the tent pole series in creating modern English-speaking anime fandom especially when it came to female fans. It was on TV in an extremely visible manner. It is clearly a series that still has a good deal of nostalgic cache. So as it has been out of print for a while the price of the old DVD release of the original series and R from ADV has gotten increasingly expensive and the older Sailor Moon S and Super S from Geneon have become insanely valuable. Sailor Moon Sailor Stars was only ever available as fan-subs. So the conventional wisdom was that anyone would wanted to make boatloads of sales just needed to get their hands on this property and just let it print money. The fact that no one had the series spoke more to the fact that something had to be happening behind the scenes. I have heard a dozen different rumors and theories. The Japanese licensor did not want the crazier parts of Sailor Stars to ruin the reputation of the brand, Naoko Takeuchi had near impossible demands, the Japanese producers wanted to release it themselves as opposed to going through a middle man in the U.S., or just that it was insanely expensive. Whatever the reason that was holding it back that seems to been cleared away with the imminent debut of the new Sailor Moon Crystal.
VIZ not only has the rights to Sailor Moon Crystal but they also releasing all the original series uncut. That is sort of a big deal.