After finally getting to view the 20th Anniversary Sailor Moon conference, I admit to being even more excited then I was when it was announced just randomly on the net that a new Sailor Moon anime was in the works, and the announcement exactly 20 years to the day that the first collected volume of the manga was released, made it feel even more special.
So much information came out of the conference, not just about the new project, but also about the behind the scenes aspects of the original projects as well. From the limited amount of time between conception of the idea and publication, to the personal lives of the voice actors involved in the show, it was a nostalgia bomb.
The main discussion started out about how the manga, “Codename: Sailor V”, caught the interest of Toei Animation. Naoko Takeuchi was asked to expand and flesh out the concept, and thus Sailor Moon was born. Though the project originated from Toei wanting to make an animated series and sell toys, the manga was still being developed at the same time. So after only 6 months, from concept to production, the anime was produced, which is why some thing the first season seemed to be a haphazardly put together. At the time, there were no animated scenes to show the voice actors at the auditions, so when Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Usagi, went in to audition for the role, director Junichi Sato physically did the moves for the line “in the name of the Moon, I will punish you.”
Later on, as the anime moved away from the manga in terms of “filler” seasons and extra characters, Toei did ask Takeuchi to do the new characters concept art. So while she kept to her own concepts and dedication to the manga, and took no influence from the anime, the art concepts for the different anime characters were still her own.
Halfway through the first season of the anime, while ratings were doing extremely well, merchandise sales were not. People saw the difference between the anime and manga and many thought the competing stories would lead to the series being doomed. The tabloid “Uwasa no Shinsou” first broke the story of the impending cancellation of the show, to the surprise of most of the people that worked on the project itself. It was the release of the Moon Wand that had merchandise sales pick up enough that the show kept its sponsors and was able to continue on.
There was also talk about the immense amounts of knockoff merchandise that originated from this. Many runs of merchandise are fairly small in Japan, leading to many of the toys, dolls, and props to be very rare and very expensive if shipped to venders overseas. A large amount of the merchandise we saw here in America was actually knockoffs, including the early backpacks and plushies that could be found here before and during the launch of the anime in the States.
Mitsuishi talked about how every year the cast from the anime would take a hot springs vacation together where they would be able to relax, eat, sing, and play tennis. She also talked about how the girls really enjoyed doing live shows, and that they really wanted to be able to do those show and sing the Sailor Moon music. They were turned down each time they asked, and eventually formed “Peach Hips” with original music and themes.
At this point the Japanese studio goes live to France’s Japan Expo, where video is played of the transformation sequence for the 5 senshi. Momoiro Clover Z then comes out on stage, in Sailor Moon cosplay corresponding to their personal performance colors, instead of the traditional fuka colors. After their performance of the original opening theme for the anime, they announce that Japan Expo is only the start of the 20th Anniversary Sailor Moon event. Special events and merchandise will be released all over the world, including France finally getting the rerelease of the Sailor Moon and Sailor V manga.
And then, the big announcement, a new anime series to be released simultaneously worldwide, in summer of 2013 in commemoration of the twenty years since the original, and that they would be singing the brand new theme.
This sparked the frenzy online, everyone posting about Sailor Moon, and rumors starting on what would be in store for the new anime. Frantic fans calling, texting, or facebooking friends that might not have heard the news at that particular moment in time, even causing Sailor Moon to trend on twitter, all because of those few words.
Going back to the Japanese studio, Mitsuishi talks about how excited the staff of Toei is to be doing something like this, and how excited she is to be working with this group of people again and just how many people working on this project were fans of the original. Tohru Furuya, the voice of Mamoru Chiba says that even twenty years after the fact, the women involved in this seem really excited about what is happening.
In a letter from Takeuchi, she states that she’s so happy that Sailor Moon was loved so much, and is embarrassed that even this long after the fact, it’s still such a popular title. She’s both excited and frightened by this new project, but can’t wait to see the old characters come back. She hopes that Sailor Moon is remembered fondly and accepted with open arms, or she may have to punish you in the name of the moon.
While this is the main concept of the conference, you can’t see their reactions, and hear the joy that came from everyone that was a part of this just by reading this. I hope you all watch it for yourselves.
Stepping away from the fully known items, and entering the realm of rumor, certain things have come up on the internet. With how popular musicals based on anime have become in Japan, and the fact that so many anime have musicals based off of them almost from the very start, we can almost assuredly predict a new Sera Myu musical. Whether this one would be based entirely on the new anime or some original concept is all that is really to question. Knowing that the Sera Myu series was so popular, even after the anime and manga were completed almost ensures that something will be in the works for it.
Rumor also grows rabid on just what role the original voice actors will have in the new project. Both Mitsuishi and Furuya have stated how excited they are working on this new project. However, not once during this conference, or even on their own personal pages, have they come out and said they were reprising their old roles. Yet, would people that grew up with the series, which are so dedicated to see this new project work, want to hear Usagi and Mamoru have different voices? Knowing that these two are so passionate about their time during the series, and the series itself, leads many to think that they couldn’t possibly not take over their old roles.
While a 20th anniversary DVD series release was already done, and will end its distribution at some point this year, rumor is that Japan will have yet another release of the full series on DVD starting in October. Called the “Memorial DVD Box Sets” collection, not much is known about exactly how this will be released. As the full series has already gotten a 20th anniversary season by season release, the rumor has it that this release will involve the characters themselves. Each DVD will feature one character on the cover, and include a full bio inside. However, the DVD content itself could include anything from just a rerelease of the series, to character specific episodes to go with the bio concept. Again this is all still rumor, as no information other than a DVD release has been announced. Though since the 20th anniversary collection did not include subs or dubs, we can only hope that this new release includes a way for the non-Japanese language fans to fully enjoy a new release of the anime.
Japan is also going to be seeing a second rerelease of the manga, in special A4 sized format, which is 8.27in x 11.69in and in the edited 10 volume instead of 14 volume concept. Details aren’t specifically known, whether this is going to be a full color release or just a large printed version, but Japan will also benefit from Codename Sailor V getting this special treatment at least for one volume.
All in all, the news is terrific for fans of the series. It’s a concept that shows even now are using as their base, love and friendship will see you through any obstacle. Whether we get a modern update, or a true manga adaptation is still to be seen, but we can all be sure or one thing, Sailor Moon cosplay is about to get ridiculously popular again.