Sailor Moon, like Akira and Ranma 1/2, was for many their first exposure to anime. The popular television series first aired in the U.S. back in September 1995 and is now making a comeback in its original unedited form.
Viz Media announced today that it has acquired the North American rights to the entire Sailor Moon anime franchise. The license includes all 200 episodes of the franchise, including the fifth and sixth seasons that never made it to the U.S. Viz Media will also be presenting the series uncut for the first time in North America.
“Sailor Moon is one of the extremely rare breed of anime series truly deserving of the title of ‘Legendary’,” says Charlene Ingram, VIZ Media Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “Since its initial debut in the mid-1990’s, Sailor Moon has been unavailable to English-speaking fans for nearly a decade. It has also never seen a complete and proper unedited release in North America...until now!”
“Sailor Moon was groundbreaking in the way its storyline and main characters resonated with both a male and female audience, and these aspects continue to attract a new generation of fans eager to see this iconic series,” says Brian Ige, VIZ Media Vice President of Animation. “We’re thrilled to be able to release this empowering action title uncut and in its entirety. We invite fans to catch the official premieres on Neon Alley and to enjoy the series on DVD and Blu-ray later this year!”
If you weren't a kid or teenager during the 90s, you might have no idea what this Sailor Moon is. In short, it's the story Usagi Tsukino, a high school girl who transforms into Sailor Moon and fights evil. As the series progresses, more girls join the cause as the Sailor Scouts all sporting names based on planets in the solar system. It's also well known for having one of the catchiest English openings ever produced for an anime:
Unfortunately, that opening will not be present in Viz' re-release of the series. Instead, it will be faithful to the source material and not contain any of the edits or cuts found in the original English TV broadcast. As such, Viz will be producing an entirely new dub for the series re-release on DVD and blu-ray later this year.
If you can't wait that long, Viz Media has released the first four episodes in Japanese today on Hulu and its own Neon Alley streaming network. It will be adding new episodes every Monday going forward.
Between this and NISA licensing Card Captor Sakura, those who grew up with anime in the 90s will finally be able to engage in their nostalgia while supporting official releases.
There's no word yet on when Viz Media will release Sailor Moon box sets, but they will be out sometime this Fall. Viz Media has also acquired Sailor Moon Crystal, the new anime airing this year, and will most likely be streaming it alongside the Japanese broadcast for North American fans.
Image via vizmedia/YouTube