Since it is with daily frequency that I am asked about this, chances are you are one of the customers who have inquired about the whereabouts of the Sailor Moon manga at Forbidden Planet, otaku Mecca of Union Square. “How could you not have Sailor Moon? Everyone knows Sailor Moon!” you may have wondered with an air of frustration, not sure why something so iconic would be so rare. To be fair, there are a lot of older classics that have become uncommon, like the original Gundam, or Star Blazers, Saint Seiya, and the like. Unlike Sailor Moon, however, none of these were responsible for the spawn of an entire “too-young-for-Akira” generation of anime fans worldwide. Sailor Moon was the first of its kind; a magical girl show that featured a team of heroines fighting evil. Despite its young target audience, it catered to a wider variety of fans with its short skirts and smartly written storyline; incorporating far more mythology than most people realize at a glance. Sailor Moon was, without a doubt, the anime induction-rite for pretty much any youngling of the early 90s, keeping it in such a special and nostalgic place for so many of us.
But in case you haven’t heard, the Sailor Moon drought is about to end come September. Kodansha, who holds the rights to the Sailor Moon manga, is returning the beloved magical girl series to us at last with English imprints of Naoko Takeuchi’s touched up version of the manga. And for the first time ever, they are releasing Code Name: Sailor V, the prequel that gave way to the Sailor Moon (and Sailor Venus!) we know and love. That’s not to say that Sailor Moon merchandise will necessarily resurface though, so expect prices for those retro art books and toys to skyrocket as Sailor Moon regains momentum with fans both new and old. There are also no plans for a rerelease of the anime, which hasn’t been in print for quite some time; so that will still be a bit hard to come by. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of other Sailor Moon nonsense to satiate you in between!
For instance, if you’re a fan of J-dramas you should totally check out Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, the 49-episode live action series. Some people complain that it’s a bit cheesy, resembling a sort of Power-Rangers-in-skirts; but frankly what else would you expect? Sailor Moon is a little cheesy by nature, and part of Takeuchi’s original inspiration was the Super Sentai metaseries (AKA POWER RANGERS), so if anything, the cheesiness is wildly appropriate. What makes PGSM so enjoyable is that it is a great blend of both the anime and the manga. PGSM is much more in line with a lot of the things that got shuffled around for the animated version while also introducing new plot elements and twists that keep it from seeming like an unneeded rehash of something you’ve seen before. It’s also nice that PGSM centers solely on the first season, so there is more focus on the original five Sailor Soldiers. That way, when one of them falls under the influence of the Dark Kingdom for a time and is fighting against the rest of the Soldiers, you care. Or when another major character takes on a life-threatening illness, there is time for both the viewer and the other characters to react without a rushed feeling. And amazingly enough, Mamoru (Tuxedo Mask) isn’t a giant douche in this version; I venture to say I might even like him a little bit in PGSM!
Now I know what you’re thinking: Live action Sailor Moon? R U SRS? Who thought of that one? Well I’ll tell you: it was the Japanese executives who saw how popular Sera Myu, the Sailor Moon stage musicals, was and decided to bank on that. Yes, I said Sailor Moon stage musicals plural (there were twenty-nine, by the way). They ran with great success until 2005, with over 800 performances and four different actresses taking up the mantle of Sailor Moon. The costumes are those super blinged out Sailor fuku that you may have no doubt seen people cosplaying now and then, and are once again kind of a blend between the anime and the manga. Still, there are quite a few of the Sailor Moon musicals that feature original storylines that spin off of the manga, and in some cases from some of the illustrations Takeuchi has done over the years. Which is pretty much just a fan’s dream come true, amirite? (So right!!)
So throw your hand in the air and shout, ‘Moon Crystal Power, MAKE UP!’ and get ready for a whole new wave of swirling pink ribbons and rainbow sparkles.