License Request Daily: Sailor Moon

Since I’m clearly in a shôjo place, it seems only appropriate to devote this week’s license request to one of the blockbusters of the category. And since Fantagraphics talked smack about it in its efforts to market Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, what better choice is there than Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon?

I’m not quite sure how many of the comic’s 18 volumes were published in English by the company that would eventually become Tokyopop, and I know it was serialized in Tokyopop’s MixxZine, but the collected volumes are out of print and kind of pricey, so it’s well past time to make it readily available. I think the license for it actually expired before original publisher Kodansha took all of its licenses back from Tokyopop.

It’s credited with breathing new life into the magic girl manga genre in Japan, and it’s also credited with really firing up the demand for shôjo in the United States. Do I need to tell you what it’s about? I do? Okay:

“The protagonist of Sailor Moon, Usagi Tsukino, an ordinary ditsy middle-school girl- or so she thinks- discovers a talking cat named Luna, who reveals Usagi’s identity as “Sailor Moon,” a special warrior with the destiny of saving the planet Earth, and later the entire galaxy. Usagi, who is the reincarnation of the Moon Princess, must now protect Earth from a series of villains, beginning with the Dark Kingdom that had appeared once before, long ago, and destroyed the kingdom of the moon.”

Basically, Usagi assembles a team of really powerful, astronomically accessorized friends who discover their destinies and save the world from people who have no love in their hearts. (They know who they are.)

The series was published in French by Glénat, though it seems like it might be out of print. As to who should republish it in English, well, that’s always a tricky question with Kodansha. They seem interested in keeping their classics back in print, especially if it requires no real effort to do so. But at the same time, it would be kind of fun if Fantagraphics, known in part for its archival impulses, would atone for its earlier snark by putting Sailor Moon back on the shelf in a prestige format.

Come on… The Complete Sailor Moon… Tell me that’s not an awesome idea.

16 Responses to License Request Daily: Sailor Moon

  1. Kimi-Chan says:

    I’d love tos ee this retranslated and unbotched actually. My daughter is a Sailor Moon fanatic, I know we’d have to buy every single volume. She hates the TP eds though because of the uh..editing and localisation choices they made.

  2. I am 300% behind you on this request.

    I am pretty sure all 18 volumes got published, but instead of being numbered 1-18, the numbering restarted for the Super S and Stars arcs. Plus, y’know, there was the whole issue where a bunch of names were changed and who knows what else.

    A few years ago, the series was reissued in twelve beautiful volumes with some scenes redrawn by Takeuchi for the occasion. The short stories were moved into a two-volume collection of their own. I would love to see this set be the one that gets licensed here. I think the renovated cover designs would prob’ly be more appealing, as well.

  3. Tokyopop did release all 18 volumes, but in really crappy bindings. Seriously, most of my collection is falling apart, so I would love, love, love for Sailor Moon to be rereleased. (The Complete Sailor Moon would be awesome, and I’d buy it in a heartbeat, but I would settle for just a nice paperback edition. Paperback would be easier on my wallet as well, although for a theoretical Sailor Moon rerelease, money is (almost) no object.) It’s also a series that should be available for newer fans because it is most definitely a classic. It was the series that first got me interested in anime/manga and will always hold a special place in my heart.

    – Zoe Alexander, a Moonie forever

  4. Aaron says:

    That would be awesome if we could get a re license of the Sailor Moon manga but when even the Anime is caught in “licensing hell” who knows but many people thought they would never get the Revolutionary Girl Utena anime released so maybe there is hope for the manga one can hope.

  5. Erica says:

    Yes, all 18 volumes were printed by Tokyopop. The names of the Inner Senshi were changed, but when they attempted to do the same for the Outer Senshi (at the time, they were serializing the manga in Mixx magazine, which became Smile magazine,) the horror of Hotaru having to answer to “Olivia” was too much for fans and the resulting outcry changed, pretty much, everything in manga forever. From that point on, names were not changed any more in manga, even if a series was perhaps for younger readers. (Localization of names has continued, with “Miss” instead of “-sama,” or “-sensei,” but we’ve never seen wholesale name changes again.)

    The result was that while Usagi remained Bunny, Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna and Hotaru retained their names in the collected volumes. And we all breathed a sigh of relief.

    Sailor Moon was directly responsible for turning me into an otaku, and a Yuri fanatic, so I lay all the credit/blame on Takeuchi-sensei’s shoulders.

    I would very much like to see the anniversary edition be printed here. I would also like to see the live-action series continue to include the Outers, because live action Outers was the one reason I ever found the Sera Myu musicals worth watching. I would like to see the anime remastered and re-released and I would like an apartment in Ikebukuro, since I’m making wishes anyway. ^_^

  6. Oh yes, I was so sad when the live action series ended before the introduction of the Outers! I seriously have goosebumps thinking about it.

  7. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    Sailor Moon was, along with Totoro, what got me into anime and then manga–at about 12 via the DIC dub. I quickly started reading the French manga translations, but yeah the English job, as thrilled as I was when it came out, was a mess. Every vol did come out, but for some reason they never bothered with the original series Sailor V. (I believe, but could be wrong, that Glenat finally did Sailor V in French as well–in which case I should seek them out).

    i think there’s still enough name recognition that new editions of this would do quite well, and actually have been kinda shocked it hasn’t been picked back up by anyone. I admit I’d prob not be as into it as I was back then, by any means, but for nostalgia’s sake along, I’d love to see it back out there.

    • davidpwelsh says:

      Yup, Glénat did do Sailor V. Judging by the number of people who say they would buy new copies for themselves and their enthusiastic kids leads me to think that there could be a second Sailor Moon wave with no problem. But it might be kind of anecdotal or optimistic on my part. “Anecdotal and Optimistic.” I should start a scholarly manga journal called that.

  8. Caddy C says:

    Wait – Sailor Moon is out of print?! How did that happen?

    I never watched Sailor Moon as a kid, but wouldn’t mind checking it out now!

    It seems totally silly to me that the series that brought the magical-girl genre to the US hasn’t gotten a steady license. Sailor Moon brought in so many fans! I know so many people who credit Sailor Moon for bringing them to anime – at least as many, if not more, than Dragon Ball Z. Yet DBZ has had a zillion releases? That sucks!

    • llj says:

      Yep, both anime and manga are out of print. It’s mind-boggling that one of the tentpole franchises of the 90s has largely been MIA on DVD and manga for almost a decade now.

      I have a complete DVD set of Pioneer’s Sailor Moon S and I am sure it would go for some pretty big prices on ebay now.

  9. Heather says:

    I think Tokyopop had to make a quick decision when they finished printing Sailor Moon whether or not to renew the license, which I believe was going to be more expensive. SM Stars had just finished when Smile stopped publication and 100% Manga line started. I am sure Tokyopop tried to keep the license, but cost and Taguichi did not wish to license at that time.

    Supposedly the anime and manga are being shopped around for licensing, but at what cost……

  10. Dirk Deppey says:

    My understanding — based purely on anecdotal second- and third-hand comments from people working the North American manga industry — is that the Japanese publisher’s asking price for reprinting this series in English is just too daunting for U.S. publishers. Until someone steps forward with several big truckloads of cash, you won’t see Sailor Moon back in print.

    • davidpwelsh says:

      Or unless Kodansha decides to publish it themselves and keep all that cash in their own coffers. But they may well just reprint the old Tokyopop versions as they did with Dark Horse’s localizations.

      Ah, well.

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