Acquisition of UK distribution rights to Sailor Moon (Revised Original/Crystal)
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"Anime is full of dreams, beautiful, powerful, enchanting, some anime are legendary...This is the beginning of a new legend..."
On the 16th May 2014, Viz Media made the official announcement that the anime "Sailor Moon" produced by Toei Animation, would be returning to the United States, but for the first time, uncut and complete for DVD, Blu-ray and digital download.
American audiences (and British) may remember the catchy theme to how Sailor Moon was brought to the English speaking market when first adapted by DiC animation (Sonic the Hedgehog/Inspector Gadget) in 1995, a total of 82 episodes (of the original 89) of the first two seasons were adapted.
At the time that the first English dubbed series was shown on both ITV (GMTV) and Fox Kids (Jetix) the entire first and second (DiC) seasons were released on (VHS until its format end and) DVD by UK based company MVM Entertainment, who have now released popular anime titles such as Love Live! School Idol Project and Fruits Basket.
MVM put out six episodes per release totaling fourteen DVDs of both seasons, but after 2004 they were discontinued supposedly due to low sales. Overall (with its complete lisy of episodes, movies and specials) Sailor Moon itself totals 200 episodes with its entire five seasons, with the addition of three feature films and five shorts, and despite more choice was made available on VHS/DVD overseas in the USA (even long before the discontinuation of the UK DiC titles), there was still demand for the series to be made available for current audiences, it was the result of low quality bootleg releases if now expensive second hand DVDs or Japanese imports.
This is where Viz Media came in from 2014, revising the original Sailor Moon entirely after purchasing the rights from Toei Animation, being made available for the first time uncut and restored, along with the addition of a new English audio dub, in addition, a new animated spin off series "Sailor Moon Crystal" accompanied the revived original.
Fast forward to 2018 and currently, Viz Media has so far put out four (of the five) full seasons of both the original series and Crystal to DVD, Blu-ray and digital download, and more recently has released versions of the first theatrical and short subject movies, and is to complete the second half of the fourth season (SuperS) late next year. Viz is also set to finally bring an English dubbed version of the fifth season "Sailor Stars" in probably a few years time (2020 or so) as no English version has ever been produced.
All that being said... this seems to being only done within in the United States and Australia... which brings me back to where I'm writing this.
Sailor Moon's popularity with social media, guests at cosplay conventions and imported merchandise make her image go un-noticed in the UK, but unless you are looking for her complete original manga comic book series, you'll find it difficult in finding her anime TV series within this country on any home entertainment format.
Ever since the discontinuation of the MVM (DiC) DVDs, no distribution company within the UK has ever considered picking up the rights to bring the now revised series to its British fans, although it's easy to find Sailor Moon on a framed wall poster, a mug, a key-ring, a bottle-opener, the occasion POP Vinyl figures, a Japanese imported figurine, or if you were very lucky, one of the original DiC DVDs, second hand and probably at a high asking price, considering the small number of episodes listed on each one back then.
In order for fans to watch the original or revived series they would usually have to rely on some (considered illegal) anime streaming sites, but for them it would be a question which version they were looking for, if like me you were eager to find the revised ViZ Media series you would be very disappointed in finding the corny (if not memorable but now dated) DiC series, but bare in mind DiC hasn't adapted EVERY episode when it first came out, and as easy it would be for fans to buy the series imported, it would mean the use of a multi region DVD/Blu-Ray player, and considering the cost of one alone... not everyone would own one if the series was watched on the go... and download links don't always last forever.
With all this said and done, it is to belief of many that Sailor Moon should be brought back to the UK home entertainment market for DVD, Blu-ray and digital streaming, and the ideal company that comes to mind in possibly making this happen would be MANGA, who has brought to its loyal fans and customers an extensive and satisfactory range of anime titles. including the entire set of original theatrical Pokemon movies as well as all five seasons of Yu-Gi-Oh! from 4Kids and as of 2017, they have obtained the rights to release the complete seaons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Saban brands.
MANGA hold many more popular anime properties such as Attack on Titan, Black Butler, Naruto, Ghost in the Shell, Clannad, Dragonball Z... the list goes on, surly, Sailor Moon deserves a spot among them, if not a spot between any other DVD title on sale in a HMV store or online Amazon.
If brought back to the UK it would also be a question on how the BBFC would certificate the revised format, clearly without it's first American censorship, this shows it wasn't an anime specifically aimed at a younger audience, the revised English dub does include minor, but not strong swearing, but the original cuts are also known for their included violence, sexual references, and inappropriate behavior scenes which is put out on some current animes today.
Viz Media's series would likely be rated between PG - 12, but the final episode of the fifth series... known of a certain (but not overall revealing moment) would push it up to a 15, but we're not even up to Sailor Stars yet. :P
Either way, it's an anime considered to it's British fans as "missing", and despite its controversial history it deserves to be a part of UK Anime market, we can't imagine any other reason what is preventing it from being brought back to us...
... other than the possibility of the license being expensive to purchase in order to make it available, the whole purpose of this petition isn't to shove this in Manga's faces and say "buy it already, we're not getting younger" but to show that there is a demand for this franchise to return to the home media market, Manga's name is merely a suggestion considering what they have been able to bring us already, so please help us push for a new UK release by sharing and signing this campaign so we can hopefully one day make this a reality.
Thank you :)
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