Acquisition of UK distribution rights to Sailor Moon (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 put out 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 totalling fourteen DVDs of the both seasons, but after 2004 they were discontinued supposedly due to low sales. overall Sailor Moon 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 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.
This is where Viz Media came in from 2014, revising the original Sailor Moon entirley in being made available uncut and restored along with the addition of a new English audio dub, as well as this, a new animated spin off series "Sailor Moon Crystal" accompanied the revived original.
Fast forward to 2017 and currently, Viz Media has so far put out two (of the five) full seasons of both the original series and Crystal to DVD, Blu-ray and digital, and more recently has put out a new version of the first movie "Sailor Moon R: The Movie" and is to complete the third season later this year. Viz is also set to finally bring an English version of the fifth season "Sailor Stars" in probably afew years time as no English version has ever been produced.
All that being said... this seems to being only done within in the United States... 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 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 series to its british fans, although it's easy to find Sailor Moon on a framed wall poster, a mug, a keyring, 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 ViZ Media series you would be very disappointed in finding the corny (if not memorable) DiC series, but bare in mind DiC hasn't adapted EVERY episode when it first came out, 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, I believe Sailor Moon should be brought back to the UK home entertainment market for DVD, Blu-ray and digital streaming... and what better company could try and make this happen than MANGA, literally one of the best, if not THE best saviors of UK anime distributing, more recently MANGA brought the entire set of original theatrical Pokemon movies over from ViZ Media after they acquired them from 4Kids Entertainment (despite the absence of the Pikachu mini-films), as well as all five seasons of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! and as of 2017, they have obtained the licence to put out the first two seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in their entirety.... MANGA hold many more popular anime properties such as Attack on Titan, Black Butler, Naruto, Ghost in the Shell, Dragonball Z... the list goes on, surly, Sailor Moon deserves a spot amongst them, if not a spot between any other DVD title in a HMV store..
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 behaviour scenes.... which is put out on some current animes today, Viz Media's series would likley be rated between PG - 12, but the final episode of the fith 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 brit fans as "missing", and despite its controversial history it deserves to be a part of UK Anime distribution, we can't imagine any other reason what is preventing it from being brought back to us, so please help us push for a new UK release by sharing and signing this campaign so we can make this a reality.
Thank you :)
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