Viz Media Licenses All "Sailor Moon" Animation for North America
During a panel at the Anime Central convention on Friday, anime and manga distributor Viz Media announced that it has acquired distribution rights to the 1990s Sailor Moon television anime along with its three feature films and related animated specials, as well as Toei Animation’s upcoming remake Sailor Moon Crystal. Viz plans to release all 200 episodes of the original anime on home video completely uncut, including the fifth and final season Sailor Moon Sailor Stars for the first time in North America.
Sailor Moon will receive a bilingual release with Japanese audio and English subtitles and a brand new English dub that will leave all character names and relationships unchanged, in contrast to past English localizations. In addition to the home video release Sailor Moon will also be digitally broadcast in America for the first time on Hulu starting Monday, May 19th. The first four episodes will be available with English subtitles that day, with two more arriving every following Monday.
Viz’s rerelease of Sailor Moon will include remastered footage, uncropped in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. In a lengthy interview with Anime News Network about Viz’s plans for the property, the company’s Senior Manager of Animation Marketing Charlene Ingram remarked that “…all the original colors are preserved, and a lot of care was taken to go along with our official style guides and official materials to make sure all of the colors are the way they were intended to be.” The interview includes three pictures that compare the new remaster against the old 2003 DVD release and the 2009 remaster done for the rerelease of Sailor Moon on DVD in Japan.
Sailor Moon will be released on both DVD sets meant for the mass market and on limited edition Blu-ray / DVD combo releases this year. Viz plans to announce release details and the new English voice cast for Sailor Moon at Anime Expo during July 3 – 6. Variety reports that the first physical media releases “…are planned for fall 2014″ with the feature films targeted for “late 2014″.
An official site for Sailor Moon has launched that hosts Viz’s first official trailer, which includes a fleeting preview of the unannounced English voice for series protagonist Usagi. Details about Viz’s plans for Sailor Moon Crystal will be revealed in the future. The 2014 series, due to debut July 5th as a global online simulcast on the website Nico Nico, is planned to be a retelling of Naoko Takeuchi’s original manga from the begnning of the story. The series is presently greenlighted for 26 episodes and scheduled to premiere new episodes every two weeks.