Sailor Moon was created by Naoko Takeuchi, and has often been credited with the re-emergence of the "magical girl" genre and popularizing the concept of a team of magical girls. The major characters in Sailor Moon are teenage girls who can transform into heroines that are named for the moon and planets. In Japan, they are called "Sailor Senshi" (in the American dub, they are called "Sailor Scouts"). The term "sailor" comes from a style of girls' school uniform (sera fuku, which means "sailor outfit").
The manga for Sailor Moon launched in February 1992, and the anime began airing on Japanese television a month later. There are a total of five story arcs about these heroines, who are reincarnated defenders of a kingdom that once spanned the solar system. The five metaseries for Sailor Moon are: The Dark Kingdom arc, the Black Moon arc (also known as Sailor Moon R), the Infinity arc (also known as Sailor Moon S), the Dream arc (also known as Sailor Moon SuperS), and the Stars arc (also known as Sailor Stars). The anime was produced by Toei Animation, and 200 episodes aired on TV Asahi.
The main protagonist is Usagi Tsukino (known in the English version as Serena), who is an ordinary middle school student that meets a talking cat named Luna. Through Luna, she learns that the world is going to be attacked by the Dark Kingdom. Usagi/Serena's dormant powers awaken, and she fights the Dark Kingdom using the identity "Sailor Moon." As the series progresses, Usagi/Serena learns more about the enemies she has to face, discovers the truth about her past life, as well as her destined true love.
Usagi/Serena is joined in her fight by: Mamoru Chiba (known as Darien in the English version; he is Tuxedo Mask and later becomes Usagi/Serena's boyfriend), Ami Mizuno (spelled "Amy" in the English version; she is Sailor Mercury), Rei Hino (spelled "Raye" in the English version; she is Sailor Mars), Makoto Kino (known as Lita in the English version; she is Sailor Venus, and has a cat named Artemis that works alongside Luna), Chibiusa (known as Rini in the English version; she is a little girl from 1,000 years in the future who can transform into Sailor Chibi Moon/Sailor Mini Moon), Setsuna Meioh (known as Trista in the English version; she is Sailor Pluto), Michiru Kaioh (known as Michelle in the English version; she is Sailor Neptune), Haruka Tenoh (known as Amara in the English version; she is Sailor Uranus), and Hotaru Tomoe (she is Sailor Saturn).
DiC acquired the rights to the first 72 episodes of Sailor Moon (this consists of the entire first series and roughly two-thirds of Sailor Moon R). By removing six episodes and merging two others, the episode count was reduced to 65 (which is the minimum number of episodes for strip syndication on US television).
The 65 episodes that DiC released had several minutes cut from them to make room for more commercials, to censor plot points and visuals that were deemed to be "inappropriate" for children, as well as to make room for the "Sailor Says" educational segment that appeared at the end of each episode. The remaining episodes of Sailor Moon R were later adapted in the same manner.
The next two series were dubbed into English by Optimum Productions, and these dubs stayed relatively close to the original Japanese versions. However, Sailor Stars has never been licensed for English adaptation.
In Japan, there were three theatrically-released films for Sailor Moon, and four special animated shorts. There was also a merchandising campaign in Japan that included over 5,000 items. Over 40 Japanese-language music albums based on the series were released, in addition to 33 singles; by comparison, in North America, only three CD albums were released. In Japan, spinoffs include musical theatre productions, video games, and a live-action series.
Sailor Moon did not have the same kind of following in America as it did in Japan; in fact, the dubbed version of the series received poor ratings in the United States. As of May 2004, the series has gone off the air in all English-speaking countries due to lapsed licenses that have yet to be renewed. However, the cult audience Sailor Moon had found while it was on the air in North America during the mid-to-late 1990s has stayed rather loyal to the series over the years.
|Sailor Moon||46||1992-1993||Junichi Sato||Toei Animation||N/A|
|Sailor Moon R: The Movie||N/A||1993||Kunihiko Ikuhara||Toei Animation||N/A|
|Sailor Moon R||43||1993-1994||Kunihiko Ikuhara||Toei Animation||N/A|
|Sailor Moon S: The Movie||N/A||1994||Hiroki Shibata||Toei Animation||N/A|
|Sailor Moon S||38||1994-1995||Kunihiko Ikuhara||Toei Animation||N/A|
|Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie||N/A||1995||Hiroki Shibata||Toei Animation||N/A|
|Sailor Moon SuperS||39||1995-1996||Kunihiko Ikuhara||Toei Animation||N/A|
|Sailor Stars||34||1996-1997||Takuya Igarashi||Toei Animation||N/A|