BREAKING NEWS: Naoko Takeuchi Finally Acknowledges Sailor Moon is Back on ANIMAX!

Just the Barest Minimum?

This morning, Sailor Moon Channel updated again predictably, as it does at the beginning of the month. We on staff were fully expecting her not to acknowledge that the series was back on the air, and feature either a new game or addition to a feature on the site, and some new fan letters to Luna. Well, both of those were there. The 8th Luna Report was posted, and this one featured more snippets from the manga to put together a typical day for the Senshi. Right at the top of the fan letters posting was a letter from a 25 year old fan named Risa from Kanagawa Prefecture. Our plans for Phase 4 had included a template for fan letters to SMC, and one of those were planned to include something about being happy the show was back on the air on ANIMAX and how it’s a joy to see something we all enjoyed when we were younger again. However, we’ve been unbelievably busy with the other phases of the campaign and keeping a Hawk’s Eye on what’s going on in Japan, so this part was shelved to go with the upcoming phase. This letter must have been one of several she received from Japanese fans, and this may have prompted her to finally take some acknowledgment of the rebroadcast. The picture we have featured above is a screenshot of the index page (the frames are just not aligning properly, this is why the Moon and the spark on the right have gaps), but in a box, we have highlighted the announcement, which simply says that Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon is broadcast from Mondays to Fridays on ANIMAX. It doesn’t link anywhere.

Here’s the translation of the letter from Risa!

The rebroadcast of the animated cartoon ‘Sailor Moon’ started 9/1 on ANIMAX, and when I was in grade school I looked forward to watching it happily every day! I loved Sailor Moon!

I am turning 25 years old and the cartoon is still a big favorite of mine (*laughter*). I am happy! Please continue with the forever lasting eternal Sailor hero that I wanted to be when I was younger!

Hey Risa, there’s no reason to be embarrassed being a fan of it at such an age! We know of many fans who are much older! And here is “Luna’s” very un-fun response:

Sailor Moon finally began rebroadcasting! Please continue your support and everything else you are doing and watch it everyday! Broadcast details are on the right of the home page above the News.

We thought we’d see something a little more fun from “Luna”. This response just appears very bare bones and boring compared to the energy she has for responding to the other letters.

This does, however give us a few more pieces to the puzzle. This announcement comes nearly a month after the rebroadcast, and nearly two months after Kotono’s first interview promoting the return of the series. Moreover, there was never an announcement about the movies rebroadcasting on Toei Channel. Perhaps, there is still a lot of animosity between Naoko and Toei , and she felt that she would have to publicize the movies on Toei Channel if she announced the series’ return on ANIMAX (they were being packaged together as Sailor Moon Matsuri [Sailor Moon Festival] ) and perhaps this is the reason why she avoided posting anything on the site about it.

Still though, something doesn’t seem right. A proper site with something like this would have at the very least linked to ANIMAX’s Sailor Moon subsite. This is why this is just a bare minimum mention. “Luna” could have said something like “I am watching it to” or “I am glad to have my adventures with Sailor Moon again”, but it looks like it was never meant to be.

Nonetheless, ありがとうございます 武内直子. 私たちは愛美少女戦士セーラームーン. として、それと思ったほど悪くないではなかった! あなた美少女戦士セーラームーン英語で、別の機会を与えていただけますか?

EDIT: The announcement now links to ANIMAX!

North American VA Update Fall 2009 – Part 1!

Hey everyone: with Operation Moonrise in full swing, it is really important that you continue to support your favorite Sailor Moon voices – especially since so many of them were favored over stars from FUNImation! Here comes part 1 of a multi-part post!

Stephanie Morgenstern’s Flashpoint Smashes Through TV Screens Again!

Stephanie Morgenstern’s (Sailor Venus #1) Flashpoint has returned in the Great White North this fall (but we’re still eagerly anticipating a return on America’s CBS). Canadians can catch new episodes on CTV Friday nights – check your local listings. Our sister blog We Got The Solution has many more details about the show but we look forward to seeing possible appearances by her this season! Last week’s episode explored something that changes the flow of the SRU for the rest of the season. If you haven’t seen it yet, the episode is on iTunes! Flashpoint: Season 1 also hits DVD in the US on October 13th, and DVD and Blu Ray in Canada on the same day! We’ve been following this before it even came to the airwaves and we’re still astounded that the show is in it’s third season! And it dominated on Friday night :).

And we’ve learned something new about Ice Planet. And IcePlanet.TV had posted a strange cryptic message about the future of Ice Planet, which seems to be taking forever to get off the ground. The post is gone now (site was just relaunched today), however it told a strange story of a company that had some strange financial woes and was then hit by the ultimate blow, the recession. IPTV still claims the show will be in production this year, but then again, we wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t. No word officially if Stephanie is still slated to play Cathy Trager in the show or not.

Naz Edwards and Liza Balkan On Stage!

Naz Edwards (Queen Beryl) will be appearing very soon on the Jewish Ensemble Theater stage in West Bloomfield, Michigan! She will be playing the best friend to Amy Kaplan (played by Sarab Kamoo) in the JET’s production of Kitty Dubin’s The Blank Page. This performance runs through mid-October to the beginning of November and is also the world premiere! The JET released the plot synopsis : “With the deadline for her second novel looming, a creative writing professor is mired in self-doubt while work, family and a gifted new student threaten to drag her under. As she struggles to finish the novel, conflicts erupt with her husband, her best friend and her oh-so-talented student.” For our Michigan readers who want more information, click here! Naz also performed in the Performance Network’s Decade of Dreams Cabaret!

And not too far from Detroit, in Kingston, Ontario, Liza Balkan (Sailor Mercury #2) is also on stage! She is appearing from now until October 10th in Theater Kingston’s season opener, Forms of Devotion. This play is based on the Governor General’s Award-winning book of the same name, by Diane Schoemperlen. Even though the stories are set in the present day, they are based on wood carvings from the 18th and 19th century. This adaptation features many shorts on emotions and relationships alternated with short episodes about daily life. Liza plays the leading female, Mary.

Jill Frappier Appears On Camera Again After A Long Time!

It has been 9 years since we’ve seen Luna on camera! Jill Frappier had a few lines’ worth of appearance on Canada’s Comedy Network’s The Jon Dore Show – but it was worth it to see her on camera again! As soon as we heard her voice, we instantly recognized her! She played a grief stricken woman who told an inconsiderate Jon Dore that for years she told an old man to go see a doctor about his health problems. And ironically enough, Jon Dore spent nearly the entire episode avoiding the same thing! We know that Jill is busy teaching at her very successful drama school for kids, Dragontrails Drama, but once in a while it’s nice to see her on TV (we will see more soon, right?)

Spot Vince in Entourage!

Vince Corazza (Tuxedo Mask #3) had an appearance a few episodes in this season of HBO’s Entourage, but we couldn’t spot him. We watched the episode twice, and we think he might be spotted somewhere in the boardroom during the first meeting of the episode, but we’re not entirely sure. He is credited though! He appeared in the episode No More Drama , which was about a thief who broke into Vincent’s house and stole of all things, his underwear. This caused all sorts of paranoia between Vincent and Johnny. The episode is probably available on HBO and HBO Canada On Demand, or will probably be re-run again in the future!

Finally, the Whereabouts of CM-1975 Slc. Gemstone ‘Sailor Moon’ Are Known!

This article brings a little more bad news, but there is a small ray of sunshine in this article to light some of the darkness of bad news earlier this week!

Back in August, we posted an article that featured a second orchid named for Sailor Moon with whatever we could find. One of our readers Lunchboxfox, did some investigating and found that Dogashima was not the name of a horticulturist – but of a famous Japanese Orchid Resort and Academy! Orchid Resort Dogashima is located In beautiful Shizukoka and is a huge park devoted to orchids. They have plant displays both inside and out and the park is built around a large suspension bridge! There are over 10,000 species on display, and many events are held here. They also have tours, a naturally-made playground, orchid planting and corsage-making workshops, organic and healing food restaurants, a forest, and an orchid zone. And of course, there is a store for orchids and related merchandise. It also looks like they have an academy there for orchid propagation and research. This place definitely looks like a lot of fun and if any of our readers are lucky enough to visit this region, please put this on your sightseeing list! For everyone reading this blog, before we hit the interesting (and the bad news about this orchid), here’s your ray of sunshine –please wander the Orchid Resort’s site and marvel at the pictures☺.

She emailed the resort to find out some more information about the orchid in question and learned from a Mr. Sato that this orchid was hybridized by this resort and registered to the Japanese Branch of the Royal Horticultural Society back in 1993. He also told us a little bit about the name – however his English isn’t perfect so we are trying our best to tell you what he said! He said that the meaning of gemstone was “Gem” that is shining and beautiful, and not shaped like a stone. They had hoped that in the future that this orchid would grow to be a lot more beautiful and that this variety could be used to create more hybrids. He also said that Sailor Moon was the most popular animation in Japan at the time back in 1993. She was a very cute character and they thought that this orchid’s image was just the same! Unfortunately, the orchid couldn’t make good hybrids, and the orchid is no longer being propagated or sold (we still think it must exist in some form in a private collection by the resort).

Thanks again to Lunchboxfox for all her hard work! So now I think Moon Chase has 99% of everything that is known about all of the flowers named after Sailor Moon! Check out our first post here!

Phase 3 and Phase 4 Changes

Hey Moonies. It has been suggested to us by a few of our advisors that we raise our survey goal for Phase 3 up to 500. We are currently at 306, which isn’t necessarily a bad number, but considering that it is less than half of the surveys we got on the previous one (807 now), it doesn’t look good to the places we plan to send these to. At the same time, we also understand that fans are tired of taking the site surveys so we’re going to leave it open for sure until Midnight, October 4th. We’ll see what the numbers are like then and we’ll decide a plan of action. This still doesn’t mean readers can assume it will be open again after that. If we are close to 500, then we will stop it for good. For the last one, we heard from a few of you afterwards that didn’t get a chance to do it (even though it had been running for nearly 4 months). So we relented, and allowed those of you to do it. But for Phase 3, we will not allow anyone to complete it after it is over. We are already weeks behind on sending these results out (but of course, Phase 1 didn’t finish any time near the end of July as we had hoped). So please, if you haven’t yet, finish the release and merchandise survey!

Now, onto the upcoming Phase 4. We all thought Peter’s comment yesterday about Naoko Takeuchi was depressing enough, but then this morning one of our auxiliary members from Japan got back to us with their findings… and they were not good. We can’t elaborate on what they were, but once again we’re going to have to change our strategy. Fight harder in certain places that we still can, and forego a few other things that would have been a lot more effective. Those avenues are strictly one way, and even though there is plenty of room, the landlords will not consent to a two way street. We’ll leave you to decide what that image means, but we can’t say what the matter is. Due to these developments, Phase 4 is going to be delayed even further than what we had targeted until we figure out the best way to effectively use what avenues we do have left. But do not worry – the work you have all helped to put in for the other phases is still very useful to the companies in North America!

Now, there may be one or more sites saying some pretty mean things about our campaign. We’re not going to name who they are, but they are all saying that our campaign will be futile, and that the only way to support Sailor Moon is to buy official merchandise and releases from Japan. We’re sorry to say this, but here’s the thing. Fans aren’t ordering these straight from the manufacturer. Each online site (YesAsia, Amazon, CD Japan, HMV etc.) has their own warehouse, wherein they will receive an order of a certain stock amount of product from Toei. Then they ship it out to you. Toei isn’t going to necessarily see or know where these products are going. What they will see is how many sold, and this will determine if they need to produce more units or not. At best, high volumes of orders may prompt Toei to extend the run past two years, but it is highly unlikely that sales in Japan will have any impact on the North American market. Now, we’re not saying don’t order these – it’s really up to the fan and if they are able to really enjoy and understand Sailor Moon without subtitles. We also understand that these releases, though a little pricey, are at least giving fans Sailor Moon in some way. But just be aware that you are supporting Sailor Moon in Japan and it may not do a whole lot of good for North America or the rest of the English-language market in the long run.

In the meantime, we really encourage you to participate in Phase 2 of the campaign, more than ever, especially in the letters to Toei. We have provided specific contact information in our forums for this. Phase 4 will happen, but Phase 2 needs to be a lot stronger than it is right now. Considering we only have 39 members on our forums, we don’t think that many letters have been sent to FUNImation or Toei. And for those of you who are complaining that we aren’t posting the addresses on the blog, there is a reason for that. This is somewhat sensitive information and we are at least doing our part on our end to prevent spam. And it also adds a small element of surprise to the receiver.

There is no Moon too high in the sky, and no island too far. We are not going down without a fight.

Toei Shifts Slightly, New Article Suggests Something Is Off With Nakayoshi, and Usagi Isn’t Sailor Moon?!

Toei Licenses Older Properties to Independent Studio

In a move that the rest of us staff are still trying to digest, Toei has licensed some of it’s most oldest and beloved titles to William Winckler Productions in California. What’s kind of making us grimace is that this company specializes in those really obscure sci-fi films. It worries us, a little. Especially since they are in charge of a bunch of huge titles for Toei that are extremely popular with the hardcore anime fans. Shows like Fist of the North Star, GeGeGe no Kitaro, Gaiking, Captain Harlock, and Starzinger, among others. Some of these titles were shopped around at MIPCOM (but it doesn’t look like they were picked up until now). These are all looking to be straight to DVD releases, and they won’t even be the entire series. They plan to make movies using footage from the series in a co-production between William Winckler Productions, Toei, and Rioloco. Fans can find out more information about the dub casts here, and it looks like Fred Ladd, who worked as a creative consultant for the first two seasons of Sailor Moon, will be involved in the dubs. We can’t say for sure how this is going to turn out, but we urge fans of these shows and the others licensed keep an eye out on things and to get involved in whatever way they can if the shows do not measure up to their expectations. We really hope Toei will pick a company that fans are more secure (and actually know about) if they finally decide to bring Sailor Moon back to North America.

Nakayoshi in Sales Slump Since the End of Sailor Moon?

We came across an article in Chinese yesterday which didn’t tell us anything new about the DVD boxsets. This was one of the few articles which provided tidbits about Naoko’s life (how she is married to Yoshihiro Togashi), and is also the first that we have read which took a jab at the seemingly high price of the sets (the caption under the first picture says “In the name of the Moon, I will punish you (wallet)”! What was really interesting about this article were some words about Nakayoshi, the original magazine which featured Sailor Moon way back in 1992. At the height of Sailor Moon’s popularity, there was a surge in subscriptions to the magazine swhich really took off in 1994, and there were a total of 2 million subscribers in 1995. Since Sailor Moon ended, Nakayoshi didn’t have the same kind of popularity, and in 2006 experienced a significant decline in subscribers. The magazine only had 420,000 subscribers. We are still very frustrated by the fact Naoko has not made any mention of Sailor Moon’s return on the official Sailor Moon Channel website, nor has there been any news on a manga re-release in Japan (we told you earlier about how Italy is having a hard time trying to get the rights in time for a rebroadcast). We have our own theories on why this might be, but we are still waiting to see how things play out for North America. We think that Sailor Moon could save Nakayoshi, even if only highlights from the series were published in the magazine. But, who knows what Naoko really wants to do with the manga. Sure, seeing a new chapter animated in flash twice a month is nice, but it’s a lot easier to read it on paper (where you can take your time to read the frames). Speaking of Nakayoshi, we have uncovered another very old commercial featuring Luna.

Link: Luna Introduces Nakayoshi

The Real Identity of Sailor Moon: Miyuki Hatoyama!

Last month, the Democratic Party of Japan defeated the long-running ruling party, the Liberal Party of Japan. Yukio Hatoyama was declared Prime Minister, and his wife Miyuki has been declared by some members of the public, a lunatic. And, we kind of have to agree after reading some of her statements. She recently published a book called Very Strange Things I’ve Encountered wherein she claims that she was abducted by an alien and taken on a UFO to Venus. She said that it was a very beautiful place, and very green. But even stranger, was something else that she wrote! She claims that she is the true identity of Sailor Moon, and she had found all of the Triforces and Dragon Balls. Yes, because Goku and Link really do exist and they need the help of Sailor Moon to achieve these tasks?! We have to wonder what Naoko Takeuchi, Akira Toriyama, and Shigeru Miyamoto must have all thought when they read these comments. She also claims she has been to Uranus, and has called Mulder and Scully before. Ummm… okay Miyuki. You may think you’re Sailor Moon but you’re no Odango-atama. Something Awful has a few more translations here, but these are not for the faint of heart (or our younger readers).