Operation Moonrise Phase 4: Sailor Starfights!

To Skip This Background Post and Go Directly To The Survey Click Here! This survey will run until midnight of May 9th!

Change of plans – we’re scrapping a Japanese writing campaign because it probably won’t be very effective, given recent developments in Europe. Fans are better off sending their comments to Toei in English in Los Angeles, they are the ones that need the most convincing! This campaign has only been in the works for a little over two weeks, and below you’ll see why.

Here are the recent, known developments that are causing us to change our course for the campaign. Everything that is airing in Albania is exactly the same way that it was before. At this point, it also doesn’t look like Albania is going to get their missing seasons, and this is only one reason why we are worried. Everything in Italy that will come to air will be exactly the same as it was before, with respect to the audio track. There will be some video censorship removed and possibly new openings with the new logo. This makes it highly unlikely that the English-language market will get a re-dub. This is both good and bad news. The good news is, that the vast majority of our readers who voted for the old cast in the first survey will be pleased! The bad news is, this is not looking like a good situation for a release of Sailor Stars.

Here’s what we think is going to happen. But, given the very shaky nature of Sailor Moon’s releases and distributions in the past, we could be wrong. By the very end of the year, or perhaps early 2011, a company will make an announcement that they have the license for the show, and that they are going to re-release everything that has already been released. At the earliest, we see this happening between March and October. The situation will likely be the same, no matter which company gets the rights. At this moment it looks like it might be one company over all of the current ones, but it is too early to say if it will be distributed among many companies (like it was with Geneon and ADV in the past). Given the nature of the video edits that were made in the English language dub, some may be re-edited and uncensored, but others may not be – remember, episodes were skipped and two were merged together. We really want Sailor Stars to be a part of this release, and we bet you do too. This is why we are starting a special campaign JUST for Sailor Stars.

We really need more numbers to really show Toei that Sailor Moon is a property worth pursuing in North America. We need to show them that it is NOT too late to release something that the English language market hasn’t seen, and that this franchise is still just as relatively (if not massively) popular as it was when it first debuted. Which is why we have created another survey. We’re going to run this for 2-3 months. Since these have proven to be more successful in getting fans to voice their opinions to Toei about Sailor Moon than our letter campaigns, this was the best option. We know you all want the show back, and that you have plenty of fighting spirit in you!

There are 16 questions, but they should go by pretty quickly if you read carefully. The main focuses of this survey are Sailor Stars, and some different questions about TV preferences. Please read each question, directions, and answers carefully. 90% of this survey will take 3-4 min to complete. The other 10% consists of space for you all to leave comments and questions about specialty anime channels. Please check to see if your provider (especially in the USA) carries any of these two channels – The FUNImation Channel, and/or The Anime Network.

We have to ask questions about these specialty anime channels specifically in this survey given the cases of Albania and Italy. The show is airing on premium specialty channels in both countries, though the case with Albania is a little different. There are only two cable providers in that country, and Digitalb (the one that offers the Bang Bang channel) is the bigger of the two, but only has around 100,000 subscribers. For a country of 3 million, we think that number is a little low so we’re still going to consider this a specialty channel for our purposes. In Italy, the show will air on Italia 1 in the Fall, and we’re not sure if Hiro was picked to maximize profits, or to act as a guinea pig to test a smaller subset of the Italian public, or both. Both of these services (Digitalb and Mediaset Premium) are available throughout their countries consistently, and so are these channels.

This is not the case with the English language market. The United Kingdom no longer has a specialty anime channel, and neither does Australia, New Zealand, or Canada. The United States has two, The FUNImation Channel and The Anime Network. But, there’s a catch. These channels are not necessarily available in every area of the country (unlike Italy and Albania). We’re trying to be a step ahead and show the companies involved what their viewers’ preferences are. Do you guys want this on a premium specialty channel or would you prefer to watch Sailor Moon on a channel included on almost all cable providers’ programming lists like Cartoon Network, SyFy, YTV, or Teletoon? We want the fans to answer these kinds of questions so we can present your preferences to Toei. Unfortunately, these are the only two channels we can specifically ask for in this situation.

Please answer this survey if you are genuinely interested in an English-Language version of Sailor Moon. Specifically, we want people from Canada, The United States, The United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand to answer this survey – but if you are from any other country and just want to see an official release of Sailor Stars in English, don’t hesitate to fill this out too!

As far as your comments go, fans will only be allowed a maximum of 200 words for each survey. If it is a few more words that is fine (up to 210). If you have a lot more than that to say, please submit a letter to Toei. The survey will go by a lot faster once this is done, so we recommend that fans work on their comments ahead of time in a word processor. Then all you have to do is paste in your answer when that portion of the survey comes up. This question is the only one that is not required to complete the survey and is completely optional.

A few guidelines: please understand that now that the companies are taking the fans seriously, so you should use understandable grammar and spelling, and no netspeak. No cursing or flaming please. If you have something to complain about, do it constructively. Remember, executives WILL be reading this and if you want them to take your concerns seriously, please write seriously. Keep this as short as possible – the letter campaign is still ongoing. Talk about how badly you want to see Sailor Stars, and in your opinion if you think that it is not too late for an English release of Sailor Stars, or if your interest in the season has not changed a bit since you first saw it. Please, no mention of anything cast-related. This was ALREADY done in the first survey and the majority of fans voted for the old cast members to return over actors on FUNImation’s current roster. We don’t want to have a redundancy in the surveys and ask fans for opinions that we already collected and sent off.

Our tentative goal for this is 700 surveys. We need to set this high to have a real impact! Anything any fan can do to help get the word out about this one (since so many fans wrote in after the last ones ended saying they didn’t know about this) would be a big help. Please tell your friends and other Sailor Moon fans and get the chain started! We did have one incident with one website last summer who did not appreciate getting several e-mails a week from fans about the campaign. So please, do not pester any site over and over if they write back to you saying they are not interested. Out of deep respect for this site, we’re not going to mention the name or link to it.

EDIT: Please wait until you see the thank you screen before you close the window (we added one yesterday) – Unfortunately your answers will not save until you see this screen!

Mania.com Lists Sailor Moon Again, New Lingerie Commercial From Italy Inspired by Sailor Moon, And a Little News From Hiro!

Sailor Moon #8 on New List from Mania.com!

On Tuesday, Mania.com posted a brand new top ten list – “10 Great Out of Print Anime We Want Back“, and Sailor Moon is #8 (Image Credit: © Mania/Bob Trate). We agree with a lot of the titles on this list too, but Sailor Moon always gets the top spot with us! The segment reads:

The consummate “magical girl” title, Sailor Moon was to girls in the ‘90s what Dragon Ball was to boys, and for a while was every bit as popular. Usagi Tsukino (Serena in the English dub) is a typical school girl until she meets Luna, a talking cat who helps her unlock her dormant powers, fighting as Sailor Moon, to defend Earth from the Dark Kingdom. Though Sailor Moon was aimed at teenage girls, its mix of common shonen fighting tropes and magical romanticism gives it a wide appeal; it is an early example of a series aimed primarily at females with strong, female protagonists who are able to be leaders, and it helped spawn other popular titles such as Wedding Peach and Revolutionary Girl Utena (another missing title). A recent resurgence in popularity in Japan has renewed interest worldwide, but it seems strange everything Dragon Ball gets constant re-releases while Sailor Moon was allowed to disappear.

And may we add Dragon Ball Z? It seems to us that there has been a lot of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z related releases in the last year. We couldn’t have agreed with that comment more.

Bryan Bullard Choreographs New Commercial for Pompea Which Contains Choreography Inspired by Sailor Moon!

What hasn’t Sailor Moon inspired? This sighting had us all asking that question! Last week, we read an interview with an model/actress from Italy named Alessia Piovan. She played an Italian actress trying out for a part in the recent movie Nine. The first question asked had something to do with a new lingerie commercial she just shot, and our favorite superhero:

How was it shooting this spot for Pompea, in which you are shown as a ballet-style cartoon (Note: inspired by Sailor Moon, according to the choreographer Bryan Bullard) in the middle of an office?

The rehearsals caused me to hallucinate, because on the first day I spent two hours jumping continuously and my legs were destroyed. But, it was fun, it was a good experience!

We were intrigued, and sent our roving Italian correspondent Light an email, wondering if such a commercial had hit the airwaves. Yesterday, he told us that SailorMoonWorld.it had a post about the commercial, and lo and behold, we found a press junket about it for you all to watch. However, given that this is a lingerie commercial and we probably have a lot of younger moonies reading this site (since Sailor Moon is gaining popularity again), we’re sticking the link after the jump. We’ll also warn you that the quality is terrible, but we’ll post a better brightened and contrasted teaser for you. Here is model/actress Alessia Piovan posing just like Sailor Moon:

And Finally, A Word From Hiro!

Animefun has posted a new article with some words from Hiro! The big reason for the delay of the re-broadcast from January to March is because there was a delay in Mediaset getting the video. But there will be no video censorship (so stop your complaining Vera Slepoy, and let the fans have their day). The show will air 7 days a week at 5:35 and 9:30 – and it is on the schedule! Please, let nothing stop Sailor Moon from coming back on the air again. Everyone in Italy, please tell your friends and everyone you know to watch and show Toei how much Italy loves Sailor Moon!

The other pieces of good news? The episodes are going to air in the correct order, instead of the mangled order they aired during the first run. There will be two-minute commercial breaks during the show, but when the show airs on Italy 1 in the Fall, these will be reduced to breaks that last anywhere from a minute to 80 seconds. Congratulations to our readers in Italy – only a few more sleeps till Sailor Moon is back on the air again, and we wish we could see all your happy faces!

Ready to see the commercial?

Click here to watch it. The commercial is shown in its entirety, but in shambles among interviews with the director, choreographer, and actors.

3 Days of Sera Myu – Day 3: Loof Merrow is a Model, Tuxedo Kamen Wins as King!

Welcome to Day 3 – our final day of Sera Myu updates! These last two sightings are small, but we’re sure many of our readers will recognize these names!

Maki Aizawa to Model in Special Fashion Show!

Maki Aizawa (Loof Merrow in 2004) will be modeling at the Fukuoka Asian Collection (FACo) Spring/Summer 2010 Fashion Show on March 21st. There will be over 40 brands represented at this event, and even brands from Thailand and Taiwan will be featured! Parco (Japan’s largest department store) is currently holding a model search. The winners of this “Cinderella Girl” search will also be walking the runway at this show. Maki said at the press conference that she doesn’t think that there is much difference between fashion in Fukuoka and Tokyo, but that she thinks Fukuoka fashion is a little more sophisticated. Tickets are sold out, but hopefully we will be able to show you some photos of Maki coming down the runway! For more information on the other models appearing at the event, check out the official FaCO site.

Kenji Urai Wins Award for Role in Henry VI!

Last Fall, the New National Theater Tokyo undertook a major task: they were going to present all 3 parts of William Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy (a whopping 9 hours). Playing Henry VI through all of these was none other than Kenji Urai, who played Tuxedo Mask from 2001-2002. He was hailed by the critics, who said that he really embodied the wavering monarch, and brought a tremendous reality to this production. At the 44th Kinokuniya Theater Awards, Kenji won an award for his performance as the fabled King. He was shocked that he was so young and receiving such a prestigious award, and could not believe they chose a person like him as the winner! Unfortunately, this was the only image we could find of him at the awards show, and that is him nodding on the left side with his drink. Congratulations Kenji, and we’d never imagine that someone on Sera Myu would be doing such a marathon performance on stage!

Operation Moonrise: Kodansha America Letter Writing Campaign, and a Special Surprise!

Hey Moonies! Just a quick heads up that Kodansha received the purple binder on Monday morning, so we’re ready to start our letter writing campaign. We have posted the address and other relevant information in our forums, and you will need to be a member to view this – so if you haven’t joined our forums, please do!

And for those of you that are and/or will be members, there’s a special surprise also waiting for you in the campaign forums. Just think of it as a thank you for being a part of our forums and a chance to participate in something exclusive to our site!

3 Days of Sera Myu – Day 2: Sailor Mars, Tuxedo Kamens, and Sailor Star Fighter all in New Doramas!

Risa Honma Stars in New Calligraphy Club Dorama!

Risa Honma, best known for playing CereCere in 2001 and Sailor Mars from 2004-2005, has a supporting role in a new dorama called Tomehane! Suzuri Koko Shodobu. This show is about a girl from Canada who returns to Japan after many years, and finds that she likes Japanese calligraphy. She joins her new high school’s calligraphy club, but the tiny club is in danger of being abolished without enough students. This is a slice of life drama, and Risa plays Arisa Hatakeyama, a member of a prestigious calligraphy school’s staff. The dorama is a live-action adaptation of a popular manga in Japan which ended last year by veteran mangaka Katsuoshi Kawai. Calligraphy is not just about learning the different characters and making them, but also “performance calligraphy” which involves dancing and drawing them. This series began January 7th on NHK. It was only meant to be a 6 episode special, and just ended on February 11th. Since Sera Myu ended, you may be surprised to know that Risa is a budding Sailor Pluto! She lists astrophysics as a hobby, and studied physics at Nihon University, Japan’s largest university!

Kousei Amano Plays a Host and is in a Special Boy Band!

Kousei Amano (Tuxedo Kamen in 1999) is now starring in a dorama that is adapted from a popular novel by Miaki Kato. Indigo no Yoru (or Tough Times at Club Indigo) began on Fuji TV in January, and tells the story of Akira Takahara, a woman who once was a successful editor at a major Japanese publisher. One day, her fiance suddenly disappeared, and an unfortunate embezzlement incident later caused her to lose her job. She ends up as the manager of Club Indigo, a strange host club in Shibuya. With various shenanigans happening every night around the club, she and her hosts become amateur detectives to try to solve the cases. Kousei plays a host named “Inu Man” (or Dog Man in English). But what’s even more interesting is that he is ten years older than the youngest host, and the two of them along with the famed Takagi twins have formed a pop unit! They are called INDIGO 4 and sing the theme song to the show “Kokoro -Dear my friends-“. The single is set to be released today! This show also has a connection to PGSM, as Masu Takeshi (Rei’s Dad) also appears in this show playing a supporting role as Mama Nagisa. And if the name of this author sounds familiar, it is! Miaki also wrote the Mop Girl novels, which were later turned into a dorama starring none other than PGSM Sailor Mars, Keiko Kitagawa! The story has also been adapted for the stage, and is set to debut on April 30th at the New National Theatre in Tokyo.

Yuu Shirota in New Movie Based on Popular Dorama!

Yuu Shirota (Tuxedo Kamen from 2003-2004) reprises his role as the condemned criminal Mariya Kyousuke in the just released Koshonin: Time Limit at 10 000 m Above the Ground. This movie is a spinoff from the popular Koshonin: The Negotiator dorama in Japan which lasted for two seasons. The show’s premise seems very familiar to that of Flashpoint, but with detectives involved with the Special Investigations Team (SIT). An airplane is hijacked in this movie, but the team’s lead negotiator Usagi Reiko is on the flight, and races against time to save the day.

We also came across this very special interview that was conducted by Cinema Today to celebrate his 24th birthday. Yuu Shirota is half-Japanese, half-Spanish, and was largely raised by his Spanish mother. He was asked about cultural differences with Spanish people, and he noted that he lived in Spain when he was a child. He said something interesting that Japanese people are shier than Spanish people. For example if you bump into someone and they drop their handkerchief, in Japan they very hurriedly say “Sorry!” and keep going. In Spain though, people are a lot friendlier and the conversation would go something like “Hey, I dropped my handkerchief!” “Oh, I’m sorry! Can I help you?” He thinks people feel closer in Spain to each other. He has immense respect for his mother since she raised him and his 4 siblings alone in Spain, and had a hard time raising them in Japan where she didn’t understand a word of Japanese. She had been through so many hard times, but she raised them all “splendidly”. He has immense respect for her, and how she helped them all to grow. On his birthday each year, he says that he thanks his mother for giving birth to him. He thinks that the day when children get presents should be a day when they thank their mothers for giving birth to them, since they are the reasons that they are alive and living happily! And, he especially notes that mother hurt her belly giving birth to him, and that the father’s genes are important too.

Mikako Tabe is Everywhere!

Mikako Tabe (Yaten Kou/Sailor Star Healer from 2003-2004) is starring in a new adaptation of a critically acclaimed Japanese novel by Toyoko Yamasaki. Fumo Chitai (The Waste Land) began last October on Fuji TV and continues to run. This series follows Iki Tadashi, a former military leader who was captured by the Soviets during World War II. Treated as a war criminal, he was sentenced to many years of labor in a harsh Siberian detention camp. After 11 years of imprisonment, he is released. He returns to Japan and begins readjusting to life as a civilian, rejecting an offer from his former colleague to work on a defense project. Tadashi has decided to never involve himself in war again, much to the joy of his family. Instead, he attempts to set off on a new path working at a major trading company. Mikako plays his daughter, Naoko in teh series. The series was not only shot in Japan, but also in New Zealand to re-create the Siberian detention camp, and is loosely based on the life of Ryuzo Sejima. This drama is doing very well in the ratings and is one of the more popular shows in Japan.

A brand new recording was released of famed Japanese poet Noriko Ibaragi‘s greatest works. When I was Most Beautiful ~ Words to Live By ~ was released on January 30th, and Mikako can be heard reading her most famous poem “When I was Most Beautiful” about the unfairness of war among the poems included. Fans can read an English translation of the powerful poem here (and wander around and read her other poems too – they are great!). The poem, since its publication in 1957, has been translated into many different languages, and was even put to music by Pete Seeger in the late 60s.

And, last December 4th, Japan’s prestigious Elandor Awards were handed out. These awards recognize excellence in Japanese cinema and TV dramas. Mikako won a “Rookie Award” for her acting in the Japanese fantasy film, Fish Story. Fans can learn more about the time-traveling adventure in a review from Variety (yes, this is in English). She played the schoolgirl Asami in this punk-rock themed movie about fate through the ages. There may be an international release of this film, but as of this writing no one has picked it up internationally (hey FUNImation, here’s a Japanese film actually worth licensing). Congratulations!

Only one more day to go – guess who’s modeling, and guess who won an award for his performance in a Japanese production of a Shakespearean play?