Pretty Cure Set to Invade Australia and New Zealand!

Great news Pretty Cure fans! Toei Animation Inc. has signed a deal with Turner Entertainment Networks Asia, Inc. to bring the English dub of the first season of the show (49 episodes) to Cartoon Network in Australia and New Zealand! We’re excited that our fans down under can finally watch the dub of this show which was very well done (and we hope that you will see it too). This show was dubbed in Canada and was a joint effort between Toei Animation and Ocean Production. The show features a bunch of voices that you have probably never heard before and we think you’ll agree that the cast choices were just right for this show! There was also not a lot that was cut out of this series’ dub as far as content goes. Our readers who support Sailor Moon should also support this dub as much as they can. Showing the networks as well as the companies involved that this show is popular will go miles in convincing anyone to pick up a female superhero show. Congratulations for Toei Animation Inc. on finally having the chance to share Pretty Cure in English in a new territory (see fans, we told you a while ago that not all hope was lost for this series).

And remember, if fans want to see Pretty Cure on TV in the US, you can find contact information for Toei Animation in our forums (you have to be registered)! Send in those letters and convince them to bring us Pretty Cure (and Sailor Moon, of course! :P).

Sailor Moon soon to be back in Hong Kong! (and Other Toei Licensing News)

A big thanks to Senshi for letting us know about this! The evidence is very good that Sailor Moon will be back on the air in Hong Kong on Friday August 13th at 6:00PM! It will be showing on TVB J2 which is targeted toward teens, and shows teen dramas, entertainment and music programs and many of the latest anime in order to compete with fansubs.

Normally we would not post anything of this nature without a press release, but the evidence in this case is pretty solid. (We’re sorry to the companies involved in this case, but we are quite sure this is legitimate.) You can find the show on their schedule here. (Click on the 13th and scroll down to 6PM to find “美少女戰士” which is Sailor Moon! We searched both Google and Baidu (China’s biggest search engine; even bigger than Google in China) and came up with no official press release, nor did TVB have anything posted about it other than the schedule itself.

There are also at least two commercials for J2 this month about or including Sailor Moon! You can see them here:

As for news we can definitely confirm, I’ll let Sailordees take over for a bit:

Hey Moonies! Sailordees here – taking some time out of my very busy schedule to congratulate the team at Sentai Filmworks, for getting the license for an older Toei Animation title, Ghost Sweeper Mikami. This marks the first title that this company has gotten a license from Toei Animation since ADV broke apart into this new venture.

Ghost Sweeper Mikami is just about as old as Sailor Moon’s anime and is about a team of specialists hired to sweep Japan of ghosts since overpopulation is forcing them to live with the living. This should be a good title to check out for all our readers who like watching older series. Sentai Filmworks currently has pay-TV, per-per-view and DVD rights to all 45 episodes in North America!

Otakon 2010 Impressions

Well, Otakon is now over for the year and it’s time for final impressions- which makes me happy that I actually have some. I mean, it’s kind of pointless to have nothing to say at the end of a con beyond “Yeah, that was a good convention.”

Basically, I came away from Otakon with the impression that love for Sailor Moon really is alive and well in North America. Even though current shows like K-ON! grabbed a lot of the spotlight, tons of vendors had Sailor Moon products on display. I saw t-shirts, mugs, custom handbags, pencil cases, stationary, artbooks, and so on, and *cough* I succumbed to the temptation to buy more than just a few of those things. One might think that seeing a lot of merch at a con isn’t indicative of anything since cons are exactly where you’d expect to find that stuff, however, not every series gets representation in the dealer’s room; plenty of series much newer than Sailor Moon were hard to find in any form.

I also heard several people say things to the effect of “It’s a shame they don’t have any Sailor Moon [fill in name of a collectible]” at times. One attendee proudly snatched up a SuperS pencil board from under my nose, commenting “I got the last one!”

As you may have already surmised if you read the cosplay post, cosplayers were out in full force; sure, I saw way more people dressed up as ninja from Naruto or Death Gods from Bleach (and don’t get me started on the Vocaloids) than Sailor Senshi, but those are currently airing series; Sailor Moon had a great representation for a show that’s been off the air in North America for so long.

At the Artist’s Alley, a healthy percentage of the artists present had an image of an SM character displayed at the front of their booth- usually Sailor Moon herself, but often team shots as well. I also saw several pieces depicting Neo-Queen Serenity at the Art Auction that had bids.

The World of Sailor Moon panel had great attendance, and enthusiastic participants. The Sailor Moon Hentai panel actually had even better attendance, with every seat taken. However, I confess I ditched that panel halfway through; not because the content of the panel bothered me, but because of the attitude of the attendees. Really people, just because you’re watching something with sexual content is no reason to suddenly start acting like a twelve-year-old. Nevertheless, that aspect of the fandom is there, and it’s certainly a component of the franchise’s staying power. I may not want to watch it (or deal with the attitude of some of the fans who do), but I can appreciate the fact that interest in the pornographic incarnations is an outgrowth of continued interest in the series.

What all this means is, any company that’s paying attention to what’s going on in fandom has to know that Sailor Moon is potentially very profitable. Not only are there a lot of Sailor Moon fans, but the timing is such that many of the people who grew up watching Sailor Moon are now at the age where they have plenty of disposable income (relatively speaking; there is the economy to consider.) Critically, people around me were complaining that there wasn’t enough Sailor Moon stuff to buy. I’m not an expert on anime licensing, but I’m pretty sure that people wanting to buy more stuff is indicative of potential licensing success. In a marketplace where companies often struggle to convince fans to buy anything at all, due to a mistaken sense of entitlement brought on by the era of digisubs, this is a series where people cannot buy enough.

Waiting any longer to license Sailor Moon is like missing out on a license to print money, and it’s the best kind of license; it’s the one where the fans feel grateful to finally be able to spend their money on something they love, leading to goodwill towards the company in addition to profits. I’m glad that I can say that Sailor Moon should be licensed and re-released not just because I would love it personally, but because it’s honestly the sensible thing to do.

Oh, and look at all this cool stuff I got!

I love conventions: In the name of the Moon, I will go to NYAF and buy more stuff.

Otakon 2010: Sailor Moon Cosplay Gallery

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I hit the convention floor with the intent to photograph some Sailor Moon cosplay: how many SM cosplayers would I see? Would the costumes be any good? Or would any and all Sailor Moon cosplayers be drowned in a sea of Vocaloids?

As it turned out, there were many Sailor Moon cosplayers, some of the costumes were great, and absolutely everyone was drowned in a sea of Vocaloids, cosplayers and all. I swear, Hatsune Miku may be a great character, but if I never see her again…that would mean never looking at anime PVC figures again. Never mind.

The images here are by no means representative of all the Sailor Moon cosplayers at Otakon, just a small group I was fortunate enough to encounter who had a moment to pose for me. With the near-30,000 attendees at Otakon, it’s obviously impossible to see everyone and everything, but at the very least, a good portion of the SM universe is represented in this sampling. It pains me that there may have been a great Tuxedo Mask or Super Sailor Moon cosplayer that I just never encountered, but there’s always next year. For the record, I did see an adorable little girl dressed as Princess Chibiusa who ran out of the panel I was attending with her parents before I had a chance to ask for permission to take her picture. Wherever you are out there, cool parents, I salute you.

Here’s a nice Black Lady, spotted at the World of Sailor Moon Panel.

A lovely Princess ChibiMoon! Personally, I think those Serenity-styled dresses are some of the classiest cosplay you can do for any series. It’s just such a classic look, and practically every woman looks good in it.

This Eternal Sailor Moon had an impressive wing span. I was really pleasently surprised to see multiple forms of Sailor Moon, instead of just the standard red-white-and-blue version.

A nice group of Inner Senshi. I can only assume that Jupiter was of cooking/beating someone up/blushing at a guy/etc.

SM cosplay would not be complete without at least one dude dressing as Sailor Moon: Thanks for taking one for the team there, my friend.

An excellent version of Neo Queen Serenity.

Well, it’s true that Sailor ChibiMoon does get taller in her Senshi form…credit for this picture goes to my friend Jake from Japanator, I wasn’t fortunate enough to run into these ladies, but he did!

A very interesting trio….

Sailor Uranus was spotted in Artist Alley- presumably looking for Michiru. Come to think of it, that’s exactly where I’d look for her.

Finally, a picture-perfect Usagi! Seeing cosplay like this just makes me a happy girl. I complemented her on how she pulled off Usagi’s hairstyle.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of these costumes- I know I’m psyched to play more of my favorite “Spot the Sailor Moon Cosplayer and Harass Them for a Picture” game at NYAF this fall; it’s fun for the whole family, or at least MY family.

Otakon 2010: Bandai Announces K-ON! dub

At the “Bandai After Dark” panel on Saturday night, Bandai not only formally announced the K-ON! dub, but offered the lead role of Hirasawa Yui to voice actor Stephanie Sheh on the spot. Sheh accepted, meaning that we will more than likely hear her interpretation of the world’s spaciest lead guitar player soon enough. As if that wasn’t enough, the panel continued with Cristina Vee bursting onto the show floor in a K-ON! costume to sing a bunch of the shows better known songs, including the popular ED track Don’t Say Lazy. It was announced that Vee will be playing the role of Akiyama Mio, which she called “a dream role.”

How is this relevant to Sailor Moon? Well, if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you might not know that the prognosis for anime dubbing has not been particularly good of late. With the decline of the anime market in the United States in particular, and sub-only releases selling to an increasingly picky enthusiast market, we’re long past the boom days when any show that was even moderately popular would receive an English dub. While a dub for a show as popular as K-ON! may seem like a no-brainer, it was still nice to see the enthusiasm everyone at the Bandai panel seemed to have for the project.

One audience member even asked during the Q&A whether or not CDs would be released with the English voice actors performing the K-ON! songs, as Vee had just done; the answer from the panel was “I don’t know,” which surprised me, because I was expecting an unequivocal “uh, no,” for an answer there. The dubbing will be done by Bang Zoom! Entertainment, which, if you recall, did do some song dubbing back in the day, such as with the early Rurouni Kenshin openings and endings. I was under the impression that they had stopped doing that sort of thing for legal reasons, but who knows- the industry has certainly changed in the ten years or so since then.

Vee did a fine job with the K-ON! tracks, and personally I’d be keen to hear her tackle some Sailor Moon songs- either the original Japanese songs, or the sometimes simplistic, but often surprisingly good, songs from the original dub.

While we’re on the subject of Bandai, they also took the opportunity to announce their forthcoming releases of Sora Kake Girl, or The Girl Who Leapt through Space (not to be confused with The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), and a My Otome prequel OVA (to be released together on one disc). Interestingly, they also announced that K-ON! will be released simultaneously on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Other events at the panel included a The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya sound-alike contest, an exclusive clip from the second episode Gundam Unicorn (which is SO not my thing, but at least some people there were very excited) and the exclusive premiere of the Season 2 dub outtakes for that series, the hilarity of which made me wish that Crispin Freeman would be cast in any Sailor Moon redub in some capacity if only to produce quality outtakes. Freeman for Tuxedo Mask: WHO’S WITH ME????