Operation Moonrise Phase 7 MMM Update

Hi Moonies! We are still continuing to run our latest survey, and if you have not taken it, please do (as you will read below, now is the time to). We have learned that sales of Sailor Moon merchandise at Hot Topic have been down for some time now, and there is some worry about new stock being added. We have noticed especially with the latest run of t-shirts, that they have not followed the general trend other designs follow when they sell out. Usually within a week or two sold out sizes have been restocked. Sailor Saturn was restocked, but Sailor Neptune has not been as of this writing. And many of the other designs are now disappearing. When we were notified of this a month ago, we didn’t think much of it, since store managers we spoke to in both large and small cities all told us the same thing: That Sailor Moon merchandise could not be kept in the store, it always sold out pretty quickly. And 2 of these stores were among the biggest Hot Topic stores in the nation. A few weeks later, one of these stores had a little more stock of other Sailor Moon merchandise, but had only 6 T-shirts remaining (3 of the black shirts with the whole group, 2 raglans, and 1 purple shirt), when there were usually 3-4 times as much. They had not received any new T-shirts in a while. One of the managers had hoped to buy her Sailor Neptune T-shirt when it had shipped to the store, but it never came in and she missed out. Even we are scratching our heads wondering why the Sailor Saturn shirt never made it to store shelves, because from our survey and other comments we have heard from fans, it was one of the more popular ones. We have also learned that FYE has not ordered any new designs in some time, but that they continue to order their previous designs.

While in the past to save Sailor Moon, others have suggested “procotts” of products to boost Sailor Moon, we’re not going to Save Our Shirts that way. Instead, we would rather find out the reasons behind this and present this to those who put the merchandise in the stores. Do the fans not like what is there? Are the prices too high? Are you expecting there to be other things in the store? Is it difficult to order from Hot Topic because the shipping is too high, or do you prefer to buy your merchandise in person and the stores are simply too far away? Would you rather see the merchandise at a different store? These are all key questions we ask in the survey. We’ll give you some vague spoilers from what we have read so far. Opinions about the thickness (or rather the lacking of it) are very popular, as well as the price and smaller sizes. We’re hoping that fans that have not bought merchandise (or for whatever reason stopped), will add their voices to our survey. We still need some more, and since we have the ears of those who are involved, we hope to reach our goal as quickly as possible so we can continue to have Sailor Moon merchandise. But, those on the receiving end need to understand where us fans are coming from for future merchandise cycles. We don’t want to see the merchandise disappear from Hot Topic, but at the same time they should know where the fans are coming from and how this can be improved. A lot of the new merchandise that is out is hard to find easily anyway, and having a major store to sell the product helps improve fan access to it (and by the looks of it, the vast majority of you don’t have an FYE nearby). So if you have something to say about any of the Sailor Moon merchandise, please take our latest survey. Word of mouth also goes a long way as well – we’ve been able to get people we interact with daily to think about what’s on the shelves and add their input.

April News Updates!

Hi Moonies!  I planned this a long time ago and didn’t get time to post it until now! It is still April for one more day!

Pop Culture Pieces All the Way From Japan…

There were a few interesting op/ed articles posted in Japan on MyNavi at the end of March. The first one was posted by a blogger who talked about the foreign adaptations of Sailor Moon and how some of the names that were given around the world seemed a little off.  The writer (a blogger named “sunplant”) made note of one of the big cultural nuances of the series.  Usagi means bunny, and in Japanese culture, this is an image of a character that is both strong and delicate.  But, some of this meaning is lost when Usagi is named “Bunny” in other parts of the world.  Bunny does not mean the same thing in other cultures! Ami Mizuno was most likely to be called “Amy” in other countries, and Rei Hino was called “Ria” in some places (for example, Rea in Italy).  But, she didn’t quite understand how Makoto Kino became “Morea” and Minako Aino became “Marta”.  These names were nowhere close to the original ones! Chibi-Usa, or some variant of it, was kept in most countries. In Italy she is called Kibi-Usa.  In Germany, most of the names were unchanged.  In China, some of the characters used in the names changed the meanings of them slightly.  And, Sunplant also made mention of Sailor Moon’s North American “meatball head” joke! She struggled to understand that one and thought of the head of Usagi covered in ketchup.  But, she really liked the name Serena!  The next few were all about polls that were conducted (all with multiple answers allowed, so the numbers don’t add up to 100%).  Out of 394 males who were surveyed about who the strongest female character was to them, 24.4% voted for Sailor Moon, 8.1% voted for Sailor Mercury,  and 7.1% voted for Sailor Mars (where is Sailor Jupiter?).  Comments about them included that Sailor Moon was the best, she could really pull off being an amazing “pretty soldier in a sailor suit”, and that she was strong and cute; Sailor Mercury was the most realistic and to some the strongest; and Sailor Mars had the best attack power and could get the job done! To contrast, 547 women were surveyed asking the same question, and the most famous 5 Sailor Moon characters dominated the poll. Sailor moon was #1 with 59.0% of the vote, Sailor Venus came next with 19.7%, Sailor Mars with 19.6%, Sailor Mercury with 19.4% and Sailor Jupiter with 18.6% of the vote. They admired Sailor Moon for her independence and her strength; one thought Sailor Venus was stronger than Sailor Moon; Sailor Mars has beautiful black hair and could manipulate fire (and one even liked Keiko Kitagawa’s performance); Sailor Mercury is smart and doesn’t rely on her looks; and Sailor Jupiter is the strongest among the characters and so,e miss seeing uniforms with longer skirts. To end, this article celebrated Sailor Moon’s victory among both groups surveyed!

Licensing News and New Hirings at Toei Animation

And a little bit of industry news that may seem boring, but it is important for those following Toei Animation to take note of. First of all, let’s look at a hiring that will affect Toei Animation Inc. (TAI), the Los Angeles subsidiary of Toei Animation (this is the office responsible for handling all the licensing for North America for all Toei Animation properties). Long-time Toei Animation executive Hiroyuki Kinoshita has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer (COO) of TAI. He is also the COO for Toei Animation Europe S.A.S (their subsidiary in France that handles Europe), and the CEO of Toei Animation Enterprises in Hong Kong (which is the marketing base for Asia). This adds another staff member to the Los Angeles Office. Second, is one that hits close for our fandom. Toei Animation in Japan has hired Iriya Azuma as the director of its global licensing business department. Iriya worked as a producer and planner on the Sailor Moon R and S series and movies, as well as Make Up! Sailor Senshi. We’ve noticed that Sailor Moon is having a bit of a shaky time in other countries right now, so we have our fingers crossed that Iriya will be able to make the current Sailor Moon revival bigger and better in the months and years to come. Iriya is especially responsible for directing the international licensing programs for the studio’s top brands (which right now include titles like Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Toriko, and Pretty Cure). Discotek has also licensed two Toei Animation oldies that are goodies for otaku – Lovely Complex and Captain Harlock. Contrary to what some fans had speculated on our Facebook page earlier this month, we would like to remind everyone that NO ONE has a license for the Sailor Moon anime yet. Licenses for merchandise pertaining to the anime in North America belong to Hybrid Apparel (T-shirts), Buckle Down (Belts), Leg Avenue (Costumes), and Great Eastern (general merchandise). So no more insisting on the truth of a rumor you might have read.

Sailor Moon Reference in Big Bang Theory

Hi there readers! Fans who watch Big Bang Theory may notice a reference to Sailor Moon in tonight’s new episode. The clip below shows Raj recalling an encounter with a Sailor Moon cosplayer at ComicCon, as a funny anecdote during Howard’s bachelor party. (the clip below discusses mature themes, younger readers may want to skip this one)

Fans interested in watching the full episode can tune into CBS or CTV at 8pm.

Update – Operation Moonrise Phase 7

Hi Sailor Moon fans! We continue to be pleased with the responses that we have seen so far on Operation Moonrise Phase 7. We have obtained a lot of surveys so far, however we are still short of our goal, so we are really encouraging any fans who have not taken the survey yet to do so as soon as they can. Please note that we do have some questionable news regarding the sales of some of the latest merchandise in the survey, and that we can’t move forward until we have received a larger number of responses. The faster we can obtain responses from fans, the faster we can resolve these issues with the companies to ensure customer satisfaction for buyers. While this survey may look long at first, there are not a lot of required questions on it, and moonies will find that there is a lot of flexibility as far as stating their opinions on a particular piece of merchandise. For example, we’ve received comments from mothers stating that they would like to see clothing in children’s sizes, and that the junior sizes are just too small and they want to see more unisex sizes or regular woman’s sizes – comments like this will let the companies know that there are other demographics that they could aim Sailor Moon merchandise towards. Also, please encourage other Sailor Moon fans to take this survey – word of mouth and sharing via social media can go a long way to encouraging more survey responses for the companies to review. Overall, keep in mind that the only way these companies can learn and improve is by you the fans supplying them with feedback. Our surveys do a good job of organizing this into an easy format for them to read and consider.