I’ve decided to format this more as a letter to the fans rather than take more of a journalistic tone. This is probably the 7th time I’ve revised this in the last 6 months. Something terrible happened to me near the end of August and it is probably best to use words like tragic, catastrophe, dehumanizing, awful, and others of that caliber to describe it. It had affected me to the point where, I’d sit down and start to write something, but then the reality of what had happened would hit me and I’d worry my work wouldn’t be as good as it used to be. My friends will all tell you I wasn’t the same person they knew. I had to live a nightmare every single day, and I knew I had to focus on trying to make the best of a really crummy situation and just deal with this. I had to work very tirelessly to put myself in a better situation in January (and thankfully, I am). And a few of my staff members helped me to understand it was okay to take Moon Chase off of the stove. There was very good reason for it – and though it must have been frustrating for all of you, I hope you can understand.
That isn’t to say that I haven’t completely ignored what is going on with Sailor Moon. While I don’t have anything really big to report, I did learn a few little things in the last few months. Where should I start? Let’s go back to the summer.
Bandai Entertainment. I have to say that I am extremely disappointed with the few employees that still remain with the company. As some of you know, PGSM and Sera Myu were a co-production between Toei Company (Toei Animation’s parent), as well as Bandai. Now back in 2009 and 2010 when I had sent out the first round of Operation Moonrise reports, I had been told that I really should be contacting those companies that had directly worked with Sailor Moon from one of our corporate contacts. Since negotiations with the anime had been frought with stalemates and impasses, I thought that I would at least try to contact the companies about these other two Sailor Moon properties and maybe see if there was a chance for those. There had just been a boxset released of the entire PGSM series in Japan, as well as a group of fans in Germany had gotten official rights to do the first Sera Myu musical. Since the revival had started, there had been a rekindling of fans’ interest in these as well. They were not as popular as the anime, but our numbers showed that there were still a significant amount of fans who were interested in these two. Contacting Bandai was not easy – 2 weeks after trying via email and phone calls to get in contact with anyone at the company (usually I try to go for sales and marketing, but it was extremely difficult to get anyone to contact me back), I finally heard back from a representative of the company. Despite me clarifying during every communication to them that I was speaking about PGSM and Sera Myu, everyone still thought I was talking about the anime (because the words “live-action” apparently did not register). I was then referred to Funimation and ADV/Sentai Filmworks. I was absolutely baffled by how a company just didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about, and also not understanding that these were their Japanese parent company’s co-productions. I replied to the email again trying to clarify, and never heard back. Then in August, we all heard of Bandai’s exit from the industry. I’m saddened because a lot of great series are going to be in need of rescue (and I really hope we aren’t going to lose such gems like Ghost in the Shell). But, having seen and heard of a lot of mismanagement by the company in the last couple of years, taking series that had great potential and just not putting the same effort into these releases that they did in the past, I hope that whatever company picks up their properties gives these releases some justice. And hopefully, a new team will actually read and understand emails that are sent to them.
In July, we all learned of the new Sailor Moon series on its way to the world next year. Here’s something you probably didn’t know though. While some fans thought that this article from 2009 had marked the start of negotiations for a new series, I can now confirm that this was purely a rumor back then and there had been no thoughts about anything new. Talks about a new series did not start until about 6 months prior to the announcement, and the success of the revival played a big role in determining if there should be something new. And it was only a couple of weeks before the event was announced to the public, that i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed. So everything with respect to this new series happened pretty fast. This was pretty surprising to learn, since back in 1997 when the series had ended in Japan, tensions had pretty much decided that episode 200 was it for the anime. We had also gotten the idea from our contacts that there was no hope for anything new in the last couple of years.
And we had a thorn in our summer, courtesy of one Tia Browsh. We’re pretty sure some of you have noticed a part of an article that mysteriously disappeared, so here’s the story. Back in 2009, a fan had written in to us with the whereabouts of Tia, who is famous to some of our American readers for having “hosted” episodes of Sailor Moon, dressed up as her and reading fan mail. We had posted the following paragraph on this article (which has since been removed):
“Our first submission is an oldie linked to us by a fan named HT. These screen shots are from a two-hour Thanksgiving Sailor Moon special in 1995. The episodes were all introduced by Tia Browsh dressed as Sailor Moon! Since then, she has worked as a crew member on The Matrix and Austin Powers 2, starred in a number of theater performances and been in a handful of fashion oriented TV shows.”
There was nothing derogatory or negative about Tia in this paragraph. While some may say that her costume was horrible, we didn’t, and none of the fan comments regarding that article did. We had only posted the screenshots so that readers knew who she was (and they had come from and were credited to another site). Tia contacted us in June, infuriated with our article and the screenshot, alleging that we had been destroying her reputation (Streisand Effect, anyone?). Obviously Tia was too influenced by what others had said on other sites, and seemed to think that we were connected to them (I suppose actually reading what we had written and exploring the site to learn a little more just wasn’t an option for her?) We do not berate anyone who has worked on Sailor Moon, but we reserve the right to do it in jest when a production is really bad (like an Olsen Twins or a Barbie movie). This was not the case with Tia. More than that, she had scoured our site to look for a contact for this fan that had emailed us (Do not worry HT, we will never give out your contact information). Anyway, several emails were exchanged and it has become very obvious that Tia does not wish to be associated with Sailor Moon anymore. She does not wish to recognize that there were some members of the fandom that did genuinely appreciate her role in bringing Sailor Moon to life, and that some would like to know where she is today (just like every other actor we write about on the site). On a more personal note, I was dealing with a much more personal matter, and I had to drop everything that afternoon just to deal with this insanity. For anyone who is wondering, no one has the rights to that special anymore, since DiC folded in 2008 and Cookie Jar Entertainment does not retain any rights to Sailor Moon at this moment (verified through several contacts).
I had a full open letter written to her which included how she once meant a lot to girls watching the show, and that playing Sailor Moon is a privilege any actress would have loved to have had back then, but I have let that go. Even though Samantha Bee hated playing Sailor Moon, she recognized that it was a stepping stone to her very successful career (and eventually ended up marrying the actor who played Tuxedo Mask) and even gave this experience an entire chapter in her book “I know I Am, But What Are You?”. Actors all have roles that they were not proud of – Eddie Murphy in Pluto Nash, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in Gigli, George Clooney in Batman and Robin… but you don’t see them berating fans for even mentioning that they had said roles and what they were up to now. The entertainment industry is all about thinking ahead of time about future ramifications of a role or a job. Never have I ever seen such vitriol from anyone for being a part of Sailor Moon. For those of you who want to know where she is, you can google her and find some other way to contact her to see where she is today. She has plenty of websites ranging from fashion, to facebook and twitter, and she was even on an episode of the Janice Dickinson Modeling agency a few years ago. We don’t care what she’s up to these days, and we’ll leave it up to you fans at your own discretion to decide if you care either. For those of you who do, you are more than welcome to find your own way to contact her. We don’t understand why she didn’t go after other sites that actually had terrible things to say about her. So, consider this post to be the very last mention of Tia on Moon Chase.
The rest of the summer was a big messy blur. From March until late August, I was traveling almost constantly. The maximum number of days that I was in one place was probably two weeks. Mostly I was out taking trips on the weekend or quick trips to other cities here and there, and none of these were really for leisure. Most people get to spend a lot of time at home over the summer to relax, but that just wasn’t possible. 5 days is barely enough to catch up on all the things you need to, and neither was 2 weeks. I only managed to find the time to watch the announcement event from July over my recent holidays.
And this brings me to NDK. After what happened in August, I had the opportunity to attend the con on Saturday, September 15th for a few hours. It was a welcome escape – I didn’t cosplay and went to the con in a Sailor Moon t-shirt and jeans. As much as I would have liked to meet some of our readers, I thought it would be best to keep to myself. I attended a couple of panels (Masao Maruyama and Funimation) and got to see a lot of the new merchandise out from Great Eastern as well. But more importantly? This con helped me to finally meet a representative from Funimation I had spoken to over the phone face-to-face and have a good chat about what was going on with Sailor Moon. For those who are wondering why we still don’t have any of the anime yet, I have been told that there are still a lot of hurdles to jump through, and that it is going to take “more than a cheque” to bring the series back. As of then, the new series was not even up for license and was still very early in production.
I had wanted to write something about the costumes as well, but bronchitis and this catastrophe had gotten the best of me during October. The short of it? The Leg Avenue costumes are much better quality compared to the ones by Incogneato. I know that most of you fans prefer making your own costumes, but my future (belated) review of these costumes might be of interest to some readers. I had also during that time gotten a PDF of what the first manga boxset stickers were going to look like, but I didn’t get around to posting them. I had also debated if they needed to be watermarked as well. As you are all probably well aware, there have been efforts to undermine the success of the manga by spreading the volumes around the internet for free, and even though these were just sticker images, I didn’t want there to even be a chance that these got spread around as well. This is the sad reality of the Sailor Moon fandom. We all want the same thing, but others choose to go in other haywire directions to achieve that.
So, where to go from here? It appears that Sailor Moon was not only off of my stove of tasks that need to be done. In part, even I am now questioning where the series is, and though in the past we had been told “please tell the fans to be patient, it will come”, it seems that the English speaking market is really being ignored, three and a half years after the revival began. I have a few other plans in my mind for other sorts of communications and I want to be able to get a few opportunities for this site to get a clearer picture of what exactly the issues are with the anime. I think we’d probably also like to know what some of the challenges were with the previous releases of Sailor Moon. It does not seem fair that the anime is being held back in light of success with respect to the manga as well as anime-based merchandise. There are a couple of last things we can do with Operation Moonrise, and I’ll be keeping you all posted within the next few weeks.
I want to take this time to really thank my Moon Chase staff, friends and colleagues who were there for me in more ways I could have ever imagined over these last 7 months (and to S.R. too, you seemed to have a 6th sense about when I needed to hear some words of encouragement). A special thank you to Emily, who has practically become a co-editor on Moon Chase – she has really helped me out over the last two years covering ground I haven’t been able to, and for this I am extremely grateful (words can’t express my thanks enough to you). To our readers, thank you for your patience, I am aware I missed a lot in the last few months and have run late on a lot of things, but I hope you can understand. I hope that my words to you today will hopefully show you I have not abandoned Moon Chase, and that I am committed to Sailor Moon.
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