Idol’s New Album Just For Mothers and Daughters!

Former Morning Musume member Nozomi Tsuji released her first solo album in Japan last week, geared especially towards mothers and daughters! Minna Happy! Mama no Uta (Everybody’s Happy! Mama’s Songs) is a cover album of anime theme songs from Nozomi’s childhood. Included on the album is (of course) the Sailor Moon theme song, as well as songs from My Neighbor Totoro, Chibi Maruko-Chan, and Anpanman. She has also released her own song on the album, “Chibi Devil” and fans can watch a music video for that here!

While this news may seem like small potatoes, we’re reporting this for the simple reason that we’re a little irked. There’s no Sailor Moon merchandise available in Japan except for the DVD boxsets and manga. When Sailor Moon’s resurgence began in Japan, the Japanese press release all stated that this was going to be a chance for mothers to enjoy this with a new generation of fans – their daughters. All there was to celebrate this resurgence was a cooking class and a DVD launch event reuniting the 5 main stars of the show. Nozomi Tsuji’s album with it’s brief hint of Sailor Moon seems to be the only other thing that mothers can do to enjoy the series with their daughters (aside from watching the episodes on DVD or on ANIMAX). But where are the dolls? Where are the costumes and clothes? Somehow, we think that this lack of merchandise means that the kids of this generation won’t be able to connect the same way that we did with the show, and that some of the experiences that the mothers probably want to share with their daughters related to Sailor Moon might be missed out on this time around.

Sailor Moon Producer Moves to The Web With New "Celeb-Toons"

When possible, we here at Moon Chase try to keep fans updated with where the staff behind Sailor Moon is today. This update focuses on Andy Heyward, the former CEO and founder of DiC Entertainment, which was the production company responsible for the first two seasons. Back in the 80s and 90s, DiC was the name in hit cartoons for children, with big shows like Inspector Gadget, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, The Real Ghostbusters, the Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers Super Show, and countless others. So, with such a legend in children’s broadcasting, to studios back during the time that Sailor Moon first came along it looked like if DiC had a show, it would be a hit. Of course though, poor Sailor Moon did not have such a smooth run the first time – and fans can check out our first survey results which show how much the fans appreciated the work Andy did for the series. He only got 15% of the fans’ votes! In 2008, the company was folded into Canada’s Cookie Jar Entertainment, and Andy Heyward was left with (supposedly) nothing to do (as the article suggests).

Last year, a press release we came across during the early stages of our campaign told us that Andy was back in action with a brand new company creating webtoons cetnered around celebrities for kids. A few of our staff members questioned some of the ideas that were being tossed around (Gisele Bundchen will never come close to Captain Planet, and we would have gone crazy watching perfect Martha Stewart and her perfect crafts in cartoon form). In this weekend’s USA Today, he is featured once again now that some of his cartoons have come to life. The article has the bit of an air of a “puff piece” to it, and we find it interesting that it drops the name Sailor Moon twice, without really mentioning how and why DiC didn’t produce the movies or the 3rd & 4th seasons of the show. The video has a tiny glimpse of Sailor Moon as well – can you spot it in our shot above? We’re pretty sure that while it was one of DiC’s biggest successes, it was also one of it’s biggest failures due to mismanagement. In the video on the USA Today site, he talks about how there is an opportunity for a strong girl’s property in the wake of the imminent “death” of Barbie and Bratz. How many Moonies are with me that Sailor Moon could kick Gisele’s butt any day? Who would you rather watch?

His new cartoons are cross-platform making apperances on the web, TV (on The Hub) as well as comics. While we admire Andy for choosing to start fresh, it’s our opinion that the shows he’s workin’ on today don’t have the same kind of appeal as the shows he worked on for DiC. Yes, we are in a recession but do kids really need to be learning lessons from Warren Buffet at an early age, or should we let their imaginations run through a world of fantasy for a few years while they still can?

(So the article sort of sanitized something with regards to the sale of DiC: there are many rumors swirling around Hollywood that his divorce to Evelyn Heyward as a result of an extramarital affair had something to do with it. One doesn’t have to look too far on the web to learn about it. We also don’t buy the comment about him never having worked so hard in his life – the cartoons he is working on now are only a fraction of what he did 20 years ago. We’ve known about this for a few years now but kept it in our Moon Chase files for pondering…Oh Sailor Moon, so many scandals behind your scenes…)

Kodansha Results Report Finally Done!

Here you go Moonies! This is what will be arriving to Kodansha in approximately a week from tomorrow. I’ll be waking up bright and early tomorrow morning and paying a visit to Purolator to get this binder going. This report is approximately 50 pages, only about a quarter as big as the reports we sent to FUNImation and Toei. 14 of these pages are just filled with your comments! Give us a couple weeks and the manga results will be posted alongside the other charts and results we posted earlier. We think you will all be pleased with how the fans voted. Once again special thanks to the fans for all of their patience throughout this campaign – you all deserve to celebrate tomorrow as a major part of Operation Moonrise is finally finished! Big thanks to each member of the Moon Chase staff too for all the help and support to put this together! And a very special thank you to my classmates and professor from last night. I am fortunate enough to take a class where we look at certain futuristic themes in anime. Yesterday I bought my Sailor Moon anime cel to class so the class could see what a real cel looked like, and appreciate the work that’s put into bringing these cels to life on screen. As soon as I mentioned that it was from Sailor Moon, everyone instantly recognized the series warmly, and it seemed everyone had fond memories of the series to chat about as the cel got passed around. This was a pleasant surprise and it gave me a much needed motivational kick to finish this report after a very busy two weeks! I can’t describe the happy feeling I felt when everyone recognized the series and spoke about it, but I one day hope that all Sailor Moon fans will be able to enjoy the series again and relive fond memories once again. I just thought I’d share this story to hopefully make some of you smile :).

I did speak to a representative from Kodansha this morning and they are aware of the resurgence of Sailor Moon. They are looking forward to reading this report! All of us wish this purple binder the best of success in bringing back the Sailor Moon manga!

Do Not Buy This Plushie!

After putting those reports together, my friend took me away from my work for some “retail therapy”. One of our stops was a local independent comics and anime store, and what should I find there, but a hanging column of foot-tall Sailor Moon plushies. I looked and wondered, are these actually real? But then I noticed the flower brooch and the boots were all wrong. I picked one up, looked at the tags, and saw that it was indeed a fake without any of the usual trademarks or copyrights one would expect to see on Sailor Moon merchandise. This plush, is also being sold on Amazon. What is even worse, is that 2 other comic stores (all owned by different people) within a few blocks were carrying plushies by the same company, and were not carrying legitimate ones (or if they did, they made up less than 10% of their plushies stock). The name of the company is F W and you will also see “Made in China” written somewhere on the tush tags. We know that times are tough, but we think it’s a better investment for stores to purchase legitimate merchandise for the Holiday season rather than purchasing knockoffs. Be on the lookout for these plushies Moonies, and do not purchase them!

Sailor Moon (and Anime) is Not a Freak Show…

On October 23rd, I came across an article that offended me. Not just as a fan of Sailor Moon, but as the editor of this blog where research is key. I tweeted about this article, but never linked to it. It took them over a week to make changes to the article, however they seemed to just want to make token edits. I wrote the editors of the site, and they did nothing. It only seemed like action was taken after I had written to the VP of the company. What is this article? A piece by Rohin Guha about Hollywood’s Anime Ambitions for BlackBook Magazine.

In this article, he failed to mention the most important thing that Sailor Moon is: a cartoon where the girls are the heroes. Instead, he compared it to “Eastwick meets Star Trek” (of which the show has barely anything in common with) and marked it as a show full of annoying girls He implied that the hallmarks of the series were “lesbians, transsexuals, gays, and some of the most sophisticated pontifications on classical mythology on network TV”. He made Sailor Moon sound like an absolute freak show. Moreover, when talking about an old effort by Disney to make a live action film with Geena Davis playing Queen Beryl, he also wrote that Alicia Silverstone was to be part of the effort. Alicia was never involved with the effort. I had asked BlackBook to correct both of these errors, however they did not. These kinds of strange judgments and shoddy research are appalling, especially considering that BlackBook Magazine has been established for 13 years. Where is your journalistic integrity? A lot of these statements tread on xenophobia – we are sure if he sat down and watched an episode, he would know better.

And then, he posted about the infamous Lindsay Lohan rumor of years ago. I was with Save Our Sailors at the time and I remember how hard we worked to verify or debunk that rumor. One of our members had to go through great lengths to get not one, but two issues of ANIMAGE, only to learn that there was in fact no mention. Other members worked hard in contacting relevant contacts to verify or debunk this rumor. I remember being relieved the day I posted our findings because I really didn’t want to see Lindsay Lohan play Sailor Moon, and I had hoped that the rumor would die. But clearly, it didn’t. At least I was able to succeed in getting this part of the article corrected, though not as strongly as I would have liked to have seen.

Rohin labeled “Japanophiles” (we think he probably meant to use the word “otaku”) as creepy fetishists, and generalized that all anime by virtue of its “choppy, hacky editing and tendency to reuse cels”…”is supposed to be a cost-effective way of mass-producing entertainment.” Has this guy not heard of such legends like Hayao Miyazaki, who won the first ever Oscar for an Animated Motion Picture? Or other major names in anime like Mamoru Oshii, Rintaro, Makoto Shinkai? or Isao Takahata? Not all anime is choppy or hacky edited, and we’re pretty sure that low budget does not equal low appreciation. The Oscar-winning Spirited Away may have only cost under 20 million USD to make, but grossed nearly 365 million USD worldwide. This comes pretty darn close to the profits that major Hollywood hits make these days. We invite Rohin to actually watch some anime, not just shows meant for TV, but movies as well. We’re not going to ask him to appreciate anime, but to think twice about what he writes about entertainment genres he seems to know little about. And maybe, consider doing more than a few minutes of research.