London Gets to Experience Sailor Moon (Again) as Part of An Animation Festival!

From Toei Animation Europe’s Headquarters this morning, we learned that Sailor Moon is part of a special festival celebrating animation at London’s Barbican Art Gallery! Watch Me Move: The Animation Show traces the history of animation over the last 150 years. Over 100 films are being featured this year from a broad range of animatin styles including cutout, collage, puppet, clay, stop-motion, and anime, among several others. The reviews we have read from others around the web have been positive! Likewise, if any of our readers are going to go to this exhibit and would like to tell us more about it, we would love to hear from you! The exhibit runs until September 11th of this year. Fans can also check out a schedule of film screenings and special events. Excerpts from the Sailor Moon anime are featured in the exhibition itself, there are no set screenings for specific episodes listed. It is likely that these are subtitled in English. This is the second time that fans in London are able to watch an official version of the show in English, even though there are no complete episodes this time.

The release also mentions that the show will be presented in two history museums in Germany, however as of this writing we are unaware of which museums those are.

Summer 2011 Sailor Moon Cosplayers Galore!

Hi Moonies! We all feel the draught of nothing exciting to report in the Sailor Moon world this week (and we wish it were different). Some cosplayers have been in the news for dressing up like characters from Sailor Moon, so we’re going to share them with you!

First, a cosplayer from England named Katie Beckett who was mentioned in both English and German presses for her Super Sailor Moon costume at Nemacon in Middlesbrough, England!

Image Credit: Yahoo! Image Credit: Zeit

Second, we have more Super Sailor Moon and Super Sailor Chibi Moon at Los Angeles’ Anime Expo!

Image Credit: Los Angeles Times Hero Complex

Thirdly… who remembers Michelle Phan? She is famous for her makeup tutorials on Youtube, and received a fair amount of press about her Sailor Moon tutorial in the Japanese press. She was part of a special launch event for “YouTube NextUp”, an initiative by the popular video sharing site to help young animators get their work noticed in Japan. YouTube NextUp has a global reach for the next generation of content creators. If an animator’s submission wins, they will be able to work with the leading animators in the anime industry in Japan (but, you have to hurry as submissions are due by July 18th). At the launch, she gave some encouraging words to anyone interested in entering, that they have effort and show passion for their craft in their video. It’s nice to see her talking about something other than makeup!

Breaking News: Sailor Moon says “Salem Kazakhstan!”

Hey Moonies! Breaking on Toei Animation Europe’s website on Monday was the news that the complete Sailor Moon series is on its way to Kazakhstan! The Kazakhstani company Kino Company via the Eastern European Country (EEC) Territory Plus Licens will soon approach free television channels in Kazakhstan to propose the entire series. Though this release was short, it left us with some questions, and we will keep you posted if we learn any more. We did a little digging though to find answers around our answers…

1. What channel might they approach with Sailor Moon?

From what we have been able to learn, free Kazakhstani TV consists of channels owned by the Khabar Agency. These channels have some kind of ruling influence from President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva. We poked around at the program listings and it seems that all animation on this channel is Kazakhstani (or based on their culture). There is no sign of any other cartoons from anywhere else on these channels. These channels are largely devoted to news, sports, and Kazakhstani drama, lifestyle and reality shows. Something tells us these might not be good candidates for the show. We did find another channel digital service provider, and this is Alma TV. Alma TV carries Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Nickelodeon, and others on their “Kids” channel. We could only spot one anime on the schedule, and that is Bakugan. We wonder if this channel will be the one that is approached with the series. At this time we are unable to confirm if this channel is free or part of a paid specialty service. We would love to hear from our Kazakhstani readers or anyone else who knows anything about TV there.

2. Will this be a new dub?

We do not know for sure, but all signs are pointing towards “possibly”. Some shows in this country air in Russian, so there may be a chance that the existing Russian dub will air. Russian is the second most common language spoken in Kazakhstan, so this does not present a problem to the majority of the population. However, we also read that there is now some anime being dubbed into Kazakh, so just like Israel saw Sailor Moon for the first time in Hebrew recently, it could well be possible that a Kazakh dub could happen. Kino Company, is Kazakhstan’s largest film production company. Though they have only produced a handful of films since 1989, many have been critically acclaimed. In 1994, Kino Company produced their first (and only) full-length animation film called “Dragon’s Island” which was based on classical Japanese literature. The movie won an award at the Ankara International Film Festival in 1994! If this company is successful in their pitch and dubs the series, we think that it is in good hands. That being said…

3. Will there be censorship?

Maybe. While there isn’t a whole lot of information about what exactly the Kazakh film censors actually censor, we do know that there does exist some censorship in the country. The government frequently censors news stories. Fans may remember the controversy surrounding the movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan from a few years ago. The controversies in the movie caused the government to issue many statements about the inaccuracies portrayed in the film. While the movie was not banned, the government did make a request to 20th Century Fox’s central European distributor Gemini Films, not to distribute the film there. They complied. Many have in turn sought their own copies from other European countries. When looking at the cartoon landscape, it seems mostly male oriented. The only cartoon for girls on Cartoon Network’s schedule is The Life and Times of Juniper Lee. On Nickelodeon, the following shows air: iCarly, Victorious, Dora the Explorer, and Ni Hao Kai-Lan. Now Sailor Moon is a pretty harmless cartoon, all things considered. But the government attitudes surrounding issues of nudity, gender identities, and other perceived controversial issues in the series remains up to debate. We also dug up an old interview from 2008 with Kazakhstan’s Director of the National Art Academy Arystanbek Muhamediuly, where he condemns cartoons like Sailor Moon and Spongebob Squarepants (as well as others by name) and demands there be more cartoons for children based on Kazakhstan’s rich cultural history. It’s a bit of a shaky situation. We invite any fans who know of how productions are censored in Kazakhstan to contact us with what they know!

At the very least, we do know that those in Kazakhstan who have wanted to watch Sailor Moon probably have. We found several Kazakhstani fan-run anime sites that featured episodes and movies streaming for free of the Russian dub, or Japanese version with Russian subtitles. If it comes to their country, it gives them the chance to watch and possibly purchase a legitimate release.

We congratulate Toei Animation Europe, Kino Company, and Plus Licens on this new venture into Kazakhstan with Sailor Moon, and wish them the best of luck on continuing to spread Sailor Moon’s message around the world!

Breaking News: New Sailor Moon Merchandise Licenses:

Via Sailor Moon World Italy (and some fans’ messages, thanks!), some new companies involved in merchandising have acquired licenses for Sailor Moon. These include two companies with US branches and one for France; Topps (Germany, Italy and America), Namco Bandai Games America, and Giochi Preziozi France. It is probably safe to infer that Topps will be releasing sticker books (and possibly cards), Giochi Preziozi France will release some (if not all) of the toys made in Italy, and NBGA is likely going to bring La Luna Splende to North America eventually. But, nothing is confirmed, and everyone should have waited for a press release. We have been advised from the companies to play it safe and wait for official word before posting anything like this, but given the criticism and heat we have had to face from some fans, we’re addressing it now as safely as we possibly can. We’ve featured a large photo below filled with cropped screenshots from Kazachok’s Web Guide.

What remains to be known (especially in France and North America), is if this is a sign that the release of the anime is imminent in either of these regions. There are a few other regions in the world that don’t have Sailor Moon either (Russia and Ukraine, to start). In a Japanese press release announcing the return of Sailor Moon to North America, Kodansha made note of how especially in North America, that without the release of the anime and other merchandise, that the manga may not experience the same “big boom” of the past*. We can’t speculate on the progress being made on the anime, due to certain statements made in the last 2 months from companies and representatives all around. We have to wonder if these new merchandising deals are some kind of a placeholder in between that will ultimately aid the anime when the time is right for it to return, while also tiding the release of the manga. Usually, the pattern in Sailor Moon licensing news has been anime first, merchandise and manga second. What do you think, Moonies?

*We had read this the day it was posted but didn’t post anything about it on Moon Chase because you fans were in such a happy mood and we didn’t want to damper the situation! Instead, we all discussed it amongst ourselves for a while and once again, wondered why Sailor Moon was having such a turbulent resurgence.

Glénat Answers Fans’ Questions About Sailor Moon Manga

A new interview from a representative of France’s Glénat Manga was posted to this morning. The first question the representative answered is a question from the site wondering about when the Sailor Moon manga is going to be released.

Q: We know we have asked you about this many times, but is there a new blockage of the rights for the manga for international publishing (and most notably France)? Because there are many rumors circulating here and there concerning an improvement in the situation, but it is difficult to understand, I am asking you. Moreover, if the perception is that it is (or will be) released, can we hope for the renewal editions? Because the only thing we can sink our teeth into is Sailor V**. How is it that the mother series has been blocked and not those of Sailor V?

A: To resume the explanation concerning the case of Sailor Moon. The author has recovered all of the rights. She has renegotiated for two years county by country at her own rhythm. She has decided to begin with the USA, Spain, and Italy, and we must wait until those negotiations finish before entering into discussions with the author, if she decides that France will be her next country to work on, which has in no way been confirmed. We are in the same situation as the fans of Sailor Moon, and we have no other choice but to respect the method chosen by the author. When the discussions are possible, the editions published will obviously be the renewed versions, the subject of our request for the last 3 years. Sailor Moon and Sailor V are two different series, and they do not have the same contractual bases. From information that we have been given, the author has not recovered the rights for Sailor V.

We had always assumed that Naoko Takeuchi and Princess Naoko Planning had the rights to Sailor V, but it appears this is not the case. Now we believe that it is Kodansha that somehow has the rights to Sailor V, but may be optimizing a marketing strategy by releasing it in conjunction with Sailor Moon. We hope that the fans of Sailor Moon in France will be able to enjoy the manga soon. We are sad, but by no means surprised by this lag given what we have learned about Naoko Takeuchi since 2009.

**This is in reference to the old version of Sailor V.