Exclusive Interview with Charlene Ingram of VIZ Media

This interview took place on August 22nd at Anime Revolution in Vancouver, B.C. Guest writer Jesse Betteridge conducted the interview on behalf of Moon Chase! A Sailor Moon News Blog.

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Jesse: Did you expect the amount of support Sailor Moon has received since you’ve announced the relaunch?

Charlene: Well, we knew it was really popular, we knew there would be a lot of support, we knew it would be very well regarded because the fans had been so hungry for it but — I completely underestimated the level that everything has been. We sometimes joke around the office “Char would be the last person to underestimate Moon! She’d be the one to oversell it.” And so far everything we’ve done, we’ve run out, so it’s moving really fast and I’m super thankful for that.

Jesse: If plans are in the works, do you know yet if the Sailor Moon movies be released as singles or in one box set?

Charlene: There’s no release news on the movies yet, we’re working on the TV series first. It ultimately comes down to having the best materials and with the release schedule, the movies are a little bit more flexible. So, we want to make sure we get the TV series off to a good start before we start slotting in those movies, be them separate or together.

Jesse: What was it like trying to cast Sailor Moon while trying to keep the news a secret?

Charlene: Well, our production team and the studio really did a lot of casting Sailor Moon. I listened to all the demos, all the finalists and they were all numbered. So, even though I know a lot of people in VO, when you listen to so many of them – especially when they’re all anonymous – it was very interesting seeing it come together. But I fully support all the choices the production team made and the Japan team made. But it was really, really tough for everyone. Even though I was just doing a lot of cursory listening for it and keeping in mind and mentioning any vocal inflections to watch for – as a fan – everybody who auditioned was just so impressive. Especially for the Guardians, when the girls were picked, it was like – when they were all together – you just knew. And it was an “ah ha! Eureka!” moment when the slides were brought around and you just heard them one after another it was just, “wow, this really sounds right.” It was exciting.

Jesse: Any comments for the fans who might still be iffy on watching the new dub?

Charlene: Well, nostalgia is a very powerful thing. People get voices stuck in their heard from what they know but, I think one of the greatest things is to know that this is a true, uncut to the original Japanese version with the creative team in Japan involved. So, if you’re on the fence, I’d say give it a shot so you can see what that whole team envisioned for it to sound like and know that everybody that’s working on it just knows how important it is and is working their hardest to make it right. In fact, everybody when they’re in the studio and doing their lines – they reference the original Japanese, they reference the original scripts, they listen to it for tone, inflection, meaning and just hitting those right beats. If it’s a comedy beat, they want you to laugh; if it’s a dramatic beat, they want you to feel that. So I’d say – love the dub from the 90’s. It’s nostalgia, it’s powerful. But this is like Sailor Moon completely reborn. It’s a way to rediscover her again for the first time.

Jesse: It’s been mentioned before that you do not currently have access to the DiC dub. Are you able to comment on the status of this?

Charlene: The materials are just not available. There are multiple reasons that the actual materials for those episodes are just not available. We know a lot of people want to speculate about it, but there are multiple reasons. In some cases, the materials themselves are in poor shape or just don’t exist anymore.

Jesse: We know you personally watched Sailor Moon yourself. Can you pick a favourite character?

Charlene: I can pick a favourite from the different types, certainly. My favourite of the Inner Guardians is definitely Sailor Venus. I think she’s a lot like me, personality-wise and that I can be a stoic leader. I’ve seen some stuff in my past, but when I get comfortable I get very dingy and I also love idols, I love singing and dancing around, I love being over the top and of course orange. My favourite Outer Guardian, that’s Sailor Uranus – not because I’m like her, not at all, but I just think she’s the coolest out of all of them. I adore Otokoyaku types and am a big Takarazuka fan. And I love her relationship with Neptune. For the villains, I go back and forth between Galaxia and Queen Nehellenia. I would want to be like Galaxia and be super powerful, but as I’m getting older, I can see myself turning into Nehellenia if I don’t let my glittery Venus side come out more often! (laughs)

Jesse: In the next year, what US and Canadian conventions can fans expect to see you at?

Charlene: Well, for this year I know I’ll be at New York Comic con and possibly a couple other ones, but as for next year we’re still working on plans for that. I definitely, not just for me but for Viz too, try to hit several major places around the US and Canada. I of course would love to go to more, but it just comes down to planning and resources. The VIZ Anime marketing team is just two people right now, so balance is key. I love taking the Sailor Moon party and all the anime party to wherever we can. Spreading the love is very important!

Jesse: Currently online streaming of the Sailor Moon classic series is not available in Canada because Viz streams everything through Hulu. Is there any news on when they are going to be available in Canada?

Charlene: We’re still looking for the right streaming partner for Canada that can serve the Canadian market with the licensors’ needs in mind. So there’s no simple solution. Hulu’s a great partner for us for the US for all those reasons. Keeping really good analytics on the content, keeping the licensors in the loop, and we would love to find something similar for Canada. But, in lieu of that, we have moved up our subtitled EST (Electronic Sell-Through, or Download To Own) that’s available in Canada so you can get the full, first 23, now 46, episodes on iTunes and other outlets up North and the prices are actually discounted for that. So while we’re really working hard to make streaming in Canada possible, it has been a little difficult but it’s something that we keep pursuing. We’re always looking for partners that would be a good fit for streaming and broadcast.

Jesse: On Twitter you guys have teased about trying to get [Sailor Moon classic] on Canadian TV because of course YTV played a very significant role in sort of keeping the ball rolling with the series back in the 90’s. Are there any new updates or is there any news on that right now?

Charlene: There’s no news at this time. Just like with streaming partners, we would wish for the uncut, uncensored dub to find the right television partner – if there is one for it. But, now that we’re doing it uncut, uncensored and true to the Japanese vision, we would be very reluctant to follow any opportunities that would involve any cutting, especially with the genders, relationships, attacks, and story elements.

Jesse: Can you share some details about what’s being included with the upcoming release with the booklet and Blu-ray/DVD combo set?

Charlene: Yes, the upcoming set comes out on November 11th. It will have an 88 page full colour booklet which has all the episode guides, not just for the first 23 but for all 46 episodes. So it’s meant to be a booklet to cover the whole of season one. It will have all the character profiles and turnarounds, so that will be really good for cosplayers because you can see cool, detailed shots of the costumes; profiles; there will also by lyrics of the opening and ending songs in Japanese, Romanji, and in English so people can follow along; and there will be some other cool treats in there as well for Sailor Moon. The box itself is a shimmery, pearlescent, prismatic box that will have space to hold set two that will come out early 2015. Each of the discs will be character themed, and that extends into the motion menus as well, which is something you don’t see very often in anime, especially on a Blu-ray. So, disc one will be Usagi/Sailor Moon themed, disc two will be Ami/Mercury themed, and disc three will be Mars themed. And we’ll be carrying that through for set two and then onward of course, with the different characters mixed in with the guardians as well. It’s a nice, elegant, robust set that’s meant to be the first of the five seasons that I think people will be proud to own.

Another thing that’s for the first time – it will include closed captions for the deaf and hard of hearing. Those will be from the dub track and those will be accessible like standard closed captions through your remote. On your DVD, closed captions come through your analog cable, that will be the same on Blu-ray because Blu-ray handles traditional closed captions on analog and not through HDMI, but there will also be subtitles, signs, and songs subtitles. We wanted to make this classic series very accessible to people, so it’s one of those cool new things that we want to add and it was very commonly requested especially for Sailor Moon.

Jesse: And anything on release schedule?

Charlene: The release date for set two is not finalized right now but we’re expecting it to be early 2015 and the release rollout will be determined. So, once set one and set two come out, R set one will come the same distance away from Sailor Moon set 2. Once we get set two locked down, that will predict the general release schedule for all ten sets.

Jesse: Okay. Would either the Sera Myu musicals or the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series be something Viz might consider for future release?

Charlene: Each part of Sailor Moon is handled like a completely separate property. Even Sailor Moon Crystal is handled differently from Sailor Moon. The rights for Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, the tokusatsu series, and Sera Myu which was produced by Bandai (the original Sera Myu) – they’d all be totally different and may or may not even be available. Depending on the success of Sailor Moon the anime, it’s something I’d definitely like to consider. It would be something if the anime is successful to think about and it’s no secret my personal favourite part of Sailor Moon was always the musicals. Those were the things that were most dear to me as a fan. But there’s a lot of difficulties in doing that. A whole lot of difficulties for live-action anything. They likely could not be dubbed.

Jesse: And what do you think is going to be the most challenging aspect of these releases?

Charlene: The most challenging aspect… Well, anime has definitely changed. You don’t see a lot that even exceed 26 episodes anymore. So it’s keeping that interest of a modern audience through all 200 episodes plus the other stuff. The original Sailor Moon is a bit of a slow burn and has a lot of character development. Especially when you contrast it with Crystal that moves a lot faster – it’s keeping that interest up and really focusing on the major story beats for each season. The way that I think the release schedule is going to roll out, we’re going to position them around the times that major story elements show up. So, we had the big Sailor Moon celebrations this summer for the Inner Guardians, if everything works out, we’d like to do the same for the Outer Guardians, Chibimoon, the Sailor Starlights, and everyone else so that we keep that interest going. It ultimately comes down to how much the fans like it and how much the fans want to support it. The best way to tell anime companies and creative teams they’re doing the right thing is to vote with your wallet. You can do that multiple ways, it doesn’t always cost money. Watch the free and legal streams; or if you like download to own / EST – buy those episodes on iTunes, Google play, Xbox, Playstation; or when the episodes come out on DVD/Blu-ray combo! if you like that beautiful collector set support that and more things like it will be created. If you’re just a DVD only buyer, support that as it will be in a lot of stores. We judge the popularity by what the fans want. So keep supporting Sailor Moon in official ways, even if you don’t have any money to spend on Sailor Moon stuff – watch the official streams because those numbers go directly to Japan and they know how popular it is. And when something is popular, we get to do a lot more neat stuff like fan events and create cool packaging.

Jesse: And any last things you would like to say to Moon Chase readers?

Charlene: Thank you guys very much for your support of Sailor Moon and being so patient. And thank you for your support with us as we’re working on the series and know that it is being given all the love and respect that it deserves. Everybody on the Sailor Moon team loves and cherishes the series from the people who work in licensing, the production team, everyone – the artists for the box – they all love Sailor Moon so much. For me, just one part of the process, every day feel like a dream AND a very important mission! Just look forward to more cool announcements in the future that I can’t talk about just yet – but stay tuned! We’re going to keep bringing that magic and hope you love it too.

Jesse: Great. Thanks a lot.

Viz Media Announces Date for Sailor Moon Box Set Season 1 Part One! Also, Information on the Japanese Release of Sailor Moon Crystal

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Ladies and Gentleman,

Viz held its Sailor Moon panel at the 2014 Anime Expo. Announced were the dub cast for the Viz Re-dub of Sailor Moon (The Classic Anime) as well as the release of a new box set, along with date.

Sailor Moon Season 1, Part 1 box set will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 11, 2014 and has been seen to run from $56-80 for Blu-Ray with about $30-50 for the standard DVD release. Online Retailer Right-Stuf had a pre-order promotion for a limited edition coin but that has since sold out.

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The Limited Edition Blu-Ray/DVD set comes with episodes 1-23 on 3 Blu-Ray and 3 DVD plus an 88-page, full-color premium booklet, all in a nice chipboard art box that will have room for Season 1, part 2. Viz has stated that all 5 seasons will be released in these boxes.

Now what about Sailor Moon Crystal? As of now, according to Japanese Entertainment Website Natalie.Mu(Site is in Japanese), the season will be released by King Records in 13 two-episode volumes with a limited edition release of Volume 1 (Episodes 1-2) in Japan on October 15, 2014 with a wide Blu-Ray/DVD Release on November 12, 2014 (The Day after Sailor Moon Season 1, Part 1 is released in the US… Actually, the same day due to time difference). The limited edition Blu-Ray set will actually be housed in a large designer box that doubles as a music box that will play the theme for Crystal “Moon Pride” (Though the box is part of a Japanese Promotion that comes from buying the individual DVDs) and the DVDs come with special booklets, with Vol. 1 coming with a larger bag chain charm and and all volumes including smaller charms, which may be attached to the aforementioned chain (Information found on SailorMoonCollectibles.com) and it seems that the Prices are going from 7020-8100 Yen, depending on the title and can be pre-ordered on the CDJapan website (The rest of the titles can be found here as well). The prices for the normal Blu-Ray are going for 4860 Yen and the Regular DVD volumes are priced at 3780 Yen and all of these can be found on the CDJapan website as well.

There is currently no word of a US set release for Sailor Moon Crystal as of yet but information on them will be posted for both Sailor Moon Classic and Sailor Moon Crystal as we get more details.

Update (11/16/2014): Limited Edition Blu-Ray for Episodes 1&2 for Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Released October 15th. Pictures for the Limited Edition Blu-Ray set shown below:
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The Art for the DVD showcases Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon. The set also includes a special booklet, the enclosed Sailor Moon Bag Chain and the first charm resembling Sailor Moon’s Moon Stick. The remaining charms will be included with later limited edition Blu-Ray box releases. Also, the large box for the full Blu-Ray set has also been revealedsailormoon-crystal-anime-bluray-dvd-box

As stated above, it will house all of the boxset disc cases and double as a music box that plays the Series theme “Moon Pride”.

Otakon Announces Sailor Moon Voice Cast Guests and Sailor Moon Day

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To go along with some of our Classic Sailor Moon voice veterans Linda Ballantyne, Katie Griffin, and voice director John Stocker, Otakon has two more voice actors to add to the list. Sailor Moon’s new voice actress Stephanie Sheh will be attending the convention, as well as our new Tuxedo Mask, Robbie Daymond! See their press release here!

Otakon has also planned a Sailor Moon Saturday in partnership with Viz Media to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show! To start, they are inviting cosplayers to attempt to break Anime Expo’s largest U.S. Sailor Moon gathering Saturday morning. Then in the afternoon, attendees will be treated to a preview of the new Classic dub, along with a Q&A with Stephanie Sheh and Robbie Daymond after the episodes are shown. Also, Otakon has stated that this event will feature two never before seen dubbed episodes! There will be an exclusive poster to go along with the Official Sailor Moon Autograph Session hosted at the convention too! Then in the evening, the first two Sailor Moon Crystal episodes will be screened to round off the day. For more details, see their press release here.

 

Viz Media will bring in some special items for the convention as well. These will be offered throughout the weekend at their booth in the Dealer’s Hall, but quantities are limited when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Our first item will be a limited edition Sailor Moon coin, in an exclusive color for Otakon. This coin can be earned by participating in the Sailor Moon Stamp Rally. Simply ask one of the Sailor Guardians at the Viz booth for a stamp card and then go off on your search to collect stamps and defeat the Dark Kingdom…And earn that fancy coin. Note: These will be handed out in a limited quantity per day.

The other exclusive Otakon product is a Sailor Moon T-shirt! It will be available in both ladies’ and men’s sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) and will feature metallic pink lettering on a “deep heather silver” 100% cotton shirt.

The third item is the aforementioned poster, which shall be given out for free at the Autograph Session and the Sailor Moon Panel. Once again, quantities are limited so be sure to get yours ASAP!

Catching Up On Sailor Moon News

It’s been a busy time for the Moon-Chase staff, so here’s a quick post catching up on some details we’ve been waiting on some confirmation for and details around the Sailor Moon Classic release set for this November.

Viz Media announced our dub’s producers in a press release earlier this week, Jamie Simone and Rita Majkut. Suzanne Goldish was announced to be the dub’s voice director. Jamie Simone has worked on a multitude of anime, producing the English version of Bleach, Naruto, Naruto Shippuden and Tiger & Bunny. Rita Majkut has fewer works under her belt, but all of them are producer roles. Some of her featured works would include Digimon Fusion, Digimon Data Squad, and the Digimon Frontier movie as well as Rave Master and Zatch Bell. Suzanne Goldish has done ADR directing and voice directing for Bleach, and voice direction for K.

We also have a few more details on the Blu Ray and DVD release of Sailor Moon Season One, Part One. (Out November 11) It’s once again been confirmed that it will be shown in its original 4X3 aspect ratio, with a 1080p remaster. New details include the mention of a ‘signs and songs’ subtitle track that will be included in the release. One of the bonus features will include footage from the Sailor Moon Panel at Anime Expo. The Limited Edition Blu Ray will come with a foil accented box that will also hold Season One, Part Two. The Standard DVD release is not being ignored however, the three disc set will have a foil accented O-card cover (Slip cover) as well! The DVD release will also feature the ‘signs and songs’ subtitle track. Below is a picture of the Limited Edition box that will hold Season One, Parts One and Two.

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Speaking of conventions, be sure to check out a recording of the Anime Expo panel, here! Part 2. Part 3.

 

For a little more information on the release, we emailed Viz Media with a few questions, it’s formatted like a Q&A below for easy reading:

Q. When you mean “chipboard” boxset, are we talking as in made out of pressed wood or reclaimed paper? And will this roughly look like other boxsets of anime series past where usually volume 1 would come in a special box with room for the other volumes?

A. Sailor Moon Season 1 Part 1 will be packaged in a similar fashion to other Limited Edition DB/DVD box sets. To see the chipboard outer box, here’s an unboxing video of one of our other release, K, so you can see the thickness (Link). Keep in mind Sailor Moon will look different as it will have 23 episodes, rather than the standard 12-13. The Sailor Moon Season 1 Part 1 LE will have a space to fit Season 1 Part 2 when it releases. When Sailor Moon R Part 1 releases, the plan is to have a Limited Edition option similar to Season 1 with space for part 2 and so forth, making for 5 total LE boxes across the 200 episode Sailor Moon series.
Q. Another fan has asked if the main cast will remain consistent throughout the series.
A. The plan is to keep the cast consistent throughout the 200 episode series, specials and movies, yes.

 

Q. When will Sailor Moon Crystal be dubbed? After all of the existing series and movies have been dubbed or will this be done concurrently?

A. There is no news on a dubbed production at this time. For anime properties, dubbed productions generally happen after a series is shown in Japan, but there is no news specifically on Sailor Moon Crystal at this time. We hope fans continue to show their support for Sailor Moon Crystal as well as Sailor Moon by watching the official simulcasts on VIZ.com, Neon Alley and Hulu. All these outlets are free and these views do a lot to show the creators fan support for the series.

 

Q. Will any of the theme song or ending singles be released in North America from Viz?

A. There is no news on any possible Sailor Moon North American music releases at this time.

Viz Media Posts Third Official Sailor Moon Classic Dub Clip

Start your weekend with our first introduction to Queen Beryl and Jadeite! Cindy Robinson and Todd Haberkorn are the features of our new sneak peek at Sailor Moon’s new dub.

Don’t forget to watch episode two of Sailor Moon Crystal as well! It’s up for streaming on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and NicoNico! Episode three will air Saturday, August 7.