History & Origin
The anime adaptation of Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon debuted on Japanese television on March 7th, 1992. It was based upon the manga of the same name created by Naoko Takeuchi. The series was produced by anime giant Toei Animation and ran on Japan's TV Asahi network. It was directed by Junichi Sato, Kunihiko Ikuhara, and Takuya Igarashi. The series was originally only supposed to last one season, but when the series became a hit, they continued production.
Originally lasting 200 episodes within five different series (Sailor Moon, R, S, SuperS, and Sailor Stars), Sailor Moon held the title of longest running mahou shoujo series for quite some time, until it was ultimately surpassed by Ojamajo Doremi, with 214 episodes. Many times studios have tried to recreate a series like Sailor Moon, but no one has been successful in recapturing the series' charm. The Sailor Moon anime has been exported from Japan to many countries the world over, garnering fanatic popularity over the years. With such prominence and success, Sailor Moon can arguably be considered one of the most famous anime in history.
In addition to the five Sailor Moon series, there were three theatrical movies produced. They each contain one-shot stories that have no connection to the original series. There was a movie for R, S, and SuperS respectively. There was also two mini movies produced. The first, called Make Up! Sailor Soldiers was shown with the Sailor Moon R movie in theaters. The second was played with the SuperS movie and was called Ami-chan no Hatsukoi (Ami-chan's First Love). Also, a special with live clips from a Sailor Moon Christmas event was sold along with the R movie and was called Dreaming Moon. And finally, an hour-long TV special ran during SuperS' run (between episodes 131 and 132) on TV which contained three episodes. Toei originally planned to make a direct-to-video (or OVA/OAV) release centered on Sailor V, but these plans were scrapped for unknown reasons.
Sailor Moon's quality of animation is, overall, pretty decent for when it was made. However, it differs greatly from episode to episode. Thankfully, most of the episodes pertinent to the main plot often boast good animation and beautiful art, so it seems the production team took its time when really needed. SuperS and Sailor Stars are often heralded by fans for containing the most consistent and best quality of animation seen in the TV anime. All three Sailor Moon movies are also well appreciated in that regard.
The Sailor Moon anime's answer to transformations and attacks was recycling footage specially animated for the sequences. This means everytime someone transforms or attacks, it's the same. There is at least one transformation or attack in every episode, so this can turn some people off from the series because of its repetetive nature. However, Sailor Moon was in no way the first anime to do this, and it doesn't detract from the series very much, if at all.