Waxing and Waning: An Introduction and History of Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon can be difficult to describe in simple terms. One woman's story that started with humble beginnings would become a phenomenon the world over, adapting into virtually every media format. From print, to animation, to video games, Sailor Moon and her Sailor Team made their mark and captivated the hearts and minds of millions all over the world.

While pursing a degree in Chemistry at Kyoritsu Yakka University, Naoko Takeuchi simultaneously published her first comic, Love Call, which received the Nakayoshi New Manga Artist Award in 1986. After graduating and beginning a career as a pharmacist, Takeuchi's editor Osappi encouraged her to continue drawing manga. Takeuchi followed her dream, and after completing the Cherry Project series, Takeuchi wanted to write a story about magical girls. This manifested in the form of Codename: Sailor V, which began publication in Run-Run in August 1991.

TV Asahi approached Takeuchi with plans to turn her story into a TV anime. V's story was to be expanded and re-launched as a regular series in Nakayoshi, published in tandem with the tv series. Takeuchi developed a team to fight along the story's new lead heroine, Sailor Moon. Act 1 of Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon was published February, 1992 as the anime began its run March 7th 1992.

Sailor Moon exploded, and its popularity soared. Merchandising kept up at a feverish pace, and all imaginable types of products were created and sold. Video games were beginning to be produced, and Sailor Moon would find herself being reimagined yet again, this time in the form of a live stage play. The first Sailor Moon musical debuted on August 11, 1993.

The anime and manga both concluded in 1997, while the musicals carried on. Sailor Moon seemed to be waning, but this wouldn't last long. Coinciding with the anime returning to Japanese TV in April of 2000, newly branded "Sailor Moon World" products began appearing. Launching in December 2001, Sailor Moon was finally given an official website, Sailor Moon Channel. This culminated in the series finally being released on DVD beginning on May 21, 2002.

Sailor Moon's momentum continued, and the Sailor Moon manga was re-released starting September 2003. The new KCDX (Kodansha Comics Deluxe) shinzoban featured new cover art, as well as touched up artwork and dialogue. The manga now had a new official English title: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. Coinciding with this manga release was the debut of another new version of Sailor Moon: the live action tv series. This new series shared the new title of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, and debuted in October 2003.

Between 2004 to 2005, the full wane of the Sailor Moon franchise was becoming apparent. The live action tv series concluded in September 2004, and the manga finished its republication in November of that year. January 16, 2005 marked the final performance of the Sailor Moon musicals, after running a total of twelve years and nearly 850 performances total. We would not see a Sailor Moon revival for four years.

December 2009 marked a new beginning for Sailor Moon. The anime was re-released on DVD, this time in special collections instead of individual volumes. Around this time, we began to see the rekindling of Sailor Moon on a global scale. Countries' whose licenses had long since expired were renewed, and the comic and anime were beginning to make their way back into the hands of patient Sailor Moon fans. Continuing this revival, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon live action was released in a DVD Boxset on September 22, 2011.

Over the years, Sailor Moon has waxed and waned, but refuses to fade away completely. It is still well loved and cherished by many fans the world over. We have stuck by the sailor suited pretty soldier for a long time, and who knows what awaits us. No matter how much time passes, it seems Sailor Moon refuses to simply disappear.

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