Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: An Introduction
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon can most effectively be described as a phenomenon. It all started with an evolution of Naoko Takeuchi's Codename: Sailor V (Codename wa Sailor V) manga from which the character of Sailor Moon and her magical fighting team were born. Despite its humble beginnings, the story of Sailor Moon would go on to take over multiple media formats, as well as the hearts and minds of millions all over the world.
The Codename: Sailor V manga was the first appearance of a pretty soldier. It was intended to be just a side-story, appearing in Nakayoshi's sister publication Run-Run. Naoko wanted to create a story about heroines, like the ones she saw in tokusatsu and sentai shows. Thanks to her editor, the idea of "sailor-suited allies of justice" was born, as was Sailor V along with it.
Shortly after Sailor V's publication, Naoko Takeuchi was approached by TV Asahi, which had plans to turn her story into a TV anime. Sailor V's story was to be expanded and re-launched as a regular series in Nakayoshi simultaneously with the airing of the anime. Naoko created a team to fight along side the story's new lead heroine, Sailor Moon. The new series Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon's manga debut was February 1992, and the anime's first episode aired on March 7th, 1992.
As the manga and anime continued, both were building immense popularity, far surpassing the expectations of TV Asahi and Naoko Takeuchi herself. Initially, only 46 episodes of the anime were slated for production, but in 1993, the second Sailor Moon series, Sailor Moon R began. Along with the unexpected second series, we witnessed the coming of something new: the Sailor Moon musical.
The first Sailor Moon musical enjoyed financial success but was not appreciated by critics. Despite bad reviews, the musical version would continue on, running different productions up until 2005, eight years after the anime and manga ended.
The Sailor Moon manga and anime both ended in 1997, with the manga spanning 60 Acts as well as side stories, and the anime concluding at episode number 200 (movies and specials were also released). Although the musicals continued, it looked like the end of Sailor Moon as most fans knew it. However, in October of 2003, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, the tokusatsu live action TV show, aired for the first time. People received this new series differently, some loved it, and some hated it. But everyone could appreciate the fact that a new version of the famous show was on TV. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon offered a re-telling of the battle with the Dark Kingdom, with an entirely new ending. It enjoyed a 49 Act run, and several special episodes were released direct-to-video.
Over the years, Sailor Moon has represented many things to many people. For a huge number of anime fans, Sailor Moon was their "first anime" which makes it nostalgic for many people, and for some, it doesn't mean much else. However, some people never truly grow out of Sailor Moon, and it always holds some special meaning for them. It has unquestionably affected many individuals' lives. Who knows what it is in particular that drew us all to the sailor-suited pretty soldier in the first place, but we know that we're here to stay.