Moonlight Legend

The meta-series that makes up Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon spans multiple decades, comprising numerous media and adaptations.

Original Run

Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is an eighteen-volume manga series, then turned into a 200-episode anime. A spin-off of the unexpectedly popular Codename wa Sailor V, the manga debuted in serial form in Nakayoshi, a shoujo magazine published by Kodansha, in 1991 (side stories were published in Run Run). All fifty-two chapers were published in tankouban form from 1992 through 1997. The anime was co-produced by TV Asahi and Toei Animation, and it started its run in March 1992, a month after the first manga issue was published. Anime scholar Fred Patten credits the series for reviving the magical girl genre.1

The story focuses on Tsukino Usagi, a clumsy, emotional, ever-hungry, boy-crazed fourteen-year-old who discovers that she is the sailor-suited fighter for love and justice, Sailormoon. One-by-one Usagi finds the other chosen soldiers, and the sailor team battles on behalf of the moon against numerous villains, learning pieces of their pasts and fighting for a peaceful future. They are aided by two talking cats, Luna and Artemis, and the mysterious Tuxedo Kamen.

The plot is divided into five arcs or seasons: the Dark Kingdom arc (Sailormoon Classic), the Black Moon arc (Sailormoon R (Romance or Return)), the Infinity arc (Sailormoon S (Super)), the Dream arc (Sailormoon SuperS), and the Stars arc (Sailormoon Sailor Stars). These arcs are represented more-or-less consistently in both the manga and anime with only slight discrepancies at the beginnings of Sailormoon R (the Makaiju mini-arc was inserted before Black Moon because Takeuchi needed more time to finish the manga's story arc) and Sailormoon Sailor Stars (the first six episodes wrap up the end of the manga's Dream arc).

Adaptations

Since it's original animanga run in the early 1990s, the series has seen a number of reinterpretations. Starting in 1993 alongside the original anime, a series of stage musicals was launched. These works, called Sera Myu, were hugely successful in Japan and resulted in over 800 stagings of nearly thirty different productions. Sera Myu borrowed plot lines from the anime and manga and fleshed out many backstories.

In 2003, around the ten-year anniversary of the Toei anime, a live-action adaptation titled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon aired. Also produced by Toei, the forty-nine act plus two specials series retells the Dark Moon arc of the manga. The story differs considerably from both the original manga and anime, introducing new characters, rewriting old ones, and attempting to flesh out characters' past lives.

A new anime titled Pretty Guardian Sailormoon Crystal was announced in January 2012 and began airing worldwide in July 2014. It is not a continuation of the 90s anime but a new work meant to more closely follow the manga.


1 Sailor Moon. Wikipedia.


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Emerald Star © 2000 Kotono. Kino Makoto/Sailor Jupiter and Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon © 1992 Takeuchi Naoko. This shrine was created in whole by the webmistress and is not to be copied. It is part of the Paper Cranes collective.