VIZ Media has announced that the company has acquired the rights to the Sailor Moon anime franchise. VIZ Media’s North American rights cover digital streaming, EST (Electronic Sell Through) and all home media products in the United States and Canada.
As part of the new agreement, VIZ Media has licensed all 200 episodes of the original Sailor Moon anime series (rated “TV-PG”), including the never before licensed for North America fifth and final climatic season, “Sailor Stars.” The three feature films and additional specials for the long-running show are also part of the acquisition. Sailor Moon will be presented digitally for the first time, with subtitled EST sets available starting Summer 2014 and dubbed editions late 2014, and DVD and deluxe limited edition Blu-ray/DVD combo packs are planned for Fall 2014. The uncut and uncensored VIZ Media release of Sailor Moon, featuring its original uncropped 4:3 aspect ratio, will also feature all original Japanese names, story elements and relationships, as well as an all-new, uncut English dub with a new voice cast.
VIZ Media premiered subtitled versions of the first four episodes on May 19, 2014 on both VIZ’s free Neon Alley service and through the subscription-based Hulu Plus in High Definition. Two new Sailor Moon episodes will premiere every Monday.
VIZ Media has also acquired the forthcoming Sailor Moon Crystal television anime series, and more details are forthcoming.
Masayuki Endo, General Manager, Toei Animation, Inc., says, “We’re pleased to partner with VIZ Media to bring the beloved Sailor Moon anime series back to North America. This fresh uncut and uncensored release of Sailor Moon featuring the most accurate adaptation available will be just as creator Naoko Takeuchi intended. We look forward to fans current and new discovering and falling in love with this classic series all over again!”
Charlene Ingram, VIZ Media Senior Manager, Animation Marketing, adds, “Sailor Moon is one of the extremely rare breed of anime series truly deserving of the title of ‘Legendary.’ Since its initial debut in the mid-1990’s, Sailor Moon has been unavailable to English-speaking fans for nearly a decade. It has also never seen a complete and proper unedited release in North America… until now!”
Brian Ige, VIZ Media Vice President of Animation, says, “Sailor Moon was groundbreaking in the way its storyline and main characters resonated with both a male and female audience, and these aspects continue to attract a new generation of fans eager to see this iconic series. We’re thrilled to be able to release this empowering action title uncut and in its entirety. We invite fans to catch the official premieres on Neon Alley and to enjoy the series on DVD and Blu-ray later this year!”
VIZ Media will be celebrating Sailor Moon at Anime Expo 2014, taking place July 3–6, 2014 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. The company will be hosting a variety of special activities and panels throughout “Sailor Moon Day,” on July 5, 2014. More details forthcoming.