Sailor Moon in Japan
Sailor Moon originally appeared in the girl's comics magazine Nakayoshi in February 1992. Written by Naoko Takeuchi, a young female artist with a background in chemistry, it was an instant hit with Japanese girls. More or less simultaneously, it was released as an animated TV series, garnering fans of all ages. Sailor Moon went on to fill 18 volumes of manga (Japanese comic books), 200 television episodes (see the table below), and three movies, as well as various specials. Perhaps the most interesting spin-off series in Japan is the live stage musical version of Sailor Moon. "Sera-Myu" as it's commonly known does a different Sailor Moon story each season and is still running as of 2001. The main Sailor Moon story (comics and TV) ended in February of 1997. By this time, Ms. Takeuchi and Kodansha Publishing had major disagreements about the direction and handling of the series. Reportedly, relations between Ms. Takeuchi and her publisher have improved and rumours of new Sailor Moon stories occasionally circulate.
Sailor Moon in English
Sailor Moon was first broadcast in North America in 1995. The series quickly became a hit in Canada and Australia, but received low ratings in the USA where most stations aired it at 6 a.m. or earlier. On the basis of low American ratings, DiC stopped translation after 65 episodes (7 Japanese episodes were skipped, so English episode 65 was actually Japanese episode 72). In 1997, prompted by the success of Sailor Moon in Canada and high sales of Sailor Moon dolls, Irwin Toys of Canada sponsored translation of a further 17 episodes, finally completing the Sailor Moon "R" series for English-speaking viewers. Also in 1997, Mixx Entertainment began publishing an English translation of the Sailor Moon manga (comics). In 1999 Pioneer Entertainment released English-language home videos of the three Sailor Moon feature films. Sailor Moon finally returned to American television on Cartoon Network's Toonami program shortly thereafter. Proving successful, Cartoon Network commissioned translation of 77 more episodes (the Sailor Moon S and SuperS series). Cartoon Network's English translation of Sailor Moon S series began airing June 12, 2000 (September 16, 2000 on YTV in Canada). SuperS launched on Toonami September 26, 2000. In 2001, Pioneer Entertainment began releasing home videos of Sailor Moon S TV series, including an uncut subtitled version!