Friday, February 26, 2010

Operation Moonrise Phase 4: Sailor Starfights!

To Skip This Background Post and Go Directly To The Survey Click Here! This survey will run until midnight of May 9th!

Change of plans – we’re scrapping a Japanese writing campaign because it probably won’t be very effective, given recent developments in Europe. Fans are better off sending their comments to Toei in English in Los Angeles, they are the ones that need the most convincing! This campaign has only been in the works for a little over two weeks, and below you'll see why.

Here are the recent, known developments that are causing us to change our course for the campaign. Everything that is airing in Albania is exactly the same way that it was before. At this point, it also doesn’t look like Albania is going to get their missing seasons, and this is only one reason why we are worried. Everything in Italy that will come to air will be exactly the same as it was before, with respect to the audio track. There will be some video censorship removed and possibly new openings with the new logo. This makes it highly unlikely that the English-language market will get a re-dub. This is both good and bad news. The good news is, that the vast majority of our readers who voted for the old cast in the first survey will be pleased! The bad news is, this is not looking like a good situation for a release of Sailor Stars.

Here's what we think is going to happen. But, given the very shaky nature of Sailor Moon's releases and distributions in the past, we could be wrong. By the very end of the year, or perhaps early 2011, a company will make an announcement that they have the license for the show, and that they are going to re-release everything that has already been released. At the earliest, we see this happening between March and October. The situation will likely be the same, no matter which company gets the rights. At this moment it looks like it might be one company over all of the current ones, but it is too early to say if it will be distributed among many companies (like it was with Geneon and ADV in the past). Given the nature of the video edits that were made in the English language dub, some may be re-edited and uncensored, but others may not be - remember, episodes were skipped and two were merged together. We really want Sailor Stars to be a part of this release, and we bet you do too. This is why we are starting a special campaign JUST for Sailor Stars.

We really need more numbers to really show Toei that Sailor Moon is a property worth pursuing in North America. We need to show them that it is NOT too late to release something that the English language market hasn’t seen, and that this franchise is still just as relatively (if not massively) popular as it was when it first debuted. Which is why we have created another survey. We’re going to run this for 2-3 months. Since these have proven to be more successful in getting fans to voice their opinions to Toei about Sailor Moon than our letter campaigns, this was the best option. We know you all want the show back, and that you have plenty of fighting spirit in you!

There are 16 questions, but they should go by pretty quickly if you read carefully. The main focuses of this survey are Sailor Stars, and some different questions about TV preferences. Please read each question, directions, and answers carefully. 90% of this survey will take 3-4 min to complete. The other 10% consists of space for you all to leave comments and questions about specialty anime channels. Please check to see if your provider (especially in the USA) carries any of these two channels - The FUNImation Channel, and/or The Anime Network.

We have to ask questions about these specialty anime channels specifically in this survey given the cases of Albania and Italy. The show is airing on premium specialty channels in both countries, though the case with Albania is a little different. There are only two cable providers in that country, and Digitalb (the one that offers the Bang Bang channel) is the bigger of the two, but only has around 100,000 subscribers. For a country of 3 million, we think that number is a little low so we’re still going to consider this a specialty channel for our purposes. In Italy, the show will air on Italia 1 in the Fall, and we're not sure if Hiro was picked to maximize profits, or to act as a guinea pig to test a smaller subset of the Italian public, or both. Both of these services (Digitalb and Mediaset Premium) are available throughout their countries consistently, and so are these channels.

This is not the case with the English language market. The United Kingdom no longer has a specialty anime channel, and neither does Australia, New Zealand, or Canada. The United States has two, The FUNImation Channel and The Anime Network. But, there’s a catch. These channels are not necessarily available in every area of the country (unlike Italy and Albania). We’re trying to be a step ahead and show the companies involved what their viewers’ preferences are. Do you guys want this on a premium specialty channel or would you prefer to watch Sailor Moon on a channel included on almost all cable providers’ programming lists like Cartoon Network, SyFy, YTV, or Teletoon? We want the fans to answer these kinds of questions so we can present your preferences to Toei. Unfortunately, these are the only two channels we can specifically ask for in this situation.

Please answer this survey if you are genuinely interested in an English-Language version of Sailor Moon. Specifically, we want people from Canada, The United States, The United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand to answer this survey - but if you are from any other country and just want to see an official release of Sailor Stars in English, don't hesitate to fill this out too!

As far as your comments go, fans will only be allowed a maximum of 200 words for each survey. If it is a few more words that is fine (up to 210). If you have a lot more than that to say, please submit a letter to Toei. The survey will go by a lot faster once this is done, so we recommend that fans work on their comments ahead of time in a word processor. Then all you have to do is paste in your answer when that portion of the survey comes up. This question is the only one that is not required to complete the survey and is completely optional.

A few guidelines: please understand that now that the companies are taking the fans seriously, so you should use understandable grammar and spelling, and no netspeak. No cursing or flaming please. If you have something to complain about, do it constructively. Remember, executives WILL be reading this and if you want them to take your concerns seriously, please write seriously. Keep this as short as possible – the letter campaign is still ongoing. Talk about how badly you want to see Sailor Stars, and in your opinion if you think that it is not too late for an English release of Sailor Stars, or if your interest in the season has not changed a bit since you first saw it. Please, no mention of anything cast-related. This was ALREADY done in the first survey and the majority of fans voted for the old cast members to return over actors on FUNImation’s current roster. We don’t want to have a redundancy in the surveys and ask fans for opinions that we already collected and sent off.

Our tentative goal for this is 700 surveys. We need to set this high to have a real impact! Anything any fan can do to help get the word out about this one (since so many fans wrote in after the last ones ended saying they didn’t know about this) would be a big help. Please tell your friends and other Sailor Moon fans and get the chain started! We did have one incident with one website last summer who did not appreciate getting several e-mails a week from fans about the campaign. So please, do not pester any site over and over if they write back to you saying they are not interested. Out of deep respect for this site, we're not going to mention the name or link to it.

EDIT: Please wait until you see the thank you screen before you close the window (we added one yesterday) - Unfortunately your answers will not save until you see this screen!

Thursday, February 25, 2010 Lists Sailor Moon Again, New Lingerie Commercial From Italy Inspired by Sailor Moon, And a Little News From Hiro!

Sailor Moon #8 on New List from!

On Tuesday, posted a brand new top ten list - "10 Great Out of Print Anime We Want Back", and Sailor Moon is #8 (Image Credit: © Mania/Bob Trate). We agree with a lot of the titles on this list too, but Sailor Moon always gets the top spot with us! The segment reads:

The consummate “magical girl” title, Sailor Moon was to girls in the ‘90s what Dragon Ball was to boys, and for a while was every bit as popular. Usagi Tsukino (Serena in the English dub) is a typical school girl until she meets Luna, a talking cat who helps her unlock her dormant powers, fighting as Sailor Moon, to defend Earth from the Dark Kingdom. Though Sailor Moon was aimed at teenage girls, its mix of common shonen fighting tropes and magical romanticism gives it a wide appeal; it is an early example of a series aimed primarily at females with strong, female protagonists who are able to be leaders, and it helped spawn other popular titles such as Wedding Peach and Revolutionary Girl Utena (another missing title). A recent resurgence in popularity in Japan has renewed interest worldwide, but it seems strange everything Dragon Ball gets constant re-releases while Sailor Moon was allowed to disappear.

And may we add Dragon Ball Z? It seems to us that there has been a lot of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z related releases in the last year. We couldn't have agreed with that comment more.

Bryan Bullard Choreographs New Commercial for Pompea Which Contains Choreography Inspired by Sailor Moon!

What hasn't Sailor Moon inspired? This sighting had us all asking that question! Last week, we read an interview with an model/actress from Italy named Alessia Piovan. She played an Italian actress trying out for a part in the recent movie Nine. The first question asked had something to do with a new lingerie commercial she just shot, and our favorite superhero:

How was it shooting this spot for Pompea, in which you are shown as a ballet-style cartoon (Note: inspired by Sailor Moon, according to the choreographer Bryan Bullard) in the middle of an office?

The rehearsals caused me to hallucinate, because on the first day I spent two hours jumping continuously and my legs were destroyed. But, it was fun, it was a good experience!

We were intrigued, and sent our roving Italian correspondent Light an email, wondering if such a commercial had hit the airwaves. Yesterday, he told us that had a post about the commercial, and lo and behold, we found a press junket about it for you all to watch. However, given that this is a lingerie commercial and we probably have a lot of younger moonies reading this site (since Sailor Moon is gaining popularity again), we're sticking the link after the jump. We'll also warn you that the quality is terrible, but we'll post a better brightened and contrasted teaser for you. Here is model/actress Alessia Piovan posing just like Sailor Moon:

And Finally, A Word From Hiro!

Animefun has posted a new article with some words from Hiro! The big reason for the delay of the re-broadcast from January to March is because there was a delay in Mediaset getting the video. But there will be no video censorship (so stop your complaining Vera Slepoy, and let the fans have their day). The show will air 7 days a week at 5:35 and 9:30 - and it is on the schedule! Please, let nothing stop Sailor Moon from coming back on the air again. Everyone in Italy, please tell your friends and everyone you know to watch and show Toei how much Italy loves Sailor Moon!

The other pieces of good news? The episodes are going to air in the correct order, instead of the mangled order they aired during the first run. There will be two-minute commercial breaks during the show, but when the show airs on Italy 1 in the Fall, these will be reduced to breaks that last anywhere from a minute to 80 seconds. Congratulations to our readers in Italy - only a few more sleeps till Sailor Moon is back on the air again, and we wish we could see all your happy faces!

Ready to see the commercial?

Click here to watch it. The commercial is shown in its entirety, but in shambles among interviews with the director, choreographer, and actors.

3 Days of Sera Myu - Day 3: Loof Merrow is a Model, Tuxedo Kamen Wins as King!

Welcome to Day 3 - our final day of Sera Myu updates! These last two sightings are small, but we're sure many of our readers will recognize these names!

Maki Aizawa to Model in Special Fashion Show!

Maki Aizawa (Loof Merrow in 2004) will be modeling at the Fukuoka Asian Collection (FACo) Spring/Summer 2010 Fashion Show on March 21st. There will be over 40 brands represented at this event, and even brands from Thailand and Taiwan will be featured! Parco (Japan's largest department store) is currently holding a model search. The winners of this "Cinderella Girl" search will also be walking the runway at this show. Maki said at the press conference that she doesn't think that there is much difference between fashion in Fukuoka and Tokyo, but that she thinks Fukuoka fashion is a little more sophisticated. Tickets are sold out, but hopefully we will be able to show you some photos of Maki coming down the runway! For more information on the other models appearing at the event, check out the official FaCO site.

Kenji Urai Wins Award for Role in Henry VI!

Last Fall, the New National Theater Tokyo undertook a major task: they were going to present all 3 parts of William Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy (a whopping 9 hours). Playing Henry VI through all of these was none other than Kenji Urai, who played Tuxedo Mask from 2001-2002. He was hailed by the critics, who said that he really embodied the wavering monarch, and brought a tremendous reality to this production. At the 44th Kinokuniya Theater Awards, Kenji won an award for his performance as the fabled King. He was shocked that he was so young and receiving such a prestigious award, and could not believe they chose a person like him as the winner! Unfortunately, this was the only image we could find of him at the awards show, and that is him nodding on the left side with his drink. Congratulations Kenji, and we'd never imagine that someone on Sera Myu would be doing such a marathon performance on stage!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Operation Moonrise: Kodansha America Letter Writing Campaign, and a Special Surprise!

Hey Moonies! Just a quick heads up that Kodansha received the purple binder on Monday morning, so we're ready to start our letter writing campaign. We have posted the address and other relevant information in our forums, and you will need to be a member to view this - so if you haven't joined our forums, please do!

And for those of you that are and/or will be members, there's a special surprise also waiting for you in the campaign forums. Just think of it as a thank you for being a part of our forums and a chance to participate in something exclusive to our site!

3 Days of Sera Myu - Day 2: Sailor Mars, Tuxedo Kamens, and Sailor Star Fighter all in New Doramas!

Risa Honma Stars in New Calligraphy Club Dorama!

Risa Honma, best known for playing CereCere in 2001 and Sailor Mars from 2004-2005, has a supporting role in a new dorama called Tomehane! Suzuri Koko Shodobu. This show is about a girl from Canada who returns to Japan after many years, and finds that she likes Japanese calligraphy. She joins her new high school’s calligraphy club, but the tiny club is in danger of being abolished without enough students. This is a slice of life drama, and Risa plays Arisa Hatakeyama, a member of a prestigious calligraphy school's staff. The dorama is a live-action adaptation of a popular manga in Japan which ended last year by veteran mangaka Katsuoshi Kawai. Calligraphy is not just about learning the different characters and making them, but also "performance calligraphy" which involves dancing and drawing them. This series began January 7th on NHK. It was only meant to be a 6 episode special, and just ended on February 11th. Since Sera Myu ended, you may be surprised to know that Risa is a budding Sailor Pluto! She lists astrophysics as a hobby, and studied physics at Nihon University, Japan's largest university!

Kousei Amano Plays a Host and is in a Special Boy Band!

Kousei Amano (Tuxedo Kamen in 1999) is now starring in a dorama that is adapted from a popular novel by Miaki Kato. Indigo no Yoru (or Tough Times at Club Indigo) began on Fuji TV in January, and tells the story of Akira Takahara, a woman who once was a successful editor at a major Japanese publisher. One day, her fiance suddenly disappeared, and an unfortunate embezzlement incident later caused her to lose her job. She ends up as the manager of Club Indigo, a strange host club in Shibuya. With various shenanigans happening every night around the club, she and her hosts become amateur detectives to try to solve the cases. Kousei plays a host named "Inu Man" (or Dog Man in English). But what's even more interesting is that he is ten years older than the youngest host, and the two of them along with the famed Takagi twins have formed a pop unit! They are called INDIGO 4 and sing the theme song to the show "Kokoro -Dear my friends-". The single is set to be released today! This show also has a connection to PGSM, as Masu Takeshi (Rei's Dad) also appears in this show playing a supporting role as Mama Nagisa. And if the name of this author sounds familiar, it is! Miaki also wrote the Mop Girl novels, which were later turned into a dorama starring none other than PGSM Sailor Mars, Keiko Kitagawa! The story has also been adapted for the stage, and is set to debut on April 30th at the New National Theatre in Tokyo.

Yuu Shirota in New Movie Based on Popular Dorama!

Yuu Shirota (Tuxedo Kamen from 2003-2004) reprises his role as the condemned criminal Mariya Kyousuke in the just released Koshonin: Time Limit at 10 000 m Above the Ground. This movie is a spinoff from the popular Koshonin: The Negotiator dorama in Japan which lasted for two seasons. The show's premise seems very familiar to that of Flashpoint, but with detectives involved with the Special Investigations Team (SIT). An airplane is hijacked in this movie, but the team's lead negotiator Usagi Reiko is on the flight, and races against time to save the day.

We also came across this very special interview that was conducted by Cinema Today to celebrate his 24th birthday. Yuu Shirota is half-Japanese, half-Spanish, and was largely raised by his Spanish mother. He was asked about cultural differences with Spanish people, and he noted that he lived in Spain when he was a child. He said something interesting that Japanese people are shier than Spanish people. For example if you bump into someone and they drop their handkerchief, in Japan they very hurriedly say “Sorry!” and keep going. In Spain though, people are a lot friendlier and the conversation would go something like “Hey, I dropped my handkerchief!” “Oh, I’m sorry! Can I help you?” He thinks people feel closer in Spain to each other. He has immense respect for his mother since she raised him and his 4 siblings alone in Spain, and had a hard time raising them in Japan where she didn’t understand a word of Japanese. She had been through so many hard times, but she raised them all “splendidly”. He has immense respect for her, and how she helped them all to grow. On his birthday each year, he says that he thanks his mother for giving birth to him. He thinks that the day when children get presents should be a day when they thank their mothers for giving birth to them, since they are the reasons that they are alive and living happily! And, he especially notes that mother hurt her belly giving birth to him, and that the father’s genes are important too.

Mikako Tabe is Everywhere!

Mikako Tabe (Yaten Kou/Sailor Star Healer from 2003-2004) is starring in a new adaptation of a critically acclaimed Japanese novel by Toyoko Yamasaki. Fumo Chitai (The Waste Land) began last October on Fuji TV and continues to run. This series follows Iki Tadashi, a former military leader who was captured by the Soviets during World War II. Treated as a war criminal, he was sentenced to many years of labor in a harsh Siberian detention camp. After 11 years of imprisonment, he is released. He returns to Japan and begins readjusting to life as a civilian, rejecting an offer from his former colleague to work on a defense project. Tadashi has decided to never involve himself in war again, much to the joy of his family. Instead, he attempts to set off on a new path working at a major trading company. Mikako plays his daughter, Naoko in teh series. The series was not only shot in Japan, but also in New Zealand to re-create the Siberian detention camp, and is loosely based on the life of Ryuzo Sejima. This drama is doing very well in the ratings and is one of the more popular shows in Japan.

A brand new recording was released of famed Japanese poet Noriko Ibaragi's greatest works. When I was Most Beautiful ~ Words to Live By ~ was released on January 30th, and Mikako can be heard reading her most famous poem "When I was Most Beautiful" about the unfairness of war among the poems included. Fans can read an English translation of the powerful poem here (and wander around and read her other poems too - they are great!). The poem, since its publication in 1957, has been translated into many different languages, and was even put to music by Pete Seeger in the late 60s.

And, last December 4th, Japan's prestigious Elandor Awards were handed out. These awards recognize excellence in Japanese cinema and TV dramas. Mikako won a "Rookie Award" for her acting in the Japanese fantasy film, Fish Story. Fans can learn more about the time-traveling adventure in a review from Variety (yes, this is in English). She played the schoolgirl Asami in this punk-rock themed movie about fate through the ages. There may be an international release of this film, but as of this writing no one has picked it up internationally (hey FUNImation, here's a Japanese film actually worth licensing). Congratulations!

Only one more day to go - guess who's modeling, and guess who won an award for his performance in a Japanese production of a Shakespearean play?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

3 Days of Sera Myu - Day 1: Sera Myu Producer's New Musical Debuts!

After what seems like ages, we're going to finally keep up with the cast of Sera Myu (and hopefully be a little more consistent about it). This month, we have 6 sightings from actors, and 1 sighting from a producer of the well-loved Sailor Moon Musicals. We're spreading them out over three articles over three days - enjoy!

Former Sera-Myu Producer Appears at Major Event for Minky Momo Musical!

Time sure passes quickly! It was only last July when we told you that Sera Myu producer Toshiyuki Takezawa was going to produce a special musical to celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of the first magical girl animes, Magical Princess Minky Momo. Later that summer, these commercials ran to advertise for auditions. Just a few weeks ago, at the Sunshine City Complex in Ikebukuro, Japan, some of the major cast and chorus members came to perform a preview of the musical. Tickets went on sale to the general public on February 12th, and the musical will run for a limited engagement from April 29th to May 5th at Sunshine Theater Ikebukuro. Playing major roles in this play are idol Asami Katsura in the role of Adult Minky Momo, and Sayaka Akimoto in the role of a new villain created just for this musical named Nightmare. Readers may recognize Sayaka from the popular singing group AKB48. Making their musical debut as child Minky Momo are Anna Ichioka and Miku Katsunuma. These two beat out over 700 girls who auditioned! They are both nervous since it is their first musical, but they are looking forward to being on stage! The plot of this musical will feature Minky Momo trying to help adults remember their dreams, but Nightmare will make this task difficult!

Toshiyuki spoke after the performance with the show's director and screenplay writer and lyricist. He wore a (shall we say interesting) peach jacket and brought out a life-size standup cutout of Asami in a nurse costume from the musical. He told the screenwriter a year and a half ago to start work on this musical, and they continue to work hard to please the fans. They are almost done writing the lyrics! He said that he was happy to be producing a musical performance again at Sunshine Ikebukuro after producing on the Sailor Moon musicals. Nightmare was created as a symbol of people losing their dream, since they needed something obvious to show in these 2 hours! It was Toshiyuki who offered the role to Sayaka, having been very impressed with watching her perform with AKB48 last November. He has also worked with Asami before when he produced a musical based on Boys Be... when she was only 14-15 years old. Now he feels she is perfect for the role as she has matured into a young lady, much like Minky Momo.
Toshiyuki also announced other members of the cast and crew who were not there that day, Chisa Yokoyama will play Minky Momo's mother, the Queen of Mirror World. Miyako Kiura will be designing the costumes and Tomonori Nakamura is composing the score. He said he wanted to make this show for children, their parents, and all Minky Momo fans.

Then came a question and answer period (which you can read more here). One member of the press asked this question "Minky Momo can turn into an adult doing any job. What did you want to be when you were a child? And for the two young actresses, what do you want to be in the future?" Some of the answers were cute, one was surprising, but Toshiyuki didn't answer. He did say something special though! When he was asked if there were other events planned for the 30th anniversary, he said that there will be some new manga and a re-broadcast, and he is looking forward to a third season of the anime. He also said that the Sakura Wars musicals and the Sailor Moon musicals he produced ran for 13 years each, and he hopes to run Minky Momo for 14. He might be very old by then, but he would like to try for it!

Gigazine posted some videos of the event:

1st Theme song performance
2nd Theme song performance
Photo Shoot

Next up? You won't believe who's appearing in dramas on Japanese Television as we speak!

Monday, February 22, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Mexico and Latin America are NOT Getting a DVD Release

Yesterday one of our twitter followers Ultimo_Spalpeen tweeted this to us, and we were a little hesitant to post it to the site until we actually knew it was true. Roughly, this is what the Sailor Moon section of this article translates to:

Sailor Moon:

One of the most anticipated series in recent years, returns to Mexico and Latin America after many years, by DVD-release, or in this case, the DVD could not be censored but still contain the original dubbed track from Intertrack Mexico. In 2010, this is confirmed with a total DVD release.

We noticed that Capital 8 does have an image of Sailor Moon on their website, however it was missing the various copyrights or trademarks on it (on any of the Italian websites, there is always some mention of any combination of Toei, Naoko Takeuchi, and PNP). It is very difficult to find any official image like this on an official site without any sort of trademark/copyright information. And, there was no release anywhere on their site announcing that they had the rights to Sailor Moon. Moments ago, we just got the e-mail we were waiting for from our contact at Toei, and simply got the response back:

This is false information.

At this time, we wish to thank this representative for getting back to us so quickly today.

We understand that you are probably heartbroken with this bombshell, but please, do not give up hope Moonies in Mexico and Latin America! Perhaps Toei is waiting to see what kind of response the show will get in Europe before bringing it across the ocean.

EDIT: Toei has given another site some different information. The Latin America Sales Manager of Toei Animation Inc. Eduardo Lucio (who we can only guess works just feet away from our contact), has told SOS Brazil that Toei is waiting to see how the show does in Italy first, and then they hope to bring it back to Brazil in 2011. This is something that we had thought all along, and at least we know now that we are on the right track (although we thought we might have heard something by the Fall of 2010 considering how things have been progressing in Europe).

BREAKING NEWS: Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards Announced

Two big pieces of Flashpoint news were announced today! The first was a long-awaited announcement of the US DVDs for Season 2, and now an award nomination for show creators and writers Stephanie Morgenstern (Sailor Venus #1) and her husband Mark Ellis, along with writer James Hurst were nominated for their screenwriting on the Season 2 Part 2 opener, "One Wrong Move". We're calling it that since there was some initial Season 2/3 confusion. To check out the full list of nominations, check out TV_Eh here. Congratulations to Stephanie, Mark, and James, and we wish you all the best of luck when the awards are handed out on April 19th in Toronto!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Sailor Moon Interviews on ANIMAX!

Dear Moonies: We know you are all anxious! Yes, we read this story tonight about new DVDs in Mexico and Latin America, but we are waiting for official confirmation. There is an image of Sailor Moon on Capital 8's site (which is a very good sign) but there is no press release listed anywhere, and we just want to be sure. We're a little surprised that we don't see the correct copyright credentials on that image, since they are all over the images (or in proximity of them) in Italy. We have contacted relevant official sources for confirmation and we will comment on this as soon as possible!

Now, back to what this post is really about:

Hours ago, reader Jim! sent us these links to some new interviews on YouTube which came from a series of specials on ANIMAX. Creators, is a talk show on ANIMAX that is hosted by Kyan Chiaki (the cosplayer at the Sailor Moon DVD Launch & Reunion Event) and actor Kendo Kobayashi. On the shows which aired on the Saturdays, February 6th and 13th, three very special guests were featured! Directors Junichi Sato and Kunihiko Ikuhara, as well as Sailor Moon herself, Kotono Mitsuishi were interviewed on the talk show. The three of them shared the untold story of how the show was born, and how it changed the industry. Kotono also shared some special memories of her time on the show, and even moves a giant Sailor Moon plush around while performing her infamous monologue right after her transformation! Unfortunately, we are really busy behind the scenes of Moon Chase with our big endeavour coming this Friday, and trying to get this rumor confirmed. We don't have a lot of time to watch this interview - but know that we are working on getting something related to this interview to you fans through other, more exciting avenues. In the meantime, please watch it here:

First Half, Part 1
First Half, Part 2
First Half, Part 3

Second Half, Part 1
Second Half, Part 2
Second Half, Part 3

Junichi continued (and still is) on the show yesterday and next week, for his work on Keroro Gunso (better known in English as Sgt. Frog).

Toei Update, Early 2010

This post is just to keep fans up to date on Toei's milestones. It is too early in the year to know if there's a window of possibility of Sailor Moon in North America.

From January 25th-27th in Las Vegas, the National Association of Television Program Executives held their annual Market and Conference. Toei didn't make any announcements with respect to the North American market, but did make a few towards the Latin American market (which is also handled through their Los Angeles office). Dragon Ball is headed to Chile, and will be broadcast on Megavision TV, and Digimon Frontier is headed to Brazil on Rede TV. The DVD rights for Digimon Frontier have been licensed to Brazilian distributor Five Stars. Toei had a booth at the market, but doesn't appear to have made any major presentations other than these announcements.

Perhaps one of the biggest announcements comes from FUNImation - and this was posted a little over two weeks ago. FUNImation announced that it did in fact get a license from Toei for Dragon Ball Z Kai, a retelling of the DBZ saga. In Japan, the series is known simply as Dragon Ball Kai, featuring remasterd Hi-Def picture, sound, and special effects, along with a brand new voice track recorded by the original cast. Since many of the frames from the original were destroyed after production was completed, the frames were redrawn over still frames from existing footage and filled in with softer colors to reduce the visual damage - and all kinds of tricks were played, some frames were cropped, others became more detailed. But the most important difference is the faster pace of this story, which remains true to the manga and doesn't drag on like the last series did at points. There will be around 100 episodes once this is complete in Japan. FUNImation announced the cast for the English version, however the comments show that many fans are unhappy with some of the changes (in fact some fans are still angry over the lost of many of the Ocean Group's dub VAs).

The second big story from Toei is all of the buzz surrounding Halo Legends, which was released last tuesday. Toei was one of a few Japanese studios commissioned to produce one of 7 different shorts based on the popular gaming franchise. Toei's, was special though. While the other six shorts were considered to be canon with the "Halo-verse", Toei's was a complete parody of it! It involves a character named 1337 who falls off a ship and lands on some strange planet. He meets a couple of kids riding a dinosaur, gets into a DBZ-esque fight with a Brute... and it only gets goofier. So far, reception of Halo Legends has been positive. So, if you're looking to watch Toei take a ridiculous and hilarious take on the "Halo-verse" definitely give this one a rent! Fans can get more information on the release here.

And a bit of news on Sailor Moon's "rival" in Japan that is currently trying to take the world by storm, Pretty Cure. The 7th series, Heartcatch PreCure debuted last week on Japanese TV, and features two Seiyuu that were from Sailor Moon: Chika Sakamoto (Sailor Star Healer/Yaten Kou) and Taeko Kawata (Momoko Momohara). They play Kaoruko Hanasaki (Tsubomi's/Cure Blossom's Grandmother and Confidante) and Shypre respectively. On March 20th in Japan, a new Pretty Cure movie (Precure All Stars DX2: Light of Hope— Protect the Rainbow Angel!) will be released in theaters featuring all PreCure heroes from past and present! YTV has also put Pretty Cure back on the schedule on Saturday Afternoons (this is probably the second or third run of the series). And, while we were researching all of the exciting news coming out of Italy we stumbled upon some dubbed trailers for other seasons of Pretty Cure on Toei Animation Europe's site here and here. It's likely that these trailers were probably dubbed in Canada (the voices do sound very similar to the ones used in the dub of the first season). We're not sure what Toei has in store for Pretty Cure, but we encourage all fans who want to see more seasons of this in English as well as a DVD release, to support the show as best they can in Canada and write a letter to Toei about Pretty Cure.

Last week, the Mobile World Congress was held in Barcelona, Spain. This is a special conference held once each year, where thousands of mobile leaders from around the world "gather, collaborate, conduct business and experience vision in action." This year's conference featured keynotes and panel discussions, an exhibition with over 1,300 booths,and an awards ceremony and seminars that highlighted the most innovative mobile solutions. Among these 1,300 exhibitors, tucked away in the very last exhibition hall, was a booth from Toei Animation Co. Ltd. featuring two executives from their Los Angeles Office. Pictured left-to-right: Kenji Ebato (Executive Vice President of Toei Animation Inc. of Los Angeles) and Sae Song (Manager of Digital Media and Mobile Content). Those of you who have written letters to Toei, will have addressed the guy on the left, so now you can see who you are sending them to! What this image (from here) doesn't show you, is that there was in fact a Sailor Moon poster on display. Yes, this is a pretty drab looking booth compared to photos of some of the others we have seen, but Sae had a lot of interesting things to say to Andrew Lim of Sae first blames the decline of the anime industry on two things: Japan's declining population of children, and bittorrent from overseas markets. The fans, according to him, are consuming anime differently, and it is difficult for Toei to keep up. They are facing the same challenges as many other companies are in trying to effectively monetize their content. They can put Fist of the North Star online, but it isn't easy to make any money off it (we have a few qualms with this statement, but we'll save this for later). He thinks that anime is at a tipping point now, and all of the studios need to get together and make a common hub for fans to watch anime online. But, this isn't as easy as it sounds to get everyone on board, so Toei Animation Inc. wants to follow after Toei Animation Co. Ltd. in Japan, and get their content out on mobile phones and tablets. At this conference, they had hoped to speak to application developers and networks to come up with something "amazing". But, the majority of companies that should be interested in this kind of thing, just aren't. Toei hasn't gotten a lot of requests for information from anyone about this. Lim ends by saying that they had a lot of great ideas, but they should have been put in a better part of the exhibition rather than in the very last hall.

As far as older series like Fist of the North Star goes, we think Toei might have been better off selling high quality episodes as digital copies, or releasing DVD boxsets. There are some hardcore anime fans that still enjoy these series, even though these audiences may not be as big compared to other series. Many fans are still a little irked with the new "movies" being produced of these older series (EDIT: Thanks to reader NJ_, it looks like there is at least some hope for Fist of the North Star). And, North America does not compare to the strength of Japan when it comes to mobile devices. There are maybe only a handful of mobile phones across the market which compare to most Japanese mobile phones, which are more powerful and capable of a lot more. For Toei to really be successful they would have to think outside the iPhone and Blackberry box with their fans to deliver mobile content that could work across most mobile phones. To Toei's credit in Japan, they have many successful ANIMO sites for many different series (including DragonBall, Sailor Moon, Pretty Cure, and Saint Seiya), delivering anime content to mobile devices.

Fans can now see the T-shirts that Toei collaborated alongside Uniqlo with on their site. However, here's the really strange part. The shirts are available on the English site for the European and American markets, but are nowhere to be found on the Japanese website. This brand is very popular in Japan, and we find it a little strange that this appears to be a deal reached through Toei Animation Europe, and not through Japan where the apparel could have been more successful since the brand is just making itself known in Europe and North America. Nonetheless, we like the t-shirts, and we have them pictured here for you. These shirts are only part of their men's collection, and sorry, no Sailor Moon. They are affordable, priced at $15.50 USD.

And finally, Toei Animation Inc. has named Firefly Brand Management the North American licensing agent for Digimon. Firefly will have the rights to the merchandise licensing sales for the first five seasons. The article goes on to mention that it "briefly flowered in the U.S. during the early 2000s". Reading something like this worries us a little, because shouldn't a show still be flowering for a merchandise strategy to really be effective? Digimon was never as popular as Pokemon in North America, and we haven't heard too much buzz about that franchise lately. Nonetheless Kanji Kazhaya (President and COO of Toei Animation Europe and possibly Toei Animation Inc. in Los Angeles) had some optimistic remarks, saying "As one of the industry’s most reputable and experienced licensing agents, we look forward to benefitting from the expertise of Firefly’s founder, Cynthia Modders, and her brilliant colleagues." We hope that Firefly Brand Management redoes their site a little - there isn't much there in terms of clients they have worked with, so we can't say for sure what sorts of merchandise will come out of this deal. This sort of affects Sailor Moon because if Firefly does a good job with this series, we may see them handle some merchandise rights for Sailor Moon in the future. Speaking of which, watch this site. More action, coming soon!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Breaking News: ACTRA Toronto results!

The 2010 ACTRA Toronto award results are in and the Moon Chase Blog Network is happy to announce that actors we have been following have won on both sides of the coin!

In a direct victory for Flashpoint, Kathleen Munroe won Best Female Performer for playing Laura in the episode Last Dance.

Another Flashpoint actor, K.C. Collins, won Best Male Performer for playing Derek Wilmot in Guns. He also played another Derek, Derek Medeiros in the Flashpoint episode Exit Wounds.

On the Sailor Moon side, Julie Lemieux won Best Voice Work for playing Fuzzy Snuggems in the animated series Spliced. She was also the voice of Sammy and Young Darien on Sailor Moon.

We'd like to extend our congratulations to these great actors, for helping to bring to life the shows we love to watch!

BREAKING NEWS: Kirsten Dunst Music Video in Akihabara!

Takashi Murakami's short film Akihabara Majokko Princess starring Kirsten Dunst has finally been posted! The music video has Kirsten dancing in Akihabara singing a cover of Turning Japanese by The Vapors and wearing a horribly clashing, extremely garish costume that has been compared to Sailor Moon's outfit.

We were hoping that after two posts we could forget this awkward fashion decision that merited a Sailor Moon comparison, but third time's the charm; we get to live it all over again, and we just had to share our misery! :D

We recommend that only older readers watch the video. There are some background visuals that are not suitable for children.

EDIT: it appears that Company3 has taken the video down, but fans can watch it on YouTube here!

February PGSM News Update

Rika Izumi Gives Exercise Lessons

Rika Izumi (PGSM Sailor Mercury) recently made an appearance on the TV Asahi program Easy Sports. The purpose of Easy Sports is to make athletics and a healthy lifestyle accessible to women of all body types and ages. Viewers who were watching the program during the week of January 18 to January 22 would have been treated to some footage of Izumi performing various yoga lessons. Izumi, who lists Pilates as one of her favourite sports on her profile, showed viewers five different poses for the week long stretch that she was featured. We're also linking you to videos that we have been able to find! Monday's lesson was for a triangle pose, which enhances thigh flexibility and strength of physique. Tuesday's lesson was an Extended Side Angle pose, which helps the back and improves blood circulation. Wednesday's exercise was the Bound Angle Pose which strengthens the back and abdomen. Thursday's exercise was the Upward Dog Pose, which strengthens the back of the legs and improves posture. Finally, Friday's lesson was the Bridge Pose, which strengthens the abdominal and back legs. For pictures and descriptions of Izumi's lesson, visit here.

In other Rika Izumi news, the former PGSM actress will be appearing in a supporting role on "BeeTV", a station geared towards mobile devices and the internet. She will be making some cameo appearances on the omnibus love dorama, "Onna-tachi wa Nido Asobu". Aibu Saki, Koyuki, Hazegawa Kyoko, Yuuka and Misukawa Asami will be the full time cast members that Izumi will be acting with. A typical episode of this show will feature five different mini-episodes within its 24 minute run time.

Also Buzzing Around on BeeTV is A Turtleman!

Poor Masaya Kikawada (PGSM Motoki Furuhata), your infamous turtle antics from PGSM will live with us fans forever...He is also appearing on a dorama on BeeTV that is also a collaboration with FujiTV called Hidamari no Basho ~Hatsukoi~, which translates to "Place of Sunshine ~First Love~". He plays a supporting role in this show about a delinquent who falls in love with the most perfect girl at school. Fans can click here to learn more about the show and watch a trailer!

Masaya also posted something pretty quirky on his blog. Last December, he admitted to really liking the scent of Downy (y'know, the fabric softner?). He was the happiest person in the world when he discovered that popular Japanese laundry detergent Bold has a limited edition detergent out that has the scent of Downy in it (similar to the "Tide with a Touch of Downy" we have here). He thinks that now he is washing his clothes with this, that he will be more attractive. We couldn't help but laugh reading this entry!

Mew Azama Endorses Suntory Products

Suntory, a company which specializes in various drinks, has put together a special campaign for Jug-Nana, a popular line of beer. Suntory has gathered six young idols for its latest promotion, one representing each day of the week. Sharing Thursday for this promotion is none other than Mew Azama (PGSM Sailor Jupiter) . Some of the idols representing the other days of the week are Yuriko Yoshitaka (Monday), Sayo Aizawa (Tuesday), Airi Taira (Wednesday), and Inamori Izumi (Friday). All six idols will represent Saturday and Sunday.

PGSM Stars Reunite (Well, Almost...)

Special thanks to reader RB for sending in this sighting! Mew Azama and Ayaka Komatsu (Sailor Venus) hosted a combined birthday party for Mew and a New Years' Party a little over 2 weeks ago. The only one who couldn't make it this time was Keiko Kitagawa (Sailor Mars). Miyuu Sawaii (Sailor Moon), Rika, and Ayaka all posted images and a few thoughts on their blogs! Rika remarked that it was fun to get together with everyone again after a long time, and that they are so close that they can talk for hours. Ayaka also said that she was happy to see everyone, and that they were so restless when they caught up with each other! Miyuu just wrote that they had a great time and they talked a lot. Here come the photos:

From Rika's Blog:

From Ayaka's Blog:

From Miyuu's blog:

Keiko Kitagawa is Valentine's Queen, Journalist Offender, and a Hair-Raiser!

Keiko is too busy doing promotions for her new productions and filming others, but she still continues to make some quirky appearances in Japanese news. On February 3rd, she was voted a Valentine's Day Queen in the categories of Drama Heroine and Most Fascinating Female Celebrity. This was a survey done by 300 Japanese High Schoolers sponsored by both Oricon and Pocky. Valentine's Day is a little different in Japan - women give men chocolate, and then men return the favor giving women chocolate exactly a month later. So, Keiko was voted the woman that these High Schoolers would most like to receive chocolate from! Standing alongside her is Japanese idol Masuwaka Tsubasa (who is best known for her Gyaru modeling). Keiko was quoted during the event: "I attended a girls’ school for junior high and high school. Making homemade chocolates was not one of my strong points. Instead, I often received really cute chocolates made by other girls." Mishapen or lumpy Keiko, it's the thought that counts! Fans can watch some highlights from the event here. Keiko also wrote something that offended journalists a few days later on her blog (English translation here), ranting about how she finds it difficult to keep her answers consistent during interviews ahead of the March 10th premiere of her upcoming movie After the Flowers, and that she thought she put all the intense stress on her brain away after she graduated. We hope that this doesn't hurt the press because the movie looks really good (and could hopefully be picked up for international distribution). On the bright side, some critics have already lauded her performance in this movie "Hair-Raising","Trembling" and "impressive" at a preview screening held on January 26th.

Natsumi Kiyoura Releasing First Album!

Natsumi Kiyoura (Sailor M) is releasing her debut album, and boy has she come a long way since her days on PGSM. She is a singer, and has even sung the theme song for Spice and Wolf "Tabi no Tochu". The song is featured on her upcoming album "19 Colors", which is produced by many big names in the industry. It even has a song ("Anone Demone") produced by Yoko Kanno, who is legendary among anime fans for her work on anime movie and TV show soundtracks. This long awaited release will come out on February 24th, and fans should order it now from overseas retailers as it is predicted to be a hit!

Pictures Galore!

Just a short post with lots of pretty pictures for you all to look at! has posted an image of a poster hanging outside the building where the Backstage Licensing meeting happened last week. This is a great image - and this also marks the debut of Tuxedo Mask in a promotional image in Italy (but where are Luna and Artemis?).

Many Japanese online websites have just released images of the covers of the new CDs ( and Neowing/CD Japan). It looks like they will be exactly the same as they were before. These are still not listed on Columbia's official website (or Toei's for that matter), however we did find a news article in Chinese that seems to announce this re-release. There is nothing new on this in the article, but it still seems a little off that there hasn't been a whisper about this release in the Japanese news.

We'll have a very special update on Toei's recent dealings coming up on Monday - you may be surprised to read some of the things we have dug up!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sailor Moon Seiyuu Sightings January and February 2010 (Part 2)

Tales of Festival Tickets are On Sale!

For those of you planning to be in Japan on June 5th and 6th of this year, you could have the opportunity to see Masaya Onosaka (Jadeite, pictured left) and Hikaru Midorikawa (Fiore, Ail/Alan, pictured right)! Tales of Festival 2010 tickets are now on sale, and those two seiyuu will be among a handful of stars from Bandai-Namco's Tales RPG series appearing at the special 2 day concert. Hikaru played the characters Lion Magnus in Tales of Destiny, and Judas in Tales of Destiny 2. Masaya played Zelos Wilder in Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Tickets went on sale earlier this month and are going for anywhere from 4800 Yen to 7800 Yen ($53-86 USD). There aren't too many details out about this event yet, but it looks like it will be a lot of fun for Tales fans!

Queen Nehelenia Turns Nice in Cobra: The Animation!

Yoshiko Sakakibara (Queen Nehelenia) reprised her role as Armaroid Lady, Cobra’s android sidekick, in a two episode Cobra: The Animation OVA which aired on Japanese TV just weeks ago. The entire Cobra: The Animation series which stretches all the way back to the 80s, is finally being released on Blu-Ray beginning this April in honor of Cobra’s 30th anniversary! Fans can learn more about the OVA from, and also watch subtitled episodes on Crunchyroll!

Some Seiyuu Involved in Ghoulish ParaPara?!

Wataru Takagi (Rubeus, an MC, and Kobayashi), Daisuke Sakaguchi (various supporting roles), and Machiko Toyoshima (Palla-Palla and various supporting characters) are part of an enormous cast doing something special for popular Japanese ghost story franchise, GeGeGe no Kitaro. The cast happily volunteered for a special CD filled with their singing, and dancing - they are all going to be doing GeGeGe-themed Para-Para! They are all featured on the cover next to a monster with a giant eyeball for a head. This will be released on February 19th and looks like it will be a lot of fun!

New RPG Gives Characters the Chance to Have the Voice of Ryotaro Okiayu!

Square Enix's Concerto Gate Forte, a sequel to the hugely popular MMORPGs Cross Gate and Concerto Gate, has a very special item in it that players can collect. For two weeks as part of a special lottery, players could collect the "Power of Words Candy" and their character would be able to speak with the voice of one of 3 seiyuus. One of those is Ryotaro Okiayu (Tiger's Eye and various other supporting characters). The other two voices that fans could win are Jun Fukuyama (best known as Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass) and J-pop singer Nana Mizuki. Concerto Gate Forte has proven to be popular among Japanese game players for its very interesting art style: it combines 3D characters and maps with hand drawn map elements!

New Doraemon CD Features An Old Favorite...

Mitsuko Horie (Sailor Galaxia) is featured on a special Doraemon movie theme album! To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Doraemon movie, a special 2CD album is being released with the best-loved theme songs. Mitsuko Horie's "Aozora-tte Iina" from 1988 is featured on the compilation. To hear the song, click here!

..As Does a New Gundam Album!

Or rather, old favorites! On February 24th, a limited edition boxset with 145 Gundam songs will be released as a nice touch to the 30th anniversary celebrations which began last year. Chieko Honda (Tellu) and Megumi Hayashibara (Himeko) will be singing Tokyo Boogie Night on Disc 10: Another Story. The Boxset also comes with a 272 page book with a Gundam timeline, interviews, and comments on the music. This is quickly selling out on many online stores so Gundam fans who want a copy of this should go find it quickly!

And To End, Lots of Kikuko Inoue!

Kikuko Inoue (Princess Rubina, Reiko Aya/Sailor Aluminum Siren) is sure up to a lot these days! On February 2rd, she will be appearing at a special "Kodansha Comics Afternoon Festival" for a radio interview that will later be streamed online through NicoVideo. For more information on this event hit the Afternoon Festival blog here! Kikuko's voice can also be heard in a dating sim: Vector's Book Of Love. Kikuko plays a high school student in this dating sim for men. This is a dating sim built just for the mobile market, and men who want to play this game can try it for free. We can't find too much more about the nature of this game (if there is any hentai/ecchi themes involved). The last place that you can hear Kikuko this month is on a CD of music to accompany the popular Zero na Tsukaima series called Nemurenai Fantasy. This CD is full of character songs and dialogues, and is a must for any ZnT fans!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Anecdote from Yoshihiro Togashi Has Fans Worried

In yesterday’s issue of Jump Magazine, Yoshihiro Togashi posted this anecdote:

“I started Dragon Quest IX. I am trying to decide if I should continue playing as my character or restart and change its class and hair.”

Why are fans all worried about this? Dragon Quest IX is one of the most popular RPG’s in Japan and is highly addictive (characteristic of any Square Enix game for that matter). Fans fear that this will be the reason he stops drawing manga again! For proof, we’ve got the scan below from the Table of Contents. For more fan and press freak out, click here and here. We don’t think this is going to be a problem, because either one of a few things will happen to bring him away from his Nintendo DS. Either his son will want to play it, he will get stuck in the game and put it down for a bit to rethink a strategy, or he will get bored with it. Or, Naoko Takeuchi will need someone to watch the new baby as she goes out to run errands. Perhaps, she could get so mad with Togashi that she hides his Nintendo DS, leaving him with nothing else to do but draw more manga ☺. Either way, it’s a win-win situation! Togashi never ceases to amuse us with his anecdotes!

EDIT (Morning of Feb. 17th): It seems that some fans are accusing him of lying - they all assumed that he took his leave to take care of his new baby, but now people wonder if he was fighting a game addiction. What crazy drama has such an innocent comment caused? Addiction or not, we can almost predict that after ten installments HxH will go away for a long time... again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Another Seiyuu Appears at Hawaiian Anime Convention, and Takeuchi and Togashi Dominate List of Anime That Need A Reboot!

Hideo Ishikawa to Appear at Kawaii-Kon!

Honolulu's Kawaii-Kon made their final announcement of Japanese Guests of Honor this morning, and on this list is seiyuu who has had much bigger roles in other anime, but did play some small ones in Sailor Moon. Hideo Ishikawa will be making his first non-Japanese appearance at this convention, and plays Itachi Uchiha in Naruto, Jushiro Ukitake in Bleach, Auron in Final Fantasy X, X-2, and Kingdom Hearts 2. He had a few one-off roles in Sailor Moon, playing a driver in episode 73 and a man in episode 79 (R-season), a reporter in episode 143 and Tobikiriyarou in episode 155 (SuperS-Season). Yes, these are smaller roles, but in our endless pursuit to bring you everything we possibly can to do with Sailor Moon, this does qualify. More than that, Hideo was also part of a band known as the Entertainment Music Unit (E.M.U.) which included other stars of Sailor Moon, Hikaru Midorikawa, Ryotaro Okaiyu, Daisuke Sakaguchi and Nobutoshi Canna (formerly, his last name was (Hayabashi). Kawaii-Kon takes place from April 16-18 and if any of our readers are planning to attend, we would love to hear from you!

For those of you wondering, here's who everyone else in that group played:

☽Hikaru has played both Fiore in the Sailor Moon R-movie, and Ail in the first part of the Sailor Moon R season.

☽Ryotaro played Tiger's Eye in the SuperS Season, Yuuji in episode 2 (first season), Achiral in episode 81 (R-season), and George in episode 108 (S-season).

☽Daisuke played a cat in episode 31 (First season), a boy in episode 105 and a young man in episode 93 (S-season), and Chibi-Usa's classmate Kyuusuke Sarashina in the SuperS season.

☽Nobutoshi played a guard in episode 20 (first season) and an official in episode 50 (R-season).

Fans can watch a short concert of E.M.U here (Warning, lots of boyband cheeziness)

Naoko Takeuchi and Yoshihiro Togashi Dominate Mania's list of Top 10 Anime Series that Need a Reboot!

Just a short sighting here, but posted a list of Ten Anime Series that Need a Reboot (image credit: 10 Anime Series That Need a Reboot © Mania/Bob Trate ). Both of Yoshihiro Togashi's anime series, Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter X Hunter began the list at 10 and 9 respectively. We don't think an OVA for either of these series would be such a bad idea, since the Hunter X Hunter manga has had some great stories published when Togashi was not on his hiatus, and Yu Yu Hakusho was just released on Blu-Ray. Yu Yu Hakusho also had a new picture drama instead of a full episode included on the first Blu-Ray boxset. Topping the list is none other than Sailor Moon! With all this great reception towards the revival all over the world, why not make a new OVA or a movie? We're so pleased that Naoko and Yoshihiro's animes are on this list! While campaigning for a new Sailor Moon production of any kind would probably be futile, we aren't giving up on bringing what does exist back to North America. And maybe, we'll have a different campaign coming...

Sailor Moon Seiyuu Sightings January and February 2010 (Part 1)

Senshi Minus One Reunite With Naoko!

Naoko Takeuchi invited Kotono Mitsuishi, Aya Hisakawa, Michie Tomizawa, and Rika Fukami to her house for a New Years’ lunch. Emi Shinohara was probably also invited but wasn’t there. She posted a photo of everyone enjoying champagne and wine! From left to right in this photo: Rika Fukami, Naoko Takeuchi, Aya Hisakawa, Michie Tomizawa, and Kotono Mitsuishi. She writes:

Super Gorgeous!

This is a New Years Party at the house of the original author of Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi~

Aya Hisakawa, Rika-chan Fukami, Michie Tomizawa and I had a wonderful lunch with Naoko Takeuchi!

It was too fun!

It was too delicious!

Do we ever get tired of talking about Sailor Moon?
Mitsuishi was in the best spirits after all that champagne and wine!

Kotono is so cute – and this is definitely a rare look inside Naoko Takeuchi’s house! It sure looks pretty regal to us – we wonder if she themed her house to be Princess Naoko’s palace? Did Yoshihiro Togashi take this photo?

The Seiyuu Also Invaded a Shopping Arcade!

The Shinmachi Shopping Arcade to be exact! The Machi★Asobi Vol 2. Exhibit opened in the arcade in January, featuring all sorts of anime and manga memorabilia from drawings, to autographs, and costumes. Some of the seiyuu involved with Sailor Moon had autographs that were featured in this exhibit, and they included: Michie Tomizawa, Rika Fukami, Mika Doi (Queen Serenity), Emi Shinohara, the late Kaneto Shiozawa (Prince Diamond), and Megumi Hayashibara (Himeko). Some Sailor Moon movie posters were also featured as part of the exhibit. To see more pictures, click here!

Going back to Kotono…

Kotono also appeared at a special press event for Kokkeko-san a little over two weeks ago with the entire cast of the show (she is front row and center, holding the Kokkeko-san doll). This article features an interview with them, and Kotono had a lot to say about her role! She spoke about how Kokkeko-san is a lovely mother who just wants the best of her kids, and just like many other mothers, has to deal with a husband who doesn’t always help her. She thinks that this is a great cartoon for mothers and children to bond to watching it together. She enjoyed and sympathized with this role, being a mother just like Kokkeko-san! All of the cast also wished that they had moms like Kokkeko-san! Kotono ended the interview saying how much she loved the arts, and asked for all mothers to watch it with their children.

Emi Shinohara Plays Piano For Peace!

Besides using the power of thunder to save the world, did you also know that Sailor Jupiter plays the piano? This is one of many talents listed on her official agency profile, and we were a little surprised to learn of this sighting! There is a piano that has traveled all over Japan, and is known for being a symbol of peace. This piano survived the bombing at Hiroshima, and has a very interesting story behind it (and we can even share it with you in English)! On January 23rd, a special concert was held at the Cultural Information Center in Hanoura, Anan City, in Tokushima, Japan. The piano still holds small amounts of radiation and shards of glass throughout its lacquer, but the piano tuner who restored it (Mitsunori Yagawa) commented that those who hear how good the piano sounds, they cannot tell that it was part of such a horrific event. Emi Shinohara accompanied singers at this concert which played to an audience of 300. This piano is one of four pianos which survived the bombing, and a different one that Yagawa has restored will be making its way to New York City later this year to mark the 9th anniversary of the September 11th attacks and International Day of Peace. There was even a special part of the concert where some very talented 7th graders played the piano as well. We have featured an image of Emi Shinohara accompanying soprano Miki Furumoto above.

Hear Sakura Tange in Video Games!

Sakura Tange is probably most famous for playing Sakura in Card Captor Sakura, and well known for singing that show's theme song. She also had a small role as Miharu Akiyama in episode 139 of Sailor Moon SuperS. Fans of Sakura can hear her voice in two video games this month! The first is Fate/Extra, where she plays Saber, the lead female warrior. This was not met without controversy as she is playing a role once played by Ayako Kawasumi. Fate/Extra is the fourth game based on the popular Fate/Stay Night series. The second game that fans can hear her in is Konami's Love Plus Valentine, which was just released last week. She plays Rinko Kobayakawa, a first year high school student. This game is a dating sim that is all about being in love when you are in high school!

Part Two will be posted a little later this week!