Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Not too long ago, fans were concerned over the wellbeing of Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi, her husband Yoshihiro Togashi, and their family after the tsunami and earthquake disaster in Japan. We were able to confirm that they were in fact safe. However, with the many after effects of the tragedy, there continues to be worry for all people affected. In the wake of the tragedy, many mangaka have drawn their most beloved characters to bring inspiration and courage to those affected, and Togashi has finally joined them. Yesterday, Jump posted a message accompanied by a new drawing to fans on their website. Drawn on March 23, it features a brave-looking Gon clad in turquoise with the following message:
Even if recovery is one day early, I will do my best to support.
*translation note: 微力 translates to “poor ability” and is used in contexts like “I will do my best despite my limited ability”. This translation is one of those ones adapted to a concept that English readers will understand.
Fans can click here to view the message, and here to download a wallpaper with the message on it.
Many fans in Japanese have responded rudely with comments like “Get back to work!” in reference to the off-and-on publishing schedule of Hunter X Hunter. This is a pretty insensitive time to be making those comments! While to some Togashi’s efforts are never enough to make anyone happy, we are happy to see his message of support for the victims. Weekly Shonen Jump, as well as other Kodansha magazines, are currently being published for free online as it is difficult to get copies to the areas affected. We were inspired to read this story of a Sendai shop owner who went through great lengths to get one copy of a new issue of Shonen Jump, and allowed over 100 children to come to his store and read it!
Monday, March 28, 2011
We've received confirmation that the Sailor Moon manga will be returning in Germany via EMA publishing in October 2011.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Yesterday morning, I called up Kodansha USA to thank them personally for bringing Sailor Moon back to North America on behalf of our staff and all our readers. I did ask if our survey report that we sent over a year ago was any help, and the representative told me that it was – and that the company was listening to what the readers had to say. Hearing that brought a smile to all our faces, and assured us that despite all the criticism we faced from many other fans and fansites out there, that our campaign was worth it! We could not have asked for a more perfect result with this license announcement, and we could not have achieved any of this without you fans! From our entire staff, we thank you fans for your support of Operation Moonrise through your survey responses as well as your letters to Kodansha! Your strength and courage helped to bring the manga back (and one day soon, we hope the anime as well). For those of you who were involved in Operation Moonrise, please celebrate – this is a true victory and a testament to the power of the Sailor Moon fandom! We would also like to thank Kodansha for their openness towards our report – the others we had sent them to did not warm up to the ideas and surveys we had to share as quickly. Running these surveys were a huge gamble at the time since it was done before many of the international announcements had been made, and we were unsure that anyone involved with Sailor Moon would take us seriously. But, we had to try, so we did, and we can’t thank you enough for your support! We look forward to bringing all our readers more exciting news from Kodansha in months and years to come.
P.S. Toei Animation is still trying to put things in Japan back together after the recent natural disaster. Please give them some time to return to working on Sailor Moon!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Let me start this post with the following.
First of all, we were not given this game as a gift by any of the companies involved. I purchased this game on my own, for my own enjoyment as well as to review this for the readers of this blog, in what has become a very exciting time to be a Sailor Moon fan.
I love Sailor Moon. I love Naoko Takeuchi’s work. I love Sailor Moon: Another Story, and the puzzle games. I was excited at the prospect of a brand new video game, especially for the DS. At the very least, I wondered what the touch screen could bring to Sailor Moon. I had such high expectations for this game, given how good the dolls and other goods coming out of Italy looked.
And then came the first delay – this game was first promised to fans in late 2010, but was delayed until Spring 2011. We thought, that this might have been because of something in development not going well. Despite this, I kept my fingers crossed that this game was going to be good.
Then, I saw the screenshots and heard the first buzz about the game in press releases. I wasn’t impressed with the screenshots, and I thought the plot was a little cheesy. I didn’t really like the name either (Sailor Moon: The Moon Shines…seriously, was that the best that Backstage, Namco Bandai, and everyone else could come up with?) Alas, I saved face and maintained a positive attitude. Maybe I was worrying over nothing.
My expectations became lower for this game. But still, there was that tiny hope that this game was going to be better than what everything up to this point had suggested.
Let’s begin with shipping hassles, where this all began. Bol.it was the first online retailer (that shipped internationally) to list this game. I was impressed with their site, they even had a pulldown menu with all the United States and Canadian Provinces listed. The forms were a little clunky, but I managed to fit all the things required for a North American address in them. Then, when the confirmation came back to me, I noticed something a little strange. Somehow, my address carried the state/province abbreviation of “EE”. City was there just fine. I didn’t understand why. I contacted support about this a couple times, and never heard back. I had hoped that the correct code on my address would suffice to bring the game here.
Last Friday, when I learned my game was shipped, the receipt carried no tracking number, thereby killing my last shot at telling the courier that my address was incorrect. It was only this morning (Monday, March 21) that I finally got a response back from Bol.it saying that they realized it was a mistake, but they couldn’t change it. I was supposed to contact FedEx, and they had sent me my tracking number. But, to my surprise, it was already in town. I had gotten off just in time to make my way to the depot before it closed to pick it up.
I urge fans to be cautious if they use Bol.it. Yes it is pricey ($71), and you have to really fight with them to get your address corrected, but I was really impressed with the speed of the courier. Fans can save around ten dollars if they purchase the game from Amazon Italy.
Video Game Review:
Finally, it is time to get to what you all are waiting for. The game played just fine on my silver Nintendo DS Lite. Tomorrow, I will try it on a friend’s Japanese DSi. If fans have any requests for systems, let me know and I will try to find someone around me that has one to try. The companies responsible for this game are: Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation, Backstage, Namco Bandai Games Europe, and Open Sesame Inc.. Has anyone heard of that last company? I couldn’t find anything with respect to video games.
EDIT: Open Sesame Inc. found! Open Sesame Inc. has made games for Mister Donut, Pretty Cure, and Gundam before.
The game had no animated movie or sequence of any sort. This screenshot (right) shows the first thing you see after all the company marquees. At this point, my first instinct was to touch the screen with my stylus, but I guess that did nothing. I really did have to push start! In fact, this game has no touch screen capabilities whatsoever. It could easily be played on a GBA. After you selected Adventure Mode, you were lead through a conversation sequence between the Senshi and Luna amongst a sleeping Nina/Naru/Molly. This was not animated, and consisted of Senshi photos with speech bubbles. This next photo (left) shows this at the tail end, where they have all transformed instantly and Sailor Moon promises to punish the Demon in the name of the Moon.
The first level you play is “Mondo dei fiori”, or world of flowers. Enemies in this level consist of only ladybugs, turtles, and flying flowers. What those have to do with the Sailor Moon universe, is beyond me.Each level, is a maze with 20 segments that you have to navigate through from portal to portal.You have to collect 10 crystals, to beat the level. The nature of these puzzles are very limited, as your character is only able to jump and attack, and the down button allows you to go below certain dashed rock tile (this does not include small holes among the shrub tile). How do you solve these puzzles? By using floating platforms and moving rocks. I got through about half of the segments in the first maze as Sailor Moon. You cannot switch characters without getting your crystal count reset, and some crystals and treasure boxes are only available to get playing as certain characters. You also don’t have any lives – you can die but you start the segment you died in over again.A game over, is not possible. I became quickly annoyed with this game after around 90 minutes of play. I did not beat the first level since I ran into a couple dead ends (I restarted the game about 4-5 times). Gameplay itself was a little clunky since it was sometimes hard to maneuver jumps/attacks (and you cannot do the two at the same time). The one positive side to this game was the fact that they had transferred video sequences of the henshin – and these came through quite nicely on the DS!
The music on the start screen featured a melodic interpolation of the Sailor Moon theme, but everything else in the game was very generic, circus-sounding music. I had to slide my volume to mute because I couldn’t take it anymore. The graphics were good outside gameplay, but during the levels themselves, my worst fears were realized. The Senshi really did look as cheap as some of the fans had speculated.
I was disappointed, and would give this game a 2/10. I don’t see myself being that enthused about the game that I want to play it every day until I finish it. This is more of a game I would play when I am bored and have lots of hours to kill. I think that many of you will also be disappointed if/when you play this game. I don’t think that this game is a good match for young kids because some of these rock-blocking puzzles are a little tough (especially when the manual or on screen instructions don’t tell you much about what they are supposed to do). Fans, please be cautious when you purchase this game – or perhaps wait 6-10 months from now when the game’s price drops. At the end of the day, this is just one of those products that goes with the weird ones of the past that were too strange to understand (such as Irwin’s Moon Cycle). I am still a fan of Sailor Moon despite this, and I really hope that if there are future video game possibilities, that they are a lot better than this.
A Short Update - More Details:
I have now beaten two out of the three levels - "World of Flowers" and "World of Gems" with 100% completion (so I am fully 66% finished). This is how the game works - in "Adventure" mode, each level is a maze. The top screen displays a grid of either 4x5 squares (World of Flowers), 5x5 squares (World of Gems) or 6x6 squares (World of Enchanted Palace "Mondo del Palazzo Fatato"). Each one of these squares connects to its neighbors differently, and there is one end square with a mirror. You need to use all 5 characters to beat the level and you must collect 10 crystals and several treasure chests per level. However, your character must find this end square and walk through the mirror for their crystals and chests to save. Some of these puzzles are very challenging - I can't imagine anyone having an easy time playing this game, no matter what the age is. I have found one puzzle that is impossible to solve (and thankfully there is a second way out of the square), simply because of the timing. The bombs in the second level detonate too fast to travel over a long distance, and the character does not move fast enough. The boss battles with Lord Kaspar/Kunzite/Malachite are on the other hand too easy. If your character dies in the boss battle, they are allowed to return after you watch Milord/Tuxedo Kamen/Tuxedo Mask throw his roses 3 times. He has failed to hit Lord Kaspar in each of the battles I have played. I think, his presence in the game is the biggest epic fail. In the anime, at least his roses were able to stun the enemy or at least be more productive! Whichever senshi you finish the maze with, is the senshi that deals the final blow to Lord Kaspar, and after the battle ends you see video of their attack from the first season (however, so far Sailor Moon has only thrown her tiara). The 10 crystals form segments of a larger heart crystal - Level 1's is blue, 2's is yellow, and 3's is red. These 3 heart crystals probably form something together (maybe the Silver Crystal?) to awaken Nina, but I have to put this game away for a few days (I won't know how it ends for a while). The treasure chests, correspond to various items you use in "Images" mode. These items are unlocked backgrounds, characters, or decorations used to make images of the Senshi. You can build up to 3 at once, but this is useless because the user is unable to print them. This mode uses the stylus to move and choose aspects of the images. For those of you who are wondering, the enemies in the second level are teddy bears, evil spinning hearts, and butterflies. The third's are tin soldiers, these zombie fish skeletons that jump up and down from the water, and bats.
I will be writing a strategy guide for this, but only after I have beaten the game. This is because I would like to have the beaten grids and the pathways available when I write this, as well as a better sense of where this game is going.
It's here, and it's live! Today has been such a great day for Sailor Moon and our readers (we will probably let you know why later). Alas, I have just come home and I am a little hungry. Will give this a try later today!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
In light of the recent announcement from Kodansha USA, we would like to share the results from the manga portion of Operation Moonrise. We think fans will find the totals very interesting to compare with the announcement!
Question: Which Manga would you like to see published?
- A reprint of the original Sailor Moon manga translated by Tokyopop – 157 (30.08%)
- A retranslation of the original Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon manga – 310 (59.39%)
- A translation of the updated Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon manga –457 (87.55%)
- A translation of Codename wa Sailor V –452 (86.59%)
- I am also interested in reading Sailor Moon Novelizations published in the past by Smile/Tokyopop – 112 (21.46%)
And a graph of the results:
We are glad to see, upon consulting our survey results, that the recent announcement reflects what the fans have been asking for. We also hope our readers will enjoy being able to purchase the new graphic novels starting in September!
Friday, March 18, 2011
We have some very exciting news for our readers today! The Sailor Moon manga will be relaunched by Kodansha USA, and the Sailor V manga will also be published by Kodansha USA, in print in the US for the first time! Volumes will be on sale starting in September.
From the official press release:
Never-before-published Enhanced Editions of the Groundbreaking Manga Series Share Long-Awaited US Publishing Debut with CODENAME: SAILOR V
NEW YORK, New York - March 18, 2011 - Kodansha USA Publishing, a subsidiary of Kodansha, announced today the exciting return of Naoko Takeuchi's SAILOR MOON, one of the most significant names in comics and manga, to US publishing. Brand new deluxe editions of the acclaimed series will be released by Kodansha USA's Kodansha Comics imprint in September 2011. Out of print for six years, SAILOR MOON re-launches along with Takeuchi's two-volume prequel series CODENAME: SAILOR V, in print in the US for the first time-making this one of the most highly anticipated manga releases in years.
The SAILOR MOON manga, which originated in Japan in 1992 and debuted in the US in 1997, follows Usagi Tsukino, a young girl who transforms into super heroine Sailor Moon to combat evil and fight for love and justice in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. The first successful shojo (girls') manga release in the US, SAILOR MOON changed the book landscape and helped establish the foundation for the manga craze; in particular drawing attention to the popularity of comics among female readers.
Prequel series CODENAME: SAILOR V, the first of Takeuchi's "magical girl" manga, will make its highly anticipated debut in the US alongside the SAILOR MOON re-launch. In CODENAME: SAILOR V, teenager Minako Aino fights as Sailor V against the villains of the Dark Agency before she discovers Sailor Moon.
The Kodansha USA editions of SAILOR MOON will be published on a bi-monthly schedule and follow the 2003 Japanese re-release format of the classic series. The original 18 volumes have been condensed into 12 volumes covering the main storyline, and two volumes dedicated to short stories. Each volume has gorgeous new cover art, retouched interior art and dialogue along with extensive bonus material from Takeuchi, and detailed translation notes.
One of the most recognized manga and anime properties in the world, SAILOR MOON took American pop culture by storm, with mentions in music ("One Week" by Barenaked Ladies), bestselling books (The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot) and more. In Japan, over 15 million copies have been sold and the series has generated everything from animated features to live action musicals, a live action television series and countless merchandise.
"I'm very excited to reintroduce Ms. Takeuchi's work to her American fans," said Yoshio Irie, president and CEO of Kodansha USA Publishing. Irie is also the former chief editor of Nakayosi magazine in which the SAILOR MOON manga was serialized. "As we continue to build the Kodansha Comics manga list, a title like SAILOR MOON is the jewel in our crown. As the former chief editor of the work in Japan, I'm especially thrilled to finally release the prequel, CODENAME: SAILOR V, to the many fans who have been asking for it at long last."
Monday, March 14, 2011
Hi Moonies - I have received confirmation that Naoko Takeuchi, Yoshihiro Togashi, and their family, as well as employees of Toei Animation are safe. They were all in the Tokyo area which was not as severely affected. However, their major worries now are the massive cleanup, traffic, and electrical power now that their tsunami woes are not a concern.
Fans wishing to donate to relief efforts are best off doing so through the Red Cross as the UN has not established an effort just yet.
In the USA, click here to donate.
In Canada, click here to donate.
Fans can also donate via Twitter, Text Messaging, and Facebook.
Alternatively, fans can also donate to Shelterbox, which is sending shelter kits to those affected in the Sendai region of Japan.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Our entire thoughts are with everyone affected by the Tsunami tragedy in Japan. In the coming days, we will post an entry with charities and relief efforts for readers who wish to help out Japan. As far as we know, no one involved with Sailor Moon has been affected. It is probably safe to assume that since most of the major dubbing studios are in Tokyo (which was not as devastated as the northern part of the country), that most of the stars, crew, and the creator are safe. We are currently working to get official word on the safety of Naoko Takeuchi, Yoshihiro Togashi, and their family. There is some discussion happening via our Facebook page and our forums, where our staff members and fans are compiling together lists of who has been confirmed safe.
In the meantime, Naoko Takeuchi has been posting some new work on Sailor Moon Channel! At the beginning of this month, she posted a new illustration on the site (featured left, credit: (c) Naoko Takeuchi・PNP). We can only assume that this is probably Neo Queen Serenity from the manga! At this time we are unable to confirm if this is a new picture that she has drawn recently, or if this was a picture that she drew but was never published in any of the manga or artbooks. Either way, it's nice to see something new on Sailor Moon Channel! Naoko has also posted a new photo journal on the site, with photos and short messages from the beginning of the year. The biggest surprise that we've seen are her comments on two magazines released with Sailor Moon merchandise in Italy! We know that in the past she has received some of the merchandise released around the world, but this is the first we've heard of her thoughts about them! Our translations are featured below for you all to read! (Click to see them full sized!)
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
While it may have been late in this day full of chaos to remember what day it was today, it is never too late to acknowledge the reason why we are here.
To our fans, friends, and loyal readers who have stuck with us through the thick and thin, thank you for your continued support! We will be here to bring you everything we possibly can in the Sailor Moon world, and your support continues to drive us! We would not have continued with this site past the first week were it not for your support and love!
To Naoko Takeuchi, Toei Animation Inc. , Kodansha, and all of the actors and actresses who continue to "Sail On" with Sailor Moon, we thank you for bringing us an anime, manga and dorama that is so much more than what we have seen. You have created a pop-culture phenomenon that has touched almost every corner of this world, and we wish, hope, and aspire for the continued success of our Moon Princess as she is resurrected for many years to come!
To my staff, there are not enough words in the English language to say how thankful I am to have you all on this journey that has become about so much more than blogging! Thank you for your energy and continued enthusiasm, especially in these times when I'm not able to be around as much as I used to. Your ideas have all helped to shape this blog into what it has become, and you are all amazing to have gotten to know behind the scenes. Here's to more of our collective "inside jokes", reminisces, writer's block, neverending chasing, and that blonde superhero this site is dedicated to. Though sometimes her trials and tribulations make us all scratch our heads or go crazy trying to chase every detail, at the end of the day she has made our love turn into a different kind of appreciation. Let's keep this going!
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Kotono Mitsuishi is probably best known to fans as the Japanese voice of Sailor Moon. Considered one of the most prolific and influential voice actresses in anime, Ms. Mitsuishi voices an incredible number of notable roles. Please see her bio for a full listing, you are bound to find several of your favorites among her credits. We are very honored to have Ms. Mitsuishi joining us for her first Sakura-Con.I will be representing Moon Chase at this year's Sakura-Con, and I plan to provide even more in-depth coverage than last year! I will be wearing a Sailor Moon themed costume one day too, I wonder if any of our readers can guess what my costume will be?
The official schedule for Sakura-Con is not yet released, but we will be sure to let you know when and where you can find Mitsuishi as soon as we have a copy of the programming schedule.
(photo from sakuracon.org)
Thursday, March 03, 2011
Due to the drama fans are causing behind this and the real perpetrators behind this hoax not admitting their lies, we have had to archive this post privately. The latest twist for those of you with your bowls of popcorn laughing at the drama, is that the person who began this was the "ex best friend" of someone else on youtube who hacked her account and sent a fake email. We don't know who is telling the truth at this point, but we have decided to remove this post so that this drama hopefully does not continue.
We'd like to take this opportunity to remind the fans that no one has any different permissions than anyone else to upload FANSUBS or FANDUBS from any of the companies involved. If you uploaded content that was previously removed, don't upload it again on youtube. We can't tell fans what and what not to upload, so please exercise caution and gauge your risks of whether or not you think your content is going to get removed.
And, no more faking emails from reps of Toei Animation Inc. okay? They have enough to deal with and they really don't appreciate having to deal with their own impostors (we know their pain all too well). Another word of caution, they (and others) also don't publicly post their emails for people who are responsible for monitoring digital content (however, we know how to get to the appropriate people). If ever you have any questions about your content feel free to send us an email at moonchasers@NOSPAMPLXKTHXgmail.com and we'll forward your message to the right person.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Guten Morgen Deutscher Moonies! Ich habe einige guten Nachrichten fur sie! Germany's FinanzenNachrichten reports that Munich's licensing company M4e has acquired the rights for Sailor Moon! M4e will be managing free and pay TV broadcasting rights, home entertainment, and licensing and merchandising for the anime in the German speaking world, including Germany, Austria, and Switzerland! The press release also makes a note that after the successful relaunch of the franchise in Italy next year, it was only logical that the next steps include the Iberian market (Spain and Portugal), Scandinavian market, and the German market. The article also hints that they will be making use of the new style guide created in Italy!
Congratulations to our Moonies in Germany! You will be able to watch Sailor Moon soon!
Trivia: So Germany did something really interesting with their version of the release and commissioned a pop group to make the accompanying soundtrack which gave the series' a technopop flavor. They were the Super Moonies, and fans can check out their first opening here!