Friday, May 06, 2011

Sakura Con 2011: Sailor Moon - 15 Years and Counting (Panel Recap)

For those who couldn't make it to the panel at Sakura Con, here's how it went...

When I entered the room, it was almost packed! It remained pretty full until the open question and answer period, where the crowd tapered off during the last half hour. This room was larger than the one used for last year's Sailor Moon panel, with almost double the capacity (it could hold about 95 people). The length of the panel was also increased compared to last year, to one and a half hours. Although I didn't mention it at the time, this panel was a last-minute addition because another panel was cancelled. I can't thank the panels coordinator at Sakura Con enough for giving me the opportunity to run a panel on behalf of Moon Chase.

I was still cosplaying Princess Jupiter (anime style), as I decided to cosplay all day Friday. Seeing so many Sailor Moon fans made me rather nervous about leading the panel by myself, so I started with some facts and introductions from my notes.


Two Versions of Jupiter #1
(That's me on the left!)
The panel description from the program was:
Sailor Moon first hit North American TV in late 1995 and it's clear that fans here still want more. Join the discussion of the franchise, the revival, and the latest news about Sailor Moon. Presented by Moon Chase.
I began the panel by introducing myself and providing a little information about Moon Chase, for those unfamiliar with it. Next I briefly discussed Operation Moonrise, and announced the next (and final) phase for that.

Following the introduction, I talked about Kotono Mitsuishi's appearance on Animax's Creators show (screen grab from the show above). I thought fans would find some of this information interesting and it might give them more ideas for questions at her Q&A panel the next day. She also had a second Q&A on Sunday, but the Saturday session was more popular.

Next up was a brief discussion of the details about the manga re-release, including the highest figures from Moon Chase's manga survey results. In addition to what was reported in the press release, I shared some details that were more recently announced: all colour pages will be included, no stickers, Japanese names and cultural references will be left intact, and it will stay true to Takeuchi's original storytelling vision (so there won't be any "cousins"). I also mentioned that the manga has a release date announced for Germany. Later, a fan asked what the cover art would look like and I said that I suspect it will be the same as the covers from the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon manga, which were available in Japanese from various dealers at the convention.

Then I moved on to a discussion of the revival and a listing of many of the countries seeing Sailor Moon again or even for the first time. At points during this, I didn't specify all of the countries (most specifically for Africa and the Plus Licens territories) to keep things simple. I did have a list of everything though, in case anyone wanted more specific details.

Here's the info about the revival, from my notes:
  • In Albania, they only got seasons 1, R, and SuperS. Seasons 1 and R were heavily edited, and SuperS was uncensored. This time, they are still not getting the S season or Sailor Stars. It's aired on a premium TV network, Bang Bang (a children's channel).
  • Hong Kong saw Sailor Moon return in August 2010 on teen network TVB J2.
  • In Brazil, the anime has returned with broadcasts starting from the S season. Fans have understandably not been very happy about this, as it's not the beginning of the series. Both Brazil and Mexico will be seeing the series available on DVD in the future (no release dates confirmed yet).
  • Malaysia saw Sailor Moon return in March 2011 on NTV, starting with season R. They seem to be using the old version, not remastered, with the opening song and dialogue based on Indonesian.
  • Portugal also saw Sailor Moon return in March 2011, to the children's Pay TV channel Canal Panda. Their broadcast license is for all 200 episodes. Also, various Portuguese speaking countries in Africa will get to see Sailor Moon later this year (Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Republic of Cape Verde).
  • Plus Licens will be distributing Sailor Moon in all of their Nordic, Central European, and Eastern European territories (includes: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Czech and Slovakian Republics, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and FYR Macedonia). They will be handling television, merchandise, and DVD rights for all 200 episodes.
  • France, Germany, and Scandinavia will see Sailor Moon again soon (if not already), as it was set to return during the winter/spring TV season in 2011.
  • There is a new Hebrew dub (there was no dub previously) in Israel, which started airing on Children's Channel on January 23, 2011.
Last up before moving on to the more casual part of the panel, I briefly discussed what we recently learned about redubbing from SOS Brazil. Behind the scenes we are looking for more details and confirmation about this, but it was definitely something we thought should be mentioned at the panel so that more fans are aware of public statements such as what we found on SOS Brazil.

Next, I asked the audience if they would like to hear about the new video game, La Luna Splende, from Italy. After a resounding "yes!" I went through Sailordees's very negative review of the game. Part way through, someone in the audience joked that they weren't sure they wanted to hear any more about it! But I continued since most fans were interested in hearing the whole story, although the game sounded pretty laughable. There was also short discussion of the previous game, Another Story, that was very well-received by fans although never officially released in the US or Canada.

After asking the audience if they were interested in hearing about what some of the English dub voice actors are up to now, I went through the bulk of my recently posted updates about them (part 1 and to a lesser extent part 2). Some fans were surprised to hear that the English dub was recorded in Toronto, so I also mentioned that Stephanie Beard a.k.a. "Sugar" was previously a PJ (similar to VJ) on YTV's "The Zone" (an after school programming block) and a DJ on a Toronto radio station (KISS 92.5). While she was a DJ, she even sang a song called the "The Real Suga Baybee" (it was a parody of Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady"). I recalled that when people asked her about singing, at the time she made the song, she said that she could carry a tune but didn't really consider herself a singer.

Here's a quick video of Stephanie talking about her Suga Baybee song:

A fair amount of the panel was dedicated to an open question and answer period, where I received questions such as "who is your favourite senshi?" (I said Sailor Moon and mentioned my "Brave Dame" essay that I shared recently on Moon Chase) and even "who is your favourite villain?" (I thought Queen Beryl was interesting, but she was technically a subordinate although she didn't act like it most of the time. I chose Ann as my favourite, for the way she changes personalities with such ease).

There were some questions asked that I didn't have reference for at the time (sorry about that! It can be hard to predict in advance what questions will be asked). I took notes at the panel to consult with Sailordees afterward and do more research if needed. A couple of questions will be added to our upcoming survey, so I won't repeat those here.

Here are the other questions that were unanswered or only partially answered at the panel:
  • There was no Blu-ray release in Japan (one of the audience members recalled this). Moon Chase staff will continue checking to see if there is a Blu-ray release and will let the fans know if one becomes available (the region coding for Blu-ray is the same in Japan as the US and Canada).
  • Regarding Brazil and Italy receiving the Sailor Stars season, Sailordees has confirmed both did receive it. Someone in the audience at the panel was also able to confirm that it was Italy who presented the Starlights as "twins" (an interesting choice to get around the gender bending, I think) as well as noting that Italy did receive the Stars season.
  • "Sailor Moon World" was not actually a new series, but simply a rebranding effort a few years ago.
Regarding fan efforts to bring Sailor Moon back, congoers were interested to hear if there are more efforts creating added interest in the series or helping it to return. Aside from Operation Moonrise, we have noticed an increase in fansubs and fandubs, which can certainly create more buzz amongst fans.

One audience member mentioned Sailor Moon Abridged as being a very well done fandub. This fandub is actually a parody of the English language Sailor Moon dub, which surprisingly keeps a fair amount of the dub story intact while also hilariously mocking some of the cuts, changes, and character personalities (they even managed to further exaggerate some character traits!). There is some swearing in it and some controversial subject matter (e.g. discussion of eating disorders), so consider yourself warned.

Other things I shared at the panel included a small amount of survey results from Operation Moonrise phase 4 (which was about Sailor Stars) and phase 5 (which was about censorship, if fans liked the anime and manga being different, TV timeslots and what fans would be willing to pay for an anime channel, general actor preference, as well as if fans would like to purchase the old dub even if a redub was made). I mostly shared these during times when it was quiet and I was waiting for more questions.

There was also a brief discussion of the mythology behind Sailor Moon, but unfortunately I didn't have my notes with me on that subject as it would have been too long to print this time. For those interested though, you can read more about mythology that influenced Sailor Moon in the mythology FAQ section on my Sailor Moon Snipits fansite. I have since condensed some of the reference material for this for printing, so next time I am a panelist on a Sailor Moon panel, I will be sure to bring that along! Also, the Encyclopedia Mythica is a fantastic resource about mythology in general.

It seemed that quite a few people enjoyed the panel and I handed out some business cards at the end. One attendee even took my picture since I was cosplaying. I also received a message recently on Flickr from a Sailor Mercury cosplayer who said that she and her friends found the panel very interesting and informative! There was a somewhat negative review on ANN as well, but even they seemed to like the details about the revival and especially enjoyed the review of La Luna Splende. So there was something for all kinds of fans to enjoy at the panel :)

Anything you'd like to see Moon Chase staff add to future panels, please let us know!

Photo credits: image of Kotono is a screen grab from Animax's Creators show; Mythology FAQ screen grab from Sailor Moon Snipits; photo including me (Emily) taken at Sakura Con 2011

3 comments:

k_chan1985 said...

Wow, good work on the Sailor Moon Panel! I even learned some new Moonie Nerdy Info! Thanks for all the hard work you guys and gals do at Moon Chase!


I think the only thing that would be a nice addition to your panel is perhaps some news about "fan series" or 6th season of Sailor Moon Community that seems to be thriving right now on such sites as YouTube,vismo and other video sites. One in particular you may want to check out is Sailor Moon Sacrifice by Kaosu Studios which I myself am a fan of. But other than that nothin else really. You did a great job can't think of any improvements needed.
Thanks Moon Chase!
k-chan

Cheris said...

"Plus Licens will be distributing Sailor Moon in all of their Nordic, Central European, and Eastern European territories (includes: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Czech and Slovakian Republics, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and FYR Macedonia)."
What's with Russia, Poland, Ukraine?

sailordees said...

Cheris! A few fans that were concerned about those countries and wanted to start something there sent us an email a while ago. If you would like, send us an email at Moonchasers@gmail.com and we'll pass on their contact information to you. It isn't just you that is missing Sailor Moon in those countries!