Sunday, August 1, 2010
Sailor Moon Reception
The manga won the Kodansha Manga Award in 1993 for shōjo.
Originally planned to run for only six months, the Sailor Moon anime repeatedly continued due to its popularity, concluding only after a five-year run. In Japan, it aired every Saturday night in prime time, getting TV viewership ratings around 11-12% for most of the series run. Commentators detect in the anime adaptation of Sailor Moon "a more shonen tone," appealing to a wider audience than the manga, which aimed squarely at teenage girls. Later episodes of the anime added nude transformation sequences for the male audience, to the annoyance of Takeuchi. In the edited English version these scenes were censored. The media franchise is one of the most successful Japan has ever had, reaching 1.5 billion dollars in merchandise sales during the first three years. Ten years after the series completion, the series has featured among the top thirty of TV Asahi's Top 100 anime polls in 2005 and 2006. The anime series won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1993.Sales of Sailor Moon's fashion dolls overtook that of Licca-chan in the 1990s; Mattel suggested that this was due to the "fashion-action" blend of the Sailor Moon storyline. Doll accessories included both fashion items and the Senshi's weapons.
Sailor Moon has also become popular internationally. Spain and France became the first countries outside of Japan to air Sailor Moon, beginning in December 1993. Other countries followed suit, including Australia, South Korea, the Philippines, Italy, Peru, Brazil, Sweden and Hong Kong, before North America picked up the franchise for adaptation. In 2001, the Sailor Moon manga was Tokyopop's best selling property, outselling the next-best selling titles by at least a factor of 1.5.
Critics have commended the anime series for its portrayal of strong friendships, as well as for its large cast of "strikingly different" characters who have different dimensions and aspects to them as the story goes on, and an ability to appeal to a wide audience. Writer Nicolas Penedo attributes the success of Sailor Moon to its fusion of the shōjo manga genre of magical girls with the Super Sentai fighting teams. According to Martha Cornog and Timothy Perper, Sailor Moon became popular because of its "strongly-plotted action with fight scenes, rescues" and its "emphasis on feelings and relationships", including some "sexy romance" between Usagi and Mamoru. In contrast, others see Sailor Moon as campy and melodramatic. Criticism has singled out its use of formulaic plots, monsters of the day, and stock footage.
Drazen notes that Sailor Moon has two kinds of villains, the Monster of the Day and the "thinking, feeling humans". Although this is common in anime and manga, it is "almost unheard of in the West". Despite the series' apparent popularity among Western anime fandom, the dubbed version of the series received poor ratings in the United States and did not do well in DVD sales in the United Kingdom. Anne Allison attributes the lack of popularity in the United States primarily to poor marketing (in the United States, the series was initially broadcast at times which did not suit the target audience - weekdays at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 pm). Executives connected with Sailor Moon suggest that poor localization played a role. Helen McCarthy and Jonathan Clements go further, calling the dub "indifferent", and suggesting that Sailor Moon was put in "dead" timeslots due to local interests. The British distributor, MVM Films, has attributed the poor sales to the United Kingdom release being of the dub only, and that major retailers refused to support the show leading to the DVD release appealing to neither children nor older anime fans.
Both the manga editorial vid and the anime series were released in Mexico twice in a quite accurate translation in Imevisión (what is now TV Azteca), which also aired almost complete versions of Saint Seiya, Senki, Candy Candy, Remi, Nobody's Girl, Card Captor Sakura and Detective Conan. With quite a success and in the U.S. censored version in the Cartoon Network that was very quickly taken off the air due to the lack of viewers being lackluster compared to the original version; due to sensitive or controversial topics a Catholic parents' group exerted pressure to take it off the market, which partially succeeded - but after the whole series had been aired once from Sailor Moon to Sailor Stars and some of the movies.
Due to anti-Japanese sentiment, most of Japanese media other than animated ones was banned for many years in South Korea. A producer in KBS "did not even try to buy" Sailor Moon because he thought it would not pass the censorship laws, but as of May 1997, Sailor Moon was airing on KBS 2 without issues and was "enormously" popular.
In his 2007 book Manga: The Complete Guide, Jason Thompson gave the manga series 3 / 5 stars. He enjoyed the blending of shōnen and shōjo styles, stating that the combat scenes seemed heavily influenced by Saint Seiya, but shorter and less bloody, and noting that the manga itself appeared similar to Super Sentai television shows. While Thompson found the series fun and entertaining, the repetitive plot lines were a detriment to the title which the increasing quality of art could not make up for; even so, he still states that the series is "sweet, effective entertainment".
James Welker believes that Sailor Moon's futuristic setting helps to make lesbianism "naturalized" and a peaceful existence. Yukari Fujimoto notes that although there are few "lesbian scenes" in Sailor Moon, it has become a popular subject for yuri parodic dojinshi. She attributes this to the source work's "cheerful" tone, although she notes that "though they seem to be overflowing with lesbians, the position of heterosexuals is earnestly secured".
When comparing the manga and anime, Sylvian Durand first notes that the manga artwork is gorgeous, but that the storytelling is more compressed and erratic, and that the anime has more character development. Durand felt "the sense of tragedy is greater" in the manga's telling of the "fall of the Silver Millennium", giving more detail on the origins of the Shitennou and on Usagi's final battle with Beryl and Metalia. Durand feels that the anime leaves out information which makes the story easier to understand, but judges the anime more "coherent", with a better balance of comedy and tragedy, whereas the manga is "more tragic" and focused on Usagi and Mamoru's romance.