Manga / Sailor Moon

This page covers the manga and 1990s anime. For the entire franchise, see Franchise.Sailor Moon.

"Moon Prism Power, Make-UP!"
Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon

(For the proper reading experience, run the music from here or here while reading this page.)

Sailor Moon began as a 1991-1997 manga series written by Naoko Takeuchi, chronicling the adventures of a young clumsy and underachieving schoolgirl named Usagi Tsukino. The manga was soon adapted into a popular anime series by Toei Animation, Sailor Moon.

In the Sailor Moon manga (which served as source material for the Sailor Moon anime), Usagi's life takes a turn for the unexpected when she discovers that she is the Reincarnation of an ancient lunar warrior from the Moon Kingdom. With the aid of a feline mentor called Luna, Usagi must take up the mission of defending the Earth from the various evils that threaten it while searching for the reincarnation of the Moon Kingdom's princess.

Over the course of a year, Usagi grows into her role as the Magical Girl Sailor Moon and greatly matures as a result, gathering a team of four other reincarnated warriors and realizing her true potential as both a fighter and a growing young woman. The series itself mostly follows a Monster of the Week format, with subsequent series introducing progressively more powerful villains and matching power-ups, and greatly expanding the mythos behind Usagi's past life in the Moon Kingdom and her fated future in the utopian Crystal Tokyo. The series is generally broken down into the following story arcs (not counting filler): Dark Kingdom, Black Moon, Destiny (Death Busters), Dream (Dead Moon Circus), and Stars (Shadow Galactica). Both the anime and manga end on a high note as Usagi brings peace to Earth and the galaxy.

The anime was licensed globally throughout a good portion of The '90s. Practically every country and region received its own international dub, which for many fans outside of Japan became the only version that they knew. The anime itself displaced the original manga. The regulation of translation accuracy, adaptation for ease of viewing, and editing due to local censorship concerns varied wildly by region. Thanks, though, to the concurrent flowering of Internet fan communities, fans became aware of these changes (loudly, in the case of the North American fandom) sometimes well before episodes even aired.

The original English dub was produced by DiC for the first two seasons, and recorded at Optimum Productions in Toronto, Canada. This English dub was heavily edited and reduced the first 89 episodes to 82. Many plot points were changed and characters renamed. The show initially aired in "strip syndication" in the US in 1995, but was a ratings failure and moved to cable on the USA Network in 1997 and later to Cartoon Network's Toonami block in 1998 (after USA had dropped their remaining cartoons), becoming their first anime hit and the show credited with starting the anime boom in the late '90s and early 2000s. To this day, Sailor Moon remains one of the most recognized and mainstream anime titles in North America. If you approach anyone on the street and ask them to name a Japanese anime, Sailor Moon will almost certainly be one of the natural responses, along with Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z.

DiC, depending on who you ask, was unable to, or declined to, license future episodes, Cloverway (Toei's US branch) teamed up with YTV in Canada and Cartoon Network in the US to localize future episodes (Cloverway had previously worked with Pioneer and Optimum to bring the movies to the states). They ended up dubbing all of the third and fourth seasons with Optimum Productions returning as dubbing studio (although only a few of the original voice actors returned). These dubbed episodes were visually uncut (though lightly edited for TV), but continued localizing names and plot points and were poorly received by fans and viewers. Most infamously, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune's lesbian relationship was changed into their being "cousins".

The original North American DVD releases were handled by ADV Films (Seasons 1-2) and Geneon (Seasons 3-4 plus the movies), using the existing dubs. ADV released separate dub/sub editions, while Geneon's were bilingual. ADV's releases in particular were heavily criticized for being of poor quality.note  In 2004, Toei discontinued licensing the franchise worldwide due to legal reasons which are still unclear, with ADV's releases going out-of-print in 2005 and Geneon's in 2007. This happened right when Sailor Stars sat on the cusp of getting dubbed into English, meaning that season never got dubbed or released in North America. This would be the situation for the next ten years, with the original ADV and Geneon DVDs selling for lots of money online.

In 2010, Toei began shopping the show in its entirety around again, and many countries began rebroadcasting the series and/or re-releasing it to DVD, but mostly using their old dubs. For years, anime fans speculated on if the series would ever be licensed again in English. However, in May 2014, Viz Media announced the release of a completely remastered, re-dubbed, uncut version of the entire 200-episode original television series. That same month, the original anime began streaming subtitled on Hulu via Neon Alley, and the new dub – produced in Los Angeles by Studiopolis (the same studio that dubbed Naruto and Bleach) – premiered on Neon Alley in September 2014, with the bilingual DVD/Blu-ray releases beginning on November 11th, 2014. While the reception of the home video releases was met with mixed reviews (mostly for the video quality being the biggest criticism), the reception of the redub itself has been overwhelmingly positive.

Then, in 2012, 15 years after the conclusion of the anime series, Toei Animation announced Sailor Moon Crystal, a Continuity Reboot premiering in 2014 on Niconico. This series adapts the manga more faithfully instead of remaking the original series.

Sailor Moon received several Video Game Adaptation games between 1993 and 2004, including a fan project by Destiny Revival based on Final Fight and Double Dragon variants of Beat 'em Up games. The anime series also spawned five special episodes and three non-serial movies.

Back when it ran under the name Mixx Comics, Tokyopop picked up the original manga as one of its first series. Their translation was loosely based off the DiC version of the anime (though some name changes were unique to it). It was filled with inconsistencies and was flipped so that it read left-to-right, a then-common practice of US manga localization. Besides the questionable translation, Tokyopop's release was also criticized for its poor print and binding quality. (It is rare to find one of these volumes in good condition.) All of their releases went out of print in 2005. Kodansha USA announced in 2011 that they had picked up Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V (see below), and would be using the 2003 Japanese reprints as the base for a new printing of the series. Their editions retain the original right-to-left format and use an all-new accurate translation (though it has been frequently criticized for being too literal). In 2014, Kodansha in Japan began releasing brand new editions of the manga with even more updates and alterations.

The manga has a prequel of sorts in Codename: Sailor V. The first issue was released before Sailor Moon, but the series itself finished after Sailor Moon ended. A pilot for an aborted American live-action/animation blend adaption also exists – a company called Toon Makers pitched this to Toei instead of a dub, but since Toei didn't pick it up, a two-minute music video put together using footage from the pilot remains the only footage ever seen by the general public. You can find more information on this project at Toon Makers Sailor Moon.

This page has a character sheet; please put character-specific tropes there instead of adding them here. It also has a recap sheet.

Owing to the stupendous number of tropes associated with this work, we've split the trope listing into three separate pages. They contain examples of:

Sailor Moon is the trope namer of:

Alternative Title(s): Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon