During the time Toei Animation shopped the rights to the Sailor Moon anime around in North America, it received a pitch from Toon Makers and Renaissance Atlantic (the same company that handled the adaptations of Super Sentai into Power Rangers for Saban Entertainment). This pitch, dubbed "Saban Moon" by fansnote , turned out even less faithful to the source material than the much-maligned DiC dub. As much as the DiC dub was maligned, most every fan agrees it was better than this option.
It also (obviously) never got picked up, so what little anyone knows about this pitch comes from a two-minute music video that features footage from from a 17-minute pilot episode (which, as of this writing, has never seen the light of day), an interview with Rocky Solotoff, the pilot's director and producer, and several scripts and cels that turned up in late 2012. This version would have seen the civilian lives of the "Sailor Senshi/Soldiers/Scouts/Guardians" (referred to in this version as the "Princess Fighters") filmed in live-action segments that featured an ethnically- and disability-diverse cast (the pilot made Sailor Jupiter black, Sailor Venus either Latino or Mediterranean, and Sailor Mercury a wheelchair user).
The only footage of this pilot in circulation came from a panel at an anime convention; this low-quality shakey-cam footage also recorded the reactions of the convention's audience. A version with the perspective corrected exists, as does a slightly longer version which contains some of the preamble from panel host Allen Hasting (the author of the computer graphics software package Lightwave 3D who claims to have designed the vehicles, even though Rocky Solotoff said he didn't use Lightwave and a completely different person designed the vehicles). Not much else was known about the pilot until late 2012 when cels and copies of the animated portion's shooting script suddenly started appearing on eBay after the storage locker of a former Toon Makers executive was repossessed. For the first time, the characters names and the plot were actually known, though much remains unknown (such as how the live-action segments would have been worked into the plot).
Don't confuse this with Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, the live-action series made in Japan.
Tropes found in Toon Makers' Sailor Moon music video include:
- Adaptational Diversity: The pilot did this to the Sailor Moon anime that it's based on. The entirely Japanese (though they didn't look the part) Sailor Senshi are turned into a multiethnic American cast. Sailor Mercury also uses a wheelchair instead of being able-bodied.
- Adaptation Dye-Job:
- Sailor Venus became a brunette, as opposed to her traditional blonde hair. Although her ethnicity has never been confirmed, there is speculation that it overlaps with a Race Lift to make her Latina or Mediterranean. Her uniform also changed from being orange to being a bright yellow with orange accents.
- The other girls' shoes and uniform accents were given the secondary colors from their original designs, so that Mars would wear purple heels and Jupiter would be wearing pink boots.
- Also, Mercury's hair was rendered red rather than blue.
- Luna's colour scheme is different. She has Mystical White Hair instead of black. Although seeing as Venus is presumably in the starting team in this version and Artemis is nowhere to be seen it is possible this version of Luna is a Composite Character of both.note
- A bit of a minor detail in comparison but from the only cel found of one, Tuxedo Mask's roses appear to be white in this version◊.
- Adaptation Species Change: Luna is changed from a black shorthair moggy to a white longhair.
- Age Lift:"Sometimes she's a fun loving 16 year old girl..."note
- The Alliance: The script's intro explains that the royal families of Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter have formed one of these to defeat the threat of Beryl.
- Another Dimension: The princess warriors use their sky fliers to escape through a vortex into another dimension, so they can hide the jewels of power from Queen Beryl. They end up landing on our Earth.
- Boarding School: Judging from the presence of school uniforms and the girls hanging out in what seems to be a dorm room, this would appear to be where the girls lived and went to school on Earth.
- Canon Foreigner: While most of the monsters seen in cels or what footage exists are youma from the original anime, the script has Queen Beryl speaking to a minion named Ursus. While this could possibly be a renamed existing character, it's very likely this was a new minion created for this series (With the name Ursus, they possibly could be based off of the constellations Ursa Major/Minor).
- The lava monster is also an original addition to Queen Beryl's minions.
- Disabled in the Adaptation: Sailor Mercury is a wheelchair user, unlike in the original.
- Expository Theme Tune: The theme song explains the premise of the Princess Fighters' dual lives, though not much else.
- Five-Token Band: Sailor Jupiter was black, Sailor Mercury was a wheelchair user and had long red hair, and Sailor Venus was depicted with dark hair and has been speculated to have either been Latina or Mediterranean. Ironically, perhaps, only one who appears to be Sailor Mars was Asian.
- Gratuitous Princess: All the girls are now the princesses of their respective planets. To be fair, this eventually turned out to be the case in the original manga, too...
- Handicapped Badass: Sailor Mercury is now a wheelchair user. Instead of a sailboard, she has what appears to be a Leonardo da Vinci flier for space (since she can't stand and sail), and a laser-powered flying wheelchair for ground combat. Interestingly, despite the series' implied background of the girls fleeing home in the face of war, it is never explained why Mercury is in a wheelchair.
- Nice Hat: Several girls showed off their fancy hats at roughly 1:30 in the video.
- Power Crystal: The "Jewels of Power". It's stated that Beryl is trying to obtain all of them so she can take over and rule the galaxy.
- Race Lift: The cast were more diverse in this version compared to the original all-Japanese Sailor Senshi.
- Real Men Wear Pink: While Tuxedo Mask has not been uncovered in any of the cels and is never mentioned in the leaked script, Prince Darian features prominently in the pilot script and his outfit is liberally accented with pink now.
- Sailor Earth: This series only had the first season/arc of the original anime/manga, so it would have had its own explanation for the absence of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
- Space Sailing: They took the title 'Sailor Moon' rather literally.
- Spell My Name with an "S": According to the original script for the pilot, Darien is spelled as "Darian".
- Super Wheelchair: Sailor Mercury gets two one for space, and one for the ground. It fires lasers.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Luna's eyeshadow.
- Toon Transformation: The girls are live action when civilian, animated when they transform into Princess Fighters.
- Transformation Sequence: Actually both to and from being Sailor Moon. It involved a lot of spinning as they floated through the sky.