Wednesday, July 09, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video (Free {Streaming}): Hulu, Neon Alley
Video (Pay {Download-to-Own}): iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, PlayStation/Sony Entertainment Network, Xbox Video

(As you may have noticed with the Picks over the past year or so, I have been experimenting with the show info format above, though I am closing down on a final one here. I will be trying to include more DtO links, as well as posting links to aggregates like Neon Alley, Aniplex Channel, Anime News Network, and Toonzaki. As much as I dislike listing sites that just show embedded video from other venues (i.e. Hulu, YouTube) or a collection of them from a company's catalogs, some of them have interactive social features and communities, so I will provide links there for those interested in striking up a conversation with other fellow viewers.)

This was one of the titles leftover from last month's intended anniversary special, where I was going to post one Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick for each week, but alas, life and other matters got in the way. I decided to shift some of the celebrations to this month, instead, so we'll be kicking off with one of the most no-brainer and mention-worthy titles to come around recently.

Of course, that one is Sailor Moon. As much as with its mainstream appeal, cultural impact, and legacy as it was--if not more so--due to its notoriety as being "nigh-impossible" to license, it became arguably the biggest and most significant pick-up in the history of the North American anime industry. That Viz Media--and not bigger entities like FUNimation, Sentai, or a major, non-anime distributor with deep pockets--got it was an even bigger shock, though their track record with other big properties such as Naruto and BLEACH, and their compatibility and willingness to work with the licensors and specifics may suggest otherwise. Even though I was not into Sailor Moon or magical girls back when it was on the air in the U.S., I am much more forgiving now and I was genuinely happy for the title's fans.

Viz did not simply manage to nab the series proper, they got the entire thing, including previously-unreleased episodes, specials, and the fabled Sailor Moon Sailor Stars. Unlike the series as presented by DiC, the Viz release will be uncut and in its entirety, meaning no episode or season condensing, censoring, or alterations. On top of that, it will be remastered and sporting an all-new dub (due to the episode condensing and splicing in the DiC version, it would be impossible to use the old dub even as a secondary track with the full episode count, so it will not be present in the new release). The dub, as with many of Viz Media's titles, will likely appear down the line on Neon Alley/Hulu Plus, but the series is being presented first in its original Japanese language version, with new episodes being added every Monday to the streaming sites for free. You can also download-to-own the series digitally at the above links.

Not only is it a great time for a longtime fan of the series and/or anime in general, but it is also a great time to get acquainted with such a major, classic title if you are a younger fan or new to anime. The series itself centers on a ditzy, scatterbrained, crybaby of a teen girl named Usagi Tsukino ("Serena" in the old DiC dub) who finds herself endowed with magical powers from a talking cat in need. Transforming into the titular "Sailor Moon," she is called upon to help find the Moon Princess with her fellow destined Sailor Guardians, as well as the Legendary Silver Crystal. From a personal standpoint, having watched the first four episodes, I can say they are better and more enjoyable than I thought they would be and the show has a certain charm to it that that makes it easy to see why so many people like the show so much. And now, finally, everyone has the opportunity to enjoy Sailor Moon uncut and in whatever fashion they like.

And on top of this…

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