Total Eclipse!
Toei To End All Sailor Moon Anime Licenses!
Everyones Secret Desires For SailorStars REVEALED!!!

May 3, 2004 - The English language licenses (and perhaps other languages as well) to the anime version of Sailor Moon are not being renewed by the rights holder Toei Animation of Japan. Toei is letting all licenses expire in order to make it easier for them to sell their new live action version, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (PGSM). From the timing of events it appears that as late as Spring 2003, Toei was positioning itself to be able to end any anime licensing renewals (almost a year in advance). Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of the property, knows of, has approved of, and may have helped cause this action. We do not know if she is aware of fan sentiment towards such a plan.

DiC Entertainment

DiC Entertainment dubbed 82 episodes of the first 2 television seasons, had some rights to the three features and held other rights detailed below.

Uh oh! Catzy, put that thing away!

The end of DiC's master license appears to have occurred in March 2004 (for a total of 7 years) as one of their staff had warned us when we reported the lack of 2004 calendars (though DiC still could have had one published and sold until March). The lack of an anime calendar was the first solid sign that Toei was going to remove the animated version from the Japanese marketplace. We had hoped that this would make it easier to get the final season dubbed in English.

Over the next few months, companies which licensed different areas from DiC, such as the syndication rights (held by The Program Exchange) and the home entertainment releases of the dubbed episodes (held by ADV Films) have or will expire. In other areas (such as toys and games), companies allowed their licenses to expire or were refused new licenses by Naoko Takeuchi or Toei over the last 2 years during DiC's extension option.

Over the last 2 years DiC was able to profit from ADV Films' DVD releases of episodes which DiC had dubbed (1-82; the first 2 TV seasons and which were previously released in VHS), the Full Moon Collection soundtrack CD and the 2003 calendar. Continuing income came from syndication rights and previous home entertainment releases.

The door closes on syndication.
The Program Exchange

One of the best business relationships for DiC (and Sailor Moon fans) has probably been with The Program Exchange. Once The Program Exchange got involved the series slowly became a success. Because of their efforts the program returned to syndication, ran on the USA cable network and then became a hit on the Cartoon Network.

After the initial syndication run of Sailor Moon failed in 1995/6, DiC was able to convince The Program Exchange to pick-up the series for the 1997/8 season (starting in June 1997). The syndicator will have distributed the series for a total of 7 years when its rights expire on May 31, 2004.

The Program Exchange is owned by the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi solely for the purpose of providing programming for its clients, such as General Mills. The Program Exchange ran mostly General Mills ads during the 7 year syndication run--marking perhaps the longest continuous sponsorship of an anime program in the United States. The cable network deals did not include General Mills ads (though some may have been booked via the networks' individual sales departments).

ADV Films

The first sign that something was up with the English language rights came when ADV started to allow huge discounts on their subtitled versions, a sure sign that they were about to lose the rights (but way too quickly)! We started looking into Toei's actions and had figured out what was going on just as ADV made the following online announcement of Thursday, March 11, 2004:

ADV's box set of the first season in Japanese with English subtitles.
Sailor Moon Availability

ADV Films today announced that the first 86 episodes of the original Sailor Moon television series will no longer be available in the U.S. on home video after April 1, 2004. Although the response of the fans and sales of this video series in both the dubbed- and uncut-subtitled format have been tremendously successful, the creators of the program have decided against continuing the availability of the home video in the U.S. at this time. All episodes released under ADV Films will remain available for sale in retail outlets while supplies last.

Fans should note (as ADV's announcement states) that distributors' product may still be available after the expiration of rights. (In other words, ADV Sailor Moon titles may still be available for sale.) After an expiration, distributors are no longer allowed to create new copies. Inventory can continue to be sold and the distributor will still receive those receipts--up to a point. In extreme cases, distributors instantly forfeit receipts and those funds are sent directly to the copyright holder. In most cases, distributors will have anywhere from 30 to 120 days (and sometimes even longer) to sell remaining stock.

Unsold copies are either destroyed, returned to the copyright holder or forfeited (and the wholeseller/retailer keeps them for nothing and makes pure profit). Forfeiture is sometimes forbidden under some contracts but is practiced anyway. And, you can always tell that a product has been forfeited when you find it in a bin for like 99 cents. Sharp eyed fans may still make sightings of Sailor Moon Irwin toys even though the company stopped manufacture after Christmas 2001 and went bankrupt before a new company was formed. One of our members still comes across brand new Ban Dai America Sailor Moon toys (and shrieks with giddy delight)!

ADV Films started to release the DiC episodes on VHS in December 2000 for a total of 3 years and approximately 4 months. During DiC's extension, ADV started to release the same episodes on DVD in April 2002 for a total of almost 2 years.

ADV negotiated with Cloverway/Toei for the original Japanese versions of the DiC episodes, plus the undubbed episodes from the first 2 seasons. These episodes were released on DVDs with English subtitles in box sets: the first season (July 2003) in two boxes and the second season (September 2003) in two boxes. ADV had the first season in release for only 8 and a half months, the second season for only 6 and a half months; an incredibly short amount of time.

(But in slight defense of Toei, it should be pointed out that distributors [like ADV & Pioneer] receive the rights and then it is up to them on how fast they can get their product into release. Though there have also been quality issues with Toei's materials which have delayed releases.)

With enough versions available, it's time to ask.....
How Do You Like Your Sailor Moon?
Oh yuck!

Heavy Dubbing
The first 65 episodes of Sailor Moon & Sailor Moon R

Moderate Dubbing
The final 17 episodes of Sailor Moon R & the Features

Light Dubbing
Sailor Moon S & Sailor Moon SuperS

No Dubbing

A smorgasbord!

Since Toei & Naoko don't want your money, it's time to start considering.....

For tomorrow, a Sailor Yell!
Did you ever read our story on fan dubs? Maybe now's the time! We're going to be buying the Negavision dubs of SailorStars though some of us here wish they'd edit more music into each episode (especially the DiC cues)!

We never did write a story on fan subs ("subs" is short for subtitled). The best place for Sailor Moon fan subs is VKLL. They've got SailorStars and the Specials!

"5, 4, 3, 2, 1,
Gemini button
One of the victims in Toei's international plans has been toy & game concerns like Heavy Cat Multimedia. Heavy Cat's proposal to create a Sailor Moon videogame was an uphill battle to begin with, but now it has become impossible. Heavy Cat declared their attention to quit their Sailor Moon project on April 7, 2004. Below we present the text of that announcement and an earlier one since we expect them to eventually disappear from Heavy Cat's website. We hope that this information might serve some usefulness to the next team which should attempt such a project.

Gemini Project Update
March 31, 2004
We have now made our request for a timetable on approval of the project. We may have some advantages since development of a video game consists of a far more substantial schedule than any other type of product: even a new anime series. We are also slowly accumulating disadvantages as well.

It should be noted that from a business point of view, Sailor Moon is slowly becoming less and less valuable. With no broadcast series, DVD or manga available, licensed products like video games are very difficult to get funded, because investors and publishers will insist on some help with marketing. Having a few million people as a daily television audience helps. Now, a video game or series of video games could form their own basis for marketing, but that would put the entire advertising burden on the publisher of those games, something which would be enormously expensive. Publishers, as a rule, don't like the phrase "enormously expensive."

As each day passes, we are also watching a planned release date move well beyond even our most exaggerated development schedule. This is another important question we'll have to answer for publishers: will people buy a Sailor Moon video game so many years after the television series? Platforms are going to become a major question as well. Such a release date may require us to develop for consoles that aren't even being sold yet.

All of these items will make it more difficult to interest investors and a publisher, even if the project is approved for development. However, we will update with some of the information from our second presentation when it becomes available.


Mission Control has ordered a Shutdown
at T-minus 381::18:43:07
April 7th, 2004

Although we believe there will eventually be an opportunity to build and market a Sailor MoonŽ video game, it is clear that this particular project cannot be moved into production in a practical amount of time. Several of the companies and investors we originally presented this project to are no longer likely to be interested, given the fact it has been many months since we have seen any progress at all.

Also, Sailor Moon is no longer being marketed in the English-language market, and without the support of at least one major retail category: DVD, animated feature, television series or licensed merchandise, it will make what is already a difficult project into an impossible project. According to our best estimates, we would have to raise three times a normal development budget to help a publisher offset the cost of marketing the game. This presents a very difficult problem. Investors are unlikely to support such a budget, and publishers are unlikely to support the project without such a budget. Additionally, it would be holiday season 2006 at the earliest before we could make the game available at retail, provided we moved Gemini into production tomorrow morning.

With such a budget, we would need between 500,000 and one million unit sales for the project to make any sense at all to a publisher. Only nine games had over a million unit sales last year, so this isn't as easy as it sounds.

There has been some amusement lately about suggestions that this isn't a real project, and that we haven't really been working on a video game. This company and our associated companies have invested over 4000 hours of work in these projects building presentations and game designs. To date, we have zero revenue from Tranquility or Gemini. We invested a massive amount of work and did our best to build and market a Sailor MoonŽ video game.

We are thinking about putting some of our research information into an article about Sailor MoonŽ along with some interesting facts about the success of the series. We're not sure exactly how to publish such an article, but there may be some opportunities available soon.

In the meantime, once again, we would all like to express our gratitude to the many people who participated in our surveys and who have supported this project over the past months. We certainly hope that Sailor MoonŽ returns to the English-language market soon, and we will definitely consider a new video game project if there is an opportunity. Thanks again, everyone.

This is Gemini II, signing off.

We always thought that this was "a real project" but we think we could point out now (without interfering with Cloverway/Toei's or Heavy Cat's business) that, at best, these 2 parties had "an understanding" or an option but that rights were probably never granted to Heavy Cat. This project was probably exploratory in nature. Fans can see the danger in this (like your whole project going ka-blooey) but there can be, if a deal can be made, a lot of benefits.

And, we would love to see Heavy Cat publish an article on their travails, it should make a spectacular read.

Now You See It, Now You Don't
Geneon's Changing Timetable
Old DateEventNew Date
January 6, 2004Features rereleased..
January 6, 2004S Volume I rereleased..
March 9, 2004S Volume II rereleased..
April 13, 2004S Volume III rereleased..
May 11, 2004S Volume IV rerelease..
June 2004Features expire.December 31, 2004
June 8, 2004S Volume V rerelease.June 13, 2004
July 13, 2004S Volume VI rerelease..
August - December 2004?S box set release.July 6, 2004
August 10, 2004SuperS Volume I rerelease..
September 14, 2004SuperS Volume II rerelease.?
October 12, 2004SuperS Volume III rerelease.?
November 9, 2004SuperS Volume IV rerelease.?
December 14, 2004SuperS Volume V rerelease.?
January 11, 2005SuperS Volume VI rerelease.?
February 11, 2005SuperS Volume VII rerelease.?
March 2005?SuperS box set release.August 3, 2004
June 2005S & SuperS Series expire.?
What Did We Know?
When Did We Know It?
Why Didn't We Report It?
There's actually a lot we haven't reported on this site. Sometimes because it has nothing to do with our campaign and other times because we've been asked to keep it a secret.

In the case of Home Video companies getting SailorStars dubbed there were several reasons. Even though ADV (as usual) was very vocal about acquiring the series, Pioneer kept its activities private. It would have been unfair for us to just report ADV's side of the story and say nothing of Pioneer. It would have cast Pioneer in an unjust negative light with the fans and could have affected Pioneer's sales.

Also, our reporting of such a story, at that time (before PGSM), would not have helped ADV or Pioneer or any other company get the rights (which is the purpose of this campaign). If the situation had changed, and if fans could help, we would have reported the situation.

Why Not In Japanese?
One possible benefit from having the initial English language rights expire for the countries involved, is that the Japanese language version (with English subtitles) could now be broadcast (if Toei would allow it).

We're pretty sure that Toei will not allow the original Japanese language version to be broadcast until PGSM has run its course. But chances are that Toei will allow the Japanese anime version to be broadcast before the English language anime version. Why? Because PGSM will probably die out in Japanese before an English language PGSM (if there ever should be one) even has a chance to die out.

One fan, "Tom", hit upon the idea that one of the International Channel networks could be persuaded to pick-up the series. The International Channel has had great success with unedited anime. Fans interested in the original Japanese version eventually airing (in a few years?) should contact this cable network via email (and not via telephone).

Everyone here in the SOS Treehouse wants to make peace with the Cartoon Network; well, most of us anyway.....
He's Back, and He's Bad -- Bad Badtz Maru!
Recently, Jim Samples, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Cartoon Network, could not bring himself to admit that he had been leading the network down the wrong path for the last few years. He told Allison Romano of Broadcasting & Cable magazine (March 1st, 2004), "This doesn't mean we are trying to be the leader in girls, but we want to attract more. And keep the lead we have with boys." And then, of course, Allison doesn't ask him the obvious ("What lead with boys?"). And why? Because the Cartoon Network just bought them off (as is customary) with a half-page ad in the very same issue.

This is the first time I've heard Samples make this claim. So I looked into it and I cannot find this lead. (Hands down please!) A LEGITIMATE lead. A real lead. One that didn't happen for one minute, at 3:24am, in a small farming town in North Dakota, in August, during a nationwide cable blackout with a 3 year old filling out his diary. You look at Nielsen book after Nielsen book and Nickelodeon clobbers the Cartoon Network almost everytime. In shear numbers even Nick's girly shows deliver so much fringe (Boys, Adults, Stray Dogs 2-11) that they still destroy the Cartoon Network.

We began to chronicle the death spiral back in May 2001 and again in August 2002. But the biggest plunge took place right after that, in the Fall of 2002. Out of all Kids' networks (broadcast & cable) in Boys & Girls ages 2 to 11, the Cartoon Network failed to place a single show in the top 25. The entire top 10 were Nickelodeon shows.

Nickelodeon has became so dominant that they were actually able to start claiming earlier this year that kids spent 51% of their TV time watching Nick.

Nick's success also caused the Cartoon Network to lose the number of households which could view the network. Local cable operators have been dropping the network and not enough subscribers have been complaining (since there's no "must see" program). The biggest drop that I know of was in the Fall of 2002 when the Cartoon Network was seen in 11% fewer homes than a year earlier. (Remember when the SOS had fans get local cable operators to pick-up the network? Ahhh, those were the days!)

There's only one show that has consistently delivered boys and that is Dragonball. In the first 3 months of this year it had an average of 718,000 viewers (Boys 9-14). But that's down by at least 100,000 viewers in the same demo from almost 3 years ago (and continues to drop). And it's not even a block.

The only block on the Cartoon Network which has really delivered viewers is Adult Swim. But before they added Futurama and Family Guy Adult Swim was, on average, 10th place on cable among Adults 18 to 34 years old. Today they're number one with anywhere from 500,000 to 800,000 Adults watching. But the Cartoon Network is not number one for all viewers in that timeslot on cable and broadcast. The number one network for all viewers (and Adults 18-34) from 11pm to 2am is NBC.

Boys 2-11 & 9-14 do watch Adult Swim but media buyers don't want to buy ads for them at that time. Why not? Because these are boys who are the most unlikely to buy the mass marketed kid products being advertised AND unable or uninterested in buying adult products.

Do you want to know where the Cartoon Network really sucks? Saturday mornings.

Last season, 2002/3 (2003/4 totals won't be known until May 2004), the Cartoon Network came in third place for Saturday morning. But get this; they finished behind Kids' WB, Nickelodeon and even seventh place Fox Box for the demo they were aiming for: Boys 6-11 and Boys 9-14. In other words, even though Fox Box came in seventh they got more Boys 6-11 & 9-14 than third place Cartoon Network.

Advertisers who want to reach Boys 6-11 & 9-14 are buying Nick, requesting Kids' WB and even seventh place Fox Box over the Cartoon Network. Where is this lead?

OH WAIT! I FORGOT! I'm supposed to be "nice" now! HEY! Great lead Jim! Keep up the great work!

It's still warm!
Milking It Fast

In Japan (as in the U.S.) producers hold back on releasing DVDs to help keep a good series on the air in repeats. Release DVDs too early and they can kill a series in repeats. Emotion (Bandai Visual's Home Video company in Japan), is wasting no time in releasing DVDs of PGSM. This is still yet another signal that Toei is expecting little repeatability of the series. It's the smart thing to do under the current circumstances.

Another sign of Toei's current Sailormoon strategy is in their merchandise. All of it is for PGSM and none of it is for the anime. It's as if the anime had never existed. And when it comes to any graphics associated with the merchandise it seems to be always a Naoko drawing and not the anime style.

Sailor Mercury's looking more and more like a Junko Mizuno character everyday!
A coloring kit. Using special felt markers, you can color in different pictures (Naoko style of course) and then wipe off the color with water and cloth.
Well, it's cheaper than wiggling a stuffed animal...
Click On The Link Below
If You Dare!

Don't say we didn't warn you but once you have finished reading this story:

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Live Action gifs of PGSM

This Is The End, My Friend
Countdown To Total Eclipse!

January 28SOS posts possibility of new series.
SpringToei positions itself to be able to drop licenses?
June 7Live action series announced on Bandai online site & Young You magazine.
SeptemberYTV loses Geneon series.
October 4PGSM premieres on Japanese television.
November 1SOS leaks Geneon box set plans.
December 31SOS posts Calendar Story.

January 5YTV drops DiC episodes from schedule.
January 6Geneon features rereleased.
January 6Geneon starts S series rerelease.
MarchDiC's license expires.
March 11ADV announces license expired.
March 14SOS Tickertape hypothesizes Toei to end all anime licenses.
March 25Geneon announces S box set for July 6, 2004.
April 10Geneon announces Feature expiration at end of 2004.
April 18SOS Tickertape announces SuperS box set date & Total Eclipse story.
May 3SOS posts (this) Total Eclipse story.
May 31The Program Exchange license to expire.
May 31YTV to lose DiC episodes?
July 6Geneon to release S series box set.
August 3Geneon to release SuperS series box set.
August 10Geneon to start SuperS series rerelease.
December 31Geneon feature licenses to expire.

January 1 - June 2005Geneon S & SuperS series licenses to expire.

We think that ADV knew of the possibility of the rights ending when they completed the deal for the subtitled version. Hence their very aggressive pricing (those box sets were priced to move fast with all sorts of incredible deals online)! We were always suspect of the subtitled release and in retrospect can see still yet another reason for box set packages rather than individually sold discs, that ADV knew it might not have enough time for such a release.

In their press release (above) ADV seemed surprised, if not embittered, that Toei actually called for the end of all the releases (including the subtitled DVDs). Without naming them, ADV clearly identifies Toei as the company to blame (and subsequently may have been forced to remove the announcement from their website for having done so). Over the last few years, several ADV executives had told one of our contacts that they had hoped (if not planned) to release the dubbed version in box sets towards the end of their license. Toei's decision effectively cost ADV thousands of dollars and the possibility of getting the rights to SailorStars (the fifth and final season of the anime).

ADV and SailorStars

Matt Greenfield of ADV had said several times over the years, in public, that he would have loved to acquire SailorStars but claimed that the "rights holder" had problems with its own content. We believe that in ADV's case this meant Cloverway, the American representative of Toei. Supposedly (they have never confirmed this), Cloverway's concern was that it had successfully positioned the property for young girls and was afraid that the content of the third and fourth seasons of the series (Sailor Moon S and Sailor Moon SuperS) were responsible for the decrease in profits. (We always thought perhaps the lousy ADR direction and maybe the music were to blame.) Cloverway feared that SailorStars would have continued the downward profit spiral.

Mr. Greenfield had hoped that sales of the subtitled version would encourage Cloverway concerning content. The original Japanese version of the first 2 seasons are far more adult in nature than the dubbed versions of seasons three and four. But Toei's (and Naoko's) decision to end licensing of the anime overrides any position Cloverway might have taken.

Volume 4 of Geneon's rerelease of the Sailor Moon S television series.

Geneon (The company formerly known as Pioneer)

Pioneer Entertainment dubbed the three features and (with Cloverway) the third and fourth television seasons. On October 1, 2003, Pioneer changed its name to Geneon.

By default, Geneon comes off in the best position by far. Because of how and when it made its deals they will be the only company with rights to some of the anime for a short but important period.

Pioneer started to release subtitled versions of the features on VHS in August 1999 and then the dubbed versions in January 2000 on both VHS and DVD (which also contained the subtitled version).

Pioneer started to release (in various versions and formats) the third season, Sailor Moon S and the fourth season, Sailor Moon SuperS starting in January, 2002.

Originally we thought that the features were to expire around June 2004 (Pioneer supposedly signed a 5 year contract in June 1999) and that the 2 television series would expire around June 2005 (from a later 5 year contract signed in June 2000). So, as expected, a final discounted rerelease of the features went on sale (a nice 5) months in advance on January 6, 2004.

On that same day, the final rerelease of the individual DVDs of the Sailor Moon S television series started with Volume I. In March, Volume II was rereleased with Volumes III - VI being (or scheduled to be) rereleased on the second Tuesday of each month thereafter. The individual DVDs of Sailor Moon SuperS are scheduled next with Volume I to be rereleased on the second Tuesday of August (10th) ending with Volume VII planned for Tuesday, February 11, 2005.

Once the final discounted release of the features had been announced we knew that box sets of the series would not be far behind.

It is best to release a box set of a series after all individual DVDs of that series have been released. Fans buy the individual DVDs and then, surprise(!), a box set comes out! (Distributors make the most money this way.)

The release of the box set of the Sailor Moon S television series was contemplated for late 2004, anywhere from August to December (1 to 5 months after the last individual DVD) with the box set of the Sailor Moon SuperS television series in early 2005, probably in March (1 month after the last DVD but around 3 months before expiration of the license).

But then on March 25, 2004 (2 weeks after ADV announced that they were losing their licenses) Geneon announced that the box set of Sailor Moon S would be released on July 6, 2004 (a week BEFORE the final DVD of the series was to be rereleased)!

Not only did Toei want the licenses to end, it seems that they had been negotiating to end them early. There was some give & take on both sides.

On Saturday, April 10, 2004 at the Anime Boston convention, Geneon announced that the rights to the features would expire at the end of the year (2004). This, as far as we knew, was actually a 6 month extension of those rights, which now included an extra Christmas season.

But then came some truly bizzare news from Geneon. They told us on Friday, April 16 that the box set of the Sailor Moon SuperS television series was now going to be released on August 3, a full week BEFORE the FIRST individual DVD of the series was going to be rereleased on August 10.

This means that the box set which retails for $99.98 will be sold BEFORE the same 7 individual DVDs are rereleased at $19.98 each (a $139.86 total). This will make sales of the individual DVDs almost impossible and we expect the original release schedule of those individual DVDs to be shortened or curtailed.

Why did Geneon make these changes? Because Toei, in order to get the anime version completely off the market as soon as possible, probably made a deal with Geneon to extend the expiration of the features in order to shorten the expiration of the series. It would be an arrangement Geneon would be all in favor of as the features are the top 3 selling Sailor Moon titles (including ADV) and Sailor Moon SuperS being the worst selling season. (ADV had the best selling seasons.)

If true, the series may end as early as December 31, 2004 but no later than sometime in June 2005.

This leaves Geneon in an enviable position. They will be the only company with any exploitable rights for most of 2004 and maybe even into 2005. If a consumer should want a Sailor Moon title, it will be (more than likely) a Geneon release. (No wonder ADV is pissed off!)

Buy those DVDs before it's too late!

Geneon and SailorStars

Whenever asked at a convention or public event, executives from Pioneer/Geneon would repeatedly say that they were not interested in SailorStars ; however the company actively persued the series.

By 2002 Pioneer had either asked Cloverway and/or had bypassed them altogether and were dealing directly with Toei on the issue. Toei did not want to make a deal at that time (perhaps in deference to Cloverway's fear of U.S. perception of the property). But once the DVDs of Sailor Moon SuperS started to be released, to some very disappointing results, Pioneer changed its tactics. The company started to claim that Sailor Moon was now too old and that (in English translated to us) "Whole Sailormoon has less mass market" appeal. And they had the numbers to prove it.

How bad? Pioneer which had been tracking pre-orders and other indicators had high hopes for SuperS to get Sailor Moon out of the slump which had started with Sailor Moon S. SuperS ended up selling "way under" 30,000 units per disc. (30,000 units is considered to be a benchmark for a very good release of an anime series.) One, very highly placed Pioneer executive said that sales of SuperS wouldn't even cover a subtitling release (let alone a dub). Using that remark as a guideline, some of us here translate that to mean easily under 10,000 units sold per disc. (By comparison, the features have sold over a million copies.) The television deal with the Cartoon Network (and YTV) saved Pioneer from a pretty bad loss.

But Pioneer told a contact with the Save Our Sailors Campaign (SOS) that the company would do a coproduction with a network (American and/or Canadian) if one was interested. (We think Pioneer learned its lesson concerning Voice Artists and maybe the music cues.) Thus started our search for a deal which met constant roadblocks. SailorStars was proving to be a much more difficult sell than Sailor Moon S. (We never went after Sailor Moon SuperS it was purely a gift from the Cartoon Network.)

Up until sometime in late 2003, Geneon was still persuing (but not very aggressively) the series. Fans who earlier attended the Pioneer panel at the 2003 Comic-Con in San Diego might even recall the panel asking the audience if anyone would be interested in SailorStars and there was one very telling question from an executive, "What if was with a dub? And without a dub?" (Fan response was good for both versions but fans always say they want everything.) Since there was still no network deal, Pioneer was considering a subtitle-only release. But once they found out about the live action version (and what that meant), they dropped the matter completely.

gender-bending mayhem!
YTV's #1 competitor, Teletoon has been broadcasting the gender-bending series Cybersix in an uncensored version at 9pm off and on for the last few years. SailorStars could work "as is" at this network!

YTV Network

Most U.S. fans don't realize it but YTV was the first English language network to broadcast the first 2 seasons and all 3 features. Of even greater importance is how the network took a sometimes very active role in getting new episodes (and the features) dubbed and on the air.

The first 65 episodes premiered on August 28, 1995. The series was so strong in repeats that the network took part in a deal between Irwin Toys and DiC to dub the remaining 17 episodes of Sailormoon R which premiered in the Fall of 1997. All 82 DiC episodes were dropped in December 1997. The series returned in early 2000 in anticipation of the Pioneer episodes which aired that Fall and ran until August 2003. The DiC episodes continued until January 5, 2004.

The features premiered on Canada's Thanksgiving Day, October 8, 2001 in a special 3 hour block hosted by Stephanie Beard (the second voice artist for Rini). The features were run at different times thereafter.

The network may have had many of the firsts but they have had all of the lasts. YTV was the last network to broadcast the English language episodes and features. Sailor Moon had played so long on the network it's questionable if Toei's actions had any affect on YTV. The network has never claimed that they wanted to continue to program the old series and features.

The warning sign that YTV was about to drop the packages came in the Summer of 2003 when the network was broadcasting episodes 4 times a day, 5 days a week. This kind of overexposure can signal that a network is about to drop a series and wants to make as much money off of it before sending it into oblivion.

The Pioneer series were the first to expire (and dropped from the schedule) causing one fan (Deafcat18) to email YTV in October 2003 about the situation. The network responded:

"YTV's contract for 'Sailor Moon S and Super S' has expired. This means we no longer have the rights to air these series. As well, we do not have plans to acquire 'Sailor Moon Stars' at this time. Currently, none of the Sailor Moon movies are on our schedule to air."

Then, slightly over 4 months later, on January 5, 2004, YTV (without warning) dropped the DiC episodes. Inquiring fans received the following email from the network:


After 8 years of airing this series, Sailor Moon is no longer included on YTV'S schedule.

We're sorry if this news is disappointing for you. We hope you can understand that it is not uncommon for television stations to move some programs to another day or time, introduce new shows, or temporarily remove programs. For this reason, it is important to remember that all schedules are subject to change without notice.

Currently, we have no information on YTV's future schedule plans for 'Sailor Moon'.

Be assured that your comments will be forwarded to our Programming Department for their consideration.

Thanks for watching and have a great day!

YTV Viewer Relations Department

We believe that the network might still have the rights to the DiC episodes and features until May 31, 2004 but they have no plans to air any episodes between now and then. They were able to confirm to us, in writing, that they had no plans to schedule the features (but hinted that they did indeed still have the rights).

Some fans started protesting the dropping of the series on YTV's message boards which was one of the reasons why we started to put this story together. One of the main directives of the Save Our Sailors campaign has been to make sure that fans do not waste their time (and when possible, suggest where to put their energies). Fans should not write to the YTV network to get the series or the features back on the air for now. We believe that the broadcast rights will be in limbo for some undetermined amount of time as Toei attempts to focus your interest in their new, live action series. (More on that far below.)

However, we believe that one day YTV could lead a group of likewise interested companies to get the final series dubbed and subtitled.

screencapture of YTV site
A screengrab of a YTV webpage
with an image of Eternal Sailor Moon.

YTV and SailorStars

The admission of having no plans to acquire the final season of the anime (in YTV's first email in October) came as a disappointment to some fans as the network seemed to continually flirt with the proposition off and on over recent years. (Notice that YTV still left the door open with the words, " this time." The last example being the network's own webpage for the program which featured an image of Eternal Sailor Moon from the last season even after the DiC episodes were dropped! The network's webpage for the program was later deleted from their site.)

YTV reiterated their position on SailorStars in an email to the SOS on January 21, 2004.

YTV is also very well aware of PGSM if you read this carefully.

SpongeBob, SquarePants has been readily absorbing any competition--even in repeats!

The Cartoon Network

This network has all but surrendered to returning to program for girls.

When we last left the network in August 2002 they were having their "Hamster Disaster". The SOS made the following (very easy to make) prediction about Toonami:

"The problem with these developments and upcoming plans is that Toonami is basically becoming a junky, boys only block. The hamster, and then the Eds, are steering the network towards a "No Girls Wanted" zone. Towards lots of mecha, fighting and things that can only go "boom."

"The huge problem with boy blocks is that while they may bring quick, temporary relief they can lead a network into almost drug addict-like behavior--looking for more & more of the same thing until they get blown out of the water by a rival network usually with a truly ridiculous show."

We were wrong!!! It has turned out to be TWO ridiculous shows, Fairly Odd Parents and SpongeBob, SquarePants. These shows (both on Nickelodeon) regularly duke it out in the top 10 of all cable programs. Most of the time they'll have at least 1 or 2 episodes of each series in the top 10 because of repeats. These series have performed so well that they seem to have attracted many Cartoon Network viewers over to Nickelodeon, where they have stayed!

But it hasn't even really taken a competitor to blow the Cartoon Network out of the water. They did it to themselves over and over again. No matter what's on the Cartoon Network there always seems to be at least one show on one of the other kids' networks (Nickelodeon or Disney or Kids' WB) which gets higher ratings & demographics. This has left the network being only able to claim certain demographic wins at certain times and only during certain weeks (if at all). The only bright spot has been the Adult Swim block. But it's a far cry from having been in the top 3 rated networks in all of cable for months (if not years) to being only a top kids cable network (which never finishes first).

Media buyers still buy a lot of ad time on the network but it's only after Nickelodeon has sold out all its inventory (space for commercials).

Why? Well exactly for the reason we alluded to above. The Cartoon Network has been going after half the audience: Boys. And advertisers (no matter what they might tell you) would much rather reach a large audience than a smaller precise audience. (Doesn't anyone remember when Fox tried this a few years ago with an all-boys network and an all-girls network?)

Some of us here think that Atomic Betty might have a real chance of succeeding on the Cartoon Network. Though some of us like the music of Puffy Ami Yumi, we still can't figure out if their show will work. (And should there really be live action on a cartoon network?)

So finally, after repeatedly beating their heads against a brick wall, the execs have caved in and are going after girls this Fall! The three new series aimed at girls are: Atomic Betty; The Life and Times of Juniper Lee and Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi about the Japanese girl group (with live action segments). One of the other new shows is aimed at boys and girls: Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.

In other words, the Cartoon Network would once again be an ideal home for SailorStars. It only took 2 years and the devastation of their ratings and demographics to get there but they've finally done it.

But after getting burned by the lousy ratings of the repeats of Sailor Moon SuperS , we wouldn't blame the network one bit for not taking the lead and putting up the majority share of the costs. (And we still wouldn't trust them to know what would make a good dub or a bad dub.)

So, keeping ALL of the above in mind.....

COV (Cat's Eye View)
Our attempt to contact a network executive!

Our Best Plan Yet For SailorStars Until.....

Until Toei started pulling all the rights, we were going to approach Stephanie Beard (the second Voice Artist for Rini, who is also a host on YTV's The Zone) to get us in touch with an executive at YTV for getting a deal for SailorStars . If there was agreement, the SOS would try to get the following parties on board to get 2 versions produced: An unedited dubbed version (for the fans) and a censored dubbed version (to satisfy Cloverway and the networks). In exchange they would have received the following:

  • YTV - Exclusive Canadian Broadcast rights.
  • Geneon or ADV - Exclusive North American Home Entertainment rights.
  • General Mills - Barter ads on The Program Exchange syndicated version and on a U.S. network.
  • The Cartoon Network or Another Company We Still Can't Reveal - Exclusive U.S. network rights.

(It would be nice to have a major toy company involved but we didn't want the deal to be dependent upon their participation. Often, it's the toy company which screws up a deal like this. Irwin had been the exception.)

Right about now someone at Cloverway and at Toei are screaming at their screens. Settle down please. In our attempts to get productions dubbed or subtitled we have never discussed financial arrangements. We have only directed people to other people and provided our demographics. Deal making is left to you.

Our spy on the PGSM set informs us of all the top secret goings on!!! (Well, not really.)

Toei and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (PGSM)

Over the years having covered the different attempts that Toei, Kodansha and Bandai made for a new Sailormoon series and/or live action feature, it seemed to us that the amount of money and control offered to Naoko Takeuchi kept rising. We don't know exactly how much money or control, it just seemed that the companies were desperate for a new hit and were convinced that a new version of Sailormoon could provide one.

Toei & Naoko finally agreed to a live action series but at a tremendous cost and commitment by Toei. The only way to make this project pay-off would be for the series to end up on (at least) early primetime with major sponsorship and/or for the show to be a hit or presold to overseas (outside of Japan) markets. (Dubbed in Asia, cloned elsewhere.)

The big problem with such a plan is that overseas markets depend upon reusing footage as part of a deal. This is why so many series with masked figures or giant robots end up on U.S., Canadian, U.K. or Australian screens. Overseas can reuse the most expensive part of a series, the special effects, and shoot just the (new) dialogue scenes in their native language.

But the only masked figure in Sailor Moon is Tuxedo Kamen and even his footage can't be reused!

Toei knew all of this; they were after all, the studio that sold (what became) The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers around the world.

Recognizing the predicament Toei was in and knowing the amount of failure with live action Japanese series is what prompted one of our Industry Contacts to make the case for a multi-racial cast and a provision for an English language version. This would have cost even more money (in addition to what was allocated for Naoko) but, if the show were good, it could be sold "as is" overseas. It could have been a hit!

Instead Toei went cheaper and it's probably because:

a. They were unable to convince a domestic broadcaster to give them an early primetime slot, OR
b. TBS & CBC were already in on the deal and wanted the show for Saturday morning.

(The Tokyo Broadcasting System [TBS] & Chubu-nippon Broadcasting [CBC] broadcast the series [mostly] on Saturday mornings at 7:30am.)

If it was (b.), then Toei made a horrible, horrible deal from which there is probably no escape. It means that Toei is stuck receiving a very low fee from the broadcasters but yet must pay a king's ransom for the rights. Toei did not want to put up additional money for a Saturday morning show which would not have any reusable footage for overseas markets. The show will probably be dubbed for the rest of Asia but can only be cloned for overseas.

And so this is why PGSM is so incredibly cheap. This is why Luna & Artemis are portrayed by stuffed dolls, why the lighting is terrible, the locations haphazard, the acting done in (what looks like) one take. (Ironically, the stuffed dolls of Luna & Artemis could have been used in overseas versions but they're so bad no one would want to. The Japanese audience reaction to this technique might have prompted the [sometimes] replacement of the stuffed doll of Luna with a little girl. It's one of the best decisions made for the series and one which probably took an endless number of meetings to agree upon. [Bandai, the toy manufacturer must have really objected.])

Sensi in a school gymnasium!
Special thanks to Sailordees for the image above.
PGSM fans may like to know that in different countries (Japan being one of them) some networks post the current time so that kids can't blame the TV for being late (and thus causing their parents to forbid TV viewing). With the time being prominently displayed there's no excuse for little Yuko being late. And it's even superimposed over commercials -- wouldn't American advertisers love that!

Here's what our Bi-Coastal Correspondent said of the show:

"Of course all my friends watch it because they are SM fans anyway. I heard that some fans stopped watching it because it's so different (in their opinion) from the anime. Personally, I think it's OK. The girls are all new "idols" and can't act at all but they are cute. LoL. It looks like Naoko is very much involved in the making. You can see it even in the costume design. They kept Keiko Han as Luna's voice but Artemis' voice is done by Kappei Yamaguchi. (Inuyasha VA. He became a cat now. LoL) I didn't check the credit but it was so obvious."

One of our webmasters in Japan wrote:

"It doesn't seem to be popular with any of my junior high students, but I think that's because it's on so early in the morning. I never see ads for it on TV (only saw one, before it premiered)... my gut says it's not doing very well. However it didn't look that expensive so maybe it doesn't HAVE to do well."

A U.S. fan, who knows this stuff, told us of budgets cuts (after the lackluster reaction) and that:

"...Jadeite and Nephrite's youmas were different and now they are solely using Kunzite's, so maybe they thought it would be cost-effective AND distinctive. The youma are now similar, but they do some neat stuff with the costume variations."

We've been showing a VHS tape of one of the early episodes to U.S. TV executives, whose reaction can best be summed up by this one quote, "It's a 22 minute ad not to pick-up this series."

Toei's silence on the "success" of the series speaks volumes. The show is what some in the U.S. TV business call "a nosebleed." You lose lots and lots of blood for nothing.

The same, aforementioned Industry Contact, requested and received a copy of the ratings for PGSM. Some of the early data supposedly has been made public in Japan. Here's how our Contact describes the whole, unpublished data:

"I am not allowed to cite any numbers to unpublished data."

"I had to have this thing translated and I still don't understand over half of it. I have just the shares (percentage of audience viewing TV during that half-hour) of PGSM in different cities and not what the competition gets. Though, through the Internet, I've been able to figure out how many channels it's up against. I also have the total number of viewers for each week."

"PGSM started off very good but took a steep dive in its second week. This should be expected with a known property; lots of people sample it the first week and then decide if it's for them or not. It's normal for some viewers to drop out. (This is the exact opposite of the original anime series which built up a huge audience during its first 2 seasons.)"

"It was probably in first or second place in its first week but (so far) probably averages out to third place (at best) over its run and is dropping."

"There are some good things. The smaller the market (city) the better it plays. And even though the show is on a downward spiral it holds up better in the smaller markets. It could be that big city audiences compare it to Sera-Myu and that they like Sera-Myu more. I did not receive any demographics."

"The series gets its worst ratings in Tokyo which also affects the total number of viewers nationwide. It appears that the show can do great out in the far-flung prefectures but everytime it performs poorly in Tokyo the total number of viewers drops dramatically."

"I find some of these numbers hard to believe and wonder that if they are true then why hasn't this show been cancelled?"

(Probably because of the commitments made by Toei, TBS, CBC, Dentsu, etc.)

Perhaps fans might now understand why Toei is ending all the English (and other) language anime licenses. It doesn't matter to Toei's current management that they make more money from a show produced by a management of over 12 years ago. Current management has to prove their worth, they want to keep their jobs and they won't do that if they take a major loss on a current show. The odds are that Toei will make less money overall but it wouldn't be the first time they've made such a decision.

Whoops! There goes the SOS clubhouse!

The Return of Sailor Moon

It seems that the return of the anime is dependent upon the success or failure of PGSM. Toei could meet with immediate success or immediate failure.

If, for example, Toei should have presold PGSM to an American broadcaster it would (be one of the best kept secrets in the business and) mean that there is no chance of the anime appearing again in the U.S. until Fall 2005 at the earliest. (And that's only if an American version absolutely and immediately fails. A middling success could hold up the anime rights for years.)

In contrast, if Toei should find no interest in PGSM by early 2005 (they will have finished the first 52 episodes and will have shopped it around during pilot season by then) the anime could return as early as Summer 2005.

When ever the anime should return, it is highly likely that all English dubbed & subtitled synchronization rights (Picture & Sound married for Broadcast, Cable, Satellite, Home Video, etc.) of all episodes will be assigned to one company. There has been some speculation that this could be the motivation for letting all the licenses expire to begin with but this would mean those rights not going to Geneon or ADV. (Otherwise, why let them expire for Geneon and ADV?) Assigning their rights to a new company, too quickly, could cause long-term damage to Toei's business relations in the United States and Japan.

It is expected that Naoko Takeuchi's company, PNP, will have the ability to have a much greater say in the assignment of such rights. Naoko has repeatedly claimed that she could obtain better deals than Cloverway/Toei. The success or failure of PGSM might affect the amount of influence Naoko may wish to exert concerning the anime.

SailorStars could be dubbed then and definitely subtitled. A failed PGSM will mean a much more willing Cloverway/Toei/PNP but a tougher sale (because of PGSM's failure). Conversely, a successful PGSM could mean a far less willing Cloverway/Toei. We have never heard Naoko Takeuchi being against the dubbing of SailorStars ; we have heard plenty of rumors but never directly from her. (Perhaps if this spins out of control she'll go public like she's had to do in the past.)

Recently, we've noticed a very quiet, private, cold war between Toei & PNP (one that Naoko may not have even realized yet). Naoko is supposed to receive a hefty fee for all the different dubbed & cloned versions which get produced; but Toei may have figured out that it won't get the deals it needs to pay Naoko's fees and to make a profit. Toei may claim that it can not afford to have different versions produced (including an English language subtitled DVD). That decision, plus Naoko's agreement to end all anime licenses, would dramatically affect Naoko's income (she'll be making far less money than hoped for). Toei may hold up other versions to get concessions from Naoko. A stalemate could delay the return of the anime for years.

These events bring our campaign to a close. It will be up to a new group of fans to help Sailor Moon in the future; or perhaps no group will be necessary? Sometime in the weeks ahead we plan to say our thanks on this site and hope these files will remain on a webserver for as long as possible. We hope to restore 2 old servers (dau & pei) which have some early, important files, in the near future but they probably won't last for long.

Campaign Twilight

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