Bandai America "Looking Into" Sera Myu Release
Word reaches us that Bandai America is "looking into" an English language Home Video release of the Sera Myu productions performed in Japan. "Sera Myu" is the Japanese slang words for Sailor Moon Musical which is a series of live musicals. These musicals have stories & songs with live actors which continue the saga of Sailormoon beyond the anime series & features. The stage shows are produced by Bandai of Japan under license of Kodansha, the publisher of the original manga (comics) created by Naoko Takeuchi. The shows are in Japanese and are also videotaped for Home Video release in Japan. No subtitled or dubbed versions in any language have been released.
A growing English speaking fan base of the musicals has been circulating a petition to have the videotapes (and one laserdisc) released outside of Japan. Japanese videotapes (and the one laserdisc) were, up until recently, freely imported to the United States and other interested countries. We have found out that retailers are being informed to stop the practice since it might have been in conflict with Bandai of Japan's interests.
Bandai (& Bandai America) were opposed to the handling of the "Sailor Moon" anime in English speaking markets. Bandai sponsored the series in Japan and sold most of the toys. They wanted to continue the practice in the West but most of the toy rights were given to DiC Entertainment. Bandai America sponsored the initial 65 episode Syndication package in the United States but then withdrew support after poor ratings.
With DiC now far less involved, we hope that Bandai America will return to handling and introducing new Sailor Moon releases and merchandise in the West. It is interesting to note that (as far as Sera Myu is concerned) Bandai America would first have to come to an agreement with Bandai of Japan which produces the musicals. It is our understanding that no dubbed version is being contemplated and that if there should be a release it would definitely be in Japanese and probably with English subtitles.
If Bandai America should not be interested or unable to come to an agreement with all of the parties involved we will then advise fans to petition Kodansha. Fans should be advised that Pioneer Entertainment has expressed no interest in picking up the Home Video rights (and that we believe them).