KODANSHA USA ANNOUNCES THE RETURN OF SAILOR MOON
Never-before-published Enhanced Editions of the Groundbreaking Manga Series
Share Long-Awaited US Publishing Debut with CODENAME SAILOR V
NEW YORK, New York – March 18, 2011 – Kodansha USA Publishing, a subsidiary of Kodansha, announced today the exciting return of Naoko Takeuchi's SAILOR MOON, one of the most significant names in comics and manga, to US publishing. Brand new deluxe editions of the acclaimed series will be released by Kodansha USA's Kodansha Comics imprint in September 2011. Out of print for six years, SAILOR MOON re-launches along with Takeuchi's two-volume prequel series CODENAME: SAILOR V, in print in the US for the first time—making this one of the most highly anticipated manga releases in years.
The Sailor Moon manga, which originated in Japan in 1992 and debuted in the US in 1997, follows Usagi Tsukino, a young girl who transforms into super heroine Sailor Moon to combat evil and fight for love and justice in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. The first successful shôjo (girls') manga release in the US, SAILOR MOON changed the book landscape and helped establish the foundation for the manga craze; in particular drawing attention to the popularity of comics among female readers.
Prequel series CODENAME: SAILOR V, the first of Takeuchi's “magical girl” manga, will make its highly anticipated debut in the US alongside the SAILOR MOON re-launch. In CODENAME: SAILOR V, teenager Minako Aino fights as Sailor V against the villains of the Dark Agency before she discovers Sailor Moon.
The Kodansha USA editions of SAILOR MOON will be published on a bi-monthly schedule and follow the 2003 Japanese re-release format of the classic series. The original 18 volumes have been condensed into 12 volumes covering the main storyline, and two volumes dedicated to short stories. Each volume has gorgeous new cover art, retouched interior art and dialogue along with extensive bonus material from Takeuchi, and detailed translation notes.
One of the most recognized manga and anime properties in the world, SAILOR MOON took American pop culture by storm, with mentions in music (“One Week” by Barenaked Ladies), bestselling books (The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot) and more. In Japan, over 15 million copies have been sold and the series has generated everything from animated features to live action musicals, a live action television series and countless merchandise.
“I'm very excited to reintroduce Ms. Takeuchi's work to her American fans,” said Yoshio Irie, president and CEO of Kodansha USA Publishing. Irie is also the former chief editor of Nakayosi magazine in which the Sailor Moon manga was serialized. “As we continue to build the Kodansha Comics manga list, a title like SAILOR MOON is the jewel in our crown. As the former chief editor of the work in Japan, I'm especially thrilled to finally release the prequel, CODENAME: SAILOR V, to the many fans who have been asking for it at long last.”
When Kodansha Comics, the U.S.-based division of Japanese manga publishing giant Kodansha announced that they would be releasing new English editions of Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V by Naoko Takeuchi in Fall 2011, fans were elated. But while it was great news to hear that these new editions of Sailor Moon would have new translations and would follow the format of the Japanese deluxe editions, a few questions lingered.
Would the names of the characters remain Anglicized? (e.g. "Bunny" instead of "Usagi" and "Darien Shields" instead of "Mamoru Chiba") Would Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune remain "cousins" instead of lovers? And why did it take so long for Sailor Moon to return?
I asked some of these questions to the folks at Kodansha Comics and while it took a while, I got a few replies back that might satisfy the curiosity of Sailor Moon fans in North America.
Q: I guess the first question that comes to mind is: What took so long? Was there a particular reason why it was out of print for almost six years?
Kodansha: We were informed that Ms. Takeuchi felt that the time was right to reintroduce Sailor Moon, not just in the U.S., but in other countries as well. For example, the new edition of manga started being published in Italy last year.
Q: It's great to hear that the new editions of Sailor Moon will be similar to the deluxe editions that were issued in Japan. Will the new Kodansha Comics English editions will have the color pages and stickers as in the Japanese edition?
Kodansha: The Kodansha Comics editions of Sailor Moon will include all of the color pages, but not the stickers.
Q: Will this edition of Sailor Moon be released in a larger trim size or will they be presented in the standard smaller paperback editions?
Kodansha: They will be in our standard 7.5" x 5" format.
Q: Will Codename: Sailor V be released in September the same time as Sailor Moon Vol. 1?
Kodansha: Yes, it will. The second volumes of both series will release in November 2011, and Sailor Moon will continue every two months after that. (NOTE: There will be 12 volumes of the regular storyline and two volumes of side stories, for a total of 14 volumes)
Q: One complaint that fans have about the prior TokyoPop editions is how much the characters' names were Anglicized (e.g. "Bunny" and "Darien"). Will the Japanese names, cultural quirks be retained in this new edition of Sailor Moon?
Kodansha: The Japanese names and cultural references will remain intact, and there will be our standard "translation notes" section in the back of the books.
Q: Another concern is that the TokyoPop editions (and to be fair, in editions published in other countries too) downplayed, if not outright changed the lesbian relationship between Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. Will this aspect of the original Sailor Moon story be retained in this new edition?
Kodansha: The Kodansha Comics translation will stay true to Takeuchi's original storytelling vision and characterization.
It still remains to be seen if Kodansha will be releasing Sailor Moon as a digital edition, or if Takeuchi-sensei will be making any appearances in North America to celebrate Sailor Moon's return. So far, no word on any re-release of the Sailor Moon animated series yet either, but it may be too early to say either way.
In any case, it's pretty exciting to see Sailor Moon returning to print after several years absence. Amazon and Right Stuf are already offering both titles for pre-order, if you're eager for your fix of magical girl fun, you'll only need to wait a few more months.
Volume 1 manga preview (from Brad Stephenson of moonkitty.net): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQHsJgMJIwc
So who's buying? I sure will.