Today internet TV service Hulu will begin streaming “Sailor Moon”, bringing the series back to America after a long absence. And, of course, bringing it to tech-savvy Canadians cyber-squatting south of the border.
Four episodes are to be released on the 19th, with two episodes from the 200 episode pool being released on subsequent Mondays. The move comes after Hulu’s deal with Pokemon Co. International earlier this year to bring the Pokemon TV series to Hulu and Hulu Plus. Pokemon came on the heels of Sailor Moon, but overshadows the series as a lumbering 700-episode, 16-feature-film, video game franchise juggernaut of its own.
The deal with Viz Media and Toei Animation will introduce a previously unreleased fifth season, and new material still in production. There will also be a series of feature films, made available through electronic platforms and limited edition DVD/Blu-ray packages.
The returning episodes of Sailor Moon are touted as being uncut and remastered, intended to bring the American adaptation closer to series creator Naoko Takeuchi’s intentions. The first run audience, now grown adults, now have the opportunity to introduce their children to a nostalgic obsession while rediscovering it entirely themselves. Will returning the series to its original form tamper with this nostalgia?
The series adaptation under DiC (and thus under Disney) made several cuts to the series before transplanting it. Editors removed story-lines deemed indecent for American audiences, made more room for commercials, and added educational “sailor says” segments to give a morality structure to the series. They also merged the first and second seasons, resulting in an often messy and nonsensical show. But the overwhelming positivity and energy of the series won over audiences regardless, and it was among shows like the X-Files in encouraging fandom over the early days of the internet.
Restoring the series entirely may step over fan’s memories of the show, and some unintentionally hilarious B-Movie editing. But it would also make the show a more interesting, more adult, and much more cohesive, piece of entertainment for new young audiences possibly experiencing it for the first time.
The episodes will be released with subtitles, at least initially. So if you’re a die-hard fan, still raging in the “subtitles VS dubs” debate, you’ll be happy to know you’ve at least got that going for you.