Before I commence, a small disclaimer:
I’m going to go on a limb and suggest that the effective origins of the Sailor Moon fandom began in 1995 – the year that the DiC dub first debuted. Now, I am well aware that the show and manga both officially debuted in 1992 in Japan. However, seeing as how most people in 1992 did not have the Internet and fansubs of the series were done in VHS as opposed to nifty little .xvid files, subtitled anime was slow going. Therefore, I am willing to wager that most people were introduced to the wide, wonderful world of Sailor Moon through the dub. For those of you that were lucky enough to be exposed to this series prior to then – because of time spent overseas or what have you – you are all lucky bitches and I hate you.
And now, on with the show:
2005 marks one decade since the North American debut of Sailor Moon and what a long, strange trip it has been. After a lengthy (and amusing) fight for the North American rights to the series, the license was awarded to DiC and we, the English-speaking public, were first introduced to five sailor-suited soldiers for love and justice. For all that the purists whine and moan about the inaccuracies of the DiC dub version, well… it was a different era, then. Producers and TV executives rarely understand the audiences that they wish to cater to. Cartoons = children, so a strictly PG rating was a must. American kids can’t understand cultural differences, so lets translate the names, flip frames, and delete all cultural references to Japan, thus causing a whole generation of children to wonder why no one bothered to mention that this show took place in France before showing lots of scenes of the Eiffel Tower.
For all that DiC messed up, they succeeded in sparking the interest of the viewers. With the coming of the Internet, fans researched and learned that there were actually more seasons, movies, and GASP, so THAT was where Sailors Saturn through Pluto went to! Sailor Moon (along with DBZ) had officially become one of the two gateway series into anime.
This is when the true oldbies of the fandom made their name. Most of them have long since moved on by now. There’s only so much time that a person can spend hopelessly devoted to the same characters. The well eventually runs dry. But unlike so many other fandoms, in Sailor Moon, you always come back. Sure, it may not be for long, but it’s hard to abandon this fandom eternally. It’s the comfort blanket of fandoms, if you will. Always there for you.
And now, ten years later, it’s still going strong – even if it barely resembles what it once did. A Sailor Moon Romance remains the predominant fiction hub of the fandom. Though nowadays it’s mostly functions as a message board that also hosts fanfics… back when I first got involved, it was THE archive. It was updated by hand on a weekly basis. None of that automated stuff that the site has now. Furthermore, ASMR was a Sailor Moon specific archive. No Harry Potter fic was on their webspace. And even before then, it wasn’t known as ASMR. It was “Luna and Artemis’ Central Command Headquarters.”
It’s amazing to think that even after 10 years, the fandom is still going strong. In fact, after a recent slump, 2004 experienced a renaissance of sorts.
Okay, sure. So maybe all of the American licenses will have run out by the end of this December.
We still received a whole new slew of material via Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. The Live Action series had its ups and downs. Some things were done better while others were done worse than the anime. Some decisions were just plain bad. But it kept us all entertained for a year as well as provided new points of inspiration for some authors. And that doesn’t even bring into account the merchandise. Oh, the merchandise. Who didn’t want a plushie Luna? On the same note, the manga was freshened up and re-released in its original Japanese. Not just any manga, either, as we were given a freshened up version of Codename: Sailor V.
Speaking of Codename: Sailor V, 2004 was the year that the official Sailor V scanlation project was officially completed. Halleluiah.
Having opened in 2003, 2004 was the year that Genvid.com solidified its status as a powerhouse of a fandom website. Not only did it provide the most comprehensive coverage of the live action series, but also had the gift of knowing when not to take itself too seriously. Some of its website spoofs and pranks have been outright hysterical.
2004 was also the year that the oldbies came back. Lord Chaos briefly came out of retirement to announce that he was working on two separate fics, and even managed to present “The Paranoia Groove” as a new work of fiction. Over two years after the release of its previous chapter, Angus MacSpon finally updated “Sailor Moon 4200”.
Most importantly, however, 2004 can boast being the year that the SOS finally ceased to be. Halleluiah that we may finally be rid of that drivel!