Sailor Moon: The Magical Girl Who Charmed the 90s

AKA: the prettiest girl who’s ready to punish you in the name of the moon.

Image Credit: Toei Animation

There is nothing quite like the super sensation of the 90s, Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン), often shortened to just Sailor Moon for western audiences. This manga hit the world by storm and its subsequent anime series, produced by Toei Animation, quickly fluttered about the television screens of millions. It was created by Naoko Takeuchi (武内 直子) making its sparkling debut in the early 1990s.

Sailor Moon

The franchise is a well-established classic but you might be wondering, how old is Sailor Moon? Sailor Moon follows the story of 14-year-old Tsukino Usagi (月野 うさぎ)—renamed Tsukino Serena for western audiences. The Sailor Moon manga first came out in December of 1991 with an anime debut in 1992. It followed on the heels of other magical girls (also known as mahou shoujo) with an exciting cast of characters, perilous adventures, and gorgeous transformation sequences.

Image Credit: Toei Animation | Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon

Although, 30 years later the show is known as an anime staple, around the time of its release the existing anime community didn’t immediately recognize the show for what it would soon become. Sailor Moon was one of the main shows lined up on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block, putting in front of many US viewers as one of the few anime they could find on TV on a regular basis. While millions of fans quickly took to the show, you can find old forum posts from the 90s bemoaning its popularity and going as far as to call it dangerous.

Sailor Moon manga vs anime

The original Sailor Moon manga was published under a few different editions, each collecting the chapters into a different number of volumes. The first edition release of Sailor Moon has a total of 18 volumes and 52 chapters. These chapters do not correlate directly with how many episodes are in Sailor Moon’s anime adaptation.

Image Credit: Toei Animation | Tsukino Usagi as Sailor Moon

The original Sailor Moon anime has 200 episodes and 3 TV specials. These episodes span over 5 seasons. You will find some small as well as significant changes between the Sailor Moon manga and anime series. Some characters were given more prominent roles while others were pushed aside for less screen time. The overall story is mostly the same but the anime is definitely not a 1:1 remake of the manga.

Iterations of Sailor Moon

Each season of the original Sailor Moon was branded with a title change. The original Sailor Moon series seasons are known as:

  • Sailor Moon (1992) 46 episodes
  • Sailor Moon R (1993) 43 episodes
  • Sailor Moon S (1994) 38 episodes
  • Sailor Moon Super S (1995) 39 episodes
  • Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (1996) 34 episodes
Image Credit: Toei Animation | Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal

In 2014, a new iteration known as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal debuted with a total of 52 episodes. This version is recognized for taking less creative liberties and staying more true to the details in the original Manga.

Where to watch Sailor Moon

There are plenty of ways to get your hands on Sailor Moon. An easy way to watch the original series is to stream it. A more permanent solution would be to purchase your own copy of the series. It’s available on DVD, BlueRay, and older copies can be found on VHS tapes.

Where to stream Sailor Moon

The original Sailor Moon series can be streamed in full over at Hulu. You can also purchase seasons of the series to stream via Apple TV, Disney Plus, and through Amazon’s Prime Video.

The 2014 series, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal can be found over at Crunchyroll or Apple TV.

Where to buy Sailor Moon

You can find Sailor Moon through plenty of vendors but Amazon has all three formats readily available including DVD, BlueRay, and VHS.

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