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VIZ Media US licences entire Sailor Moon anime library

Date: 2014 May 17 16:19

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VIZ Media announce the licensing of the Sailor Moon animated library for streaming and home video release in North America.

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In a surprising announcement at the Anime Central convention in Illinois, USA, anime and manga publisher VIZ Media stated that they would be releasing the classic anime series Sailor Moon on DVD and blu ray as well as digital streaming services Neon Alley (owned by VIZ) and Hulu. The deal with licence holder Toei comprises all 200 episodes of the 1990's TV series including the Sailor Moon Sailor Stars arc which has never been released or aired in the United States before.

Sailor Moon Cast

Considered to be un-licensable in the mid-2000's by American companies due to restrictions placed by Toei in terms of financial and legal requests, this announcement has a lot of old and new fans excited. The show, which was held as a gateway anime show for a lot of new fans of the medium in the early 1990's, has been out of print for English speaking audiences for over ten years since the late ADV and Pioneer anime companies released some of the series. The show also received a new dub from DIC Entertainment which altered substantial elements of the plots and characters to effect a prime time TV-friendly broadcast. Fans of the show have long been unhappy the altered versions were sometimes the only to see the material. VIZ Media in their announcement have stated that working with Toei, they will restore all removed elements into their release for both digital and home video formats. In regards to the DVD and blu ray release, the video and audio have been cleaned up and restored in line with a recent Japanese restoration of the show by Toei.

VIZ went on to state that the deal includes the three feature films and TV special tie ins. The original TV series will receive a newly commissioned dub which is currently being recorded. At the same time, VIZ also announced they had licensed the latest version of the Sailor Moon franchise, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, which is set to stream worldwide from Japanese video site NicoNico in early July 2014. VIZ will stream a subtitled release of the new show through their video portal alongside NicoNico's effort.

Note for UK/ROI/AUS/NZ fans: VIZ gave no indication as to the status of streaming through portals they own or work with in non-US territories nor did they reveal any plans for the aforementioned DVD and blu ray's to be released outside the US.

UPDATE: The official VIZ Twitter account for the Sailor Moon release has stated that the show will be running on Hulu and Neon Alley from next Monday, the 19th of May 2014.

Source: Anime News Network
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