Saturday, July 5, 2014 will be a big day for “Sailor Moon” fans, with the recent news that Viz Media has licensed the original series as well as the upcoming reboot, the publisher will be making the 5th, “Sailor Moon” Day at the 2014 Anime Expo. In honor of the big day, we had the opportunity to submit a few questions for a Q&A with the voice actresses who played Sailor Moon, Linda Ballantyne, and Sailor Jupiter, Susan Roman, in the original English dub of the classic anime series.
It is likely that if you watched anime at all over the last 20 years, you have at least heard of “Sailor Moon”, originally a magical girl shojo manga series from Naoko Takeuchi (published in North America by Kodansha Comics USA), and then adapted into an anime by Toei Animation, newly licensed in North America by Viz Media, with home video releases of all five seasons beginning later this year. Nowadays, “Sailor Moon” is seen as an iconic series, but when it was originally released stateside, I don’t think anyone could have guessed it would have such a lasting impression on anime fans.
Examiner: Are you surprised at all, to see that “Sailor Moon” is still one of the most beloved anime series? In a way, you’re the voices of many girls’ (and boys) childhood.
Linda Ballantyne: It will never cease to amaze me the impact this show has had on so many people. At first it shocked me. There were just so many stories of how Sailor Moon changed people’s lives. Many were similar and yet they were all unique. But as time has gone by, I’ve realized the reason it was so popular and touched so many people is because there was something for everyone to identify with. Each character was so unique in their personality. I think people could see some of themselves in the show. And they could understand where their own friends were coming from or maybe what they wanted in a true friend. It inspired people. It entertained. And it had strong female characters which just hadn’t happened at that point. But in truth, it still surprises me every time the fans cheer or weep or reach out to hug me… and I love it!
Susan Roman: I’m still in a state of shock when someone comes up and says, “You were my childhood...” Wow, what an incredible statement that is! Because what we watch when we’re children can have such a positive impact on us, can get our imaginations going to all sorts of wonderful places. I still remember the shows that I watched as a kid and how important they were to me. I think I’d faint if I met the “Friendly Giant”!
During the event, the original English voice cast of “Sailor Moon” will be reuniting, so we asked, how it felt to have everyone together again at Anime Expo this year.
Linda Ballantyne: It’s so exciting! I can’t even begin to tell you how electrifying the buzz is around this whole event. I’ve been really lucky to have attended some cons with Katie Griffin, Susan Roman and Toby Proctor during the last year or so… but this is a whole other ballgame. It’ll be interesting to hear what the others remember from recording Sailor Moon all those years ago. It’s amazing what comes back to you when a fan asks a question about an episode or the recording days. The memories seem to flood back. I can’t wait to hear all the stories.
Susan Roman: It’s wonderful to think that we’ll all be together again, in the same room, just as if all that time hadn’t passed by. We’ve always gotten along so well and nothing has changed that. None of us had any idea when we were recording “Sailor Moon” that it would become such an iconic series, so there was never any pressure on us - we were free to do our work the best way we knew how, and I think that sense of freedom comes through in the finished product.
With Viz Media’s new license of the original series, comes a new English dub and new voice actresses to take on those iconic roles, in the remastered and uncut release. This will also be the first time that the fifth and finale season of the series will be available in North America. During Viz’s “Sailor Moon” panel on Saturday, they will introduce the new English voice cast and premiere the first two episodes of the classic series with the new English dub.
Examiner: What do you think about Viz re-releasing the original “Sailor Moon” series? Are you excited to see the fifth season finally released stateside?
Linda Ballantyne: I just hope Viz understands the enormity of this re-release and holds true to the fans. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about them loving it. But I can’t wait to see what they produce. Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back.
Susan Roman: I’m THRILLED that I’ll finally get to see the fifth season! All I’ve got to say is.... it’s about time!
Along with the the “Sailor Moon” panel, Viz Media is also planning a “Sailor Moon” fan gathering, where they hope to see plenty of cosplayers dressed as their favorite characters.
Examiner: With a “Sailor Moon” cosplay gathering happening at Anime Expo, how many Sailor Soldiers are you hoping to see make it out?
Linda Ballantyne: I would like to see a sea of Sailor Moons!!!! A sea of them!!!!! And I’d like to be standing right smack dab in the middle having my picture taken with all of them. That would be a dream! I expect we will see hundreds of the Scouts at AX. Hundreds!!!!
Susan Roman: You know, that’s one of the best parts of going to cons - seeing all the costumes - and I’m thinking that, because Anime Expo is the biggest and the best anime con out there, there should be hundreds of “Sailor Moon” cosplayers, which is what we love to see. From what I can tell, people have the hardest time trying to get the footwear right and we’ve seen some absolutely genius ideas - you’d be amazed. Jupiter’s green boots are NOT generally available at your local shoe store...
Also happening on the 5th, is the premiere of “Sailor Moon Crystal”, a true to the manga retelling of the series. When the series was initially announced, fans all over seemed excited to see the return of such a popular series.
Examiner: Do you think that “Sailor Moon Crystal” will be able to live up to the hype? It seems like there are a lot of fans anxious to see the series return.
Linda Ballantyne: I really hope it does live up to the hype. The fans have waited so long. There is so much anticipation. Let’s face it, they did a pretty great job so far with Sailor Moon… so my money is on it doing well.
Susan Roman: Everyone wants more “Sailor Moon”! And the new series will probably be newer and shinier, and maybe everyone’s skirts will be shorter (if that’s humanly possible) - but the essence of it will still be the same. A whole new generation of fans will watch “Sailor Moon Crystal” and they’ll fall in love with it exactly the same way their mothers (and fathers) did. I can’t see how it could possibly fail.
We tried to keep the questions light, and at the end, we just couldn’t pass up the chance to ask one more question. While the answers weren’t surprising, they sure were entertaining.
Examiner: Who is your favorite “Sailor Moon” Character?
Linda Ballantyne: Hello? Sailor Moon!!!! No brainer… Not the character, the question… Meatballhead!… No wait, that’s me… No wait…
Susan Roman: I think that I’ll always gravitate to the one who reminds me the most of me - or maybe the me that I’d like to be, I don’t know. And, no matter how often I watch the show, that always ends up being Lita (Sailor Jupiter). She’s my girl.
Thank you, to both Linda Ballantyne and Susan Roman, for taking the time to answer our questions. We, along with plenty of other anime fans, are looking forward to seeing “Sailor Moon” make her triumphant return in “Sailor Moon Crystal”, this month.
The 2014 Anime Expo takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 3, 2014 to July 6, 2014. To learn more about the event you can visit the official site.