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Viz Media acquires licensing for original 'Sailor Moon' anime

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On May 16, Anime News Network reported that during their industry panel at Anime Central, Viz Media announced that it has acquired the North American licensing rights to the classic magical girl animé, "Sailor Moon." The license gives Viz Media control of streaming and digital rights to the combined 200 episodes of the original five series, including the final series, “Sailor Moon Sailor Stars,” which has never aired in the United States until now. The agreement also includes the rights to all three "Sailor Moon" movies and the various specials that aired with the series.

Starting May 19, the original "Sailor Moon" animé will begin streaming with English subtitles on both Viz Media's animé streaming website, NeonAlley.com, as well as a part of Hulu Plus, beginning with the first four episodes of the series. Two new episodes will then debut on both streaming services every Monday thereafter. The series will maintain its' uncropped 4:3 aspect ratio, with the original Japanese names, storylines, and customs.

"Sailor Moon," which made its' North American debut on television in September 1995, tells the story of high school student Serena Tsukino (Usagi Tsukino in the Japanese series), a rather ditzy and carefree teenager, who becomes the powerful guardian of love and justice, Sailor Moon. Along with her friends who eventually become her allies, each one representing a different planet, Sailor Moon and her Sailor Scouts fight to protect the universe from forces of evil.

Viz Media also broke the news that not only will a brand new English dub of the uncut original series be available on DVD and Blu-Ray later this year, but the next chapter in the "Sailor Moon" franchise, "Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal," will premiere at this year’s Anime Expo in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 5, which has been proclaimed "Sailor Moon Day." Along with panels featuring the original '90s English cast, Viz Media is also hoping to set a world record with the world's largest Sailor Moon cosplay gathering that Saturday at Anime Expo.

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