Toei To End All Sailor Moon Anime Licenses!
Everyones Secret Desires For SailorStars REVEALED!!!
May 3, 2004 - The English language licenses (and perhaps other languages as well) to the anime version of Sailor Moon are not being renewed by the rights holder Toei Animation of Japan. Toei is letting all licenses expire in order to make it easier for them to sell their new live action version, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (PGSM). From the timing of events it appears that as late as Spring 2003, Toei was positioning itself to be able to end any anime licensing renewals (almost a year in advance). Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of the property, knows of, has approved of, and may have helped cause this action. We do not know if she is aware of fan sentiment towards such a plan.
DiC Entertainment dubbed 82 episodes of the first 2 television seasons, had some rights to the three features and held other rights detailed below.
The end of DiC's master license appears to have occurred in March 2004 (for a total of 7 years) as one of their staff had warned us when we reported the lack of 2004 calendars (though DiC still could have had one published and sold until March). The lack of an anime calendar was the first solid sign that Toei was going to remove the animated version from the Japanese marketplace. We had hoped that this would make it easier to get the final season dubbed in English.
Over the next few months, companies which licensed different areas from DiC, such as the syndication rights (held by The Program Exchange) and the home entertainment releases of the dubbed episodes (held by ADV Films) have or will expire. In other areas (such as toys and games), companies allowed their licenses to expire or were refused new licenses by Naoko Takeuchi or Toei over the last 2 years during DiC's extension option.
Over the last 2 years DiC was able to profit from ADV Films' DVD releases of episodes which DiC had dubbed (1-82; the first 2 TV seasons and which were previously released in VHS), the Full Moon Collection soundtrack CD and the 2003 calendar. Continuing income came from syndication rights and previous home entertainment releases.
One of the best business relationships for DiC (and Sailor Moon fans) has probably been with The Program Exchange. Once The Program Exchange got involved the series slowly became a success. Because of their efforts the program returned to syndication, ran on the USA cable network and then became a hit on the Cartoon Network.
After the initial syndication run of Sailor Moon failed in 1995/6, DiC was able to convince The Program Exchange to pick-up the series for the 1997/8 season (starting in June 1997). The syndicator will have distributed the series for a total of 7 years when its rights expire on May 31, 2004.
The Program Exchange is owned by the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi solely for the purpose of providing programming for its clients, such as General Mills. The Program Exchange ran mostly General Mills ads during the 7 year syndication run--marking perhaps the longest continuous sponsorship of an anime program in the United States. The cable network deals did not include General Mills ads (though some may have been booked via the networks' individual sales departments).
The first sign that something was up with the English language rights came when ADV started to allow huge discounts on their subtitled versions, a sure sign that they were about to lose the rights (but way too quickly)! We started looking into Toei's actions and had figured out what was going on just as ADV made the following online announcement of Thursday, March 11, 2004:
ADV Films today announced that the first 86 episodes of the original Sailor Moon television series will no longer be available in the U.S. on home video after April 1, 2004. Although the response of the fans and sales of this video series in both the dubbed- and uncut-subtitled format have been tremendously successful, the creators of the program have decided against continuing the availability of the home video in the U.S. at this time. All episodes released under ADV Films will remain available for sale in retail outlets while supplies last.
Fans should note (as ADV's announcement states) that distributors' product may still be available after the expiration of rights. (In other words, ADV Sailor Moon titles may still be available for sale.) After an expiration, distributors are no longer allowed to create new copies. Inventory can continue to be sold and the distributor will still receive those receipts--up to a point. In extreme cases, distributors instantly forfeit receipts and those funds are sent directly to the copyright holder. In most cases, distributors will have anywhere from 30 to 120 days (and sometimes even longer) to sell remaining stock.
Unsold copies are either destroyed, returned to the copyright holder or forfeited (and the wholeseller/retailer keeps them for nothing and makes pure profit). Forfeiture is sometimes forbidden under some contracts but is practiced anyway. And, you can always tell that a product has been forfeited when you find it in a bin for like 99 cents. Sharp eyed fans may still make sightings of Sailor Moon Irwin toys even though the company stopped manufacture after Christmas 2001 and went bankrupt before a new company was formed. One of our members still comes across brand new Ban Dai America Sailor Moon toys (and shrieks with giddy delight)!
ADV Films started to release the DiC episodes on VHS in December 2000 for a total of 3 years and approximately 4 months. During DiC's extension, ADV started to release the same episodes on DVD in April 2002 for a total of almost 2 years.
ADV negotiated with Cloverway/Toei for the original Japanese versions of the DiC episodes, plus the undubbed episodes from the first 2 seasons. These episodes were released on DVDs with English subtitles in box sets: the first season (July 2003) in two boxes and the second season (September 2003) in two boxes. ADV had the first season in release for only 8 and a half months, the second season for only 6 and a half months; an incredibly short amount of time.
(But in slight defense of Toei, it should be pointed out that distributors [like ADV & Pioneer] receive the rights and then it is up to them on how fast they can get their product into release. Though there have also been quality issues with Toei's materials which have delayed releases.)
In their press release (above) ADV seemed surprised, if not embittered, that Toei actually called for the end of all the releases (including the subtitled DVDs). Without naming them, ADV clearly identifies Toei as the company to blame (and subsequently may have been forced to remove the announcement from their website for having done so). Over the last few years, several ADV executives had told one of our contacts that they had hoped (if not planned) to release the dubbed version in box sets towards the end of their license. Toei's decision effectively cost ADV thousands of dollars and the possibility of getting the rights to SailorStars (the fifth and final season of the anime).
ADV and SailorStars
Matt Greenfield of ADV had said several times over the years, in public, that he would have loved to acquire SailorStars but claimed that the "rights holder" had problems with its own content. We believe that in ADV's case this meant Cloverway, the American representative of Toei. Supposedly (they have never confirmed this), Cloverway's concern was that it had successfully positioned the property for young girls and was afraid that the content of the third and fourth seasons of the series (Sailor Moon S and Sailor Moon SuperS) were responsible for the decrease in profits. (We always thought perhaps the lousy ADR direction and maybe the music were to blame.) Cloverway feared that SailorStars would have continued the downward profit spiral.
Mr. Greenfield had hoped that sales of the subtitled version would encourage Cloverway concerning content. The original Japanese version of the first 2 seasons are far more adult in nature than the dubbed versions of seasons three and four. But Toei's (and Naoko's) decision to end licensing of the anime overrides any position Cloverway might have taken.
Geneon (The company formerly known as Pioneer)
Pioneer Entertainment dubbed the three features and (with Cloverway) the third and fourth television seasons. On October 1, 2003, Pioneer changed its name to Geneon.
By default, Geneon comes off in the best position by far. Because of how and when it made its deals they will be the only company with rights to some of the anime for a short but important period.
Pioneer started to release subtitled versions of the features on VHS in August 1999 and then the dubbed versions in January 2000 on both VHS and DVD (which also contained the subtitled version).
Pioneer started to release (in various versions and formats) the third season, Sailor Moon S and the fourth season, Sailor Moon SuperS starting in January, 2002.
Originally we thought that the features were to expire around June 2004 (Pioneer supposedly signed a 5 year contract in June 1999) and that the 2 television series would expire around June 2005 (from a later 5 year contract signed in June 2000). So, as expected, a final discounted rerelease of the features went on sale (a nice 5) months in advance on January 6, 2004.
On that same day, the final rerelease of the individual DVDs of the Sailor Moon S television series started with Volume I. In March, Volume II was rereleased with Volumes III - VI being (or scheduled to be) rereleased on the second Tuesday of each month thereafter. The individual DVDs of Sailor Moon SuperS are scheduled next with Volume I to be rereleased on the second Tuesday of August (10th) ending with Volume VII planned for Tuesday, February 11, 2005.
Once the final discounted release of the features had been announced we knew that box sets of the series would not be far behind.
It is best to release a box set of a series after all individual DVDs of that series have been released. Fans buy the individual DVDs and then, surprise(!), a box set comes out! (Distributors make the most money this way.)
The release of the box set of the Sailor Moon S television series was contemplated for late 2004, anywhere from August to December (1 to 5 months after the last individual DVD) with the box set of the Sailor Moon SuperS television series in early 2005, probably in March (1 month after the last DVD but around 3 months before expiration of the license).
But then on March 25, 2004 (2 weeks after ADV announced that they were losing their licenses) Geneon announced that the box set of Sailor Moon S would be released on July 6, 2004 (a week BEFORE the final DVD of the series was to be rereleased)!
Not only did Toei want the licenses to end, it seems that they had been negotiating to end them early. There was some give & take on both sides.
On Saturday, April 10, 2004 at the Anime Boston convention, Geneon announced that the rights to the features would expire at the end of the year (2004). This, as far as we knew, was actually a 6 month extension of those rights, which now included an extra Christmas season.
But then came some truly bizzare news from Geneon. They told us on Friday, April 16 that the box set of the Sailor Moon SuperS television series was now going to be released on August 3, a full week BEFORE the FIRST individual DVD of the series was going to be rereleased on August 10.
This means that the box set which retails for $99.98 will be sold BEFORE the same 7 individual DVDs are rereleased at $19.98 each (a $139.86 total). This will make sales of the individual DVDs almost impossible and we expect the original release schedule of those individual DVDs to be shortened or curtailed.
Why did Geneon make these changes? Because Toei, in order to get the anime version completely off the market as soon as possible, probably made a deal with Geneon to extend the expiration of the features in order to shorten the expiration of the series. It would be an arrangement Geneon would be all in favor of as the features are the top 3 selling Sailor Moon titles (including ADV) and Sailor Moon SuperS being the worst selling season. (ADV had the best selling seasons.)
If true, the series may end as early as December 31, 2004 but no later than sometime in June 2005.
This leaves Geneon in an enviable position. They will be the only company with any exploitable rights for most of 2004 and maybe even into 2005. If a consumer should want a Sailor Moon title, it will be (more than likely) a Geneon release. (No wonder ADV is pissed off!)
Geneon and SailorStars
Whenever asked at a convention or public event, executives from Pioneer/Geneon would repeatedly say that they were not interested in SailorStars ; however the company actively persued the series.
By 2002 Pioneer had either asked Cloverway and/or had bypassed them altogether and were dealing directly with Toei on the issue. Toei did not want to make a deal at that time (perhaps in deference to Cloverway's fear of U.S. perception of the property). But once the DVDs of Sailor Moon SuperS started to be released, to some very disappointing results, Pioneer changed its tactics. The company started to claim that Sailor Moon was now too old and that (in English translated to us) "Whole Sailormoon has less mass market" appeal. And they had the numbers to prove it.
How bad? Pioneer which had been tracking pre-orders and other indicators had high hopes for SuperS to get Sailor Moon out of the slump which had started with Sailor Moon S. SuperS ended up selling "way under" 30,000 units per disc. (30,000 units is considered to be a benchmark for a very good release of an anime series.) One, very highly placed Pioneer executive said that sales of SuperS wouldn't even cover a subtitling release (let alone a dub). Using that remark as a guideline, some of us here translate that to mean easily under 10,000 units sold per disc. (By comparison, the features have sold over a million copies.) The television deal with the Cartoon Network (and YTV) saved Pioneer from a pretty bad loss.
But Pioneer told a contact with the Save Our Sailors Campaign (SOS) that the company would do a coproduction with a network (American and/or Canadian) if one was interested. (We think Pioneer learned its lesson concerning Voice Artists and maybe the music cues.) Thus started our search for a deal which met constant roadblocks. SailorStars was proving to be a much more difficult sell than Sailor Moon S. (We never went after Sailor Moon SuperS it was purely a gift from the Cartoon Network.)
Up until sometime in late 2003, Geneon was still persuing (but not very aggressively) the series. Fans who earlier attended the Pioneer panel at the 2003 Comic-Con in San Diego might even recall the panel asking the audience if anyone would be interested in SailorStars and there was one very telling question from an executive, "What if was with a dub? And without a dub?" (Fan response was good for both versions but fans always say they want everything.) Since there was still no network deal, Pioneer was considering a subtitle-only release. But once they found out about the live action version (and what that meant), they dropped the matter completely.
Most U.S. fans don't realize it but YTV was the first English language network to broadcast the first 2 seasons and all 3 features. Of even greater importance is how the network took a sometimes very active role in getting new episodes (and the features) dubbed and on the air.
The first 65 episodes premiered on August 28, 1995. The series was so strong in repeats that the network took part in a deal between Irwin Toys and DiC to dub the remaining 17 episodes of Sailormoon R which premiered in the Fall of 1997. All 82 DiC episodes were dropped in December 1997. The series returned in early 2000 in anticipation of the Pioneer episodes which aired that Fall and ran until August 2003. The DiC episodes continued until January 5, 2004.
The features premiered on Canada's Thanksgiving Day, October 8, 2001 in a special 3 hour block hosted by Stephanie Beard (the second voice artist for Rini). The features were run at different times thereafter.
The network may have had many of the firsts but they have had all of the lasts. YTV was the last network to broadcast the English language episodes and features. Sailor Moon had played so long on the network it's questionable if Toei's actions had any affect on YTV. The network has never claimed that they wanted to continue to program the old series and features.
The warning sign that YTV was about to drop the packages came in the Summer of 2003 when the network was broadcasting episodes 4 times a day, 5 days a week. This kind of overexposure can signal that a network is about to drop a series and wants to make as much money off of it before sending it into oblivion.
The Pioneer series were the first to expire (and dropped from the schedule) causing one fan (Deafcat18) to email YTV in October 2003 about the situation. The network responded:
"YTV's contract for 'Sailor Moon S and Super S' has expired. This means we no longer have the rights to air these series. As well, we do not have plans to acquire 'Sailor Moon Stars' at this time. Currently, none of the Sailor Moon movies are on our schedule to air."
Then, slightly over 4 months later, on January 5, 2004, YTV (without warning) dropped the DiC episodes. Inquiring fans received the following email from the network:
HEY SAILOR MOON FANS! After 8 years of airing this series, Sailor Moon is no longer included on YTV'S schedule. We're sorry if this news is disappointing for you. We hope you can understand that it is not uncommon for television stations to move some programs to another day or time, introduce new shows, or temporarily remove programs. For this reason, it is important to remember that all schedules are subject to change without notice. Currently, we have no information on YTV's future schedule plans for 'Sailor Moon'. Be assured that your comments will be forwarded to our Programming Department for their consideration. Thanks for watching and have a great day! Sincerely,
HEY SAILOR MOON FANS!
After 8 years of airing this series, Sailor Moon is no longer included on YTV'S schedule.
We're sorry if this news is disappointing for you. We hope you can understand that it is not uncommon for television stations to move some programs to another day or time, introduce new shows, or temporarily remove programs. For this reason, it is important to remember that all schedules are subject to change without notice.
Currently, we have no information on YTV's future schedule plans for 'Sailor Moon'.
Be assured that your comments will be forwarded to our Programming Department for their consideration.
Thanks for watching and have a great day!
We believe that the network might still have the rights to the DiC episodes and features until May 31, 2004 but they have no plans to air any episodes between now and then. They were able to confirm to us, in writing, that they had no plans to schedule the features (but hinted that they did indeed still have the rights).
Some fans started protesting the dropping of the series on YTV's message boards which was one of the reasons why we started to put this story together. One of the main directives of the Save Our Sailors campaign has been to make sure that fans do not waste their time (and when possible, suggest where to put their energies). Fans should not write to the YTV network to get the series or the features back on the air for now. We believe that the broadcast rights will be in limbo for some undetermined amount of time as Toei attempts to focus your interest in their new, live action series. (More on that far below.)
However, we believe that one day YTV could lead a group of likewise interested companies to get the final series dubbed and subtitled.
YTV and SailorStars
The admission of having no plans to acquire the final season of the anime (in YTV's first email in October) came as a disappointment to some fans as the network seemed to continually flirt with the proposition off and on over recent years. (Notice that YTV still left the door open with the words, "...at this time." The last example being the network's own webpage for the program which featured an image of Eternal Sailor Moon from the last season even after the DiC episodes were dropped! The network's webpage for the program was later deleted from their site.)
YTV reiterated their position on SailorStars in an email to the SOS on January 21, 2004.
YTV is also very well aware of PGSM if you read this carefully.
The Cartoon Network
This network has all but surrendered to returning to program for girls.
When we last left the network in August 2002 they were having their "Hamster Disaster". The SOS made the following (very easy to make) prediction about Toonami:
"The problem with these developments and upcoming plans is that Toonami is basically becoming a junky, boys only block. The hamster, and then the Eds, are steering the network towards a "No Girls Wanted" zone. Towards lots of mecha, fighting and things that can only go "boom."
"The huge problem with boy blocks is that while they may bring quick, temporary relief they can lead a network into almost drug addict-like behavior--looking for more & more of the same thing until they get blown out of the water by a rival network usually with a truly ridiculous show."
We were wrong!!! It has turned out to be TWO ridiculous shows, Fairly Odd Parents and SpongeBob, SquarePants. These shows (both on Nickelodeon) regularly duke it out in the top 10 of all cable programs. Most of the time they'll have at least 1 or 2 episodes of each series in the top 10 because of repeats. These series have performed so well that they seem to have attracted many Cartoon Network viewers over to Nickelodeon, where they have stayed!
But it hasn't even really taken a competitor to blow the Cartoon Network out of the water. They did it to themselves over and over again. No matter what's on the Cartoon Network there always seems to be at least one show on one of the other kids' networks (Nickelodeon or Disney or Kids' WB) which gets higher ratings & demographics. This has left the network being only able to claim certain demographic wins at certain times and only during certain weeks (if at all). The only bright spot has been the Adult Swim block. But it's a far cry from having been in the top 3 rated networks in all of cable for months (if not years) to being only a top kids cable network (which never finishes first).
Media buyers still buy a lot of ad time on the network but it's only after Nickelodeon has sold out all its inventory (space for commercials).
Why? Well exactly for the reason we alluded to above. The Cartoon Network has been going after half the audience: Boys. And advertisers (no matter what they might tell you) would much rather reach a large audience than a smaller precise audience. (Doesn't anyone remember when Fox tried this a few years ago with an all-boys network and an all-girls network?)
So finally, after repeatedly beating their heads against a brick wall, the execs have caved in and are going after girls this Fall! The three new series aimed at girls are: Atomic Betty; The Life and Times of Juniper Lee and Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi about the Japanese girl group (with live action segments). One of the other new shows is aimed at boys and girls: Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
In other words, the Cartoon Network would once again be an ideal home for SailorStars. It only took 2 years and the devastation of their ratings and demographics to get there but they've finally done it.
But after getting burned by the lousy ratings of the repeats of Sailor Moon SuperS , we wouldn't blame the network one bit for not taking the lead and putting up the majority share of the costs. (And we still wouldn't trust them to know what would make a good dub or a bad dub.)
So, keeping ALL of the above in mind.....
Our Best Plan Yet For SailorStars Until.....
Until Toei started pulling all the rights, we were going to approach Stephanie Beard (the second Voice Artist for Rini, who is also a host on YTV's The Zone) to get us in touch with an executive at YTV for getting a deal for SailorStars . If there was agreement, the SOS would try to get the following parties on board to get 2 versions produced: An unedited dubbed version (for the fans) and a censored dubbed version (to satisfy Cloverway and the networks). In exchange they would have received the following:
(It would be nice to have a major toy company involved but we didn't want the deal to be dependent upon their participation. Often, it's the toy company which screws up a deal like this. Irwin had been the exception.)
Right about now someone at Cloverway and at Toei are screaming at their screens. Settle down please. In our attempts to get productions dubbed or subtitled we have never discussed financial arrangements. We have only directed people to other people and provided our demographics. Deal making is left to you.
Toei and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (PGSM)
Over the years having covered the different attempts that Toei, Kodansha and Bandai made for a new Sailormoon series and/or live action feature, it seemed to us that the amount of money and control offered to Naoko Takeuchi kept rising. We don't know exactly how much money or control, it just seemed that the companies were desperate for a new hit and were convinced that a new version of Sailormoon could provide one.
Toei & Naoko finally agreed to a live action series but at a tremendous cost and commitment by Toei. The only way to make this project pay-off would be for the series to end up on (at least) early primetime with major sponsorship and/or for the show to be a hit or presold to overseas (outside of Japan) markets. (Dubbed in Asia, cloned elsewhere.)
The big problem with such a plan is that overseas markets depend upon reusing footage as part of a deal. This is why so many series with masked figures or giant robots end up on U.S., Canadian, U.K. or Australian screens. Overseas can reuse the most expensive part of a series, the special effects, and shoot just the (new) dialogue scenes in their native language.
But the only masked figure in Sailor Moon is Tuxedo Kamen and even his footage can't be reused!
Toei knew all of this; they were after all, the studio that sold (what became) The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers around the world.
Recognizing the predicament Toei was in and knowing the amount of failure with live action Japanese series is what prompted one of our Industry Contacts to make the case for a multi-racial cast and a provision for an English language version. This would have cost even more money (in addition to what was allocated for Naoko) but, if the show were good, it could be sold "as is" overseas. It could have been a hit!
Instead Toei went cheaper and it's probably because:
(The Tokyo Broadcasting System [TBS] & Chubu-nippon Broadcasting [CBC] broadcast the series [mostly] on Saturday mornings at 7:30am.)
If it was (b.), then Toei made a horrible, horrible deal from which there is probably no escape. It means that Toei is stuck receiving a very low fee from the broadcasters but yet must pay a king's ransom for the rights. Toei did not want to put up additional money for a Saturday morning show which would not have any reusable footage for overseas markets. The show will probably be dubbed for the rest of Asia but can only be cloned for overseas.
And so this is why PGSM is so incredibly cheap. This is why Luna & Artemis are portrayed by stuffed dolls, why the lighting is terrible, the locations haphazard, the acting done in (what looks like) one take. (Ironically, the stuffed dolls of Luna & Artemis could have been used in overseas versions but they're so bad no one would want to. The Japanese audience reaction to this technique might have prompted the [sometimes] replacement of the stuffed doll of Luna with a little girl. It's one of the best decisions made for the series and one which probably took an endless number of meetings to agree upon. [Bandai, the toy manufacturer must have really objected.])
Here's what our Bi-Coastal Correspondent said of the show:
"Of course all my friends watch it because they are SM fans anyway. I heard that some fans stopped watching it because it's so different (in their opinion) from the anime. Personally, I think it's OK. The girls are all new "idols" and can't act at all but they are cute. LoL. It looks like Naoko is very much involved in the making. You can see it even in the costume design. They kept Keiko Han as Luna's voice but Artemis' voice is done by Kappei Yamaguchi. (Inuyasha VA. He became a cat now. LoL) I didn't check the credit but it was so obvious."
One of our webmasters in Japan wrote:
"It doesn't seem to be popular with any of my junior high students, but I think that's because it's on so early in the morning. I never see ads for it on TV (only saw one, before it premiered)... my gut says it's not doing very well. However it didn't look that expensive so maybe it doesn't HAVE to do well."
A U.S. fan, who knows this stuff, told us of budgets cuts (after the lackluster reaction) and that:
"...Jadeite and Nephrite's youmas were different and now they are solely using Kunzite's, so maybe they thought it would be cost-effective AND distinctive. The youma are now similar, but they do some neat stuff with the costume variations."
We've been showing a VHS tape of one of the early episodes to U.S. TV executives, whose reaction can best be summed up by this one quote, "It's a 22 minute ad not to pick-up this series."
Toei's silence on the "success" of the series speaks volumes. The show is what some in the U.S. TV business call "a nosebleed." You lose lots and lots of blood for nothing.
The same, aforementioned Industry Contact, requested and received a copy of the ratings for PGSM. Some of the early data supposedly has been made public in Japan. Here's how our Contact describes the whole, unpublished data:
"I am not allowed to cite any numbers to unpublished data."
"I had to have this thing translated and I still don't understand over half of it. I have just the shares (percentage of audience viewing TV during that half-hour) of PGSM in different cities and not what the competition gets. Though, through the Internet, I've been able to figure out how many channels it's up against. I also have the total number of viewers for each week."
"PGSM started off very good but took a steep dive in its second week. This should be expected with a known property; lots of people sample it the first week and then decide if it's for them or not. It's normal for some viewers to drop out. (This is the exact opposite of the original anime series which built up a huge audience during its first 2 seasons.)"
"It was probably in first or second place in its first week but (so far) probably averages out to third place (at best) over its run and is dropping."
"There are some good things. The smaller the market (city) the better it plays. And even though the show is on a downward spiral it holds up better in the smaller markets. It could be that big city audiences compare it to Sera-Myu and that they like Sera-Myu more. I did not receive any demographics."
"The series gets its worst ratings in Tokyo which also affects the total number of viewers nationwide. It appears that the show can do great out in the far-flung prefectures but everytime it performs poorly in Tokyo the total number of viewers drops dramatically."
"I find some of these numbers hard to believe and wonder that if they are true then why hasn't this show been cancelled?"
(Probably because of the commitments made by Toei, TBS, CBC, Dentsu, etc.)
Perhaps fans might now understand why Toei is ending all the English (and other) language anime licenses. It doesn't matter to Toei's current management that they make more money from a show produced by a management of over 12 years ago. Current management has to prove their worth, they want to keep their jobs and they won't do that if they take a major loss on a current show. The odds are that Toei will make less money overall but it wouldn't be the first time they've made such a decision.
The Return of Sailor Moon
It seems that the return of the anime is dependent upon the success or failure of PGSM. Toei could meet with immediate success or immediate failure.
If, for example, Toei should have presold PGSM to an American broadcaster it would (be one of the best kept secrets in the business and) mean that there is no chance of the anime appearing again in the U.S. until Fall 2005 at the earliest. (And that's only if an American version absolutely and immediately fails. A middling success could hold up the anime rights for years.)
In contrast, if Toei should find no interest in PGSM by early 2005 (they will have finished the first 52 episodes and will have shopped it around during pilot season by then) the anime could return as early as Summer 2005.
When ever the anime should return, it is highly likely that all English dubbed & subtitled synchronization rights (Picture & Sound married for Broadcast, Cable, Satellite, Home Video, etc.) of all episodes will be assigned to one company. There has been some speculation that this could be the motivation for letting all the licenses expire to begin with but this would mean those rights not going to Geneon or ADV. (Otherwise, why let them expire for Geneon and ADV?) Assigning their rights to a new company, too quickly, could cause long-term damage to Toei's business relations in the United States and Japan.
It is expected that Naoko Takeuchi's company, PNP, will have the ability to have a much greater say in the assignment of such rights. Naoko has repeatedly claimed that she could obtain better deals than Cloverway/Toei. The success or failure of PGSM might affect the amount of influence Naoko may wish to exert concerning the anime.
SailorStars could be dubbed then and definitely subtitled. A failed PGSM will mean a much more willing Cloverway/Toei/PNP but a tougher sale (because of PGSM's failure). Conversely, a successful PGSM could mean a far less willing Cloverway/Toei. We have never heard Naoko Takeuchi being against the dubbing of SailorStars ; we have heard plenty of rumors but never directly from her. (Perhaps if this spins out of control she'll go public like she's had to do in the past.)
Recently, we've noticed a very quiet, private, cold war between Toei & PNP (one that Naoko may not have even realized yet). Naoko is supposed to receive a hefty fee for all the different dubbed & cloned versions which get produced; but Toei may have figured out that it won't get the deals it needs to pay Naoko's fees and to make a profit. Toei may claim that it can not afford to have different versions produced (including an English language subtitled DVD). That decision, plus Naoko's agreement to end all anime licenses, would dramatically affect Naoko's income (she'll be making far less money than hoped for). Toei may hold up other versions to get concessions from Naoko. A stalemate could delay the return of the anime for years.
These events bring our campaign to a close. It will be up to a new group of fans to help Sailor Moon in the future; or perhaps no group will be necessary? Sometime in the weeks ahead we plan to say our thanks on this site and hope these files will remain on a webserver for as long as possible. We hope to restore 2 old servers (dau & pei) which have some early, important files, in the near future but they probably won't last for long.