When Kodansha Comics, the U.S.-based division of Japanese manga publishing giant Kodansha announced that they would be releasing new English editions of Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V by Naoko Takeuchi in Fall 2011, fans were elated. But while it was great news to hear that these new editions of Sailor Moon would have new translations and would follow the format of the Japanese deluxe editions, a few questions lingered.
Would the names of the characters remain Anglicized? (e.g. "Bunny" instead of "Usagi" and "Darien Shields" instead of "Mamoru Chiba") Would Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune remain "cousins" instead of lovers? And why did it take so long for Sailor Moon to return?
I asked some of these questions to the folks at Kodansha Comics and while it took a while, I got a few replies back that might satisfy the curiosity of Sailor Moon fans in North America.
Q: I guess the first question that comes to mind is: What took so long? Was there a particular reason why it was out of print for almost six years?
Kodansha: We were informed that Ms. Takeuchi felt that the time was right to reintroduce Sailor Moon, not just in the U.S., but in other countries as well. For example, the new edition of manga started being published in Italy last year.
Q: It's great to hear that the new editions of Sailor Moon will be similar to the deluxe editions that were issued in Japan. Will the new Kodansha Comics English editions will have the color pages and stickers as in the Japanese edition?
Kodansha: The Kodansha Comics editions of Sailor Moon will include all of the color pages, but not the stickers.
Q: Will this edition of Sailor Moon be released in a larger trim size or will they be presented in the standard smaller paperback editions?
Kodansha: They will be in our standard 7.5" x 5" format.
Q: Will Codename: Sailor V be released in September the same time as Sailor Moon Vol. 1?
Kodansha: Yes, it will. The second volumes of both series will release in November 2011, and Sailor Moon will continue every two months after that. (NOTE: There will be 12 volumes of the regular storyline and two volumes of side stories, for a total of 14 volumes)
Q: One complaint that fans have about the prior TokyoPop editions is how much the characters' names were Anglicized (e.g. "Bunny" and "Darien"). Will the Japanese names, cultural quirks be retained in this new edition of Sailor Moon?
Kodansha: The Japanese names and cultural references will remain intact, and there will be our standard "translation notes" section in the back of the books.
Q: Another concern is that the TokyoPop editions (and to be fair, in editions published in other countries too) downplayed, if not outright changed the lesbian relationship between Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. Will this aspect of the original Sailor Moon story be retained in this new edition?
Kodansha: The Kodansha Comics translation will stay true to Takeuchi's original storytelling vision and characterization.
It still remains to be seen if Kodansha will be releasing Sailor Moon as a digital edition, or if Takeuchi-sensei will be making any appearances in North America to celebrate Sailor Moon's return. So far, no word on any re-release of the Sailor Moon animated series yet either, but it may be too early to say either way.
In any case, it's pretty exciting to see Sailor Moon returning to print after several years absence. Amazon and Right Stuf are already offering both titles for pre-order, if you're eager for your fix of magical girl fun, you'll only need to wait a few more months.
Image credits: © 2004 Naoko Takeuchi / KODANSHA LTD., © 2003 Naoko Takeuchi / KODANSHA LTD.