The long lost Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon Pilot has been found!

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon - Queen Serenity

Great news! Part 2 of “The Western World of Sailor Moon” documentary series as part of Ray Mona’s Tales of the Lost has been released. It’s over two hours long and it’s full of information about the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot, often referred to as Saban Moon, which was a planned but never completed series which mixed animated and live action footage to create an American version of Sailor Moon. The documentary does a great job to teasing out all of the new information in a compelling way so if you’ve got two hours to spare you should go watch the whole thing now on YouTube or embedded below.

If you don’t have two hours to spare you may want to skip ahead to around 1h43m where a high quality version of the music video can be seen or 1h46m where the full pilot is now available to see the first time! An amazing discovery by super sleuth Ray Mona who was able to track this footage down at the Library of Congress.

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon - Tuxedo Mask

Unfortunately I found this a bit late in the evening and won’t be able to watch the whole documentary right away but I wanted to make a quick post about it. Except a lengthier commentary on it in a few more days. For now enjoy a couple of screenshots of the episode including a never before seen look at Queen Serenity and Tuxedo Mask.

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon - Sailor Venus

For those who are good with faces do you recognize this actress who played Sailor Venus? She hasn’t been identified in the documentary, but I hope someone out there will be able to put a name to the face!

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon - Transformation Broach

There’s a lot in here so do make sure to watch the full video when you have a chance!

The new documentary “The Western World of Sailor Moon” uncovers new information about the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon series!

The Western World of Sailor Moon Documentary - Toon Makers' Sailor Moon

Great news for fans of the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon series! An hour and a half documentary titled “The Western World of Sailor Moon” was released on March 15th. It explores the early days of Sailor Moon’s release in the west with a specific focus on the infamous Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot, also known as Saban Moon. In this episode of Tales of the Lost Raven Simone covers the history of the pilot which we already knew but also does some research and uncovers some new information which had not previously been made public! Rather than read on and get some details you should probably set aside some time and watch the documentary via this link which is also embedded below.

All that has ever been seen of this pilot is a short music video which was shown at an anime convention as seen in this clip. Readers of this site may recall that I posted a lot about this pilot about a decade ago. At the time a number of animation cels and the script were auctioned off on eBay. I posted a lot of images of those auctions and, before I had financial responsibilities like children, spent a significant amount of money to buy some of those cels as well as the voice over and animation script which I scanned and shared on the site.

The Western World of Sailor Moon Documentary - Queen Beryl cel on Sailor Moon News

The documentary features a number of shots of the Sailor Moon News site, discusses the “Project Y” script which is found on this site and uses images of a lot of the cels I was lucky enough to get my hands on.

The Western World of Sailor Moon Documentary - Project "Y" script on Sailor Moon News

There’s a lot going on this documentary so I suggest you just watch it but I’ll touch on some of the specifics which I found most enlightening. Earlier in the doc there’s a bit of an exploration of things from the Toon Makers’ pilot which seemed to end up in the DiC dub. The reasons for this aren’t terribly clear but the narrative of the documentary suggests that these were concepts original to the Toon Makers’ series which were then incorporated into the DiC dub once that was the direction the adaptation of Sailor Moon went. It’s also possible, for some elements, that they were originally conceived of for Sailor Moon itself and then passed on to both the Toon Makers’ pilot and then the dub. There’s not a huge distinction here but it would change where those creative decisions came from. The main obvious factor here is the Sailor Moon logo which is the same in both the Toon Makers’ pilot and the DiC dub. There’s also the Moon Cycle, a North American exclusive toy, which has seemingly no connection to the Sailor Moon anime but looks a lot like the vehicles in the Toon Makers’ series. I’ve long defended this connection on the site and in this case it seems that this toy absolutely originated as a concept from the Toon Makers’ series.

The Western World of Sailor Moon Documentary - Evidence connecting Toon Makers' Sailor Moon to the DiC dub

Some names may have been kept. Evidently the name Darien from the dub is similar to Darian from the Toon Makers’ series, which is noted in the script. Raven goes on to speculate that the other names which were mentioned in an early trailer for the Sailor Moon dub, those being Victoria, Blue, Dana, Sara and Carie, may have originated from the Toon Makers’ series. It’s a compelling idea which is certainly possible but I’m not seeing any hard evidence of it. There’s some interesting research about the popularity of names in the 80s and 90s but it also seems likely these names would be popular options for an Americanized dub just as much as a live action series. I’m curious to see if this line of research goes anywhere.

The Western World of Sailor Moon Documentary - Toon Makers' staff and Adrienne Barbeau

Towards the end of the documentary things get interesting with confirmation of information which was previously speculated about as well as some new completely new stuff. An interview with Lynn Walsh, who worked on the series, gives us all kinds of details which weren’t previously known. She confirms, and gives photographic evidence, that Adrienne Barbeau was in fact cast as the voice of both Queen Beryl and Queen Serenity as had been suspected.

The Western World of Sailor Moon Documentary - Layout similarities between Toon Makers' Sailor Moon and Saved By The Bell: The College Years

When discussing the studio where the live action footage for the pilot is shot it’s mentioned that it was shot in the same sets used for the “boarding school” in Saved By The Bell. Based on the dates and it being a boarding school suggests this is Saved By The Bell The College Years. The documentary shows some comparisons between the dorm room in the show and scenes from the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon music video footage. Though there seem to have been some changes it seems likely these were the same sets.

The Western World of Sailor Moon Documentary - New discoveries about Saban Moon

The documentary leaves us on quite a cliffhanger as Raven Simone gets an e-mail from another person in the photograph who she refers to only as the mysterious man in red. He suggests an interview with both him and Rocky Solotoff which will surely be a big part of a future video! I reached out to Raven to share with her some contact information for Tami-Adrian George, who confirmed that she was in fact Sailor Jupiter from the pilot, and she mentioned that she has a lot of additional information for a part 2 to this video. I certainly can’t wait to see what that documentary has in store!

What did you think of this documentary? What information were you most excited to learn from it?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 and 6 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars

This is a review and discussion of Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5, Is Usagi a True Friend?, and Act 6, The Transfer Student is Sailor Jupiter. These episodes aired on TV in Japan on November 1st and 8th respectively and, as with earlier episodes, those dates seem to match dates in the show as a calendar in Usagi’s room shows that the month is November. For the first time we get a live action original story with Act 5 and Act 6. While Act 6 is somewhat close to the manga Act 5, is still its own original story. While it may have seemed at first like this would be an episode per episode adaptation for the manga, this is no longer the case and the series will continue to deviate from the source material as it goes on. Want a faithful adaptation? Watch Sailor Moon Crystal! This series is about to do its own thing!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Usagi shoots Ami

Act 5 is all about Ami doubting her friendship with Usagi. There’s a monster in here somewhere, but that small aside is almost unnecessary to the story. This is a pure drama episode focusing on the friendship between Usagi and Ami. In earlier episodes it seemed as if things were going well for those two, but we are quickly learning that for Ami, making friends doesn’t come all that naturally. As she goes through her daily life she sees a number of examples telling her that many friendships are not as they appear, and so she begins to doubt the strength of her bond with Usagi. This goes so far as to having her imagine being shot by Usagi! Like mother, like daughter! Though my mind always goes to Chibiusa when I see Usagi with a gun, there is an early image of Usagi drawn by Naoko Takeuchi which similarly shows Sailor Moon wielding a gun. This was drawn before the concept of Sailor Moon was completely figured out.

Usagi with a gun

Sailor Moon R episode 60 - Chibiusa pointing a gun at Usagi

Ami buys a book, “How To Be A True Friend” which gives advise that she doesn’t really follow all that well. This causes her to act atypical in a number of ways. She speaks to Usagi more casually, using the honorific “chan”, which was something Usagi had mentioned she wanted her to use. The “chan” honorific is used between friends while the “san” honorific is more formal. When other students boo the teacher because of a surprise test, she boos along! She even intentionally fails the test (or pretends to have failed the test) in order to help out with chores as punishment. She even skips her cram school in order to go to a pyjama party with Usagi and Naru. This is not the Ami we are used to, and it’s not one we will see for long!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Ami the clown

This pyjama party is some weird stuff. It’s no one’s birthday, but it’s full of streamers! The girls sing karaoke and Ami claps along in a robot like motion and finally joins in. When it comes to trying on makeup however things are not as easy as screaming a catch phrase and transforming. Ami ends up looking like a clown causing Usagi and Naru to laugh, which Ami perceives as laughing at her. Distraught she tries to wash it off and collapses out of exhaustion. Usagi finds the book and is upset that Ami is trying to be someone she’s not. She tells her that lying is the one thing friends don’t do! Usagi, of course, is a good friend through all of this but Ami only sees evidence that their friendship is eroding as she basically is hearing her state ways in which they aren’t real friends. She doesn’t say “chan” and they lie to each other.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Rei is the voice of reason

Meanwhile Rei, who herself has been shown to be very antisocial in past episodes, is very socially aware and the voice of reason. She tells Usagi not to push things and she’s totally right! What we have in Ami and Rei are a girl who doesn’t have friends because she’s bad at it and a girl who doesn’t have friends because she doesn’t want any!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Poser Ami with her fake glasses

There’s a whole glasses sub plot. Ami wears fake glasses, which is pretty odd. Do people really do this? I’ve recently started wearing real glasses and it’s a real pain to get used to. As I type this I’m distracted by the visible frames and twitching my nose, but Ami feels some sort of comfort from them. This makes me wonder… what if she really needed glasses? Ami wears glasses but Sailor Mercury doesn’t! Does transforming somehow heal all physical limitations? In the not at all canon Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon series which only ever had a pilot which never went to air, Sailor Mercury was in a wheel chair but when she transformed she still needed a special flying vehicle (which we can’t call a wheel chair because it doesn’t have wheels) to move around. Would a Sailor Guardian with glasses have something like Sailor Mercury’s visor? Regardless, they’re fake, and by the end of the episode Ami finds she isn’t wearing them anymore which is a sign of her gradual transition into the person she was pretending to be.

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon - Sailor Mercury

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Sailor Moon, Mercury and Mars

Ami also manages to call Usagi by her given name “Usagi” by the end, though there is no “chan” honorific included. This is an upgrade from the “Tsukino-san” she would usually say. Moreso Naru and Usagi’s other friends refer to Ami as the more informal “Ami-chan” instead of the formal “Mizuno-san” they had been using. This was a small change none of them had noticed, but indicative of an overall acceptance on their part that they were seeing Ami differently. The use of honorifics in this show and anime in general isn’t something that is always obvious to western viewers who don’t use such terms, but this episode in particular illustrates how different honorifics can be used even between classmates at the same level and that this can tell us something about their relationship. Throughout the series it is notable that Usagi very quickly uses the “chan” honorific when she first encounters the Sailor Guardians. This is an example of how easily she makes friends and is reflective of her genuine kind heart.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - FM 77.7 doesn't exist

A bit of trivia. Early in the episode when Ami is listening to the radio she’s tuned to the FM frequency 77.7. This would refer to a 77.7 MHz carrier frequency. The problem? This is out of the normal range for FM radio which is in the range of 87.5 to 108 MHz. So what’s at 77.7 MHz? Pretty much nothing! A bit of reading at Wikipedia tells me that in the US and Canada radio controlled devices generally use between 72 and 76 MHz, putting this frequency between those that are commonly used. I don’t know why Ami isn’t just tuning in to everyone’s favourite radio station, FM no. 10!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Sailor Jupiter transforms

Act 6 introduces us to Makoto Kino, Sailor Jupiter. She’s played by Mew Azama who I feel perfectly captures the character both in the way she looks and acts. The immediately evident thing about her is that she’s incredibly tall, and we’ll notice that whenever we see a group shot of the girls either posing in the show or in promotional material. Check out the new banner I’m using for the site and you’ll see that she’s leaning in and still taller than everyone else! This episode once again has a lot of drama and emotion and to me is one of the high points of the series. One might be inclined to say that, like with the episodes introducing the other characters, that this episode follows the manga Act 5, Makoto – Sailor Jupiter, but upon some reflection the only resemblance is the appearance of Makoto. While the Manga story centres around a wedding dress shop this episode is about basketball and no more resembles it in any way than the anime episode 25, Jupiter – the Powerful Girl in Love, with Crane Game Joe follows it. The anime, similarly, introduces Sailor Moon, Mercury and Mars in similar ways to the manga, but did not do the same for Sailor Jupiter or Venus.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Takeru is not properly dressed to play basketball

Basketball is a major theme here and I wonder if anyone working on the show ever actually played the game. I’m no pro myself but at 6’2″ it was inevitable that I end up shooting a few hoops from time to time in my day, although a general lack of coordination and athleticism kept me from excelling at the sport. The superstar basketball player that all the girls show up to watch play is Takeru and this dude is not at all well equipped to play basketball! He’s wearing a really inappropriate hat and his scarf can’t possibly be doing him any good. Instead of basketball shoes he’s got these old and busted boots. Nice superstar! I wonder, do people really do this kind of thing in Japan? Just hang around a basketball court fawning over a run of the mill street player and taking photos? It reminds me a bit of episode 14 of the anime that centred around tennis where everyone turned out in droves to watch a player.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Makoto defends Usagi

Usagi, creeping around the court to watch this Takeru guy, gets confronted and intimidated by a few jerks. Makoto shows up, protects her, and beats the crap out of them! How fantastic. Makoto is a transfer student from another school where, rumour has it, she got in a fight and so she got kicked out! As always Makoto is wearing the wrong school uniform and although it isn’t mentioned the idea is that she continues to wear this because she’s so tall and that her new school doesn’t have a uniform in her size. I don’t know how sizes work in Japan but as I understand it in North America women’s clothes sizes only affect width and for height you get petite, grande and venti clothes. I think that’s right…

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Makoto and Usagi

Makoto has no friends, and so she hangs out on the roof at lunch time in the no friends club with Ami! As always though, Usagi is there to become her friend! This seems natural at this point as Makoto helped defend her. While walking on a bridge Usagi walks on a ledge to compensate for the fact that Makoto is so tall! Shopping montage! The two go shopping and try on various humorous clothes. The store they go to is Claire’s which is a chain which has locations here in Canada. A good place to buy gloves during prom season which work for Sailor Moon cosplay! Makoto is new to the area, having not only changed schools but also having moved in to a new place. She lives on her own since, as she states, her parents died when she was 10. These backstories keep getting more tragic! More important than that, as we eventually learn, is that she left because of her “Sempai”, a theme which is always around for Makoto. She compares various boys she finds attractive to her “Sempai”, a term which here means a student of a higher grade, something which in the English dub was a reference to her “old boyfriends” though in reality it does not seem like they ever dated. We see a number of people leaving Makoto at one point and it seems like one of them is likely her Sempai. There are two teenaged boys in the mix but I imagine the last one to leave, the well dressed one, is meant to be him.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Makoto in the rain

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 147 - Makoto in the rain

When Makoto arrives home at her apartment one night she finds a love letter from Takeru inviting her to show up at a fountain at 10. Makoto arrives early in the morning, but hours and hours go by and no one shows up. This bears a striking similarity to episode 147 of Sailor Moon SuperS, Destined Partners? Makoto’s Innocence, in which Makoto waits for hours in the rain for Tiger’s Eye who has stood her up. Inspiration for this series from the anime is certainly possible, as that series had completed airing years before this series began production. In this story however, Takeru did not stand her up at all. The letter was a cruel prank by the three basketball jerks which causes great heartbreak to Makoto. Luckily Luna sees this and, somehow, is able to alert the girls via their cell phones. I expect she could communicate with them when in the headquarters but she’s clearly on the go when she sees this which makes me once again wonder if Luna’s powers have any limit!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Ami, Usagi and Rei ready for basketball

This leads to a completely ridiculous and hilarious scene in which Usagi, Ami and Rei seek to take revenge on the basketball jerks by somehow using their phones to transform into basketball players? Does using a magic phone to make yourself wear basketball clothes make you better at basketball? This episode seems to suggest that yes it does, which makes us wonder why this isn’t used for actual saving the world purposes! So the girls show up looking all bad ass and totally cream these jerks at basketball using seemingly superhuman abilities to do things like jump super high. Justice?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Rei doesn't like boys

Meanwhile through a conversation with Rei she mentions that she doesn’t like boys. Does this mean she likes girls? The interpretation from the manga would more mean that she’s not interested in boys, not that she’s interested in girls instead. In this way she’s quite unlike her boy crazy anime counterpart, though in other ways she is much like she was in the anime. In the manga it is mentioned by Rei and Minako that as Sailor Guardians their dedication to protecting the Princess precludes them from pursuing romantic relationships. Though this passage somewhat resembles the sentiment Rei mentions here, it can’t be said that it’s for the same reasons. Rei has only been a Sailor Guardian for a brief time, around a month by my estimate, and does not know who the Princess is or have full access to her memories of her previous life. It seems like this attitude about men is one she had before meeting Usagi. Further, without getting into specifics, the girls continue to pursue romantic relationships and it’s strongly indicated that far in the future at least one of the Sailor Guardians, besides the Princess, will herself be getting married.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Makoto cries

Finally Takeru seemingly shows up at Makoto’s apartment but he’s actually possessed by a monster and he takes her to a dimension filled with candles. Makoto is so hardcore that she resists his charm and decks him. Woo! We get a real sad montage of everyone who’s left her, but Sailor Moon comes in to take Makoto’s hand, perfect symbolism of Usagi’s friendship which saves Makoto from a life of loneliness. Takeru, it turns out, is a bit of a wuss as he flees from the monster in terror while hardcore Makoto faces him. He’s quickly dispatched and the four Sailor Guardians are finally together as a team! Now there’s just that pesky business of finding the Princess…

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Zoisite

We get a glimpse of Zoisite as the episode ends. Again, he looks very little like his manga and anime counterpart, except for the pony tail.

Feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts on these two episodes. If you’re looking to watch along with the series you can get English subtitled fan subbed versions from sites such as Miss Dream, TV-Nihon and Sea of Serenity. Fans looking to stream the show can do so from Dramanice and Kiss Asian.

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

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Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon cels surface on ebay

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon cel

The story of the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon show, known to some as “Saban Sailor Moon” or “Saban Moon”, is a long and fascinating tale in what could have been. Basically in 1994 there was a plan to make an American Sailor Moon show featuring a mix of live action and animated bits that was something like Power Rangers meets She-Ra. The whole history is long and complex, most of which can be inferred from this article which shows it to have been a project by Toon Makers’, Bandai and Renaissance Atlantic. I’d love to go on explaining this at length but I will leave that for another time. All that has been available of this to date has been this short clip which played at a convention years ago… until now!

Cels used in the original pilot episode of this show have surfaced on ebay, which constitute by far the best quality images of this show that have been found online to date. You can easily find the remaining cels by searching for “toon makers sailor moon” on ebay. I’ve purchased a number of these cels and once I receive them I’ll be sure to share better pictures with all of you. Interestingly enough a lot of these cels are from scenes not seen in the short clip which has been made available online.

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon cel - Sailor Moon on her Sky Flyer

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