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Kodansha to publish new edition of Sailor Moon

Everything old is new again — at least when it comes to shojo manga, that is! On March 4th, VIZ Media announced that it would be re-issuing X (also known as X/1999), an epic, eighteen-volume series by CLAMP that’s been out of print for years. Not to be outdone, Dark Horse followed VIZ’s announcement with some CLAMP news of their own, revealing plans for a brand-new edition of Tokyo Bablyon. But the biggest news came yesterday, when Kodansha Comics announced that it would be rescuing an out-of-print classic from publishing limbo: Sailor Moon.

Sailor Moon occupies a special place in American manga history. Though Antarctic Comics and VIZ Media had published a handful of shojo titles in the 1990s, it wasn’t until Tokyopop (then known as Mixx Entertainment) licensed Sailor Moon in 1997 that an American publisher had commercial success marketing manga to girls. Some of that success could be attributed to the popularity of the Sailor Moon anime, which aired on both the USA and Cartoon Networks at various points in its history. And some of that success could be attributed to the fact that there was nothing else like it in the American comics market; girls could relate to the Sailors’ adolescent femininity while admiring the characters’ strength, perseverance, and loyalty to one another.

When Tokyopop’s initial license for Sailor Moon expired in 2005, the series’ future seemed uncertain, and the series quickly went out of print. By 2009, the year Kodansha formally ended its relationship with Tokyopop, volumes of Sailor Moon were fetching as much as $50 on Amazon and eBay, with little indication that the books would be available again soon.

Yesterday’s announcement, therefore, is a welcome one. Not only will the books be issued in a new, deluxe format, but Kodansha will be publishing two volumes of Sailor Moon stories that have never been available in English. Full details — including the projected publication schedule — are in the press release below. For more information about the series and its US publication history, see Jason Thompson’s recent article at Anime News Network.


Never-before-published Enhanced Editions of the Groundbreaking Manga SeriesShare Long-Awaited US Publishing Debut with CODENAME SAILOR V

NEW YORK, New York – March 18, 2011 – Kodansha USA Publishing, a subsidiary of Kodansha, announced today the exciting return of Naoko Takeuchi’s SAILOR MOON, one of the most significant names in comics and manga, to US publishing. Brand new deluxe editions of the acclaimed series will be released by Kodansha USA’s Kodansha Comics imprint in September 2011. Out of print for six years, SAILOR MOON re-launches along with Takeuchi’s two-volume prequel series CODENAME: SAILOR V, in print in the US for the first time—making this one of the most highly anticipated manga releases in years.

The SAILOR MOON manga, which originated in Japan in 1992 and debuted in the US in 1997, follows Usagi Tsukino, a young girl who transforms into super heroine Sailor Moon to combat evil and fight for love and justice in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. The first successful shôjo (girls’) manga release in the US, SAILOR MOON changed the book landscape and helped establish the foundation for the manga craze; in particular drawing attention to the popularity of comics among female readers.

Prequel series CODENAME: SAILOR V, the first of Takeuchi’s “magical girl” manga, will make its highly anticipated debut in the US alongside the SAILOR MOON re-launch. In CODENAME: SAILOR V, teenager Minako Aino fights as Sailor V against the villains of the Dark Agency before she discovers Sailor Moon.

The Kodansha USA editions of SAILOR MOON will be published on a bi-monthly schedule and follow the 2003 Japanese re-release format of the classic series. The original 18 volumes have been condensed into 12 volumes covering the main storyline, and two volumes dedicated to short stories. Each volume has gorgeous new cover art, retouched interior art and dialogue along with extensive bonus material from Takeuchi, and detailed translation notes.

One of the most recognized manga and anime properties in the world, SAILOR MOON took American pop culture by storm, with mentions in music (“One Week” by Barenaked Ladies), bestselling books (The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot) and more. In Japan, over 15 million copies have been sold and the series has generated everything from animated features to live action musicals, a live action television series and countless merchandise.

“I’m very excited to reintroduce Ms. Takeuchi’s work to her American fans,” said Yoshio Irie, president and CEO of Kodansha USA Publishing. Irie is also the former chief editor of Nakayosi magazine in which the SAILOR MOON manga was serialized. “As we continue to build the Kodansha Comics manga list, a title like SAILOR MOON is the jewel in our crown. As the former chief editor of the work in Japan, I’m especially thrilled to finally release the prequel, CODENAME: SAILOR V, to the many fans who have been asking for it at long last.”

About Kodansha USA Publishing

Kodansha USA Publishing, LLC, a subsidiary of Kodansha Ltd. aims to bring the best names in manga to the North American market, and partners with Random House Publisher Services for distribution.

About Kodansha Ltd.

Kodansha Ltd. is Japan’s largest publisher, with its headquarters in Tokyo.  Originally established in 1909 by Seiji Noma, the company is still a family-run business.  Under the leadership of Sawako Noma, company president since 1987, Kodansha continues to play a dominant role in the media world, producing books and magazines in a wide variety of genres including literature, fiction, nonfiction, children’s, business, lifestyle, art, manga, fashion, and journalism.  Recently, the company has ventured into digital distribution of content as well.

Katherine Dacey About Katherine Dacey

Katherine Dacey has been reviewing comics since 2006. From 2007 to 2008, she was the Senior Manga Editor at PopCultureShock, a site covering all aspects of the entertainment industry from comics to video games. In 2009, she launched The Manga Critic, where she focuses primarily on Japanese comics and novels in translation. Katherine lives and works in the Greater Boston area, and is a musicologist by training.

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