Saturday, May 17, 2014

Birthday Joy Roundup - Completing the Incompletable

(Is "incompletable" even a word? I'm making it one for today! It's my birthday, dammit!)

Yesterday, right as I was helping close up at work, news hit that Viz Media has obtained the English/North American licensing rights to the original Sailor Moon anime! Which basically means after years and years and YEARS of not having any DVD release (but heaven knows we got all kinds of lip gloss and stationary crap with the Sailor Moon logo slapped on it) - Region 1 is going to have an actual, official, legal DVD/BluRay release on the original anime! AND - the newly remastered subtitled anime will be available on Hulu Plus (as well as some other streaming service that Viz owns, but I have a Hulu subscription, so that's what I'm pretty stoked about). Not only that, they're working on an all-new English dub that will be made available soon! Here's the announcement trailer - (complete with spoilers for all five seasons - but there is a tiny tease of the new English dub they're working on. Usagi sounds really young, but that's in keeping with the original source material, so I'm perfectly okay with that)

(A Word on the '90s Dub - It was all right - hell, it got me hooked on the series in the first place! But as time passed and I found out what the original Japanese series was SUPPOSED to be... yeah, I could see the flaws. And I can see why the original creators weren't too thrilled about the changes that were made and why it's taken so long for these licensing issues to be resolved. Doesn't change the fact that I will always have a soft spot in my heart for that dub - even with it's strange dialogue and weird scripting choices).

This whole thing brings back a lot of good memories. I loved Sailor Moon when I was in middle- and high-school. Sadly, it was always on at a weird time (thanks to Cartoon Networks' total disregard for the fact that people actually DO live in the Mountain Time Zone and might want to watch something fun at 4:00 instead of 2:00), so I only really got to watch it in the summertime because I could never get home from school in time to watch it. Plus, the idea of anime was such a brand new concept and people really didn't know what to think of it, so it was yet-another-weird-thing-that-one- weird-girl-was-into. And my folks... well, I love them dearly, but I have an obnoxious little brother who knows precisely how to push my buttons, and much teasing and tormenting ensued. And my parents were always all "What the hell is that??" (didn't help that the dub characters were... kind of whiny and weird-sounding. I get that now) and I got all kinds of disapproval about my TV viewing habits (nothing overt or mean-spirited, mind you. It's just that it's sometimes easier to hide it than to deal with the comments and strange looks). Plus, I was always a little timid about letting my geek flag fly, especially in the small town I went to middle school in... I never really fit in with anybody and I never wanted to make a big fuss about stuff in front of people (it's a long and very unpleasant story - one I've since gotten over, but it still rears its ugly head from time to time).

Anyway - Sailor Moon is back! And we in North America are getting a full-on release of the ENTIRE thing! Including the fifth season that never got released over here. And we're getting the new Sailor Moon Crystal in a couple of months! (no word on if Crystal is going to be released on Hulu or if we're all still at the mercy of that other streaming site that they've got set up. Viz does have the Region 1 DVD release rights to Crystal as well, so it's not like we're totally out of luck on that level - but it would be cool if they could get that up on Hulu too. Guess we'll see).

I'm not into anime in general - at least, not as much as I used to be - so I really don't know how Viz compares to other anime distributing companies in North America. But from what I've been able to tell, fans are pleased with the choice. Besides, after not letting anyone have the licensing rights for so long, it speaks volumes about Viz that they were the ones finally allowed to do it. And, going from this interview that I found with the Head Cheeses In Charge at Viz, it sounds like they have nothing but love and respect for the original and they want to do it justice. Which, as a fan, I could not be more excited about!

It seems my Things to Rewatch list is growing (good thing most of my shows are on hiatus for the summer!) But Hulu's going to make it easy on me - I love that this is all going to be on something I already pay for - and at two episodes a week, I'll be able to keep pretty good pace. And that's just the Japanese-with-English-subtitles version - once the new English dub hits, I'll be all over the place with that! Seems like not that long ago, if you wanted to see Sailor Moon, you either had to pay hundreds of dollars for a crappy bootleg DVD on eBay or you had to go through less-than-scrupulous downloading methods (but with the licensing issues and stuff, it was kind of that murky gray area where you'd pay for it if you were given that option, but you're not so you don't). And now... eight bucks a month on Hulu - five bucks a month for Crystal on NicoNico (when that starts). Soon to be readily available in stores everywhere! Strange times we're living in, my friends. Strange, but wonderful. My thirteen-year-old self would weep with joy to see this coming to pass.

(And how awesome that the news hit the day before my birthday - which is actually today! Happy Birthday to Me!!)

Here's to true love, friendship, miracles, second chances, kick-ass princess/superheroes beating the bad guys with all kinds of sparkly, girly flair! Tsukini kawatte oshioki-yo!

(It's cuter when Sailor Moon says it...)

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