Yesterday, Anime News Network reported that the new Sailor Moon will début on Japanese airwaves in July. The series, which will stream globally via NicoNico, will be directed by Munehisa Sakai (One Piece, Suite Precure) and feature scripts supervised by Yūji Kobayashi (Saint Seiya Omega, Smile Precure!). Series producer Atsutoshi Umezawa stated that the series will not be a remake of the original anime. Instead, the staff is returning to Naoko Takeuchi’s original manga to create a new adaptation from scratch. Specifically, Umezawa stated the following:
This second anime adaptation of Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon is not remaking the previous anime, but adapting [Naoko Takeuchi’s] original manga and starting from scratch again. It is quite a project. The entire staff has been working hard to show everyone an entirely new Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon, so please look forward to it.
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that it’s been a year and a half since the new Sailor Moon was announced. When the series was first announced, the internet seemed to implode into a cloud of excitement and happiness. Old fans were squealing with glee at the prospect of new adventures with the sailor senshi. New fans were eagerly looking to take part in the fun that they missed out on many years ago. Fanart was created by the bushel, and the hype for the series seemed to increase at an almost exponential pace. “It’s happening! It’s really happening,” you’d hear. “It’s coming! And it’ll be out next summer! What could be better?!”
Then came the radio silence. For eight months, absolutely nothing was said about the series. And, as one would expect, the hype began to die out. Things were further dampened in April 2013, when word hit that the show was delayed to an unspecified date. This would be the last anyone would hear of the show until August, when idol group Momoiro Clover Z confirmed that the show would air in Winter 2013.
Suddenly, we began to hear the chatter kick up again. It was muted, certainly, as nobody could be sure if the show would receive a second delay. This was short-lived, as merchandise began to filter out to retailers, and fears began to recede. Goodies like charms, clothing, and even makeup were beginning to filter to market, and the population, be it consciously or otherwise, began to see this as a sign of stability in the show’s production pace. Some were confident, bullish even, about the show’s ability to make its planned Winter premiere 2013 date.
Today’s news certainly does take a bit away from the show’s building momentum. Once again, there is some doubt placed on the show’s ability to be delivered by the promised date. However, I doubt the effects will be negligible at best. At this point, we’re seeing more output from key members of the team, discussing the show’s content and its intended direction. We’ve received confirmation of the show’s opening, and we’ve seen the mighty merchandising machine roar into action to support the show’s merch.
Now, I’m not saying the show itself is in trouble. I have little doubt that the new Sailor Moon will be an utter phenomenon, due to the established bases around the world. I see it becoming one of this year’s top-performing shows, if not the top-performing show in general. This thing will be a monster that we will welcome with open arms.
Until it airs, though, there is real money at play in the merchandise fronts. And, until the show itself airs, the profit machine faces the very real danger of falling into a slump before the show airs. Show merchandise, anime merchandise especially, requires a motivated base in order to remain consistently profitable. Unfortunately, delays and schedule changes, while ultimately for the betterment of the product at hand, can have a very real impact on the general enthusiasm which in turn dampens overall product sales within the less-dedicated markets.
In plain English, markets react positively to positive information, especially when it contains relevant information to their topic of interest. They’re motivated to invest and to engage, as they see a greater value in the products they’re purchasing. And, unfortunately, the inverse is also true.
It will be interesting to see how the sales of Sailor Moon merchandise changes between now, and when the series finally airs. Or, more relevant, whether we see spikes with the revelation of new information on the show.