Long-Lost American Sailor Moon Anime Pilot Found

Saban Moon American Sailor Moon

Fans and curious onlookers can now see what an American Sailor Moon adaptation might have looked like. YouTuber Ray Mona uncovered a copy of the pilot episode of an attempt to remake Sailor Moon for American audiences. Produced in 1994 by legendary kids’ TV executive Haim Saban and nicknamed Saban Moon by fans, the show was never aired. In fact, it was never seen by the wider public outside of a trailer shown at Anime Expo in 1995. Ray Mona managed to obtain a copy of the series’ pilot from, of all places, the U.S. Library of Congress, as part of her documentary Finding Saban Moon: The Western World of Sailor Moon.

You can check out the original pilot below. It’s best experienced with some knowledge of the context of the production. The documentary is available on Ray Mona’s YouTube channel and accessible via these links (Part 1 and Part 2). Journalist Cecilia D’Anastasio wrote a feature detailing her own effort to track down evidence and copies of the American Sailor Moon in 2018. D’Anastasio also assisted Ray Mona in finding the copy and appeared in the documentary.

Saban Moon looks pretty much as originally described. All in all, it was an attempt to produce an American-rooted version of the goliath Japanese original franchise. At the time, it was common practice to adapt Japanese and other foreign properties in this way for U.S. broadcast. TV executives believed that American viewers weren’t interested in content that was obviously rooted in another country. This view led to some early attempts at localization, ranging from the successful (Saban’s Power Rangers adaptation of Super Sentai) to the notorious (Harmony Gold’s rearrangement of Macross and other mecha anime into the Robotech franchise). The American Sailor Moon used an animation style more reminiscent of the U.S. cartoons of the era and was intercut with dramatic episodes featuring live-action footage of teen actors.

Saban Moon never aired, though the original Sailor Moon anime did. The story was later remade as Sailor Moon Crystal in 2014, with an upcoming movie set to adapt the manga’s final story arc.

Josh Tolentino
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Josh Tolentino is Senior Staff Writer at Siliconera. He previously helped run Japanator, prior to its merger with Siliconera. He's also got bylines at Destructoid, GameCritics, The Escapist, and far too many posts on Twitter.