Toon Makers (Saban Moon) Sailor Moon pilot?

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Jun 24, 2014
97
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New York City, New York
#1
I don't think there's any denying that there were a lot of bizarre aspects to Sailor Moon's initial run in the US such as the Dic Dub itself and that marathon which featured an actress named Tia Browsh as host dressing up in a Sailor Moon costume. But for me the most bizarre was Toon Makers version of Sailor Moon (more famously referred to as Saban Moon).

As most here know Toon Makers was initially in a bidding war with DIC to get Sailor Moon in the mid 90's but unlike DIC instead of doing a dub of the anime they wanted to do their own original thing with it and create a show that would be a live action/animation hybrid. A pilot was shot but before the production could move forward DIC won the rights to Sailor Moon and Toon Makers scraped their version of it.

All that has surfaced was a short music video comprised of footage from the pilot that was shown at a con in the late 90's. Someone in the audience had a camera with them and filmed the showing and it is this person's footage which is the only existing footage of this online.

I was actually wondering if anyone heard if the pilot was ever found or if there is any chance it will ever be released in some form?

As bad as it is I still want to see it just for curiosity's sake and to see how very different Sailor Moon could have been had DIC not won the rights. We never got to see Mamoru/Prince Endymion or Queen Beryl in the music video clip even though animation cels of them from the pilot exist.

Another thing I was curious about (and that has never been answered) is why the animation was so terrible?
Even for 1995 the animation looked dated and it looked like a Filmation cartoon from the 80's.
In the animated footage Sailor Moon even looks just like She-Ra.
I would think had the pilot picked up it would have been given a bigger budget and had animation that was more passable for the mid 90's.

Is anyone else interested in seeing this pilot?
I really hope it surfaces.
 

Neon Genesis

Luna Crescens
Oct 31, 2015
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#2
The only thing that has surfaced from the pilot since the music video has leaked is there have been images of the artwork for the animation segments and a script for the animation segments of the pilot were sold on eBay. You can find the script for the pilot at this very good and reliable Sailor Moon blog that I like to read. http://sailormoonnews.com/2012/11/02/co ... er-script/ I don't know if a TV broadcast deal would have helped Toon Makers much because it seemed like they were a very small company and it didn't seem like they worked on any other big projects besides Sailor Moon. It always seemed strange to me that this obscure company that seemed to have vanished from dong much in the animation world afterwards just randomly decided to come up with this bizarre idea for a Sailor Moon remake. Having said that, I personally would also love to see the full pilot one day. It's my goal in life to watch all things Sailor Moon related no matter how bad they are. But I also think I would have actually enjoyed this remake as a kid. I liked a lot of cheesy cartoons as a kid and was really big into Power Rangers, so a show like this would have been right up my ally. It actually seems kind of fitting that they tried to make Sailor Moon like a weird half animation version of Power Rangers, since as we all know, Naoko herself was heavily influenced by Super Sentai when she made Sailor Moon.
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
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#4
Presumably there should be a copy of the pilot at the Library of Congress since I believe that's where they archive materials submitted for copyright. As far as I know, no one has tried to view it, though I believe the LoC only grants requests to view such materials under special circumstances (like if you're doing a research paper or something like that). If I lived in DC I would have a go at it myself. Any DC area Moonies here willing to try getting access? :googly:

ETA: According to the US Copyright Office website, there were (at least) three registered drafts of the pilot presentation, all registered to Renaissance-Atlantic Entertainment Fund, BV:

1st draft: 13 pages, registered 1994-07-07 (Sailor moon animation script presentation show)
2nd draft: 12 pages, registered 1994-07-07 (Presentation pilot for sailor moon.)
3rd draft: 9 pages, registered 1994-05-16 (Presentation pilot for Sailor moon / by Robert Rhine)

It's interesting that the 3rd draft was filed first, and almost 2 months before the latter drafts. (Which makes me wonder if perhaps the '1st draft' is really the 3rd draft, and therefore the drafts are incorrectly numbered?) The first two drafts were also titled "Sailor Moon" and registered to Renaissance-Atlantic Entertainment Fund, BV. The 3rd draft, however, has the application title "Project Y," is registered to Renaissance Atlantic (employer for hire), and is the only one with an attributed writer, Robert Rhine. (Has anyone tried tracking him down and interviewing him?) All three drafts are categorized as: Dramatic Work and Music; or Choreography.

Given that the scripts are only 9-13 pages, and 1 script page usually equals about 1 minute of screen time, the pilot they shot was probably under 10 minutes. In addition to the 3 script drafts (all identified as screenplays), there are 2 registrations categorized for "Recorded Documents" (which are not identified as screenplays, audio recordings, video recordings, etc). I'm not sure what that means, so whether the Copyright Office/LoC has any actual recordings of the pilot or just the scripts is unclear to me. However, it would still be interesting to read all the drafts of the script to see what changed.

Now, one of those "Recorded Documents" was registered on 1995-03-21, about 8 months after the first (third?) draft of the screenplay was registered. The other "Recorded Document" was also registered on that day, refers to "Project Y," and notes a transfer of copyright between Renaissance and Toei, which I find interesting. Since the DiC dub premiered in August of 1995, that means they had barely 6 months maximum to (begin, if not complete?) work on it.

Bandai America also filed a copyright for "Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon" on 1994-08-11. They list the type of work as "Motion Picture" and, under "Previous Registration" refer to "Preexisting material: Japanese version of animated & live-action series (on original appl.: Japanese version of animated series)"
 

C-17

Lapis Lunaris
Mar 26, 2013
178
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#5
That ICONIC piece of art better leaks before I die. I'm sure it's magnificent, but I'm not so sure we are worthy of it.
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
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#6
According to this, the pilot presentation was 17 minutes long.

According to this interview, the pilot was written, directed, and produced by a Rocky Solotoff. with no mention of Robert Rhine. He says that the project was really Renaissance Atlantic's idea and that Toon Makers was basically just contracted to put it together.

~FUN FACTS~

-Iconic actress Adrienne Barbeau voiced Queen Beryl and Queen Serenity in the pilot. She was a friend of Rocky and did it as a favor. Whether she would have continued voicing the characters had the project been picked up is anyone's guess. (Someone should try asking her about it!)

-The actress who played Sailor Jupiter later appeared in Starship Troopers

-The series apparently didn't get picked up because A) the production cost, and B) Toei/Bandai, by the sounds of it, still wanted to sell the original anime to the North American market and didn't want to compete against themselves.

-The rights to the Toon Maker Sailor Moon project reverted back to Toei and Bandai who have all the original materials. (TM kept copies for its archives.) If we want to see the pilot released, we'd have to ask Toei/Bandai (perhaps through Viz? Anyone want to start a petition?)

-The poor quality animation was due to having a low budget for the presentation. Had they gone to series, they would have raised the budget and used a different studio. Apparently the original character designs they made look much better than how the characters were animated for the pilot.

-The pilot was just meant to give Toei/Bandai a sense of how the show would work and wasn't reflective of how the plot would develop or how the characters would have been depicted had they gone to series; apparently they didn't get that far in the creative process where they had really mapped the story out.

~~~~~~~

I really hope we can get the pilot released someday, somehow. Pressuring Viz to pressure Toei is probably our only hope unless it miraculously leaks. I also want to see those original character designs, including designs for Tuxedo Mask and Queen Serenity since they both appeared in the pilot. Plus, of course, I want a look at the script(s). I want to know what the Sailors' civilian names were, what their attack phrases were, etc.
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
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#8
Or if they ever release the original 90s dub :mischief:
 

MariaTenebre

Luna Crescens
Jul 22, 2009
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#9
I personally would love to see what the pilot would have been like. I am sure it would have been cringe worthy but it would be an interesting and unknown part of Sailor Moon history finally revealed.
 
Jun 24, 2014
97
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0
New York City, New York
#10
I agree as cringe worthy as it most likely is I still want to see this 17 minute pilot to get a good idea what direction they wanted to go in. The 2 minute music video is just random clips from the pilot. I still can't believe this hasn't surfaced in some form. I actually wonder who had the 2 minute music video that was screened at that anime convention?
 

Neon Genesis

Luna Crescens
Oct 31, 2015
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#11
It's interesting when you think about it that Toon Makers is actually the one who came up with the old American Sailor Moon logo that was carried on over to the DiC dub. I wonder why DiC chose to use their logo as opposed to coming up with their own?
 
#12
I really hope it becomes available at some point too. I hate the thoughts of an already finished pilot never seeing the light of day.

Neon Genesis said:
It's interesting when you think about it that Toon Makers is actually the one who came up with the old American Sailor Moon logo that was carried on over to the DiC dub. I wonder why DiC chose to use their logo as opposed to coming up with their own?
I'm guessing DiC figured creating a new logo was more trouble than it was worth.
 

redneonglow

Luna Crescens
Feb 3, 2017
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Planet Nemesis
neckbeard.xyz
#13
The Blizzard Prince said:
I really hope it becomes available at some point too. I hate the thoughts of an already finished pilot never seeing the light of day.

Neon Genesis said:
It's interesting when you think about it that Toon Makers is actually the one who came up with the old American Sailor Moon logo that was carried on over to the DiC dub. I wonder why DiC chose to use their logo as opposed to coming up with their own?
I'm guessing DiC figured creating a new logo was more trouble than it was worth.
Was DiC responsible for the fan club logo?



 

Umino

Lumen Cinereum
Jun 6, 2006
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#15
Neon Genesis said:
It's interesting when you think about it that Toon Makers is actually the one who came up with the old American Sailor Moon logo that was carried on over to the DiC dub. I wonder why DiC chose to use their logo as opposed to coming up with their own?
They didn't, it was most likely Toei's International Branch. That's the same logo used in nearly every international dub (until the 2011 revival).
 

Clow

Luna Crescens
Jul 29, 2012
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#16
Yes, the logo was used in all international versions of the show, as far as I know.

In the Spanish Latin American and Brazilian Portuguese dub, the Americans names were also kept (Serena, Rei, Lita, Amy, Mina), as well as the concept that the Dark Kingdom was the "Negaverse."
 

Neon Genesis

Luna Crescens
Oct 31, 2015
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#17
So does anyone have any idea who the cast in the music video are? Some might criticisize it for being political correctness run amok but I have to give them credit for having a fairly diverse cast. In theory I actually like the idea of having disability representation with the Sailor Scouts but it probably would have made more sense to have Sailor Saturn be in a wheelchair than Mercury.
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
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#18
I think Mercury in a wheelchair works. Mercury being a redhead, however, does not. At all. Yikes.