A very important manga — historically, Sailor Moon broke open the U.S. market for manga in bookstores and among girls — is returning to print from Kodansha USA. Here’s an excerpt from their press release:
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.
Sailor Moon originally was published by Tokyopop in 1997. Due to the cartoon adaptation and supporting merchandise (for some reason, I own some of the mini-figures), this magical girl story, about “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”, was well-known outside of the typical manga/anime fan circles, and its success demonstrated how successful shojo could be.
Codename: Sailor V is a prequel in which “teenager Minako Aino fights as Sailor V against the villains of the Dark Agency before she discovers Sailor Moon.” She also wears weird glasses, at least as shown in the cover posted by Robot6.
Sailor Moon will run as a series of 12 volumes released bimonthly, with an additional two books of short stories. (This follows the Japanese re-release of 2003, condensed from the original 18 volumes.) They will have new cover art and new translations with retouched interior art, plus bonus material and translation notes.
Fans are very happy, since now they can stop asking “why is such an important, enjoyable series out of print?” This manga brought a lot of (now) women into reading manga and comics. Fans are even more happy that the lead will still be named “Usagi”, instead of being renamed “Bunny”, as Tokyopop had it. (Personally, I didn’t mind — that’s the literal translation, “Bunny” was cute, and “Usagi” reminds me of the sword-swinging rabbit.)
Editor of the series is Daniella Orihuela-Gruber, who Twittered, “Working on Sailor Moon is like some kind of weird dream, but it makes me extremely happy because I love shoujo manga most of all and I love the romance of Sailor Moon & Tuxedo Mask!”
Update: The Manga Bookshelf crew talk about the manga content, revealing more details of what made the series distinctive and what elements might be a harder sell to adult readers.