Sailor Moon rides new wave of popularity
SAILOR Moon is rising again, decades after the anime series became a worldwide hit when it aired in the 1990s.
New products based on the manga and anime franchise are now being marketed one after another. Items priced at 10,000 yen (S$124) or more are flying off the shelves.
The anime, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (or Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon in Japanese) was broadcast from 1992 to 1997, captivating hordes of schoolgirls. It was based on Naoko Takeuchi's manga of the same title.
The series was aired in more than 40 countries, and has also been reproduced in live-action TV dramas and stage productions.
The heroine is a middle-school girl named Usagi Tsukino who meets a mystical black talking cat Luna with a crescent moon on its forehead.
This event sets the heroine on a path to protect the world from villains by transforming herself into Sailor Moon, with four other girls her age: Sailor Mars, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus.
Usagi's catchphrase - "Tsuki ni kawatte, oshioki yo" (I'll punish you on behalf of the moon) - which she utters while in her distinctive battle pose - became all the rage.
Sailor Moon's revived popularity is supported by women in their late 20s who were fans of the original anime series.
Businesses are targeting these women who have considerable purchasing power now.
In October last year, the Kiddy Land Osaka Umeda store in Kita ward, Osaka, set up a section specialising in products based on Sailor Moon.
It carries about 5,000 items, one of the largest such line-ups in western Japan.
Cosmetics sold there are priced at 3,000 to 4,000 yen, and include eyeliner modelled after the pen-like device used by Usagi to disguise herself.
Some products that went on sale on March 10 were so popular that customers were limited to two pieces each.
One of them is a compact mirror modelled after the magical one that Usagi uses to transform into Sailor Moon.
The store received orders for about 600 of these Sailor Moon products, the most it has ever handled.
"We're surprised they've become that popular," a member of the sales staff said.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings took things one step further by holding a shopping event featuring Sailor Moon-themed clothes and bags designed by famous apparel brands at its Isetan Shinjuku main store in Tokyo last month.
Products were priced between 20,000 and 40,000 yen. The sale drew large crowds.
The first such event was held in 2014.
Major apparel company World enjoyed a 20 per cent increase in sales when it sold products based on the anime at the company's Its'demo variety stores for a limited period in 2014.
Similarly, Bandai saw sales of Sailor Moon products grow by 2.7 times in 2014, compared with the previous fiscal year.
The company is expecting a similar effect for 2015 fiscal year sales.
The recent resurgence may also be triggered by the 20th Anniversary Project for Sailor Moon that Bandai launched in 2012.
It sparked a wave of products based on the anime, along with remakes of past works, being released in rapid succession.
THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK