The decades-long search for the American version of Sailor Moon has finally come to an end. Ray Mona, a YouTuber documenting her efforts to find lost media (including the unreleased mean girls game), has managed to dig up the pilot episode of the unaired, never-finished series that Sailor Moon fandom has come to know as Saban Moon.
The story of the Americanized Sailor Moon begins in 1993, about two years before the debut of the dubbed Sailor Moon that we know today. At the time, animation studio Toon Makers teamed up with Renaissance Atlantic Entertainment, the producers behind the original Power Rangers, in an effort to make an English version of the series. The two companies pitched a project combining live-action with animation that ultimately never got off the ground. We only got a glimpse of what came out of the project in a short music video shown at an anime convention in the 90s.
But now we have the full first episode. In a two-part (part One | part two) series set over a period of several months, Ray Mona describes her journey to discover Saban Moon. With help of Kotaku reporter Cecilia D’Anastasio, who tried to find the long lost episode in 2018she got the approval of former Bandai president Frank Ward to get a copy of The Library of Congress footage she included in her video.
The pilot starts at 1:43:48 in part two of Ray Mona’s series, and it’s incredible to finally see the series that never came to fruition. The episode splits its time between an animated and a live-action format, with each Sailor Scout — and even Luna — played by a real-life actress during their time on Earth. During the sequences that take place in space, the show transitions to an animated version that captures the original starry sky of Sailor Moon‘s characters for something you would see in a classic Disney movie.
It’s a very different take on the series, and I have to say, it was well worth the wait.