Even though it is frequently disregarded, internet historians who post their documentaries on YouTube play an important role in protecting media history that might otherwise be lost or forgotten. Raven "Ray Mona" Simone has worked to resurrect lost media, primarily associated with fandoms geared toward young girls, for her Tales of the Lost television series. Ray Mona began her most thorough investigation into Sailor Moon attempts in America after producing numerous documentaries about lost girls' games.
In The Western World of Sailor Moon and Finding Saban Moon: The Western World of Sailor Moon (Part 2), Ray Mona uncovered the footage of the unaired pilot of Toon Makers' Sailor Moon, a project that took the basic ideas of the Sailor Moon anime and adapted them into a mixed media format. The search for the footage was the main subject of Ray Mona's documentary, but she also highlighted the efforts of the cast and crew on the pilot. In the end, the research demonstrated how discarded and seemingly lost media can offer additional context for how anime arrived in America as well as potential divergent paths for history if Toei Entertainment and other studios had chosen adaptation overdubbing the original series.
What Is Toon Makers' Sailor Moon?
In collaboration with Renaissance-Atlantic, a production company that served as Toei's American division, the Toon Makers Sailor Moon pilot was an attempt from 1993 to 1994 to translate Bishoujo Sensei Sailor Moon, one of the most influential shojo series of all time, for an American audience. Even though Saban Entertainment was not directly involved in the project, this pilot is frequently referred to by fans as "Saban Moon."
Although the popularity of Saban's Power Rangers remakes of Kyry Sentai Zyuranger and other super sentai series had an influence on the pilot, Toon Makers' Sailor Moon did not actually use any material from the original Sailor Moon anime. To tell the tale of Sailor Moon as she navigated everyday teenage problems and cosmic threats, Toon Makers' adaptation instead mixed new western animation with live-action sequences.
Toon Makers Sailor Moon has fascinated lost media enthusiasts ever since fans discovered its existence. In her own research into the missing pilot, Ray Mona has used older investigations into the case and has benefited from advice from other fans. In Finding Saban Moon: The Western World of Sailor Moon Part 2, Ray Mona disclosed that she had located the missing pilot in an unexpected location: the Library of Congress's online holdings. Fans of Sailor Moon can now speculate about what might have happened if Toei had approved the Toon Makers Sailor Moon series in light of this discovery.
The Effects of Ray Mona's Investigation into Toon Makers' Sailor Moon Pilot
Even though Ray Mona found the missing Toon Makers Sailor Moon pilot, her journey there may have been more valuable. The Western World of Sailor Moon opens with Ray Mona giving a succinct explanation of Sailor Moon's popularity in North America. Ray Mona also details the difficult process the series went through to get a release in both the United States and Canada. Her introduction to Sailor Moon provided important background information for both devoted fans of the show and brand-new viewers who might not be familiar with its history.
The work done by the cast and crew on the pilot, which had not previously received recognition, was also honored in Ray Mona's documentary series. She discovered the names of four of the five actresses who were chosen to play the princesses while looking for the pilot. She also emphasized the efforts of the animators and staff at Renaissance-Atlantic and Toon Makers, who helped bring the pilot to life. Even though the series itself was never broadcast, many people worked very hard to produce the pilot, and now their time and labor have been officially recognized.
More importantly, Ray Mona's interviews with significant contributors to the pilot's creation offered a rare window into the television and animation industries in the 1990s. For instance, Lynn Walsh was able to look back on the start of her long career in animation and the early days of realizing her dream thanks to Ray Mona's interview with her. While Tami-Adrien George's pilot was the main topic of Ray Mona's interview with her, George also had time to talk about her other projects and consider where her career has led her.
Rocky Solotoff and Steven Wilzbach were interviewed by Ray Mona, who also learned more about the production side of making a pilot and how their careers intersected with those of many well-known animators, such as Brad Bird and Dan Povenmire. These written and oral histories that Ray Mona gathered are historically important documents in and of themselves, offering fresh insights into both the Toon Makers Sailor Moon pilot and the history of '90s media in general.
Beyond Saban Moon: Ray Mona's Ongoing Research Into Missing Media
Ray Mona has continued to search for lost media and media history since the release of her Sailor Moon documentaries. The first installment of a documentary series about the Renaissance attempt Atlantic to produce a live-action pilot based on the Saint Seiya anime was recently released by the author under the title The Secret Stories of Saint Seiya (Part 1). She drew on connections she had made earlier when she looked into Sailor Moon from Toon Makers at Renaissance-Atlantic for this new investigation.
She revealed new perspectives on the future of anime in the United States, as she had previously. While Ray Mona did not discover the lost live-action pilot in this installment of the documentary, she did discover another lost media artifact related to Saint Seiya: the opening of Guardians of the Cosmos, an attempt at an American animated adaptation of the Saint Seiya anime.
Ray Mona's investigation into longer-form content thus forms an important evolution with the publication of The Western World of Sailor Moon and Finding Saban Moon: The Western World of Sailor Moon (Part 2). Her most recent film, The Secret Stories of Saint Seiya, demonstrated how her in-depth research into Toon Makers' Sailor Moon has uncovered fresh lines of inquiry into other misplaced anime works in the United States and Canada. The documentaries by Ray Mona emphasize the value of internet historians who investigate the less-known aspects of media history and add additional context to the development of media over time.