The Sailor Moon anime, co-produced by TV Asahi, Toei Agency and Toei Animation, started airing only a month after the first issue of the manga was published. With 200 episodes airing from March 1992 to February 1997 on TV Asahi, Sailor Moon is one of the longest magical girl anime series. The anime sparked a highly successful merchandising campaign of over 5,000 items, which contributed to demand all over the world and translation into numerous languages. Sailor Moon has since become one of the most famous anime properties in the world. Due to its resurgence of popularity in Japan, the series is slated to be back on the air as of September 1, 2009.
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Sailor Moon consists of five separate series. The titles of the series are Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon Supers and Sailor Moon Sailor Stars. Each series roughly corresponds to one of the five major story arcs of the manga, following the same general storyline and including most of the same characters. There were also five special animated shorts, as well as three theatrically-released movies: Sailor Moon R: The Movie, Sailor Moon S: The Movie, and Sailor Moon Supers: The Movie.
The anime series uses traditional animation techniques throughout. The series was directed first by Jun'ichi Satō, then by Kunihiko Ikuhara and later by Takuya Igarashi. Character design was headed by Kazuko Tadano, Ikuko Itoh and Katsumi Tamegai, all of whom were also animation directors. Other animation directors included Masahiro Andō, Hisashi Kagawa, and Hideyuki Motohashi.
The series sold as twenty "volumes" in Japan. By the end of 1995, each volume had sold approximately 300,000 copies.