The Sera Myu Musical Project

I can’t believe it; somehow it has already been almost an entire year since I wrote my last editorial article! Time flies. I’ve been keeping very busy!

Over the course of this past year, I’ve finished two very substantial projects:

1. The translation of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.

We began this project almost two years ago! We finished our first run back in February. I had originally intended on finishing all of PGSM in a year, but due to changes to staff, and the intensity at which we were also posting raws slowed us down. We also managed to translate all three “DJ Moon” albums in conjunction with Sailor Moon German, which was a bonus that I had not originally anticipated.

Our final revisions of PGSM were posted back in May. Our archival version of the series has fixes for minor grammatical errors that we made over the course of our original posting, as well as a bulk torrent for easy downloading.

I am very proud of Miss Dream’s release of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. It was a collective effort between three translators; no easy task when each of us has a distinctive translation style, and we’re all set in our ways. So many fans of PGSM have been able to watch the series for the first time without that annoying time stamp in the upper right corner, which the TV rips featured. The fan response has been extremely positive. I am so glad I took on the project. :)

2.The entire canon of works by the creator of Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi.

This is the largest single translation project I have taken on in my life, and I say this as someone who works as a professional technical Japanese to English translator at an engineering firm. Ahem.

Outside of Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V, Naoko Takeuchi published ten other books. On top of that, she released 14 chapters of serialized work in Nakayoshi magazine: Sister Witch, Love Witch chapters 1-3, Toki Meca Prequel, Toki Meca chapters 5-10, and PQ Angels chapters 1-4. With each chapter being roughly 40 pages long, that’s a little over 550 pages – around two entire extra books of manga. In all, this project was around 3200 pages long and took almost a year to complete, while concurrently translating Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.

The main difficulty of this project was obtaining the little-known works of Naoko Takeuchi. Although many of Naoko Takeuchi’s older works have been reprinted as tankoubon by Kodansha, all 14 chapters of her serializations are only available if you own particular back issues of Nakayoshi magazine. Nakayoshi magazine is a monthly publication for elementary school aged girls that has been running since 1954. The company does not sell any old issues of its publication, and they are not widely available in stores. In fact, it is tradition in most Japanese book stores on the 1st of every New Year to throw away all the old left over magazines from the previous year. Finding back issues of Nakayoshi magazine from the mid 1980s and 1990s is extremely difficult. Since you can’t buy from the publisher directly, you have to rely on finding Yahoo!Japan auctions of the old issues that were owned by other collectors (almost all of whom live in Japan – so you’d better know Japanese in order to negotiate a price!). And they are expensive – wicked expensive. If not for the generous support of my anonymous donor, I would never have been able to obtain the issues I needed to assemble the entire works of Naoko Takeuchi. I set out to collect all 206 issues of Nakayoshi where Naoko Takeuchi’s work has appeared. As of this posting, I have collected all but 22 issues that I need. It has been a challenging, but successful adventure.

The last series that we will be releasing scanlations for is Toki * Meca. We have chapters 1-4 online already since those were published in a tankoubon book, but the prequel chapter, as well as chapters 5-10 have been translated and we are just waiting for the last two chapters to finish up with the graphical design team. I expect to post up the rest of this series (the only one Naoko Takeuchi has finished since the completion of Sailor Moon) by the end of this summer.

Late last year I also became Osano “Osabu” Fumio’s personal translator for his official English Twitter account – OsabuP_English. Osano Fumio is Naoko Takeuchi’s editor at Kodansha, and he has been tasked with updating the official Sailor Moon website, Sailor Moon Channel, as well as with releasing Sailor Moon news via his Twitter account. With this honor has also come responsibility – namely, that I need to be awake late at night when he makes news announcements related to the Sailor Moon franchise. As a result Miss Dream has become something of a news site for all things Sailor Moon related. We have been lucky enough to have been cited as a source for Anime News Network a few times this summer already – a trend which I expect and hope will continue. It’s been a crazy ride to keep up with all the news that keeps coming as we await the Sailor Moon 2013 anime reboot coming later this year, as well as updates about new Sailor Moon merchandise that is being released in Japan. It is an exhausting but rewarding task.

Now that two of my major project goals have been reached, lately people have been asking me what I plan to do with Miss Dream in the future. First, let me address a couple of common questions:

Will you be translating the upcoming Sailor Moon 2013 anime?
Yes – almost certainly. If for no other reason than that it’ll be a fun project to take on. I like fansubbing live projects and it’s been a few years since James and I had the opportunity to do that. I’ll give more details about my plans once we get closer to the air date.

Will you be translating the new Sailor Moon musical, La Reconquista?
Yes. I’m hoping to get a cam rip from someone in the audience since very few English speakers will have the priviledge of being able to go to Japan just to watch the musicals. Failing that, when the musical is released on DVD I will be providing a full rip and translation online for everyone. The musicals have a limited audience, and I don’t think that releasing La Reconquista as a fansub will do much to hurt Japanese DVD sales of this performance.

With those pressing questions out of the way, I’d like to formally announce that until La Reconquista or the 2013 Sailor Moon anime premiers, Miss Dream will be focusing its full attention towards creating a complete collection of the Sailor Moon “Sera Myu” musicals. Our goal is to translate every musical performance, kaiteiban, omake feature, curtain call, ongakushuu, and fan kan event.

Insane? Absolutely. But at this point in my fansubbing career, I feel confident that our team can pull it off. To date I have translated over 5,000 pages of manga, and have completed a 50 episode series. And, we’ve already translated 6 of 29 total musicals.

Miss Dream’s debut release was Mugen Gakuen ~ Mistress Labyrinth, a 4th stage musical. Over the years we’ve drifted away from the musicals as our group’s focus, due to high demand to translate the manga and live action series. We’ve been pulled in a bunch of different directions. And while it is likely that once the new Sailor Moon media releases become available we’ll be pulled in other directions again, while there is a lull we want to fill in the gaps that exist in translations for the Sera Myu fandom. To date there has never been one group that has consistently translated the entire collection of Sera Myu performances and bonus materials. Our aim is to change that.

For now the Sera Myu project is front and center for us. Once the new anime and new musical premiere, it will go on the back burner, but the goal is that even while we are psychotically translating the new anime, we are going to release at least one musical performance per month. I hope many of you will follow along with my ambitious project to translate all of the Sera Myus. Wish me luck – I am going to need it to get through this next year. It’s going to be a busy one!

7 Responses to “The Sera Myu Musical Project”

  1. Nathaniel

    “With those pressing questions out of the way, I’d like to formally announce that until La Reconquista or the 2013 Sailor Moon anime premiers, Miss Dream will be focusing its full attention towards creating a complete collection of the Sailor Moon “Sera Myu” musicals. Our goal is to translate every musical performance, kaiteiban, omake feature, curtain call, ongakushuu, and fan kan event. ”
    WHAT?! Um… Miss Dream has always been awesome, but this… this statement right here just made a dream of mine seem possible. I’ve held out hope of seeing all of the seramyu and specials and whatnots subtitled since the first time I saw a seramyu, way back in 1998 (on the internet, not live). I’ve watched everything I could get my hands on in raw format, but that really only goes so far for someone who doesn’t speak Japanese.

    I was just curious on how these will be released. Will it be in order (which seems easiest since the first few musicals released on video didn’t have much/anything in the way of omake, so they’d be less of a task), or just in whatever order strikes your fancy? Either way, I’m just happy that someone is at least *attempting* to subtitle, not just all of the musicals, but all of the rare bonus videos as well.

    Miss Dream is making my dreams come true.

    • James

      Me and Elly were actually discussing the order last night. Next will be Kaguya Sima Densetsu Kaiteban the last “Unsubbed” musical, parts of it were done by InnocentAmi but it was never completed. Aster that per Elly’s request will be the Black Lady myu from 4th stage. After that I intend to translate through the musicals in order from first released to most recent.

  2. Misty

    Sounds like you have accomplished a lot! And I’m excited to see you guys getting back to the myus (then again, this is probably because I run a SeraMyu fansite and rely on fansubs to watch the musicals due to my lack of knowledge of Japanese). It will be great to be able to watch all the musicals subtitled by people who I know for sure know Japanese. Not that the other currently available fansubs are bad – I’m totally willing to watch the ones by Cruel Angel or Innocentami – but at least with your releases I’ll feel more confident in my understanding of the myus because I’ll know the translation is sound.


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