Sailor Moon (originally translated as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon and later as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon) is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi. It was originally serialized in Nakayoshi from 1991 to 1997; the 52 individual chapters were published in 18 tankōbon volumes. The series follows the adventures of a young schoolgirl named Usagi Tsukino as she transforms into the titular character to search for a magical artifact called the “Legendary Silver Crystal”. During her journey, she leads a diverse group of comrades, the Sailor Soldiers —Sailor Guardians in later editions—as they battle against villains to prevent the theft of the Silver Crystal and the destruction of the Solar System.
Since its release, Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon has received wide critical acclaim and has become one of the most popular manga and anime series worldwide. The entire series has sold over 35 million copies worldwide, making of it one of the highest selling shōjo series ever, and reviewers have praised the art, characterization and humor of the story.
Written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi, Sailor Moon was serialized in the monthly manga anthology Nakayoshi from December 28, 1991 to February 3, 1997. The side-stories were serialized simultaneously in RunRun—another of Kodansha’s manga magazines. The 52 individual chapters were published in 18 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha from July 6, 1992, to April 4, 1997. In 2003, the chapters were re-released in a collection of 12 shinzōban volumes to coincide with the release of the live-action series. The manga was retitled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and included new cover art, and revised dialogue and illustrations. The ten individual short stories were also released in 2 volumes. In 2013, the chapters were once again re-released in 10 kanzenban volumes to commemorate the manga’s 20th anniversary, which includes digitally remastered artwork, new covers and color artwork from its Nakayoshi run. The books have been enlarged from the typical Japanese manga size to A5. The short stories were republished in two volumes, with the order of the stories shuffled. Codename: Sailor V was also included in the third edition.
The Sailor Moon manga was initially licensed for an English release by Mixx (later Tokyopop) in North America. The manga was first published as a serial in MixxZine beginning in 1997, but was later removed from the magazine and made into a separate, monthly comic to finish the first, second and third arcs. At the same time, the fourth and fifth arcs were printed in a secondary magazine called Smile. The series was later collected into three-part graphic novels spanning eighteen volumes, which were published from December 1, 1998, to September 18, 2001. Tokyopop’s license expired in 2005 and its edition went out of print. Daily pages from the Tokyopop version ran in the Japanimation Station, a service accessible to users of America Online. In May 2005, Tokyopop’s license to the Sailor Moon manga expired, and its edition went out of print.
In 2011, Kodansha Comics USA announced it would publish the Sailor Moon manga and the lead-in series Codename: Sailor V in English. It would also re-publish the twelve volumes of Sailor Moon simultaneously with the two-volume edition of Codename Sailor V, from September 2011 to July 2013. The first volume of the two related short stories was published on September 10, 2013; the other was published on November 26.
The manga has also been licensed in other English-speaking countries. In the United Kingdom, the volumes are distributed by Turnaround Publisher Services. In Australia, the manga is distributed by Random House Australia.