Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン, officially translated as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon) is the title of a Japanese media franchise created by Naoko Takeuchi. It is credited by scholars such as Fred Patten with popularizing the concept of a sentai (team) of magical girls, as well as "revitalizing" the magical girl genre itself.
The story of the various metaseries revolves around the reincarnated defenders of a kingdom that once spanned the solar system, and around the evil forces that they battle. The major characters—called Sailor Senshi (literally "Sailor Soldiers"; frequently called "Sailor Scouts" in the North American version)—are teenage girls who can transform into heroines named for the moon and planets (Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, etc). The use of "Sailor" comes from a style of girls' school uniform popular in Japan, the sērā fuku (sailor outfit), after which the Senshi's uniforms are modeled. The elements of fantasy in the series are heavily symbolic and often based on mythology.
The Sailor Moon manga was preceded by Codename: Sailor V, which centered around just one Sailor Senshi. Takeuchi devised the idea when she wanted to create a cute series about girls in outer space, and her editor asked her to put them in sailor fuku. When Sailor V was proposed for adaptation into an anime, the concept was modified so that Sailor V herself became only one member of a team. The resulting manga series was a fusion of the popular magical girl and sentai genres of which Takeuchi was a fan, making Sailor Moon one of the first series ever to combine the two.
The manga resulted in spinoffs into other types of media, including a highly popular anime, as well as musical theatre productions, video games, and a live-action (tokusatsu) series. Although most concepts in the many versions overlap, often notable differences occur, and thus continuity between the different formats is limited.
The protagonist of Sailor Moon, Usagi Tsukino, lives as an ordinary middle school girl until she is found by a talking cat named Luna. Through Luna, Usagi learns that the world is about to be attacked by a Dark Kingdom that had appeared once before, long ago, and destroyed the kingdom of the moon. Her dormant powers are then awakened to defend the Earth against the coming onslaught, and she is led to a number of friends who join her in the battle.
Usagi fights using the identity of Sailor Moon, and as the story progresses she learns more and more about the enemies which face her and the evil force that is sending them. Gradually she discovers the truth about her own past life, her destined true love, and the possibilities for the future of the Solar System.
The plot spans five major story arcs, each of them represented in both the manga and anime, usually under different names:
1. the Dark Kingdom arc (Sailor Moon)
2. the Black Moon arc (Sailor Moon R)
3. the Infinity arc (Sailor Moon S)
4. the Dream arc (Sailor Moon SuperS)
5. the Stars arc (Sailor Stars)
The anime added an additional minor arc at the start of the second series, and spent the first few episodes of Sailor Stars wrapping up the plot from the previous series.