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The Sailor Moon franchise began in 1991 with the publication of the Sailor Moon manga by Naoko Takeuchi, followed shortly thereafter by an anime adaptation in 1992. The manga and anime both ran until conclusion in 1997, covering five overall story-arcs:
- The Dark Kingdom
- The Black Moon (Sailor Moon R)
- Infinity (Sailor Moon Super)
- Dream (Sailor Moon SuperS)
- Sailor Stars (Sailor Moon SS)
Both the manga and the anime cover the same characters and events, but there are noticeable differences in style, tone, pacing, and character designs between the two versions. To date all of the Sailor Moon video games have been based on the anime version.
Sailor Moon was first released overseas in 1995, starting with the anime and most of the Dark Kingdom arc. This was followed by a filler arc set between the first two arc and half of the Black Moon arc. In 1997 Tokyopop gained the license for the Sailor Moon manga, and almost single-handedly created a market for manga in North America with it. After DiC lost the anime license it was picked up by Cloverway who released the Infinity arc in 2000. The Dream Arc was later released to DVD, and to date the Sailor Stars anime arc has never been officially released outside of Japan.
Sailor Moon stage plays continued in Japan from 1993 through 2005, with multiple productions each year. In 2003 an updated release of the manga was created to coincide with a 52 episode live-action adaptation of the Dark Kingdom arc. In 2012 Takeuchi announced that a new anime series would begin airing in 2013.