Sailor Moon ended up airing on USA Network in 1996 and later was purchased by Turner Entertainment in 1998 and began airing on the action-themed Cartoon Network block Toonami daily. The series became a ratings success and the the final 17 episodes were exclusively hosted on Toonami as "The Lost Episodes". Cloverway Inc, later licensed the 3rd and 4th seasons and they premiered on Toonami throughout 2000. The fifth season however was never licensed or dubbed likely due to its content.
In 2000, the series was removed from Toonami to make room for new series but still reran on Cartoon Network. In 2001, Cartoon Network dropped the series and the rights expired in 2002 despite the fact that the series was still very popular. This was due to the fact the DiC/Cloverway failed to renew the license for the anime and because of the disputes between Toei Animation and Naoko Takeuchi over the meddling of her anime series. Viz company later regained distribution rights to the series, releasing the episodes uncut on DVD. The DiC/Cloverway versions are now extinct.
The story centers around an air-headed crybaby, named Serena, and her friends Amy, Raye, Lita, and Mina. Using special powers, they can transform into Sailor Scouts. They become Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus respectfully. They fight for love and justice against the evil minions of The Dark Kingdom. To help them in their quest, they heed the advice of two talking cats, Luna and Artemis, and also the mysterious Tuxedo Mask.
The main characters, the Sailor Soldiers, frequently called "Sailor Scouts" or "Guardians" in many Western versions, are teenage girls who can transform into heroines named for the Moon and planets. The use of "Sailor" comes from a style of girls' school uniform popular in Japan, on which Takeuchi modeled the Sailor Scout's uniforms. The fantasy elements in the series are heavily symbolic and often based on mythology.
Sailor Moon (Serena) - is the main character of the series, she is a careless young girl with an enormous capacity for love, compassion, and understanding. She has a companion cat named Luna who guides the Sailor Scouts through their adventures. Serena transforms into the heroine called Sailor Moon, Soldier of love and justice. At the beginning of the series, she is fourteen years old and portrayed as an immature crybaby who hates having to fight evil and wants nothing more than to be a normal girl. As she progresses, however, she embraces the chance to use her power to protect those she cares about.
Sailor Mercury (Amy) - is a quiet fourteen-year-old bookworm in Serena's class. Highly intelligent with a rumored IQ of 300, she can transform into Sailor Mercury, Soldier of water and wisdom. Amy's shy exterior masks a passion for knowledge and for taking care of the people around her. Amy would also be considered the "tech girl" and the "brain" of the group by using her mini data computer, which is capable of scanning and detecting virtually anything she needs.
Sailor Mars (Raye) - is an elegant, fourteen-year-old shrine maiden. Because of her work as a priestess, Rei has limited precognition and can dispel/nullify evil using special Shinto scrolls, even in her civilian form. She transforms into Sailor Mars, Soldier of fire and passion. She is very serious and focused. Rei is portrayed as boy-crazy in the early anime, and short-tempered throughout, but is uninterested in romance and is self-controlled throughout the series. She attends a private, Catholic school separate from the other girls.
Sailor Jupiter (Lita) - is a fourteen-year-old tomboy in Serena's class. Unusually tall and strong for a Japanese schoolgirl, she transforms into Sailor Jupiter, Soldier of lightning and strength. She is also considered the Soldier of Nature. Both Lita's parents died in a plane crash years ago, so she lives alone and takes care of herself. She wants to marry young and to own a flower-and-cake shop.
Sailor Venus (Mina) - is a fourteen-year-old perky dreamer who acted on her own as Sailor V for sometime. she has a companion cat named Artemis who works alongside Luna in guiding the Sailor Scouts. Minako transforms into Sailor Venus, Soldier of love and beauty, and leads Sailor Moon's four inner guardians, while acting as Sailor Moon's closest bodyguard-decoy because of their near-identical looks.
Tuxedo Mask (Darien) - is a student somewhat older than Serena. As a young child he experienced a terrible car-accident that robbed him of his parents and of his knowledge of his own identity. During the series it is revealed he has a special psychic rapport with Serena and can sense when she is in danger, which inspires him to take on the guise of Tuxedo Mask and fight alongside the Sailor Scouts when needed. After an initially confrontational relationship, he and Serena remember their past lives together and fall in love again. Eventually, after some years the two become the king and queen of the earth and get married and have a daughter named Rini.
Sailor Mini Moon
Sailor Mini Moon (Rini) - is the future daughter of Serena and Darien. She later trains with Sailor Moon to become a Sailor Scout in her own right. She learns to transform into Sailor Mini Moon, and become the 6th inner scout. At times she has an adversarial relationship with her mother in the 20th century, as she is more mature than Serena. But as the series progresses they develop a deep bond. Rini wants to grow up to become a lady like her mother.
Sailor Pluto (Trista) - is a mysterious woman who appears first as Sailor Pluto, the Soldier of time and space, who has the duty of guarding the time corridor from unauthorized travelers. Only later does she appear on Earth, living as a college student. She has a distant personality and can be very stern, but can also be quite friendly and helps the Sailor Scouts when she can. After so long at the Gate of Time she carries a deep sense of loneliness, although she is close friends with Rini. Sailor Pluto's talisman is her Garnet Rod, which aids her with her power to freeze time and attacks.
Sailor Uranus (Amara) - is a good-natured, masculine-acting girl. A year older than most of the other Sailor Scouts, she can transform into Sailor Uranus, Soldier of the sky and fury. Before becoming a Sailor Scout, she dreamt of being a racer, and she has excellent driving skills. She tends to dress and, in the anime, speak like a man. When it comes to fighting the enemy she distrusts outside help and prefers to work solely with Sailor Neptune and, later, Pluto and Saturn. Sailor Uranus's talisman is known as the Space Sword, which aids her with her fighting and attacks.
Sailor Neptune (Michelle) - is an elegant and talented violinist and painter with family money. Michelle, like her partner Amara, is one year older than the rest of the Sailor Scouts. She transforms into Sailor Neptune, Soldier of the ocean and intuition. She worked alone for some time before finding her partner, Sailor Uranus. She is fully devoted to her duty and willing to make any sacrifice for it. Sailor Neptune's talisman is her Deep Aqua Mirror, which aids her with her intuition and revealing cloaked evil.
Sailor Saturn (Hotaru) - is a sweet, lonely young girl. Daughter of a mad scientist, a terrible laboratory accident in her youth significantly compromised her health in the anime. After overcoming the darkness that has surrounded her family, Hotaru is able to become the Soldier of death and rebirth, Sailor Saturn. She is often pensive, and as a human has the inexplicable power to heal others. Sailor Saturn's weapon is her Silence Glaive, which aids her with her power to generate barriers. It also gives her the power to destroy a planet, but if she uses that power, she dies herself.
- The fifth season Sailor Stars never aired likely due to the content of the anime, such as Sailor Starlights turning from male civilians to female warriors, the homo-romantic relationship between Sailor Moon and the Sailor Starlight Seiya, and Sailor Moon in the nude on the final episode which was very difficult to edit.
- The lesbian relationship between Sailor Uranus (Amara) and Sailor Neptune (Michelle) was heavily edited to make them cousins and not lovers. However the dialogue was kept the same so the flirting and hinting between the two was still there so the dub essentially presented them as incestuous cousins.
- This was the first shoujo magical girl anime that aired on Toonami. Cardcaptor Sakura was the second and last shoujo magical girl anime to air on Toonami but it was heavily edited into an action-based Shounen (boy-oriented) fantasy series in which all the romance was removed from the anime.