I can’t say I know everything about collecting Japanese Import Bandai Sailor Moon Dolls. If I had lived in Japan or could speak Japanese or read it, I would know a lot more.
I was able (in the 90s) to pick up various Sailor Moon dolls, when I lived in San Francisco, at local anime shops. I have two Mini Moon or Rini Dolls. There were a number of Chibiusa (Rini) Dolls released, but I only had access to one of the releases which was just a plain release with no extra outfits and no upgraded costumes. I would have bought those, but they never came to the stores in San Francisco. I bought the second Chibiusa Doll because, when I took the visor off of the forehead of my first Chibiusa Doll, I noticed a yellow discoloration caused by the visor. I could not get the mark off, so I decided the only solution was to buy a second Chibiusa Doll. The pink earrings that look like a metal caused damage to the dolls ears. Both of my Chibiusa Dolls have earring damage.
I have Uranus and Neptune, but they are trademarked 1993. I think 1993 was the year Bandai trademarked the body, but not the year the dolls were created. I have two Uranus Dolls and one is slightly taller than the other. One has no visible bangs, and you can see the head holes left by the visor. The other has bangs that cover up the head holes, and look pretty goods for this reason. I don’t like dolls with bangs, very much because bangs obscures their faces when I am trying to take a facial close up photo. The Uranus Doll (shown above in pink) has replaced earrings with real gold earrings and gold backed earrings in the holes from the visor. The Uranus and Neptune Dolls are the Beauty Change Dolls which came with cheap looking outfits made with felt bows, but then also came with a set of breakaway street clothes. My doll hobby is to dress my dolls in outfits and take photos. I always put away, and I never display. Dust and dirty settle on the dolls, and light even electric light bulbs decrease the color of the dolls faces, and cause the hair to lose shiny. The light causes the plastic to decay more quickly. The minute plastic dolls are created (just like on the day a person is born), the clock begins to tick on the process of plastic decay. Plastic is made up of molecules that hold together. Time, light and temperature fluctuations cause the plastic to break down faster. Sunlight is more damaging them artificial light, but both are damaging. If I was to display in a doll cabinet I would keep the room dark all day with black out curtains and only turn on the light when I was in the room.
I have a set of wings that are pink, so I have a Sailor Moon Doll from a later date. I think she is the Sailor Moon Doll from the 3rd Season which is called Sailor Moon Super.
I had issues with the outfits on dolls staining the plastic, so I took off the outfits. The rematching of each outfit on the doll would be difficult. In fact, I have tried and sort of given up. I can’t tell which Sailor Outfits came with which doll. I use my saved online photos of the dolls never removed from the boxes to match up each doll to her outfit. I did not take photos of each doll before I opened the boxes, and I did not save the boxes. I did not have a digital camera in the 90s. I was collecting so many dolls, that I would have had a house filled with boxes! If I had a digital camera or even a camera phone, I could have taken pictures of them on the sleeves at the stores. I wish I had documentation of what they sold at Japan Town. I wish I had taken photos of each doll in the box before I removed her and recycled the boxes. I have to rely on my memory. I assume they also sold these imported dolls in other major cities. They may have come to New York, Chicago or Miami. There is a Japan Town in Los Angeles, as well. If I had the funds, I would have traveled around the country looking for these dolls in the 90s. There was no way for me to order the dolls from Japan. I noticed on Google Shopping they have a few of the dolls in boxes, but often when you click the doll was sold years ago. These ghost doll pictures are a sort of click bait. One tries to find the dolls, and they remain elusive.
I have also a complete set of the Amazoness Quartet, two Chibiusa Dolls (both the same), and one of the Saturn Dolls that were a smaller size.
I did a lot of changes on the Amazoness Dolls. I swapped their earrings with real gold ones. I took down the hair of some of them, because I thought the hair was going to be damaged. The Amazoness Quartet were part of the Dead Moon Circus along with their male counter parts, Tiger’s Eye, Hawk’s Eye and Fish Eye. The males were called the Amazon Trio, but they were never made into dolls. I was sure the Amazon Trio had been killed by a clown, but now I am reading that they were saved on the Sailor Moon Wikia. I did not see that happen in the series. I don’t like it much, so I hardly ever rewatch it. In the episode it looked like “saving”, but the last shot is of them being dead animals. In general, each season of Sailor Moon declined. from The first season which was the best season to the fifth season the worse. The third season was a little better than the second season, but each season did progress toward being more dark, depressing, less fun and less entertaining for children. The Amazoness Quartet were friends of Chibisua. They were the same height as Chibiusa, but they were little adults. It turned out they had been mislead by the master villain of season four called Zirconia, who looked like an evil Yoda. Since the Amazoness Quartet were not really evil, they are saved and become normal humans, similar to the fate of the Ayakashi Sisters in season two. However, most of the Sailor Moon Villains are evil and are killed. Even the villains that are not really evil and wish to become good are still often killed. They are killed either by the current master villain or by another junior villain who is ambitious and wants to take their place. They are never killed by Sailor Moon herself or one of the Sailor Scouts. Sailor Moon’s power is only to save and heal. The fate of the character matters when I am buying a doll. The character’s personality does factor into the decision to buy a doll.
The dolls marked Korea are really different from the ones marked China. The eyes are rounder and smaller on the Korean Dolls, the plastic is lighter and more translucent. The skin color on the China marked dolls is pink or peach. The Korea dolls are usually shorter, but this is not always the case. I noticed the differences as I was in the buying process, and unboxed the dolls.
I wondered if I liked the China Dolls or the Korean Dolls more. At first, I thought the China dolls were my favorites, they were better quality. As time went on I found the Korean Dolls to be more endearing. So, I made an effort to get more of them. In May of 2004 I found more of the Korean Dolls on Ebay in the boxes. The boxes had been opened, and the seller played with the dolls, but then stuck them back in the boxes. These dolls did have some damage on them, but I bought them anyway. I only noticed the damage after opening them. The Venus for example had a huge gross yellow stain on her dress. I think a cat peed on it. The stain did come out when I washed the dress. The set of dolls I got on Ebay were called Suki Suki and the name means street clothes. They did not come in Sailor Costumes, and unlike the Beauty Change line and the Seifuku line they did not come with a second outfit in the box.
The Ebay Seller who sold me the complete set of Suki Suki dolls in 2004 is one of the Ebay Horror Stories. I waited for the dolls to come for two weeks. Then I asked her, where are the dolls, and did you send them yet? She wrote back, she had already sent them, but she had not sent them. I waited another week. Now a month had passed. The dolls were coming from the USA to the USA, so there was no way the dolls were coming. I wrote again, and told her the dolls were still not here. She did not even answer. I waited four more days. Back then there was no protection system. I decided the dolls were never coming, so I left her negative feedback. Immediately, she gets back to me complaining, and then the dolls came. The postman left them on the porch, because she had used the cheapest shipping. In an urban environment in San Francisco, there was good chance they could have been stolen. But, all things considered, I wanted to take back the negative feedback. I told her, I would do it. Ebay would not let me take it back. Back then there was no way for a seller to leave me negative feedback in return. She claimed she was “out of town” or she would have replied. I know she was really like, “I am not even going to reply to this whiny person”, and she had shipped the dolls two weeks after she said she did, and over one month past the time of the sale. I thought about those dolls not coming everyday for a month. It was very stressful and upsetting. There was no way to track the package. I put in a lot of effort to collect the Bandai Japanese dolls, and then to keep them nice.
I can’t read the writing on the boxes, so I assume the Korean Dolls were a budget version sold in other parts of Asian, and maybe in Japan at less exclusive retail outlets. But, I had to pay the same price for the Korean Dolls as for the better quality China Dolls. The discount did not apply to Americans. As more time passed I only saw the Irwin Dolls on Ebay, so many of them it was impossible to find the Japanese Bandai Dolls anymore. They were lost in a sea of Irwin Dolls. There is some weight to the contention that Irwin did not make any dolls, but merely marketed them. If I had the Irwin Dolls I could look at the trademarks, and see if they say Irwin or Bandai. But, I have seen them now on Ebay, but it takes time to sort out the Japanese Imports from the others. Most sellers don’t know which they are putting online, so finding them is very time consuming. Note: I did not have any issues with Sailor Mars’ hair falling out. When I got my Suki Suki Mars, I felt the hair had been damaged, but now I think that is the way the hair was made. The hair is wooly and if you pull the hair, because you are trying to comb it, it will fall out. You can’t comb the hair when the hair is dry, and you have to add some type of oil product to make the hair able to be combed. You need to use a large toothed comb or a Barbie Brush from the 90s. Any 90s boxed doll came with one of these free brushes, and you even buy them individually one Ebay. I fixed my Sailor Mars Hair and the hair still looks great 20 years later, when I opened my dolls and looked at them again.
I got the doll pictured below at Good Will to test out the Irwin Dolls, but her hair was trashed, so I let this doll go.
I think this is one of the earlier versions of Sailor Moon, but she also could have been Sailor Moon 2000, because since I had a digital camera after 2001, I took a lot of photos of this doll in different outfits before I got rid of her. I did some retouching on the photo to make her look better.
They sold the Mini Dolls in Japantown, because they did not sell very well, they were reduced to clearance prices in the end. There have been many sets of mini dolls released since the 90s. There is a newer set of Mini dolls that look much better. The first line of Mini Dolls lacked a neck, and had heads that were too big. The Irwin Mini dolls have molded glove and molded shoes. I was able to view and see the worst of all The Japanese Imports, because they would buy the dolls that did not sell out in Japan and offer them to the Americans who came to Japantown. This may have given me a somewhat wrapped opinion, that the dolls often are unattractive. I have seen really nice boxed dolls online. But, those sell right away. What I am seeing is the effect of all the better looking dolls selling, and leaving unattractive or damaged dolls online. Also some of the nicer dolls that are cost a lot of money remain online. Amazoness Dolls list for about 500 dollars unopened in the box, but how often do they sell? Regular Moon as shown about lists for about $50 dollars, if she is in the box.
They were several lines, of dolls I never saw or even heard of such as dolls that came with keychains, lighted dolls, and dolls on spinning bases. I wonder why for season 3 they created Professor Tomoe dolls, but not Mimete. They created at least two versions of the Emerald Doll and Rubius, but not Malachite and Zoisite or Molly and Nephrite. Why create Rubius and not The Ayakashi Sisters? I did not like Rubius at all. I thought he behaved like a pimp. This was a very bad influence on children. I used to go to Japantown in the 90s twice a week because there was a Sushi Boat place, that I liked to eat at. But, the Sushi Boat place was sold to new owners in about 2005 or 2006 and after that the quality of the food became very poor. I stopped eating there. The Sushi Boat place failed, and has now been shut down. I noticed some of the Villain Dolls came to Ebay, but I did not want to start buying them. If you buy one you may feel the need to complete the set. It’s just too hard, and I was collecting other dolls in the 2000s. I noticed an Emerald Doll years ago, who was one of the best looking, but I thought she was over priced. The voice of Emerald, Kirsten Bishop, also played the voice of Zoisite.
The Sailor Star Light Dolls
I have two of the Sailor Star Lights dolls, Star Maker (brown hair) and Star Healer (white hair) trademark date 1996. I did not buy Star Fighter (navy blue hair). My favorite doll was Healer, but I also bought Maker as an afterthought.
There was only one set of Star Light Dolls ever made and all of them are Beauty Change. Beauty Change dolls come in Uniforms, but have regular clothes that break away with velcro so the dolls can “transform” . The Star Light Dolls had what looked like lab coats that came inside the box. Maker’s lab coat was brown and Healer’s Lab Coat was Grey. I have no idea why, I think they got confused with Season 3 and the Death Busters. Fighter had a blue lab coat included, as I recall, and shown in online photos. Some of the villains wore lab coats in Season 3. More likely, the lab coats were cheaper to make then break away street clothes. What they really needed were the suits that they wore as the band called the Three Lights. Suits are difficult to make which is why Ken is so lacking in suits. The Sailor Star Lights were also created as mini dolls and/or dream pocket dolls.
The anime character Star Fighter had an obnoxious personality. The creator of Sailor Moon, the artist Naoko Takeuchi, did not write/draw them as being men who changed into women. As you may know, in the final season of Sailor Moon, Star Fighter is dating Serena, until it is revealed that he is really a Sailor Soldier in Episode 24. This episode is one of my favorites. The big reveal takes place on an airplane flight. The Japanese Original used the word Soldier, but the Americans used the word Scout, which makes the characters more like Girl Scouts in a troop, rather than soldier fighting a war. Child soldiers are very depressing and morally wrong. Anytime a country drafts children under 18 it means the country is losing the war, and has run out of older men. If one watches the show in Japanese the word Soldier is heard because they like to used English words often in the show. The words they used to transform and the attack words are English Words. For example Chibiusa, uses the word “Pink Sugar Heart Attack.” In English it means a heart attack called by too much sugar and weight gain, but in Japanese it means Chibiusa uses small pink hearts to attack. The hearts fly through the air and hit the victim forcing them to retreat.
The reason why Serena and Star Fighter should not date is Serena is supposed to marry Tuxedo Mask (Darien), to create her daughter Chibiusa (Rini). I don’t want to say that the reason is because of the dual gender of the Star Lights. When she finds out Serena gets a funny look on her face, and they never date again after that. What if Serena had dumped Darien for Star Fighter? Would this be a good plot turn or a poor one? The whole thing was only in the anime, and not what the creator and artist Naoko Takeuchi wanted. Sailor Moon Crystal is supposed to be what she really wanted, but they have not made season five into Crystal, so it’s hard to say how she would rewrite the anime to fit her ideals. I don’t want to be intolerant, and I think that having these characters helped to build tolerances for gender changing. That is why I want to make it clear, that the reason for the break up was Tuxedo Mask.
Maybe I should have bought the Star Fighter Doll to complete the set? There is no way I could afford Star Fighter now, that she is vintage and rare. I am using the pronoun she for the Star Light Dolls, because they are female dolls. It may have worked better if the male Star Light singing group, summoned up female counterparts, instead of changing into females? They could have had two sets of dolls for both male and female Star Lights. I have the idea that female dolls could be the sisters of the Star Light males. Maybe this idea would even make it into Sailor Moon Crystal? I spend hours looking up the Sailor Star Lights, and now I have a few more things to add to this post. I think the Star Lights spend all their times as males and only transformed into females to fight evil. When they go around as women, they are always on business missions. They don’t just hang out as women. This is the opposite of what other people are suggesting. My evidence is based on the series. There are many scenes of them as males where they are practicing for their singing group of Pop Idols. The group is called The Lights or The Three Lights. In an earlier season Sailor Venus becomes a singing Idol by entering a contest. Singing Idols are very big in Japan. The Star Lights attend Serena’s school as males. This gives Star Fighter a chance to pursue Serena romantically, and I think this whole concept is wrong. What is a grown man doing in high school, and just how old are the Sailor Star Lights? Darien is also too old for Serena, but the answer was they waited until she was 18. I am going to guess that Star Lights could be in between 18 and 22 years old. Season Five goes too far, and it’s too adult for children to watch. If they had toned it down, maybe it would have been more accepted and translated into an English Dub? There are more adult topics in season five, that you should look up on your own. I don’t want to get into a long discussion on them, because this post is about dolls. Other bloggers cover these topics in greater detail. Look for a blog post called why they won’t dub season five into English, under the name setting the record straight.
The Star Light Dolls love to be redressed in better outfits. They are thinner then 90s Barbie, so I dressed Healer in a Teen Skipper Fashion Avenue. In the second photo Healer wears a handmade Princess Dress and Maker wears a Pink Mattel Barbie Reproduction Dress of Enchanted Evening. They have new wave hair styles, the ponytail in back is very thin.
Some of the later season dolls had plastic neck rings and are marked 1995 China. I only have one of those neck ring dolls, and she is Mars. I may have been limited by what was available, but I made it a mission to go at least weekly and always check and buy what I saw that was new. I don’t know how they decided to offer some of the dolls, but not all of them. It may have been that some of the dolls had not sold well, and the owners of the shop got those items discounted? Who would not buy each and every doll, so as to have a complete set of each of them? I don’t have them, so I assume that I could not get all of them. I also took myself on trips to every possible anime store I could find out in the Avenues of the Sunset and Richmond Districts hoping for different Sailor Moon Dolls. I traveled to a now defunct Anime Shop in Fremont, but I only picked up a Venus Doll there. I also went to Japantown in San Jose, but I can’t remember finding and Sailor Moon Dolls there. I liked dolls that were novel and the disappointment of seeing only the same dolls, I already had day after day year after year filled me with despair. This makes me believe I did not have access to complete set of all of them, but I am not a completist. I chose not to buy Pluto or Tuxedo Mask.
Pluto Doll Controversy
I have some of the Beauty Change Dolls, but not all of them. I would have liked them all. I recognize the outfits, that came with the dolls so I know some of them are called Beauty Change, but the English Word Beauty Change do not appear on the boxes. I would like to have had the Beauty Change Pluto. That doll is better than Standard Pluto, and the extra outfit is really cute. Did Beauty Change Pluto Dolls just sell out, or if the stores just did not get them in stock? Pluto did not sell very well. I don’t know if it was because of her personality. Her personality was cold and aloof. Pluto should have been taller than the other dolls, but she was the same size and looks just like them, but with darker skin. Pluto hung around unsold for years in Japantown. They must have put her on special clearance before she sold. I am going to speculate the dolls that came to Japantown were what was unsold and unpopular in Japan. The Pluto Doll turned out to be a racist doll. Maybe because the Pluto doll did not sell with darker skin, they created at least two more Pluto Dolls that are taller, which is correct, but they changed the skin to white.
Many different series and lines of dolls were created too many to keep track of
I have very few of the upgraded and “better” dolls. I have multiple copies each of the inner sailor scouts. Mars and Jupiter both have brown hair. In general Jupiter has lighter brown hair and green eyes, but it is easy to confuse these two dolls. I don’t know why Mars would not be given black hair. I have problems telling Moon From Venus unboxed and undressed. They are the same doll with the same makeup. The only difference is the way the hair is packaged. The only way to tell is to check the back of the head and look and if the hair falls into pigtails or into a ponytail. I don’t know if this was laziness on the part of the company. Why they would not make more unique features on the dolls? In the anime, it is also impossible to tell Moon from Venus other than her outfit and hair style. The US Mars Doll has lovely black hair. Mars also sold the fastest of any of the dolls. It hardest to get the Mars Doll, but I heard in Japan Mercury is the most popular character. Mercury is not the most popular doll due to her short hair. Also Mercury should have been shorter than Moon, and Jupiter should have been taller than Moon. All the basic scouts are uniform height within any given series. But the series or lines have height variations that seem random. The Starlights are taller, and the Amazoness Dolls and Saturn are smaller.
Later Irwin Dolls and Villain Dolls into the early 2000s
There is a lot of inconsistency. I have seen some great looking Chibiusa looks and some not very good Chibiusa dolls in boxes posted online.
The only one I have of these doll is Princess Serenity or Sailor Moon. I really dropped the ball on this one, because I did notice or buy the 11.5 Irwin 2000 series. I don’t know they had not come into stores near me, and I stopped going to Toys R Us in the 2000s. I only ended up with one of the these dolls, because I stopped by a Toys R Us, as random chance, and the dolls were on clearance, but they did have the Scouts only the one Doll, which I bought and the Sailor Moon with Chibiusa, which I found a picture of online. I did see this doll in the stores, but I did buy it.
I like the later Giochi Preziosi Dolls, but I was not able to see them in stores. I would have had to buy them on Ebay, and I had enough Sailor Moon Dolls already, so I don’t have any Giochi Preziosi Dolls. It’s easy to find out information about the later dolls, but the 1993 Dolls were Pre Internet, and very little information is known about them. Before the era of digital cameras people did not take very many photos of dolls because film was too expensive to develop. It would have been wasteful to take a lot of doll photos, and most people only took family photos. But, I would occasionally take a doll photo in the 80s and 90s.
The Talking Dolls
The Talking Dolls were even more expensive. I did not buy them due to the increased cost. But, over all the Talking Dolls were good looking. I don’t know how well they talked and what they said. I don’t like dolls that talk or light up because there is a chance was something going wrong with them. The metal can react to the plastic. Do not leave any metal parts on your dolls. Sailor Moon Visors stain the doll faces, so I took them all off, but I saved them in bead box organizers. Taking off the visors leaves holes in the dolls head. So, I did some experiments with earrings for babies that were real gold. Real gold is safe. But, the best way is to use the clone stamp in photoshop and remove the holes that way.
Dresses made with metal foil accents
Some of the doll had outfits with details looked like gold aluminum foil. I have three of those dresses or fuku. The foil sailor costumes were from the 3th and 4th series called Super and Super Stars, and Season Five is called Sailor Stars. I have found the name of my Saturn doll, and she is Excellent Team Super Sailor Saturn from 1995, but I have seen Beauty Change Saturn online and now I want her also.
The USA Sailor Moon Dolls by Bandai
I have the first set of US Sailor Dolls made by Bandai. The hair is longer and better quality the Japanese Bandai Dolls. Mercury has both black and blue hair, which is wrong. At least Mars has the right hair color black. The outfits are very high quality. The Dolls are larger about 12 inches tall. They can wear clothes for Jem and Holograms dolls and Mattel Barbie Clothes. This depends on the outfit. The Japanese Dolls are smaller than Barbie, and can wear clothes for smaller dolls like Skipper, but Barbie clothes will hang on them. I bought these dolls as a complete set, I did not have to hunt around to find them one at a time. It must have been 1993. I got them at Walgreens. Toys R Us did not even carry Sailor Moon Dolls, until much later. I wonder if Mattel insisted they only carry Mattel Dolls? I noticed a lack of clone dolls at Toys R Us. I had to look for Clone Dolls in Drug Stores and Super Discount Stores like Big Lots. Toys R US has now gone out of business. There is no need to constantly go to retail stores, if you can get the dolls you want online for less money. I usually never bought anything but Mattel Dolls in the 90s. I did find and buy two of the Beverly Hills 90210 Dolls in the early 90s, at Toys R Us. I thought the dolls were not very attractive, so I bought the best looking dolls on the series, Brandon and Brenda. These dolls were also made by Mattel. This is more evidence that only Mattel Dolls were at Toys R Us in California. I know if they had other dolls, I would have bought some of them.
I did not buy the later issues of US Sailor Scouts, because the only thing I could see different about them was the outfits. They full name of the doll was Deluxe Action Adventure Dolls. There was a second issue of the dolls with some corrections, to the outfits, but I did not buy the second editions.
There was an earlier Princess Serenity by Irwin who looked more primitive. At some point Irwin changed the face of Sailor Moon to a more attractive versions. I was stupid not to buy more of these dolls, when I could get them cheaply. I could have sold any extras, but I was living in a very small space with no storage room. It is bad to store dolls in the attic or in the basement. Moisture and temperature functions age the dolls and cause mold to begin to grow. But, how many dolls can fans of a show be expected to buy? There are so many characters, and there is so little space to keep dolls unless you live in Dallas Style Mansion. I wish they would stick to one release, but make the release a good looking quality doll, instead of creating a glut of dolls, that even me (one of most loyal fans) can’t keep track or hope to collect them all. Almost all of these weird dolls were played with, and then thrown away or recycled hopefully. Very few were saved by collectors to later resell, because no one could foresee them going up in price. In the 90s, everyone bought Mattel Barbie and saved her in the box, thinking she would go up in price, but she went down in price.
Princess Serenity Dolls
This is what I get for not looking at my Sailor Moon dolls for so many years. I have two Serenity Dolls. One is larger like the USA Sailor. The other is smaller a Bandai Japan Doll. I am not sure if they ever made a Sailor Moon with a yellow forehead stamp, or if all the dolls with the stamp are Princess Serenity. This is my publishment for not keeping notes in the 90s. I may never know the answers. At any rate there is no different between Princess Serenity and Sailor Moon herself. Princess Serenity is Sailor Moon’s mother, but she looks exactly the same as Sailor Moon. The appearances of Sailor Mother’s in the anime, is in the past. When the plot begins, Sailor Moon’s mother’s sends Sailor Moon (her daughter) and all the moon princess (the Sailor Scouts to earth). When she does this is about 20 years old. Maybe she can not age, or always appears the perfect age? If someone can better explain this please email me or leave a blog comment. I do not appear however, to have any dresses for Princess Serenity. I have a Princess Serenity dress, that I found on eBay which is very similar, but not an official Princess Serenity dress. This makes me even more confused. If I had bought two Princess Serenity dolls in the 90s, I should have at least one dress. I would not have given away or thrown away any of the outfits for Sailor Moon Dolls. This could mean neither one of these dolls is Princess Serenity.