Anime film restorer reveals reason why ‘Sailor Moon’ has a pink ‘aesthetic’

Anime film restorer reveals reason why ‘Sailor Moon’ has a pink ‘aesthetic’
via vizmedia / YouTube
Bryan Ke
By Bryan Ke
January 26, 2024
A possible explanation has been given as to why the 2000s DVD version of the classic “Sailor Moon” series has a pink tint “aesthetic,” a topic recently sparked discussions on social media.
Driving the conversation: X user @kane_hisa kicked off the conversation in a post on Jan. 9, highlighting how the pinkish grading of “Sailor Moon” has caught the attention of younger audiences with its “emo” aesthetic.
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Users said the characteristic color was present in the version of the show released by Toei Animation — the studio behind the series and “Dragon Ball Z” — for DVDs in the 2000s. The original “Sailor Moon,” which did not have the tint, aired from 1992 to 1997.
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Another X user described the matter as “historical revisionism,” writing that it is “hard to accept” it.
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How it happened: David Miranda, a film restorer who specializes in anime, explained that it came down to Toei’s process of digitizing the classic anime. The studio, he said, used master positive prints that “had faded over time” instead of the original camera negatives.
“Eventually, film will start to break down chemically with different types of film fading differently,” Miranda, who does not work for the Japanese animation studio, told Yahoo! News. “The film prints used to digitize ‘Sailor Moon’ in Japan in the early 2000s were all Eastman Kodak [film], which are known for fading pink and red.”

Miranda also spoke about the issue in an X thread, noting how some episodes in later seasons also appeared greenish.
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Why it matters: While the unintentional changes created an “interesting aesthetic,” Miranda stressed that it is “not authentic.” He said those who prefer the incorrect colors are entitled to their opinion, but those changes are “wrong, not intended and go against the original color designers’ work.”
 
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