Expectations were so low for Sailor Moon that its producers killed off the whole cast at the end of season one, only to have to re-edit it in the face of angry fans and much greater ratings than they’d ever imagined.
Sailor Moon still struggles to garner the respect other Japanese series win, but as someone who was reading manga and watching anime before, during, and after its North American introduction, I can assure you that this is the series that put Japanese comics and animation on the map here—and into the hearts of millions of little girls who would some day grow up to provide mange’s core readership.
NOTE: I’m adding a little addendum to this post because my comment, “Expectations were so low for Sailor Moon that its producers killed off the whole cast at the end of season one” has raised some eye brows. I paid a lot of attention to this series when the anime first aired, because I was interested in anime, but more importantly, because my two daughters loved the show and I liked that they were enjoying something that I also enjoyed—though the show was obviously intended for viewers their age.
From what I read then, and remember now, production of the show quickly followed the manga, but was always intended to be a done in one series. Teams of magical girls in sailor suits had no track record against which the producers could anticipate the success the series would become—and it was a HUGE success.