Linda Ballantyne was one of the voices for the 1990s anime character, Sailor Moon. For the past twenty years, Linda has worked professionally on stage, screen, and television, and she’s been heard in hundreds of radio and television commercials worldwide.
The intrepid actress was born in Canada on Valentine’s day, and that’s a good thing since she is loved by so many fans of the Sailor Moon series.
Linda was the voice of Serena/Sailor Moon during the second half of the English version of the series — or Neo-Queen Serenity, as she’ll one day be known. She recently was part of the Anime Expo 2014, where she was asked to talk about her role.
In the wake of the Return of Sailor Moon, the girl who fights for love and justice, Linda had a few things to say about how she got to be Sailor’s voice, and how the show helped to break ground with its feminist values.
“It was a show with five strong female characters,” she explains, softy banging her hand on the table in front of her after each word. “Each one of them had a strong presence and that hadn’t happened. Back then, there wasn’t a show like that. Even to this day, we go to auditions, you’ll see all the sides and you’ll pick which characters you want to read for — and say there’s 20 characters — there will be maybe four that women can go for. All the rest are male. Every single one.”
Sailor Moon was one of the first anime series to gain cult popularity among North American audiences. It debuted in North America in 1995 on the Canadian network YTV, and local stations across the U.S. It hit a roadblock in the U.S. in 1996 when it lost syndication, but adoring fans petitioned for its return, and even got Kellogg’s Pop Tarts to advertise during the show’s timeslot until USA Network syndicated it again. Later, in 1998, the show moved to Cartoon Network’s Toonami block.
The biggest difference between Sailor Moon and other animes of that time was the audience it attracted. Anime was predominantly watched by male viewers, but Sailor Moon attracted a large number of female viewers, who learned from the show that women could be powerful and make a difference.
Linda went after the voice role of Sailor Moon to prove to her obsessed nieces that she could do it. She had big shoes to fill at the time, since Terri Hawkes had done 57 episodes for the series before she left for maternity leave and declined to return for the third season.
Even with a nasty head cold, Linda was able to land the role as Sailor Moon. Linda said about the role, “I would rarely tell people I was the voice of Sailor Moon. Rarely. Because it was, like, I’m the other voice that [the producers] didn’t necessarily want… Even to this day, I’ll go to autograph sessions and a fan will ask me, ‘OK. So which one were you?'”
Linda was the voice of Sailor Moon for Seasons 3 and 4. During that time, many byproducts of the show became popular, including this handy website for people who want to create their own Sailor characters.
If you’ve got questions about the Sailor Moon series itself, this page will probably answer them.