By: Brian Bork
There seems to be defining moments throughout the Sailormoon Universe that affect it and us in a momentous fashion. These changes usher in new times and era's for those involved in Sailormoon on or offline for better or for worse depending on one's opinion. The Sailormoon online community is on the threshold of another great change, that of the upcoming S and SuperS dub by DiC.
Currently, the SM net community has been hit with the news that another two seasons of Sailormoon are going to be dubbed and released in North America by the same company that did the first two, DiC. This revelation will have an incredible effect on the online Sailormoon community, now a whole new generation of Sailormoon fans will be incorporated into the veritable layers of fans who already exist. This means that the new names for the soldiers of the outer solar system will begin to appear along with Saturn's and the villains, plus new attack and transformation phrases will be created. Further more, the DiC story line will begin to spread and proliferate as new fans start up their own page's and post what they've seen from the dubbed episodes. This may cause problems with young North American fans who've seen the show for the first time who then e-mail Sailormoon sites with Japanese content telling the webmaster that his or her information is wrong.
What does this mean for established web pages? Nothing really, unless you hate DiC that is ^_~. One problem I foresee is the wane of available information on the original Japanese version because VKLL and other fan subs will begin to pull their tapes from distribution. As time passes, those who continue to produce fan subs from VKLL or others subs will discover that their master copies have deteriorated beyond use as a result of distributing copies to eager fans. Every tape has a "shelf life", one can only be watched or used a certain amount of times before it becomes unusable. Older fans of the series who've seen fan subs or the original in one way or another may lose interest in their sites and Sailormoon which would lead them to remove their page's from the net causing a slow deadening of the original Sailormoon version and the information available to the public online.
I couldn't imagine that information on the original Sailormoon series would completely disappear forever but it may be doomed to become a more obscure voice in the online SM community. I could see this begin to happen a year and a half or so after the next two dubbed season's are released by DiC so it's still a possible part of the distant future (relatively speaking). I personally find this a bit scary because I've been around long enough to see how Sailormoon's evolved on the net to include more Japanese content. The original Japanese version is almost chiq in some ways, it also has a whole bunch of politically correct terminology surrounding it too which helps it stay strong. However, the SM net community may evolve further to push out the all important original Japanese version and all that it represents. I could also see a lot of stress and tension develop among older fans of the series as new web pages appear on the web with S and SuperS dub information. They could see these new pages as minor irritations at first but as they spread and grow more popular, fear could very well set in at the prospect of being pinched out of the greater whole.
Right now, it seems that the majority of popular pages within the Sailormoon web community are based around Japanese terms and the knowledge gained from fan subs. If fun subs do disappear then new fans to the series wouldn't be able to see the original and would base their pages solely around what is known to them (the DiC dub). For the longest time, the popularity of Sailormoon fan subs lay in the need to know what the other seasons not aired in North America are about. Usually when fans see the later season's they do feel a need to find fan subs of the first and second seasons. If S, SuperS, and maybe even Sailor Stars get dubbed, the whole series would be known to North American fans and therefore the need to discover new plots and characters would be absent. Only a few would probably feel the need to search for the original Japanese version, perhaps out of curiosity. If this happens, and the mystique of the previously undubbed seasons disappear, we could be stuck with a lot of dub fan pages and maybe even a new rift within the Sailormoon net community. This rift would be a result of the unavailability of fan subs and lack of interest in the original because it's all been aired in North America. Does this mean that two main groups will appear, dub sites and original sites? Well, that's already happened to an extent but the difference will be that the dub group of old had the fan sub option which would allow for the second group to continue expanding and growing. There will always be a ready supply of dub fans because it's accessible on North American TV while fan subs are restricted to online distribution which cost money to buy etc.
So as the dub community expands and the Japanese version community shrinks, will the most popular pages become dub sites? Older SM fans who've been online for a while now know the stereotype of the traditional DiC page with their slow loading images, terrible page navigation, broken links, MIDI's everywhere, plus much more. These types of pages used to have the opportunity to evolve into original series sites (as mine did), but they may well evolve into great DiC dub websites with technically (dub wise) fabulous information, beautiful layouts, and a proper sense of netiquette. The stereotypical idea of a DiC site which has been traditionally ignored or discredited may become the popular norm while original series sites drift away from the common consciousness of Sailormoon fandom (quick disclaimer: I don't think that all DiC sites are bad and conform to the afore mentioned stereotypes).
[The reason I'm using the idea of "popular pages" is because they exists and they also give you an idea of where peoples whims and interests are centered. For the purposes of the above arguments, I've used this idea to suggest that if DiC page's become as popular and chiq as their current original series counterparts then it will mean the general net viewing audience may be uninformed and/or uninterested in the Japanese version.]
I don't like the DiC dub myself but I believe there's room enough for everyone online. I just hope that the original Japanese version will be preserved and understood as fan subs disappear and the DiC dub's influence expands. It would be pure tragedy for a new generation growing up on Sailormoon (or Sailor Moon to them) to be deprived of something as wonderful as Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon and it's beloved Sailor Senshi.
Comments on this article can be sent to: Brian Bork.