The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: March 11th, 2000

Pioneer, Sailormoon, Continuity, and Everything

By: Alan (John Alan Riggs)

In the fall of 1999, Pioneer released the uncut, subtitled Sailormoon movies in North America. As of this writing-- February 2000--the company has released an dubbed adaptation of the R movie. In the months to come, the company plans to create similar versions of the S and SS movies, as well as dual-language DVDs of all three.

That's the news. Now... what is the Sailormoon (from this point on, SM) community to make of this? As an anime fan, I must admit my fellow fans have had a variety of reactions. Several of their viewpoints are worth exploring, so that other fans might know how to look at the issues.

Reaction 1 - Acceptance

It's great to have the SM movies commerically available in North America. For one part of fandom, the subtitled editions will be useful. Those who know the Japanese SM can collect the movies, in the hopes that more accurately-subtitled releases will follow. Those who have wondered about the original series can now see it, and not have to endure poor picture quality, comic store prices, or disappearing fansubbers. On the other side of the equation, the casual SM fan may appreciate the new dubs. For those who can see films on DVD, the inclusion of three versions (original/dub/cut) will appeal to fans of any level.

Reaction 2 - Neutrality

The subtitled movies might be worthwhile, but their appeal is limited. After all, those interested in the original probably have fansubs--if not import laserdiscs. To add to the issue, it's unlikely that the subtitled versions will be reprinted. As for the dubs, they will be average at best. They will amount to little more than time-fillers for young fans. Even if Pioneer (or another company) releases the TV series, SM still won't gain in popularity. Whether dubbed, subtitled, or all at once, the best years of SM have passed.

Reaction 3 - Opposition

The subtitled releases, though labelled with a "13 and up" sticker, might still draw ire from the mainstream. The dubbed tapes won't garner any new fans, and the actors' performances won't improve. Consider the situation--is this version being created for any reason beyond profit-making? SM is a cult hit at best, for it turns off some individuals faster than the Pokemon scandals.

In conclusion, I believe the movies will succeed. My optimism is limited about SM's future, for the television series is an expensive property. If a company were to purchase the undubbed seasons, or the series as a whole, that company's future would depend on whether they released uncut subtitled editions or not. Pioneer might do well to option the remaining seasons, and hold off on the first two until the quality of the dubs and the subtitled versions have been established.

Comments on this article can be sent to: Alan (John Alan Riggs).

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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