The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: August 1st, 2000

Consistency – The dub’s Achilles’ Heel

By: DQBunny

This article was sent in on: July 22, 2000

Being a journalist, consistency within a story is an absolute factor. One’s eye is trained to look for mistakes with consistency and strives to correct them, and it annoys the heck out of me when I see a mistake and can not correct it.

I run a SM site along with several other people, comparing the original version of Sailormoon to the dub and trying to educate people about the benefits of the subbed Sailormoon. As part of this site, I recently created a “Guide to Sailormoon S” to go on one of the pages for people to print out so it would be easy for people to read synopses of the Japanese episodes and have not been exposed to them before. The goal of the guide is to keep everything straight for them. But, in doing the guide, I found out I got confused as well, because I just could not pinpoint everything down to one simple name.

One of the problems in the DiC dub was consistency, but not on such a large scale as CWI has done in the S dub. In “Driving Dangerously,” Mina calls out “Venus Crystal Power” to transform, a power she should not have for another season. The next episode she transforms, she goes back to “Venus Star Power.” Amara and Michelle have both used the incorrect “Star Power” and the correct “Planet Power”to transform. The names of attacks are inconsistent on day to day basis for Sailors Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. Uranus and Neptune’s attacks waver slightly as well.

Another problem with consistency is the names of the talismen, pure hearts, daimon, and Messiah. I realized that these references to Christian mythology would be changed, but no one can decide on what to call them in the dub. It seems there is a different writer for each episode and he/she decides what they will call the items and attacks for that particular episode instead of building on precedence. Many ongoing series use a series bible which sets in stone what names, items, places, attack, etc. are called. It would not take much effort for CWI or Optinum to sit down and create one of these “bibles” for their writers. Heck, I would do it for them if it will make the episodes consistent. With the exception of the last 17 episodes of R and the name of the ginzuishou (Silver Crystal), DiC at least was pretty consistent from episode to episode.

Names also seem to be another area where consistency falls. As wonderful it was to hear Hotaru’s name in the dub, it looks odd against the likes of Serena, Amy, etc. If they were going to keep Hotaru’s original name, it would not be that much of a stretch to keep Haruka, Michiru, and Setsuna. The names of the villians are frequently kept in their Japanese form as well, and it looks like two different cultures are clashing. Personalities are not consistent with the original series either, or the personality as presented in the DiC dub, with the example being Sailor Pluto (Trista.) Trista’s dub personality in no way fits with the character that Meioh Setsuna is suppose to be. Even Sailor Pluto’s appearance in the last 17 episodes of R is pretty consistent with her Japanese character in my opinion. The words coming out of Trista’s mouth does not fit the actions her character does on the screen. I can see them wanting to change the personality of the character to fit the dub, but not hack it so much that the character just seems completely odd.

The main problem about lack of consistency is that it will tend to drive away viewers. If you confuse the viewer with every episode they see, then he/she will not want to watch it again. Cartoon Network and CWI have targetted the dub for small children, and they are not stupid. I can see two little children right now trying to imitate characters in the dub and fighting over the proper name for Sailor Mars’ attack because it is not consistent. The main thing that seems to be consistent is the fact that they are drilling the “cousins” concept into everyone’s heads.

On a professional level, lack of consistency makes CWI look bad among such dubbing companies like Pioneer and Viz. It makes them look very immature standing next to these companies. If CWI is looking to dub more anime to show on networks in the United States, producers may look at the poor job done on Sailormoon S and laugh in their faces. If CWI can not handle consistency within 38 episodes (actually 37 with the omission of episode 119), how can they do so with other series? There is the excuse that CWI was pressed for time to get these episodes out, but there is no reason why the writers and producers at the company could make the effort to see if these shows were accurate. There is absolute no excuse for sloppiness, no matter how much or little time you have to create your product. I have to produce an entire story for the newspaper in less than an hour most of the time and it is expected to be accurate. I know CWI writers have more than an hour to write an episode of Sailormoon. If news reporters can be accurate while on a deadline, couldn’t script writers be as well?

Sure, in the future, there is Sailormoon SuperS to look forward to. I don’t see any excuse for consistency problems in this series. CWI has more time to work on SuperS than they did with S. I am praying that from day to day, we do not get “Pegasus” to “A unicorn” to “That white horse with wings and a golden horn.” Who wants to bet that “lemures” will be called both “lemures” or “Dream Snatchers?” With the lack of consideration CWI has put into the episodes, I would not want them to dub Sailor Stars at all, but that is an entirely different rant on why that series should never be dubbed. Still, if CWI wants to look like it is doing a good job among fans and colleagues, then it must buckle down and become more accurate with writing. Sailormoon SuperS may be the only chance they have to redeem themselves in this area. Don’t squander it.

Comments on this article can be sent to: DQBunny.

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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