The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: February 12th, 2000

Made in Japan: Are American children safe?

By: Q. Irk


I turned this in for a grade in my first college english course. It was required that we use an aspect of TV or movie media, be it commercial, sitcom, or feature, to show how it reflects our society. I chose the American censorship of the Sailor Moon TV series. This essay isn't just about dub-bashing - it's about how Americans view and accept things in comparison to how people in other countries think.

I feel I must add that I am being VERY SARCASTIC in the following lines, just in case someone couldn't see that...^^;;

Ah, yes. I got a 100% A on this paper.

Goodness, what are the Japanese showing their CHILDREN? All of the cartoons down there have violence, violence, violence! The women and girls are far too well endowed (and wear too little clothing!) for young ones' eyes to see! And with all the death and with so few happy endings...

Well, it's no wonder they have so many problems down there.

Our children are safe, though, here in America. Our cartoons don't show young eyes those kinds of things. But what about Japanese cartoons coming HERE? Will our children's minds be tainted by this insidious content?

Rest assured, their safety is being guarded by the good companies that dub them and release them to the airwaves. Such good, moral minds lead these industries.

A good case study is "Sailor Moon". Sailor Moon is a story about five girls who transform into superheroines that fight for love and justice. Defeating the black-hearted villains of the evil Negaverse, Sailor Moon and her friends defend the earth and teach children the values of love, friendship, and trust in very episode.

The lessons are better learned with the changes made in America. The Japanese version has all sorts of inappropriate things in it. Throughout the series, for example, there are times when the Sailor Scouts meet up with villains that are far too dangerous, creating unnecessary violence and gore.

Sometimes the short-skirted uniforms of the Scouts are too revealing to be proper for young girls. An old man makes lecherous comments to girls on the show, sometimes going so far as to look up their skirts! And, of course, since this show was originally Japanese we have to deal with occasional references to another country's culture. Of course, all of these things do not belong in America and are easily eliminated through careful editing. There were a few parts that were too important to just be taken out, unfortunately. Thankfully, there were solutions to the problems inherent in these parts. Our children are always safe when watchful, cautious companies are here to take care of these things!

In the first original series of Sailor Moon, our beautiful heroines died in the end! One by one they were killed, leaving a single member of their team to fight the evil Queen Beryl and the powerful Negaforce. Imagine the heartbreak and sadness that the poor young souls in Japan had to go through watching that episode! The little children were forced to wait an entire tortuous week with this morbid influence over them, grades suffering, until the next episode of the series aired. Then, in that episode, the ghosts of Sailor Moon's friends came back, lending their strength to hers in a final suicide strike against the Negaforce. Afterwards by the powers of goodness they were brought back to life.

But would our children go through this pain and sorrow waiting for the happy ending? No, the kind company that dubbed our heroines shielded our children. In America the Sailor Scouts were merely kidnapped, mysteriously escaping from their captors for that last strike, surviving the entire battle.

Other changes for our children's benefit were made to the villains. Malachite and Zoycite (who, for some reason, are Kunzite and Zoisite over there) were both men. Though love amongst villains is something that should be encouraged in shows so our children can see that everyone can have good in them, homosexuality is simply inappropriate. A fantastic move was made by the dubbers, preserving both the love and our common decency. Zoycite was made female, creating a clean relationship of love between a man and a woman.

In America, our children are protected by strict guidelines on television, in movies, and in books. Any material to cross over from countries that allow otherwise has guidelines applied that edit plot, dialogue, and characters. All foreign material will comply to our beliefs, standards, and faiths.

And this is as it should be.

Comments on this article can be sent to: Q. Irk.

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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