The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: April 25th, 2000

The Blame Game

By: Matthew Patterson

I've read a lot of articles stating that "we shouldn't blame DiC for what they did to Sailormoon, they had no choice," or "it really isn't so bad, the dub is pretty good on its own, we should thank DiC." Both of these assertions are false. Every change made to the NA dub of Sailormoon was DiC's choice, nobody else's, and they resulted in a hacked-up dub bearing little resemblance to the original anime.

Recently, I read a Lemures article stating that most of the censorship, in effect, wasn't DiC's fault, they were forced to by government regulations. While it is true that the United States now regulates the content of programs according to their rating level (from least offensive to most, Y, Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, TV-MA), DiC still had several choices. First and foremost, they could have subtitled the series and released it on video. This would have also eliminated any problems with bad dubbing as well as leaving the original Japanese musical score intact. It appears to me that ratings on videos aren't as strictly enforced as ratings on TV, so DiC probably would have been able to release the series with a PG rating and it would have been a success.

Barring that, they could have dubbed the show faithfully, not cutting any episodes for time or content and not dropping any episodes because they didn't advance the plot. The series would then probably have been required to carry a TV-G or TV-PG rating, but certain networks, such as the Cartoon Network or the Sci-Fi Channel, would most likely have bought the series and simply aired it at times when the easily-offended audiences were less likely to be watching. (For example, Cartoon Network currently airs "Batman: The Animated Series," a dark, violent program that is much worse than the original Sailormoon, at 5 pm weekdays. I doubt that they would have any problem with airing an unedited dub of Sailormoon, especially since they currently show an unedited dub of Gundam Wing on their Midnight Run.) This would still be a dub, which in my opinion is always inferior to a sub, but if done right it could have been true to the original show and certainly wouldn't be as universally condemned as the dub that DiC wound up doing.

Alas, DiC did not choose either of these options. Instead, they chose the time-honored path of those trying to make a quick buck- pandering to the segment of the market that buys the most toy tie-ins. Thus, in order for its partner, Irwin, to be able to sell the greatest amount of cheesy merchandise, they decided to rate the series Y7. This rating is also on shows like "Power Rangers" and "Pokemon," which, as the reader can see, are the shows that have sold the most related merchandise in history.

So DiC decided to make a Y7 kid's show. At this point, government regulations came into play, prohibiting the show of blood, violence, sexuality, death, homosexuality, Christian symbols (as if Christianity were the only religion out there), and anything that might remotely offend people. Thus, the episode with Umino looking up Ms. Haruna's skirt was cut, the "Scouts" were said to have been "taken to the Negaverse" instead of dying in episode 45, the scene with the senshi on crosses in Rubeus' ship was removed, etc. At this point, DiC can be said to have merely been following government regulations.

However, that is not to say that the government is responsible for the changes made to Sailormoon. DiC made the choice not to release it on video, made the choice to make another TV show with cheesy toy spinoffs, made the choice to make it a kids' show in the vein of Power Rangers or Pokemon. The government didn't even enter into the equation until after DiC made their final choice. Thus, it wasn't the government's fault. DiC knew what they were getting into. The censorship of the dub of Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon was their fault, because they knowingly and willfully chose to put themselves into a situation where they would be forced to comply with regulations dictating what is and is not appropriate content.

I eagerly await replies. It doesn't matter to me if you agree or disagree with the points I've made in this article, since it is all ultimately a matter of opinion. However, flames are not appreciated. If you're going to take the time to say something, you might as well make it intelligent.

Comments on this article can be sent to: Matthew Patterson.

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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