The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: August 1st, 2000


By: tsuki-san

This article was sent in on: July 4, 2000

In reaction to many numerous complaints about DiC grabbing hold of Sailormoon S and Super S, I have found, DiC, does not have rights to the series! In fact, CloverWay International, Toei’s American counterpart actually has rights! Is this happy day? I think so.

From what I have seen so far, is that CWI is a MUCH, MUCH better dubber than DiC. This company has the translators from Toei, so that all the episodes will more or less be fully intact. For the last couple episodes, the translations were kept, almost wholly intact! Right down to the smallest elements, CWI kept it, and I’m very glad.

However, in the amount of time it took to become known that it was to be released, to the point it WAS released, was infinitely short, and could not have been the product of a remarkably wonderful animé dub. And, it seems, I was right.

You see, dubs SHOULD require a lot of time to put into it, and this one, well. . .didn’t quite meet that standard. Voice actors were horribly chosen for some, as Usagi’s voice is much more deep, when it should a light, whimsical tone. Ami’s voice has a twangy accent, and should have been light, but serious. Rei’s voice should be dark and mysterious, being a Shinto priestess, not valley-girlish, saying terms like, “Da Bomb.” When I had heard that, it came as a real shock. (They’re trying to mix American pop-culture with animé. . .not a good idea) Minako was sounding a little too much like our previous Usagi. Michiru’s voice was a tad too deep for her beautiful, feminine part in Sailormoon, but that was the voice she was given. Tomoe’s voice was a little too sane to actually be called a mad professor, but as the series went on, he got the mad doctor laugh down pat. Eudial’s voice was/is so far the worst. Her being one of my all time favorite villains, I knew she was in her 30’s- early 40’s and that was pretty old compared to the 14-15ish all the other characters are. Her voice actor sounded like a part from a country rendition of Clueless. Mimet should have gotten this voice. All in all, I think Makoto and Kaolinite’s voices were the best choices for them. However, even though Haruka’s voice was deep, you could immediately tell he was a she. Or is that what they wanted you to know? We may never know.

Speaking of Haruka and Michiru, the choices for their dub names struck me as odd. Michelle, I could understand, being closely related to Michiru and American, but Umara? They just might as well kept it Haruka. Knowing the American audience, and they were correct to do so for Americans are bit “homophobic”; they edited out every reference to them being lovers or romantically involved. They really didn’t tell us explicitly is Sailormoon, but they had tiny hints dropped here and there. However in Sailor Moon, they called them close “cousins” and left it at that. No chance for romance here.

The references to the talismans were oddly changed to objects of power, among others. At one point, they even made the wrong reference to the owner NOT having a pure heart, which was wrong. Every target had a pure heart, they just needed to find the ones with a talisman inside. It seems, that they are avoiding any collision with religious beliefs as they refer to the Holy Grail/Sacred Cup/Chalice as the Purity Chalice. They made a few, slight changes, also, here and there in the series, dialogue and plotwise. One, is which is Ep. 91 (Japanese) the second episode of S, that Makoto replies “I can’t take a cat, because my mother is allergic.” Makoto, who lives alone, her parents dying in a plane crash, actually said, “Since I’m living alone, I can’t afford a cat.” This change might have occurred because they do not want a 14 year old living alone, but this change still was unnecessary. Another odd change was the use of “Venus Crystal Power!” when the transformation was still in Star Power! and will also lead to confusion in the SS dub. Jupiter’s Sparkling Wide Pressure, was strangely transformed into Jupiter Thunder Power, at one point in the dub and was also reverted back to Thunderclap Zap, and back to Sparkling Wide Pressure.

CWI’s inconsistencies are reoccurring, but as the series goes by, they are getting the hang of it, and becoming better. The only real thing that disturbs me is the selection of voice actors. The Japanese seiyuu were more real about their work; more realistic, that is. The American voice actors are at a disadvantage, for the Japanese seiyuu, by this time, had been working with the Bishoujo Senshi for more than 3 years, and had gotten comfortable by then. The dub’s VAs are inexperienced and have yet to realize the character’s feel and don’t quite have the same “motivation” because largely with American actors, it gets down to money.

There are upsides, and they, in my opinion far outweigh the downsides. But, you must remember it is all to easy to spot “flubs”, but if you can actually tell what they have done right, then it is a job well done. Some examples of CWI’s pros are that the original music was kept, which was a BIG plus. Every background music was kept the same, although I have heard complaints from the SM community whining about, “What’s that weird music? Is that the weird Japanese music?” and other complaints thereabouts. I have also heard complaints about the lack of strength in the music. They are faded because they are, what?, 4-6 years old and probably weren’t stored in airtight vaults! That’s a laugh. By the time CWI got them, they were already in that condition, and weren’t about to spend thousands of dollars just to have them renewed. So they dubbed over it (you can tell, immediately, the difference between the dubbed parts and the rest of the show, that was kept the same.) Things like that deteriorate, just like when I heard a friend of mine say, “The colors aren’t as vivid as the DiC dubs.” Well, the same rule applies to that as well. It just can’t be helped!

Names in the dub were exactly the same as the original Japanese, which I thought they never would have done. Of course, with the American voice actors, they would slightly mangle the names and have the ever-so-famous switch up with the r’s and l’s. One example of this was Kaolinite changed to Kaorinite. Same difference. Eudial’s name was also kept the same, but pronounced as U-GEEL. How odd. Tomoe was kept the same, although how they spelled it might be different. Every daimon I’ve seen have been kept the same, from Mikuji to Daruma. They all have a place in Japanese culture, and would help clear things up if they would actually provide footnotes. For those of you that are clueless at the moment, I’ll clear this up. The first episode’s, ( Japanese Ep. 90; American Ep. 83) daimon was Mikuji. In Japan’s shrines, mikuji are a fortune telling stick. You take a canister, shake it, and a stick comes out with a number on it. That number corresponds to a piece of paper with a fortune on it. Once you read it, you tie it to a tree in hopes that, if bad, it won’t come true, and if good, it will come true. Occasionally the fortune receiver will make a wish while tying it to the tree. If you remember, Rei did all this, exactly, but in the dub, they cut some scenes, obviously for time saving. In Japanese episode 105, American episode 98, the daimon was Daruma. Daruma was named after Bodhidharma, or Bodai Daruma. He is credited with the founding of Zen Buddhism, and is famous for his dedication towards one, single task. People buy daruma dolls, when starting a project or wish, and paint in one eye to the doll. Once the goal is completed, and achieved, you fill in the other eye.

CloverWay has done a much better job then you could imagine. They have actually transformed me from a die-hard Japanese purist to somewhere a little less lonely. Very few in the SM community actually have gotten to the purist stage, but as I saw the dub, the ever so annoying “Serena” made a little place in the bottom corner of my heart. But, she’ll never take the place of the beautiful, funny Usagi.

In all, CWI has done a much, much better job than DiC or perhaps any other company ever would have done, even with all their faults. I’m very glad CloverWay took the job of dubbing, and I congratulate them for what they’ve done. Although, they do have room for improvement. In any case, CloverWay kept the original music, kept the original dialogue, kept many Japanese references, and many other small details they had the foresight to see, that they would benefit the dub much more than they ever could have known. Arigatou, CloverWay.

*This article was written by Japanese episode 106, American episode 99, so some parts of the series have been left out because of spoilers and no ability to compare the dub and original. Many apologies for any inconsistencies by the time you read this.

Comments on this article can be sent to: tsuki-san.

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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