The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: March 11th, 2000

Americanization: 'Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon' Meets The Television Censor

By: Zoisite84

When Naoko Takeuchi created her manga starring Sailor-suited warriors of love and justice, she couldn't hardly have anticipated the coinciding distress it would create. The internet has long since been a place for fans of the show to bash characters and plot-lines alike, but it seems to be most convenient for fans in other countries to critique the many versions of Sailormoon. Whether they have issues with the numerous dubs in nearly twenty different languages, or the inappropriateness of the original Japanese version, the subject remains one of the most talked-about on the web.

As an american viewer, I must first thank DiC for even bothering to bring Sailormoon to the states, something that many people who bash the dub forget. Without an english adaption there wouldn't be the millions upon billions of fans creating webpages and spending their last red cent on merchandise. Oddly enough, the majority of the dolls and trinkets sold in stores like Hot Topic and Suncoast are those imported from Europe, corresponding to the french version of Sailormoon.

Let's concentrate on the english dub for a moment. DiC took the liberty of changing the names of the majority of the characters, ie: Usagi became Serena, Makoto became Lita. The attempt to americanize a japanese cartoon went so far as to flip the pictures around so that the cars would appear to be driving on the opposite side of the road. Perhaps trying to make an anime more "comfortable" to the american audience is alright, but then there were other changes. The cutting of crucial episodes and major changes to the scripts, to the point that those who had seen the original began to question if this was the same episode.

An ever-present debate, especially on pages dedicated to Sailormoon antagonists, is in response to DiC's turning Zoisite, a vindictive, beautiful male, into Zoycite, a giggly, ditzy female with no apparent chest. I admit, it was pulled off pretty nicely, save the fact that the "sailor scouts" had playboy-model figures and Zoy got absolutely no curves whatsoever. This brought up questions about characters in the third, fourth and fifth seasons, for example, Haruka and Michiru. Two of the Sailorsenshi, Sailor Uranus and Neptune are the flamboyant lesbians of the group. Much of the subject matter of their conversations includes quips pertaining to their sexuality; they even die for each other. It sickens me to think that DiC, if the third season and up ever do get dubbed, will create the impression that Neptune and Uranus are sisters or something. This doesn't even begin to discuss Fisheye, a member of the amazon trio, who happens to be a male in love with Mamoru. How is DiC going to deal with him dressing up as a girl and ripping off his shirt?

Morals aside, it's also disturbing that DiC decides to finally finish what they started and dub the last seventeen episodes of Sailormoon R, not giving any consideration to the fact that they completely move back and forth to the original and dub. An example are the attacks names, or the fact that Princess Serena was suddenly Princess Serenity, the japanese name. It got pretty old as well when enemies from every season were thought to be from the "Negaverse!"

Fans of the dub will argue that DiC did what they had to do to satisfy the "safe zone" of the average american viewer. They claim that since Sailormoon is a children's show, many of the original content must be edited. My only suggestion is to stop trying to make it suitable for young children, and get it on some of the more adult channels. It's annoying that 99% of the dubbed anime shown on television is found on Cartoon Network. Sailormoon is in a much higher league than Dragonball Z or Robotech!

I wouldn't say the dub was completely worthless. It introduced me to the beauty of my now favorite anime. The voices were some of the best that I've heard in a dub in a *long* time; just listen to those of the Voltron anime or DBZ -- not much of a comparison, ne? The music was creative; there are two english CD's composed of original DiC influenced music that have been very successful in the states. For those completely displeased with DiC's work, may I suggest seeking the aid of fansubbers, and for those who criticize Toei Animation for their immoral animation, I would strongly advise against a trip to Asia anytime soon.

Comments on this article can be sent to: Zoisite84.

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

  Current Lemures Top || Main || Email   
© 2002 AQ