Sailor Moon Dubs: A Comparison

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Over the years, Sailor Moon has undergone more transformations then just her outfit.

When Sailor Moon first came to the states in 1996 DiC owned the licensing for it. Over the years Sailor Moon was passed on to ADV Films, Cloverway Inc. and finally Pioneer Entertainment. The first Sailor Moon dub license finished with Pioneer Entertainment in 2006. In 2014, with the announcement of the new Sailor Moon Crystal being streamed to Hulu there was also the news of a new dub for the classic series by Viz Media as well as streaming of the original Japanese version!

Fans rejoiced! Before this announcement we were forced to find the episodes on Youtube or other websites where the quality was still stuck in the 90’s.

Now that the new dub has been out for a while it is time for the big question to be answered, new dub vs. old dub: who said it better?

It’s great to see the classic show (uncut) in English. This is one of the things I’m most excited about rewatching Sailor Moon. Anime has grown so much since DiC originally got its hands on Sailor Moon. No longer do we have to substitute Japanese culture for something more Western and no longer is anime being dumbed down as something just for kids.

Changes made to Sailor Moon. Original Japanese image on top and below is DiC’s edits

Cloverway Inc, who handled the dub for Sailor S and Super, allowed for more of the cultural references and more faithful to the source material. Still, they are responsible for the “cousins” fiasco that sums up Haruka and Michiru’s relationship.

Viz has given us all a change to see the series the way it was meant to be. Already this is a huge bonus from the original. I will say though, Sailor Moon’s early American years weren’t awful! When it fell into the hands of Pioneer Entertainment (who later became Geneon) the Sailor Moon movies that were distributed were relatively uncut.

One of the key changes about the new dub that I don’t think anyone has issue with is the changing of the names. The American-ized names of the Sailor Senshi have been scrapped and now in English we can call them by their proper titles. Usagi, Rei, Ami, Minako, and Makoto are all with us on this one. Darrien is now Mamoru and Andrew is once again Motoki. Ah, classic 90’s names, I am not glad to see you gone.

Another thing fixed are the “aged” voices of some of the cast. What do I mean? Well the obvious mistake in the classic dub was giving Luna the voice of an exasperated grandma. I can understand the need for that stereotypical “older figure” to guide our girls. But any Sailor Moon fan also knows what Luna looks like this when she takes human form and the voice makes zero sense.

Not A Grandma

Viz’s new dub makes sure to give everyone very youthful voices, including Luna and Artemis. It works with some characters and harms others. Besides Usagi, Rei, and Makoto, others now all sound very generic and similar. I can’t tell the difference between Minako and Ami or Naru and every other girl in the show. This especially hurts when you can’t see the girls talking but just hear the voices off screen.

This is probably their attempt to fix another major flaw with the original dub, the random accents. Remember Molly’s (Naru) random Brooklyn accent that seemed to be a fallback for many dubs at the time. Or the random accents they’d give to whoever was the Character-Of-The-Week. These were more prominent in the first two seasons of the DiC English dub. Later, when the licensing rights went to Pioneer Entertainment they became a lot better at treating the characters as people instead of caricatures.

Still the new voice’s of our Inner Senshi don’t stick with us like the old. I miss Mina being a little too loud at times, and the confidence Ami’s old voice character use to put on the screen. But, you know, there is something about how a person first listens to an anime that makes them enjoy it- despite how terrible it is. I do still like watching the original dub because that’s what is ingrained in my memory.

There’s still a lot to be seen for the new dub. They’ve only just started posting Season 2 on Hulu. I’m confident they’ll continue to be true to the story and fix the “Cousin” issue the original dub had.

In the end, I got use to the new dub voices and enjoyed the changes Viz made. The new voices took some getting used to and I might not be able to completely tell the difference between Ami and Minako but it’s not enough to make it unwatchable. I’m embracing this new dub and can’t wait to see what it has in store for the future!

If you’d like to watch the new dub, select episodes are available on Hulu and DVD’s can be purchased on amazon.

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