Release: Jun 22, 2011 - Author: -Der-Tribun - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB - more from this series
Compared are the heavily censored US TV Version and the German TV Version.
The anime series Sailor Moon should ring a bell. The 200 episode series about a group of girls, who can perform magic and fight Evil is a classic which left a mark in the awareness of Japanese Productions (in both directions). No doubt about that. The series was a major success worldwide. But the German Version is quite a surprise. In comparison to Saber Rider for instance, the German Version is based on the original Japanese master and the effort to keep it as close as possible to the Original was being made. Besides a few modifications (please see below), the German Version is equal to the uncensored original Japanese Version.
The US North American Version however is a different matter.
The company DiC was calling the shots for the adaption of the first two seasons and Cloverway for the following two seasons. The final season 5 - "Sailor Stars" - has never been released in the US, probably because of the controversial "Sailor Starlights", which also change the gender during their transformations. The realization is legendary, but for all thw wrong reasons. It's a perfect example for heavy censorship in animes these days. Especially season 1, produced by DiC, has a very dreadful reputation and is the one with the most censorships being made. "Highlights" are the last two episodes of the first season. The remains of these episodes were put together to one single episode. Really preposterous.
The modifications / censorship
It's also worth being mentioned that the German Version was being modified here and there, too. Zoisite e.g. is a woman as well (I guess the channel changed that) and attempts to avoid words like "kill", "die" etc. were being made, which causes an odd result in some scenes. But still: these modifications are pretty harmless in comparison to the DiC Version. Comparisons of the dialog with subtitled Japanese episodes prove how close to the Original the German dialog is.
Only the comparison of the first episode mentions the differences of the opening and final credits, the title of the episodes, the preview of the next episode and the "Sailor Says". All these elements are being ignored in the calculation of the different lengths. Basically, cuts and modifications are the two issues that might have happened. Sometimes it's only one of them, sometimes both at the same time. The time index is based on the German Version.
Material Not Related to the Plot
This section covers all the material that is shown outside of the storyline in every episode. It will only be discussed in this comparison.
Both versions use an intro that differs from the Japanese original, they also are quite different among themselves.
The German intro starts with the original first shot before a picture of Sailor V from episode 1 can be seen, then a short scene with Luna on the roof from episode 4 and a night view of the Tokyo Tower taken from the third episode. After 21 seconds the Japanese intro of the first season is used (starting with second 21 as well). During the intro, the song "Sag das Zauberwort" (Say the Magic Word) can be heard. Except for various songs this intro was used for every season, which is a pity as the original featured different intros for every season.
The US intro, however, is completely made from scrap and only fragments of the original can be found. Almost everything we see was taken from several episodes (among others Neflite, Naru and Kunzite can be seen) and mixed with CGI effects. At the very beginning there is a text resembling Star Wars (removed fromDer amerikanische Vorspann hingegen ist eine völlige Neuschöpfung, wo nur noch Fragmente des japanischen Originals vorhanden sind. Fast alles sind Ausschnitte aus episode eight on, it probably was too embarassing for the producers). Everyone of the Sailor Warriors can be seen, which of course takes away some suspense in Jupiter's and Venus' introduction episodes. The intro ends with a title overlay. The original song was redone and translated into English.
For the first season it can be said that the German intro is a lot closer to the original. Furthermore, both intros are exactly 90 seconds long.
The outro also contains some interesting differences.
The German outro is the same as the original one, only shorter. The first 25 seconds were used and the credits replaced. The outro then ends with a mirror reflection of a falling star in a lake, next to the moons reflection. The outro music is a slow and gentle piano version of the intro song.
The US outro uses the same material, but mirrored and containing a CGI window showing scenes from the intro (why that is remains unknown). The material was changed a bit as well, there is no falling star. The music here is the intro music in a shortened version. This outro is 30 seconds long.
The Episode Title
The moment at which the episode title is being shown is different. The German Version displays the title after the episode preview and at the same moment as the original (this means that when the episode preview was cancelled it is shown during the episode). In the US, however, it is being shown after the intro.
Both use the original material but feature some peculiarities. The German title screen contains the original music and the text is in front of a background picture of bubbles and the moon. The US uses new music, the background (except for the moon) fades to blue before the text is being shown as in the original. Both title screens are exactly 10 seconds long.
The Episode Preview
After the intro, the German Version shows a 20 second long episode preview which sums up the theme of the episode and shows some clips. This preview was moved in the US Version. It can now be seen before the intro and now features a multi colored CGI border. An example:
After the episode preview, the original and the German Version show a 25 seconds long sequence in which Bunny introduces herself and the other Sailor Warriors and says something about the previous storyline. This is completely missing in the US Version. Note: This introduction was discontinued after episode 30.
This segment was placed between the episode and the outro. It was made exclusively for the US Version and is therefore missing in every other localisation. In the US it was common for a long time to add short sequences with moral lessons. The producers thought it would be a good idea to use clips of the episode, put a border on them and let the voice actors of Bunny and the other Warriors say something educational which more or less was connected to the episode. It goes without saying that this segment was of rather poor quality. After Cloverway took over, the segment was left out. The 30 seconds long sequences were probably also used to lengthen the shortened episodes.
Episode 1: A Moon Star Is Born
In the first episode we meet Bunny, a 14 year-old girl without ambitions, which is especially noticeable in her lack of motivation for going to school. However, everything changes when the Dark Kingdom, reigned by Queen Beryl, sends Jedite in order to steal the humans' energy. The magical cat Luna gives Bunny a brooch, with which she can transform into the magical warrior Sailor Moon and fight the evil kingdom. Not without cause for Jedite's Youma (a monster) has already started stealing energy by taking over the jewellery of the mother of Naru, a friend of Bunny. She now sells jewels which steal energy. Naru notices that something is wrong and is being attacked by the Youma. Bunny comes to help, but does not really know how to fight yet and can only with luck and the help of the mysterious Tuxedo Mask defeat the Youma and return the energy. Jedite is disappointed that his plan failed, but keeps rather calm.
Running time of the German Version: 19:10
Running time of the US Version: 18:20
This means that – disregarding the added prolog in the US Version - 2 minutes and 5 seconds were cut.
Just after the intro, the US Version featuries some introductory text and clips from episodes from the whole first season. Unfortunately, it gives away a lot of the storyline and takes away quite a bit of suspense.
Bunny's monolog about herself (name, age, school and that she cries a lot) is missing as well as her mother calling her and thuis waking her up. In order to explain her waking up in the US, a ringing sound was inserted when the alarm can be seen. However, why should she set the alarm too late?
Luna looks at Bunny and slowly approaches her.
Luna does not say anything, however, in the US Version, her thoughts can be heard. This reduces her mysterious character and the surprise when she starts to talk later. Also, the school bell cannot be heard, so there is no explanation for why Bunny has to hurry all of a sudden.
Ms. Haruna orders Bunny to stand in front of the door as punishment for being late, which Bunny considers unjust. She gets hungry and looks around before getting her lunch out.
The content of the scene was changed.
In the original, Bunny wants to eat in the hallway during the lesson (and while she is being punished) and is being caught by Ms. Haruna, who says that this behavior totally explains her failing the last test. Bunny sees her bad grade and is shocked, the teacher reacts sarcastically.
In the American Version it is already recess and Bunny talks to her friends when Ms. Haruna comes and tells her that she has to watch less TV and learn more because there is no justification for a failed test. Bunny cannot believe it and the teacher asks her to let her mother sign the test.
The scene in the school yard was both cut and altered. In the original, Umino is more obviously interested in Bunny. Naru tries to cheer up Bunny with news about Sailor V and they eventually talk about the sale in Naru's mother's Jewellery. In the US Version, Sailor V is not beig mentioned except for a game and Naru talks about shopping, also ending in the talk about the jewels.
[03:04]-[03:25] [-21 sec.] Naru's explanations about Umino and Sailor V and the first frames showing her were cut.
In the original, Queen Beryl demands to be informer about the search for the silver crystal and says that they needed energy for their big master when Jedite says that he already had a plan. In the US Version, however, Beryl only wants to conquer earth in order to release the Negaforce and needs Energy, she calls Jedite in order to be informed about the progress.
[04:20] [-1 sec.]A short shot of the crystal ball is missing.
A skyscraper featuring Kanji was cut, probably because of these letters.
[06:00]-[06:08] und [06:18]-[06:21]
Several shots of Jedite collecting the stolen energy showing only his hand and eyes were removed.
After Bunny angrily took the exam from Mamoru again, she sticks her tongue out at him.
Bunny looks to Mamoru again.
When Bunny looks at the Sailor V poster, some shots of Sailor V are missing.
The sign of the Tsukino house was removed, again probably because of the letters.
Ikkoku's (Bunny's mother) outrage about the bad grad was shortened and the context changed. In the German Version she tells Bunny to leave home for a few hours as punishment whereas she tells her to go to the library and study in the US.
Shingo, Bunny's younger brother, kicks her in the butt and makes fun of her for having been kicked out again. She wants to kick him back but only hits the door and cries out in pain. It is bad that this scene was removed because it introduces Shingo.
No optical change, but Sailor Moon's first transformation was sped up to 32 seconds, meaning it loses 6 seconds.
Naru is getting choked longer by Youma Morga.
Morga turns her body in order to realign it with her head (admittedly, this scene is a bit repulsive)
In the German Version, a possessed girl wants to attack Sailor Moon using a broken glass bottle. This was replaced with a shot of Morga, probably because it was deemed to brutal and easy to imitate.
Jedite's reaction to the loss of the energy is totally different. In the original he is disappointed that Morga has failed, in the US he gets very angry and screams that someone will pay for it.
A shot of the school the next morning was shortened.
Bunny hears the school bell in this episode. In case someone thinks he knows the melody, you are right! The melody was taken from the bell tower of the Houses of Parliament in London. The melody was so popular in Japan that it was used for the school bells across the country.
In this episode, the Tokyo Tower can be seen for the first time. This TV tower, erected in 1958, was partially inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris and is on of the symbols of Tokyo. He is located in the Minato district and therefore borders the Juuban district, in which Bunny lives.
However, the tower will fulfill his purpose not without restrictions in the future as the high buildings around it reduce its transmitting ability.