2.01 The Return of Sailor Moon (IMDB) OT:
Bishôjo senshi Sêrâ Mûn
US TV Version
German TV Version
Compared are the heavily censored US TV Version
and the German TV Version
|German Version:||US 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. After the horrors of the first season, everyone expected the worst... and it happened. DiC also created an absurd broadcast schedule. They first released 2/3 of the season (with the first 13 episodes for some reason put at the end of the broadcast) and then waited for almost three years before they bothered to do the remaining episodes (that's because they'd had the insane idea to just do 65 episodes for sydication, regardless if the story is done or not).
The modifications / censorship
- The removal of scenes is the most common censorship. The length of the removed scenes is purely and simply impressive. Looks like the episodes were censored randomly. Besides the violence cuts, which could be expected, plot scenes, some gags and anything that could cause trouble with the FCC, was precautionally removed.
- The meaning of scenes was changed very often, too. In most cases, the lines in the dub are softer, but modifications of the footage were also being made. As a result of that, a scene might have an entirely different meaning than the exact same scene in the Original.
- Americanization describes the pathetic attempt to make the series less Japanese. Not only the character names are different (please see below for details) but the Japanese ideographs (Kanji, Katakana, Hiragana) are erased as well. Further differences are renamed food (but it still looks the same which is quite hilarious). But the best thing is: anything takes place in the US, Tokyo isn't being mentioned for once. These modifications aren't going to be mentioned anymore because it happens too often. Exeptions are extraordinary examples for that.
|German Version:||US Version:|
- Images were censored, especially when it became too revealing. This also and particularly concerns the transformations (except Sailor Moon's) where body lines were removed like there were no tomorrow.
|German Version:||US Version:|
- CGI was added to a lot of scenes which doesn't contain any CGI in the Original Version. Listing all the CGI of any episode would break the mold but I can assure you: if there's a conspicuous CG shot, it wasn't in the Original Version.
|German Version:||US Version:|
- Transitions were added digitally as well. Recognizing them is a piece of cake because they're obviously a break of style and they're supposed to cover up the cuts. And here also counts: listing any transition would break the mold, so I'm not going to do that.
- Unfortunately there are some removed episodes, too. From 46 Original episodes of season 1, only 40 were left over. In the second season, episode 67 was being removed. (Note: The German Version lacks episode 89 but it only consists of stock footage and is hated by the fanbase, so it's not a big loss at all.)
- Gender change is a popular method to hide homosexuality. In this case, two characters are being affected: Zoicite (in Germany Zoisite) in season 1 is actually a man. But to avoid his homosexual relationship with Kunzite, he's a woman now. The second character is Fish Eye in season 4. Though he acts very feminine, he's actually a male (and he's also gay). A further victim of a gender change is Zirconia in season 4 for instance. And if such a censorship wasn't possible, the status of their relationship was being changed. The lovers Uranus and Neptun e.g. are cousins now.
- The modification of the audio track is no censorship in the proper sense but a lot of atmosphere gets lost. The reason for that is pretty simple: the US Version takes a pass on the original music and noises - a new audio track was being made. It works for the noises but it doesn't for the music. The original music is way better.
- "Sailor Says" is a segment which exists exclusively in the US Version. If you know Filmation's "Masters Of The Universe", the last scene should be look very familiar because it also with a scene where the kids were supposed to learn a lesson. This could be realized with stock footage.
- Different names for the attacks and transformations were used, despite the fact that the names in the Original Version are English as well. But I must say that someof the German names were just made up, too. Here some examples of attacks, an entire list would be too long.
|Original Version:||US Version:||German Version:|
|Moon Princess Halation||Moon Sceptre Elimination||Macht des Mondes, verwandle ihn/sie zurück|
|Shine Aqua Illusion||Mercury Ice Storm Splash||Wasserstrahl, flieg|
|Burning Mandala||Mars Celestial Fire Surround||Feuerringe, fliegt|
|Sparkling Wide Pressure||Jupiter Thundercrash Zap||Donnerschlag, flieg|
|Venus Love Me Chain||Venus Love Chain Encircle||Feuerhertzenkette, flieg|
- Change of names affects all characters. Here's a list of characters with more than one appearance in season 2. Find the original name in brackets if the German name is different.
|German Version:||US Version:|
|Bunny(Usagi) Tsukino||Serena Tsukino|
|Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask||Darien Shields/Tuxedo Mask|
|Ami Mizuno||Amy Anderson|
|Rei Hino||Reye Hino|
|Makoto Kino||Lita Kino|
|Minako Aino||Mina Aino|
|Prinz Diamond(Demand)||Prince Diamond|
|Naru Osaka||Molly Baker|
|Shingo Tsukino||Sammy Tsukino|
|Haruna Sakurada||Patricia Haruna|
|Königin Serenity||Queen Serena|
|König Endymion||King of Earth|
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 of the second season (episode 47) 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
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.
Footage That Does Not Concern the Actual Plot
In place of the whole second season I will now describe all the footage that does not concern the actual plot (e.g. the opening, the credits, the titles of the episodes, etc.).
Both the German and the American version use the same opening as in the first season.
This is actually pretty sad, after all, the original version offered a new opening. A few marginal and very short sequences of this opening can actually be found in the American opening. It is not understandable to why they didn't use the new opening. The runtime of the openings is the only thing they share - all three of them are exactly 90 seconds
|German Opening||American Opening||Japanese Opening|
Both the German and the American version also use the same credits as in the first season (which are 25 resp. 30 seconds long). Again, this is a pretty sad decision, since the original version also offered new credits. The original credits shows Bunny walking around in front of several backgrounds until she finally reaches the coast. This is accompanied by a pretty fast melody. The original credits last for 90 seconds
The Titles of the Episodes
|Deutscher Abspann||Amerikanischer Abspann||Japanischer Abspann|
The moment when the titles are shown is different: In the German version it follows after the preview (at the exact same point when the title is shown in the original version). The American title is shown right after the opening.
For the second season the creators of the series created a new title sequence. It looks similar to the title sequence of the first season but is slightly more colorful. The color gradient and the size of the bubbles is different. The German title sequence uses the original material. However, the image freezes before the scene fades out in order to be able to show the title. The American version uses the same sequence as in the first season. Both title sequences last for 10 seconds
|German Title Sequence||American Title Sequence|
After the opening the German version (just as the original version) shows a preview of the episode you're about to see which lasts for 20 Sekunden
. In the American version, this preview is shown before the opening - the image is surrounded by a colorful CGI-frame. It looks like this:
Just as in the first season, DiC decided to include the "Sailor Says" segment in the second season, too. This segment (which lasts for 30 seconds
) follows after the episode ended and before the credits roll. It contains random scenes from the show (which do not necessarily have to originate from the respective episode) which are surrounded by an ugly-looking and very colorful frame where Sailor Moon - or one of the other Sailor Soldiers - give t he viewers a sermon which is vaguely connected to the episode. The quality of these segments is pretty bad.
Folge 41: The Return of Sailor Moon
Bunny and the other Sailor Soldiers live a normal life after loosing their memories. Luna and Artemis want to leave it that way. However, the peace is disturbed by a green meteor which one night suddenly falls from the sky. Soon, two aliens - Ali and Anne - come to light. They came to Earth to look for energy that they could use for their tree of dark powers which contains their lives. They disguise as humans and infiltrate Bunny's school. Anne is not too happy about Ail making mooneyes at Bunny. To her surprize, Anne suddenly gains interest in Mamoru. During the next night the events follow stoke upon stroke: a Cardian (a monster that harvests energy that was summoned by Ail and Anne) attacks a few people and in the end also Naru. Bunny comes to help her but she can't really do anything. Luna has no other choice but to restore Bunny's memory - she therefore is able to transform to Sailor Moon again. She's actually able to defeat and destroy the Cardian. Subsequently, Ail and Anne tell Sailor Moons that the game has begun; then they diappear. Bunny now knows that she will never be able to live a normal life.
Runtime of the German episode: 19:00
Runtime of the American episode: 19:16
(due to a new prologue)
Minus the scenes that were not included in the original version, the US version overall misses out on 1 minute and 25 seconds
Just as in the first episode of the first season, the editors from DiC decided to include a long prologue at the beginning of the episode which tells the story of the fall of the Silver Millenium. Of course, this episode also tells us about Sailor Moon defeating Queen Beryl and then loosing her memory; thus, she now lives a normal life.
There are several things wrong with the prologue: First of all, it perkily claims that the new enemies were sent to earth by Queen Beryl's "Negaforce" (the new enemies have NOTHING to do with Beryl). Additionally, DiC didn't even remember their own changes from the first season and therefore included the Sailor Soldiers' loss of memory even though they did not loose their memory in the American version of the first season's finale.
Artemis shows Luna two birds and says that spring prompts feelings; then he makes a pass at her. Luna is too shy to be responsive to him (even though we learn later that she really has feelings for himI) and therefore fends him off by scratching his face with her claws - Artemis squeaks in pain.
Of course, Bunny is too late for school and Ms. Haruna is so mad at her that she punishes Bunny by letting her stand in front of the door with a bucket full of water on her head which she has to balance out. At that moment, Ami walks through the hallway and talks to Bunny (due to the memory loss they don't know each other); Bunny complains about Ms. Haruna at the top of her voice. Unfortunately, the latter comes out of the classroom at that moment and appeals to Ami's conscience - a genious like her shouldn't hang around with girls like Bunny because she could be a bad influence. Bunny is outraged and doesn't watch out on the balance of the bucket anymore; of course, she pours all the water over Ms. Haruna. Her classmates (you can also see Naru) are shocked and Ms. Haruna is REALLY mad.
During Ail's and Anne's conversation they really scaled down the scene's niveau.
In both the original and the German version the two of them mainly talk about how much they like each other. Then, Ail quotes the story of Perseus and Andromeda; he says that he wants to be like Perseus. Apparently, the editors thought that Ail's and Annes love was a too precarious topic, therefore they only talk about energy-harvest for their tree and Ail adds that they are brother and sister.
The beginning of the shot of the apartment tower where Ail and Anne live was cut out. Maybe they did this because you see Kanji and Katakana (as you will probably know by now, DiC is not a fan of Japanese graphic characters).
While Anne is revitalised, the close-up shot of her eye takes a little longer.
The camera pans from the Cardian upwards to Naru's window.
The Cardian chokes Naru and starts to suck her vital energy out.
While Luna telepathically communicates with Bunny (for whatever reason) dimmed the brightness of the image (except for the area of the crescent moon). Despite the questionable sense of this effect it also looks quite ugly.
|German Version||American Version|
When Bunny starts to remember, the shots of the Sailor Soldiers' corpses were cut out.
At this point the American version repeats the beginning of the scene with the telepathy.
When Bunny uses her formula to transform into Sailor Moon, this is shown from several different angles.
At this point the American version repeats a shot of Artemis jumping up.
Artemis is hit by the Cardian's tentacles.
The last scene was completely messed up.
In the German version Bunny realizes that she will never be able to live a normal life because of the power she possesses; therefore, she bids her normal life goodbye. In the American version this important moment was replaced by a pretty cheap joke of Bunny sulkily listing all the things she now won't be able to do anymore. Luna comments that something like this never held her back in the past.