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Sailor Moon

2.25 Checkmate

original title: Bishôjo senshi Sêrâ Mûn

Comparison:

  • US TV Version
  • German TV Version
Release: Jun 10, 2014 - Author: -Der-Tribun - Translator: -Der-Tribun - external link: IMDB - more from this series
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.

Examples:
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.

Examples:
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.

Examples:
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.

Examples:


  • 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 HalationMoon Sceptre EliminationMacht des Mondes, verwandle ihn/sie zurück
Shine Aqua IllusionMercury Ice Storm SplashWasserstrahl, flieg
Burning MandalaMars Celestial Fire SurroundFeuerringe, fliegt
Sparkling Wide PressureJupiter Thundercrash ZapDonnerschlag, flieg
Venus Love Me ChainVenus Love Chain EncircleFeuerhertzenkette, 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) TsukinoSerena Tsukino
Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo MaskDarien Shields/Tuxedo Mask
Ami MizunoAmy Anderson
Rei HinoReye Hino
Makoto KinoLita Kino
Minako AinoMina Aino
LunaLuna
ArtemisArtemis
ChibiusaRini
Der ErleuchteteWiseman
Prinz Diamond(Demand)Prince Diamond
SaphirSapphire
EsmeraudeEmerald
RubeusRubeus
Kermesite(Kōan)Catzi
Bertherite(Berthier)Bertie
Kavalerite(Calaveras)Avery
Petzite(Petz)Prizma
Ail(Eiru)Ali
Anne(An)En
Naru OsakaMolly Baker
Motoki FuruhataAndrew
Umino GurioMelvin
Shingo TsukinoSammy Tsukino
Ikuko TsukinoMom
Kenji TsukinoDad
Haruna SakuradaPatricia Haruna
Yuuichirou KumadaChad
Königin SerenityQueen Serena
König EndymionKing 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 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.

Episode 71: Checkmate



Rubeus and the three remaining sisters disown Kermesite for turning away from them. At the same time, Rubeus has found a new point of origin of Crystal Tokyo at the chess tower and Bertherite is more than eager to contaminate it. Kavalerite and Petzite are not happy about this development. At the chess tower, Ami is there to attend a chess tournament and stops Bertherite but accidently reveals her identity to her. Bertherite is seeking revenge now. Reassured by her sisters, she returns at the tournament and forces Ami into a deadly game of chess. Too ba for her that Ami beats her and frees her friends. However, right then Kavalerite and Petzite reveal they've schemed against her and Rubeus has caster her out. Broken, Berhterite also causes the tower to collapse, before Kermesite can reach her. Like kermesite, Bertherite is altered, her connecting to the Black Moon cut.

Length German TV-Version: 19:00
Length US-TV Version: 17:52


The US TV Version lacks 1 Minute and 8 Seconds of footage.

[00:14]-[00:36]
[-22 Sec.]

Shortened Scene
Bunny complains, that she did read a book about chess, but still lost, remarking that Ami is simply too good. Ami explains, chess helps at developing patience and concentration. Chibiusa needles, these are things Bunny is obviously missing.


[00:36]
Altered Scene
A short scene of Luna sighing was moved to this place (it originally was located a little later in the scene).


[00:47]-[00:59]
[-12 Sec.]

Shortened Scene
Makoto has just talked herself out of a game by saying that patience is not her thing, when Bunny needles that an abundance of thinking also isn't her strength, causing Makoto to blush in embarrassment.


[01:02]-[01:19]
[-16 Sek.]

Szenenkürzung
Another part of the opening scene is missing. Bunny challenges Chibiusa to a game, but loses pitifully against her. Bunny wonders how she could sink so low to lose against a child.


[01:34]-[01:46]
[-12 Sec.]

Shortened Scene
Bertherite, Kavalerite and Petzite show their contempt for Kermesite leaving them. Only their eyes are visible on a strange background. Two cuts to pictures of Kermesite are missing as well.


[05:01]-[05:04]
[-3 Sec.]

Shortened Scene
The chess master can't believe that Ami has beaten him.


[07:14]-[07:15]
[-1 Sec.]

Shortened Scene
Jupiter's attack injures Bertherite and blood is spilled.


[12:03]-[12:05]
Altered Scene
The static on the screen was changed to CG in the US Version. The reason for this is unknown.
German VersionUS Version


[17:09]-[17:11]
[-2 Sec.]

Shortened Scene
Bertherite throws a block of ice into Kermesite's face.


[07:35]-[07:52]
Altered Scene
An ungly CGI-border was put around the scene.
German VersionUS Version


[18:12]-[18:20]
Altered Scene
As in the previous episode, the contrast was ramped up is Bertherite's change in order to hide her nudity - although there's quite less to see in the first place. Again, lines were removed as well.
German VersionUS Version


[18:52]-[18:54]
Altered Scene
The end iris is different. In the American Version, it's generic CGI, which is a pity, since the original had an animated, heart-shaped closing iris.
German VersionUS Version



Trivia

Starting with the episode, a new opening sequence is used in the original Japanese Version, which sadly is not used in the various dubs. It finally shows the "time"-theme of the season. It's also the first time we do see Sailor Pluto. Later this opening will be slightly changed to show the shift from Rubeus to Esmeraude.

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