Feedback to Improper Censorship in Shoujo Anime -

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Feedback to Improper Censorship in Shoujo Anime

By Justin Strauss     -

These are segments from the replies that you, the readers, have sent in. These particular ones relate to a topic that is quite important to me, the censorship of shoujo anime. The following quotes from you guys will be in bold text (those parts are the quotes from the email replies to the editorial). After each, I will add my own comment in regular style text. Also, through doing this, I will get to reiterate things that I may have left out of my original editorial.

Do not send in replies to these segments (otherwise, we'll be in an endless loop of replies). However, you are always welcome to make more replies to the original editorial itself (just make sure that they are new ideas, and do not cover something that has already been discussed in the editorial or in these replies). A new editorial comes next week, and the week after that: it gets its own "response page" like this one. Either way, enjoy!

Mike Thomas said on June 16, 2000:

"...I have seen improvements on it, and have been impressed with the fact that the characters do sound like real people (and occasionally even fit what their character is supposed to be). Criminy sometimes I'll even watch my DVDs with the English Dubbing. But, I still feel American VAs have a long way to go. Basically it'll take time and practice. And until then, for me at least, the dubbing will remain average at best."

True, and I do feel that the American VA's can rarely "do justice" to an original character from Japan (and their seiyuu). Especially when there is a very high and cute voice, one that sounds proper only in Japanese (such as Usagi-chan from Sailormoon) it can be literally impossible for an American actor to get the same effect. But even then, we should not mock the American side of the anime business. Voice actors, at least "ones of quality," are very hard to find in any business. There are not very many people who do voices for American-made animation either, because it's tough to find a person with a truly masterful voice (like either Jim Cummings, Jeff Benett, Rob Paulson, or Kath Soucie. They've all done more voice work than anyone on earth ^_^). And there are plenty of "popular" voice actors that we hear from a lot in Japan as well (I was happy to find that there are some of my fave seiyuu who have done voices in all three of my favorite series right now: Sailormoon, Shoujo Kakumei Utena, and Digimon Adventure). Check how many series that Mitsuishi Kotono has done (as well as CD's). She's more than just Sailormoon.

Mike Thomas also said:

"I believe that DiC and others are doing it right to market their product to the family... However, I don't agree with DiC and others editing the hell out of a show so it's "safer". American's are just as bright as everyone else. And it doesn't jive with modern society, which is more moderate and accepting than conservative and hateful."

I don't think it's as much about America being seen as immature or stupid. It just seems that America, as a whole at least, is less open-minded when it comes to television. We'll claim to be the most advanced and "open" society out there, yet we don't hesitate for a bit when it comes to censoring things to make ourselves feel important. We feel that we are "protecting our children" when we do this, as a cop-out move. We should instead try to perhaps raise our kids properly, because then NO AMOUNT of violence, sex, or subtle gestures on television can possibly "corrupt their minds." It doesn't take an example to see this. If you grow up in a positive environment, created by both your parents and your friends, you'll turn out fine. We're just nitpicking too much. And besides, OVERparenting can be just as bad as underparenting. Using television as a scapegoat won't help.

Mike Thomas also said:

"Most of the Shoujo anime uses implied homosexuality. Such as having a picture in a locket, hugs, or looking longingly. And enough mainstream shows have homosexual characters as well. Drew Carry has a cross-dresser. Friends has a lesbian couple raising a child. I don't think American morals and such would be soured by having two people who truly have deep feelings for each other implied with the show."

This is true, that mainstream American TV is opening up to the same sex couples and all. This is definately a positive step forward, but it is also a double edged sword of sorts. Sure, we will see same-sex couples on shows like Spin City, Will & Grace, Friends, Drew Carey, Melrose Place, 90210, The Simpsons, Ally McBeal, The Practice, and just about any popular show these days. However, first of all, these are usually very "sweet and subtle relationships." How often do we ever see two guys kissing on a TV sitcom? Well, we've seen actually only seen it a few times. You could count these times on your fingers. And there's only been one truly "romantic" male kiss allowed on an American show so far (Dawson's Creek). But even then, shows that include stuff such as that kiss are tagged with a "warning" at the start of the episode. "This show contains adult content," you know the drill. Heck, almost every episode of Ellen contained this warning in her last season on the air. And in fact, the official reason for cancelling the show (given by ABC) was, "We saw that the basis of the last season's plot was becoming (the description of) life as a homosexual female. The comedy angle was lost to us, except for in a few episodes." So yeah, it looks like we're not ready yet. And besides, these are all shows at late night hours, with warnings on them. We're not gonna see this kind of honesty on Spiderman or Batman Beyond for a good many years.

Mike Thomas also said:

"Characters are given a name for a reason. "Moteuchi Yuta" from Video Girl Ai fame wouldn't be the same if they changed his name. In fact the joke of his name is vital to the story. Sure he's "dateless", but he truly is a boy who cares about his friends and the people he loves. He chooses to be dateless."

Very true. This is the main point of a character's name. Their name always has a deep and truthful meaning to them, and defines who they are. Same for how "Tsukino Usagi" means "rabbit of the moon," how "Hikari" means "light," or even how "Pikachu" means "lightning mouse." And even if it's a name as common as "Koji Takahashi," the designers chose this name for a specific reason. Calling him "Kevin Timmins" will not work.

Daniel Zelter said on June 16, 2000:

"You CAN get an accurate dub with decent actors who put feeling into their roles, but not everyone's going to agree on the choices in the voice for the dub, regardless of how accurate it is. I saw Princess Mononoke, which I considered the pioneer in excellent dubs, but even I couldn't handle Claire Danes as Princess Mononoke! The reason was that it's a cultural thing."

Cultural, absolutely. Like I always say, there are many American voice actors who can do a brilliant job of reading a role, to Shakespearian brilliance (like with Crispin Freeman, who I think is an amazing actor!) However, there are many times where a character's voice or mannerisms are distinct to Japan, and can not be replicated by a voice actor who is not of that upbringing or mannerism themself. This applies even moreso to the female voices in anime, for some reason.

Daniel Zelter also said:

"Anime's getting bigger, but not big enough to listen to the people who buy it. Investors want tie-ins, so they're only going to go for the shows that get results! Look at ABC. They cancelled Wonderland and Clerks after 2 episodes-due to controversial content. The content spawned bad ratings. (Though out of fairness, Clerks was screwed with a crappy time slot, while Wonderland was not!)"

I know, that angered me as well. It just proves that marketing and proper time slots can mean either the life or death of a new show. Just look at the evidence. If they want to, they can drive a series like Street Sharks to a worldwide phenomena (thank heaven they didn't!) They can also, on the flipside, kill off a critically enjoyed series like Clerks (kevin smith), Harsh Realm (chris carter) or anything else, even with a brilliant creator behind the show.

Dave Leach said on June 16, 2000:

"I must say that dubs seem to have come a long way, but I still won't listen to them. One problem may be I always watch the sub first, then the dub but the first thing I ask is "Does this voice fit the character?" Half the time the voices don't work for this reason."

Same here. I make it a habit of watching the subtitled (or raw Japanese) version of an anime show before I even try to listen to the dubs. Heck, a lot of times I will skip the dubs altogether, unless they strike me as well-done in some way (like with Digimon, which I love). But either way, it is very tough to adjust to a dub after hearing the true voices and audio for so long. I've watched the entire 200 episode string of Sailormoon many times through (I know, I bring that up too much, gomen ^_^). But after falling in love with the characters, the music, and everything else... the original dubs just killed my spirit. The voices were changed and sometimes poor, the music was replaced with trash, and the plot was rewritten. And especially after being SO used to the originals, the dubs only sounded worse. However, if someone is exposed to the dubs in the first place (and had never heard the original Japanese audio and voices)... they rarely seem to be bothered by the American stuff. It also depends on whether they are a bigger fan of "purity" (japan) or "simplicity" (america, in understanding english).

Dave Leach also said:

"I think the BIG reason they're being removed is because the broadcast animes ARE aimed at a younger audience. Is this necessary? I doubt it. Look at the old Hanna Barbara cartoons, watch anything on Cartoon Network. We have Bugs Bunny shooting Daffy Duck..."

Well, you hafta understand what the original 1950's cartoons were aimed at. A lot of the oldest Looney Tunes are in color... yet the color television sets were not common in America until much later. Why so? It's simple. The first Looney Tunes were presented at movie theaters, and didn't move to television until later. They might be seen before or after a movie, or at a "Nickelodeon" for some reason (not the channel, but the word that it is based on, the nickel theaters that still existed). Therefore, these earlier forms of animation were not aimed at children, but rather at adults. This is the kind of mindframe that we must start moving back to; with the thought that animation is for all people, and not just children. Whether it is Hanna Barbera's fault or not, we have this image in our mind that "cartoons are aimed at kids." Heck, just the fact that we use the blasphemous word CARTOON, to describe an anime like Dragonball Z, is silly in itself. Cartoons are comedic short movies that we saw at a drivethru. Otherwise, let's call this stuff "animation."

Dave Leach also said:

"The reason I say this is that if something is aimed at an older audience it will usually be left alone (except for something like Kite). I think if companies wouldn't try to Americanize the animes and simply translate it, or make very MINOR changes they could please both audiences. Another thing they could do is make two versions, as is being done with Card Captor Sakura."

I really like the two-version idea, and the way they can air them at different times of day (like with Gundam Wing, and the newer DBZ). But unfortunately, this isn't always cost-effective for a typical company. Sure, Pioneer can do it, because they are the richest and most powerful innovator in DVD and LD. And Nelvana can do it, because they are also well known and rich. But heck, they already spent a reported $100,000 per episode on the edited versions of Card Captor Sakura. Most companies couldn't even do that part. (as far as Kite goes, though, why edit the standard version of it? If it is supposed to be uncut, then making ANY cut is unjustified. Even though these deleted scenes are reportedly ones that involved rape and other terrible things, we should not censor them out of the "uncut" version. If anything, keeping them in there will show us how terrible af a thing that rape really is. Even the short scene from Akira, of a similar nature, made a big scare in its time).

Dave Leach also said:

"Translate those signs, but only when necessary. Case in point, the Evangelion discs. I didn't mind the overlays all that much (maybe because I've never seen the series before it came on DVD) but I don't need to know the name of the store Shinji just walked past, or that the sign on Shinji's door says "Shinji's Lovely Suite". Sure I may be curious, but it's not neccessary to the story. These are set in JAPAN, I expect to see Japanese all over the place, not English."

This Evangelion sign deal seems to be a common complaint of the readers who sent mails to me. I totally agree that signs like those should not be edited. And besides, the companies can always put sign translations into subtitles if they need to. One person even suggested that certain signs need to be in English in some form, when they relate to the plot (like with some marriage charts and such, that described part of what was going on). But even in these cases, they can always subtitle them (optional ones, of course, not hard ironed onto the video track).

Jon Talbain said on June 16, 2000:

"I think punches and kicks should be left in, especially consdiering the fighting in Power rangers or the fist fights on regular televison, i mean Power Rangers are appealing to the same target group as the cartoons aren't they?"

This situation isn't exactly the same as with Power Rangers. Sure, the religious and parental groups loved to bash Power Rangers for the excessive fighting. However, because of this, the ratings systems refined themselves to accomodate this stuff. They now make distinctions between realistic and fantasy violence, and between mild and severe fighting when they write the ratings. We know that Power Rangers do not draw blood, and they only throw punches at the bad guys. The cuts that we see in anime, however, are usually of more "improper" violence. An example is when Rei-chan slapped Usagi ("Serena") in Sailormoon. The censors saw this as improper, as it was a friend hitting another friend, in an emotional and emotionally scarring way. This is much different than when Tommy throws a punch at a big goofy Snake monster, sent by Lord Zed.

Jupiter said on June 16, 2000:

"Well, which series are you talking about? Sailormoon or Card Captor Sakura... or something else? I personally run a mailing list devoted to BSSM, and the people are torn on the subject of dubbing, but overall, I believe the dubbing was better than getting nothing at all."

This is something that a lot of us tend to agree with. Sure, the Sailormoon dub was a travesty when compared to the original show. But still, having a dub on free television, proved to "expose" the show to a lot of us. A ton of my friends who adore the Japanese Sailormoon... would not have even known about the show until the first saw the North American dubbed episodes. Through seeing these, they started to check out the imports, and then fell in love with those. Heck, I must admit, this also sorta took part on me as well. Although my first exposure to Sailormoon was by my seeing some Sailormoon R episodes in 1994... I didn't get back into the imports again until the American dubs reminded me of how cool the series was. From then on, I started buying the LD's from Japan, and the CD's as well. Little did I know that I would one day own 53 Sailormoon Laserdiscs, and over 50 CD's for it.

Jupiter also said:

"No, it's not. (not necessary to change a character's name in anime). I mean, we don't (anymore, back in the founding of America days we did though) translate people's names when they come to the U.S. So why translate a name in an anime?"

Well, it's simple. America seems to be a country that is mostly comprised of lazy bastards. We love to simplify and Americanize stuff, to make it simpler for the general public to deal with. And, here's the ironic part. We actually do tend to change REAL people's names a lot these days. When I was growing up, a ton of kids would move to my hometown from India, Russia, or other such places. And, in most of them, they would change either their first or last name (at least when used in school and records) to sound American. For example, there are actually "standard" American replacements for every common Russian name. Yevgeniy becomes Eugene, Yevgeniya becomes Jane. Sasha becomes Alex, and Misha usually becomes Mike. Same goes for Indian names. In fact, a few of my best friends from gradeschool had a lengthy Indian last name that they changed to an American one for simplicity. And its not a biased town, either. Skokie, Illinois... is almost wholly comprised of Jews (such as me), Indian families, and Russian families. There are more Holocaust survivors living in this town than in any other in the country. But even with all this stuff, we feel a need to simplify and Americanize.

Karl Merris said on June 16, 2000:

"...considering the challenge of (i) trying to match mouth movements, however approximately, (ii) translating the dialog so that the *intent* of the original is preserved, and (iii) overcoming cultural references and puns, I'm amazed that a decent dub can be done at all. I think that the hardcore otaku overlook how difficult this is, and don't give the production crew enough credit."

Quite true. This is a common concern of fans, and it is widely understood that a good dub usually needs to have BOTH a literal translation AND a properly versed American side to it, to make it understandable. Some things just can't be "translated" well, and this applies to everything from the works of Freud to the stories of Shakespeare. Sometimes, reading the original one (in its true language) is the only way to fully appreciate it. However, certain games such as the Lunar RPG series (Sega CD) proved to ad some American jokes and poetic stuff that turned out making the dub even more interesting than the literal translation would be.

Karl Merris also said:

"Recalling the furor that erupted over the MIGHTY MOUSE "flower sniffing" episode, I doubt that there is any molehill too small to be built into a mountain. If I were running the production company, I'd want to spare myself the headache; I think this is the wrong venue to fight that particular battle."

Yup, well said. These companies will destroy themselves (in some cases) if they include anything that seems remotely homosexually related in a children's show. Mighty Mouse was not gay because he sniffed flowers, yet they moaned about it a ton, right? Just because they thought it seemed effeminate. But heck, Bugs Bunny liked to dress up in pink ball gowns, and make out with Elmer Fudd! But we didn't complain, because Looney Tunes were aimed at adults. But heck, so was Mighty Mouse! Ralph Bakshi, who created the new Mighty Mouse of the 1980's, is renowned for creating "adult" animation. Oh well. But similarly, seeing Zoicite hug or stare at Kunzite, his true love, is not going to have any negative effect on the youth of America. And yet, they'll complain about that as well. And it's not just the religious groups that we should unfairly bash, though. There are tons of adults who have no life, and who want to find a scapegoat to take the blame for their own bad parenting. So what do they do? They blame television ^_^

Keith said on June 17, 2000:

"As someone who's taken a lot of flack recently for defending the leaving alone of signs in particular, naturally I'm voting for authenticity. I still find it extremely odd that fictional cultures in sci-fi are treated better in that sense than real life ones. It's pretty much expected that aliens have their own dialect, written language, architecture, culture, etc. But when faced with a real existing culture, suddenly there's zero tolerance."

It actually just depends on how "realistic" the show's creators want to be. I mean, just look at Star Trek. They tried very hard to be realistic in many cases, like when they created an entire REAL language for the Klingons. They have actually shown examples of all the major languages on there, from Bejoran to Vulcan. However, on the other hand, you'll see some totally illogical things in the show. Like, even in the movie version of the "first contact" between the Vulcans and Humans, the Vulcans spoke English to them! Why is this so? Because all of the alien races that intereact on Star Trek seem to be able to speak English perfectly. This is just for simplicity, though, and we'd hafta assume that an undicovered alien race would not be able to speak English for no reason (though they always seem to on Voyager, eh?)

Pam said on June 17, 2000:

"I wonder if it can really even be considered homosexuality. Some things that seem "queer" (to american audiences) are only ko'hai-senpai relationships or simple close friendship without our paranoid homophobic overtones. Even if the characters are gay, it is always seems to be portrayed in a non-sexual way... homosexual themes are popular in shoujo precisely because it seems so non-carnal... something closer to the ideal of non-selfish platonic love. Grow up America!"

Very well said! Seriously, when it comes to shoujo anime, the same-sex relationships seem to be the most romantic and caring in the show. If anything, seeing the relationship between Haruka and Michiru should trach us how dedication and caring can go a long way in life. Their relationship is one of the most beautiful and romantic ones I have ever come across, and it's hard to believe that it was just written up by some storywriter. And heck, you're right about how American audiences can misconstrue things. One example is in Shoujo Kakumei Utena. A lot of fans seem to think that Utena and Anthy are "lovers," or in some sort of sexual or similarly romantic relationship. However, even the creator herself (Saito-sensei, whom I have interviewed myself, and got this quote from) says, "It should not be taken as that sort of relationship. It is merely an extremely close and loving friendship based on respect. We have to stop thinking of them as some kind of sexual lovers. Don't jump to conclusions so quickly."

Steve Brandon said on June 17, 2000:

(in reply to how I said that the name "Sakura" was deleted from the American Card Captors title). "Yeah, but it was left intact in the actual show, which is a huge step forward compared to almost every other anime (among those that gave Japanese names to the characters) that air on television."

Sure, but just look at shows like Dragonball Z! The main hero is named Goku, and they kept it that way. In fact, they kept everyone's name the exact same way as it was in Japan (overall). The American audience has jumped all over that show, and doesn't seem to be turned off by foreign names and such that are in there. The fact is, that kids will love a show and its characters, no matter what their name is, so long as the show is good. Even if the character is named "Nimrod," he could become the most popular action character of all time, so long as his show and personality are cool enough.

Niklas Matthies said on June 17, 2000:

"I understand that the americans are, as a whole, a lot less liberal in these respects and tend do overreact a lot. In my opinion they are doing a disservice to their children, because they actually educate them to being close-minded. Children can handle and understand a lot more things than their parents usually think."

Quite true. There is a very good example for this point. The new animated Batman series (that began in the 1990's in America) has been adored and beloved by not only adults, but by children. The series is incredibly mature and well-written, but it is also quite fun. the critics loved it, and know that it was made for adults. But still, kids love it just as much! It's because kids really ARE smart, and they always have been. They just have to be treated that way, as smart individuals. But instead, the 1960's gave us total crap like Superfriends (I know there are fans of it out there, but you can't deny how cheesy and poorly written it was). If all we give to our kids is THAT, then THAT is all we'll get back. But if we give them the smart stuff, they'll react in a smart way. Period.

Frode Aleksandersen said on June 17, 2000:

"...if you look at kids in the playground you'll notice that there's a lot of play-fighting going on. Kids have been doing this for ages - before the age of tv and movies. It's part of growing up. If a kid really likes a show like Dragonball Z - you think he's going to run around beating other kids up? Right? Wrong. Shows like that instead teach you that's right to stand up for yourself and others. Maybe the kid'll even join a martial art and gain some real respect for not hurting others."

Exactly! If people blame a show like DBZ for causing violence, they are just finding a scapegoat to take the blame for their own parenting downfalls (see my other comments). People have always fought, they have always been perverted and selfish, and have always been either domineering and/or submissive. Pretending that television can "cause" these characteristics is just silly.

Dave Endresak said on June 17, 2000:

", the question is, did Crono actually see the original Japanese version when it aired, or did he simply go out and get fansubbed copies later? Also, did he see the original broadcast of the dub (fall 1995) or did he see it later, after the announcement of its cancellation? His views are skewed by his experience, of course, like anyone else ... I would guess that he did not see the original broadcast of either, but got into it later on. I can tell you that Japanese people have actually liked the dub of SM, by the way... I do not know if you are aware of that. ... Crono also claims to have seen and listened to ever single CD, etc put out for it. He is exaggerating, I think - I seriously doubt that there's many Japanese fans who have seen and listened to EVERY musical and CD released for Sailor Moon through its history. I also find this terribly unlikely for him if he did not get into the series from the very beginning (the beginning in Japan, Feb 1992, that is) because the CDs etc would be out of print... unless, of course, he is simply getting copies."

Wow. I got the part of your new letter that explained how you didn't mean to sound evil and all, and I understand. Some parts of the old letter you clipped did seem quite mean, and said some pretty mean stuff (but I won't put those parts in now, I'll hafta review it more). But still, this stuff that I pasted above (in bold) that you said... is totally untrue and far more rushed and biased than anything I've ever said. So in thus, I will activate my brag-o-meter for this question, if you truly doubt my Sailormoon passion. I have seen more of Sailormoon than anyone I have met in my life (this includes most of the production team as well). I love the series more than any series in the WORLD, despite how I have also seen more American movies (8,000+) and television shows (full set of episodes) than anyone I know (and yet I still have a social life, friends, jobs, and girlfriend. It's tough to prioritize, trust me). I'm not mad, remember this. I know that the intent of your letter was to show that Sailormoon is not pure Shoujo, but rather a hybrid. I will address this later, don't worry. So anyways, let me set the record straight (below)...

I saw the first episode of Sailormoon in 1992. I saw it as it was aired. My cousin has a satellite hookup in his house (international) and we watched it together. We heard the hype, and fed into it on that glorious day. After that, I didn't see much of it for a year or so. I then got my first Sailormoon R episodes and Laserdiscs in 1994. In fact, I own EVERY Sailormoon Laserdisc that was released in Japan! Yup, every one from the last half decade or more. I spent thousands of my own dollars to get them, and am proud. Within them are: all 200 episodes, all three movies, and three specials. All are full quality and raw. And to be totally straightforward, I have seen EACH of the 200 episodes (from these legit, REAL LD's) at least TWENTY times PER episode. Some I have seen even more (like the movies, which I have seen at least 30 times each, with friends or alone). I shopped at six American import stores, as well as three japanese shops, over the course of more than six years to buy all these. That good enough? I have all 53 LD's, how many people can say that?

Let's move on to the Sailormoon music CD's. There are more than 50 of these out so far (I don't give an exact figure, as it depends on whether ther boxed sets count as single or multiples). I have heard every musical track, from every Sailormoon CD, at least a few times over. And for songs I love, I've heard some of them over 1700 times (no joke. this is a literal figure, for the song "Initial U" or "U no moji" if you prefer) A lot of my friends in Japan have all the CD's as well. Just like me... they have been buying their Sailormoon LD's and CD's for over five years... so it wasn't such a financial burden. Same goes for my American friend, James Oikawa, he owned the full set of Sailormoon CD's even before I did. But you know what makes me even more insane? EVERY SAILORMOON CD THAT I OWN IS A LEGIT COPY, FROM COLUMBIA AND FORTE MUSIC. I have searched far and wide, since 1993, to find all of these 50+ CD's... because I adore Sailormoon more than any other series I know. I would never allow myself to buy a bootleg, regardless of the cost difference.

So either way, don't doubt my intelligence or authority on Sailormoon. I'd be hard pressed to find a person who's as much a Sailormoon authority as myself. It's not a bragging right, just a truth. I know all the Japanese songs' lyrics, and can write them in hiragana with kanji. I can quote lines from both the originals and the dubs. I can play specific notes from the BGM. And with what I said above, need I say more? *(turns off my brag-o-meter)*. You mocked me a lot in the letter (which I didn't fully quote) but still, I'm not mad. I just don't want any confusion. My first editorial, to be honest, was typed on the same morning it was uploaded. I typed it in about an hour, then I spell checked it, then I sent it to Chris. And besides that, I was awake for about 30 hours straight (with no sleep) before that point (he can vouch for that) because I was updating my message board all night. I'm overjoyed that the editorial came out as well (and coherent) as it did, so don't complain if I was wrong about "underwear shots," okay? ^_^ James Sinnett said on June 17, 2000:

"I watched Cardcaptors this morning, and I'll admit. I didn't see a lot of Japanese culture. However, they showed a thing at the end, right before the credits, where they were showing off one of the cards. By watching that, it was obvious that they cut many episodes out of the series, so they could introduce "Lee" in the first episode. Companies, PLEASE leave the first episodes in the series. They provide a framework for the series, and give the background that we need to understand what is going on in the first episode."

Very well said, yet again. Cutting of full episodes is something that is not tolerable. With Sailormoon, the early set of dubs only cut out episodes that were supposadely "not vital to the overall plot." However, that shouldn't matter, because a show does not need to be part of the overall plot structure in order to be fun! Just look at how many episodes of the X-files don't deal AT ALL with alien encounters, and yet are totally fun and revealing towards the chartacters' emotions. And besides, if they original team took the time to make it, why be lazy and not dub the episode? Oh well. But yeah, Card Captors apparently chops the show off so that it starts off there with episode 8 of the show.

Subatomic Brainfreeze said on June 18, 2000:

"I believe that dubbing essentially -has- to be done. Doing the series justice is nice and all, but to get an anime on mainstream TV, it must be a dub. So facing that, I think that a good enough dub can be done, and has been done many times. Certainly if the companies themselves give the dubbing enough importance they will do it. The problem is that often the US broadcasters just do not pay the same respect and assign dubbing the same amount of importance."

Yes, and this is a thing that we usually do not realize right away. Although the diehard fans usually claim to swear by the subtitled episodes, the more generally appealing version is going to be the dubbed one. Most people, especially those who aren't huge anime fans, are not going to want to keep their eyes on subtitles and miss the visuals (partially). They want to be able to fully see the show, and hear it in a language they can understand. And I must admit, being able to hear and comprehend the audio helps a lot. This is one reason that I'm thankful to be able to understand most simpler conversational Japanese. But unless you're willing to learn Nihongo (which a lot of us have done, actually)... the only way to understand the vocals is to hear a dub.

Brian Zino said on June 19, 2000:

"So, for instance, take the emotional climax of the "Sailor Moon R" movie, in which the Sailor Senshi realize what Usagi means to them, and each merely says Usagi's name -- this was very moving to me. In the English dub, their dialogue was replaced with mindless "girl power" drivel, like Amy's "Together, we can *win*!" I wanted to vomit."

I'm glad that someone has expressed this, as I've noticed that same problem a lot in Sailormoon. Another example is in the "R" season, (the first episode with Chibiusa, and after the Ail and Ann story). Usagi and Mamoru-san share an intimate kiss by the boat they just left, and are in complete silence. This sets a tranquil mood, and is very romantic. It gives you an impression of like "wow, they're finally free of all the aggrivation." But in the American dubs, they replace this silence with cheesy dialogue. It has "Serena" saying stuff about how his lips tasted like bubblegum or donuts or something. And there was giggling added in, as well. I can only assume this was done to make it seem more "fun" and kiddy... as the silent "make-out" seemed too mature (this was told to me by a DiC representative a few years back, so I know it's true now).

Bryan Chaney said on June 19, 2000:

"For example, in Sailor Moon S episode #93, when Michiru (Michelle) and Usagi (Serena) go to the art museum and they are approached by the fan saying how much he like Michiru/Michelle's work, the camera pans to the side of the painting where Michiru's name is written in both Kanji and roomanji. In the Japanese version, it looks like Usagi is glancing at the name and then making the connection. In the English version, the shot loses it meaning and seems to be a bit out of place."

Yeah, a lot of folks have brought this up ever since the Sailormoon S dub has progressed along. This does, then, show a possible downside of changed names getting mixed with unaltered signs. The same confusion occurs when Usagi-chan goes to err, "Darien's" room and sees his book that is labeled with his name. The label says "M.Chiba" (for Mamoru Chiba) as from the original, yet she reacts to it as if it seems normal, even with his edited American name.

Jason Birzer said on June 19, 2000:

"Is the changing of a character's name ever a good thing? I don't see why you'd want to (change characters' names for the dubs), other than if it translates as a derogatory term (like Laputa does). Names are strange enough already."

Sure, that makes sense. It's funny, as a ton of people sent me emails that said how "names should only be changed if their name is a bad word in english" or something similar. But we hafta make sure we don't take this idea too far. For example, in Sailormoon, there is a story arc where Chibiusa becomes an adult (and evil) at the end of Sailormoon R. Her name in this form was "Black Lady." However, they refused to use this name in America, as they thought it may insult people who may confuse it for an unkind statement to black Americans. But that is bull, utterly. The terms "light and dark" and colors "black and white" have been used to represent evil and goodness... since the beginning of memory. If the term "black" is used to mean "evil" and NOT to mean "african american"... it should be an easy distinction to make. And besides, rather than calling her "Dark Lady" in America (which would make more sense, and still sound cool), they chose to call her "Wicked Lady." Barf.


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