When you talk to any Sailor Moon fan you find out there are two types. There are the fans that were only able to view what was given to them via UPN 13 or other early morning networks on television, and there are those who were able to gather resources and find information on what wasn’t presented to us in America. When Toonami announced that they had found the 17 lost episodes to the second season of Sailor Moon R everyone who loved the show lost their minds. I know I waited with baited breath near the VCR and recorded every “new” episode and made sure to take out as many commercials as I could. For a long time in the 90’s that was all that was available to us.
It was then in the 00’s that they released some straight to DVD versions of Sailor Moon S. And eventually Sailor Moon Super S made its debut. But Stars was no where to be found. In fact some people even thought it was just a rumored season. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see Sailor Moon in her final form, and who were these mysterious new Sailors? Sailor Stars? What were they all about? And who was that cute little kid? Another child of the future?
I have friends that would read every episode synopsis online just to know what happened. This lead to some amazing fan fiction and wonderful fan art. All of which I used to keep on Floppy Disks that were color coded according to Sailor Scout. The images were out there but unfortunately not many of the episodes were. Unless you knew how to get around things. The first episode I ever watched was Usagi and Seiya’s Nervous Date and I had to download it in four parts for realplayer. Which wasn’t a mainstream media player so you had to get the player, install it and hope to God that the codec used wasn’t something else you needed to download because dial up was so slow. There was nothing like downloading something only to realize you couldn’t play it. After days of waiting…
Now VIZ Media has given us the gift of a complete season. An entire anime dubbed from start to finish with the same voice actors. Including the movies. Now you may not know how important this is but to Sailor Moon fans who wen’t through not 2 but 3 voice actors for “Serena” it means a hell of a lot. The many adaptations also gave some of our favorite scouts different names. Lita was Makoto, Mina was similar to Minako, Amy was Ami and Raye was Rei. But Serena was supposed to be the American name for Usagi which meant Bunny and it never really made sense. We accepted it because that was what we were introduced to, but for those who started with the Sub it made them more confused than ever.
It’s not enough to say that VIZ did a good job with this. In fact they did an amazing job. There is really no way to describe what DIC did when they chopped it up and made it kosher for the American audience. They took out scenes, episodes and some very important dialogue to try to Americanize it. Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, who are lovers in the manga and the anime were “Cousins”. Part of the reason that Naoko let the contract lapse when DIC went out of business was the fact that they essentially botched it.
One of the rumors of why Sailor Stars was never dubbed was because they didn’t know how to handle the Sailor Stars. Healer, Fighter, and Maker were all Female to Male trans characters, and even if it wasn’t explicitly said that they were trans that’s how American audiences would have seen them. In the 90’s it was much less accepted than today, and even now as a society we are still working on it. Which is why when VIZ decided to do it right this time unedited and with as close a translation as possible, fans were very excited.
They also cast some amazing people in the roles of the scouts. Some who watched the series as children themselves. Amanda Miller who voices Sailor Jupiter in the dub has said at all her panels that she loved and related to the character growing up. Stephanie Sheh who voices Usagi felt a connection to her emotional state of being and the willingness to risk it all to help her friends. And Robbie Daymond who voiced Tuxedo Mask did an excellent job balancing the teasing that gets dished out by Mamoru in the first part of the series with his genuine caring that comes later in the show. In fact his character is one of the ones that shows the most growth along Usagi and he and Sheh are able to audibly grow up as they voice these two characters.
The entire cast created a connection that you can hear in the new dub. They sound just like a bunch of friends who have been around forever. Nothing sounds clunky or like they are unsure. It’s just such a natural blend of talent that even if you grew up on and prefer the DIC or Cloverway versions you can’t help but fall in love with. Even if you are the type to say that you miss Molly sounding like she’s from the Bronx will start to appreciate Danielle Nicole as Naru Osaka.
This entire DVD collection that they have put out is completely beautiful. The sets are one box per season and they released each season part separately. Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to get my hands on the first nice box set for season one, but I did start with season two and I can see what they were trying to do. It’s a rainbow of colors on the shelf that even looking at makes you feel more complete. No more scouring the internet for episodes or having to wait until your favorite fan dub is completed. You can just pull one out and pop it in the blu-ray player.
If you don’t have the DVDs you can get them from rightstuffanime, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy and other warehouse retailers online. And if you don’t mind only being able to watch the full anime subbed you can stream it on Hulu. They may eventually have the last part of Sailor Stars available to watch dubbed but for now I assume that they want you to buy the dvd that just got put out this month.
I haven’t popped in the newest discs myself yet, I’m not quite ready to take that emotional ride. It really means a lot to be able to own the entire thing and watch it from start to finish. It’s something that many fans never thought would happen. And now the time is here and we can’t believe it. Thank you VIZ for committing to finishing this series. Thank you to the voice actors that were able to make it happen and thank you to the other fans who kept buying the DVDs and merchandise all these years. We’ve finally Saved Our Sailors.