3 Problematic Names in Sailor Moon Translations

Usagi's got some serious questions here

Usagi’s got some serious questions here

One thing that I find fascinating is the concept of what is the “official” Sailor Moon translation. In North America alone, both the anime and manga have had a whopping three different officially licensed adaptations since hitting this side of the Pacific.1

This, of course, doesn’t even take into account all of the subtitled versions, scanlations, and other fan-established terminology.

So what’s the right answer, and why is it so hard for all these qualified translators to “get it right”?

Today we’re going to take a look at some of the more challenging names to translate in Sailor Moon, and about some of the strategies used to get around them. Be sure to take notes — there might be a test at the end!2

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Is Usagi Just a Copy of Minako from Codename: Sailor V?

♪ One of these things is not like the other ♪

♪ One of these things is not like the other ♪

Whether Minako is considered a prototype for Usagi or a completely unique character seems to be a matter often debated among fans — and not without good reason. After all, it’s a well known fact that Ms. Takeuchi originally started Codename: Sailor V as a one-shot story meant to tell the tales of a sailor-suited warrior of justice. Only later did that idea get transformed into the Sailor Moon world that we came to know and love.

The anime even played heavily, perhaps too heavily, on this trope, adding further fuel to the Usagi/Minako copycat fire.

And yet, like practically everything else in the Sailor Moon universe, things are not as simple as they seem.

Today we’re going to take a look at Usagi and Minako’s characters in-depth and and see if we can settle once and for all just how similar (and different!) they really are. I hope you’ve got a talking cat handy, because you just may need one to untangle this mess!

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What Is a Sailor Yell? The Sailor Star Song Explained

A Sailor... Yell??

A Sailor… Yell??

Despite having debuted over 25 years ago, Moonlight Densetsu still consistently ranks in the top 100 songs played in karaoke.1 While it may be the pride and joy of the Sailor Moon fandom, there’s always been a special place in my heart for its oft-forgotten younger sibling, Sailor Star Song.

The song is probably best remembered for setting the dramatically different tone of Sailor Moon‘s fifth and final season, as well as for… well… bordering on being nonsensical.

But today I hope to change that.

Though I may not be able to explain what makes this song so awesome, I hope to at least shed a little light about the story Ms. Takeuchi was trying to tell through her lyrics.

Read on as we discuss just what’s involved in a good, proper Sailor Yell, and how you can give one too!

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How Did Sailor Neptune End Up in Season 1 of Sailor Moon?

Wait a sec... is that...?

Wait a sec… is that…?

If there’s one thing I love more than tackling modern day Sailor Moon rumors, it’s finally putting to rest stories that have been with the fandom since its earliest days. And today I’m happy to say that we’re going to talk about just one of those stories!

That’s right, we’re going to talk about the supposed blink-and-you’ll-miss-it inclusion of Sailor Neptune in the first season of Sailor Moon, a whole two seasons and a little over a year before she ever was unveiled to the public.

Is it really the Sailor Neptune we all know and love? And if so, how did she get there?

Well, you’ll just have to read on to find out!

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Did Sailor Moon Director Kunihiko Ikuhara Hate Naoko Takeuchi?

Kotono Mitsuishi and Kunihiko Ikuhara discussing the Sailor Moon R movie

Kotono Mitsuishi and Kunihiko Ikuhara discussing the Sailor Moon R movie

In the immortal words of the Plain White T’s, “hate is a strong word, but I really, really, really don’t like you.”1 And, if the internet is to be believed, this pretty much sums up the relationship between Sailor Moon‘s creator and acclaimed anime director (Sailor MoonRevolutionary Girl Utena, and more) Kunihiko Ikuhara.

It makes a certain amount of sense, when you get right down to it, too. They both have very strong, outspoken personalities, and Director Ikuhara was personally responsible for completely changing Rei in the anime — a sore spot in Ms. Takeuchi’s eyes.

Today, we’re going to take a look into whether there’s any truth behind this rumor and why (or why not!) that may not be the case. Regardless of which side of the anime vs. manga debate you happen to be on, you’ll want to stick around for this!

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How Did the Voice Cast React to the End of Sailor Moon?

The five Inner Senshi the week before their last recording session (flowers from Ms. Takeuchi)

The five Inner Senshi the week before their last recording session (flowers from Ms. Takeuchi)

As a wise person1 once said, “all good things must come to an end.” Sailor Moon was no exception to this rule, and aired (what would then be) its final episode on February 8, 1997. Even though the series would live on in the form of musicals, a live action TV series, and even a second anime series, that final airing marked the end of a five year journey for the talented actresses and actors that brought our beloved characters to life.

Today, I’d like to take a look at how the Sailor Moon cast felt about the series they gave five years of their life to, their respective characters, and their favorite scenes — all courtesy of a “Sailor Moon Graduation” commemorative interview conducted by Animage magazine.2

Grab a box of tissues, because there are going to be a lot of tears shed before we’re done!

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What Is Considered Canon In the Sailor Moon Universe?

Did they every really wear these princess dresses? Well...

Did they every really wear these princess dresses? Well…

When you spend a lot of time analyzing the ins and outs of a given series — and especially one as expansive as Sailor Moon — you’re going to eventually find yourself confronted with the question of what is and is not canon, and what sources you can actually derive meaningful information from.

Over the past 25+ years, we’ve seen the story of Sailor Moon presented to us in the form of a manga, anime, musicals, video games, a live action TV show, more musicals, a completely different anime, and countless book adaptations spread throughout. While I personally like to believe that there’s a general thread of an overarching “one Sailor Moon universe” running between all most of them, the answer is a little more complicated than I’d hope.

So join along, my dear reader, as we take a stroll through the Sailor-verse™ and try to suss out how they all fit together. I hope you like puzzles, because this one’s a level 8!

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