For years, I’ve wondered about the possibility of a Sailor Moon re-release, especially since the DVDs are out of print, incredibly hard to find, and astronomically expensive if you do. It has come to my attention that I am about to receive all I wanted and more.
With Sailor Moon Crystal set to debut this summer, many North American fans wondered how the new series would reach them. This past week, they got an answer and then some. Anime powerhouse Viz has not only secured all North American distribution rights to Sailor Moon Crystal, but to those of the original ’90s anime, and the plans they have for it are nothing short of epic.
Viz have acquired the rights to not only the full 200-episode series, but the three movies and all additional specials as well. This is the full package. And how will said package be delivered? Take your pick.
Sailor Moon (original flavor) will be available to stream on both Hulu and Viz.com’s official streaming site, Neon Alley. These episodes will be presented in their original, uncropped aspect ratio of 4:3, uncut, uncensored, and accurately subtitled. And this will be all the episodes, including Sailor Stars, the final season never aired in North America because they just couldn’t find a way around transsexual superheroes. Well, this time they’re well aware that we want our goddamn genderbending asskickers, thank you very much! So, apparently “Mondays are Moon Days,” the first four episodes become available starting May 19th, with another two made available every week.
Viz will also make the series available in box sets, each covering about half a season, more than fair considering that half a season of Sailor Moon is anywhere from 18-26 episodes. The first box set (Season 1, Part 1) will be available this fall in a limited edition Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, as well as standard edition DVD only. A DTO (download to own) copy of the subbed version will be available in late June, with the dub available along with the Blu-Ray combo pack release. And on the matter of dubbing…
This re-release of Sailor Moon comes complete with a new English dub, featuring an all-new voice cast to be announced at Anime Expo this July, that will accurately translate the Japanese scripts. The original Japanese names will be used, all references to Grandpa Hino’s perviness will remain intact, Zoisite will be a dude, Uranus and Neptune will be legit lesbians, and the Sailor Starlights will exist.
Like many fans, I’m torn on this issue. The purist in me has an immediate knee-jerk reaction of “Yeah, Zoisite’s a dude! Woo hoo! And it’s dumpling head, thank you! Yeah. Yeah lesbians exist! Take that, puritanical censors! Hey, these girls are warriors! They’re gonna get injuries! It’s just a little blood, you pearl-clutching, story destroying, prissy prudes!”
And yes, some of the voice actors from the original dub were truly horrible, some of the casting and dialogue choices were completely borked. Frankly, on the whole, “radical interpretation of the text” would be an understatement. And yet…
The idea of hearing anyone but Susan Roman as the English voice of Sailor Jupiter is just heartbreaking. The Sailor Moon dub was, for better or worse, my gateway drug to the world of anime, and no matter how hellworthy its trespasses, it will always hold a special place in my heart. Sure, they mined Clueless a little too deeply for slang and needlessly omitted important plot details, but Terri Hawkes’ Serena was my first anime heroine and will always be dear to me, as will background music and several songs, which I still enjoy to this day. The minor key version of the theme song used in quiet, emotional moments still makes me misty, and love “Moonlight Densetsu” as I do, in my book, “Carry On” is just hands down a stronger final battle track.
So, there are elements of the original DiC/Cloverway dub that I’ll miss, but they’re not being stricken from the record. They’ll always exist, and if the new dub disappoints, then they will always be our refuge.
Ultimately, the stance I’m taking is this. Terri Hawkes will always be Serena, Susan Roman will always be Lita, Mary Long’s Molly will always have one of the most dreadful Long Island accents and heart-rending “Noooooooos!” I’ve ever heard, and a string of vaguely constipated actors will always be Darien. And whomever they cast as the English voices of Usagi, Mako-chan, Naru, and Mamoru will bring to the table what they have to offer.
Bottom line: Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of Sailor Moon, had approval over the new dub cast, and if it’s good enough for Naoko, the least I can do is approach these new players will an open mind and invite them to do their best.
Bottom line #2: Sailor Moon remastered on Blu-Ray. Well, I know where my Christmas bonus is going.