Reviewer: Tom (Webmaster)
on: Vol 1 - 4 (anime)
MVM (DVD & VHS)
Edited? Yes, this is my review of the
edited version of Sailor Moon (SM) – the Western version that was
greatly changed from its original Japanese incarnation. Us Westerners
never got the whole of the moon, but at least we got something that was good.
SM begins by introducing us to schoolgirl Serena, who is a typical teen
that is interested in boys, food, boys, video games and boys. Suffice to
say she is not a great achiever at school and is more then a little surprised
when a black cat named Luna informs her that she (Serena) is in fact ‘Sailor
Moon’ and that she is destined to save the Earth from the evil ‘Negaverse’
and that this will be done using her powers along with fellow ‘Sailor Scouts’.
These scouts will reveal themselves in time and as a team they can rid the world
of evil by laying waste to the demons of the Negaverse. Serena accepts
this role but her personality does not change and she decides to take this whole
coming of age cliché with less angst then you would expect from your usual anime
hero. The only trouble is that Serena doesn’t take easily to saving
the world stuff and is more then pleased when the hunky Tuxedo Mask decides to
lend a hand. Tuxedo Mask is a strip-o-gram look-alike hero who is
everything a teenage girl could dream of – he’s suave, sexy, sophisticated and
saves her ass everytime she is in trouble. But Serena had better come of
age pretty soon as she can’t rely on others forever. Thus begins the saga
of Sailor Moon.
Ok, the above paragraph does make SM seem like a horrible cliché of a
show that doesn’t deserve it’s status as an anime classic, but please bear with
me as SM is worthy of your attention.
Firstly SM is great fun for either sex as it contains loads of girly
romance and tonnes of boyish action. Male otaku may even be happy that a
show has been edited for once as a lot of the dragging romantic storylines have
been cut to make way for the action, which means more ass-kicking babes which
all guys like. Female otaku will love the Buffy-esque girl power
action and will love the suave Tuxedo Mask and the hunky bad guys of the
Secondly SM does actually have a surprisingly ok plot which leads to
several cliffhanger episodes and not the same formulaic episodes which are
repeated ad nauseum. Although many of the plot twists you can see coming
an absolute mile off, they can still surprise as I found whilst watching it.
Many of the plot twists happened far sooner then I expected they would and left
me genuinely bewildered as to what could happen next.
But now for the inevitable problem of the edit, which is continuity. Many
of the cuts made to SM, such as Melvin’s voyeurism and homosexual
relationships, are understandable as SM was aimed at pre-teenagers when
it was released in the west during the early 90’s. Several other cuts have
been made, however, which are simply designed to reduce the running time of an
episode and often cause confusion. In every episode character conversation
will cut before a certain character can retort for the whole conversation to
make sense. Also when many of the scouts transform for the very first
time, the tools they use for transformation appear with no explanation.
Someone just shouts ‘use this!’ and the tool is there! Where did it come
from? We’ll never know.
Despite this obvious flaw of the edit, SM is still tremendous fun that is
highly enjoyable from start to finish. The plot is so easy to follow that
small bits that the edit misses out really do not matter and their exclusion
makes the show move much faster and keeps it action-packed. Yes, I know
that it is criminal to interfere with an artist’s vision and present in way they
never intended, but that does not mean that cannot enjoy SM. Try to
think of the edited series as a completely different show to the original and
treat them differently. Where as the original version contains more story
and romance, the edited version concentrates more on action and keeps the
romance to a necessary minimum. Decide which suits you more and go for it
as either will not disappoint you.