Top 10 Most Censored Sailor Moon Moments

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Top 10 Most Censored Sailor Moon Moments

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Whitney Wilson
Moon Prism Power? Not if the censors have their way! Join Ashley as we count down our picks for the times Sailor Moon content was heavily edited for the west, including the likes of "Violence", "The First Seaosn Finale", "Sailor Venus x Sailor Neptune", and more!
Transcript
Scritp written by Whitney Wilson

Top 10 Most Censored Sailor Moon Moments


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Censored “Sailor Moon” Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most altered, covered up and censored aspects of the beloved 90s anime series. We will be discussing plot points of the show, so consider this your spoiler warning.

What do you think is the strangest thing that was changed in “Sailor Moon?” Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.

#10: Violence


As an action-packed series starring a team of magical soldiers, “Sailor Moon” has its fair share of violent confrontations. In the original Japanese run, the animation team did not shy away from showing bits of blood when it was appropriate. However, when the show was picked up for distribution outside of Japan, localization efforts largely removed scenes that were considered too violent. While a good chunk was surprisingly kept in, even the most tamest things like small cuts would hit the chopping block.

#9: Usagi Drinking Too Much


Poor Usagi keeps going to parties where they only serve alcoholic punch. The first time the heroine accidentally drinks too much punch happens near the end of the episode, and the short scene’s dialogue isn’t changed too much. And we get that it’s supposed to be a romantic moment, but Mamoru kissing her when she’s drunk is still pretty creepy. The second time Usagi drinks too much, the moment is changed to make it seem like she’s simply sick from too much sugar in the punch. Whether it’s from granulated or distilled sugar, at least Mamoru doesn’t kiss her when she’s under the influence this time.

#8: Implied Nudity


While nothing super explicit was really visible in the original version, apparently the mere suggestion of nudity was too much for some parts of the world. During transformation sequences, for example, body lines have been removed so only the girls’ silhouettes appear as they power up. When characters take baths, the water is raised to hide cleavage, made more opaque to hide body lines or both. Some individual shots are even completely removed if they can be done so without majorly impacting the story. While some of these edits work okay in the context of the story, others are just clunky.

#7: Fish Eye


Part of what makes “Sailor Moon'' so beloved is that it has a fair amount of LGBTQ+ representation. Unfortunately, when the anime was distributed outside of Japan, some localization removed this aspect completely. Fish Eye is a member of the Amazon Trio, and in the original version of the anime, the character presents as an androgynous man who is attracted to men. Outside of Japan, however, several dubs made the choice to change Fish Eye to a straight woman. Some countries even decided to totally cut out the Amazon Trio, including Fish Eye, from their releases of the anime, which is too bad considering they’re a good group of characters.

#6: Americanization


When “Sailor Moon” was first released in English in North America, it was distributed for children. In order to make the anime more accessible to young audiences, localization changed several character names and references. For example Michiru is changed to Michelle and Usagi becomes Serena. Additionally, food references have been altered, including Mamoru’s nickname for Usagi being changed from “Dumpling Head” to “Meatball Head.” There are also subtle changes to the animation itself, such as cars being driven on the opposite side of the road. While these changes did make the series a little easier for young audiences to understand, they made some aspects of the show confusing.

#5: Cut Episodes, Including Sailor Venus' Origin


When “Sailor Moon” was originally picked up for English distribution in North America, the company that released it chose to not air several episodes. While some of the episodes contain raunchy moments, such as Usagi’s classmate flipping up their teacher’s skirt and making her cry, others were cut for unknown reasons. Perhaps the strangest omission is the episode that is focused on Sailor Venus’ origin. Before she teams up with the rest of the main characters, Sailor Venus lives in England. There, she takes up the moniker Sailor V and fights evil. She is caught in an explosion, and in the aftermath, realizes her love interest and her friend are in love with each other. Naturally, she lets them believe she did not survive the explosion and moves to Japan. No wonder her powers are associated with love.

#4: Zoisite & Kunzite


Similarly to the aforementioned Fish Eye, Zoisite was a victim of LGBTQ+ erasure in several dubs. In the original version of the show, Zoisite is in a same-sex relationship with fellow Shitennou Kunzite. However, outside of Japan, several localization efforts changed Zoisite from a man to a women, making the character’s relationship with Kunzite heterosexual instead. Interestingly enough, Kunzite’s name was also changed to Malachite in the first North American English dub, and Zoisite’s name was spelled differently, although the reasons behind these changes are less clear. While this was the first LGBTQ+ relationship to be changed due to censorship, it would not be the last, as we will explore later on.

#3: The First Season Finale


So many things were eliminated that the finale was literally cut in half. When the conclusion of the first season originally aired, it was a two-part episode. However, when it was aired in other markets, many scenes deemed too disturbing for young viewers were either altered or completely removed. In the original version, all of the Sailor Guardians sacrifice themselves during the battle. In the original North American English dub, the villains say that the Sailor Guardians have been captured and are being held as prisoners. Additionally, particularly violent parts of the battle are cut, such as shots from the fight between Usagi and Mamoru. The end of the finale remains the same, but it doesn’t have quite the same impact.

#2: The Entire Last Season


When “Sailor Moon” was originally distributed in English in North America, it ended with the fourth season, which meant audiences did not even get to see the true end of the series. The fifth season of the anime features the Sailor Starlights, three characters who present as men in their civilian forms and transform into women in their Sailor Guardian forms. Additionally, one of the Starlights, Seiya, dates Usagi. While some markets decided to simply not release the season at all, other markets came up with creative ways to cover up the gender-non-conforming characters. For example, one dub changed the three Starlights to three sets of twins who switched out during transformation sequences. It was definitely a choice.

#1: Sailor Neptune & Sailor Uranus


As we’ve discussed, several international versions of “Sailor Moon'' censored LGBTQ+ characters in various ways, but this one definitely takes the cake. In the original version of the anime, Haruka and Michiru are two women in a romantic relationship with each other. Several markets censored and altered their relationship in different ways. Some countries changed Haruka to a man when in civilian form. Perhaps most infamously, however, the original North American English dub changed the two characters from girlfriends to cousins. Maybe the localization team had a Karen Smith view on family structures or something. At the end of the day, Michiru and Haruka are still the ultimate power couple, no matter how hard people try to cover up their love.
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