Now, I love Sailor Moon. The original anime is one of my favorite shows. I grew up on it. I spent my days playing with my Inner Senshi dolls with reruns of their show playing in the background. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest girl-power shows of all time. And I love me a good girl-power show. I have spent the better half of the past month watching episodes from the first season of the show and wishing that I could become a sailor scout myself. Now that I have assured you that Sailor Moon is one of the pieces of media closest to my heart and that it is clear that I am not attacking the show, I will state that Sailor Moon has one of the most complex lore/plots that I have ever seen.
Some characters have up to seven different names and five different forms/identities that they will take on during their time on the show. Now, the complex lore does play into the themes of destiny and fate that run throughout the show but sometimes you just need to sit back and take a second to think about everything that you have seen and try to sort through it. And once you’ve figured all that out, you then need to sort through the manga and figure out that lore as well as there are some big differences between the two. So, without further ado, allow me to take you through 25 differences between the Sailor Moon manga and the original dubbed anime.
25 A Much Darker Tone
I first started watching the original Sailor Moon dubbed anime when I was a toddler and even I was spooked by some of the villains and intense scenes. Which is fascinating when one considers that the manga was originally much darker than the show ended up being. Not only was the overall tone darker but the fights were far more intense, the villains were relentless, and the consequences of failing their missions were far more impactful. Man, and I thought the anime was intense at times.
24 Neptune And Uranus Were Not Cousins
This edit was ill thought out and should not have occurred at all. In the attempt to eradicate all forms of romantic representation, the sailor scouts Neptune and Uranus found that their relationship status was changed before it was presented to Western audiences. They were turned into cousins rather than partners. However, the team that made this change did not see it through to the end and left in a lot of romantic tension and situations between the two which made the fact that they were now related slightly upsetting.
23 Zoisite Was Not Supposed To Be A Woman
It turns out that the villain Zoisite was not always a girl. This villain, who maintains a deep relationship with one of her sinister coworkers, was actually originally written as male within the pages of the manga that the show was based on. However, many changes were made to the anime in order for the FCC to deem to appropriate for Western audiences. And many of those changes included gender swaps that eliminated the presence of same-gender relationships within the show.
22 The Sailor Scouts Tragic End Was Cut
One of the biggest differences between the manga and the original dubbed version of the anime came during the battle between the sailor scouts and Queen Beryl. In this final face-off, the girls are defeated and eventually given the opportunity to reset the previous year of their lives in an attempt to ensure that things end differently. In the Western version, the girls were simply defeated. However, in the manga, each girls’ lives were ended in unique ways that were depicted in a most intense and detailed fashion. This is the only edit I approve of.
21 Fisheye Wasn't Always A Girl
Next in the long line of edits that were made to the original dubbed version of the anime in order to remove romantic and identity representation from the show was the fact that Fisheye’s gender was swapped before the show was released to a Western audience. It is also important to note that a significant portion of their backstory (which can be found in the original manga in which the show was based) was cut from the final version of the show as well.
20 Sailor Starlight Did Not Make It
The entire fifth season of the anime was never dubbed for the Western version of the show due to the fact that it would have faced severe censorship in order to be deemed appropriate (the rights were also too pricey). Though the Sailor Starlight group was featured heavily in the manga, they unfortunately never made it to Western screens. This was mainly due to the fact that they maintain same-gender relationships as well as the fact that they are women but disguise themselves as men (which makes both their gender and romantic attractions incredibly fluid).
19 Villains With A Purpose
Since the original dubbed anime was created with a younger audience in mind, it is important to note that a lot of the changes made to it were done in order to make it more appropriate for children. And with that, a need for a more clear-cut line between the good and evil sides became apparent. In the original manga, the sinister characters were often given motivations and backstories that made it possible to empathize or even side with them at times. But in the anime, they were simply bad people who did bad things for bad reasons.
18 Japanese Cultural References Did Not Make It
In order to make the show more accessible to audiences, a lot of changes were made to the original dubbed anime. One of the more subtle changes was that Usagi was referred to as meatball head rather than having her hair based nickname mention a traditional Japanese dish as there was a (false) belief that Western audiences could not relate to a show that included elements from other cultures. Other changes include flipping the images so that cars appeared on the “right” side of the road and all mentions of the Japanese Yen was replaced with USD. Later edits of the original anime corrected these changes.
17 Sailor Mercury's Einstein Obsession
I am a little sad that this little tidbit never made it into the original dubbed anime. We all know that Sailor Mercury was the brightest and most intellectually inclined member of the sailor scouts and with that comes an attraction to equally intelligent potential partners. In the original manga, for some reason, Sailor Mercury is crushing hard on none other than the one and only Albert Einstein. Now, I am not one to judge the object of someone’s affections. However, even I can admit that that is an odd choice for a young modern teen girl.
16 Sailor Venus Is The Leader
Though the anime makes it quite clear that Usagi/Sailor Moon is the de facto leader of the Inner Senshi, that was not always the case. It turns out that, in the original manga in which the show was based, it was actually Sailor Venus that took charge and was at the helm of the group. This was mostly because of her immense innate power but also because she was awoken to her inner senshi and sailor scout powers first- so it only makes sense for her to be their leader. But the anime pushed her into a ditzier role in order to balance out the team.
15 No One Has Westernized Names
One of the biggest gripes that fans of the series have about the dubbed version of the original anime is the fact that several characters names were changed in order to appeal to Western audiences. Luckily the original anime received a new dub years after its release which corrected many of the edits and made it one of the best versions of the series. For example, Usagi was Serena/Bunny, Mercury was Amy (instead of Ami,) Mars is Raye (instead of Rei), Jupiter is Lita, and Venus was Mina. I’m sorry, but her name is Usagi and no one can convince me otherwise.
14 Sailor Moon Looked Nothing Like Usagi
It’s a classic tale of Superman vs. Clark Kent. The internet always seems to struggle to understand why no one in-universe is ever able to deduce anyone’s secret identities when the difference between their mortal self and super self is so minimal. However, in the manga, the girls’ inner senshi forms actually looked different to their civilian selves (not to the point where they are clearly different people but enough that their peers could not recognize them.) But, for the sake of making the story as easy as possible to follow, the original dubbed anime decide to keep the changes to the minimum.
13 The Black Moon Arc Was Entirely Different
It turns out that the Black Moon arc was completely different between the television show and the original manga. Without spoiling any details of the plot in case fans of the series have yet to crack into the manga (as it is a very pivotal part of the series and its arc,) I will simply say that not only was the entire arc far darker than the one which existed in the anime; the villains were also given multiple dimensions and even written so that readers would be able to easily side with the villains if needed. Whereas, in the original dubbed anime, the villains were one-dimensional creatures of evil.
12 Rei's Grandfather Was Not A Good Man
Rei’s grandfather’s antics did not make it into the original dubbed version of the show. And for good reason. It turns out that several of his “comical antics” included bothering, attaching himself to, or showing interest in teenage girls. And that is not okay. I know that we are supposed to respect our elders but if an elder is making you feel uncomfortable or crossing the line, I give you the right to kick them in the keister and never interact with them again.
11 They Are Not Supposed To Be Scouts
Fun fact: they were not originally called “scouts.” It turns out that that moniker was a product of the original dubbed version of the anime and that their original/official name was the Inner Senshi. Senshi is a Japanese term which means both soldier and warrior. It was used to describe the inner alter-ego versions of the girls that linger within them and come out when it was time to save the world. However, their name was changed to the “sailor scouts” in the original dubbed version of the anime because their outfits resembled both a sailor style dress and a girl scout uniform.
10 Tuxedo Mask Is Sailor Earth
Though simply alluded to in the original dubbed version of the anime, it is confirmed that Tuxedo Mask is actually the guardian that was assigned to protect the planet Earth’s crystal (a.k.a. Sailor Earth.) This was confirmed through the manga and alluded to in the anime due to the fact that he is the sole possessor of the Earth’s designated crystal. Though there are theories that he is also the guardian assigned to protect the sun’s crystal (Due to the connection between these two celestial bodies) it has yet to be officially confirmed.
9 Usagi Does Not Have Time For You
Though I have a soft spot for Usagi, even I have to admit that she can be a bit of a whiny crybaby at times. And it’s okay, we all get like that sometimes (especially when being tasked to protect the world) but the original/manga Usagi did not have time for anyone’s nonsense. It turns out that the original Usagi, though still emotional at times, is often quite unforgiving and can be quite harsh at times to those who have wronged her. She does not have time for people on her bad side and that is a little amazing.
8 Queen Serenity Was Almost A Moon Fairy
Though never mentioned in the original dubbed version of the anime, in the original manga in which it was based it turns out that Queen Serenity was originally intended to be a celestial moon fairy and actually appeared in several editions in this form. Later in the manga run, the character was eventually reworked and the entire fairy concept was scrapped. However, there is still something incredibly cool about that concept and I wish that the creator had played with that idea a bit longer.
7 Usagi Is Connected To Rabbits
Fans of the original dubbed version of the show would know Usagi by a different name and that different name would actually provide a connection/clue to Usagi’s animal connection from the original manga. Her Western name was Serena/Bunny and, as it turns out, the famous character is actually connected to bunnies. The name Usagi Tsukino translates to “Rabbit of the moon” and her famous bun-style pigtails would be more accurately called bunny tails as they resemble the ears of a rabbit (an animal which is often connected to the moon.)
6 The Sailor Scouts Were Much Older
Another reason why it was so difficult for their peers to recognize their girls in their Sailor Scout form was the fact that they were aged up physically during these transformations in order to be their most powerful selves. The intricacies and details of their transformations were delved into in greater and deeper detail in the original manga; however in order to make the show easier for audiences to follow, the transformations were kept simple and straightforward. Changing the design between forms could have caused audiences to confuse which senshi was which post-transformation.
5 Sailor Venus Was Not That Ditzy
While, yes it is true that Sailor Venus had her ditzy moments within the original manga in which the original dubbed version of the anime was based, it is important to note that the show took things to a whole new level. Venus was actually quite capable, kept the girls in line, and was actually a powerful leader in her own right but the show seemed to paint her as the “ditzy blonde” of the show. Which is unfair in my humble opinion.
4 Juice Does Not Make You Sick
Age-based substances like grown-up party juice have no right in children’s media, according to the censorship bureau. However, there were some episodes in the Japanese version of the show as well as storylines in the manga that featured Usagi dabbling in the art of drinking grown-up party juice before one is of age -- and the rough consequences that follow. In order to circumvent the censors with these plots, the show simply replaced all mentions of the grown-up juice with… well… juice.
3 No One Would Recognize Tuxedo (Un)Masked
Like the inner senshi, Tuxedo Mask also experiences a similar physical change between his guardian and his civilian self. Though, to audiences, it seems absolutely ridiculous that Usagi cannot recognize the boy of her affections when he removes his glasses, that was simply done so that we could follow the plot. In the original manga, it is revealed that the difference between their guardian and civilian self looks entirely different from one another. Now, that may seem like they are assuming a lack of intelligence on the part of the audience but with such complex lore, it is important to simplify things as much as possible where you can.
2 The First To Awaken Has The Most Power
Though it makes sense that Usagi was the leader in the original dubbed version of the anime (for Usagi to be the leader of the Sailor Scouts/Inner Senshi due to the fact that she becomes the Moon Princess/Neo-Serenity as well as being the human that Luna latches herself to), she was not the official leader in the manga. It turns out that Venus was the leader for the simple fact that she was found/awoken first. I guess it truly is a case of first come first served.