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Strange Things Changed in the Cloverway Dub of "Sailor Moon S" and "Supers"

A fan of the series since 1995, Koriander runs the popular Moon Sisters fan site and studies the Sailor Moon franchise closely.


A New Nightmare

For most Gen X and Millennial fans, when the topic of an edited version of the Sailor Moon anime comes to mind, the DiC batch of episodes is always brought up in conversation.

But Cloverway also made massive edits. There were entire story elements that were altered.

While DiC enjoyed two different VHS runs, a DVD run, and repeat airings on multiple stations, Cloverway's edit of Sailor Moon S and SuperS only aired in North America on YTV in Canada and on Cartoon Network's Toonami block. A few select episodes of Sailor Moon S aired on Kids WB.

Cloverway offered the episodes in a few formats:

1. Edited dub on VHS and DVD.
2. "Uncut dub" VHS, where the visuals were uncensored, but the dialogue matched the edited dub.
3. Uncut subtitled VHS and DVD.

Unlike the DiC episodes, which were distributed in video stores and "big box" retailers nationwide, the Cloverway episodes only popped up at Walmart and at select video and anime stores online or in malls. They were in much smaller quantities than DiC's already quite small VHS and DVD output.

Because these two seasons were not nearly as accessible nationwide as the prior two seasons, it's easy to see why some fans have a hard time remembering them, and yet the impact is still being felt.

While the Cloverway episodes are far less edited than the DiC seasons with fewer episodes skipped, there were still some major changes made.


What Did She Say?

DiC's dub of Sailor Moon had ignited an unsavory trend in erasing Japanese names in order to make them seem more "American" and Cloverway picked up where DiC and Optimum Productions had left off.

Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna became Amara, Michelle and Trista, despite Irwin Toys already naming them Corinn, Nerissa and Celia respectively.

Hotaru and Souichi Tomoe kept their names, but characters often mispronounced their family name.

A translation error involving the L, R and V sounds in Japanese left Cere-Cere, Ves-Ves and Palla-Palla as Cerle-Cerle, Besu-Besu and Para-Para, and countless "villains of the day" were left with mismatched names.

Also changed were many attack and transformation names, despite the names already being in English.

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"Moon Crisis Make Up" was changed to "Moon Cosmic Dream Action" after DiC/Optimum's dub of the SuperS movie had already changed it to "Super Moon Crisis Power".

The Kaleidomoon Scope, already sold by Irwin as a 2nd Moon Scepter, was not the Energy Rainbow Moon Rod, while Chibiusa's Crystal Carillon was now the Crystal Chime.

Attack names would be randomly changed every few episodes. "Moon Gorgeous Meditation" for example would sometimes be called "Super Moon Target" while Sailor Mars had alternative names for her three main attacks.


Wait, Where Are We?

The first season of DiC's dub of Sailor Moon obscured where the show takes place. Kanji, hiragana, and katakana writing was digitally erased. Scenes were zoomed in or put through the pan-and-scan process to eliminate Japanese statues and signs. All references to Japanese food were dropped, with dialogue altered to reflect American snack foods.

The final episodes of Sailor Moon R however saw an about-face, as DiC finally let it slip that the future world is in Crystal Tokyo, and that the town Usagi/Serena calls home will one day be part of that kingdom.

Cloverway allowed the characters to talk about Crystal Tokyo and about living in Japan, but they still made strange edits.

Random episodes inconsistently had edited signs, Japanese Yen was changed to American money, and they deleted cultural statues. But then in Episode 97, (Episode 104 in the Japanese version) Cloverway crossed the line.

When Minako/Mina reads a letter from Neo Queen Serenity (the future Usagi/Serena), the joke is that the queen wrote the letter in hiragana and katakana instead of kanji, and had scribbled out words she misspelled.

But the Cloverway dub has Mina saying "I read this with my imagination" and had the girls chiding Serena for writing in "funny symbols."

This edit was racist, disrespectful, unnecessary, and undermined whatever goodwill Cloverway had tried to accomplish.

And then it got worse.


Why Did They Do This?

Countless articles have called DiC on the carpet for their mishandling of LBGTQIA characters, and correctly so, but DiC was not alone in changing characters.

DiC's run of Sailor Moon turned Zoisite and Kunzite, a passionate Gay couple, into Zoycite and Malachite, an airheaded Straight couple, with Zoycite now being a woman.

While DiC took the blame for turning Sailor Uranus and Neptune into cousins, it was actually a Cloverway call, and not DiC's fault, as their relationship is never addressed in the DiC/Optimum edits of the S and SuperS movies.

But it stands as the most famous offense against LBGTQIA fans, as Cloverway opted to leave all of their romantic scenes alone, giving the impression that instead of being a lesbian couple, they were now involved with incest, emboldening hate and giving young viewers the wrong idea.

Cloverway also changed the gender of Fish-Eye, turning him into a woman, simply because his 90s anime counterpart is openly Gay.

And that's not all.

In episode 97, (Again, 104 for the Japanese version.) Chibiusa/Rini has a crush on a tween tea ceremony master named Tamasaburo.

In the Japanese version, he is a sweet boy who likes to cross-dress and wear baby pink lipstick, while in the Cloverway version, he is a little girl.

Strangely, Chibiusa/Rini's crush is left completely alone, despite Cloverway already having made Uranus and Neptune cousins.

Making things worse, while most scenes where all of the other Sailor Guardians were in a state of undress were edited down or erased completely, scenes of Chibiusa/Rini changing clothes were left completely uncensored, and even ran slowed-down on Toonami with no explanation or content warnings.

Even more bizarre, Cloverway turned Zirconia into a man, despite her never having any romantic involvement with any character, and despite her wearing makeup and having Jun-Jun call her "Granny" and "Obasan/Old Lady" in the Japanese version.

The uncomfortable 1999-2001 Cloverway edit of Sailor Moon may not be as well remembered as the DiC edit, but it stands as a big part of why the completely uncensored Viz version was so crucial to fans in 2014.

© 2022 Koriander Bullard

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