Sailor Moon Retrospective: 1992 Anime Season 1 – Calluna

Calluna takes a look at the first season of the 1992 Sailor Moon anime, delving into plot, characters, changes from sub to dub, and changes from manga to anime.

About CallunaReviews

One of the newest producers for Channel Awesome. I take a look at everything: movies, tv, video games, etc. Wearer of many hats.


  1. Interesting. I am only actually familiar with the original Sailor Moon English dub, but it’s interesting to hear about the manga, Japanese dub and English re-dub. I actually had no idea Zoisite was originally a male character. I’ve known since Doug’s Sailor Moon review that Uranus and Neptune weren’t actually cousins, but I never knew about Zoisite’s sex change.

    By the way, it’s not so much that the Japanese language doesn’t have the letter L, but that what has been termed the liquid consonant is actually somewhere in the limbo between L and R, and kind of difficult to get the hang of for a non-native speaker. When romanized, largely for English speaking audiences, the letter R is almost always used, though I have come across the rare exception at least a couple times. Suffice to say though, Neflite’s name was never changed and that is how I would translate it anyways since Nefrite doesn’t sound right. It’s an honest mistake, but now you know.;)

    • The most confusing thing about the Japanese L/R is that when you actually do say it, you need to form it in your mouth by striking with your tongue like a “d”. It’s odd at first, but if you train the sound for long enough it becomes natural. :-3

    • Last Action Bastard

      Thing is, all of the lead villains (with the exception of Metalia, because her name only SOUNDS like a metal, but is not a real word) in this season are named after real world minerals, and “nephrite” is the proper spelling. All the other villains have their names spelled exactly like the minerals they are named after, so why would his be the exception?

  2. To be absolutely honest I newer was fan of Magical Girls genre, though for some reason I watch first season of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Cristal (I mean first season part). But definitely as few rare exceptions I really liked Magic Knight Rayearth (at least first season), especially because few really dark plot point in this series (because main twist is really good I mention only subplot when one of supporting character was killed and her twin sister pretend to be her in order to not shock protagonists). But definitely my favorite worth watching even if someone isn’t genre fan is Madoka Magica.. seriously one of best anime ever made!

  3. Really love these retrospectives, especially since I was never able to see a lot of the show when it was on in Germany. Oh, also, can I make a small note? When you explained “Bokushi’s” name, the Hiragana spelled “Bikishi” instead. You might want to put an annotation there! 🙂

  4. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    Really enjoyed this retrospective and when you said you had a set of videos coming out tomorrow on your twitter on Wednesday Id gotta say it came to me that it must have been your retrospective(or you could have released four lets play of untill dawn but then that would have been crowded plus you only release one lets play a week which im glad that you do). I remember watching alt of the umbridged series but remember watching only a few episodes of the English dub(but on that note I’m glad you pointed out that brooklyn accent that was weird to me to). That was a really enjoyable episodes and I hope to see more from you down the line!!!!

  5. You’ve really did your homework on this franchise., I find sailor moon to be exceptionally perfect & I’m a freaking huge fan of the franchise.,,.

  6. I do remember the 90’s series. It was more of a watch because nothing else was on in the morning before the bus arrived.

    Personally, I liked female Zoisite. Like Nephlite, she had interests outside of being a toadie for Beryl. That put her a cut above Jadeite who was a glorified henchmen, Nephlite the turncoat and Kunzite who still follows Beryl’s orders even after he sees her cut down Zoisite in front of him. (The boy was kitty-whipped something fierce)

    But mostly we were spared the Sailor’s abysmal trash talking. When the Scouts were up against a female villain, the kitten claws came out calling them fat, ugly, and that they dyed their hair. (?) (I’m old enough to remember when dying your hair like tattoos was something questionable and unacceptable, but by the 90’s, the age of highlights, that came off as old-timey and clunky) With Zoey as a girl, but still written as a guy, the fights felt more grounded. Not a stereotypical cat fight, but a real struggle (as real as a English dub of a Japanese anime in the 90’s could get).

    Overall, I don’t see Sailor Moon as a big step for women. At the time it seems a more grown up version of Rainbow Brite. The big bad is still some amorphous cloud of bad feelings and the girls win through the power of love and friendship. Like Spice Girls and Britney Spears, it sort of skirted by on the idea that if a guy says it its sexists, but if a girl says it its empowering.

  7. I watched a few episodes of the new dub and I gotta say…I really liked Luna’s old voice better. The new version is fine but the original just sounded so mature and dignified (tho maybe a bit ‘old fashioned’). I also noticed the old voice creates a much more pleasing contrast between her’s and Serena’s. In the new version they sound just a bit too similar to me.

  8. Really dig this retrospective and looking forward for the continuation.

    I never watched Sailor Moon, save for a few random episodes, but now you inspired me to give it another shot.

  9. Wow! You put a lot of effort into this! Thanks so much! Naru was and still is one of my favorite characters, crazy Brooklyn accent or not~ haha~ Oh Maxfield~~ XD;;;;

    I can’t wait to see you tackle the other ones, and I’m really curious about your take on Alan and Ann, the two alien siblings who also seem to have the hots for each other??? I really need to rewatch that season in the Japanese to figure it out, haha~ I loved the cardigans– I mean “cardians” as well, but a lot of people say their whole arc was just filler~~ ;.;

  10. 1) Negaverse-The name of the organization (The Dark Kingdom)

    Negaforce- The energy goddess whom Beryl awakens and answers to (Queen Metalia). In the first scene of ‘Jupiter Comes Thundering In’, Beryl summons her by name.

    I’m not trying to be catty but, damn, I was 10 when the show first aired and I got that.

    2) The higher pitched performance of Usagi may be more faithful to the original Japanese (Kotono definitively has the voice of a grown woman so the Usagi voice is definitely an act) but I feel that it lands with a thud having been strictly translated to English; That’s not how we are used to hearing young girls, especially teenage ones, portrayed.

    The first questions I always hear when I show the series to anyone is “Why does she sound so young? Are the other girls supposed to be older?” Usagi sounds like a cartoon character and she is not a stylized character for whom the voice would fit.

    This is not Stephanie Sheh’s fault; She does a great job doing what she is asked to do: She just keeps the voice in a place where the character is taken out of the realm of being the somewhat realistic girl she is meant to be; I wish they had kept the voice in the register that Traci Moore had.

    As a culture, English North America simply isn’t used to the high pitched voice being considered normal for girls and women; To our ears it simply sounds off or outright goofy: Japan has done it for decades.

    Neither way is good nor bad; It’s just what each society finds to be normal.

  11. I’ve been meaning to take a look at your videos and since I LOVED Sailor Moon in middle school, I figured I’d give this a try. It was interesting though since you were going off of the Japanese version and not the Dub version that I watched for the most part.

    I actually liked the DIC dub version but again, that’s my nostalgia talking. 😀 I would actually like to get it on DVD one day because the nostalgia is too strong for me. ^.^ Also, that Michael Kors gag made me laugh.

    I didn’t know that the creator of Sailor Moon was a woman or into fashion. That is REALLY cool! I remember that when I would watch the show, I would care about the episodes that had to with fashion, not romance. This was a great set of videos.

  12. I really enjoyed this retrospective. It was interesting and well researched, but having said that, I also have to say that I can’t disagree more with you on the new dub. It is awful.

    Many Asian languages lend themselves nicely to a wide range of pitches and tones, including the higher ones. English does not. The high voices are grating and shrill when speaking English. It sounds best with a more neutral or softer tone.

    While I don’t blame the actors, the voices were all the wrong choice. They are high pitched, whiny, and have little to no difference between characters, making it impossible to tell who is speaking if you happened to not be looking at the screen.

    Not only that, but the audio quality itself was subpar at best, and no, I wasn’t watching a bootleg. I was watching the official dvd release that a friend bought.

    Neither of us could finish the first disk and I haven’t even tried to go back to it since. For me, the voices made it unwatchable. And this is coming from someone who was really looking forward to the redub and who can usually quickly adjust to obvious voice changes.

  13. During the hay day of DiC’d Sailor Moon, I started watching the Mexican dub version. They kept all the footage & music intact but changed the names to their DiC counterparts. I only had a very, very limited grasp of Spanish (and I still do) despite living right on the U.S./Mexico borders. Zoisite was also changed into female; so was Fish-eye. The dubbed Sailor Stars series pretty much finished around 1999. I wasn’t so sure about how much of the dialogue & context were changed between Uranus & Neptune, and the Starlights, but visually nothing was cut out.

    Here’s a little copy-paste about Kunzite’s name change: His name in DiC’s dub was Malachite, likely derived from the mineral of the same name, and he was the only Shitennou to have his name completely changed (rather than have the spelling altered). His name was thus the only one in the dub to be spelled the same way as its corresponding mineral, but it was still not the same as the original. The reason for his name change is unknown, but one theory is that there are legal issues surrounding the use of the name Kunzite in English.[3] Another possibility is that Kunzite sounds too similar to slang for a part of the female anatomy for a children’s television program.

    I couldn’t find anything regarding said legal issue; just came across an old forum discussing it. Perhaps when it comes down to pronunciation for North American tv, you don’t really win (even with Uranus’s pronunciation in the Cloverway dub, where it just winds up sounding like “urine-us,” as opposed to “your anus”). You’ll either get “Coonzite” or “Cuntzite,” with the pronunciations, so yeah censorship on North Amercian TV for children, with almost-sounding-offensive words.

  14. They changed Knuzite to Malachite, because of licensing issues

  15. Hey Calluna, I’m super late to the party on this since I was away for Thanksgiving, but my girlfriend and I just watched all 4 parts and loved it. I still haven’t read much of the original manga but I love the anime to death and now I really want to check the manga out because of the differences you mentioned.

    Also, Sailor Stars, the final season is FINALLY coming out to North America subbed this year! I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of SOS (Save Our Sailors), which was a fan group way back in 1996 or so, but I think they can finally rest happy now that Stars is coming out here thanks to Viz!

  16. am I a terrible person for thinking that Sailor Venus’ belt looks like a string of anal beads wrapped around her waist?

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