Sailor Moon VIZ Dub Review
It is not a stretch for me to say that this dub made me rethink my entire opinion on a lot of actors. People I have previously not given a fair shot and who, initially, sounded off to me- have really shown their stuff. The VIZ dub of Sailor Moon starts off a little weird- these aren’t the voices we know, this isn’t the music we grew up on, some of these things are entirely changed and some of them have to be gotten used to. Initially I was incredibly angry at this DUB. I was used to three different women as Sailor Moon and none of them quite sounded like Stephanie Sheh. I was used to Stephanie Sheh voicing people who were a bit more timid than Usagi, and it became a rough transition.
So what changed my opinion of this dub? Well, a lot of things. First off, this dub is not like our old dubs. If you go in hoping for the DIC nostalgia then it’s not possible. A lot of us know that dub had a lot of errors but not a single one of us can deny it shaped who we are today, so we were hoping for some amazing transition between the two that captured what we liked and fixed what we hated. After a certain point you couldn’t even see the first arc, but to the kids who grew up watching this it doesn’t matter if Zoisite was really a man or if the plot holes were there. We were kids, and the only way we knew the majesty of Sailor Moon on commercial media was the anime. As we grew up, we wanted better, and we got it.
I’m of the age where Sailor Moon didn’t just impact my teenage years, it literally changed my life. My formative years, when I was 4 years old, are when this show aired for me. A lot of my favorite anime tropes were developed because of this show: Identity revelations, magical girls, true love, destiny, friendship – they sound simple but Sailor Moon ingrained them into me. Even the weirder episodes and the plotholes meant a lot to me. So you know what?
I’m guilty of being the impossible to please generation. How can you combat a 4 year old girl’s memories? How can you fight off someone’s happiest memories when they were being bullied and hurt? How do you possibly, in any shape, recapture those emotions if someone values that iteration of what they loved most? So you know what? I was impossible to please. I thought every actor involved in this needed to be perfect and when I had preconceptions of them, I took it to them.
Well here’s the truth.
It took me months of thinking to admit it, but nobody in the American Anime Industry could play Sailor Moon but Stephanie Sheh. Every other contender for the same role is in this show, and they’re better where they are. Cherami Leigh, for example, has the ability to draw on the teenage girl voice while having a decent range. She is much better, even perfect, in her role. Sheh has the ability to call on a voice much lighter than her own, that sounds much younger and actually captures Usagi’s age.
Can this dub please everyone? No. Should it? Yes. There is no harsher fan than I when it comes to this particular dub, no better example than someone like me. I once had a little girl tell me my Pinkie Pie impression was terrible (If this example doesn’t suit you, people far more talented with their voices than I have done similar with similar reactions), to a child a voice is precise and a moniker. There is no ‘similar’. There is just what we are used to and what gave us comfort and inspiration.
So what does it come to for us? Most of us don’t want to just see the original. We know the things that were wrong with it and we want them to be changed. So pleasing us is almost impossible and difficult, we want a product that is beyond the capacity of a dub company to provide. Give us both the dialogue and feeling we liked from before but get rid of the inconsistencies. Find a voice actor who is exactly what we remember but with more talent than the one’s we might not have liked. We’re all guilty of putting down that certain voice actor even if they don’t deserve it. Well, for once I just can’t.
This is as good as we’re going to get- probably ever. Voice dubbing companies are not magicians who can capture the go between of both, and they’re not magicians who can capture the exact feeling of the Japanese either. I feel bad for the Sailor Moon cast who must compare to not one, but three other sets of standards. The original dub, the original Japanese, and the current Japanese. Stephanie Sheh has four actors herself to base off of, and what she did was just right for the character. Luckily there are plenty of fans who really enjoy the feeling of a new dub that fixed all the issues and problems with the DiC dub. And luckily? At the core of it, each person who was casted has the right voice for the role they’re in.
As the hardest to please fan, with a critical eye on everything, I have to give Sailor Moon’s VIZ take an above average pass. For every problem you might ever have, there is an endless list of positive choices made by every actor, castor, script writer, and director. There are probably some choices I’ll never get used to, like Luna not being british, but all I can say is this: No one should have a reason to hate this dub, and if you do, give it time. It might not be what you remember but the VIZ Sailor Moon dub does a very good job at reminding you that new can be better.
9/10 – More love put in than I can disagree with.
For an in depth look at the new dub, my recommendation is to go to Hulu (in America) and watch Naru’s Tears, Death of the Sailor Guardians, and the finale of Season 1.