Finally, I discuss one of the most hotly contested cases of DiC’s editing: the final episode(s) of Classic Sailor Moon*.
Classic dealt with the Sailor Soldiers awakening as warriors, fighting the Dark Kingdom, and eventually facing the Dark Kingdom’s leader, Queen Beryl, head-on. In general, DiC’s story arc was the same. Yes, there were plenty of adjustments along the way, but the trajectory was roughly the same. In the finale of the season, however, DiC made some of their biggest edits which affect both plot and character development. First off, they erase significant character deaths. Later, an extensive battle is cut out. Additionally, the last stand-off with Queen Beryl is quite altered. Finally, the end of the series changes from a reincarnation story to one of memory loss.
So, I talk about Sailor Moon a lot. I’ve been a fan of the show for years and, like most English-speaking Moonies, I was introduced to it by the English dub produced by DiC Entertainment. As such, I have a lot of affection for the dub and will defend many aspects of it. I don’t believe that one country’s adaptation of another country’s entertainment needs to be a carbon copy of the original. I’ll take into account cultural differences and marketability concerns because they are huge factors to consider when making a product for mass consumption, and, in the past, I have mostly sided with DiC in their decisions. There are times, however, when I have to state that DiC made the wrong choice, and I believe that is the case with how they handled the character of Rei.
When DiC created the English dub of Toei’s anime Sailor Moon, many things were changed. Some of the changes were done to make the show more appealing to English-speaking audiences, but many were made to censor out elements which were deemed inappropriate for the show. One of the more glaring examples of censorship in the English dub of Sailor Moon is the handling of the character Zoisite (spelled “Zoycite” in DiC’s version). Zoisite was one of the Shitennou, or “Four Heavenly Kings”, and, in the anime, was romantically linked with the Shitennou’s leader, Kunzite. Zoisite and Kunzite were also both men, and therein lay the problem for DiC when they were creating the English dub of the series.
Since there was virtually no mainstream market for anime in the English-speaking world at the time Sailor Moon was being produced, DiC needed to make the show fit in with standard programming at the time. One of the standards of programming was that animation was for kids, so DiC marketed Sailor Moon to that young demographic. In doing so, there were many things that had to be changed about the show to make it more acceptable to parents, councils, and the like, so anything bloody was removed, words like “death” or “kill” were never used, and most examples of non-Western spirituality were toned down or cut out. With this approach to adapting the series, it’s pretty easy to see that the homosexual romance was never going to make it into the English version, so how was it handled? By making the man Zoisite into the woman Zoycite.
Most fans will point this out as one of the most insulting acts on DiC’s part, whether they’re dub supporters or dub haters, but to be honest, I’m not too angry about this decision.