Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Well, kids, I promised to deliver Volume 8 within 2 weeks of the book's release, but then hurricane Sandy hit and compromised my access to both the internet and the necessary scans.  I actually got the book early, too, so that's irony for ya.  I work 12-hour days during the week, so I won't be able to have the entry up until this weekend.

Hopefully, I can quell any feelings of rage and betrayal by pointing you towards some ridiiiiiculous cells and transcripts that have suddenly surfaced for that ill-fated Toonmakers Sailor Moon animated series.

Oh, you don't know what I'm talking about?  This is required viewing for all fans.  Oh, you do know what I'm talking about but had buried the memory deep into the darkest pit of your psyche?  Time to stop the denial.
You know you want to see quality animation cells like this one of Mercury in her wheelchair-hang glider-spaceship-hair salon:
And you know you want to read excerpts from the ALL-CAPS, typo-ridden script.  So do yourself a favor and check out Sailor Moon News (there are several posts about these things) and this topic in the Genvid forum.
On second thought, this might just increase your feelings of rage and betrayal...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Volume 7

Uranus stroking her sword with a "come hither" look.
Volume 7 stars Sailor Uranus, who is "both male and female" and who possesses a sword that lengthens during periods of excitement.

There was nothing about this volume that made me scream into the cold, pitiless night, and nothing that made me dance a merry jig on my balcony.  There were a lot of grammatical errors and typos, which freaks me out, but if I chew enough Prozac, I get by.

Remember how Tokyopop translated Ptilol's name as Petite Roll?  Shh, I know, it's painful to remember.  Well, Flanagan didn't repeat that error.  I remember before this reprint even started, people were worried about what would happen to some of these wacky names in the Infinity story arc.  We can now breathe a sigh of relief, because all the names have been properly translated.

On a totally unrelated note, and just because I have to follow every bit of praise with a complaint:

What is with Flanagan and the phrasal verb "put out"?  His obsession is not unique to this volume; he's used it before to say things like "why doesn't the Legendary Silver Crystal put out light?" (Wiseman in volume 4).  One feature of English is that it has a bajillion words.  I think it's the duty of a translator, writer, or anybody manipulating language to use them.  Why not use "bloom" instead of "put out a bud"?  Why not "giving off" or "producing" for what Luna's saying?  Why not "grown", "sold", "distributed", or whatever for the last panel?  It's just lame, clunky, and boring to fall back on the same words so much.
Now that I've put that out there, let's go into the details of this volume.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New York Comic Con & Kodansha's Panel

Hello Kitty Chun Li, me, my friend, and my fiance.
I attended New York Comic Con Friday and Saturday cosplaying as a green Converse-wearing Sailor Jupiter.  This was my first time at NYCC, and I was surprised by how well-represented anime and manga were by both the cosplaying attendees and the booths on the showroom floor.  There weren't many Sailor Moon cosplayers, but it's safe to say that most of them were present for Kodansha's panel.

If you'd like to watch the Sailor Moon segment of the panel, you can check out this Youtube video recorded by another, more dedicated Sailor Jupiter who was in attendance.  FUN FACT: At 10:28, after they finish reading Takeuchi's special letter to us American fans, you can hear me shout, "I love you, Naoko!"

Since I know you're all such uber fans, you likely have already heard that Kodansha will be releasing a new art book featuring selections from the 5 original Japanese books AND some "unpublished original drawings."  This book will be released simultaneously in 7 countries, and the bonus material will differ for each country, which means we'll just have to buy them all.  Read Kodansha's official announcement here.

I won't sit here and summarize everything else, because you can just watch the panel yourself.  I will say that the panel was a lot of fun, and the folks from Kodansha were all very jovial and good-natured. Someone did ask about correcting errors (at 8:12 in the Youtube video) but besides that, there wasn't any talk about the quality of the manga re-release.  I think it was better that way, because if people started throwing down about Princess Beryl, William Flanagan, and sloppy editing, the whole positive atmosphere would have been ruined.  As far as I'm concerned, Kodansha is on notice about the various problems present in the manga and have actually moved their arses to fix some of them (such as many of the facepalm-worthy issues in volume 1) thanks to fans' repeated complaints, so I didn't feel the need to pick a fight at this panel.

Afterwards, a bunch of Sailor Moon cosplayers met up to take some group pictures.  This was a lot of fun, and we attracted quite a crowd of onlookers snapping photos.  God knows where I'm going to show up on the Internet after that.  I saw a few more Sailor Moon cosplayers at other times during the convention, including two different Professor Tomoes, a musical version of Super Sailor Moon who was sporting a big Sailor Moon tattoo on her arm, and a seriously creepy Tuxedo Kamen.  No Sailor Uranus, though!

I'm rockin' those Chuck Taylor's
Elios's head got cut off.  Sorry, buddy.
Other remarks about the convention:
-The convention organizers said that bootlegs were not allowed, period.  Yet, I saw many bootlegs being sold.  See that stuffed Luna on the floor in the picture above?  Bootleg.  There was even one guy running a booth stocked with nothing but bootleg DVDs.
-Popular costumes included Finn from Adventure Time, Poison Ivy and Bane from Batman, Deadpool, and lots of people with candy corn-colored horns on their heads.
-Want to buy lots of cute stuffed things?  Go to NYCC.
-While riding up an escalator in a train station, a guy behind me asked me if I was Wonder Woman.  I said no, Sailor Jupiter from the series Sailor Moon.  He didn't know who I was talking, and then said, "so, I guess if I get into trouble, you can't save me."  To which I replied, "Of course I can!  Sailor Jupiter is a superhero, too!"

Now, how about my review of volume 7?  Well, we are about two weeks away from the release of volume 8, so you guys are going to get a double dose of analytical goodness real soon.  I guarantee volume 7 will be posted by Monday, October 22nd.  If it isn't, I will post my home address so that you can mail me angry letters, garbage, poop, or any other unpleasant thing.  I will then have volume 8 up within 2 weeks of the official release date.  If that doesn't happen, please refer to the previous note about mailing me crap. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Volume 6

O K !

Let’s skip me apologizing for the obnoxious delay on this review and just jump right into the delightful newest volume of Seeeraaaa Muuuun.

I absolutely love this cover.  It exemplifies the sweet, sparkly charm and cheer that makes Sailor Moon so appealing to millions of fans of all ages.  You wouldn’t dare call this Chibi Moon “the Scrappy Doo of Sailor Moon,” would you?  Scrappy Doo never looked this cute.  By the way, get your fill of those sexy boots, because the only other full-body cover picture we’ll get is on volume 11.

As far as what comes after the cover, I’m pretty happy.  I didn’t find any typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors.  The translation is accurate and, by and large, more natural-sounding.  Reading Tokyopop and Kodansha side by side, I saw many sloppy Tokyopop errors that were, by the grace of the Ginzuishou, not repeated in Kodansha, including 5(!!) instances where dialog is attributed to the wrong person.

Other general comments before we dive into the nitty-gritty:

Mugen – So, I really don’t care if “mugen” is left as-is or if it’s translated as “infinity”, but I like consistency, and saying Mugen Academy is located in the Infinity District isn’t consistent.  I don’t
understand why the academy is the only place in a whole island of places named Infinity Whatever that uses Mugen instead.

Ten'ô, Kaiô, Meiô – These romanizations are perfectly acceptable, but seem overly complicated to me, especially in the case of Haruka’s name, which has been invaded by an apostrophe.  What’s wrong with Tenou?  It’s nice and easy and doesn’t require me to find that stupid O with a hat.

Haruka being referred to as “she” before she is officially revealed to be female - Usagi and everyone else refer to Haruka as a "he" because they believe she's a man.  In Tokyopop, no one starts referring to her as a "she" until she reveals herself as Sailor Uranus and starts dressing as a woman.  In Kodansha, however, Usagi uses the feminine pronoun before she's certain of Haruka's gender.  Haruka doesn't make an appearance in womanly garb until later in the act, and her identity as Sailor Uranus doesn't come to light until the next act, so why would Usagi suddenly use "she" here?

Unlike English, Japanese doesn't require a subject in every sentence, and it uses the 3rd person pronouns for he (kare) and she 彼女 (kanojo) sparingly.  It's easy to talk about someone in Japanese without revealing their gender, whereas in English, you have no choice unless you want to sound a bit weird and use they and their for a singular subject.  Thus, the translators must decide which pronouns to insert.  "He" is the most logical option based on what the characters know at this point in the story.

One the other hand, Usagi is experiencing some serious confusion about Haruka's identity right around now, and just had a pretty kinky dream about him / her, so I could accept that as an argument for why she might say "she" at this very moment.  Furthermore, to quote Haruka herself: "Man?  Woman?  Does it really matter that much?"

I've decided to start commenting more on the story itself, rather than just the differences in translation and adaptation.  Those comments will appear at the end of this post.  I wish I could make a separate jump cut for them, but that doesn't seem to be possible.  I considered making a separate post for story comments, but decided against it.  If anyone has any feedback on how I should format everything, I'd love to hear it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Announcement of the Century

Today, there was a special event in Roppongi commemorating Sailor Moon's 20th anniversary.  The promotional materials spoke of an "announcement" that had the fandom trembling with excitement.  I, however, didn't give it much thought.  Not much has been going on with Sailor Moon in Japan, and I figured the announcement would be something novel but not groundbreaking, like a blu-ray release or Sailor Moon noodle cups up for sale exclusively at Lawson's convenience stores.

How could I have guessed the announcement would fulfill one of my greatest wishes?  We are getting a brand new Sailor Moon anime next summer.  That's right, in a year's time, we will have a freshly animated series based more closely on the manga, and set a simultaneous global release, meaning fans all over the world will get to take part.

I'm caught between speechlessness and screaming ecstasy.  It sounds too good to be true.  I...I just....I have to make a numbered list about why this is going to be soooooo awesome!!

  1. There will likely be new content.  Even if there isn't, and it ends up following the manga panel-by-panel like Dragonball Z often did, how incredible will it be to see Princess Serenity's tragic suicide, Black Lady return to her true self after Pluto's sacrifice, and Saturn swing her glaive down in color, sound, and motion?  It'll be, like, staring into an eclipse incredible.
  2. The Sailor Moon anime is 20 years old, and it looks its age.  That doesn't mean it isn't still beautiful and charming; it certainly is.  But there are times when I watch Sailor Moon and I just think, "Damn.  This is an old show.  And why did they choose the shitty animator who makes Ami's hair look like plastic to draw this pivotal episode??"  Now we'll get to see all our beloved characters come to life in the hands of modern animation that will (theoretically) be consistent, fluid, and vibrant.  When the first image leaks....oh my gaaaahhhd.  I'm gonna print it out and paste it my fiance's face.
  3. At the live event, Osabu expressed his wish to see fans who grew up with Sailor Moon enjoy this production.  This might carry the implication that the new anime will be geared a bit more to older fans.  I love Sailor Moon for what it is, but let's have some real talk for a sec.  There are plenty of times when some stupid little kid shenanigans happen, including half-baked plot points:  so anime Chibiusa turned against all of humanity because she thought her friends forgot to celebrate her birthday once, and her parents didn't pick her up from a puddle that one time?  Ok.  It's a bit disappointing because I'd like to see some more plot threads that remain slightly more complex, mature, or innovative than "the Ginzuishou saves the day all day errday and we're all <3 friends <3 except for that pile of corpses made up of Monsters of the Day and certain mid-boss villains who fucking deserved it(^0^)/ ."
  4. NEW MERCHANDISE.  Dolls.  Figures.  Gashapon.  Plushies oh my God.
  5. It's set for a simultaneous worldwide release--not sure how exactly how that's going to play out yet, but we'll see--meaning old fans, new fans, and everyone in between will share in this new Sailor Moon experience.
  6. The year leading up to this release is going to be the best ever.  Every once in a while, a new detail will emerge, and the excitement will build.  We'll be checking news sites, blogs, and forums to find and discuss each new piece of information.  It will be like a really, really long Hannukah with gifts being delivered to us at intervals, and we are gonna shake the shit out of those gifts and try and guess what's inside, and then we're gonna rip them open and scream and jump up and down when we see what we got.  YES.
So I'm excited.  You?

The other thing I want to address is something said on Kotono Mitsuishi's blog.  It sounds like she's going to reprise her role as Sailor Moon, but there has been no "official" confirmation of this yet.  Moreso than that, a potential spoiler she released about the anime needs to be addressed, because it caused some intial confusion.

My translation:
I'm itching to hurry up and play this role again!
But this time, the enemy isn't the Dark Kingdom.
It's my reckless past self.

The second line was construed as a revelation about the new anime--that the Dark Kingdom won't be the villain.  This assumes that the second line and the third line aren't connected thoughts, but they actually are.  She's making a more personal statement.  When she played Sailor Moon before, she poured her heart into it.  Now, her challenge is to surpass that prior performance.  Her use of ano koro (that time) and  gamushara datta (was reckless) to modify jibun (myself) proves this.

Links / references:
Anime News Network's summary of the announcement
Kotono Mitsuishi's blog post
Full video of the event on Miss Dream.  Miss Dream will also be subtitling this video.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

William Flanagan's Facebook Post

Someone reminded me about posting this, so here it is.  William Flanagan is the translator for the Sailor Moon manga re-release.  After the first volume came out, fans voiced some of their concerns, and Flanagan decided to write this response on his Facebook page.  It's dated November 16th, 2011.  He took it down pretty soon after, on a recommendation from a friend who warned him not to PO Kodansha.

The only two comments I will make are these: 

(1) He makes a lot of excuses that consumers can't do anything about and thus they are not obligated to accept them.  I understand that translating manga pays peanuts and is likely a thankless job, but that's not my problem; that's his problem.  He chose the path of a manga translator, just like I chose the path of an ESL teacher.  As such, he needs to own it.  I don't really care if the guy who fixed my car's brakes is constantly being yelled at by his boss and he already fixed 20 sets of brakes before mine--I just want my brakes to work.  In the same way, I don't care if a translator hates his job a little and can barely feed his family--I just want a quality product in my hands.  If it were up to me, he'd get paid more and have a better life and whatever else he wants, but it's not up to me.

(2)  I have no idea why he chose to comment on two of the most insignificant, irrelevant translation "problems."  Who really cares about "myaa" and "eeh?"  I guess he had no good answer for his spotty use of honorifics, stilted language, inconsistent translation of "love" and "beauty" and the like.

Volume 5

In celebration of how President Obama publicly declared his support for same-sex marriage this month, the cover of this volume features Sailor Venus hurling rainbows at your face.

I found this volume to be a significant improvement over the last volume.  There are less instances of weird, clunky language and no major misrepresentations of the original content.  The new translation surpasses Tokyopop's in quality much more often than not.  If future volumes continue this pattern, I think I'll be satisfied.

Nevertheless, two problems became readily apparent the day this book was released: an inexplicable lack of translation notes and some nasty printing issues where the ink looks horribly smudged on several pages.  Flanagan certainly hasn't had trouble filling up respectably-sized sections of translation notes, sometimes with entries of questionable value--writing about Tokyo Tower twice and explaining that the Crown Game Center's phone number isn't a real working number come to mind--so I'm puzzled as to why we have nothing to read at the end of this book besides the preview for the next volume.  Worsening this situation is the fact that the advertisements for volume 5 feature the same promise to deliver "incredibly detailed translation notes!"  As for the ink splotching / splattering, this only seems to have affected a small batch of books.  My copy is fine except for a couple of slightly smeared words.

For this entry, I will first talk about the improvements, then I'll talk about the problems, and then I have some thoughts to share about the story itself, irrespective of the English adaptations.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Volume 4

POW!  Right in the kisser.
To begin, I'd just like to say that this cover is probably my favorite of all the reprint covers.  Jupiter's pose, dynamic and literally crackling with energy, captures her spirit.  All of the English covers have had richer, bolder colors, but this one really pops.  I feel like I'm going to take a rose-scented fist to the face any second.

Before I dive into the nitty-gritty of this volume's contents, I want to make some general comments:
-Tokyopop messed up many of the act numbers. for example, Act 17 is labeled as Act 13 in Tokyopop's 4th volume, but the next act is properly labeled as 18 in the next volume.

-Someone suggested that I redirect some of my criticism of William Flanagan to the person responsible for editing his work.  At first, I and many others didn't think that there even was an editor working on this project, because none is listed in the book credits.  However, Brad from Moonkitty.net was able to track down the editor through Twitter.  She says that Kodansha's policy is to only credit the translator and the letterer of each manga.

This brings me to two thoughts:  (1)  Kodansha is kind of a dick to not credit people for their work.  (2)  This woman is doing a terrible job at editing.  No one can fault her for not catching mistranslations, but does she really just gloss over the grammar mistakes, typos, and completely bizarre English word choices?  Again, these are not problems that I encounter in the other manga that I read.

-"Sparkling Wide Pressure" is correctly translated in this volume.

-Once again, Naoko's bonus "punch" comics, specially written for this reprint, have not been included.  If you'd like to read them, you can find them on Miss Dream.

I'm going to start with positive examples, because unfortunately, I have a lot less of them to offer.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

SuperS Anime Part 1: Why it Doesn't Suck

In between manga releases, I've decided to keep this blog active by posting about other things related to Sailor Moon and the fandom.

I have only watched the Sailor Moon SuperS anime series once in my lifetime.  Considering the depth of my fandom and the fact that I've watched every other season multiple times, this revelation is surprising even to me. I couldn't even tell you how long ago it was that I watched it, either, but since I did so via VKLL fansubbed VHS tapes that I had ordered online, we're likely talking a decade or so ago.  Even though I did buy the subtitled DVDs when they were released in the US, I never watched them--and I certainly didn't watch more than 2-3 episodes of that dubbed travesty that aired on TV, because I had the sense to realize that I was slowly but steadily dying inside after sitting through all of S dubbed, and I wanted to live past the age of 60.

So what's my malfunction?  Why have I only watched it once?  Here's what I remember.  I was addicted to Sailor Moon throughout most of my teenage years.  Seeing the anime subtitled, uncut, and unedited for the first time in the forms of the 3 movies and the S season heightened my addiction.  I knew that SuperS was not well-regarded by the fandom, but I was certain that I was such a SUPER FAN that I would absolutely love it.  I bought the series, watched it, and was sorely disappointed.  As much as I had wanted to agree with outliers like the creator of In Defense of Supers, I found myself agreeing with the unsatisfied majority--"Chibiusa is annoying!" "There are no Outers!"  "It's not serious enough!"

All these years, I've had this very strong notion that the SuperS anime sucked royally as a result of just one viewing back when I was a teenager.  Well, now I'm an adult, and I've realized that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about when I try to explain why SuperS is the worst representation of Sailor Moon on television.  I list reasons that other people might agree with, but I'm not even sure if they're valid, because it's likely that after 10 years of memory erosion, those reasons aren't even my own.  So I decided it was high time to put on my big girl pants and watch SuperS again with the mind of a thinking, reasoning adult.

And here's what I have to say:  SuperS does not suck.  It doesn't even come close to sucking.  It has some big problems, but so does every other iteration of Sailor Moon.  My main problem in evaluating the series when I was a teenager was that my expectations were a hot mess.  Fresh off the high of watching subtitled S, and adamant in the idea that Sailor Moon was a serious business adult show ruined forever by America, I was dismayed by the lighter tone of SuperS, the (mostly) nonthreatening villains, and the replacement of the Outer Senshi with a fruity horse.  I think I spent the whole season waiting for things to happen that wouldn't.  It was a sad affair, and I am proud to now list in detail all the major reasons for why I enjoyed my second viewing of SuperS.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Volume 3 (After Much Delay)

First of all, I must apologize for this very belated post.  A number of exciting and time-consuming life events occurred around volume 3's release date (a new job as a teacher, wedding dress shopping, and planning a trip to Japan in June, among other things) and I ended up shoving this blog onto the back burner, where it quietly simmered for a while.  We all know Sailor Moon doesn't belong on the back burner, so without further ado, let's push that Life-a-roni & Cheese aside, pull volume 3 forward, and cook up some tasty analysis!

....right after I give a big thanks to Miss Dream for providing high-quality scans of the Japanese reprint manga and Mixx manga, which are free for everyone to download and use as they like.  This cuts down my workload considerably, because now I only need to take pictures of Kodansha's re-release.  Don't forget that you can click pictures to make them bigger!


The binding on this volume was tighter than the previous two.  There were many times when I had to stretch the book out quite a bit just to read some text that was being sucked into the crevice.

The Japanese reprint includes two bonus "Punch" comics that are mysteriously absent from Kodansha's release.  What the hell, man?  Now I have to pull out a screenshot from your company's webpage:
I do not think these mean what you think they mean, because excluding content is neither accurate nor true to the original.

EDIT 7/2012:  Kodansha stated at San Diego Comic Con that Takeuchi is the one who did not allow the Punch! comics to be included.  See this liveblog of the event.

Nothing gets me jazzed about writing quite like typoos....I mean, typos.  They are unacceptable in any published work, but are even more so in ones that have separate editors paid to catch 'em all.  The first line should read, "they're not here!"  I imagine that Flanagan (the translator) mistakenly wrote "there not here" and then the editor glanced over it, noticed a missing 're, and just glued it on without actually comprehending the initial spelling error.


Yeah, yeah, my comparison images are nothing fancy.  Wanna fight about it?  This Tetris-like picture illustrates two criticisms originating from the same scene.  Number one, Flanagan's messed up his grammar.  Beryl should say "since" like she does in the Mixx version, not "from". "BUT WAIT!" you may say.  "Given Flanagan's love for the ellipsis, perhaps Beryl is starting a new sentence with 'from ancient times...'!"  I've included the next panel to show that this is not the case.  Like Kunzite in volume 2, Beryl seems to be having a hard time getting those pesky words out of her mouth, and just babbles in fragments.  Beryl, here's how speech works:  (1) brain creates a complete thought (2) speech apparatuses work together to turn that thought into sound (3) thought-sounds are understood by human listeners.  Don't skip step 1, or else things might get a little confusing.

First of all, LOL.  Second of all, why?  Maybe some people will think I'm being silly, and to that I say, NO YOU.  Because that's probably what Princess Serenity would say in Flanagan's Sailor Moon world. I get that Serenity is a little childish, but poo on you?  I hardly think that's an appropriate translation of "Venus nanka".  Nanka, used as it is here, emphasizes a word (in this case, "Venus") with a cynical, negative, or differentiating tone.  The next thing Serenity says is that Venus has never been in love before, and so doesn't understand her romantic situation with Endymion.  Therefore, saying "Venus nanka" is a way to differentiate Serenity and Venus in a mildly disparaging way.  I think Mixx captured this much better.

Oh hi, this is the very next page.  The problem here is the "right, Kunzite?"  Endymion is NOT the speaker of the previous line!  Kunzite sympathizes with Venus by saying, "must be tough..." and then Endymion scolds him by sharply saying his name.  Two people are speaking two different lines here, and I am stunned that Flanagan screwed this up by attributing both lines to Endymion.  Why would Endymion even say such a thing about the love of his life, and while wearing a perturbed expression, to boot?  Even though Kunzite's description of Serenity makes her sound like a pet dog in the Mixx version, and the verb "be" is missing from his sentence, at least his dialog is properly attributed to him.  Actually, you know what?  Both Mixx and Flanagan dropped the ball here.  No poimts for either of you.

Oh, Asanuma.  You were a nice side character until you got dropped like every other side character in the Sailor Moon universe.  But what's this about "bearing a whiff of a secret?"  A whiff is not something that one bears.  You can catch a whiff, or get a whiff.  I think Flanagan wanted to use "scent", but decided to add some flavor with a snappier word that unfortunately doesn't make any sense in this context.

OMG HE HAS SUCH A MAN CRUSH ON MAMO-CHAN ROFL.  Again, I think Flanagan is trying to add some flavor to the translation, but this is just stupid.  In the Japanese, Makoto is reporting on something that Asanuma said; you can tell by the grammar of って at the end of the sentence.  He certainly didn't say (at least publicly) that he has a "man-crush" on Mamoru.  Flanagan removed the reported speech element and presented the text as Makoto's appraisal of the situation. 

I'm not a fan of Flanagan's wording (right).  Mixx's is much smoother and more poetic.  The way in which words are arranged syntactically and spatially (in the case of manga) has an effect on their emotional impact.  For example, the text in the Mixx manga builds towards a powerful central idea of falling in love again.  "We'll find each other..." (ellipsis and space to create a pause) "and then..." ellipsis and space to create a pause; a phrase that makes us anticipate what's coming next) "we'll fall in love again." (emotional conclusion)  In Kodansha, we don't get that same buildup because Serenity makes 5 separate statements, one of them bizarrely worded--"the only love for me is you!"


This gets its own section because it pops up multiple times and it bugs me in a special way.  This is supposed to be a nonsense sound that people make when they are regaining consciousness (Motoki on p.9), getting choked (Sailor Moon on p.12 and 16), and possibly when other stuff is happening that I'm too lazy to find.  The reason this bugs me is because nonsense sounds are supposed to be nonsense, like "hurk", "blargh", and "uuunng".  "Urn" is a legitimate English word.  The example above reads like Sailor Moon is trying to call Endymion's attention to an urn.  It doesn't matter if my brain knows that there is no urn; it needs a split-second to reassure itself of that fact, and in that split-second, my face is a combination of "haha!" and "what?"


This panel has already secured a spot in Sailor Moon infamy.  I could just let it speak for itself, but it won't use the proper vocabulary.  So here I go.

::walks outside and screams at the top of her lungs::
::comes back to the computer::

Now let me tell you all the reasons why this is the worst thing in the world.

(1)  In this day and age, there is no excuse to ever get the names of any Sailor Moon attack, character, or item wrong.  The series has been out for over a decade and we have the fucking Internet.  If Flanagan was honestly confused about how to translate this, because he obviously is not a Sailor Moon fan and that in itself makes me rage, he could have GOOGLED IT.  He wouldn't even have had to ask a real human being, although that also would have been an option for him.

(2)  スパークリング (spaakuringu) is a real Japanese word used to mean "sparkling".  Yes, you can find it in a dictionary.

(3)  Since lots of wacky foreign loan words can be represented in katakana, Naoko takes certain measures to prevent her young readers from getting confused.  One way she does this is by separating individual words.  See how スパークリング and ウイド and プレッシャー are all written as separate lines?  That's because they're three separate words: "sparkling", "wide", and "pressure".  The panel on the right shows the same thing with Venus's "Venus Love Me Chain", except Naoko also helps out by putting a little dot between "love" and "me" just in case you might mistakenly read them as one word.  Boy, she sure makes translating a snap!  What kind of stupid asshole could mess this up?  Oh...

(4)  "Spark Ring" honest-to-God sounds like someone making fun of a Japanese accent.  Most East Asian speakers have difficulty differentiating English "R" and "L" sounds because they don't exist as two independent sounds in their native language.  That's why parodies of how East Asians talk always include sloppy R and Ls.

(5)  Everyone has their sore spots about how Sailor Moon has historically been treated in the US.  One of mine is that proper names have often been used inconsistently, so that Black Lady is Black Lady in one chapter, then Wicked Lady the next, or Momo changes to Mary, or all the myriad examples you can pull from the dubbed anime.  How hard is it to pick a name and stick with it, I asked?  This, like the "Princess Beryl" blunder in volume 2, ruins the manga forever because it will have to be corrected, and once it's corrected, BOOM, we have inconsistent fucking names AGAIN!  After all these years, we're still  going to hear someone or something referred to as one thing, only to hear them referred to as another thing later!  WHY?!  This is like a living nightmare for me, and I will never forgive Kodansha or William Flanagan.


Well, after that lovely conclusion, why don't we take a look at some nice things that Mr. Flanagan has done for us in volume 3.  ::eye twitches::

After giving some examples where Flanagan's experimentation with "flavor" went wrong, here's one that I think turned out to be a success.  Yes, what Venus says is technically closer to what Mixx translated, but Flanagan's take is much more dramatic.

This whole page is a good example of improved accuracy, but I wanted to keep the image small.  Kunzite explains some details about Queen Metalia, including her weak point.  He's a lot more specific about why now is the time for Sailor Moon to attack.

Of course, Mixx didn't want to use the name Chibiusa, so they changed all the dialog that explained why she came to be known as such.  Chibiusa says that her name is Usagi, then scampers off.  Usagi asks Mamoru where "that chibi Usagi" went.  They find her sitting on a swing, and Mamoru ad-libs the name "Chibiusa" and calls out to her.  It's endearing, and certainly one of the reasons why Chibiusa takes to him right away.  Mixx using "kid" is just cold.  At the very least, they could have used "little Bunny", since she said her name was Bunny.

Here's some more of Mixx's self-inflicted problems with Chibiusa's name.  Since she hasn't given her "real name" yet in Mixx's version, they throw out the actual dialog here and replace it with an introduction.  It makes much more sense for Usagi to grill Chibiusa about what the hell she did to her parents at this moment.  If some weird kid who fell from the sky had hypnotized my parents, I wouldn't scream, "WHAT'S YOUR REAL NAME?!" 
Rei's classmate, Kotono, is talking about spontaneous combustion.  As they have in the past, Mixx tries to fool us into thinking that this story takes place in America by editing her statement about the multitude of cases in both Europe and America, and removing any mention of Japan.  Uhh, the text on that newspaper looks pretty Japanese to me, sooo....nice try.

This panel was a weird little pet peeve of mine back in the day.  "Someone's gonna come!" is just a really poor way of expressing "people are coming!"  The Japanese uses the verb "to gather", so Flanagan nailed this.  Not like it should be hard to nail, of course.  Also, let's all pause for a moment and share a nostalgic chuckle about Tuxedo Kamen's use of the verb, "un-morph".  Remember how Sailor Moon used to use the word "morph" all the time, probably because of the popularity and precedent set by Power Rangers?  Good times, good times. 

No, they weren't.

In this scene, Mamoru is talking about his school to Asanuma, who wants to become a student there.  Mixx improperly has him comment on the nature of the students.  He's actually talking about the nature of the school itself.  The word ハングリー (hangurii) in katakana does not mean hungry as in wanting food; it means driven / motivated.  So Mixx just totally effs this up by saying that the students are all "filthy and starving."  Okie doke.  Mamoru looks pretty clean and fed to me.


So volume 3 has a couple of very frustrating errors.  After "Princess Beryl" in volume 2 and "Spark Ring Wide Pressure" here, I'm feeling a little nervous about future volumes.  I'm not sure how many translation DERPs I can stomach, and I'm just really mad that Kodansha didn't get someone who actually cares about Sailor Moon to translate this.  Like, how hard would it have been?  I'd bet that most people who translate manga have read / watched Sailor Moon at one time.  Especially if they're going to advertise this reboot as being super accurate and complete, why would they just grab some random dude, and not someone who is familiar with this very popular and repeatedly adapted product?

Anyway, check back soon, because I recently watched the SuperS anime again, and I have a lot of thoughts I'd like to share.