Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 was released on DVD and Blu-Ray June 18th but some fans were not pleased with what they got! A relationship chart found in the booklet which is included in the Limited Edition Blu-Ray set refers to Sailor Uranus and Neptune as having a “Friendship”. This was noted by some fans including Erica Friedman of Okazu who wrote an article about it and brought the issue up with Viz directly.
Viz Media responded fairly promptly to the concerns on Twitter and through a statement on their web site. This statement makes it clear! Sailor Uranus and Neptune aren’t friends but partners (that being romantic partners and not a couple of gals selling insurance together).
Though the updated version of that statement clearly addresses the Uranus/Neptune relationship dynamic the original message is all about a problem with the “romaji” lyrics in the booklet. Upon close inspection we see that this is actually a reference to the first words of Moonlight Legend which in the English translation are not translated as “I’m sorry” but left as “Gomen-ne”. This seems like a bit of a non issue all considered. In both cases we can get a bit of context if we look back at past versions of the booklet. supersonicjc did some investigation of earlier versions and found that the lyrics issue had been there since the first season. Looking at past relationship charts and the Sailor Stars chart we can see other issues which I think could use some attention.
First we can look at the Sailor Stars relationship chart and see what else is there and what else is missing. I jokingly put together an updated version of the chart (above) with all sorts of ships which I support but this wasn’t meant to be anything serious. Since Usagi and Mamoru are listed as “Love” and not “Friendship” then we see that there is in fact an option for listing romantic love that is more than mere friendship. The obvious choice would be to put Haruka and Michiru with a “Love” connection. It’s also a bit odd that the link is put between Sailor Guardians rather than their civilian identities, as is done with other relationships. Jokes aside there is one legitimate relationship aside from the many couples I like to ship and that is Luna and Artemis. Though their relationship was a long time coming it was first hinted at in Sailor Moon R, cemented in the Sailor Moon S film which is arguably canon and finally confirmed in Sailor Moon SuperS with the arrival of Diana. No doubt Artemis and Luna of the future are in the relationship, but I think it’s safe to consider present day Luna and Artemis to have a “Love” connection as early as Sailor Moon SuperS as well as in this Sailor Stars chart.
Looking at past relationship charts we see fairly similar things. Sailor Uranus and Neptune are not in Sailor Moon SuperS and so they aren’t in that chart. They are introduced in Sailor Moon S and that chart lists them not as “Friendship” or “Love” but rather as “Partners”. This is technically true but they are also, obviously, much more than partners. The term “Partner” is sometimes used for gay and lesbian couples in place of gender specific terms such as “boyfriend and girlfriend” or “husband and wife” for a number of reasons. It distinguishes the platonic “I’m going out with my girlfriends” from the “I had a hot date with my girlfriend”. Guy don’t often use “boyfriend” in this non romantic sense but we’re not talking about boys here. It’s gender neutral use can also potentially mask the nature of someone’s same sex relationship in a social or professional situation where it’s unknown how others may feel about the term. The term “Partner” could also be preferred by some gay and lesbian couples as it sounds more serious than boyfriend or girlfriend for committed couples who due to whatever legal issues in their country may not be able to marry. So much to say the Sailor Moon S chart should have used “Love” for Sailor Uranus and Neptune as they used for Usagi and Tuxedo Mask. Why it isn’t Usagi and Mamoru or Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask I can’t say I understand. The term “Partners” is exclusively used to describe Sailor Uranus and Neptune in the Sailor Moon S chart where others who are described by the term in other charts, such as Usagi and Luna, are listed as “Friendship” on this one which was likely intentional.
Other couples listed in the Sailor Moon S chart, as well as others, are not romantically linked at all. This includes Usagi’s parents Ikuko and Kenji who are only linked through their children. They are present in the Sailor Moon R, S and SuperS charts and in none of these are they shown to be in “Love” or in any way romantically involved. Naru and Umino are also in the R, S and SuperS charts. Though their relationship grows gradually throughout the series one can not deny that they are in a full on relationship in Sailor Moon S and SuperS, if not earlier, with the first indication of their romance dating back to the first season. They are linked only through mutual “Friendship” to Usagi (listed as “Best Friend” and “Friend” in Sailor Moon R) as well as mutual “Teacher/Student” links to Haruna.
There are others “Lovers” listed in the Sailor Moon R chart, a term unique to that season’s chart, which includes sibling lovers An and Ail as well as Saphir and Petz. The abusive relationships such as Koan and Rubeus or Esmeraude and Demande are not reflected, which is probably for the best.
The term “Partner” which doesn’t appear elsewhere on the Sailor Moon S chart also appears in many places on the Sailor Moon R chart. This includes Luna and Usagi, Luna and Artemis as well as Artemis and Minako. In this sense the usage is not a romantic one, though a case could be made for two of those three couples, but rather in the sense that they are partners in their roles as superheroes.
What does all of this, taken together, tell us? There are a number of relationships in the series which are not acknowledged in these charts. While I can see the concern over Haruka and Michiru’s relationship being downplayed in this way, it’s hard to see how it could have been deliberate “LGBTQ Erasure” as the Okazu blog post puts it, though that text does suggest that “mere lazy editorial decisions” may be the reason. The new dub of Sailor Moon, with this new Sailor Stars dub specifically having a lot of relevant dialogue, makes it very clear that these two are not just friends but lesbians in a romantic relationship. This is an older relationship in which their sexual activities are hinted at as heavily in the dub as they were in the Japanese version. It isn’t something that is, or needs to be, spelled out in black and white but there’s little doubt as to what is going on. As Usagi enters high school in Sailor Stars she suggest, quite awkwardly, that her and Mamoru could take things to the next level, somethings which never happens in the anime. It is clear that Haruka and Michiru already have this more mature relationship between them. Viz has generally stayed true to their commitment to portray this relationship as honestly as the source material did and this relationship chart is at odds with this. It isn’t the 90s anymore and the industry and audience are more permissive about having LGBTQ characters in their fiction, for which we should all be grateful. Whatever the reason for which this occurred, we should be glad that Viz is acknowledging and correcting this oversight.
As for the song lyrics, this really seems like a non issue. If this was such a big deal would someone perhaps have caught the error the last four times these lyrics were included in a booklet? Going back to the first season we see this same error of not translating their first two words of “Moonlight Legend” occurred in every single release. I seriously doubt Viz will be going back and issuing reprints of five different booklets just because of this problem!
If you’re interested in getting this set, be it the Limited Edition with this booklet or any other version, consider supporting the site by buying it through the Amazon links below.
Keep reading for more images showing the exact same lyric error with every booklet.
Hello there and thank for the links. The LGBTQ Erasure in the title of my post on Okazu was much more about the much older editorial decisions that misnamed and misgendered translators Rachel Thorn and Dana Lewis. I’m pretty specific about that. The Sailor Moon situation was just bad timing and bad choices that combined with the far more serious issue in a way that had fans on Twitter worried about LGBTQ erasure.
I’m also very clear about the fact that I did not and do not think there was any malicious intent. And Viz jumped to make all the changes – including apologizing to Rachel and Dana.I consider their response to be a great example of doing the right thing the right way.
Thank you Erica. I tried to clear that up in my text as well. No doubt there is a history of LGBTQ erasure in the franchise. I appreciated your article and addressing this issue with Viz in the way you did.
The only real past erasure was DiC’s dub that turned them into cousins.^_^ That is so much part of the series’ past here in the west that Viz made a point of joking that there’d be “no cousins” this time around…which in turn was why this mistake stood out.
The real LGBTQ erasure here was the real-person issues and many of those were long-standing.
It just happened that all three things landed in my lap at once and I was able through goof contacts, and good fortune to address them. ^_^
Indeed! The cousins thing always made me cringe as I’d already caught up with the Japanese series by the time those dubbed seasons were released. There were other things earlier in the series. The main thing would be the gender swap for Zoisite, which combined with the focus on the Zoisite/Kunzite relationship made it obvious to fans what was really going on when they figured out she was a woman.
Hi! I hate to butt in, but I did want to point out that Dic wasn’t in charge of the relationship and gender changes in the S-SuperS seasons. Those were done by Cloverway, a North American branch of Toei.
I have little doubt that Dic would not have handled things differently at the time, seeing as how Zoisite was also changed to a female to hide his relationship with Kunzite.
However, the changes made to Uranus and Neptune and later to Fish Eye and Zirconia were done by a different company.
This is correct. In both cases the company that did the work was Optimum Productions, the Toronto based dubbing company. Though there were some cast and staff changes between the two sets of episodes, there was a generally consistent approach taken throughout with DiC and Cloverway overseeing with, as far as I can tell, little intervention. That said it was their decision not to get into the weeds on these issues and those two companies are ultimately responsible for whatever choices Optimum Productions decided to take.
so i was going to leave a long argument on how they totally screwed up the subs in the song in 2 parts not 1 mind you, im sure once they realize they did that (highly doubtful) and take a few seconds to actually read the kanji that they included they might fix it in a new release, i realized the flow charts are truly all over the place not only with Uranus and Neptune being lovers and not just partners by this point which if its not completely obvious now season 4s book has Pluto in the flow chart which i cant honestly recall her being there other then in the movie so why include her but not show our favorite power couple which got included in the never before released episode lol, season 5 had multiple errors most along the line of Super Chibi Moon / Chibi-Usa and her name not even printed plus where is her friendship flows to Pluto and Saturn lol, plus i agree with the Luna and Artemis aren’t they lovers by now like since season 2??? and where is Diana? how did that chain go from partners to just friends ??? i guess its ok that we can change 1 flawed error but over look all the other errors in it??? love the changes you wanted to add but i never got the mars and venus love??? where is that located lol i completely forgot that rei wanted mamoru way back when but that took a side note to make room for the actual prince and princess love, looking back i see we never get a season 1 flow chart which i guess is a good thing cause im sure they would of messed up the gay romance of zoisite and kunzite or how the 4 kings of heaven were in fact mamoru’s guardians but only in the manga and crystal remake lol. so i guess im glad that viz looked at one of there errors and want to fix it (is it cause its pride month) and let our favorite cousin couple be a real couple once again lol
Where’s Season 1’s Chart
DUDE WHAT IS THISS?!! IS THIS THE CRYSTAL MOVIE, PLEASE DONT PLAY WITH MY FEELINGS TOEI, SOMEBODY EXPLAIN CUZ IM LOOSING MY MIND
I AM LEGIT ABOUT TO EITHER PASS OUT OR BALL MY EYES OUT FROM CRYING PLEASEE PLEASE LET THIS BE THE CRYSTAL MOVIE
Yes it is.
We’ve finally got a movie poster people. One more year……
This is the worst Crystal ever looked! With Tadano in charge this is a serious plot twist – all of them look horrible!
Definitely agree, as much as im excited for any news that finally came out for the movie, im gonna have to agree with you. Sailor moon crystals design in the first and second season were the best and closest to Takeuchis style imo, but they werent animation friendly at all. Third season had good character designs, a bit of a downgrade from first and second season , they looked more like precure and just overall a bit more childish but at least they were more animation friendly and i can appreciate the modern approach, but for tadanos character designs, aside from moon and chibi moon which look decent, they all look bad as far as character designs go, but i guess we’ll have to wait and see on how it plays out in motion and on the movie.
I really hope these are just concept art, and not final finished product. I don’t like Chibi Moon and Moon at all, only Venus look normal.
Today is Sailor Moon’s birthday.
I heard about this. I’m surprised no one caught this mistake before release. I mean, really?
I can kind of agree with using partners in “S”, both for spoiler reasons (it’s been 20 years though…) and because they begin a lot more ambiguous.
But by Stars, they are definitely more than friends and it’s Sailor Moon, we don’t have to hide behind labels such as partner or friendship, we know they are lovers. The dialogue has become much more assertive of that and it’s very obvious.
I don’t think it was malicious, but it is lazy and also careless that probably several staff members had to approve this and some higher-ups and no one caught it.
Poor quality control, but at least they are fixing it. If only they cared about replacing the bad discs in R and SuperS I received. Overall, I’d give Viz’s handling of the series as a whole a B-.
didn’t they do a reprint of the R disc set when it was first discovered?? and what was messed up in the super S disc?? would be nice if they fixed the subbing and few dubbed errors that I brought up but o well, maybe we will really get a rereremaster of the set someday
Just got my replacement in today from Viz and the updated book only corrected the relationships and not the song lyrics.
I m sharing a letter I wrote today to Viz Media on the subject of several editorial decisions leading to LGBTQ erasure this week. I hope you will read it all the way through and then follow up at the end with your own actions.