Back in the 1990s Sailor Moon was dubbed into English by DiC and later seasons were dubbed by Cloverway. Recently the series was dubbed into English again by Viz Media. As it turns out there was actually a total other English dub made by Speedy Video! Though information about this has been around in the fan community for a while, I had never heard about it until just a few days ago when I saw @CCTakato posting about it on Twitter. The dub was done by a company named Speedy Video which is based in Malaysia. It does not appear that any of the actors are actually native English speakers but rather that they speak English as second language. This means that the quality of the dub is, in a word, terrible. Speedy Video is well known in the Dragonball Z fan community for the terrible dub of that show which they made..
Though it’s hard to tell exactly what was dubbed by Speedy Video all of the episodes and clips I found were from Sailor Moon R which suggests this might be all they did. Some episodes which fans have tracked down were on VCDs. The VCD format was not as popular in North America as it was in parts of Asia. It is basically a video format somewhat like DVD only with a lower quality to accommodate smaller files which would fit on a CD rather than a DVD. Due to the data capacity of a VCD this means only two or three episodes will fit on a standard CD at a low resolution of 352×240 pixels using MPEG-1 video compression. DVDs by contrast are 720×480 using MPEG-2. A way to think of the standard is that VCD is to DVD as DVD is to Blu-Ray. Why do I know so much about VCDs? Many years before starting Sailor Moon News I did a few fan subbed episodes of Sailor Moon in VCD format. Though the format is popular with pirated movies there were a lot of legitimate VCDs releases over the years. I have one Cantonese Sailor Moon VCD and the entire Dragonflyz series which was never released on DVD.
Aside from a few clips which are available on YouTube episodes 47 and 48 of Sailor Moon R, the first two episodes featuring Ail and An, Yvan and Yvonne, can be found in their entirety. From these episodes we can get a decent idea of how faithful the dub is. Due to the poor sound quality and accents it was hard for me to make out everything so apologies if I’ve misheard anything. Some names are kept while others are changed. Most of the Sailor Guardians have their original names yet Minako is now named Ari Meriko which is very Japanese sounding for something that isn’t her original Japanese name. Ail and An, as mentioned, are Yvan and Yvonne Galaxy. They do not change those names from their civilian to alien identities so it’s a bit surprising that no one catches on that the new transfer students are the bad guys. Naru is called Suzie. Mamoru is think is called Mamoun Chiba but it’s hard to make out what’s being said. Luna and Artemis keep their names.
The Cardians are called Card Devils and monsters are generally referred to as Devils. Some of the common lines are a bit odd like “I will represent the Moon to punish you”. Moon Tiara Action is called Moon Crown Attack. On the episodes I saw episode 47 had no lyrics for the opening and ending theme but then episode 48 had the original Japanese songs for both. These were modified a bit though. The TV length versions were not used but instead the full length versions of the songs were used and awkwardly edited to fit in the short opening animation.
Check out this clip from Sailor Moon R episode 59, True Love Awakens: The Makai Tree’s Secret.
If you’re looking to check out the full episode 47 and 48 dubs I won’t link to them directly though you may be interested to check out the Lost Media Wiki’s page on the subject and if you do some good things may be found on that page. You can check out a number of clips from those episodes embedded below.
Worth mentioning is that one of the title screens on the VCD show that it was released by TVBI in 1997. Is that simply the date of the VCD release or the actual dub of the show? Since Sailor Moon R was released starting in 1993 in Japan and only a couple of years later in North America, this would be pretty late for a dub of the show to be made. For reference Sailor Moon Sailor Stars ended in February of 1997!
I suppose at the end of the day we should be thankful for the DiC dub we got with its various edits, skipped episodes, gender bends and course the terrible erasure of a number of LGBT characters because the alternative it seems could have been, in many ways, worse. The Speedy Video dub of Sailor Moon was not a North American product and not likely intended to be seen here. I can’t imagine a world where this would have been seen on TV in the US or Canada, and that’s probably for the best. If a more faithful dub is what you’re looking for, then the Viz dub is for you. I’ll always have nostalgia for that DiC dub which first introduced me to the series. My condolences for anyone who’s first exposure to the series was the Speedy Video dub. Would such a person ever be able to develop a lasting love of the show?
Above we see Usagi who was happy to have her memory erased but is upset to have it restored because those memories include having seen the Speedy Video dub of Sailor Moon!