The Trouble With Dubbies - by Robert Wheeler (September 13th, 2000)
The trouble with dubbies. It's a question that many of us purists ask a lot. Some of us go to the extreme length of condemning all dub watchers to hell.

Since Sailor Moon's appearance in the US and Canada, there has been an ongoing flame war going on between the people who love the dub, called "dubbies", and the people who prefer watching the uncut Japanese anime, usually called "subbies" or "Purists". What has been most prevalent throughout this war was that each side was flaming the other side without giving any REAL reason as to why their reason was better than the opposing sides reason. It just ended up being "Dubbies suck! HAHAHAHA!" or "Subbies are idiots! BLAH!". Well, because I consider myself a purist, I will list exactly what I find wrong with dubbies and their attitude, especially their attitude towards the new Cloverway dub.

There are so many topics to cover in this debate, so where should we begin? Well, I think that we'll start with the most common flame war starter before the introduction of the new Cloverway series.

A dubbie will walk into a mostly purist/subbie newsgroup. This dubbie will read all the posts and get enraged that they are tearing apart the dub and comment by saying-

"Will you guys stop whining!! You should just be happy that Sailor Moon is in America to begin with! Without DiC, we wouldn't even be ABLE to watch Sailor Moon at all! So there!"

If I had a quarter for each time I heard someone say that. This argument is fine and dandy, when you're talking with other dubbies. When you are talking with subbies....Umm, it doesn't quite work. You see, for one, we're NOT happy that Sailor Moon is in America (especially the DiC version), and since most of us own fansubbed or raw Japanese versions of the series, we WOULD be able to watch it if DiC hadn't brought it over. Simple as that. If this same dubbie were saying this to another dubbie who was knocking on the dub, that would be different. Dubbies SHOULD be happy that Sailor Moon is in America to begin with. They shouldn't be criticizing changes or anything of the such, they should just be happy they get to see the series. Keep that comment in mind as I bring up what happened to these same dubbies who told us to stop whining when the new Cloverway dub was released.

"Oh my GOD!!! The new Cloverway dub SUCKS!!! All of the DiC music is gone!! What is up? What is with these disco tunes that are playing now! They're awful!! And what's with all these Japanese names and writing?! I can't read that! And they changed all the voices! Now all the voices are TOTALLY out of character! Mina is supposed to be kind, calm, and friendly, and now she's a blabber mouth ditz! And what's up with Serena's new voice! ARGH!! And Amy's voice was changed too! What's going on!??!?! I hate the new dub!"

*blink blink* Umm, yeah. Are you confused too? Well, let me break this down. Ok, before June 12th, 2000, the dubbies were telling us to be quiet and stop whining about the music, voices, plot changes, etc., right? Yet now, they're the ones who are whining about the music, voices, and all the other stuff.......How does this work out? Personally, I'll give you my opinion on the issue. It is my firm belief that ONLY the people who love the original Japanese version have any right to whine about what has been changed in translation and adaption. I believe that dubbies should just sit back and enjoy the new episodes that are being given to them. It highly annoys me when dubbies whine about changes from Japanese/English or DiC/Cloverway, as really, just as they were saying they should be "Happy that they are getting new episodes". Now we're going to break down the "dubbie complaint" down into categories and dissect each one as we go along. That includes the "new" music, the new voices and the less americanization.

First let's talk about the music. Basically DiC vs. Japanese music. Why is it that us subbies like the Japanese music so much and hate the DiC version? Well, it's very simple really. The Japanese show is highly dependant on the music, as it really makes the scenes funny, dramatic, or sad. The Japanese music has emotion in it. Not only that, but you can clearly distinguish one song from the next. It uses different instruments for each song and such. For example, for silly scenes that need silly music, you'll usually find a Clarinet or a Clarinet like instrument fronting the piece. A dramatic moment, such as most scenes with the outers in it, use a great combination of somewhat caribbean/latin sounds, mixed with a piano and violin. Sad songs will usually have a piano at front. You really have no idea how much the music adds to the scenes until you've actually seen them. Take for example the Outers theme. Absolutely astounding. Probably a fan favorite. It gives a feel to how dedicated the outers are to their mission and how elegant and magnificent they are. Then look at the edited S movie dubbed. Hear the music played when they transform? Not very good, is it? It doesn't give you a sense of anything, except that someone is learning how to use a synthesizer. Then there's the piece that is played in the episode where Uranus and Neptune get their heart crystals taken, in the "I like your hands" scene. The beautiful piano music that plays has got to be the most emotional piece in the entire series. Added with the emotions of Haruka and Michiru, this scene becomes a true tear-jerker. Can you imagine what DiC would of done to this scene, had they not cut it entirely? Considering DiC's limited score, I doubt that the emotion would be anywhere near the same.

On the other hand, all of DiC's music sounds completely the same. It lacks anything that could define the word "emotion". It's bland and boring, basically. It doesn't compliment the animation like the original music did. A good example is that for Sailor Moon's "Crystal Power" transformation. When I saw it for the first time, I didn't even know there was a difference between that and her "Prism Power" transformation! While because of the music in the Japanese version, it's clearly obvious that there is a big change. Too add to the problem, there are basically two and only two types of music in the DiC version. The "Negaforce" themes, which usually have a dark emotion to it (the only emotion found in any of DiC's background music), and then there's the music that goes anywhere. All of the music not in battle, while containing different songs, sounds almost exactly the same. The music in battle is exactly like the music not in battle, only with a little twist. There are barely any themes at all, and even if there are, they are very hard to identify as "themes" since there is little that defines them. The only themes I can think of from the DiC version were the Tuxedo Mask and "Sailor Moon and the Scouts transform" music. Add to the fact that 100% of the background music is made with a synthesizer, and you got 22 music pieces to use, and 19 of them sound exactly the same.

A big complaint from subbies about the DiC music is that it is far too repetitive. I agree somewhat on the topic. While the DiC music score has well over 20 pieces (yes, I've counted, yes, I have no life), the pieces sound so much alike, that they give the illusion that the music IS repetitive, just the same thing over and over again. And really, there is no avoiding this either. When you compose 20 tunes on a synthesizer about being "happy", they tend to sound exactly alike, and then when you want to make a "Battle" song without changing the setting on your synthesizer, your battle songs will sound far too much like the "happy" songs.

Then, the dubbies slam back saying that the original music is repetitive too! While, towards the end of the season, it can seem repetitive, in actuality, it's not. Since dub fans never got to hear the score from the original and R seasons of Sailor Moon, they wouldn't know that basically, after each season, Toei hired a new composer to compose new songs for the new season. Thus, from season to season, the music changes quite a bit. Then, when you are used to the new music from the new season, they'll throw an old tune from the previous season at you, and it'll be kind of a thrill. Also, for each new stage of transformation, the Soldiers were given a new theme. The same was for the different groups of enemies and allies. An example would be listening to the Dark Kingdom theme, and then listening to the Dead Moon Circus and Amazoness Quartet theme. They're very different in emotion and feel.

Then on the opposite side of the spectrum, the DiC's music is repetitive from season to season! There is one or two "Enemies theme", which are used for all enemies, and ONE and ONLY one theme for Sailor Moon and her transformations. Then there's ONE and ONLY one theme that all the other "scouts" share for transformation. To me, that's putting a half assed job into your work. Tsk-tsk, DiC.

I must say though, the DiC songs (with words and such) are done very well. I just had to say it, since "My Only Love" and "Carry On" are, in my opinion, better songs than their Japanese counterparts.

I think that's enough talk about music. Let's move on to the voices. Now, don't get me wrong. When a dubbie (or anyone for that matter) says, "I don't like such and such's new voice", that's absolutely fine with me. When they say, "I don't like such and such's new voice, bring the old one back!" it starts to get on my nerves a bit, but not too bad, but when people say, "The new dub voices are horrible! They are totally out of character!" That's when I get pissed.

For one, the dubbies don't even KNOW what the person's character should be since DiC altered the show so much, so how would they know if the person's new voice was out of character? If anything, I think most of the new voices are more in character. For example, Terri Hawkes got Usagi's compassionate side down perfectly, but she was totally missing the loud-dubious-yet-still-funny side. Linda, on the other hand, has Usagi's compassionate side down and her loud-dubious-yet-still-funny-in-a-stupid-kind-of-way. Yes, I will admit, the change between Terri and Linda was a big shock at first. Linda was way too squeaky (WAY too squeaky), but as the series progressed Linda got much better. Infact, I prefer Linda's voice to Terri's now. Going back and watching the Pioneer VHS edited dubbed movies is painful because I have to put up with Terri's awful performance of "Serena". She really lost the emotion that Kotono put out in "Usagi", while somehow, Linda seems to retain that emotion.

(of course, there are many other factors that impact whether the emotion displayed in the original is kept, such as scene alterations, script rewritings, and music changes. Unfortunately, Terri was in the midst of this and Linda luckily got the upper hand.)

All the while, I'm hearing "Linda! Terri! Linda! Terri! Terri! Terri! Terri! Terri!" arguments, but what I don't understand is, why isn't anyone cheering for Tracy Moore? In my opinion, she was the best "Serena" ever. She sounded young, which was the major plus, and she had acting talent. If you guys are totally lost, Tracy did the voice of Serena from episodes 1-11, and did a few after that. In my opinion, people should be asking Tracey to come back! Hey! It's just as likely that Tracey will come back as Terri. Terri has pretty much left Optimum for good. She's had twins, she's moving on, I would be suprised if she reclaimed her role as "Serena" on Sailor Moon, but I do think that out of all the actresses and actors that left, she has the most potential to return.

Now let's move on to Amy. Personally, I think both voices for Amy sucked, so there's not much to say. It's just they sucked in different ways. Karen Bernstein used that annoying fake british accent for Amy, and Lisa Balken? Well....Lisa just does a horrible job delivering her lines sometimes. To me, both suck. The only reason I don't say is "I hope Karen comes back" is because I really am sensitive to the fact that, whether we like it or not, these actresses have feelings. When all you get is "YOU SUCK AS AMY" mail, it's gonna take a toll on your self esteem. Because of that, I'll say that Lisa is fine as Amy. Lisa and Karen are both out of character for Amy, so when a dubbie says "Karen was more in character", they're lying.

This is the one that really steams me, Mina. Mina was done by Stephanie Morgenstern, and for the S and SuperS seasons, she was done by Emilie Barlow. Personally, I prefer Emilie FAR much more than Stephanie. This is not because Stephanie was a bad actress or anything, it's just her voice was so wrong for Minako. Emilie, on the other hand, has almost the perfect Minako voice. Minako is SUPPOSED to be loud, dubious, ditzy, and the like. She's a blonde, and she should act like one. Emilie does over-do it on the bitchiness on occasion, but it really isn't that bad. Stephanie's portrayal of Mina, however, was of a calm, quiet girl, who many dubbies say, "felt out-spoken". Umm, no! If that could be anymore of a complete opposite of what Minako is, then.....well......I don't know what could be. Anyway, I'm starting to rant here, but the point is, Emilie's portrayal is FAR more IN character than Stephanie's was.

I could go into more detail about the changes in voices, but these were the main problems. I'll just say this about the others, Toby is fine as Tuxy, and I think I agree with everyone that Miss Suga Bay Bee herself does an excellent job as "Rini".

Well, that was kinda a rant fest, so let's move on to the last topic, the lack of americanization.

Many many many dub fans seem upset at the stupidest things. Such as, "I don't like Hotaru's name! It's wierd!" - "What's with all the Japanese writing? I can't read that!" and "The music is too Japanese! That's stupid!"

Well, I think a lot of people have easily summed this up in one line. If you don't like the Japanese names/writing/music, then..........DON'T WATCH A JAPANESE SHOW! *gasp* Amazing how that works! That a Japanese show would have Japanese writing in it, have Japanese concepts, and *gasp* take place in Japan!!!

I'm going to stop here for now. I know I'm going to get a lot of hate mail from dubbies about this, so feel free to write! My e-mail address is [email protected]. I know that there's much more topics that I didn't cover that maybe I should have, so if you feel I've missed something, then feel free to tell me, and maybe I'll add it in. If I've missed some good pros or cons about dubbies/subbies, tell me, maybe I'll add that in too. Until next time!

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The North American Sailor Moon World - by Dan Bednarski (September 26th, 2000)
The Trouble With Dubbies - by Robert Wheeler (September 13th, 2000)
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Does Your Site Suck? - by Tiffany Wood (August 6th, 2000)

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