The most popular magical girl series ever (in or out of Japan). Based on the manga by Naoko Takeuchi; produced by Bandai in Japan and subbed by DIC for U.S. distribution. The first magical girl series in which the main character gets bad grades and starts out rather incompetent; before then, the heroine of any manga/anime series would rarely (if ever) be shown to be bad at school, and most magical girls start out unexperienced yet competent. Also, the first magical girl series with a team of magical girls, instead of the usual lone magical girl.

Since Quizro did a good writeup of the story in this node, and Phoebe Caulfield did a great one in the Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, I'll detail some of the differences between the Japanese and North American versions. Everyone who's seen the fansubbed version considers to original to be much superior to the dubbed version, and some people still pass around the fansub version, since it's considered to be so different from the dubbed version (people usually stop distributing a fansub once the North American rights have been bought).

First, the title. The Japanese title is "Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon", which literally translates as "Beautiful Girl Warrior Sailor Moon". However, DIC has translated this as "Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon" (which would be "Kirei Heishi Sailor Moon" in Japanese). What's more, the characters were originally referred to as "Sailor Senshi" (Sailor Warriors), but in the dub are referred to as "Sailor Scouts". Warrior to soldier to scout... I guess DIC thought that, girls being non-violent, soldier would be better than warrior, and scout better than soldier, but it didn't seem to bother the girls in Japan...

Next, the character names. The Japanese names are listed family name first, given name second, the reverse of how they are listed in English (since they're already noded this way).

   Identity       Japanese Name  DIC names
--------------    -------------  ---------
Sailor Moon       Tsukino Usagi  Serena
Tuxedo Mask       Chiba Mamoru   Darien
Sailor Mercury    Mizuno Ami     Amy
Sailor Mars       Hino Rei       Raye
Sailor Jupiter    Kino Makoto    Lita
Sailor Venus      Aino Minako    Mina
Sailor Pluto      Meiou Setsuna  Trista
Sailor Uranus     Ten'ou Haruka  Amara
Sailor Neptune    Michiru Kaiou  Michelle
Sailor Saturn     Tomoe Hotaru   Hotaru
Sailor Mini-Moon  Chibi-Usa      Rini

"Rei" and "Raye" are pronounced the same. "Ami" and "Amy" are almost the same, but "Ami" is pronounced "ah-me", not "A-me"; "Amy" would be rendered a "Eimi" in Romanji. Chibi-Usa's real name is Usagi, but to avoid confusion she's called Chibi-Usa (Little Usagi); she is sometimes called "Little Lady" in the North American version. "Chibi" has nothing to do with "Chiba".

Next, some changes that were made due to censorship/marketing:

  • The villains Zoisite and Kunzite (Malachite) were originally gay. DIC turned Zoisite into a rather flat-chested woman.
  • Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune were lovers in the original, but changed to cousins in the dub.
  • The original transformation sequences show some exposed breasts and lots of bare skin. In the dub, the breasts shots are removed, and for bare skin the body lines are removed but the shots left in, or it's removed entirely.
  • Panty shots and other straight-male oriented fan service are removed.
  • In the original series, all the Sailor Scouts are killed, and then revived. In the dub, the killing is edited out.
  • Miscellaneous violence is edited out: characters being slapped, Rini being spanked, Serena being strangled by a monster, and such.

Non-censorship changes:

  • All music, except for the opening sequence music, is changed.
  • The opening and ending sequences are changed.
  • All the dialog is rewritten, rather than being translated.
  • The "Sailor Says" bit tacked onto the end of each episode. FCC regulation 96-335 requires that TV stations broadcast three hours of educational material a week; evidently, tacking a moral onto the end of a cartoon is enough to trick the FCC into believing that's it's educational.
  • Zirconia was changed from a woman to a man, for apparently no good reason.
  • Some scenes are rearranged, and some episodes are removed entirely

My main source is the Sailor Moon FAQ, by Ken Arromdee, available at