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When the Sailor Moon manga was re-released in late 2011, despite being advertised as having "An entirely new, incredibly accurate translation!" and being "completely true to original" these new releases contain a shockingly large amount of errors concerning grammar, translation, wording, name and phrase consistency and general dialogue fluidity.
I've created this page as a resource for Sailor Moon fans who are interested in finding out about all of the errors or mistakes in this version of the English Sailor Moon and Sailor V manga and also as a place for me to go into more detail concerning the errors and translation issues that I didn't have the space to write about in my manga reviews (which I recommend reading if you're curious about other aspects of this manga release beyond the translation / text).
If you find an error that is not listed here, don't hesitate to contact me about it and I'll add it here, naturally giving you credit for finding it and letting me know.
If you're curious about someone else's view on the new manga, check out Miss Dream's Manga Error Page for some further insight.
General Release Issues
Here are some issues that span multiple pages and volumes. I will go into more specific examples in extreme cases when called for in each individual manga volume.
Characterisation: For the most part, a lot of the characters fall flat in this release due to the phrasing chosen by the translator. While in the original Japanese release, each character had his or her own voice, in this English version even dramatically different characters seem to talk the same. An obvious example is in Codename Sailor V #1 where Minako (a Japanese school girl) and a Japanese gang member both use the same phrase, "Putting on airs" on separate occasions.
Awkward Dialogue: One of the biggest complaints by fans new and old, is the dialogue which often seems unnatural (especially for a cast of 14 year old Japanese school girls) and doesn't flow as well as it should. There's also a fair bit of words used such as "Mommy", "Daddy" and "Dummy" that make characters appear more childish than they were originally intended to be in the original release and these same words are used by all characters across the board leading to characterisation issues mentioned above.
Incorrectly Written Character and Place Names (aka The Attack of the Hyphens): For some reason the translator seems to really love adding hyphens to place and character names despite the fact that there were no hyphens in the original Japanese and that the majority of the names have previously established English spellings that are correct and accepted. A good example of a character's name spelt wrong is Chibi Usa who is written "Chibi-Usa". There is absolutely no reason for the hyphen unless you feel like also writing "Small-Lady", Princes-Serenity" and "Sailor-Guardian". Luna P is another character who suffers and is written as "Luna-P".
It really is the place names that suffer though with almost all of them being given unneeded hyphens at one time or another. Arisugawanomiya Park for example is written as "Arisugawano-Miya Park" in Volume 3 of the manga. Even one of Japan's most famous newspapers, the Yomiuri Shimbun (which is it's official English name and can be seen in every train station and convenience store in Japan on a daily basis) is retranslated as "Yomi-uri Newspaper". Examples like this really bring into question if the translator does in fact live in Japan as he says.
Japanese Honorifics: As a professional English adaption of a Japanese manga series, Japanese honorifics have absolutely no place in a legitimate release and simply make it look unprofessional. I do realise that there are people in the online fandom that prefer the inclusion of honorifics so I must stress that this is not meant as a personal attack on any individuals who feel honorifics should be included in English releases.
I have to say though that I think a lot of fans want honorifics included because they believe that they are an integral part of Japanese culture and that they are impossible to translate into English. This is simply not the case. All Japanese dialogue using honorifics can be properly translated into English while maintaining the original meaning and relationships of characters involved and despite what those beginner Japanese textbooks say, honorifics are not as cut and dry and relationship defining as they would have you believe.
A perfect example is the honorific "chan" which despite having a lot of background information is simply used half of the time to make the speaker sound cute.
I have several close friends who are professional Japanese / English interpreters and translators here in Tokyo and abroad and all of them tell me that leaving Japanese phrases, words or honorifics in a translation is unprofessional, lazy and frowned upon in the industry. Japanese films, novels and magazines are translated extremely well and are given a lot of respect however for some reason manga (and recently some anime) is seen as not deserving of the same quality. I highly recomend watching this documentary on YouTube about fansubs as it covers a lot of points that I don't have room for here.
Coming back to the English Sailor V and Sailor Moon manga, there is a lot of inconsistency with the translation regarding honorifics and other Japanese words in general (which tends to happen when you leave them in an English release). Despite the apparent policy to leave the honorifics in, some are randomly translated (sometimes in the same panel as an untranslated one) and others switch back and forth such as Motoki being referred to as "Bro!" (awkward dialogue in and of itself) and then the original "Onii-san" depending on which chapter you're reading.
Reading on, I'll discuss honorifics and other Japanese words only when they appear awkward or are incorrectly translated.
Codename Sailor V #1
Strange ":" used in all of Sailor V's attacks when none existed in the original or are used by the other Sailor Guardians.
On page 24 you can see some of the original Japanese writing half deleted in the lower left bubble and a "." from a Japanese "?" in the top right bubble.
As in the Sailor Moon manga, the usage of "Bro" on page 44 (and other pages) is extremely unnatural and out of character for Minako and others.
"Putting on airs" on page 99 is a very unnatural phrase for most English speakers let alone a 14 year old school girl. I actually had never heard it before and when I asked fans on the MKNET Facebook page, the majority there didn't understand it either and those who did claimed it was a very posh, old English phrase. This same phrase is later used by a gang member so even if you don't find the phrase strange you have to admit that it's unusual to see Minako and a gang member speaking exactly the same.
Another example of half deleted Japanese text appears on page 166 with the dialogue on the clock. Looks like squiggles but that's actually lazily edited characters.
Page 206 is incorrectly numbered as Page 208.
Page 223. Greece is not a continent.
The villain, Shizuka Hime Dark's name should have been translated. Possible translations are Shizuka Princess Dark, Dark Princess Shizuka or my favourite, Princess Shizuka Dark.
Luga was incorrectly translated as "Lurga".
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon #1
Throughout the entire volume "brooch" is misspelt as "broach". (btw, TokyoPop spelt it correctly.)
"Four Kings of Heaven" should be "Four Generals of Heaven". Thanks to Elly and Misty from Miss Dream for pointing that out.
On page 7 Usagi says, "I admit it myself, I'm a bit of a crybaby". Slightly awkward and redundant. "I admit it, I'm a bit of a crybaby" or "I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a crybaby" would be a lot more natural.
"Oh, honestly!" makes Usagi sound more posh than the character really is and more like Ami or say, Umi from Magic Knight Rayearth. A more accurate translation of the original Japanese would be "Aw, man!" or "This sucks!".
Page 24 Sailor Moon yells out "You get away from Naru-chan!". Kind of sounds like she's channeling Tarzan. "You there! Get away from Naru-chan!" or simply "Get away from her!" would have flowed better.
"Kitty-chan" sounds ridiculous in English. "Chan" here is really just used to make the speaker sound more cute. "Kitty" in English already establishes this.
On Page 35 Sailor Moon incorrectly introduces herself as the Guardian of "Beauty and Justice". Should be "Love and Justice". Strangely it's corrected in future chapters making this a consistency mistake rather than a translation choice. Even if it was, the Japanese words for "love" and "beauty" are completely different.
"How wonderful!" on page 43 is a very out of character phrase for Sailor Moon (which again makes her sound rather posh and uppity) to be saying when you consider she's a 14 year old Japanese school girl and is looking at a sexy man with love hearts in her eyes. A much better translation would be something like "He's so hot!" or "He's so sexy!".
Similar issue on page 50 with Usagi saying "Honestly!" again. Better translation might be "Seriously" or even "Come on". Notice also there's no "!" in the original Japanese making Kodansha's translation a lot more forceful than the original.
Princess-sama is a perfect example of how honorifics can be awkward in an English adaption. The word "princess" itself implies someone important rendering "sama" redundant. For extra emphasis "Her highness, the Princess" could have been used.
In Act 3, Sailor Mars' attack "Akuryo Taisan" is translated as "Evil Spirits Be Exorcised!" yet in Act 4 it becomes "Evil Spirits Be Gone!". TokyoPop's original English adaption actually used the original Japanese for the attack and said in a side note that because Sailor Mars is a Miko (shrine maiden) that she speaks Japanese.
"Bro" used for Motoki is obviously a translation of the Japanese "Oni-san". Since they've established that they're keeping honorifics, this shouldn't have been translated. Inconsistent. Since they are though they should have chosen a better phrase that suits the personality of 14 year old school girls, maybe even adjusting the dialogue a bit to reflect the original meaning in a more natural way like "Motoki, he's like a big brother to me". The "It's Bro?!" on page 183 is super unnatural no matter how you look at it.
"You should live your life a bit more nervously." / "You know! Like getting up early in the morning!" on page 166 is definitely one of the biggest wtf moments of this volume. Doesn't really make sense and is very unnatural. "You should take things more seriously" or "You should be more responsible" would be much better. It's worth noting that a similar phrase is used my Artemis in Codename Sailor V #2 (see below).
"I'm the weirdo, right?" on page 167 doesn't work. The "the" implies she was talking about someone else being weird beforehand and in general "weirdo" doesn't suit the situation. "I'm so weird" or "I'm so strange" would be more appropriate and natural.
Sailor Moon forgets her name on page 188 by failing to include her name in her speech which is there in the original Japanese.
The translator spells the name of his reference Japanese newspaper incorrectly as "Yomi-uri Newspaper". It is in fact uses "Yomiuri Shimbun" as it's English title. Shimbun does translate as Newspaper but even then the word Yomiuri should not be split. "Yomi-kai" should thus be written as "Yomikai".
<- Sailor V #1 + Sailor Moon #1 ->
<- Sailor V #2 + Sailor Moon #2 ->
<-- Sailor Moon #3 + Sailor Moon #4 -->
<-- Sailor Moon #5 + Sailor Moon #6 -->
<-- Sailor Moon #7 + Sailor Moon #8 -->
<-- Sailor Moon #9 + Sailor Moon #10 -->
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Rubeus Evens the Score
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