Sailor Moon is a shoujo anime/manga franchise created by Naoko Takeuchi. The original manga began serialization in Japan in 1991, while the anime made its debut in 1992. The anime series made its international English debut on Canada's youth-oriented YTV channel in 1995.
Over the years, Sailor Moon has been significantly censored for its mature elements that were deemed unsuitable for the young girl target demographic in other countries.
The series was originally dubbed by DiC Entertainment, frequently censored when it was broadcast both in syndication and on Cartoon Network's Toonami block in the United States. Examples of elements that were censored include violence, (non-detailed) nudity, dark plotlines, and references to homosexuality/transgenderism.
One of the most well-known examples is the changing of the relationship between the characters Michiru and Haruka. In the original Japanese version, they were lesbian lovers, while in the DiC version, they were cousins.
(DiC Entertainment dub)
- Episode 1
- The scene where Serena is talking about herself, and then stops when her mom calls her which results in her waking up was cut.
- The scene that shows a close up on Luna looking at Serena slowly approaching her was cut.
- The scene where Ms. Haruna orders Serena to stand in front of the door as punishment for being late was cut.
- The scene that shows a close up on the crystal ball was cut.
- The scene that shows a skyscraper featuring Kanji was cut.
- The scene that shows Jedite collecting the stolen energy was cut.
- The scene that shows Serena sticking her tongue out at Darien was cut.
- The scene that shows Serena looking at Darien again was cut.
- The scene that shows Serena looks at the Sailor V poster was shortened.
- The scene that shows Tsukino house's sign was cut.
- The scene that shows Ikuko (Serena's mother) outrage about the bad grade was shortened.
- The scene that shows Serena's younger brother kicking her in the butt and makes fun of her for having been kicked out again was cut.
- The scene that shows Molly getting choked by Youma Morga was shortened.
- The scene that shows Morga turns her body in order to realign it with her head was cut.
- The scene that shows a close up of a broken glass bottle was replaced with a close up on Morga.
- The scene that shows the school next morning was shortened.
- Episode 2
- The scene that shows Haruna's dance of joy was shortened.
- The scene that shows Serena running down the stairs was cut.
- The scene that shows the empty teacher's desk was cut.
- The scene that shows Luna's joyful look when Motoki offers her some milk was cut.
- The scene that shows the close up on a box full of love letters.
- The scene that shows Molly and Serena walking by three shady men was modified for the Syndication broadcast. In the Syndication version the camera zooms in on Molly and Serena, as a result you can no longer see the man in a car smoking a cigarette.
- The scene that shows Serena giving up on writing a love letter to Jack Dyte was shortened.
- The scene that shows Serena's embraced face was cut or shortened.
- The scene that shows Youma Kita's leaping though the glass was shortened.
- The scene that shows Sailor Moon's eyes forming into hearts when she is admiring Tuxedo Mask
- Episode 3
- The scene that shows Serena angry about Luna's drawing of a fat Sailor Moon was cut.
- The scene that shows Serena has not buying any lunch in order to lose weight was cut.
- The scene that shows Serena suffering quietly while watching Molly eating some ice cream was cut.
- The scene where Molly asks her about it was cut.
- The scene that shows Melvin appearing and offering Serena his tray with a full meal on it was cut.
- The scene where Serena thinks that obviously there was some kind of conspiracy against her was cut.
- The scene that shows Melvin not wanting to say where he got the pictures, which causes Molly to get angry was cut.
- The scene that shows Melvin starting to sweat due to Molly and Serena questioning by was cut.
- The scene the shows the camera zooming out while showing the fitness club was cut.
- The scene that shows the ad in front of the club was cut.
- The scene that shows the girls' reaction to Jedite's announcement was cut.
- The scene that shows Serena in the bath was modified by DiC. In the DiC version the water was digitally increased, and darkened as a result you can no longer see her breasts.
- The scene that shows Jedite collecting stolen energy was cut.
- The scene that shows the Sailor V poster was modified by DiC. In the uncensored version the camera zooms in on her legs, in the DiC version the Camera zooms in on the top half of her body.
- Episode 20
- The violent stabbing and death of Neflite was maintained and only altered to censor the blood; instead of red, the blood was edited to appear green.
- Episode 29
- The latter episode, Zoycite's stabbing Tuxedo Mask in the back is censored after the intent to stab is shown.
- Episode 40
- When the Sailor Scouts are kidnapped and Queen Beryl is destroyed, characters say they were "sent to the Negaverse" (a possible euphemism despite the Negaverse being Queen Beryl's base of operations).
- Episode 14
- In the scene where Serena is in the bathtub, the water was left opaque to hide Serena's body.
- Episode 22
- To avoid religious reference, the holy grail was renamed "Purity Chalice".
- The whole season got banned in the US and was not shown in Toonami airings due to the Genderbend versions of Minako’s favorite rock band and nosebleeds
There was very minimal censorship, with the only known change being that the character of Zoisite was changed to be female.
The same version that aired in the US was broadcast on YTV in Canada.
Dutch (Netherlands) censorship
This version was based off the German dub, with the only additional censorship being the changing of Zoisite to a woman.
Several characters' genders were changed, including Haruka, Zirconia, and Artemis. Haruka and Michiru's relationship was left intact, with Haruka being explained as being a "man in civilian form".
The original German version featured minimal censorship compared to the American version—however, some changes were still made. While Michiru and Haruka were not changed to be cousins, some overt references to their relationship were removed/changed in the German dub. The words "kill" and "die" was often avoided/replaced with euphemisms in the German dub.
Some scenes of nudity were digitally blurred/brightened to remove detail.
Haruka and Michiru's relationship was changed to them being friends who had a sister-like bond. The Three Lights became just twin brothers of the Sailor Starlights who replace the formers during the battle rather than being their civilian forms. Zoisite and Fisheye were changed into female characters.
A few scenes of homosexuality/nudity were removed. Fisheye was changed to a woman in the original 1994 dub, but kept his original gender in the 2012 redub version.
The majority of changes were involving the characters' genders. For example, verbal references to the Sailor Starlights changing gender were removed, despite them still having visible breasts in transformation scenes. Queen Metalia was also changed to a male named King Metalia.
South Korean censorship
Due to a ban on the broadcast of Japanese culture at the time of the original 1997 dub, all references to Japanese culture were completely removed from the Korean dub. On-screen Japanese text was digitally erased, leaving the characters often looking at blank signs/papers.
- All scenes of kissing were removed. Nudity was also removed from the transformation sequences.
- A less censored new dub was broadcast in 2012, with the only censorship being for nudity.
The version of Sailor Moon broadcast on TV in the UK was the DiC version, with some further cuts made for time in the version broadcast on Fox Kids and later on ITV.
- The name of the holy grail was changed to the name "Moon Chalice".
How to obtain the uncensored version
In the territories of the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the show has been released completely uncut on DVD with a new English dub and subtitles from Viz Media. An uncut, subtitled-only box set was released in North America by ADV Films in 2003, however is long out-of-print/expensive on second-hand markets.
The version of the series that is streaming on Hulu and Yahoo! View is also completely uncut. In Canada, the uncut version is legally streaming from Tubi TV.