Sailor Moon in Sweden: Q&A

"I wonder who that mysterious man is who's helping Sailor Moon all the time?"
     Christina Almström, ’Junior’

I could call this a FAQ, I suppose, but people from abroad don't turn up and ask questions about the Swedish version all that frequently. ^_^  Oh well, here's some answers:

So this has nothing to do with DiC?

No. There's no such thing as "The Dub"; every non-English dub in use around the globe has been made by people with no connections to DiC Entertainment or Cloverway Inc.
     The Sailor Moon rights for the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland) are owned by a licensing company called Plus Licens. The Swedish dubbing was made by PangLjud whose previous works include shows such as Freakazoid, Thunderbirds, and My Little Pony.

Did they skip any episodes?

Ep. 89, the S trailer episode, was skipped. Apart from that, all of SM and SMR has been dubbed, but TV4 and Kanal 5 have never aired the eps. 49, 54, and 68 - apparently because they couldn't leave out the songs in them (see below).
     Some episodes were skipped only in certain runs; eps. 15 and 18 weren't aired back in '96 because the tapes sent to TV4 were damaged, but they have been shown in later runs.  Instead ep. 4 was aired in '96 but got skipped later because of parental complaints. Still, they included the episode in their own videos, though the earlier Scanbox tapes didn't have it.  Also, Kanal 5 didn't show episode 88(!) in their first two runs of the show.

What about cuts, changes and stuff?

Very little compared to some other dubs out there. No footage was cut, apart from the ending previews and the little eyecatches at commercial breaks.  A few names have been changed, and the words for the girl's attacks and tranformations mutated rather frequently (and inconsistently). Other than that, the most drastic change is that Zoisite became female. See my overview of the Swedish dub for more details.
     What they did cut was songs. The opening and ending themes were tampered with (see my theme songs page for details) and although Tsuki ni Kawatte Oshioki yo was included in ep. 21, every song that appears within an episode after that, was removed and replaced with nothing - with the exception of ep. 62 where they took out Onaji Namida wo Wakeatte from the airport scene, but did put in a piece of Heart Moving when Ami opens her gift.
     When eps. 49, 54, and 68 weren't aired, TV4 stated that it was due to "technical errors" with the tapes... errors that later turned out to be that the songs in those episodes couldn't be separated from their background music and sound effect tracks. Strange as it sounds, TV4 skipped three full episodes because they didn't want to air singing in a foreign language - their own purchase manager has said so. It doesn't explain why Kanal 5 didn't show them either, though.

But Usagi WAS renamed Annie..?

Well, is Serena better? ^_^  True, "Annie Tsukino" (they use her surname here) is an English-Japanese mix that does sound kind of weird, but the name fits her once you get used to it.
     The name was allegedly chosen simply because it sounded good and was easier for Swedish viewers to relate to than ’Usagi’. Interestingly, none of the (relatively few) renamed characters got Swedish names - cf. Minako's name, which was changed into the French-sounding "Arianne".

Are the voice actors any good?

It varies... The smaller budget, due to the smaller audience, forces Swedish dubs to use the same actors in several roles (although it should be noted that Sailor Moon's cast of 12 voice actors is large by Swedish standards). Most of these VAs are true experts at varying their voices into unrecognizability, but the need for it can sometimes be limiting on their acting.  For clarity, the list below uses the characters' original names.

  • Annelie Berg: Sailor Moon, Petz – Annie has a thin voice that sounds pretty "girlish" (quite different from Berg's singing on the theme songs) without being squeaky. Berg is a fine actress and can switch seamlessly between being hilarious or tear-jerking. See my sounds page for a sample.  As Petz, she uses a fairly deep and mature voice that is very different from Annie's.
  • Annica Smedius: Sailor Mercury – Smedius has a soft, mellow voice that, although notably deeper than the original, really suits the character. Her portrayal of Ami is an impressive piece of small-gesture acting, very subtle and with lots of nuance.
  • Maria Weisby: Sailor Mars [eps. 10-57] – Mars roars her way through life in an acting job of the Big&Loud school. Weisby strains herself in trying to fit Rei-chan's temper; it becomes obvious in quiet scenes, where she suddenly gets a very gentle voice.
  • Ewamaria Björkström-Roos: Sailor Mars [eps. 58-88], Chibi-Usa – Our second Mars has a voice very similar to Weisby's, but she uses a cocky tone instead of raising it.  She does Chibi-Usa in a snotty kid voice without trying to emulate the shrillness of the original. The result sounds a bit too old for the character, but isn't irritating to listen to. ^_^
  • Irene Lindh: Sailor Jupiter, queen Beryl, miss Haruna, Ikuko-mama – Having Lindh as Jupiter was a miscast. She normally specializes in older-sounding characters, and though she does a good job of varying her tone she can't hide the fact that Mako-chan's voice belongs to someone old enough to be the character's mother. Raising her pitch makes her sound oddly timid rather than young.  Haruna and Ikuko are both done in a tweeting tone and come across as a bit staged, but the deep voice of the malevolent queen is an exercise in creepiness.
  • Charlotte Ardai-Jennefors Sailor Venus, queen Serenity, Ann, Calaveras – The voice of Venus is shrill, sometimes a little coarse and done in short breaths, which makes her sound suitably bubbly.  A darker, gnarling tone is added for Ann and Calaveras, while the Moon Queen's voice is coated in softness, sounding quite angelic.
         This VA was accidentally omitted from the show's credit list, which confused Swedish moonies for years before her identity was discovered.
  • Louise Reader: Luna, Sailor Pluto – Reader meows her lines in a very high-pitched voice, which does fit Luna's cathood but audibly hampers the poor VA at times. She plays her as a very stylish lady kitty.  Pluto's vocal cords are all the more relaxed, speaking in a soft tenor that is very fitting to the character.
  • Staffan Hallerstam: Artemis, Nephrite, prince Demando, Kenji-papa, Grandpa – This VA was a famous child actor in younger days. His soft-voiced Artemis sounds kind of wimpy but is fairly true to the character, while his Nephrite and Demando mutter and hiss their lines, sounding more skunky than sophisticated.  Kenji has an everyday fellow voice, and Rei's grandpa is played with hilarious Magoo-style jabbering.
  • Fredrik Dolk: Mamoru, Umino – Mamoru has a deep, commanding voice that brings Batman to mind. Dolk can be a great actor when he's in the mood but does seem rather uninspired at times.  Umino sounds less like a nerd and more like he's downright nuts! Here, the VA performs like a high-strung verbal roller coaster.
  • Anna Norberg: Naru, queen Metallia, Cooan, Esmeraude – A slightly coarse voice. Her high-pitched Naru (played with a strong hint of upper-class manners) has all the telltale signs of faked youth, but she sounds more natural as Cooan and Esmeraude - thought she never got the hang of the infamous Esmeraude laughter.  Metallia speaks in a deep murmur.
  • Olav F Andersen: Jadeite, Kunzite, Ail, Rubeus, Saffir – The show's translator doubles as a VA, with a strong, sonorous voice. He shows a theatrical approach to the job, at times appearing rather stilted, but he's also really good at sounding twisted. Unfortunately his ability to vary his voice is quite limited. Acting-wise, he usually does a better job when he does not portray villains.
  • Sanna Ekman: Zoisite, Beruche, youma – A famous soap opera actress, this is the VA who is best known to the Swedish audience. Ekman has a lean, sensual voice that makes the vampy Zoi very female indeed, and she does Beruche in a tarty tweeting tone. For the monsters, she uses a savage hag-like gnarl that's obviously not natural to her.
  • Dick Eriksson: Motoki, Shingo, Yuuichirou, Wiseman – A warm tenor, his nice-guy Motoki performance is almost saccharine. He plays his other characters with all the more gusto, Shingo in an emulated raspy teen voice (with which the VA also does Ash in the Swedish Pokémon dub) and Yuuichirou as a howling manic.  Wiseman's mumbling voice has been artificially deepened in the studio, to the point that it is sometimes hard to hear what he's saying.

  • What about the comic book?

    Click the image to view a gallery of all published issues.

    It is Toei's anime color manga in a standard-size monthly comic book format (the Semic edition was bimonthly at periods), covering one episode per 48-page issue.
         The original Semic edition has been translated from the Italian edition of the same color manga. It has glossy covers but is printed on the same kind of cheap paper seen in so many other Western comics. Most issues include a couple of filler pages with facts about astrology. Some contain a small low-budget bonus item, like a sticker puzzle or a Sailor Moon paper doll.  The later Egmont edition has been translated from German. It's a higher budget version than the first, being printed on better paper, wrapped in plastic and having bonus items (mostly plastic jewelry) with every issue.

    Counting both editions, 32 issues have been published in Sweden, covering 26 various episodes of the anime (since the first six issues of the Egmont edition were reprints from the Semic edition).

    Is there any Swedish merchandise?

    Nothing that's been produced here, apart from the comic book and the videos. Dolls and toys were being imported from BanDai Europe while the show was on TV the first time around, including the infamous ’Sailor Barbies’. It's all long out of stock by now.

    Regarding the tapes, note that Swedish VHS video uses the European PAL system, which is not readily compatible with the NTSC system used in Japan and America. A certain fansub distro in Canada has them and can convert tapes to NTSC, though.

    Any other dubs in your vicinity? Denmark, Holland..?

    As far as I'm aware, the closest ones are Poland and Germany. I don't know of any European dubs not listed in Ken Arromdee's FAQ.
         Sailor Moon has also run in Finland, showing the Swedish dub with Finnish subtitles. The translation was done straight from the Swedish dialogue.

    Back to the main page