Sailor Moon in Sweden: Translations

Japanese Zoisite

Swedish Zoisite

"I should play Snow White, because I have most talent!"
"But I happen to have the largest breasts!"

     Rai and Mako, episode 56

The Swedish version of the anime is a translation, not an adaptation like the US version. Of course, the Nordic market is also fairly small, so the kind of additions and re-edits that DiC have become infamous for would simply cost too much money to do here. If they really wanted to change something, their options would basically be limited to rewriting lines (or to skip whole episodes).
     There is no censorship as such; it even has a couple of slightly ecchi references that weren't there in the original. ^^;
     The show is translated by a single person; one Olav F Andersen who translated it from English-language scripts provided by Toei. He seems to have gone out of his way to keep the Swedish dialogue on track with the original, rephrasing really odd lines to keep their general meaning and such. He doesn't always stick right to the bone (he has remarked that the English in Toei's scripts was "atricious", which may explain a change or two) but in some cases he has modified terms/phrases after his first versions have been used in several episodes, sacrificing continuity to get a better translation. Also, some minor changes seem to have been a case of the voice actors being a little "creative" when reading their scripts, so not all changes were necessarily his idea.

When the Swedish dub aired in Finland with Finnish subtitles, the Swedish-to-Finnish translation was done by Arja Sundelin.

The Swedish comic book was translated separately and can sometimes differ radically from the TV show.  It is really two different translations; the Semic edition - where the translator is anonymous - was translated from the Italian edition of the same book. Although it uses the Swedish TV names for a couple of the main characters, a remarkable number of Italian names also appear in it. Key terms and phrases (such as attack names) are not always consistent. The "everyday" dialogue is taken from the Italian edition, slightly different from the TV show but often deviating less from the original.
     The later Egmont edition was translated from German by Carin Bartosch. She used Andersen as a translation consultant, so most of the characters' names in it are the same as in the Swedish TV show. Oddly enough, this didn't solve the problem with ever-changing key phrases; it's even more noteable in this edition than in the first one. The rest of the dialogue is straight from the German edition, which follows the German dub of the anime.

General Changes

The only cut parts are the eyecatch (TV4 aired it without commercial breaks anyway, though interestingly, the eyecatch did appear in eps. 51-56) and the preview for next week, which have been routinely removed. The preview of today's episode is moved to come immediately after the opening theme, followed by the character presentation. The number and name of the episode is narrated, by the translator himself, when the Japanese title appears on the screen.
     The dialogue basically follows the original. There are a few changes - mostly in punchlines, or in pop culture references that would have left Swedish viewers clueless - but they are of minor importance, nothing like DiC's complete rewrites.
     The one big change is that Zoisite has been made a female, as in so many other dubs. There is a rumor that this was done because a vain, double-dealing baddie like Zoisite could be considered a negative portrayal of homosexuals, and not because he's gay per se. However, the translator has claimed that the sex change was simply because the dubbers didn't realize the character was a man when they heard Nanba-san's original voice...
     Actually, the theory of a dubbing goof gets some support from the fact that Zoi wasn't the only character that got a sex change (albeit the only permanent one). In early episodes when Artemis only appears as a mysterious figure that Luna speaks to through the Sailor V game, his voice is female; just before he gets busted in ep. 37, the voice is male but electronically distorted.  When Queen Metallia first appears in ep. 25 she has a male voice, but a female one in subsequent episodes.

The original anime manga is supposed to be read from right to left, so the layout had to be changed for the comic book. The standard solution is to simply mirror-reverse the pages, but there are cases where single panels have been flipped back, usually when there's romaji text in the background. This sometimes gives some rather confusing results (e.g. a car speeds by and Luna looks at it... in the wrong direction), especially in the earliest issues.
     Front covers have regularly been edited, replaced logos aside, with cleared backgrounds and little clip-art hearts, stars, and crescent moons sometimes added. Supplementary images are often used for covers, though they usually have little connection to the episode at hand.
     All kanji used to be routinely removed, causing similar confusion when characters are seen reading blank newspapers and such, but the last issues usually leave them in place. (Nice, though it also means that anyone who can read Japanese gets to see inverted text.) Kanji are often removed and replaced with Swedish text in close-ups.
     I haven't read the original, so I don't know what other changes have been made - apart from splitting the tankoubons into separate issues for each episode (hence the shortage of cover art), which of course is a pretty hefty change in itself.


Many of the main characters, and all secondary characters and Victims of the Day, have their original Japanese names, though switched Western style with family name last.
     There's a lot of variation throughout the show how some of the names are pronounced (ha-ROOna, harue-NA, HA-runah); apparently up to the individual voice actors.

The single most notable name change in the Swedish version is that the Usagi/Bunny/Serena we all know and love is named Annie Tsukino. I think it really suits her, though it's a bit weird that they chose an English name, especially as the Swedish dub often stresses that the show takes place in Tokyo, Japan.  One problem with this name is that Sailor Mercury is still called Ami, often mispronounced "Ammie", which at times can make the dialogue rather confusing. ("Annie, go get Ammie!")  Princess Serenity's name is unchanged, but Queen Serenity is renamed Queen Selene.
     The second major name change is that Minako has been renamed Arianne - a French name; nobody is called that in Sweden. Rei's and Makoto's names were modified to Rai and Mako respectively. All surnames were kept unchanged.
     Chibi-Usa became Chibusa, thus removing the connection to Annie's name. There's a lost opportunity there for a pretty neat Swedish play on words, but oh well.
     Tuxedo Kamen is called Maskerade Rosen, which translates to "The Masked Rose". I guess this name has a bit of a feminine ring to it in English, but it hasn't in Swedish. In fact, making a literal translation of his name would have sounded plain ridiculous - something like "The Masked Dinner-Jacket". (Tsukikake no Knight is Månljusets Riddare, "The Knight of Moonlight".)  Mamoru kept his first name, but Chiba was modified to Jiba.
     Among the secondary characters, Naru has been renamed Lima (pronounced lee-MAH) and Shingo was modified to Shino. Yuiichirou is Yushi - probably so the Swedish voice actors wouldn't stumble trying to say the name.
     Queen Beryl is renamed Queen Morga. Yes, Morga is originally the youma in episode #1. (She, in turn, is called Founa in the Swedish dub.) They probably decided that "Beryl" wasn't cool enough a name for the Queen of the Dark Kingdom, and thought Morga suited her better. However, there is a mineral form of beryl called 'morganite'... The names of the Shitennou (which became "the Four Great Ones") saw less changes, but Nephrite is called Neflite with an L, and Kunzite was for some reason renamed Kunta.
     The SMR villains got more name changes. Ail is called Ale (pronounced Ah-LEH). Prince Demando is Prins Diamund, Esmeraude is Esmeralda, and the Ayakashi Sisters (here called "the Four Sisters of Affliction") are called Kermasite, Bertesite, Calver and Petzite.
     One weird and pretty embarrassing change is that Sailor V constantly gets referred to as "Sailor Five", like they're reading the 'V' as a Roman numeral... Whether this was in the script or something the actors came up with when reading it, is impossible to say.

All geographic names and references - Juubangai, Shinjuku, etc. - are kept unchanged on TV, but removed in the comic book.

Terms and Phrases

Note: Quotation marks denote the English meanings of Swedish terms, not the actual words used in the dub. Untranslated Swedish is written in bold text.

Most key terms are directly translated. The ginzuishou is called the "Silver Crystal", sometimes "Holy Silver Crystal"; youma are interchangeably referred to as "demons" (also often used about the generals) or "monsters"; the Dark Kingdom is "The Dark Kingdom" and so on.
     The Swedish term for Sailor Senshi varies over time. In the early episodes they are called Sailorhjältinnor ("Sailor Heroines"), which is later replaced with Månhjältinnor ("Moon Heroines") and, in Sailor Moon R, with Sailorsoldater ("Sailor Soldiers").  The comic book calls them Sailorkämpar ("Sailor Fighters").

The words 'Make Up' in transformations have become Förvandla Mej ("Transform Me"). 'Moon Prism Power' sees some variation. It's usually shortened to Månprisma ("Moon Prism"), and sometimes to Månkraft ("Moon Power"). In some Sailor Moon R episodes it becomes the more puristic Månprismakraft ("Moon Prism Power").  'Moon Crystal Power' is consistently translated Månkristallkraft ("Moon Crystal Power").
     In other words, the most common form of Sailor Moon's original transformation is Månprisma, Förvandla Mej ("Moon Prism, Transform Me"). It should be noted that all of the girls use the Swedish words for "Moon", "Venus" etc. in transformations, although their Senshi names are in English - but the only names that really differ are Moon and Mercury (Merkurius in Swedish); the others just have a slightly different pronounciation.
     The other Senshi transformations follow the same pattern ("Mars Power, Transform Me" etc.) in the first season. For their 'Star Power' transformations in SMR, they instead followed Sailor Moon's example; the word 'Star' has been replaced with kristall, "crystal" - e.g. 'Mars Star Power' is Marskristallkraft, ("Mars Crystal Power") - which would have made for an interesting problem if they'd ever reached SuperS... Sailor Mercury omitted the Crystal part, however, and kept using her old phrase for her new transformation. 'Merkuriuskristallkraft' was perhaps too long a word to time into the dialog.
     Moon Power, the original henshin phrase for using the Disguise Pen, has been changed to Månessens, "Moon Essence", followed by "transform me into a...".

Attack names are a chapter unto themselves. The translation did observe some consistency in regards to Sailor Moon's own attacks, and for the other girls as well in the first season, but when they got their new one-time attacks in SMR things started to fall apart a bit.
    It's easiest to illustrate with a table. These are the most common attack translations - note how some names stick and are passed over to later, different attacks.

Original Swedish Meaning
Sailor Moon
Moon Tiara ActionMåntiara, AttackMoon Tiara, Attack
Moon Tiara StardustMåntiarans StjärnstoffMoon Tiara Stardust
Moon Healing EscalationMånläkning, VerkställMoon Healing, Commence
Moon Princess HalationPrinsessläkning, VerkställPrincess Healing, Commence
Sailor Moon KickSailor Moon, AttackSailor Moon, Attack
Sailor Body AttackSailor Mega-AttackSailor Mega Attack
Sailor Mercury
Shabon SprayBubbelspray
Bubble Spray
Silver Bubble Spray
Shabon Spray FreezingSilverbubbelspraySilver Bubble Spray
Double Shabon Spray
SilverbubbelspraySilver Bubble Spray
Shine Aqua IllusionSilvervirvelillusionSilver Whirl Illusion
Sailor Mars
Fire SoulEldsjälFire Soul*
Fire Soul BirdEld- och SolfågelFire and Soul Bird
Burning MandalaEld- och SolfågelFire and Soul Bird
Sailor Jupiter
Supreme ThunderBlixt och DunderThunder and Lightning
Supreme Thunder DragonBlixt och Dunder OrkanThunder and Lightning Hurricane
Sparkling Wide PressureJupiter Kraftstråle, Attack
Jupiter Kraftsfär, Attack
Jupiter Power Beam, Attack
Jupiter Power Sphere, Attack
Sailor Venus
Crescent BeamVenusstråle, AttackVenus Beam, Attack
Crescent Beam ShowerVenusstråle, DubbelattackVenus Beam, Double Attack
Venus Love-Me ChainVenus Kraftstråle, AttackVenus Power Beam, Attack
Sailor TeleportSailor TeleportSailor Teleport
Sailor Planet PowerSailorattackSailor Attack
Sailor Planet AttackSailorattackSailor Attack
Luna-P HengeHokus PokusHocus Pocus
Luna-P MagicHokus PokusHocus Pocus
* Fire Soul is called Eldsjäl, a direct translation of the original name, in spite of it being a common term in Swedish - a fire soul is an enthusiast; a person who puts lots of work into something s/he feels deeply committed to.

In addition to the above inconsistencies, many of the attacks would get different names for an episode or two. For example, Shine Aqua Illusion was called "Silver Water Spray" once, and once "Mercury Power Beam, Attack".  Venus Love-Me Chain was "Venus Attack" in one episode, and on three occasions (with several episodes inbetween) it became "Venus Power Sphere, Attack" in spite of looking nothing like a sphere.  But then, Burning Mandala doesn't exactly look like a bird either.
     These inconsistencies are, on the whole, the single biggest drawback with the Swedish dub translation. They are all the more notable since efforts have clearly been made to keep it consistent in other areas - for example, a character with a changed name may be absent for dozens of episodes, and then turn up again with the same changed name. My guess is the translator didn't think attack names were important enough to keep proper tabs on.
     The first edition of the comic book makes up its own versions: Fire Soul is "Fire, Attack" and Shabon Spray is "Mist Bubbles, Attack". Moon Tiara Action is "Moon Tiara, Attack" but morphed into "Moon Prism, Attack" (!) in a couple of issues.  The second edition uses names from the Swedish dub, though with a tendency for attack names from SMR to appear in first season stories - for example, "Silver Whirl Illusion" being used for Shabon Spray.

Rei's 'Akuryou Taisan' spell is translated more or less straight, but the Ku-Ji no In part is usually replaced with various incantations ("By the power of fire and ancient warriors..."). They would sometimes replace the whole thing with random syllables (bogus Japanese?) or a semi-articulated mumble - I guess the Swedish scripts for those episodes just said "magic words" or something.  The comic book uses the phrase "Sacred parchment, charge with the power of fire and release your energy!"

The translator really wrestled with the nickname Odango Atama, which turned out somewhat strange in a way that isn't all that easy to explain. It became Lilla Stumpan (literally "little stump-ee"); an expression commonly used about young girls that can express endearment or be demeaning depending on the circumstances. Either way, it indicates that Annie gets mad because Mamoru calls her a kid, not because he makes fun of her hair.
     A similar problem arose when the Black Moon villains refer to Chibi-Usa as 'Rabitu'; it simply became Lilltjejen ("the little girl") which pretty much erased the red herring that they might be looking for Annie.

Cultural references are usually kept, often with the word "Japanese" added somewhere. Specific Japanese terms will sometimes be handled with an explanatory choice of words; juku is called "evening school", bento are "lunch boxes", and so on.
     Luna's password at the Sailor V game became "the Moon Rabbit makes rice cakes", which is a fully reasonable translation. The comic book, however, interpreted tsuki no usagi differently, and made it "Annie eats a cookie on the moon". Ho hum...

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