Sailor Moon in Sweden: Translations
"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
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.
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
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
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
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
|Moon Tiara Action||Måntiara, Attack||Moon Tiara, Attack
|Moon Tiara Stardust||Måntiarans Stjärnstoff||Moon Tiara Stardust
|Moon Healing Escalation||Månläkning, Verkställ||Moon Healing, Commence
|Moon Princess Halation||Prinsessläkning, Verkställ||Princess Healing, Commence
|Sailor Moon Kick||Sailor Moon, Attack||Sailor Moon, Attack
|Sailor Body Attack||Sailor Mega-Attack||Sailor Mega Attack
Silver Bubble Spray
|Shabon Spray Freezing||Silverbubbelspray||Silver Bubble Spray
|Double Shabon Spray|
|Silverbubbelspray||Silver Bubble Spray
|Shine Aqua Illusion||Silvervirvelillusion||Silver Whirl Illusion
|Fire Soul||Eldsjäl||Fire Soul*
|Fire Soul Bird||Eld- och Solfågel||Fire and Soul Bird
|Burning Mandala||Eld- och Solfågel||Fire and Soul Bird
|Supreme Thunder||Blixt och Dunder||Thunder and Lightning
|Supreme Thunder Dragon||Blixt och Dunder Orkan||Thunder and Lightning Hurricane
|Sparkling Wide Pressure||Jupiter Kraftstråle, Attack|
Jupiter Kraftsfär, Attack
|Jupiter Power Beam, Attack
Jupiter Power Sphere, Attack
|Crescent Beam||Venusstråle, Attack||Venus Beam, Attack
|Crescent Beam Shower||Venusstråle, Dubbelattack||Venus Beam, Double Attack
|Venus Love-Me Chain||Venus Kraftstråle, Attack||Venus Power Beam, Attack
|Sailor Teleport||Sailor Teleport||Sailor Teleport
|Sailor Planet Power||Sailorattack||Sailor Attack
|Sailor Planet Attack||Sailorattack||Sailor Attack
|Luna-P Henge||Hokus Pokus||Hocus Pocus
|Luna-P Magic||Hokus Pokus||Hocus 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
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
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...