As much as I love the shows of the 90s, I’ll admit that not everything about them was perfect. While people like to look back at how great animation was in the 90s, we did have several stinkers. I think a good example of this was the localization of the cult classic Sailor Moon anime.
I liked this show in a “guilty pleasure” sort of way. Sailor Moon was an action show, and at the time I was all about those kinds of shows. I grew up on Arthur and The Knights of Justice, Power Rangers, and Spiderman: The Animated Series, so this seemed right up my alley.
What I got from this show wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The characters had all these American names, despite supposedly living in Japan. Not only that, but a ton of the darker elements were cut out of the broadcast. They turned a semi-dark and action-packed series into a rather toned back comedy aimed for kids, stripping away all that made it unique.
In all honesty, I’m not really a fan of the original Japanese versions of anime. If an English version exists, I’ll watch that instead. I don’t know if I could really suffer through the original English dub of Sailor Moon again, it was torture enough the first time! I mean, was “Sailor Moon Says” really a necessary addition to the show?
If I ever watch this series again, I’ll probably stick to the re-dub they did a few years back. That version sounds far more professional! If you thought the dub was bad, then you probably haven’t heard about something far: The Sailor Moon Thanksgiving Marathon. What is this marathon? Well, let me tell ya!
Around the mid-to-late 90s, DIC Entertainment was looking to cash-in on the Sailor Moon craze. Despite their dub being pretty awful, it was popular enough to garner a massive fan-base here in America. DIC wanted to create a live-action film based on Sailor Moon, despite American films based off anime usually doing bad in the box-office.
Of course, you can’t just rush into a live-action endeavor such as this. Budgeting for a film of this caliber would probably be expensive, so you’d have to test the waters first. That’s where this Thanksgiving marathon comes into play. In 1996, a weekend-long marathon of the first season of Sailor Moon was held. Normally, a marathon of something animated wouldn’t garner attention at all.
However, this special had a little something “unique” attached to it. Before the marathon and between commercials, we had live-action segments of an actress in a Sailor Moon costume. This actress was Tia Browsh, who actually regrets taking part in this terrible special. She was just a teenage actress looking for work at the time, and playing a live-action version of a popular animated character seemed like the big break she needed.
You can tell that she was certainly trying, despite the ludicrous role she was given. She was dressed as a character that was specifically designed for Japanese audiences, so the outfit she was given didn’t translate well to American television. The outfit itself was of very shoddy quality, especially those god awful hair-buns.
Despite this, Tia managed to do a fairly faithful recreation of Sailor Moon’s English voice. Unfortunately, her facial expressions weren’t as spot-on. She kept eyeing up the camera as if she was going to devour it, which would make sense considering the character she’s playing.
While Tia was definitely trying her hardest, she could not save this train-wreck. The awkwardly written dialogue, combined with the horrible outfit, and the bland backgrounds just made me want to vomit. I get the feeling that this would’ve worked better as a Halloween special, considering how much of a horror show these shorts turned out to be.
By the end of this travesty, DIC got their answer on if people would want to see a live-action Sailor Moon movie. The answer was what you’d expect: A big fat “no”. Few people enjoyed the live-action segments, and others wrote in with angry letters. Years later, Tia would apologize for the special. Honestly, I legitimately feel bad for her. It wasn’t her fault that these segments were terrible, she was just doing her job.
I can’t honestly hate these segments, especially due to the amount of effort Tia was putting in. As atrocious as they are, at least the acting was decent. Would I watch it again? Probably not. Still, I think these segments are worth watching, because they form such a perfect time capsule of Sailor Moon’s popularity in the 90s.
Sadly, Tia’s career never really got off the ground. According to IMDB, she was an assistant in the second Austin Powers film, and had a bit part in a low-budget film from the mid-2000s. Now, this page may be for a different Tia, which wouldn’t surprise me considering how they don’t mention Sailor Moon at all in the article.
Speaking of movies, we never did get that live-action Sailor Moon movie. It was probably for the best, considering how these little commercials between breaks didn’t go over well. As fun as it is seeing a live-action Sailor Moon answer questions, it just did not work well at all.
Now, what would the Sailor Moon movie have been about? I have no clue on that. Little information on it exists, beyond Tia saying that DIC was interested in doing it. I’ve read a few articles that mentioned it, but never what the plot would’ve been. Regardless, we eventually did get another Sailor Moon Adaptation: A Japanese television reboot. I’ll save the discussion on that for another day though. For now, I need a palette cleanser. Perhaps I’ll watch some Ronin Warriors…