2 min

Sailor Moon’s pals go straight

Canadian version of kids show dumps lesbian lovers

SAILORS NEPTUNE AND URANUS. Do you believe they're just cousins? Credit: Xtra files

North American censors have edited out the lesbians in the cartoon kids show Sailor Moon.

“It is all being done in accordance to the rules of the CRTC,” says Nicole Thuault, who works for Optimum Productions, the Canadian company in charge of the English version of the show.

Sailor Moon, originally a Japanese cartoon that aired for five seasons, features an all female team of heroes called “sailor scouts.”

They wear short skirts and attend private schools.

In the third season of the original Japanese storyline, the lesbian scouts, Uranus and Neptune, are introduced. In the English version, their relationship has been altered to cousins.

Thuault claims that if she had her way, she would keep the original Japanese concepts, but the company’s aim is to make a product that is suitable for children.

Thuault is very guarded about important details like key clients, but does blame the Canadian Radio-television And Telecommunications Commission for the censorship.

A CRTC media spokesperson is puzzled. “We have no specific codes or rules that say it is inappropriate to air gay and lesbian content on a children’s show.” She refused to allow her name to be used for this story.

A typical Japanese episode runs for 24 minutes, but with all the cuts, the English versions are a full two minutes shorter.

Thuault is having a headache dealing with the changes. “You see them holding hands on the screen, you see their faces coming close together. It’s right on the picture and yet, they are cousins!”

Other changes have been made to Sailor Moon episodes.

The male baddie, Zoicite, lost his penis and became a female character in the English version due to the networks’ fear of airing his relationship with the (also male) character Malachite, according to Thuault.

Fan reaction on an Internet site has been negative. “It worked well with Zoicite, because he looked like a girl,” says one fan. “But what they are doing to Uranus and Neptune is completely unforgivable.”

The Japanese version even subtly portrays lesbian parenting. Uranus and Neptune help raise a young Saturn. (Saturn does not grow up to become a lesbian, although she once tries to annihilate the universe.)

Gay themes pop up again in the fourth season, where a character named FishEye is a drag queen. When asked what the impending changes are, Thuault refuses to comment.

One thing North American fans won’t be seeing is the fifth season. Those episodes feature the Sailor Starlights, a group of gender hopping scouts. Starfighter, the female leader, even develops a very questionnable relationship with Sailor Moon.

Sailor Moon can be seen on YTV. The third season begins airing this fall.

But no one at YTV returned calls to discuss the issue.