The Etymology of the Term "Sailor Scouts"

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Mar 8, 2012
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#1
Originally I thought the term "Sailor Scouts" was simply an allusion to the Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, a way of making the term still serve as a childhood cultural reference the way the original does (simply by way of the "Sailor") in Japan, since that reference doesn't quite carry over as children in North America don't wear sailor-style school uniforms, and, therefore, a more literal translation like "Sailor Soldier" wouldn't have quite the same feel/significance to a North American audience as it does to a Japanese one.

Some posters on here have suggested that the term may be more literal, as "scout" is a position in the Navy and thus it may be an extension of "Sailor."

After looking at some of my old North American Sailor Moon merchandise packaging, however, I've started to wonder if the term might have another origin.

Bearing in mind that the original dub was done in Canada and the merchandise was presumably produced up there as well, a lot (if not all) of the original dub era merch features text in both English and French. (Also recall that the producer of the show was a French woman, and there were probably other French/French-Canadian people involved in the series.) The French translation of "Sailor Scout" is "éclaireuse marine." Knowing that "éclair" is French for lightning or a flash, noticing this translated term for the first time sparked my curiosity. I looked up the word "éclaireur" (masculine form of the noun) and found that it comes from the verb "éclairer" which means not only "to scout" but also "to brighten; to light up." This made me think that maybe the term "Sailor Scout" is actually a bit of play on words, only one that's not obvious unless you think about it in French. After all, the Sailors represent the heavens. They light up the night sky like stars and brighten up the world. Could this pun be the real reasoning behind the term? Could the origin of the term "Sailor Scout" actually lie in its French translation?

Thoughts? Alternative theories? Proof that my idea is completely wrong? :P
 

Sabrblade

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#3
Yeah, I don't think they put that much meaningful thought into it. Though, reading your theory just sparked one of my own.

Aside from the theory of tying the sailor collars to the neckerchiefs worn by those in Scouting programs, the simplest explanation could be that the dubbers/networks/whoever simply wanted a more girl-friendly/child-safe term than "Soldier" or "Warrior" (as kinda demeaning towards female heroes as that sounds) and may have chose "Scout" for the following theoretical reason:

Power Rangers was airing on American television at the time. Those who sought to bring Sailor Moon over to the Western World may have noticed a similarity between Sailor Moon and Power Rangers, and thought to capitalize on that similarity by using a term similar to but different from "ranger" and which would be (for lack of a better term) "appropriate" for girl heroes. "Scout" in a way fits the bill in that regard as, while there is no official connection between Scouting organizations and park ranger organizations, the two have a long friendly history of working together for various activities like service projects and camping events, and the common public tends to think of park rangers and scouts as very similar in general, right down to the commonilities of their uniforms.

Not saying that this is definitely the case, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if the then-rising popularity of Power Rangers and its use of the word "ranger" as a superhero term influenced the use of the term "scout" as the superhero term for the DiC version of Sailor Moon.
 
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WeirdRaptor

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#5
Sabrblade said:
Yeah, I don't think they put that much meaningful thought into it. Though, reading your theory just sparked one of my own.

Aside from the theory of tying the sailor collars to the neckerchiefs worn by those in Scouting programs, the simplest explanation could be that the dubbers/networks/whoever simply wanted a more girl-friendly/child-safe term than "Soldier" or "Warrior" (as kinda demeaning towards female heroes as that sounds) and may have chose "Scout" for the following theoretical reason:

Power Rangers was airing on American television at the time. Those who sought to bring Sailor Moon over to the Western World may have noticed a similarity between Sailor Moon and Power Rangers, and thought to capitalize on that similarity by using a term similar to but different from "ranger" and which would be (for lack of a better term) "appropriate" for girl heroes. "Scout" in a way fits the bill in that regard as, while there is no official connection between Scouting organizations and park ranger organizations, the two have a long friendly history of working together for various activities like service projects and camping events, and the common public tends to think of park rangers and scouts as very similar in general, right down to the commonilities of their uniforms.

Not saying that this is definitely the case, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if then-rising popularity of Power Rangers and its use of the word "ranger" as a superhero term influenced the use of the term "scout" as the superhero term for the DiC version of Sailor Moon.
I think they called them Sailor Scouts because "Warrior/Soldier" would sound too scary, at least in the demented minds of the Media Watchdogs.
 
Mar 8, 2012
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#6
I don't really buy that since in the first episode Tuxedo Mask tells Sailor Moon to "find the warrior within" and Molly tells the girls at school the next day that she had a strange dream in which "a beautiful warrior named Sailor Moon" saved her and her mom from a monster. So they don't seem to have necessarily been averse to referring to the Sailors as "warriors" when describing them generally. They probably just thought "Sailor Warrior" didn't sound nice (and perhaps felt the same way about "Sailor Soldier," at least until they dubbed the end of R?).
 
Sep 14, 2017
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#7
Your theory is interesting and I never thought of it that way! Personally I just think they picked 'Scout' to make it sound less severe and more cutesy. Maybe it's because I watched the dub as a child (and the sub as an adult), but the Dic dub always felt more 'childish' and downplayed to me- this is especially noticeable in the merchandise, like the little blurb on the side of the doll boxes.
 

WeirdRaptor

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#8
MementoNepenthe said:
I don't really buy that since in the first episode Tuxedo Mask tells Sailor Moon to "find the warrior within" and Molly tells the girls at school the next day that she had a strange dream in which "a beautiful warrior named Sailor Moon" saved her and her mom from a monster. So they don't seem to have necessarily been averse to referring to the Sailors as "warriors" when describing them generally. They probably just thought "Sailor Warrior" didn't sound nice (and perhaps felt the same way about "Sailor Soldier," at least until they dubbed the end of R?).
It was the 90s. Nothing about how they sanitized children's programming made sense. On Spider-man: The Animated Series, Spidey wasn't even allowed to punch people. Meanwhile, other at Batman: The Animated Series...
 

Sabrblade

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#9
WeirdRaptor said:
MementoNepenthe said:
I don't really buy that since in the first episode Tuxedo Mask tells Sailor Moon to "find the warrior within" and Molly tells the girls at school the next day that she had a strange dream in which "a beautiful warrior named Sailor Moon" saved her and her mom from a monster. So they don't seem to have necessarily been averse to referring to the Sailors as "warriors" when describing them generally. They probably just thought "Sailor Warrior" didn't sound nice (and perhaps felt the same way about "Sailor Soldier," at least until they dubbed the end of R?).
It was the 90s. Nothing about how they sanitized children's programming made sense. On Spider-man: The Animated Series, Spidey wasn't even allowed to punch people. Meanwhile, other at Batman: The Animated Series...
Batman was why Spider-Man was censored by FOX so much.
 

WeirdRaptor

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Dec 18, 2011
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#10
Sabrblade said:
WeirdRaptor said:
MementoNepenthe said:
I don't really buy that since in the first episode Tuxedo Mask tells Sailor Moon to "find the warrior within" and Molly tells the girls at school the next day that she had a strange dream in which "a beautiful warrior named Sailor Moon" saved her and her mom from a monster. So they don't seem to have necessarily been averse to referring to the Sailors as "warriors" when describing them generally. They probably just thought "Sailor Warrior" didn't sound nice (and perhaps felt the same way about "Sailor Soldier," at least until they dubbed the end of R?).
It was the 90s. Nothing about how they sanitized children's programming made sense. On Spider-man: The Animated Series, Spidey wasn't even allowed to punch people. Meanwhile, other at Batman: The Animated Series...
Batman was why Spider-Man was censored by FOX so much.
That kind of proves my point.
 
Sep 6, 2014
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#11
^If DiC and or BS&P had any issue with the terms Warrior they wouldn't have used it period. They did. They referred to them as Scouts because they probably just liked the sound of the word better.

Memento's comment doesn't prove your point in the slightest.

The heavy restrictions placed on Spider-man TAS was in response to the media watchdog backlash of Batman TAS and Power Rangers. From a business perspective the heavier sanitizing of Spider-man DID make sense. Some countries banned Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for being too violent (and in response the show toned down the violence significantly and other Saban toku shows were waaaay more slapsticky with the violence). So Fox Kids made sure Spider-man was more "media watchgroup" friendly. If you're trying to make a profit you don't want to have a show getting banned in certain countries or having parents ban their kids from watching for being too violent.

There's a reason why Spider-man was sanitized compared to Batman: TAS and it wasn't because the network randomly felt like it.



MementoNepenthe said:
I don't really buy that since in the first episode Tuxedo Mask tells Sailor Moon to "find the warrior within" and Molly tells the girls at school the next day that she had a strange dream in which "a beautiful warrior named Sailor Moon" saved her and her mom from a monster. So they don't seem to have necessarily been averse to referring to the Sailors as "warriors" when describing them generally. They probably just thought "Sailor Warrior" didn't sound nice (and perhaps felt the same way about "Sailor Soldier," at least until they dubbed the end of R?).

Thank you. No DiC wasn't afraid of the words Warrior or Soldiers. As you said they referred to them as warriors in multiple occasions as a description.
 
Mar 8, 2012
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#12
Reviving this thread to make a semi-on-topic observation:

For the most part, the choice of names the dub gave the characters is easy to understand: Ami > Amy, Rei > Raye, Minako > Mina, Serenity (Usagi) > Serena. "Darien" came from the ToonMaker project. "Melvin" is a typically dweeby-sounding name, etc. But then some choices were a bit more arcane, like Makoto > Lita. (Some have suggested that "Lita" comes from "Leda," one of Zeus/Jupiter's lovers, but that seems a little iffy to me.)

This brings me to the names given to the Twisted Sisters (as the Ayakashi Sisters were usually called):
Koan > Katzi --- Easy to understand: both start with the letter 'k,' and her hair resembles cat ears.
Berthier > Berti --- Easy to understand: just an abbreviation of her original name.
Calaveras > Avery --- East to understand: again, it's basically just an abbreviated version of her original name.
Petz > Prisma/Prizma --- A little more arcane. They both start with 'p,' and if you go with the 'Prizma' spelling, they both have a 'z,' but otherwise "Pris/zma" seems like a peculiar choice. There's nothing prismatic about Petz's appearance, and with "prism" being part of Moon's original transformation phrase, it feels especially odd to turn that into an antagonist's name.

This brings me to volume 4 of the manga (tankoban version).

At the end of that volume, we get a brief message from Umino explaining that mystery circles are really just clouds of ionized air called "plasma." A little fun fact for readers.

Unfortunately, when Glenat translated volume 4 into French, they mistranslated "plasma" as "prisma."

The French translation of volume 4 was released in 1995, probably when the dub was still in the early stages of production.
We know that the producer of the dub, Nicole Thuault, was French, and as the dub was produced in Canada, there were probably other French speakers involved.
Tracey Moore (Serena #1) has said at conventions that she referred to the manga during the episodes she directed. Assuming she didn't misspeak and that that's not a false memory, it doubtlessly would have been the French manga she was using.

Is it possible then that, while searching for a new name for Petz, the people working on the dub consulted the manga for inspiration, flipped through volume 4, and thought, "Hey, 'Prisma' sounds pretty cool, and it relates to the whole UFO element of this arc!"?
 
Sep 6, 2014
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#15
its a stupid term that was likely used for censorship reasons
They referred to them as warriors (which is a valid translation of Senshi more so than “Guardians” and is what ADV went with) all the time. Including the very first episode! (Twice!) So no it was not for censorship reasons. It was probably to sound more girly though.