Twenty-three years after its original release, the RPG Sailor Moon: Another Story is finally available in English and localized for North America, thanks to a group of plucky fans who launched the localization project themselves.
Don’t hold your breath for a console release. This is a fanmade version, after all. But fans have made the North American version available for download as a ROM patch.
A heartwarming labor of love, the localization likely required tremendous knowledge of the nitty gritty details of the original game combined with immense technical programming skills from untrained fans coding a game from their living rooms. The fans even reprogrammed some bugs out of the original game.
Two decades since its release, the game was likely even more difficult to localize, requiring hordes of cultural knowledge from the time the game was first created.
The game was never fully released outside of Japan, but the new fanmade localization is actually the second English version of the game.
Although Sailor Moon: Another Story has already been translated to English once by fans who formed the ragtag Bishoujo Senshi Translations, this is the very first time the game has been re-translated and fully localized for a North American audience.
Confused? Well, localization isn’t just translating. It means reimagining a game for a specific audience by including cultural and technical knowledge about that group of players.
Where the Sailor Moon fans behind BST fell flat in 1999 with their mistranslations, made-up dialogue, flipped grammatical constructions and clunky, literal translations, fans of today have picked up the torch.
Basically, there’s a big difference between the straight translation and localized version, amounting to more than 400 translation changes.
For example, where a character says, “What do you want, Usagi? Get out of my room!” she now says, “Get outta my room!” The nuanced change better reflects a child’s colloquial sass.
Storytelling is all in the details, folks. It’s the magic we see when a die-hard fan digs up what was lost in translation by looking at each line of dialogue and asking themselves, “How would Sailor Mercury really say this if she were an American teenager?”
An RPG with turn-based combat, Sailor Moon: Another Story included all your beloved, fan-favorite characters from the Sailor Moon franchise when it originally launched in 1995 on the Super Famicom. While often referred to as the Japanese version of the SNES, the Famicom was actually released in other areas outside of Japan. Instead, it’s really just the original version of the SNES.
“Sailor Moon: Another Story” isn’t the first game to get a fanmade remake. “MOTHER2 Gigu Strikes Back,” once only released in Japan, was unofficially translated and released by fan volunteers.
With its new cleaned-up, culturally accurate version, Sailor Moon: Another Story may get another chance at crossing the pond to North America, a move it failed to make with the original 1999 fan translation.