Mangaka: Naoko Takeuchi
Genre: Mahou Shoujo/Action/Fantasy/Comedy/Romance
Review Status: Incomplete (3 Volumes/ 12 Volumes) *publishing note- it was originally 18 volumes, but Kodansha is condensing it into 12 volumes
Licensed: Formerly licensed by Tokyopop, currently licensed and published by Kodansha.
Art: This looks pretty good- it’s a solid style from the early 90′s, and evolves a bit as you keep reading to a more mordern look. This shouldn’t be any surprise considering the years over which it was published.
Summary: Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other people destined to be senshi, and together, they fight the forces of evil. (ANN.com)
Review: Sailor Moon is a landmark title in shoujo manga – it gave magical girls something to fight for and do with their powers other than play around and have fun. I admit it- I have a lot of nostalgia for this series. I would run home from Jr. High to watch the anime, probably missing the first few minutes, but always excited about it. Reading the manga is a real treat in many ways, cutting out a lot of the filler that would bore me to tears now. However, this does come with a downside- it goes straight for the plot with no breathing room to develop the characters that I know and love. If I weren’t familiar with the anime, I would find it very difficult to make an emotional connection with the Sailor Scouts. It’s a real shame, because they all have great personalities and backstories that don’t get a chance to shine, and the deveopment of their friendship seems… well, rushed and lackluster. The enemies fall into the same issue. They had personalities and alliances and relationships in the anime. Not so much here, but even though they’re given an interesting backstory and part to play in all this, it’s glossed over with abandon.
For all that, the story is still very solid and very likeable. The senshi are bright personalities (what you get to see of them, at least), and the plot is simple and straightforward. The first three volumes manage to cover the first arc with finding the Legendary Silver Crystal, what led to the destruction of the Kingdom of the Moon. It’s all about the Sailor Scouts dealing with the past and figuring out who they are. The Big Bad is defeated, but not everything is guaranteed to be okay. By the end of the third volume, it’s moved onto the second arc dealing with the future of the Earth and a new threat to its safety. In a lot of ways, it’s like Back to the Future, if you were dealing with someone who encountered Marty while he was doing his little adventures.
This is a pretty solid series, and I have to say that for all my misgivings, I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it.
Overall, it’s a fun ride down nostalgia lane. I’m severely tempted to pick up the anime once more just to fill out the relationships that are there, but I’ll live.
Recommended: 10+. Bad guys disappear in flashes of light or look like mummies (which if they’ve been to a natural history museum, won’t be a big deal). The worst content is that the Prince was killed and the Princess committed suicide (you’re shown an outline, but there’s no gore or any real violence shown). If they know the stroy of Romeo and Juliet, this shouldn’t present any real issues for younger readers.
Other titles you might enjoy:
Codename: Sailor V (manga)
Sailor Moon (anime)
Please Save My Earth (manga)
Magic Knight Rayearth (manga)
Pretty Cure (anime)
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (anime)