“The Secret Code” – Codename: Sailor V (manga) – 8/10 Pencils

Mangaka: Naoko Takeuchi

Genre: Mahou Shoujo/ Shoujo/Action/Comedy/Romance

Review Status: Complete (2 Volumes/2 Volumes)

Licensed: Yes, this manga is licensed by Kodansha in the US.

Art: It’s a little rough around the edges, with Artemis’ design looking stranger than not, but still very lovely and detailed with the character designs.

Summary: Like Sailor Moon, Minako Aino is a normal 13-year-old schoolgirl until a fateful day when a white cat introduces himself to her and tells her she has the power to transform into the hero, Sailor V. Using a magic pen to transform, Sailor V fights the evil agents of the Dark Agency as she strives to protect the earth. (Randomhouse.com)

Review: The prequel to the Sailor Moon series, Codename: Sailor V introduces Sailor Venus, the first Sailor Scout to realize who she was and why she was fighting. Chronologically, this makes sense, and it’s fascinating to see the exploits of one of the Sailor Scouts before she joins up with the others. Having the focus on a different girl gives an interesting perspective to the ‘start’ of the entire fight against the Dark Agency, with a lower level of baddies and some hilarious ways to try and get energy from humans. I was more often than not amused by their antics as they tried (and were foiled) by Sailor V.

There were numerous interesting plans, from getting them to adore idols, to fattening them up and then draining them. Some plans were rather ingenious, if silly, and it was amusing to see how they were carried off and how Sailor V nearly got caught in them herself–she’s almost as much of a selfish ditz as Usagi is! She and Artemis have a great dynamic going. She’s harder on him than Usagi is with Luna, and more often than not Artemis ends up the one feeling down about Minako’s comments and threats. Minako is punished for some of her shenanigans and behaviour, and it’s interesting to see their dynamic change when that happens. They are a bit abrasive with each other, but always know when to set aside the drama and work together.

The brief glimpses and foreshadowing for the rest of the series is pretty neat, and I definitely looked forward to seeing hints of who she would be meeting in any given chapter. She also got a love interest to boot! It’s a shame that some of these things do not come back in the later series, because it would have been a lot of fun to see these play out. Even so, the idea that they have a life outside of the Scouts is nice.

Overall, while there isn’t much meat to the story, and it’s fairly fluff-filled, this is a good intro to the Sailor Moon series.

Recommended: 8+. There’s the typical monsters disintegrating or disappearing into dust, and there’s nothing particularly objectionable about any of the stories.

Other Titles You Might Enjoy:

Sailor Moon (anime or manga)

Wedding Peach (anime)

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