Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 1 Manga Review

美少女戦士セーラームーン/Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 1

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Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 1When I heard that  Kodansha Comics was going to republish the Sailor Moon manga series, I decided that I wanted to read this manga since it is such a popular franchise in Japan and has a cult following in America.  I started by reading the first volume of Codename Sailor V, which started the franchise, and wasn’t that impressed.  So it was with some trepidation that I started Sailor Moon. It is similar but a bit different from Codename Sailor V.  Is that a good or bad thing?

The manga starts with TSUKINO Usagi, a 14-year old junior high school girl who isn’t good at sports, isn’t good at school, but does like video games and hangs out at the same game center (arcade) that Minako from Sailor V hung out at, even playing the Sailor V video game and admiring Sailor V as a person.  Like Mina, Usagi comes upon a cat, whom she removes a couple of bandages from, which allows it to eventually speak. The cat, Luna, tells Usagi that she’s been chosen to be Sailor Moon. Her mission to find her princess as well as the Legendary Silver Crystal. Along the way, Usagi must gather allies and defeat the enemy whom are intent on finding the same crystal as well as enslaving Japan (and the world).

This first volume has Usagi find her first three allies — the very intelligent 14-year old Ami as Sailor Mercury; the powerful miko teenaged Rei as Sailor Mars; and the powerful, lightning-using, older teen girl Makoto as Sailor Jupiter. Naturally, finding each of these girls ends up being a breeze and their powers are activated thanks to the activities of the “dark” enemy and the girl’s attempts to end it.

While Mina as Sailor Venus was good at fighting and got into her gig rather easily, Usagi as Sailor Moon doesn’t have such an easy time. She has a lot of bravado when transforming, but when the fighting comes, she’s not very good at it and often cowers or cries.  As such, the mysterious male, Tuxedo Mask, who is on a mission himself to find the Legendary Silver Crystal, ends up saving her several times and forces her to focus to get the job done.  To be honest, I didn’t expect this to be Usagi’s nature after having read Sailor V, but I suppose this helps with the romantic element that Takeuchi-sensei has introduced into Sailor Moon.  As such, girls dreaming of a white knight get that with Tuxedo Mask.

Still, with Usagi being not a very strong person and somewhat airheaded (IMO), it seems odd that she’d be the one to lead a miko with her own brand of magic, a high-IQ girl, and someone who’s actually pretty strong physically.  While the story may not be really gripping me so far (long-legged, underage teen girls in high heels aren’t going to catch my eyes), I did like that Usagi had enough sense to realize her own limitations and have doubts about her being chosen to lead this “guardian” group.

The manga keeps name-dropping Sailor Venus, with mentions of her exploits and the video game. Since the Sailor V manga had Mina shown a castle that’s supposed to be hers, I suppose she could be the princess they are supposed to be looking for.  When Usagi questions whether Sailor V should be like them, Luna’s convenient lack of knowledge made me roll my eyes and go, “Whatever.”  Seriously, Luna is using the same HQ base that Artemis and Mina use, so how could Luna NOT know?  However, since the target of this manga is much younger than me (though with the way the girls are drawn, I’d say there are two audiences — shoujo and male otaku), I have to just swallow these convenient “I don’t know” moments and move on.

On the Kodansha side, we get some much-appreciated color pages at the start.  The usual translator notes are there, and the core Japanese honorifics are used.  A preview of the next volume, in Japanese, is also included.

I can’t say that I’m that impressed with the start of this franchise, but I’m told it becomes better and more interesting as time goes on.  Since I am curious to learn more, I will continue reading on.

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3 Responses to “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 1 Manga Review”

  1. Mr_ShiNi says:

    Ugh, Sailor Moon, I just could not stand this series. Though I haven’t read it my self, to see one of my beswt friends (male) do that stupid dance Serena does each time she transforms has just stopped me from even peeking inside this series.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Its hard to convey a dance like you describe in manga form, though it would be there in anime form.

  3. Mr_ShiNi says:

    Well it was the Anime version that hit my country first (that would explain my friend dancing) and that has scarred me for life, so bad I just get this shivers when I hear anything Sailor Moon related.

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