Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 3 Manga Review

美少女戦士セーラームーン/Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 3
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 3

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*SPOILERS*

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 3This volume has the Sailor Moon group face and defeat Queen Beryl, before having to deal with the final boss, Queen Metalia.  Sailor Moon remembers more of her former life, and the tragic choice she was forced to make then regarding her love, Tuxedo Mask. Now, she is presented with the same choice and laments that fate has apparently chosen to force them to follow the same path again. Sailor Moon makes the same, tragic choice, but it doesn’t stop Metalia, forcing Sailor Venus and the others to try to revive Sailor Moon, as Metalia is growing stronger. They succeed at reaching Sailor Moon, at a price, but with the help of Tuxedo Mask, Metalia is defeated. Further, Sailor Moon receives a “power up” and revives her friends.

With the Dark Empire defeated, there’s no rest as a new, evil faction called the Black Moon are now after Sailor Moon and her Legendary Silver Crystal. Events start when a young girl, looking somewhat like Sailor Moon and even having the same name, “Usagi,” literally falls out of the sky, looking for the Legendary Silver Crystal.  “Usa-chan,” aka “Chibi-Usa,” worms her way into Sailor Moon’s home, but she has a cat toy that looks like Luna.  The Black Moon faction moves and manages to kidnap Sailor Mars.  The remaining four are shocked, then meander around thinking about rescuing Sailor Mars, before the Black Moon folks target Sailor Mercury and kidnap her.

Ugh.

As I read this volume, I kept wanting to just stop reading, or just skip ahead.  I know I’m not the target audience here, but the “tragic” story of Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask had zero impact on me. In fact, it seemed like an attempt by Takeuchi-sensei to force a sad, tragic event, but it doesn’t work.  This whole reincarnation thing may work better with Japanese audiences, but I just didn’t care about whom these kids were in their former life, nor did I care that in the modern world, Sailor Moon would be forced to kill the man she loved.  I’m supposed to care, but the elements aren’t there for me to care.

I suppose the girls who read this manga were all, “how romantic.”  I see the elements there of the Knight in Shining Armor and the Snow White meme, but the elements that would make me care are missing.  Those elements probably don’t need to exist for young girls.  Well, when my nieces are a little older (assuming their mom agrees), I’ll give them my Sailor Moon manga and see what they think.

Anyway, as expected, everything ends all lovely for the Dark Kingdom arc, but then we get this new arc and a new character who’s obviously tied to the Sailor Moon clan.  No doubt, this kid will be someone they all knew in their former lives, or worse.  Since her name is “Usagi,” maybe she’s from some alternate universe or something. *_*  Either way, her inclusion feels forced.

Next, this “Black Moon” arc gets things to the next level by having Sailor Mars kidnapped.  Then inexplicably, the others don’t seem all that concerned about the fact that a member of their team, and presumably one of their friends, has been taken from them.  No, life goes on with only a passing thought to rescuing Sailor Mars being given.  Then, Sailor Mercury gets nabbed and the manga ends.  So, does that mean that the remaining three will finally get serious, or will everyone be kidnapped until its just Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, where Chibi-Usa reveals some hidden power and helps save the day.  *_*

Ultimately, the problem I’m having with the Sailor Moon manga is that it doesn’t feel grounded.  It seems to flit from moment to moment, and while there is some ultimate goal to reach, the method of reaching it is as flighty as the characters are vapid.  I thought about this for a while, and I think that a big part of the problem is that Takeuchi-sensei’s art rarely shows where the characters are. Other manga I read allow the readers to get a feel for where the characters are physically.  Takeuchi-sensei doesn’t do that very much at all, especially during action moments, thus there is a chaotic feeling of events just happening.

So, there are characters I really don’t care about, situations that aren’t all that interesting, and action with no sense of location and spacial relationships.  As such, for me, it is a lot of chaos, meaningless shuffling around, as well a fair amount of eye-rolling angst.

On the Kodansha side of things, honorifics are being used, which I approve of.  Unfortunately, the brother/sister honorifics are scrapped in favor of things like “Big Bro,” which makes me cringe. I know that’s a minor thing, but it is what it is for me. There are some translator notes, which is cool, and some color pages at the beginning, which is cool too. Unfortunately, the internal, color manga pages aren’t there, and even if they weren’t in the Japanese tankoubons, I’d love to have them in the U.S. version.

I’ll keep struggling with this series, mainly because I want to continue my education.  Sailor Moon was massively popular in its day, and still is today based on sales in the U.S.  As such, I want to understand why.

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

  1. Anonymous says:

    “I’ll keep struggling with this series, mainly because I want to continue my education. Sailor Moon was massively popular in its day, and still is today based on sales in the U.S. As such, I want to understand why.”

    Well, I can’t tell you why it’s so poplar everywhere, but I can tell you why I personally love the series.
    Sailor Moon was the anime that got me into anime. THUS, is holds a special place in my heart. No other real reason.
    If I had picked up the series now, having had watched tons of anime and read tons of manga, I probably wouldn’t be very impressed. (like I’m seeing you aren’t)
    Also, back then (when Sailor Moon was on TV) there wasn’t a whole lot of selection in terms of anime/manga. A good percentage of the stuff brought over were normally shonen and rarely shoujo. Another plus for the series, I guess.

    Also, I believe Sailor Moon is the first shoujo manga to feature a magical girl TEAM, in the style of “power rangers” but aimed at girls.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Sailor Moon was the anime that got me into anime. THUS, is holds a special place in my heart. No other real reason.

      That’s a perfectly valid reason too. However, in Japan, the manga started first, specifically Sailor V. I’m just amazed that this spawned an anime franchise, and continued to have the manga extended.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, I know the manga came first and I actually like the manga more than the anime (the manga has way less filler), but my first exposure to Sailor Moon was the anime version.

  2. O-chan says:

    The whole thing about Sailor Moon’s popularity is that it stemmed from the anime which was the stronger presence back in the day. Now a lot of Sailor Moon fans say that the manga was better at telling the story and have more mature characters. But, as you stated, the manga runs through plotlines at a break neck pace. I think the anime and manga both have unique attributes where both sources could have used borrowed elements from the other. The anime I felt took more time with the characters, and while they are not as serious or as deep as the manga version they feel more accessible to the audience. This also stems from the anime versions of the characters are far more humorous and lighthearted, so when the anime gets more serious around key plot points and season finales it resonates with the watcher.

    OTOH, the manga incorporates more story elements that ensure characters aren’t shoved into the background. Between these three volumes and Sailor V, Sailor Venus, Artemis, Luna, Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask, and Usagi/Sailor Moon all have more active roles and development than their anime counterparts. The story also feels more intense and the steaks seem higher than they were in the anime (I mean, c’mon the anime would NEVER have combusted nun corpses just lying around let alone any civilian casualities).

    I do agree the random Senshi kidnappings is a little…random (a similar thing happened in the anime albeit in a much different manner).

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Well, I understand about the anime making folks in the U.S. fans, and making the franchise more popular in Japan. However, the Sailor V manga was seen as so awesome, a whole new manga was created, just so an anime could be created.

  3. Anonymous says:

    question, what is the difference between the manga Sailor Moon and the manga Pretty Guardian Sailor moon? i wanna start reading the managas but im not sure which one i should start with

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mm.. Sailor moon, reminds me of my childhood, of a happier time… The arc that I loved most the 3rd arc, the infinity arc, It has a lot of action and suspense, and mad scientists, psychopaths, a diabolical plan to destroy the world… I mean with that formula you can’t go wrong… LOL

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Hmmm. Unfortunately, budgetary concerns have forced me to suspend purchasing the Sailor Moon manga for now, so it will be a while before I get to read what happens. 🙁

  5. Anonymous says:

    it all seems very rushed, like the author didn’t took her time to develop a good story, the whole time you’re reading it, you’re like, this is good, but a very rushed. There’s poor character development, unlike the anime, where you can clearly see the personalities and lives of the girls. It’s not like … say…. Please save my earth , where you can see that the story doesn’t feel forced, and it has sense by the time you reach volume 21.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      At this point, I have zero enthusiasm for the series. It is a classic and highly spoken of, but Sailor Moon has been so unimpressive. I can’t imagine how this became so beloved.

    • Anonymous says:

      BTW, i’m the same anonymous, of june 1 and 9. But Even though of those weaknesses I still like it, and forever will. Also, I think it was the first manga where girls fought over bad guys, but it’s still good.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I can understand that. We all have things that we can tolerate and not. I guess it surprises me that a series like this got so popular, but then I say the same thing about Urusei Yatsura. ^_~

  6. The manga was indeed terrible. The pacing was ridiculous, and the characterization was pathetically thin. Especially in the villain department. Never have I come across a more bland collection of antagonists.

    I’m very much in the same boat as you. It’s poorly written, and hugely overrated by its fans.
    They like to try and dress it up as being more dark and mature. But the truth is, its not really that complex at all. In fact, its childishly simplistic.
    It was basically just a glorified self-insert fic. Usagi for example was based on Naoko, and Mamoru was her dream husband.
    Ultimately it’s main selling point was more ‘look at the pretty pictures’ and ‘sweet fairy tale romantic nonsense’ then pay attention to an otherwise hollow plot.

    As for the anime, even though it came out a bit later it was indeed largely more responsible for the popularity of the franchise, due to being a lot accessible and easier to get into. Toei took a gamble on it, but it paid off and became a runaway success.

    Sailor V basically peaked potential audiences interest. Like a promotional item.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I stopped reading the manga after the first story arc ended. I couldn’t take any more.

      As to the first anime, it is on my list of things to watch.

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