A Week of Manga News: Special Sailor Moon Edition

This week’s news was dominated by pretty soldiers in sailor suits. The first volumes of Sailor Moon and Codename Sailor V have been out in bookstores for two weeks now, and they are just showing up in comics shops this week. The first two volumes of Sailor Moon were the top two manga in terms of online sales last week, according to Matt Blind’s analysis, with Codename Sailor V just behind them at number 4. I reviewed Codename Sailor V earlier this month, but with all the buzz, I thought I would devote this week’s news roundup to what everyone else is saying. Wintermuted’s Why the World Needs Sailor Moon, which I linked to last week, is a good starting point. And don’t miss the latest Manga Out Loud podcast, which features a discussion of Sailor Moon by Ed Sizemore, Johanna Draper Carlson, Emily Snodgrass, and Erica Friedman.

Sailor Moon

Usagi doesn’t come from a broken home, she doesn’t have any psychic abilities, and she isn’t an outcast. All of these things make her different from the usual run of super-powered teenagers in manga, including several of the other pretty guardians and romantic interest Tuxedo Mask, and establish her as a girl that readers can relate to. This is especially important when we consider that the story was originally targeted at middle school girls, a particularly difficult time of life for most people. Usagi’s ability to overcome her fears even in this first volume send a strong message.

Rebecca Silverman at Anime News Network

The battles and team building in Sailor Moon seem to owe a lot to shonen manga, but being as girly as it is the battles involve costume changes and awesome battle cries instead of violence. While it might be pretty silly for girls to don sailor suits to fight evil, there’s a certain exuberant girl power vibe about the scenes when Sailor Moon and her allies line up to announce that their enemies are about to be punished. I do not know how it is possible not to love a manga that features a girl yelling “You will refrain from underestimating women! And with Mars Power, you will burn! These high-heeled legs will deliver your punishment!”

Anna at Manga Report

I had forgotten how fast things move in the manga. Most of Western fandom is more familiar with the anime plotlines and pacing, where it’s a good 8 episodes before we even meet Ami. Here we’ve already got 4 of the 5 main senshi before the book is out, and the entirety of the first ‘arc’ will be finished by Volume 3. This is a pacey series, which does not have patience for long protracted battles the way shonen manga does. Sailor Moon’s battles are fairly perfunctory and noticeably lacking in awesome moves. How the villains die is not quite the issue here. However, this does allow the main plotline to become relevant, and there are no monsters of the week.

Sean Gaffney at A Case Suitable for Treatment

Sure, the bad guys might’ve succeeded if they’d focused on more than one plot at a time, so the Sailor Senshi wouldn’t always (somehow) stumble upon their plans to drain human energy, but it made the experience more enjoyable. The formulatic premise also helped cement the popularity of the francise. While people might’ve looked down on the monster-of-the-week formula, it also helped make it easier to jump into any episode without really missing anything. If you look at a lot of the early S-hero comics, you’ll notice a lot of repetition at the beginning. The Hulk was always getting angry and crying “HULK SMASH!!!”

Daniel BT, comparing Sailor Moon to superheroes at Sunday Comics Debt

Codename Sailor V

Sailor V is a short manga that was published over six years and due to this it feels extremely episodic. Every chapter Sailor V reintroduces herself to the reader and catches them up with the fact that she has the power to transform. This gets tired fast when you have a Tankobon with half of the series collected. A cohesive narrative doesn’t seem to exist even though V is battling the same evil organization throughout, but the reader is never treated to information about what this organization is or knowledge of their goals. They act as a blank stand in so V has an antagonist to face.

Scott Spaziani at Otaku in Review

Codename: Sailor V is a really interesting story to come back to after having experienced Minako first as Sailor Venus. Seeing her acting so carefree in the early days of battling the dark forces says a lot to the evolution she makes as a character over her years in the Sailor Senshi universe. While I can’t wait to get to those parts, I had a good time enjoying these more light-hearted days of winning trips to Hawaii, beating cranky nerds at video games and beating up a series of soul-sucking pop-idols. The Sailor Moon character cameos were icing on the cake for a book offering me a new angle on an old character and plenty of fun while doing it.

Lissa Pattillo at Kuriousity

Likewise, one of the highlights of each chapter is seeing Minako use her disguise pen to change into a different outfit, complete with pose – note how they’re timed to match the page turn, students of manga art! Usagi did this at the start of Sailor Moon as well, but it gets dropped once the manga gets more serious. My personal favorite when when she turned herself into a male teen idol – and seemed pretty much fine with it.

Sean Gaffney at A Case Suitable for Treatment