Sailor Moon 3

May 9, 2012

Naoko Takeuchi – Kodansha USA – 2011 – 14 volumes

You know, every volume of this I read I grow a little fonder of it. I can’t help it. It’s Sailor Moon. I still think it has some problems, but it is addictive. Also, it’s hard to hate on this volume, which starts with a big double-page color map of every single character in the first story arc. So cool!

Also cool: the ending to the first story arc. I’m always a little puzzled by the action scenes in Sailor Moon, as it’s not always super-clear what’s going on. This is a good example. It took me a minute to realize that Sailor Moon was murder-suiciding Tuxedo Mask. And… yeah. It’s a shoujo manga, and the power of love and strength of heart and blah blah blah undoes all of it, but that it happens at all is pretty fantastic. That’s a fairly dark place for any shoujo manga to go.

The… menace that Queen Metalia poses is also a little ambiguous. She… overtakes the Earth for a minute… with a black aura. That affects the weather. What she’s doing, exactly, I’m not sure. It’s bad, though, and with Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask out of the picture, the four other guardians have to save Sailor Moon and somehow resurrect the Silver Crystal. You know where this is going. I’m vaguely dissatisfied with this, because it is a little too long, and a little too abstract for my taste. The other Sailor Guardians are merely powering up until the Silver Crystal works. And then everything is okay. The sense of scale is nice, but the fight is… almost nonexistent. It’s still kinda cool, and I do like it as a finale, but… I don’t know. Maybe I’m just getting down on it unnecessarily.

So then! The Dark Moon story arc starts in this volume. The Guardians start disappearing, and small ladies appear in their place. I’ve always liked the random introduction of Chibi-Usa, who appears from nowhere and is taken in and accepted by all, despite the fact she threatened Usagi with a gun first thing. Only Usagi doesn’t like her. I never really cared for her either, but she does play an interesting part in the upcoming story.

These chapters are all one-shots in which the Guardians disappear one by one, and I liked these stories much better than the one-shots in the first story arc. Perhaps because I care about the characters now, but also because the victims here are those characters, and they don’t come back at the end of the story. It’s a bit depressing, but it makes for a good story. I also like the Dark Moon bad guys. They’re still fairly faceless (Berthier is good at chess!), but somehow, I like them better this time around.

Meh. I’m still being pretty mean to this series. I do like it now, at least, and I’m probably being overly critical and unfair. I’ll probably stop within the next few volumes, because then I’ll be distracted by Sailor Pluto. She’s my favorite.

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