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Manga Review: Sailor Moon Volume Two by Naoko Takeuchi

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Sailor Moon Volume Two is a manga with the story and art by Naoko Takeuchi. Kodansha Comics has the North American distribution rights for the manga, and their English adaptation was released in 2011. Sailor Moon is rated “T” for teens age 13 and up.

The main character of Sailor Moon is Usagi Tsukino, a clumsy 14-year-old crybaby girl. After meeting a mysterious black cat named Luna, Usagi discovers that she has been chosen as a guardian. Luna gives Usagi a brooch that has the ability to turn her into an alter ego named Sailor Moon. As a guardian, it’s Usagi’s responsibility to gather allies, defeat enemies, and discover the location of the Princess and the Legendary Silver Crystal.

In the first volume of the series, Usagi found three allies: Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, and Sailor Jupiter. Usagi also keeps encountering a high school boy named Mamoru, and as Sailor Moon, she keeps encountering the mysterious Tuxedo Mask. During the second volume, Usagi learns Tuxedo Mask’s true identity, as well as hidden information about their pasts. Usagi and her allies also find another ally, and they all learn the truth about their previous lives in the Moon Kingdom. They also learn about the evil group that is also searching for the Legendary Silver Crystal.

The art style and tropes that Takeuchi utilizes for the Sailor Moon series is very influenced by the style of 1970s shojo manga; this is especially evident in the facial design of Usagi/Sailor Moon, which bears a strong resemblance to Candice “Candy” White Ardlay from the Candy Candy manga series. I personally enjoy this kind of art style in manga, but it can potentially be jarring to younger readers who have more of a familiarity with the styles and tropes of modern shojo manga series.

One thing I noticed when I saw this volume is the fact that there isn’t any kind of “teaser text” printed on the outside cover on any pages in the front or back of the volume. All I can guess is that Kodansha is thinking that the main audience for the Sailor Moon reissues is made up of people already familiar with the property. Kodansha did include a three-page preview of the next preview; however, it has not been translated into English, so it can make the preview hard to follow.

However, I give Kodansha credit for the translation notes that are included at the back of the volume. William Flanagan, the translator for this manga volume, did a fantastic job of explaining the Japanese meanings of the Japanese concepts that appear in the volume, which would otherwise have held little or no familiarity with American audiences.

I have to admit that I wasn’t into Sailor Moon during the franchise’s heyday in America back in the 1990s; however, I have found the volumes I have read so far to be an interesting read. I would recommend this manga to readers who already have familiarity with Sailor Moon, as well as to manga readers who have an appreciation for shojo manga.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.