by Naoko Takeuchi
The first volume of Sailor Moon was reviewed here. This review may contain spoilers for the first book in the series.
At the end of the first book, Sailor Moon had managed to find three other planetary warriors: Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, and Sailor Jupiter. Now, the team is completed when the fifth and final member, Sailor Venus, appears during a fight. The new girl announces that she is the mysterious princess that Sailor Moon has been searching for, but Sailor Venus isn't the only one revealing a hidden identity...Sailor Moon has accidentally revealed her 'regular' self to Tuxedo Mask, her sometimes-savior, sometimes-enemy. Usagi has developed a pretty serious crush on Mamoru, Tuxedo Mask's alter-ego, so when his intervention in a battle leads to serious injury she freaks out, and sets off a chain of events that reveals the secrets of the Moon Kingdom and why the Sailors exist.
(Note: So, in the American TV series, the girls were referred to as 'Sailor Scouts', but as far as I know that term was never used in Japan. It hasn't appeared in the new manga translation, so I'm trying to remember not to use it, but if I slip up at some point here or in a future review, please forgive the inconsistency.)
Story-wise, I thought that this was a lot of fun. It's a very fast-paced series; I think it took something like forty half-hour episodes to cover the plot of the first two books of Sailor Moon. As a result, the characterization of some of the minor characters is thin or nonexistent. Mars, Mercury and Jupiter average about one line in each chapter, and we haven't really learned anything new about them since their characters' debut. The focus is really on Usagi and her transforming identity; as she learns about these many aspects of herself (Usagi the schoolgirl, Sailor Moon the Warrior, the Moon Princess, etc) she struggles to figure out which guise is the 'real' her. Isn't that a major part of being a teenager and growing up? I thought it was very realistic, so I hope that the other characters are given a chance to enjoy similar development as the series progresses.
4 out of 5 stars
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