by Naoko Takeuchi
Review may contain spoilers for Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
The first major story arc of the Sailor Moon series concludes in Volume 3, as Sailor Moon and her friends defend the Earth from the evil forces of the Dark Kingdom. As the terrible Queen Metalia’s corrupting influence spreads across the globe, the tragic end of Sailor Moon’s past life is revealed, and history threatens to repeat itself once more. But ultimately, good triumphs over evil and peace settles over Japan…until a feisty pink-haired girl falls out of the sky and points a gun at Usagi’s head, demanding she hand over the “Legendary Silver Crystal” – Sailor Moon’s power source!
A quick note on the beginning of the book: I am thrilled that Kodansha decided to preserve the color pages at the beginning of the volume. Most manga publishers can’t be bothered to do so because of the expense, but it really looks fantastic when they do it.
We finally get some character development for some of the minor characters as more is revealed about life in the Moon Kingdom. It’s often quite subtle, covered in the background of a panel or two, but little hints are given about the romance between not only Serenity and Endymion but many of the other characters, too – including the villainess Queen Beryl, who finally reveals why she would partner with an entity as evil as Queen Metalia. (Side note: How can both women be queen? I can’t believe I just now noticed that… Shouldn’t one be a princess or the other an empress, or something?)
In the second half of the book – after an extremely abrupt transition between the story arcs that is frankly jarring - we learn more about the parents of Rei and Ami, and begin to see why the girls were so isolated before Usagi came along and befriended them. Unfortunately, these revelations largely come about as the series settles into an episodic pattern that the reader knows will be repeated for Sailors Jupiter and Venus in the next volume.
As in every volume, however, it’s Usagi who shows the most growth as a person. After the defeat of Queen Metalia, Luna informs Usagi that she can now become the new Queen of the Moon Kingdom. Usagi smiles and reminds her cat that she can’t – she has to return home to her parents. She may be the reincarnation of Princess Serenity and the powerful warrior Sailor Moon, but first and foremost she’s Usagi Tsukino, an utterly ordinary fourteen-year-old klutz who wants to live with her Mommy and Daddy. It’s very sweet.
It’s been really fun re-reading this series as each new volume comes out. Although this translation can be quite clunky at times – a boy describes Usagi and her friends as “bearing a whiff of secrets”, for example – it’s still so much better than the old Tokyopop version!
3.5 out of 5 stars
To read more about Sailor Moon Vol. 3, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.