by Naoko Takeuchi
To see reviews of the previous books in the Sailor Moon series, click here. This review does contain spoilers for previous volumes.
The Dead Moon Circus has come to Tokyo, and they are targeting each of Sailor Moon's friends individually. One by one, they isolate a Sailor warrior and feed on the doubts in her heart, turning her against Sailor Moon and the lifelong duty to protect her. Weakened by their inability to transform into their superpowered state, Ami, Rei, Minako and Makoto struggle to fight off the darkness that threatens to overwhelm them. They aren't the only ones in trouble. Mamoru has mysterious black shadows in his lungs and he is starting to cough up blood. Chibi-Usa continues to be contacted by the pegasus Helios, but he is rapidly losing power. As the darkness of the Dead Moon Circus spreads throughout the city, a beautiful queen named Nehelenia may be the greatest threat the Earth has yet faced.
My favorite thing about this volume? We finally spend some quality time with the secondary cast, away from the Moon Family. For the first time, readers are introduced to the childhoods of Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus, and their future goals and dreams are explored in greater depth. I wonder if they are achievable, however – for example, Makoto and Minako dream of love and boyfriends, but their duty and devotion to Usagi seems to preclude any long-term romance. While this doesn't yet seem to bother Ami and Rei – heck, Rei could very well be a lesbian with no interest in men whatsoever – but I think these four women are cursed to never realize these dreams, and I find it tragic. Why should Usagi have all the fun? But that's destiny, I suppose.
In one of the last chapters in this book, Takeuchi returns to the “outer” planets, and readers find out what Sailors Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn have been up to while the Dead Moon Circus has plagued the others. Here, too, it was nice to have a little character development and see just what these folks are up to when they aren't running around in short skirts fighting evil. But by the final pages, events have been set in motion that will surely lead to big fat happy reunion of all ten warriors, which promises that Vol. 10 should be epic.
4 out of 5 stars
To read more about Sailor Moon Vol. 9, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Sailor Moon Vol. 2 by Naoko Takeuchi
2011: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
2010: Stella Mutatina's Moving Giveaway
2009: Fool by Christopher Moore (Guest Post)