by Naoko Takeuchi
To see reviews of previous books in the Sailor Moon series, click here.
This review contains spoilers for the previous volumes in the series.
Mamoru is moving to the United States for a year, and Chibi-Usa is returning to her parents in the future. Usagi can’t help but feel lonely, but at least life is normal again. But normal never lasts for long in Tokyo, does it? First, a girl calling herself Sailor Iron Mouse attacks a pop concert, demanding “sailor crystals”. She is quickly defeated by a trio of women clad in leather bikinis, but others follow and manage to kill several Sailor Guardians. Sailor Moon is determined to get her friends back, but until she figures out the identities of these strange “Star Warriors” and the leader of the enemy, she can’t move forward. And who is this new pink-haired child living claiming to be Usagi’s little sister?
I know that some people are very fond of the Sailor Stars story arc, but while there are elements of it that I like I think the series jumps the shark when this kicks off. The story is as complex as ever, but it is infinitely weirder. The most obvious oddity is the Sailor Starlights, who masquerade as male pop stars but transform into bikini-clad women. I can’t remember if they’re anatomically male or carefully disguised women while in their “human” form – one of the villains, Sailor Tin Nyanko, suggests they only “dress up and act like boys” but unless it’s stated in the next book, Takeuchi left it ambiguous (as she is wont to do). Sailor Star Maker wins the prize for the most bizarrely named power in any comic book franchise when she attacks the enemy while shouting “Star Gentle Uterus”. I have no idea what “Star Gentle Uterus” does, but if someone was running at me while yelling about their reproductive organs I’d be so confused her partner could easily hit me with something else. Chibi-Usa, Usagi’s daughter from the future, is sent back to the 30th century, so all seems well and good…but then she is replaced with a tinier, cuter mini-Moon child called Chibi-Chibi, and all I can say is, Why??? Was one sugary sweet character not enough? If we must have this story element, just keep Chibi-Usa around!
Random aside: Is Chibi-Usa from the future or an alternate universe? In a scene where future Sailor Pluto talks to Neo Queen Serenity, she’s wearing her “super” Sailor uniform – but a few pages later, the present’s Pluto wears her “eternal” Sailor uniform, which was the upgrade of the super version. She also notes that there is a disturbance in “space-time”, not “in the past”. Combining this with the fact that the future Guardians never seem to remember events from the 20th century really makes me think it’s not the future that Chibi-Usa comes from…
I also find it interesting that in this book Rei and Minako both confess that they no longer look for love. Minako’s obsession with boys and pop stars is, it seems, just an act. There’s a definitely Sapphic subtext to the declaration, as Minako coolly informs Seiya and his brothers that she’s devoted her life to her “one and only” while Rei adds they have “no need for menfolk”. I’m curious what the root of this attitude is. Are they lesbians? That seems too obvious. Are they simply too focused on their work defending the planet to worry about relationships? If so, do they turn their back on relationships because their Moon Kingdom romances ended poorly, or is it not much of a sacrifice anyway to forswear romance? The final season of the Sailor Moon anime was never brought over to the US, so I don’t know how this was treated in the anime, but I really don’t remember mentally equating Sailor Guardians with cosmic warrior nuns...but that seems to be what they are. I can’t decide if I think it’s tragic that they have closed the door on relationships or awesome that they’ve found someone to devote themselves to so completely.
As always, I suspect I’m overthinking things.
It’s hard to believe this series is almost over!
4 out of 5 stars
To read more about Sailor Moon Vol. 11, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Bibliomat: Book Vending Machine
2011: Another little break for school…
2010: The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
2009: Doodle of the Day: Twilight
2008: The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson