Review: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Vol 1 by Naoko Takeuchi

 

Title: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Vol 1

Author: Naoko Takeuchi

Publisher: Kodansha

ISBN: 978-1935429746

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together, they fight the forces of evil!

This new edition of Sailor Moon will feature:
- An entirely new, incredibly accurate translation!
- Japanese-style, right-to-left reading!
- New cover art never before seen in the U.S.!
- The original Japanese character names!
- Detailed translation notes!

This version of Sailor Moon will be completely true to original. Join us as Sailor Moon returns to the U.S. for the first time in years!

Review:

I was excited when Kodansha announced that they would be releasing Sailor Moon, with new translations, unflipped.  This is one of the series that got me interested in anime and manga in the first place (Ranma 1/2 is the other).  When Tokyopop’s version of Sailor Moon was released, I was more than a little disappointed with the final product.  The books weren’t constructed to last for more than a reading or two, and all of the names had been changed to match those of the hacked up TV version that was being shown on the Cartoon Network.  Ugh.

After reading this introduction to the series, I am looking forward to reading more.  The translation flows effortlessly, and Usagi’s adventures are fun to follow.  She will never be Ms. Motivated, and that’s why I love her character.  She is a normal 14 year old, more interested in playing video games and goofing around than in doing her homework. Napping is a hobby for her, as is stuffing her face.  She is clearly a girl after my own heart.  I can instantly relate to Usagi, and her lack of ambition had me totally engaged in the plot.  How is this slacker going to save the world from evil?

With Luna, the talking cat there to offer guidance, Usagi slowly accepts the mantel of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.  One of my favorite shoujo tropes is the magical girl story, and Sailor Moon is one of the best.  I don’t know what I find so engaging about girls yelling ridiculous phrases like “Moon Prism Power! Makeup!!” and “Jupiter Thunderbolt!” while having magic wardrobe changes, but I do.  While Usagi’s transformations have nothing on Sakura’s (or Kero’s for that matter), her costume swaps are still entertaining.  I want a magical tiara and Moon scepter, too!  Perhaps Santa will bring me one for Christmas.  I have tried to be especially good this year.

It’s hard to write a review about a franchise as well known as this one.  It’s like writing up my thoughts about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Everyone has seen it, and everyone has their own opinion of it.  It’s hard to offer new insight about it.  So I’m just going to tell you why I love these books, as each volume is released.    I am very familiar with the beginning half of the series, but the ending is kind of foggy for me, so I am looking forward to getting reacquainted with Usagi, Mamoru, and the Sailor Scouts.  I knew that Kodansha would do a good job with SM, given the author’s dissatisfaction with the previous version that was released here.   Also, the translator, William Flanagan, rarely veers off-course.  He doesn’t here. 

If you haven’t read Sailor Moon, now is the time to pick up this series.  This release is fresh and fun.  Plus, it’s a classic! 

Grade: A-

Review copy purchased from Amazon