Goodreads: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
Series: 12 Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon volumes
Publication Date: 2003
When Usagi encounters a mysterious cat with a crescent on her forehead, she learns that she is a guardian, reborn to protect the Earth and the hidden Moon Princess. But fighting evil is hard and Usagi will need to find her friends and allies if she is to fulfill her mission.
Sailor Moon seems to one of those stories that everyone recognizes, and even loves, whether through watching the anime or reading the manga. Such stories often have a lot to live up to when we return to them in later years. Will they hold up? Will we love them as much as we remember? Returning to the manga six years after I first read it, I find that Sailor Moon still has the power to move me with its focus on friendship, celebration of self-sacrifice, and emphasis on girl power.
The manga moves much more quickly than the anime I remember from years ago, giving readers less time to get to know Usagi’s allies (fellow Sailor Guardians) one-on-one. There is only one arc that focuses on Usagi’s four friends, showing how their dreams and fears can be distorted by the enemy to defeat them. Even so, their devotion to each other comes across in every story as they decide again and again to stand by each other, to protect each other, even if it means giving up their lives for each other. They embody self-sacrificial love, holding back nothing. And they choose to give of themselves repeatedly, knowing that they are not only risking death, but also choosing to forsake careers and romance for the sake of their mission, and each other.
Naoko Takeuchi’s artwork is truly stunning, with each of the girls being beautiful, of course. And there are fun inserts between volumes with Takeuchi almost presenting fanart of her work, showing what the girls would look like dressed in different styles, with different hair, etc. But the lines and the movement are also stunning, making Sailor Moon more than a story told with pictures. It is a work of art.
Returning to Sailor Moon was a truly magical experience, one that inspired me with Takeuchi’s depiction of female friendships and female empowerment. Sailor Moon is one of those stories that continues to live up the nostalgia, and to last the test of time.