Friday, September 23, 2011

Manga Review: Sailor Moon and Sailor V, volumes 1

Sailor Moon, Sailor V Volumes 1
Author: Naoko Takeuchi
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: 09/13/2011
ISBN: 1935429744
ISBN: 1935429779

If you're a manga fan like me, you've been eagerly awaiting these releases for years. Not days or months, but years. Ever since the now defunct Tokyopop lost their licence to Sailor Moon, this manga has been something that you could only find via eBay or scanned onto the internet. Sailor V never got an official release, so you could really only hope to find an untranslated copy or hope that a scanlated copy got released from someone. Now you don't have to wait anymore. Kodansha has released Takeuchi's most famous work to the English speaking audience.

Art-wise, these books are absolutely gorgeous. One look at the covers should show you that you're in for a treat. I don't have any scans of the new translations, but the artwork has been cleaned up for this reprint. It's been a while since I've seen the Tokyopop translation, so at some point I'm going to have to find a copy to compare it to. (Or look for pictures that people have posted on the net.)

Story-wise, the Sailor Moon volume was stronger than the Sailor V manga was. I'm sort of chalking this up to the Sailor V manga being more of a sporadic release than the Sailor Moon story was. One thing that's absolutely cool about reading the Sailor V manga was seeing how Takeuchi began to brainstorm characters and designs for Sailor Moon as well as to see the gradual change in how the series was presented. Over time the Sailor V manga started changing to show it as a prequel to Sailor Moon. (Sailor V started before Sailor Moon started being made, but continued to be sporadically released while Sailor Moon was running.) It's a glimpse into Takeuchi's thought processes and it's incredibly fun to see which designs made it into Sailor Moon and which ones didn't.

Translation-wise this is much more faithful than the Tokyopop/Mixx translations and fans who have poured over the TP releases will instantly notice a few translation differences. One thing that I couldn't help but notice was that while the translation was more faithful, it's just a little clunky. I loved that there were honorifics in here, but I'd be lying if I said that the honorifics occasionally hurt more than they helped. One such instance is the usage of "Princess-Sama", which just seemed a little redundant and clunky. I have to admit that I'd almost prefer that the honorifics were dropped entirely for flow reasons, although at times they do help to show some character interactions a little better.

This is something that I'd absolutely recommend for any Sailor Moon or Takeuchi fan as well as any fan of shoujo manga. It's worth looking at for the nostalgia value as well as to get a gander at the series that introduced a lot of the American and English speaking audience to anime and manga as a whole. (Sailor Moon was the first television series I watched where I knew that I was watching anime.)

4 out of 5 stars for both volumes

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