Hey Wanderers, hope you’re all feeling good in this New Year and that so far it’s been good to you. Last year was a year of anniversaries in quite a few fandoms. There was Power Rangers and their 20th anniversary, Discworld celebrated 30 years of books, and Doctor Who, as we all know hit the big 5-0! Now, what we’re going to be looking at today… technically should have probably been looked at last year, since it was its 20th anniversary as well, but one thing lead to another, and it kept getting put on my back burner. However, never let it be said that I squelched on a review! And this one is … slightly different. It’s a manga review! So yeah, it had to wait until I’d read all the volumes so I could give an overview on the story and whatnot. The manga in question? Well, it is the one called Sailor Moon!
Sailor Moon was created by pharmacist turned author, Naoko Takeuchi, and is possibly the biggest contributor to the Magical Girl genre that is widely available in anime and manga titles. The title isn’t strictly just Magical Girl in it’s nature, it also mixes in very common Sentai – you may know it better as Power Rangers – tropes creating a fully fledged team of girls who can kick butt, take names, and do it all while looking very pretty in their carefully designed outfits. It redefined the genre, now allowing the Magical Girl to fight evil with their powers, something that had not previously been done before. Random side note to add here, many of the outfits in the manga, particularly the more fancy dresses, were inspired by Takeuchi’s love of fashion, and taken from designs that were on the catwalks of the time.
The story of the manga is as follows: we follow a clumsy and very lazy 14 year old girl, Usagi Tsukino, as her life one day takes a very unexpected turn. She discovers, via magical talking cat, that she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior of the moon, and with the help of said magical talking cat, she has to fight off the forces of evil, recover her allies, and find the lost Moon Princess. And that’s just the first arc. The rest of the manga generally follows the format of discovering more about the girls’ past lives, and fighting whatever evil has shown itself in that particular area of Japan that they live in. (It should be noted here that in the prequel series and some of the side stories, and later chapters of the manga itself, they do expand outside of Japan, but I’m generalising here.)
As far as heroines go, Usagi is very easy to relate to. She’s clumsy, a bit of a cry-baby, and never really seems to do well at school due to lack of interest. Her main hobbies are eating, sleeping, and playing video games, and she’s entirely happy with that being her lot in life. She’s also a very kind, and caring young lady, who grows over the course of the manga to become a strong, and wise woman who would sacrifice anything to save the ones she loves and cares for.
This is a very female heavy, and female positive manga. Each girl featured has their own unique and distinct personality, and not one of them could be claimed to be a copy of the other. Yes, they share common interests, but that’s because they’re friends, and the bonds of friendship in this manga are very strong indeed. It was also very progressive – even now – showing a lesbian couple as simply … two people who love each other and happen to be dating. It’s not played for shocks, or to gain readers. It just simply is.
In the sliding scale of cynicism versus optimism, Sailor Moon is quite happy down at the side of optimism, and personally, I’m going to go out and say that’s a very good thing. The manga gives the belief that goodness of people is inherent, and that while there will always be an evil existing, there will always be a good around to combat that evil.
A new anime is due to start, according to reports at this time, in July 2014, and it will be taking directly from the manga, and will stream in various subtitles on the website Niconico. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing more awesome ladies getting to do awesome things while looking however they want to look while doing it.
We need more stuff like this, man, it’s the right kind of thing.
Z McAspurren (Everything is C’est La Vie)