This weekend I’m going to be reading the first six volumes of the re-released Sailor Moon manga as we’ve now reached the half-way point. Having been out of print for about ten years, finding this particular series back on the shelves is very special indeed as it means I’m finally able to read, in all its glory, the source material for an anime that has been very dear to my heart since early childhood.
As far as target-audience goes, Sailor Moon is definitely aimed at girls, but I do think the manga has a more universal appeal. It’s humorous, engaging and at times pretty intense; it can perhaps be a little cliché and heavy-handed with the morals, but who doesn’t love an awesome story that spans space and time, about amazing women saving the universe from the ultimate evil?
And that’s the key thing about Sailor Moon that really sets it apart from a lot of other “shoujo” manga (as in, the ones designed to appeal to girls): strong, powerful female characters that are able to rely on themselves. Lots of them! In fact this series has strong female characters coming out of its ears. Yes, there’s a pretty epic romance plot running throughout, but it’s not the be-all and end-all for the main protagonist (or any of the other girls, actually). It certainly makes for a refreshing change! You may have the normal stereotypes—the smart one, the sporty one, the mysterious one, the outgoing one, and so on—but as the story progresses they all grow and develop as individuals, and their friendships are strengthened by the ways in which they complement and support each other. Despite the knocks and set-backs they experience whilst defending justice and destroying evil, the Sailor Scouts get back up again and again, never giving up in the battle for good.
Ick, reading over that it sounds pretty cheesy but when you throw in a well-developed plot, some epic fight scenes, hideously enthralling villains and stunning artwork the whole series is transformed into something very special.
I understand that a lot of my love for this series is probably coloured by a heavy dose of nostalgia but it’s had such a massive influence over my life growing up that I can’t help but be excited that it’s been given a new lease of life by this re-print (and it looks so good on my shelves!). I’m doubly excited after the announcement that there’s going to be a brand new anime released next year, although I’ll always have a soft-spot for the old American dub despite the, uh, questionable changes they made to the story during translation.
Some people are still waiting for their Hogwarts letter, but I still secretly eye-up every black cat I see, hoping that it’s going to tell me I’m a chosen defender of justice and start me on my merry way to saving the universe.
All artwork has been drawn by Emily, but the characters belong to the creator of Sailor Moon.