- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 176 pages, chiefly col. Illustrations
- Publisher: Kodansha America, Inc
- Publication Date: 15/11/2011
- Category: Manga
- ISBN: 9781935429753
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Review by catfantastic
The second volume of <i>Sailor Moon</i> is a fairy tale story of past lives, princes and princesses and star crossed lovers. It begins with Usagi-chan waking up in Mamoru's bed after fainting in the previous volume. The drawings are beautiful - soft and romantic. The scene where Usagi lifts the mask up to Mamoru's face, finally realizing he is Tuxedo Mask, (<i>"Why didn't I notice before?"</i>) makes my heart melt!Sailor V (<i>V-chan</i> as Usagi calls her!) joins the group, claiming to be the princess the girls have been searching for. She is so beautiful that they have no trouble believing she is a lost princess, except that she seems to be so intent on protecting <i>them</i> instead of the other way around! I thought it was really interesting that in the manga, Sailor V/Venus first takes on a role as a body double for Princess Serenity, to lure the enemy away from Usagi, the real moon princess. Sailor Venus is very much the <i>leader</i> of the Sailor Guardians in the manga, something which was missing from the anime. There's also a toxic sword! This volume reveals the secrets of the girls' past lives, the beauty of the Moon Kingdom and the tragedy that led to their rebirth on modern Earth. I found the explanations generally better than what was given in the anime version - for example, here we learn that the Moon Kingdom existed under a dome with artificial wind (indicating some advanced Atlantis-like technology.) Queen Beryl's Four Generals were originally the guardians of Prince Endymion of Earth (past life Mamoru) and Beryl herself was a warrior in Prince Endymion's army, who tried to convince him to fight against the Moon Kingdom in their war. There is even an explanation of how these villains were all reborn on modern Earth, but stumbled upon an entrance to the Dark Kingdom on an expedition to the North Pole. The Dark Kingdom, which was pretty vague in the anime, seems to have a more concrete location in the manga, with doors leading deep into the Earth, evoking chthonic myths. By opening the doors to the underworld in the North, Beryl and the Generals triggered their awakening and reestablished their allegiances to the villain - a sort of alien made of pure malice born from abnormal solar activity. Beryl and company seem to have sold their souls to this entity - trading their physical forms for power and literally becoming the stones they are named after. The manga also gets more into the idea that the character's personas as modern teens aren't their true selves, and by implication are less important than their mythic and superhero counterparts. The characters state a few times in this volume that Usagi is a "borrowed form" and a "vessel." Usagi herself worries about what this means for her identity, especially as her body begins to change physically after she awakens to her past life memories. Who is she? Modern teenager, Usagi? Mythical princess, Serenity? Or champion of justice, Sailor Moon? Who does she even want to be? Even Usagi's parents notice the changes in their daughter and are scared. I love the artwork in this volume - yeees, well, Naoko-sama's art <i>does</i> have a sketchy, unfinished, unpolished quality to it so I can understand criticisms by people who don't like it. But I <i>love</i> the soft flowing lines, the little details on the jewelry and Serenity's princess gown, the impossibly long, wavy hair and the big, detailed, sad eyes. The art is delicate and wispy, it evokes the magical sugary dreamy story.