The Fall 2018 Manga Guide
Sailor Moon Eternal Edition
What's It About?Sailor Moon is back, and this time it's been fully remastered! The Sailor Moon Eternal Edition includes extra-large pages, gorgeous never before seen covers drawn by creator Naoko Takeuchi, a newly revised translation, and in-depth translation notes.
Usagi is a 14-year-old girl who ends up becoming a defender of love and justice, the pretty guardian, Sailor Moon. Usagi, along with her talking cat Luna must find the rest of the sailor scouts and most importantly, a mystical Silver Crystal before evil gets to it first.
Sailor Moon Eternal Edition is published through Kodansha Comics and is available in paperback for $27.99 through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, and Right Stuff Anime. Volume 1 and 2 are already out, and volume 3 will be coming out January 2019, with each volume is around 300 pages.
Is It Worth Reading?
How many copies of Sailor Moon do you really need? Speaking as someone who owns at least four (Glénat, Tokyopop, Kodansha, and now this one), I probably shouldn't be answering that question. But the fact remains that the Eternal Edition of Naoko Takeuchi's Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is truly a gorgeous book. Looking more like an art book than a manga volume, the covers are thick and the pages glossy. Anything that was in color originally is once again, and the oversize trim makes it really easy to appreciate Takeuchi's art nouveau/shoujo fusion. The edition also leaves out all of Takeuchi's sidebars, which may or may not be an issue for you. All of the liner notes from Kodansha's previous release of the series are intact.
As for the story, what can I say that I haven't before? The first volume begins Usagi's journey from crybaby schoolgirl to super heroine, and it stops just shy of Sailor Venus' entry on the scene. (Well, she shows up, but doesn't speak.) This isn't necessarily Usagi's best time as a character, but we begin to see the way she's going to grow into herself, and the other Inner Guardians' role in the story, although smaller, do have their own moments of development. Mamoru feels much more like a teenager than he does in some of the animated incarnations of the story, and if Takeuchi isn't great at drawing cats, watching Luna try to herd middle school girls is still an enjoyable part of the story.
As a series, Sailor Moon benefits from being read in its entirety, because then you can really see how the characters grown. If you've been waiting to buy it, this may be expensive, but it's also the most attractive release of the story to date, and short of a Super Ultra Eternally Eternal Forever Edition, I can't think how it could be improved at this point. If you've been holding off buying this magical girl classic, now is your moment.
The third version of the Sailor Moon manga in English and the second from Kodansha Comics might seem superfluous, but this oversized, high-quality edition is a treat for any Sailor Moon fan—and the ideal version for introducing newcomers to this universally-celebrated tale. The new translation reads smoothly, with dialogue flowing more naturally than in previous versions while also retaining much of the faithfulness to the original material that was the highlight of the first Kodansha version. The quality and size of the paper allows for more detail to be easily visible on the page, and there a few title pages that are rich in color. The color pages, along with the shiny cover with new art, are almost worth the price of the volume alone. As far as the original story goes, the only drawback of the first few chapters of the Sailor Moon manga is that it feels rushed, with a new sailor guardian introduced every chapter for the first three chapters and only one chapter between the introduction of the fourth. However, it's easy to get caught up in the story of middle school girls becoming friends while fighting mysterious forces out to sap the energy of human beings. Each girl has a distinct personality, which means that even though they're introduced rapid-fire, it's never in a repetitive way.
Takeuchi's art is beautiful and distinctive, particularly her character designs, which feature long, willowy limbs and sharp angles. While her backgrounds are often limited, she uses screentones and unique panel borders to add an airy, fantastical feel to the manga that complements the story well.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Eternal Edition volume 1 is easily the definitive edition of the manga and a great giant collectible to have on your shelf. It also provides a great opportunity to introduce new readers to the manga, particularly younger ones who've yet to read a previous version. The adventure, friendship, romance, and magic that make up Sailor Moon have a timeless, global appeal, and this is a brilliant adaptation of the original version of the tale.
Sailor Moon is a cultural touchstone that passed me by almost completely. I didn't grow up with it, I only read the first volume of the manga and am really only familiar with it in terms of its basic premise and historical importance. So to write a review on it is an interesting exercise; I'm not so much criticizing a manga as offering up a where-were-you-when perspective on an enduring phenomenon. But, even with this in mind, I do have thoughts on the series.
For having read this volume twice now, my opinions on Sailor Moon have honestly not changed all that much. I like Takeuchi's art, the characters are likeable in a sitcom-y sort of way, but it's just a bit too formulaic and lacking that profound edge for me to dedicate my time to. It's one of those formative classics I've come to terms with never finishing. It would be forcing myself, and honestly, there are plenty of seminal works I'd rather have a working knowledge of. This isn't to negate how much this series means to people, far from it. I understand that Sailor Moon is not just a childhood fascination, it's genuinely empowering and important for so many people of so many different ages. And maybe if I had come to it earlier, I might have thought so too. But as an adult? It's just too late.
But the new release is the important thing here, and Kodansha has definitely not slipped up on that front. Eternal Edition is gorgeous. The full color spreads are to die for and the beautiful paper really highlights Takeuchi's art in all its sparkly glory. It's a collector's item, however, and expensive in turn; close to thirty dollars US for a single volume. It's a high-end release for fans that certainly does retain its value in sheer quality, but might not be a great purchase if you're just looking to acquaint yourself with the classic series.
Ultimately, Sailor Moon is Sailor Moon. It never fundamentally changes from release to release. If you're a fan of Sailor Moon, definitely consider picking up these new releases. They would also make great gifts. But for me as someone who has immense respect for the series but has never personally connected with it, they're pretty and fun to have and not much else.
Usagi Tsukino is an average teenage girl who isn't all that smart and a bit of a crybaby, but has one major secret: at night, she's the crime stopping magical girl, Sailor Moon! Now, Usagi and her friends must work together to stop evil, find a mysterious Silver Crystal, and look for the missing Moon Princess. Maybe Usagi will be able to make it all work, but first, she needs to figure out how to pass tomorrow's math test.
I am a diehard Sailor Moon fan and Sailor Moon Eternal Edition is gorgeous! I've read several different versions of the manga, but I have to say this version is breathtaking. The pages are bright and big and everything is crystal clear, not to mention, the colored chapter art is vibrant and outstanding!
As a story, Sailor Moon isn't the greatest of all time. Takeuchi clearly took her time with setting up the plot, and in the beginning, each chapter has repetitive set up with little plot besides finding the sailor scouts, but that's what makes Sailor Moon well, Sailor Moon. However, Sailor Moon is the most iconic magical girl series of all time, and with good reason. Usagi is relatable to anybody who may be struggling to find their niche in the world. Seeing a protagonist like this is wonderful because it shows that as long as you're determined and have help from others, anything is possible, and I think in this world we live in, it's a great reminder.
Sailor Moon is not revolutionary but it sure is beloved. Though Eternal Edition is just recycled material, its publication quality makes it worth the $28 price tag.
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