Codename: Sailor V

December 28, 2011 dreamkaleidoscope
Tags: , , , ,

TITLE: Codename: Sailor V
AUTHOR/MANGAKA: Naoko Takeuchi
RATING: Teen (13+)
SCORE: 7 (Good)
RECOMMENDED FOR FANS OF: Naoko Takeuchi (mangaka of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon), magical girls, comedy, romance

It is no secret that Sailor Moon was the series that introduced me to the world of anime and manga, so what a pleasure it is to finally be able to read Codename: Sailor V, the series which inspired the creation of Sailor Moon!

Codename: Sailor V is set about a year before the beginning of the Sailor Moon series and focuses on flaky, but athletic first year middle school student, Minako Aino. During gym class one day, she accidentally lands on a white cat with a crescent moon bald spot on his forehead while performing a complicated gymnastics move. The cat, named Artemis, later appears in her room, gives her a magical compact, and tells her that she has been chosen by destiny to become Sailor V, a champion of justice. At first, she believes it’s all just a dream, but the next day, she is forced to battle against her current crush, who has been enslaving the female students of the school. Though initially opposed to the idea of becoming a magical girl, when Minako realizes that Sailor V is gaining fame for her heroics, she accepts her role and sets about to fighting the bad guys.

Among the Sailor Senshi (or Guardians, as the rerelease calls them), Minako/Sailor Venus is one of my favorites, so I expected to really love Codename: Sailor V. While the series is amusing enough, I actually found myself liking Minako a little less after reading it. The great thing about Minako in the main series is that she’s a nice balance of silly and serious; in Codename: Sailor V, however, she’s in silly-mode about 90% of the time, with most of her serious moments coming in the last couple of chapters. Don’t get me wrong — I usually love energetic characters like Minako, but being familiar with her older, more mature self, the younger version can be a litte off-putting at times.

Then again, maybe it’s a bit much to expect her to act serious about her mission when most of the enemies she fights against are goofy celebrity idols. Codename: Sailor V is definitely more light-hearted than its companion series, with most battles following the same basic formula: idol-chaser Minako goes ga-ga over some celebrity (or occasionally a handsome guy), Artemis suspects said celebrity is involved in some nefarious plot (which they always are, of course), Minako uses her compact’s power to disguise herself in order to get close to the celebrity, then transforms into Sailor V when she realizes Artemis was right and fights the enemy in a (very short) battle. Fun, but they’re not exactly the type of stories that keep you on the edge of your seat.

However, I loved learning a little bit more about Venus’ previous life as one of Princess Serenity’s guardians, and her relationship with the mysterious Phantom Ace leads to a rather emotional climax. Usagi and the rest of the Inners gang also each make at least one minor cameo appearance during the course of the series, which is a nice bit of foreshadowing if you read Codename: Sailor V before starting on the main Sailor Moon series and a fun shout-out for those already familiar with the other story.

Speaking of characters from Sailor Moon, readers may do double-takes at how similar some Codename: Sailor V characters look like people from the other series. (Or, actually, I suppose that should be the other way around, since Codename: Sailor V came out first.) Minako’s best friend Hikaru is practically a dead-ringer for Ami/Sailor Mercury, and there’s a geeky otaku guy named Amano who could pass for Umino’s twin brother. Natsuna Sakurada — inspector general of the police force, obsessed Sailor V fan, and presumed relative of Usagi’s teacher Haruna Sakurada — is pretty much an adult Rei/Sailor Mars. Clearly, uniqueness of character design is not Takeuchi’s strong point, but her artwork is cute and works well with the story.

In comparison to Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Codename: Sailor V may be a bit lacking, but the story is a lot of fun, and I would consider it a must-read for any Moonie, particularly Minako/Sailor Venus fans.

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Manga Moveable Feast: Sai&hellip  |  December 30, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    […] But what to write about? The obvious choice was a review, but I only review completed series on this blog. That would mean I would have to review the Mixxzine/Tokyopop version of the manga, and, well…there’s nothing really nice I can say about it, other than that I’m glad it came out at all, even with the shoddy binding — my copies are pretty much falling apart — and loose translation. Hey, it was better than nothing, but eternal love to Kodansha for the awesome rerelease. (However, I did write a review about Codename: Sailor V, which you can find here.) […]

  • 2. Sailor Moon MMF: Day 6 Li&hellip  |  January 1, 2012 at 5:34 am

    […] Alexander reviews the first Sailor V manga, and also gives us a look at her Top 10 favorite manga moments from Sailor […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to comments via RSS Feed




December 2011

Most Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: