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Manga Moveable Feast: Sailor Moon

When the Sailor Moon Manga Moveable Feast was announced, I knew I absolutely had to contribute something. After all, it is because of Sailor Moon that I became interested in anime and manga in the first place. I’ve been a fan for almost half of my life, and I still proudly call myself a Moonie. (I even write SM fanfiction!) Though I’ve seen better anime and manga since those early days, Sailor Moon will always hold a special place in my heart.

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.)

Then I thought about writing an essay, but I’ve been involved in the fandom for so long, there’s very little I haven’t already discussed about the series in some fashion before, whether on message boards, Livejournal posts, or among friends. I couldn’t even decide on a topic. Comparison between the manga and anime? Mythological influences? Feminism and the Sailor Senshi? My favorite Senshi, and why I love her? (Pluto, by the way, because she’s awesome and tragic.) Why Chibi-Usa/Helios is my all-time favorite OTP? Who is Sailor Cosmos, really, or how the heck does time travel really work in the SM universe? (I actually did write that essay a few years back. If you’re interested, you can read it here at my website, but it may give you a headache, as anything related to time travel tends to do.) Clearly, it was impossible to pick just one, and I don’t have the time to write on all those topics, as much as I would like to.

So, I’m going to stick to something fun, fast, and simple: My Top Ten Favorite Sailor Moon Manga Moments. And if you have a favorite moment not on this list, feel free to mention it in the comments!

(It should be obvious that the following will filled with unmarked spoilers, so if you haven’t finished the series and want to remain surprised, I suggest you back-button now. Also, I’m using the Tokyopop version to put this list together, so volume and act numbers may be different from the Kodansha version.)

10. Volume 2, Act 9: The revelation of the real Moon Princess – When Tuxedo Kamen takes the brunt of Kunzite’s attack intended for her and is seriously hurt, Sailor Moon begins to cry, causing her tiara to crack and reveal the crescent moon sigil underneath. She turns out to be the Princess Serenity they had been searching for, not Sailor Venus, who had been posing as a decoy princess. Tuxedo Kamen, Sailor Moon, and the rest of the senshi unlock the memories of their past lives, and the seal on the Silver Crystal is broken as one of her tears transforms into a crystal. I just thought this was a beautiful moment.

9. Volume 4, Act 10: The first appearance of Chibi-Usa – And, boy, did she make one heck of an entrance! Shortly after the Dark Kingdom is defeated, Usagi meets up with Mamoru for a date after school. She gives him back his pocketwatch, which she had repaired, and he kisses her. However, at that moment, a little girl suddenly drops out of the sky and lands directly on Usagi’s head! The girl, claiming her name is also Usagi, holds Usagi at gunpoint and demands that she hand over the Silver Crystal.

8. Volume 14, Act 39: Life with the Outers’ family – Pluto may be my favorite, but I love the rest of the Outer Senshi as well, so I really liked the beginning part of this chapter. At the end of the Infinity arc, Setsuna (Pluto), Haruka (Uranus), and Michiru (Neptune) decided to “adopt” the reborn Hotaru (Saturn), and together, the four of them created a close-knit, if unconventional, family. However, though Hotaru is growing at a rapid pace and each of them can sense that a new threat has arrived, they can no longer transform into Sailor Senshi. I just loved the slice-of-life vibe of these domestic scenes contrasted with the sense of foreboding each of them feels concerning the enemy. It’s also really sweet how Haruka, Michiru, and Setsuna all wear a ring to symbolize their commitment to raising Hotaru.

7. Volume 11, Princess Kaguya’s Lover: Luna becomes human – The entire story — which was the basis for the Sailor Moon S movie — is wonderful, but the best part is undoubtedly the scene in which Sailor Moon uses her powers to grant Luna’s wish for one night: to become human for so she can confess her feelings to Dr. Kakeru Ohzora, a sickly astronomer she has fallen in love with. Pretending to be the Princess Kaguya he had always dreamed of meeting, she takes him into outer space to watch the sunrise, but knowing that his true love is his friend Himeko, she encourages him to get better so that someday he and Himeko may someday return to space together.

6. Volume 18, Act 52: The wedding – I’m not a huge fan of the Stars arc — the anime did it better — but it’s hard to deny that seeing Usagi and Mamoru get married is a fantastic way to end the series, and of course, Usagi’s wedding gown is gorgeous. Usa/Mamo fans couldn’t ask for more.

5. Volume 15, Act 42: The coronation ceremony – It’s not a real coronation ceremony, as Usagi isn’t fated to take the throne for a few more years, but it is a lovely way to end the Dream Arc, with everybody transforming into their royal forms and the revelation that the Amazoness Quartet –formerly their enemies — is actually Chibi-Usa’s future guard. Actually, had the series ended right there, I would have been perfectly happy. (Like I mentioned before, not a huge fan of the Stars arc in the manga.) It would have made a great finale.

4. Volume 10, Act 33: The battle against Pharoah 90 and awakening of Sailor Saturn – In order to defeat Pharoah 90, Sailor Moon decides to release the power of her crystal and the Holy Grail directly into him, sacrificing herself to save the world. At that moment, the Talismans begin to resonate, awakening Hotaru as Sailor Saturn. Sailor Saturn drops her Silence Glaive, ending the world, but Sailor Moon, who managed to survive, uses the crystal to revive the world, including resurrecting Hotaru as a baby. One of the things I disliked about the ending of the S season of the anime is that we don’t really get to see the final battle, so the manga ending for this arc is a marked improvement and features one of Sailor Moon’s most awe-inspiring feats: resurrecting the entire world.

3. Volume 11, Casablanca Memories – Yes, it may be cheating to call it a “moment”, but I’m talking about the entire short story. After Setsuna (Pluto) and Chibi-Usa (Chibi-Moon), Rei (Mars) is probably my next favorite senshi in the manga, so I love that this story focuses on her, fleshing out her family history — her mother died when Rei was young, and she doesn’t get along well with her politician father, so she lives with her grandfather — and explaining why she has such a distrust of men after her heart was broken by her first love. If I absolutely had to choose a single “moment” I liked the best, it would probably be the kiss shared between Rei and Kaidou, the aforementioned first love who broke her heart when he became engaged to another woman. It’s such a sad moment, to see Rei so desperate for him to love her even though he most likely only ever thought of her as a kid sister.

2. Volume 15, Act 42: Chibi-Moon awakens Helios with her kiss – I mentioned above that Helios/Chibi-Usa is my One True Pairing, and this is, without a doubt, my favorite moment between them. (In fact, it was difficult to choose between this moment and the next for the number one spot on this list.) After Nehelenia’s defeat, the curse on Helios’ body, which turned him into a Pegasus, is broken, transforming him back into his true human form. However, having used up his power to help them during the final battle, his body is lifeless. (It’s never made quite clear if he’s dead, or simply in a coma.) Chibi-Moon begs him to open his eyes, then kisses him, the power of her crystal bringing him back to life. As Helios awakens and sees her crying, he realizes that she is the Princess Lady Serenity he saw in his vision. *melts*

1. Volume 7, Act 23: The death of Sailor Pluto – My absolute favorite scene in the entire manga, and a large part of the reason why Pluto is my favorite senshi. Just as Prince Diamond is about to touch the Silver Crystals of the present and future together — which would destroy the world — Pluto uses her forbidden power to stop time. However, the price of breaking the greatest taboo is Pluto’s death. As she lays dying, Pluto implores Usagi to save Chibi-Usa (who is currently in her adult Black Lady form) and tells King Endymion that she was proud of her duty. Her final words are an apology for not being able to protect Chibi-Usa. Hearing that, Black Lady remembers her friendship with Pluto and begins to cry. One of her teardrops transforms into her own Silver Crystal, allowing Chibi-Usa to awaken as a Sailor Senshi for the first time, but it’s a bittersweet moment as she realizes her closest friend is dead. *sniffles* Even knowing that Setsuna/Pluto will return in the next arc, that part almost never fails to make me teary-eyed.

2 comments December 30, 2011

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