Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 2 by Naoko Takeuchi
A ton happens in this volume! It takes a bit of an adjustment to get into the story pacing of Sailor Moon because everything moves so much more rapidly than most recent shoujo manga I’ve read. Usagi/Sailor Moon and Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask are inexplicably drawn to each other. Usagi knows that she should tell the rest of her team that Tuxedo Mask is aware of her secret identity, but she can’t bring herself to talk about it. The sailor senshi speculate about the crescent-shaped mark on the mysterious Sailor V’s forehead and wonder what her significance is to the lost Moon Kingdom. They fight a typical monster of the week scenario when they go up against an evil video rental shop and Sailor V finally makes an appearance, and Luna introduces her as the heir of the Moon Kingdom, the Princess Serenity. I have to say it was amusing to see Sailor V in her fully awakened state in this series, because it stands in stark contrast to the way she was portrayed in her own series. Here’s she’s calm and cool, immediately assuming the role of mentor to the other sailor senshi.
Usagi has been slowly losing her innate silliness as the series progresses, and with the appearance of Sailor V she willingly assumes the protector role she thinks she should have in her role as Sailor Moon. When she’d act like a wimpy crybaby about going into battle before, she announces “Then it’s our job to protect you!” when Sailor V is determined to investigate a mysterious disturbance on Tokyo Tower. Sailor V’s role as royal decoy doesn’t last long as it is quickly revealed that the real Princess Serenity is Usagi. She and Mamoru are playing out the lives previously lived by a princess of the Moon and a prince of Earth. By the end of this volume the Usagi and the sailor senshi have been to the moon (TO THE MOON!), encountered a hologram of Princess Serinity’s mother in a past life, experienced mystical hair growth, and dealt with the terrible heartbreak that happens when your desired future boyfriend has been turned into a minion of evil (MINION OF EVIL!). It is almost on the verge of being a little exhausting, but I find myself amused by all the little quirky touches in this manga, like the way Sailor Mars is always glaring off into the distance and making pronouncements that she senses evil, right before something evil appears. Sailor Moon continues to be both fun and cute, and the more complex mystical bits about mystical reincarnation and the sadness of decrepit architecture on the moon save it from being too sweet for me to enjoy.