Sailor Moon Manga, Volume 9 (English)

February 20th, 2013

In Volume 9 of Sailor Moon, the Dead Moon Circus is starting to have a terrible effect on the city and the Inner Senshi can’t transform! Well, until they can. And the reason they can now transform is that advice and guidance they received from the formidable Outer Senshi helps them get in touch with their inner strengths. Phew!

But…what about the Outer Senshi? After the defeat of Pharoah 90 and the Witches 5, they retired from the public eye and lost touch with the Inners. Unbeknownst to the younger Guardians, Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna have moved in together in a large suburban house to raise the baby Hotaru. And, unbeknownst to the younger women, the older also cannot transform. As the power of the Dead Moon threat is growing, the Outers are powerless.

But what is important to us is the quiet repose with which the former Outer Senshi have created a family life together. Haruka and Michiru, still together, watch over Hotaru  Hotaru, who is rapidly aging, appears quoting Yeats’ The Second Coming, which I think is well worth reproducing in whole here – imagine it spoken by a child of about 5 years:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
 The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
 Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
 Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
 The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
 The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
 The best lack all conviction, while the worst 
 Are full of passionate intensity.

 Surely some revelation is at hand;
 Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
 The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
 When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
 Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
 A shape with lion body and the head of a man, 
 A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, 
 Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it 
 Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds. 

 The darkness drops again but now I know 
 That twenty centuries of stony sleep 
 Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, 
 And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, 
 Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? 

This is the poem Hotaru quotes. Probably few of the children readers of Nakayoshi magazine understood the words they were reading, but the power in these words would resonate with the knowledge that that child speaking them is, in truth, the Senshi of Death.

I want give to the translation an “attaboy” on this volume, Transitions are always hard and the move from one translator to a new one was, IMHO, seamless here. It wasn’t an easy volume, with intense poetry, herbal and stone lore (and some good cautionary science in the notes!) Nice job, Mari. ^_^

But most importantly, we see that Haruka and Michiru make as dashing a married couple as they did a bon vivant pair of young celebrities. And when they, and the Inners, get to transform again, it feels kinda good. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 9
Yuri – 6
Service – 2

Overall – 8

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7 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Most likely, we know about the storyline. What about the translation accuracy and the localization? For those of us who can’t read Japanese, I for one would like to know things like this.

  2. Hi Anonymous – In general, if I don’t mention the technical details it’s because they are very good and don’t need to be mentioned – I’ll only mention them if there is a genuine (not fan hysteria related) problem. I’ve already stated that the translation is good and now that it has switched translators, it is still very good. I strongly disagree with rants that it previously sucked. I read it and it was perfectly fine. It wasn’t the same as Tokyopop or scanlators. Bill’s translation was good, Mari’s translation is good. Both of the translators on this book are friends and I would not hesitate to tell them they suck. ^_^ But they don’t. They are both excellent.

    As I’ve said recently several times, standing on the sidelines and criticizing translation or editorial choices is the least useful thing a person can do on the Internet. ^_^

    And, I actually disagree that people already know the storyline, Everyday I get email from someone who had never heard of XYZ series and was blown away buy it. You might know it, but not everyone. ^_^

  3. redfish says:

    Thanks for the tip, I probably would’ve missed the Yeats reference when reading that bit in the original (still in volume 4, the Black Moon arc has been as uninspiring as the anime was).

    I think these kinds of references may be a large part of Sailor Moon’s lasting appeal. They bring a level of depth to the series which takes it beyond the usual shōjo fare even for readers not familiar with the sources, without being obvious or contrived. (I can hardly claim to pick them all, but to take an additional example from S, the nature of “pure hearts” and who holds them has an uncanny resemblance to Tendai original enlightenment doctrine, i.e. what is the “Buddha nature” and who can “have” it.)

  4. @redfish – Exactly so. Just as all the Senshi have the qualities of their astrological signs, each of these things add to the fact that they work as archetypes in many different ways.

  5. Pattie says:

    To Anonymous,

    Erica’s wife here. You might be interested to know that I have never read this manga so am NOT familiar with the story. Incredible, huh, living as I do with the Queen of Yuri. ;-) I am reading it now, however. So yes, it IS older, but new to me.

  6. Good point! There you go.

  7. I spoke to Mari last night and I’ve rethought my answer to Anon. Check out the revised review!

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