Volume 5 of the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Manga, Perfect Edition, (美少女戦士セーラームーン) is amazingly chock full of…everything. New characters, secrets, cool moments, and, at last!, the Outer Senshi gather.
Yet again, the days of peace and tranquility after the defeat of the Black Moon are few. Usagi can be forgiven for wishing they’d continue. She and her friends are (or should be) studying for their high school entrance exams, when strange things start happening around town, all centered on a mysterious, elite school. In the meantime, Usagi is fighting off the arrogantly seductive famous race driver, Tennou Haruka, and is jealous to see famous violinist Kaioh Michiru flirting with Mamoru.
Total digression – some years ago I was staying in Tokyo on Tennozu Isle and suddenly realized that I was in the exact building where Haruka’s apartment would have been! There is a real Tennozu Isle, but no Kaiozu, Meiozu or Mugenzu.
Once again, I find myself flipping back and forth between anime, manga, musicals, and random media as I am reminded that both Haruka and Michiru are not particularly likable when they appear in the manga (unlike the anime, where they are captivating.) Haruka is way more genderqueer in the manga and I’m reminded again that Michiru and Haruka really are quite obviously a couple. It’s a little boggling to imagine in 1998, some folks just could not deal with the obvious and created elaborate fantasies to rewrite the narrative. (And, oh the drama when Takeuchi-sensei answered a fan’s question at Anime Expo and said they were lesbians.)
When Pluto comes back, she’s visibly different. Chibi-Usa recognizes it immediately. This started an interesting discussion, as I commented that seeing Pluto return after ostensibly dying in an earlier arc, might have clued Uranus and Neptune to the fact that maybe everything they thought was absolute might not actually be so. Of course, no one considers this. The oldest character in the book is, what, Setsuna at 23?
Outers and Inners are set against one another – even after the person they acknowledge as their future Queen asks them to work together. Kids. Sheesh. Can’t tell ’em anything. ^_^
But all this is set aside when first Sailor Saturn awakens and right on top of that, Mistress 9. Poor Hotaru, there’s so many people inside her head.
Art – The art is and always has been so wildly inconsistent as to practically be unratable, but boy can you tell when a color page is an artbook piece or a Nakayoshi color insert.
Story – 8 Best arc of the series, still.
Characters – 10 I love the Outers unconditionally.
Yuri – 9 Haruka and Michiru are so so so a couple.
Service – 4 Bits actually are service-y here and there.
Overall – 8
As Sailor Moon goes, this volume is a nail-biter. Which is to say I said “Yay!” a lot. ^_^
Thanks to Okazu Superhero Jye N. for his sponsorship of today’s review!