I have a complicated relationship with the Sailor Moon Super S arc. In one sense, it’s 90% about Chibi-Usa, and her struggle with not being as grown up as she desires to be (the plight of most humans until 35 or so when it switches to wishing they were younger than they are.) 5% of the story is the complete and total damseling of Mamoru and the last 5% is a fantasy about a decidedly adolescent ideal of the future. The Outer Senshi are most notable by their absence until the very end…and yet it is the Outer Senshi that are the catalysts for what passes for “growth” here in Volume 7 of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Perfect Edition (美少女戦士セーラームーン).
Each one of the Inner Senshi go through a crisis of confidence when they are unable to transform. In the middle of a fight against the Dead Moon Circus, each is visited by vision of Setsuna, Haruka or Michiru, reminding them of their skills, strength and responsibility. When their own will appears to them (as a kind of miniature self) they find their new power and transform.
When last of all, Minako is suffering from her crisis, we turn to the Outers’ new home life. It has been 6 months since they vowed to raise Hotaru as a family. Haruka and Michiru appear to the public to be a married couple, but in reality, they and Setsuna are equally involved in Hotaru’s parenting.
It’s been six months, but Hotaru looks 4 or 5 years old when we first see her, reciting W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming (a poem that is often on my mind these days for these lines:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.)
As Minako finally gets the boost she needs to take her rightful place as leader of the Senshi, Hotaru awakens as Sailor Saturn once again, and mobilizes the Outer Senshi to join the fight against Queen Neherenia’s Dead Moon Circus.
There’s a surprising depth to this volume, if one cares to parse it. The Lemures don’t just suck away energy this time, they contribute to a general lack of caring and we physically see Azabu-Juban getting dirtier and more run down as people become more selfish and angry. The crises the Inners have begin with their inability to transform, and it might seem obvious that their older role models provide them with new confidence, but in each case it is from within themselves that they find the spark to power up. This is a clear lesson – mentors are great, but you have to find it in yourself to grow.
Even Chibi-Usa who originally resents Usagi for being what she desires to be, learns that she has to change from within to become that ideal.
My sympathy for both the Amazon Trio and the Amazoness Quartet is higher reading the manga than watching the original anime, most probably due to the compressed time we spend with them.
I’ve always said I like Super S the least but, after this volume, maybe my opinion has softened on that. ^_^
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 2 (Haruka and Michiru married. What a lovely thought.)
Service –2 On principle
Overall – 9
In advance, let me wish you all a happy International Sailor Moon Day tomorrow!