Manga Mondays: The Return of Takeuchi and A Taste of Sailor Moon Feminism

Over the holidays something amazing happened to me. No, I didn’t find the “meaning of Christmas” or had one of those bad romantic comedy kisses in Times Square when the ball dropped. I finally, after many years of a sobbing fangirl heart, was able to read my beloved Codename Sailor V in all of its two volume, translated glory. And it was g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s, indeed!

Outside of Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Venus was always my favorite scout out of the whole inner and outer scout groups. She was always so perky, unafraid of her emotions, and, on a less important note, that hair-bow was cute as shit. Before she showed up in person during the main Sailor Moon series, there was always a sense that there was something special about her. She had a video game based on her (that Bunny/Serena kicked ass at, I might add), darn it! However, the question remained: how did Sailor V know so much about the previously decimated moon kingdom and about the scouts themselves? Unlike many prequels I have run across, this one actually answers this plot question and several others as well.

For those of you who are not familiar with the basic premise of the Sailor Scouts, they are basically teenage girls who use ~space magic~ to transform into baddie-battling super heroines with some school drama tossed in on the side for some spice. In the Sailor V series, this recipe remains the same. We follow one, Minako Aino, through a normal day of school: crushing on a popular volleyball player, hanging out with her friend, Hikaru (who looks like she could be Ami’s twin sister), going through classes, and all of that slice-of-life stuff. However, she runs across a mysterious white cat—who fans will instantly recognize as the snarky, but lovable Artemis—that eventually gives her the power to change into the “pretty soldier in a sailor suit”, Sailor V. For the two volumes we go through a baddie du jour each chapter as Minako learns more and more what it is to be a Sailor Scout and what her true purpose in life is. I won’t spoil the ending, but it really ties the whole thing together nicely.

This series further promotes what I like so much about the main Sailor Moon manga/anime. Such as young girls standing up for themselves while not being afraid to face their emotions. Young girls forming friendships that are strong and act as a fount of strength rather than a pool of backstabbing and bitchiness. Girls that are cute but can still kick your ass into tomorrow if the need arises. And while there are arguments on whether or not Sailor Moon and its spinoffs can be considered as a feminist text, I believe that these messages are indispensible to both growing girls and already grown women alike.

In an entertainment industry where young girls are all but forced to have role models that are detrimental in one way or another but are shown as ‘perfect’ Sailor Moon fills that spot with a beautiful imperfection. Of course none of the girls are perfect, but they have friends that are willing to point out their flaws and, in turn, make them all better people. And really, that’s what we should be looking for in friends: not only people that can make us laugh and we can act completely stupid in front of, but people that are looking out for our best interest and want us to become more than we are now. Whereas we can’t realistically aspire to be guardians of planets, we can certainly shoot for being the best person we can. And Sailor V shows this beautifully through Minako’s inner ‘transformation’, as she becomes less boy-crazed and more ready to take on the world in front of her.

If you’re already a fan of the series, I would highly recommend you pick up these two volumes. If you are not, then Sailor V is a great place to start!