Sailor Moon #1
Mixx Entertainment (1998)
originally published by Kodansha, LTD (1992)
WRITER/ARTIST: Naoko Takeuchi
This is back when Mixx forgot to credit the translation team, so this is the only credit we get.
Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon found huge success in America so naturally someone would translate the original manga and bring it to the States. And in way less time than it took the Smurfs to get the same reward. There are some changes between the source material and the cartoon. In sidebar interviews and commentaries by the creator, the manga was created for girls while the anime was created by men who tried to guess what girls like. To that end…well, I’ll get into that as the review goes on. First the plot.
The book carries the first five chapters from the comics as we meet Bunny (not Serena…I’ll get to that), a slacker who likes gaming and sleeping. She’s doing poorly in class and fantasizes about boys. Your typical 14-year-old I guess. I was never a 14-year-old girl. When she helps get a bandage off of a cat she unlocks the cat’s powers of speech and magic. Her name is Luna and she has been looking for Bunny because she is destined to become Sailor Moon, leader of the Sailor Scouts who protect the Princess and her Silver Imperium Crystal. First she must find the rest of her team. In this book we meet Amy (Sailor Mercury), Raye (Sailor Mars), and Lena (Sailor Jupiter). Sailor Venus must come in the next book. I have the rest of the first arc (or at least I did) pulled from issues of Mixxzine which also introduces Sailor Moon’s mysterious protector, Tuxedo Mask. Together they fight the mysterious Enemy, led by Queen Beryl, who also seeks the Crystal for her master.
There are differences between the anime and manga. Here, Usagi (which for some reason Mixx gave the translated name, which pretty much is “Bunny” as noted with bunny graphics around her, rather than the Japanese name Usagi or the DIC name of Serena) is still a crybaby slacker but she’s toned down from her animated appearance. She and Darien, while still confrontational, suspect each other fairly early, even though Sailor Moon often wears a mask that allows her to see what the Enemy is up to. There is also no mention of the “Negaverse”, although that could be a translation thing. There is a newer translation that sells itself on being more accurate than this one without naming it.
The character models are also slightly different, making the girls look prettier to a degree and less comical in tone (except for Melvin’s crazy glasses, which one Princess (not the one they’re searching for) also wears but is actually pretty without them. (What does this comic have against glasses?) Bunny/Usagi/Serena also gets her “Frisbee” tiara destroyed with their first general defeat, whom the second one plans to avenge and restore with the Crystal. She gets a new tiara after another encounter with Tuxedo Mask, which just appears without explanation. There isn’t a lot of explanation as to what’s going on and I can’t tell if Luna is just as in the dark or just hiding things for whatever reason.
I picked this up for the same reason I picked up the untranslated #11, out of curiosity about the source material versus the show. It’s a very well-made comic but that curiosity is gone. I’m not into the show anymore and the comic isn’t the draw it once was, so I’m not sure if I’m keeping this one or not. I can’t vouch for the other official translation but if you like the show give the original comic a look. I hear the new Sailor Moon Crystal is a reboot that is closer to Takeuchi’s original version.