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Sailor Moon 1 Paperback – Box set, September 13, 2011
Equal parts funny and melancholy. "Mooncop" is a graphic novel story of the past, present, and future, all in one. Learn more
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I am far from a new Sailor Moon fan, but it was with great eagerness that I awaited this new translation of Sailor Moon. The new translation returns Usagi to her rightful name - no "Bunny" or "Serena", with the rest of the cast returning to their original japanese names as well. The manga reads right to left, without the flipped drawings that were in the previous translation. Minor things have been updated to show updates in technology, such as a floppy disk becoming a CD. These updates are handed down from a recent rerelease of the Sailor Moon manga over in Japan, and are completely unnoticeable if you aren't looking for them. Honorifics have been preserved well for the most part, although I did cringe a little at a 'Princess-sama' moment. A minor complaint is that names have been swapped around to english format, of First Name, Last Name rather than kept to their original Last Name, First Name, however this is a pretty common thing to do when translating manga over.
If you have before only been a fan of the Sailor Moon anime, it is a HUGE recommendation that you pick up the Sailor Moon manga. The manga has a much smaller age gap between Usagi and Mamoru. Instead of Mamoru being in college while Usagi is in middle school, Mamoru is a scant 2-3 years older in High School to her Middle School. The interaction between Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask flows much more naturally and rather than only at the end of the first season, with Tuxedo Mask discovering who Usagi is at an earlier stage. The anime seems to have played up Usagi's "stupidity" to a higher extent, and the first volume alone already has Luna praising Usagi for her insights.
Fangirl gush aside, I really enjoyed this volume. The artwork is gorgeous, which is what you'd expect for a mangaka of Takeuchi's caliber. It's interesting to flip through the pages and let my eyes slide over the illustrations.
The translations are a little awkward at times, though. One of the things that Kodansha really hyped up was that they were going to be as faithful as possible, which included the honorifics. I was actually looking forward to this since I enjoy reading honorifics for the most part. I enjoyed much of the honorifics but I'd be lying if I said that some of them just felt really silly to tack on. Things that sound fantastic in Japanese with the untranslated word just sound clunky here, such as Hime-Sama being turned into Princess-Sama. (As one reviewer so aptly put it.) I think that Kodansha just tried a little too overly hard to stay faithful to the original translations, possibly due to all of the complaints over the Tokyopop translations. This just doesn't come across as organically as it should, which might bore a few readers.
I can't really hate the Sailor Moon manga for this and I waffled over giving it 4 stars and giving it 5 stars. I eventually had to concede that while the flaws didn't ruin my experience as a whole, they were definitely noticeable and kind of interrupted my reading at least slightly.
For the Sailor Moon fans, this is an absolute 100% must buy. For any new readers or those on the fence, I'd still recommend it. It's worth having in my opinion and the awkward translations should ease up over time as Kodansha gets used to what they do and don't have to add.