Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi
Review by Mehra
Calling all teenage girls: are you in the mood for a manga, a Japanese version of a comic book? If so, Naoko Takeuchi’s iconic superhero fiction manga Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is the perfect choice. On the outside, the manga appears to be a cutesy tale about a girl with magical powers wearing a sailor uniform. But that very “magical girl” has a lot more to her than what it seems on the outside. In fact, she and her intergalactic sidekicks are so relatable and memorable that various celebrities--Halsey, Lizzo, Brie Larson, and many others--adore the manga. And you will, too!
The story revolves around Usagi Tsukino, a clumsy, lazy 14-year-old who has a fear of monsters and loves eating. She has blonde hair that is always in two ponytails topped with twin buns--it is her signature look. Oh, and she was once a Princess named Serenity who is now reincarnated as the one and only Sailor Moon (in all actuality, it is not as confusing as it may sound). Her duty is to find her fellow Sailor Senshi (sailor soldiers, each of which have the name of a different planet) and fight vicious monsters. Yes, the very monsters she was scared of to begin with. Despite this, Usagi is willing to fight all evil in order to protect her friends and those she cares about.
As the manga progresses, Usagi meets the rest of her crew--Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter), and Minako Aino (Sailor Venus). These girls are also complex, multi-faceted characters with their own unique lives. For example, Makoto is a strong, caring tomboy who loves to cook and fantasizes about having a boyfriend. Similarly, Rei, who works at her grandfather’s shrine, is reflective and reserved one moment and is loud and passionate the next (especially when it comes to arguing with Usagi). Usagi also becomes infatuated with Mamoru Chiba, a (very handsome) college student by day and hero by night, where he fights alongside the gang as Tuxedo Mask. They make a very cute couple!
Aside from an engaging storyline, Sailor Moon’s artwork is stunning. In each and every panel, the scenery and characters are beautifully drawn and exquisitely detailed. From Sailor Mars's sky-high lashes to Sailor Moon’s heart shaped bangs during the transformation sequences, the story is simply a work of art. And who can forget Usagi’s adorable cat Luna, with her big, sparkling eyes and crescent mark on her forehead!
Reading Sailor Moon is a magical experience. From the drawings to the storyline, it is hard not to be swept away in the wonderful tale of a female hero and her friends. Takeuchi wants readers to know that girls can have flaws, dress in a frilly pink miniskirt, and still be able to fight off monsters. Furthermore, Sailor Moon teaches the importance of female empowerment, love, leadership, and friendship, important themes to live by. Sailor Moon is an iconic manga series that I highly, highly recommend. I rate it a 11/10 (yes, 11/10)!