And I'm back with even more Sailor Moon! Technically I also requested the 9th volume from my local library but they don't actually have it yet and, since I have no idea when that will happen, I thought it would just be best to go ahead and talk about all these other volumes which does continue the first arc, completely covers arcs two and three and starts a fourth, that's more than enough material to talk about!
Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi
Summary: Sailor Moon finds the rest of the sailor senshi (both those representing the inner planets and some unexpected other allies) and they continue to fight against the myriad enemies hellbent on taking over Earth and remember their own past lives in the process.
The Good: As I think I mentioned in the first review, this is surprisingly solid and a lot better than I expected so yes, I am enjoying this series quite a bit. The characters have started developing (I was really surprised to see that Tuxedo Mask actually gets fleshed out, abet kidnapped/brainwashed often, given how many people I've seen poo-poo him over the years, I guess they only saw the anime?) and the story does it's best to give all four of the supporting sailor senshi adequate page time. For me the fun part of this story isn't seeing all the action scenes (more on that down below) but seeing the girls just interact with each other and grow and there is a fair bit of that here so again, I really am enjoying this more than I expected and I find it interesting to see just how much of Sailor Moon is, well, unique to the series and hasn't really been copied by other shows (since there are plenty of people out there who swear that every single magical girl show since this one has been influenced by it which I would make a strong argument against at this point).
The Bad: I've seen/read a lot of magical girl anime/manga and they all follow fairly similar formats, a balance of the girl's daily lives and then showing them fighting whatever they need to be fighting. Sailor Moon has barely any of the girls' everyday lives in there and the constant action/making plans that will result in action, et cetera left me feeling rather exhausted and I would have liked small moments in the girls' mundane lives, especially for characters other than Usagi since there the manga does show her and Mamoru outside of fights a fair bit. Also, this series is paced really fast as you probably realized when I mentioned that technically the seven volumes here cover 3 different arcs which also lead to my fatigue. Actually, thinking about all of that, I wonder if that's why shonen series with similar premises (ie lots of fighting and "elevator bosses") are so long, because you really do need the downtime between action scenes and to pace your action properly which is going to eat up page space pretty fast.
The Art: Someone on twitter warned me that Takeuchi's strong point isn't fight scenes and that they tend to get really cluttered when there are a lot of characters involved and yep, that is exactly what happens. Heck now I'm looking forward to the reboot just so that I can follow along with the fights, at least on screen I won't be trying to look at half a dozen different panels at once. The actual art hasn't changed much either, the characters faces are still a bit, fluid and Takeuchi still seems to have no earthly idea how to draw a cat. But the human characters look pretty regardless of consistency, the backgrounds are detailed enough, and the screentones aren't overused.
So, continuing along merrily with this and hoping that my local library gets volume 9 in soon (they might get 10 in before I graduate but I have no idea how I'm reading 11 and 12 legally since, even though I'm enjoying the series I'm not 100% sure I want to go buy all 12 volumes, money and shelving issues aside)!