Well this is months later than I had hoped but I finally found a library with the last couple volumes of Sailor Moon! And lucky for me volume 10 actually wrapped up the fourth arc so I wasn't left hanging in the middle and the characters in this series always have such, uh, interesting, wow the 90s sure were a thing, designs that I was even able to remember what the scouts had just defeated! So let's get to talking about this one last story and then my feelings on the series as a whole, especially since I never imagined I would read this story all the way to the end.
Sailor Moon (volumes 11 and 12) by Naoko Takeuchi
Life once again returns to normal for Usagi and her friends, although they're sad that Chibi Moon needs to return to the future again and Usagi is doubly sad since Mamoru is going off to America to study abroad for a year. Everyone is staying cheerful though, especially since there's a new popular boy band to distract them, but soon it becomes clear that they have another crisis on their hands and, with an enemy so powerful she's already destroyed dozens of planets, is this going to be the final battle for them all?
As usual it's the small details that stuck out to me more than the larger events but in this series that's an okay thing. Once again the world is in danger and the characters are fighting someone even greater and badder than before, even though while they've gotten stronger they haven't powered-up at quite the rate the villains. I rather liked Sailor Moon's realization that this keeps happening because of her though, that everyone keeps coming after her and I do wish the story had used that as a point to tie all of the arcs together more strongly since I feel like that would have been more interesting (and also, no Usagi you are not responsible for having half the universe try to kill you, although it's certainly a good thing that you and your friends are capable to kicking their asses when it keeps happening). Do also wish that the story had found a way to focus more on the side characters, everyone had such a brief amount of page-time this time around, although I can understand why. I was surprised to see just how important Venus remains as a side character however, it does make sense considering that she's the one with the spin-off series and her position within the sailor scouts, and I'm certainly not unhappy about it but seeing those moments when she had a chance to shine extra brightly made me wish the series as a whole had given all the characters that extra time.
Now that I've talked about these last two volumes specifically, let's talk about the series as a whole. When I started I did not expect to really enjoy it, and not just because I had been underwhelmed by Codename: Sailor V. Everyone who I knew had enjoyed the (anime) series had said "I watched it when I was 5-15 and I loved it!" and while they had loved it for good reasons (female main characters who were in control of their lives, fun magic stuff) I had also grown up reading and seeing that so would I really enjoy something that was a huge nostalgia bomb for people? Plus I had seen some of the anime with friends around when I started reading and didn't like it, I never expected to read more than a volume or two here. But it seems like the anime and the manga are different beasts and I have seen a few people commenting on how different they are since. There is no filler in the manga, true five arcs is a bit excessive but not bad, heck I can even see why there would be some filler if they were trying to expand all of the characters a bit more. The girls really are fun main characters, fleshed out enough to not be stereotypes and varied enough that almost any little girl, and certainly some boys, could identify, not vapid and petty as I had expected and I ended up adoring the art style more than I thought which is always a nice thing.. In short it was fun, in long it was fun, good, and I can now fully understand why so many people have loved it. I'm not sure I'm one of those fans yet, if an artbook came out (and I feel like they are planning on releasing one in NA soon but don't quote me on that) I might go and buy it and I'm sure I'll reread the series someday, but for the moment I'll just wait as patiently as I can for that anime series to come out this summer. Guys it's okay now, I finished the series, there's no need to keep delaying it now!