Codename: Sailor V 1 Paperback – Sep 13 2011
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"With its whimsical sense of fashion, thrilling adventure and complex backstory, Sailor Moon was like little else young girls had ever before seen on television, and miles above anything American animators were offering them. The anime led to interest in the manga, which in turn became the sort of success that made the bookstore market sit up and take notice. Scratch a modern-day manga fangirl, and you're likely to find someone who watched Sailor Moon when she was young." -The Comics Journal
About the Author
Naoko Takeuchi lives in Tokyo, Japan. Takeuchi's works have a wide following among anime and manga fans worldwide. Her most popular work, Sailor Moon, rose to become as of 2011 one of the most recognized manga and anime products to date. The author lives in Tokyo, Japan.
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Sailor V was the original Sailor Scout until Naoko Takeuchi began developing other characters and made Sailor Moon the central character. No wonder there are so many similarities between Sailor Moon and Sailor V including that of their looks.
Sailor V was discovered by Artemis and was an independent Sailor Scout until she reunited with the rest of the Sailor Scouts much later.
It was interesting to see that Usagi Tsukino admired Sailor V, and watched Sailor V on the news headlines, even before she knew that she was a Sailor Soldier herself.
Another interesting thing to watch out for in this manga is how the Sailors cross paths with each other unknowingly, how they hang out at the same arcade, and walk past each other like stangers on the road.
The only negative thing about this manga is that it's too short (only 2 books)!!
There are several translation problems in the English mangas in which the translator got lazy or wrote over the Japanese meaning. It is confusing for native speakers who are English.
Still, people who like Sailor Moon shoulf check out Sailor V to see the prequel.
I guess that can't really be changed, but it BUGS me... it's a sharp inconsistency that makes it harder to enjoy the two Sailor V manga books (1 and 2) by Kodansha comics, which I just recently purchased. It doesn't help that my introduction to Sailor Moon was around age 9 or 10 with the anime TV series, so I know what the complete concept of the Sailor soldiers is like (even if it still differs from the manga).
My other problem with the Sailor V 1 comic is that it's kind of cheesey. It's not funny, hardly interesting, and as such, it's barely worth reading. I'm glad Sailor V wasn't the main character, because if she were, I probably wouldn't have liked the anime, or felt enough interest 15 years later to actually watch the original Japanese version of the anime (which is better than the English one, in many ways, though the English one was good in it's own ways too). Of course, I have to watch it with subtitles since I don't speak Japanese...
Anyway, I still recommend buying it if you're a diehard fan, and definitely if you still like Sailor Moon even though like me, you are now in your mid-twenties. I sincerely hope that the actual Sailor Moon manga (I have to finish Sailor V 2 first!) is better. It still provides a lot of enjoyment despite it's obvious failings, since it gives background on the series that I wouldn't get just from watching the anime.
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First I just have to say that like Sailor Moon, the artwork is gorgeous. It's a little rough in places compared to her later work (especially since the new Sailor Moon), but it's still incredibly fun to look at. The story is also interesting since it's both a standalone manga as well as being linked to the SM universe. I have to warn readers that they should take this manga with a grain of salt as far as how it fits into the SM world since you'll see various things that don't match up with what we know about the Sailor Venus in Sailor Moon. This is because Sailor V was initially released before Sailor Moon was and eventually sparked the idea for what is now her best known series.
The most fun of this volume is to look to see where Takeuchi started playing around with character designs. Minako (Sailor V) was quite obviously a springing board for Usagi, as she shares many of Usagi's characteristics and surroundings, most notably Usagi's parents and a few of her classmates. It's interesting to also see how the story changed over time, as the Sailor Moon series started up not long after Sailor V started up and ran alongside the Sailor V manga. (Sailor V releases started coming out more sporadically.) You can see some of the Sailor Moon characters (most notably Usagi), which was pretty neat.
Translation-wise, this isn't bad. I did spot a grammatical error in the volume and at times it does suffer from awkward translating, it's pretty well done and actually flows a little better than the Sailor Moon translation did. (Possibly due to it being potentially less scrutinized by the fanbase as the SM manga would be.)
This isn't as strong as the Sailor Moon manga is, but it's still very fun and it's a must buy for fans of Sailor Moon. For those who aren't as die-hard? Well, personally my gut reaction is to collect everything and tell everyone else to (hey, I'm a completist), but some might find that this just doesn't grab them as much as the Sailor Moon series does (or vice-versa). For them it might be worth checking out in the bookstore before buying it.
- This version contains some color pages, the original one does not
- This version has improved printing quality over the original, with much nicer details
- This book is about half an inch taller and wider than the original
- The pages are unflipped and many background sounds / signs / etc are left in Japanese. There's translations in the margins, blank areas, and in a list in the back.
- The original character names are preserved
Overall, I'd say this is a BUY for any Sailor Moon / Sailor V fan, even if you still have the originals.
Pretty Guardian-Sailor Moon Volume 1:
The new translated releases of Sailor Moon are indeed better than the "Mixx-takes" that Tokyopop made. Now we expect the characters to retain their original names, as well as honorifics, like Usagi-chan, Ami-san, etc, and no more of Serena, Darien, Rini... Color pages are included too as well as some notes in the back. The manga drawings are enhanced and in the standard manga book format (not the pocket mixx ones) too. In Sailor Moon volume 1, we get the 6 chapters: "Act 1: Usagi, Sailor Moon, Act 2: Ami, Sailor Mercury, Act 3: Rei, Sailor Mars, Act 4: Masqeurade Dance Party, Act 5: Makoto, Sailor Jupiter" and "Act 6: Tuxedo Mask." This book starts out half of the Dark Kingdom Arc and leaving you wondering what's going to happen next with Usagi and Mamoru. Overall, this is a good buy for Sailor Moon and Shoujo manga fans. The translation couldn't be any more accurate, the Japanese sound effects are kept, but translates what it says and we don't have to worry anymore about the pages coming apart! Although, instead of calling Motoki "oni-san" or "oni-chan," they simply call him "bro." That's kinda a head-scratcher though.
Codename Sailor V Volume 1:
For those of you who never got to experience the thrill of reading Sailor V, here's your chance! Before Usagi was Sailor Moon, Minako Aino was Sailor V and lead her own, if not serious and filled with action, comical, girly adventures about wanting to become an idol, TV star, wanting boyfriends, etc. The Sailor V manga's English translation is done in the same manner as Sailor Moon with notes at the end, colorful pages, Crazy words lower-case font and Japanese text with subs. The books includes the chapters: "Vol. 1: The Birth of Sailor V, Vol. 2: Minako in Game Center Crown, Vol. 3: Sailor V arrives! Channel 44 Pandora's ambition, Vol. 4: The Ambition of Pwtite Pandora, Vol. 5: The machinations of the Dark Agency, Vol. 6: Showdown! Sailor V VS Cyber-Girl Warrior Lurga, Vol. 7: Sailor V on vacation-Desire for Hawaii" and "Vol 8: Love on Boulavard-Full throttle turbo"
All the stories in the Sailor V manga are hilarious and more-girl oriented in my opinion.
Overall, these are all good buys. With Sailor V finally on bookshelves in the US and with Sailor Moon completely renewed and retranslated, waiting for the remaining 11 volumes (for Sailor Moon, one more for Sailor V, and 2 more short story books) to come out is something us Moonie fans will be looking forward to.
As with the new Sailor Moon manga, this release of the Codename Sailor V manga uses the newly remastered Japanese editions which feature new covers and visually improved interior artwork on almost every page that was redrawn by Naoko Takeuchi herself.
The English language release (the first time in general for the Codename Sailor V manga series!) does a very good job of adapting this content. It is slightly larger than the Japanese version as is usual with any manga release in the US and features a regular book cover as opposed to the slipcase on the original but that is not really a big issue as, again that is to be expected. In fact the colours on the cover have more "pop" with this glossy finish than the original Japanese cover does.
As impressed as I am with the presentation of this release I'm going to have to remove a star due to some serious visual issues that affect it's presentation due to the adaption which I'll discuss later in this review.
Presentation: 4/5 stars
I have always been a fan of the Sailor V manga since way before reading this English language release. For the uninitiated, Sailor V follows the story of Minako Aino, an ordinary schoolgirl who is awoken by a mysterious white talking cat, Artemis and becomes the super crime fighting heroine, Sailor V (she also goes by her true name Sailor Venus though calls herself "Sailor V" as a kind of cool abbreviation or "Codename").
If this story sounds similar to Sailor Moon it's because Sailor Moon was actually written after this Sailor V began publication (though the Sailor V manga, while entirely set before the events in Sailor Moon, actually originally continued publication until after Sailor Moon had finished).
Despite the similarities between the two series there are some nice aspects that set it a part. For one, while Sailor Moon is more about gathering a team and completing a mission, Sailor V is for all intents and purposes focused almost exclusively on Minako which allows a lot more time for character development concerning herself and her supporting characters.
We're given some awesome information concerning the series mythology that may surprise newcomers such as her having her own castle orbiting the planet Venus (something that isn't brought up again until much later in the Sailor Moon manga) and the revelation that there is someone in charge of Artemis called "Boss" (for more on "Boss", click here). I also enjoyed the attention to detail as seen in explaining that her compact recharges itself in the moonlight and it was great to see Sailor V doing actual "crimefighting" and helping the average person as opposed to in Sailor Moon where the battles are much more epic. That's not to say that the battles in Sailor V aren't big though. There's some very interesting and fun baddies here that, dare I say it, are more interesting to read than Queen Beryl and her lackeys and it's fantastic to see Sailor V be given a variety of attacks that are visually different from one another.
Another pleasant surprise is the variety of locations seen in this volume. While we do visit the typical Sailor Moon locations in Tokyo, readers are given a special treat when the story takes a more global turn in the second half of the volume as several characters head to Hawaii and Greece in a chapter that literally had me laughing out loud.
I really can't fault the story in this first volume of Codename Sailor V at all. It has a perfect combination of humour, drama, characterisation, action and mystery with perfect pacing. The story is definitely deserving of a full score.
Story: 5/5 stars
As with the first volume of the Sailor Moon manga, Codename Sailor V #1 has similar issues with awkward dialogue. While the nice pacing of the story actually helps lessen the impact of the English adapted script there are still several instances that affect the reading experience such as the inclusion of dated English phrases such as "putting on airs", a phrase that I had never heard before that forced me to ask my followers on Twitter and Facebook for it's meaning.
Turns out it basically means "acting high and mighty" and is considered old fashioned English normally spoken by our grandparents' generation or posh people. The fact that myself and about 50% of people I asked didn't know what it meant is one problem with the script (Why not use "They're acting all high and mighty" or "They think they're better than us", etc) but the other is that it's used my Minako (a 14 year old Japanese schoolgirl) and a tough gang member! Apparently the two characters are so similar in personality that they speak the same and they both like to use phrases spoken by people in two generations their senior.
The mixing of Japanese phrases in the English adaption returns once again with a lack of useful translation notes to help non-Japanese speakers navigate this English language release. Even if you know your "chan", "san" and "sensei" other phrases that the average reader wouldn't know such as "sempai" and "hime" remain untranslated while "Oniisan" gets awkwardly translated as "Bro" once again.
The selection of which words to translate seems completely random depending on what chapter you're reading. For example "hime" is translated as "princess" (as it should be) in Sailor Moon #1 yet here it remains "hime" concerning the character "Shizuka Hime Dark" which could easily have been translated as "Princess Shizuka Dark" or even "Dark Princess Shizuka".
Even if you like the inclusion of Japanese words in your manga, you have to admit the lack of consistency and quality is hard to ignore. "Luga" is "Lurga", "Ai" once again is "Beauty" instead of "Love" and there are odd ":"s added to Sailor V's special attacks where none existed in the original Japanese and don't exist for the attacks in the English version of Sailor Moon.
If you can look past these issues, the overall plot is translated well and nothing seems to have been censored (unless you count characters using childish phrases like "Dummy!", "Daddy!" and "Mommy!") which would have earned this issue a 3 1/2 stars for the adaption. Unfortunately there are some other issues that are present here that didn't exist in the re-release of the Sailor Moon manga.
Many fans have speculated that these releases were rushed and there is some pretty good evidence to support this in Sailor V where readers can see some of the original Japanese text (I'm not talking about the sound effects) half-arsed deleted in the speech bubbles. An example is on page 24 in the lower left hand bubble (you can see the kanji) and the top right bubble (the "." from a Japanese "?" is sitting in the bottom of the bubble, though I will admit this "." is not a big issue).
A better example of how rushed the lettering was is seen on page 166 with the text on the clock which has been embedded directly over the Japanese text without it being removed. (Those squiggly lines next to "right now" are the Japanese writing.)
There's also some rather obvious typos that I just picked up on during my first casual read through of the manga such as "You're always up go no good." on page 112 and "Their odorous!" on page 180. Both of these could have been caught before publication if more care was given to releasing a quality product.
Add to this the continuing strange sound effects (i.e. schoolgirls screaming "KYYYAAAAA!!!" at a sexy guy and then "KYYYAAA!!!!" when they're being attacked, "CROWWWD", "GRATCH", "GAMPH" and "SNFF") and I really can't give it a good score for adaption.
Keep in mind that this takes into account the lettering, publishing and everything else involved in the English language adaption in addition to the translation for Japanese to English.
Adaption: 1/5 stars
I am a massive Sailor Moon fan and an even bigger Sailor V fan. Nothing would make me happier than to give this English language adaption of the manga a five star rating. In fact that's what I would give the original Japanese release. However with the awkward dialogue, distracting sound effects, unprofessional honorifics, grammar mistakes and rushed graphic work I find it hard to believe that anyone, no matter how big a fan they are, would give this release a 100% positive review. In fact I would assume that the bigger a fan is the more picky they would be with an adaption.
With this in mind I would like to say that I am not one of those fans who thinks it's impossible to release a manga that will be equal to the Japanese original. While I own and enjoy my Japanese versions of the manga and anime, I am not at all a purist. In fact I'm actually as big a fan of the DiC version of the Sailor Moon anime as I am of the uncut original Japanese versions.
All I ask for in an English language adaption, Sailor Moon or not, is the same artwork as the original (which we get thankfully and it looks fantastic!) and a script that sounds completely natural to an English speaker that has been checked for spelling, grammar and print errors and has a consistent quality throughout.
Codename Sailor V #1 is a must read for Sailor Moon and Sailor V fans though unfortunately this release does not give fans the quality release that they deserve.
Kodansha really needs to spend more time on creating a quality product rather than depending on fans' desire to own the Sailor V and Sailor Moon manga if they want the rest of their releases to sell as many as these first two have.
Overall Score: 2/5