Artist/Writer: Naoko Takeuchi
Published in: 1991–1997 (Japan), 2011-present (America)
American Publisher: Kodansha/Random House
Genres: Magical girl
Premise: A ditzy schoolgirl, Usagi, gains the power to transform into a magical girl. Oh, come on; it’s Sailor Moon. Next you’ll be asking me for the premise of Star Wars.
Is it dumb? Nope. It’s carefully structured, pulling the girls together one by one, introducing their personalities and hinting at the big plot.
How’s the art? Heavily stylized. The girls have very long legs, and the panels tend towards extreme zooms on faces. Some faces are actually too big for their panels.
So, should I read it?
I’ve been debating that question ever since I read this volume.
On the one hand, the story is carefully structured, pulling the girls together one by one, introducing their personalities and hinting at the big plot. Novice writers would do well to study the information revelation used here.
Besides, Sailor Moon is a classic. It inspired an untold number of shoujo series, so if you want to understand them, Sailor Moon will help.
On the other hand, the art is heavily stylized. The girls have very long legs, and there are very few backgrounds. The panels tend towards extreme zooms on faces; in fact, faces are often too big for their panels. The pages felt
I also had a tough time with Usagi’s personality. She’s as much of a ditz as she is in the anime series, and while she at least seriously acknowledges this defect near the end of the volume, her energetic cluelessness has all the charm of a clumsy puppy: cute in short doses, but a real pain in long stretches.
Overall, the first volume of Sailor Moon is a good example of contrasts. It’s gathered legions of fans, and stands as a true classic of its genre, but its appeal remains limited to that genre. It showcases the best and worst of the shoujo style.