Codename Sailor V
Minako Aino’s solo adventures come to a close after a series of repetitive stories and a Tuxedo Mask-like love interest named Phantom Ace.
I said in my review of volume one, and I’ll repeat it now as this is the last volume; Codename Sailor V‘s gag-comic format is better suited to Naoko Takeuchi’s skill set. In the context of this series, it doesn’t matter that we have three stories in a row about an enemy plotting to destroy the world by selling pets that are actually secret weapons, and it doesn’t matter that Minako uses virtually the same speech over and over again (with only the references changed) while admonishing them. Indeed, the repetitiveness is part of the humor, kind of like Little Britain.
It also doesn’t matter that Minako is a shallow character with no particular positives outside of athletic abilities, because she is just the clown, she is the instrument of humor, existing only to be laughed at and to move the plot (such as it is) forward.
Also, because of the book’s quick pace, Takeuchi’s messy layouts aren’t really a problem. She doesn’t have to detail a long, complex event; only quick, silly ones, so her awkward storytelling techniques don’t show nearly as much.
Not a lot happens in this volume that didn’t happen in the previous one. There are a few more allusions to Sailor Moon, the series that started after but ran concurrently with Sailor V, but became much more successful. Not that you’d be missing anything as a Sailor Moon fan if you chose to skip this title. Sailor Moon is more or less a reboot of this manga, intended to be more ‘TV-series friendly,’ as such, Minako and Usagi are essentially the same character, and hit many of the same points, except that Minako does it alone.
Speaking of similarities, this volume introduces Sailor V’s mysterious love interest, Phantom Ace, clearly a ripoff of Tuxedo Mask, right down to his back story. I will say, however, their final encounter at the end, when all is revealed, is handled very well. Of the three volumes of Sailor Moon that I’ve read so far, I think that this scene is the most effective dramatic moment.
You don’t need to know Sailor Moon to read or understand Sailor V, nor do you need to read Sailor V if you want more out of Sailor Moon. It’s not a bad series, but it’s fairly run-of-the-mill for this genre. It’s worth reading if you have it at hand (or desperately love Sailor Moon and want anything related to it), but you’re not missing out on much if you skip it.
“Fatty Popularity on the Rise” -pg. 27