Codename: Sailor V is to Sailor Moon what the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie is to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series. It’s almost there, has many of the same elements, but doesn’t have quite the same oomph that the latter has. The problem I have with it is that it’s lacking what I usually associate with Sailor Moon, which is teamwork and a group of girls who, despite their differences, get along and find value in one another. While Codename: Sailor V is fun, does demonstrate the value of friendship, and does not make any judgments on the differences between all the characters, it lacks the cohesion in the general story that the later books have.

Volume 2 continues to follow Mina Aino, the athletic, boy-crazy, kind girl with bad grades who dons a blinged up sailor scout uniform at night and fights the forces of evil (for she is the Chosen One, she is the Slay—erm, er, Sailor Venus).

The stories are a bit repetitive, the Dark Agency wants to rule the world, they try to hypnotize all of Tokyo, then the world, Sailor V defeats them at every turn, blah, blah, blah. It’s in the last few chapters when things get interesting. The pattern previously established is broken and some back story is revealed, which brings some depth to what we’ve read so far. Mina discovers some things about herself and her past life, and has to choose duty over love.

As always, Takeuchi’s art is lovely. She has a great way of tying soft femininity, hard action scenes, and goofy moments together cohesively. One of my favorite things about Sailor Moon is just how pretty the art is. Every time I look at a new page, I’m struck by how seamlessly it flows. Something that always draws me out of a graphic novel is bad layout choices, and Codename: Sailor V doesn’t have bad layouts.

For English speaking fans who have never read Sailor V, this will be an enjoyable addition to their knowledge of the universe. For new fans, this will make a good prologue to what comes later.

Codename: Sailor V, volume 2
by Naoko Takeuchi
ISBN: 978-193542978
Kodansha, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: T 13

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