Sean O'Hara's Reviews > Codename: Sailor V, Vol. 1

Codename by Naoko Takeuchi
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Sep 25, 11

bookshelves: j-lit, manga, mahou-shoujo, shoujo
Read from September 21 to 25, 2011

Minako Aino was an Ordinary Schoolgirl until one day she encountered a talking cat who informed her that she has the power to transform into Sailor Venus, a Pretty Guardian in a Sailor Suit, and fight the forces of Darkness. If this sounds familiar, it should. Sailor V is the predecessor to the more famous Sailor Moon. The two series have a complicated relationship -- SM is effectively a reboot of SV, with Usagi, Luna, Umino and Naru being stand-ins for Minako and her pals, but at the same time, Sailor V is part of the same continuity as Sailor Moon. You can tell when the Sailor Moon manga started because Usagi and Naru appear briefly at Minako's favorite arcade, and of course later on Minako and Artemis transition over to Sailor Moon.

Still, the two series aren't identical. Sailor V is much, much, much -- I cannot stress this enough -- much sillier. The art is hyper-frenetic, with every inch of page covered in action with no time for such niceties as character development or world building. The villain exists to be villainous, and her plan is simply to keep producing more mooks to do the same thing over and over again, no matter how often it fails. And those failures are rather pathetic. There aren't any significant fight scenes. Sailor V just shows up, uses her magical compact to attack the Mook of the Day, and that's it -- the mook never dodges or fights back.

While it's nice to finally have Sailor Venus's backstory in the US, it's sadly disappointing.
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