Sailor Moon Short Stories, Vol. 2Created by Naoko TakeuchiKodansha ComicsRating: Teen (13 +)
At long last the Kodansha Comics release of Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon comes to an end, with Sailor Moon Short Stories, Vol. 2. The second in a two volume collection of short stories contains "Princess Kaguya's Lover", a touching story of a cat and the man she loves, "Casa Blanca Memory", which gives us some insight into the life of Rei/Sailor Mars, and wraps up with the comedic "Parallel Sailor Moon" It's love, loss and wacky hijinks in the second and final volume of Sailor Moon Short Stories!
"Princess Kaguya's Lover" takes up the bulk of the volume and gives us a look into the life of Luna, one of the cats that serves as an advisor, aid to the Sailor Scouts. It's an interesting side story with a villain and concept that feels right at home with the rest of the series, but the interspecies romance feels a bit strange at times. Admittedly it seems to be almost entirely one sided, but there was still something odd about the whole thing. "Casa Blanca Memory" follows a similar path, giving us a villain who's tangentially connected to the main series and spinning out a tale that expands heavily upon Rei's character. It's interesting and fascinating to see more of her life and background explored, though the exact nature of the villain and how he connects to her love interest was left a little vague and left me scratching my head. The less said about "Parallel Sailor Moon" the better.
The artwork's awfully pretty but also fairly dated and full of odd, little anatomical mistakes, which means it's about what you'd expect from Naoki Takeuchi. The panel to panel flow can be a little tricky to follow at times, and the book's full of sudden cuts and shifts between scenes. She does do a fantastic job at conveying emotions through the montages, use of toning and other visual cues. Like the series the action is short, quick and not terribly exciting, but it's Takeuchi's ability to express the inner and emotional lives of her characters that's always been one of her biggest draws, and that's on full display in this volume.
Sailor Moon Short Stories, Vol. 2 is a mixed bag, but for the most part it's an interesting and enjoyable read. While the "Parallel Sailor Moon" tale was the weak link and the humor failed on nearly all levels for me, I definitely found myself wrapped up in and enjoying the other two stories, despite the occasional odd or difficult to follow moment in both. The side stories don't really connect with the overall Sailor Moon plot, but they do a good job at expanding on the casts personalities and fleshing out the members featured. It's a pretty enjoyable read for Sailor Moon fans.
Sailor Moon Short Stories, Vol. 3 will be available on November 26th from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.