Sailor Moon #3
Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.co.jp
Barnes & Noble.com
One step forward, two steps back.
Visually this English language release of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon #3 looks fantastic. Like the first volume, it's quite a bit bigger than the original Japanese release though the artwork doesn't suffer at all and is actually easier to appreciate in this size format (which is the typical size for an English manga).
The cover also looks better with this release with the shiny cover really helping the colours pop a lot more than the original.
As with the second volume, the lettering is a lot better than the first. It has a lot more pop and finally we have more consistency with the Azabu Juban sign which is lettered the same way throughout the entire volume.
There are some small issues with some text being placed too close to the inside of the page, making some words hard to read though this really didn't detract from my reading experience all that much.
Moonies really do get a lot of bang for their buck in this volume. Not only do we get the conclusion to the Queen Beryl / Queen Metalia / Dark Kingdom arc but also the first two acts of the Black Moon arc.
All of the characters remember their past lives and there's some great character moments for Mercury, Mars and especially Tuxedo Mask for those new to the manga who thought the supporting characters were getting short changed in this version of the series.
Speaking of first time readers, there are some great surprises in store for those who have never read the manga. The story really begins to diverge from what fans know from the anime with a lot more maturity and darkness being present in several scenes as well as some realistic plot development such as Motoki actually acknowledging that he knows the girls are superheros.
There's a lot to enjoy here for old fans and new. This is where the manga starts to get really interesting now that the origin story is out of the way.
For the most part, I found this volume of the manga to flow a lot better than previous ones. There was a lot less "Why is that character talking like that?" and "What does that mean?" moments, however there definitely were still quite a few and strangely when they appeared they were a lot more intensely strange than previous instances.
There still exists some kind of childish agenda in the translation, making the characters sound half their age. It's almost like some sort of censorship where instead of saying "idiot" they say "dummy" and rather than call their parents "mum and dad" they use "mommy and daddy". There is one strange exception where Ami calls her mother, "mother" but this comes across as quite rude and just makes me wonder what the translator has against the words "mum" and "dad"?
The strange dialogue also rears it's ugly head here in very random situations that make characters appear out of character and doesn't even match the original Japanese text. A perfect example is in a flashback featuring Princess Serenity saying "Poo on you Venus!". Not only is this hard to swallow coming from Serenity (maybe okay if Chibi Usa said it) but it's a far cry from the Japanese which simply said "Venus, somehow...".
A sign of a good adaption is dialogue that matches the original feeling of the original language. This isn't happening here at all.
Something else fans are looking for in a good adaption of the Sailor Moon manga, and indeed something that was promised by Kodansha themselves, is the keeping of the original Japanese names and phrases. This also isn't happening. Deimos (one of Rei's crows) is spelt incorrectly (as "Demos") as is Metalia on the same page ("Metaria"). While "Metaria" is most likely a typo as she's spelt correctly as "Metalia" elsewhere in the same volume, something that was a deliberate change from the original Japanese was Sailor Jupiter's attack, Sparkling Wide Pressure which was shockingly changed to "Spark Ring Wide Pressure".
Whether this was a mistake or not is beyond the point. This phrase in the original Japanese is something even a beginner student of the language would be able to read and does bring into question the language proficiency of the translator.
Possibly a bigger issue, is the exclusion (once again!) of the two pages of special comics that Naoko drew for this special re-release of the manga. These pages were in the Japanese re-release which this release is based on so there's no reason they shouldn't be here. The two pages missing have Naoko thanking fans again for buying the re-release and goes into the design process of several of the main characters.
Think you're not missing much with these gone? Well did you know that Naoko originally planned for Mercury to be a cyborg and was going to kill her off, that Naoko herself used to be a shrine maiden, Makoto's original name was Mamoru and that Tuxedo Mask's name was "Mysterious 2098 Mask"? This is awesome stuff that every Sailor Moon fan deserves to know about and they should have been included. Kodansha promised that this release would include everything from the Japanese re-realease and they're breaking their promise.
For a full list of the translation/adaption issues in this volume, check out my Manga Mistakes page.
This is a must read for those Sailor Moon fans who have never read the manga before. The overall story remains in tact though I urge fans to go in with eyes wide open, knowing that the characters are portrayed differently than in the original Japanese, some names have been changed, content is missing and that this release isn't as "100% accurate" as Kodansha is advertising.
(not an average)
Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.co.jp
Barnes & Noble.com
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