downloads & media
Sailor Moon #7
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As with all all previous volumes of Kodansha's Sailor Moon manga this volume's cover is visually very impressive. The colours on the cover really pop (again, more than the original Japanese cover) and the pages are printed very clearly with no signs of the smudges that plagued Volume 5.
As mentioned in my review of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon #6, this Infinity Arc is where Naoko Takeuchi really begins to shine.
The characters look absolutely beautiful in every situation and the pages as a whole have a more fluid flow to them, especially when compared to some of the earlier volumes which admittedly suffered from some awkward flow problems when reading from panel to panel. There also appears to be a good use of empty space and more variety of angles that makes the whole volumes appear more dynamic.
The pacing has also improved considerably, allowing a good balance of plot progression and character development which ironically should be more difficult considering the sheer volume of Sailor Guardians now present in the story yet all of them are given their moment whether it's Sailor Pluto awakening, Sailor Jupiter with her gardening or Sailor Chibi Moon growing as a more independent Sailor Guardian.
While most of the characters are written really well, it was Hotaru, the soon to be Sailor Saturn that I found the least interesting to read which is bizarre considering how much screen time she's given within this volume and the amount of information we're given about her. While her backstory and the revelation that she's a cyborg are really cool, her personality is very one note and I'm unsure if that's simply due to the character itself or the translation which waters down most of the characters' personalities when compared to how they sound in the original Japanese volumes.
This volume of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon really disappointed. While Volume 6 still had unprofessional mixing of Japanese words, mind boggling sound effects and some very strange spelling for the Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto's civilian names, for the most part it read fairly well. Volume 7 however maintains all of those problems and reverts back to the awkward dialogue and stiff wording of previous volumes.
The majority of the dialogue once again felt very awkward and the translation quality in general also took a severe step back with a quite a few instances of dialogue that seemed to have been word for word translated without taking the time to account for the differences in Japanese and English word order. A lot of dialogue once again comes across as inappropriately formal or posh and several words or phrases such as "You're kidding!" and "aberrant" are repeated on an almost comedic level.
While previous volumes had instances of Japanese words being mixed in with the English, the problem seems to be a lot more jarring in this volume in some places which sound as if they were translated by a high school manga club instead of a professional. Take for example this line of dialogue which includes three Japanese words mixed in with the English: "Hotaru-chan? You mean that sempai from Mugen Academy that you met recently?". There is no reason at all for any of those words not to be translated. "Hotaru? You mean that older student from Infinity Academy that you met recently?"
Kodansha seems to be targeting the younger minority of the fandom that loves to mix in Japanese words in everyday English conversation but all I can see this achieving is alienating the rest of the fandom and making it very difficult for the casual Sailor Moon fan who remembers watching the anime in the 90s to pick it up.
Beyond the language issues, there's also a lack of basic consistency in this volume with one character being referred to by two different names in this volume, The Deity of Destruction and Goddess of Ruin while being called God of Destruction in the previous volume. Inconsistency with names and phrases is nothing new to this release (Sailor Mars' attack was given two completely different names way back in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 1 for example) and it's disappointing that we're now over halfway through the series and this sort of quality control is still lacking.
For a full list of the translation/adaption issues in this volume, as well as more info on the different translation styles that can be used to translate Japanese names to English, check out my Manga Mistakes page.
It really is depressing that we're now into the second half of the main series and still having so many problems with this release. The Sailor Moon manga is such a vibrant, fun story to read and it's a shame that Sailor Moon fans who are reading the manga for the first time are not getting a version with the type of quality translation that a series as big as this deserves.
(not an average)
Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.co.jp
Barnes & Noble.com
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