Tag Archives: William Flanagan

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (manga)

Mangaka: Naoko Takeuchisailor-moon

Translator: William Flanagan

My rating: 3.5 of 5

Usagi Tsukino is an average middle-school girl–cute, cheerful, and prone to oversleeping. She’s also the reincarnation of an ancient Moon Princess–a Sailor Guardian wielding the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal to protect the world she loves. As she awakens to her powers, Usagi discovers other Sailor Guardians, friends from her past life who join her in the battles she faces. And they will definitely face numerous enemies in battle as those drawn to the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal for their own greedy reasons seek to take it from her.

First off, I must recognize that Sailor Moon has a certain appeal that uniquely comes from growing up with it; I have any number of friends who absolutely adore the story–all of whom first watched it on TV back in middle school. So I have to preface my review by saying that I only just read this manga recently, so I’m coming at the story from a different perspective, acknowledging that there are aspects of it that I’m just not going to appreciate in the same way. Please don’t be offended if you are one of those people who love this manga dearly. I can certainly acknowledge that is a classic–one that anyone who enjoys manga should read at least once–and that it has been highly influential not only on readers but on other mangaka over the years. I found Sailor Moon to be quite a unique story. The genre blend is something I’ve never seen before, at least not in this particular mix. While being essentially a shoujo story (with a strong mahou shojou flair, complete with the instantaneous costume changes and frou frou styles), there is a strong shounen vibe to the story as well. I found this particularly notable in the battles, both with the named attacks in the midst of the battles and with the sequence of each defeated enemy being followed by a stronger enemy. Personally, I found the enemies and their motives to be a bit bland and unoriginal. Although the character designs and the specifics changed, they were all essentially interchangeable otherwise, at least for the most part. On the other hand, the characters of the Sailor Guardians were charming, distinct, and interesting. I think the reason I enjoyed the series as much as I did was that I enjoyed the characters. As for the plot . . . the overarching plot of reincarnation, destined love, everlasting friendship, and all that goes into that was actually quite good. I enjoyed the time-travel plot elements that were thrown in as well. But the repeated fights just weren’t that enjoyable for me. Still, I think Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is a solid classic manga that is well worth reading at least once, both for the characters and story themselves and to understand the innumerable references to it that pop up elsewhere.

 

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Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE

tsubasaMangaka: CLAMP/Translators: Anthony Gerard & William Flanagan

My rating: 5 of 5

Syaoran and Princess Sakura encounter a mysterious phenomenon while exploring some ancient ruins–a phenomenon that causes Sakura to lose her memories and fall into a deep sleep. Desperately, they are sent to Yuuko, the time-space witch, who tells them they must travel the worlds to find Sakura’s memory-feathers. They are joined by the enigmatically smiling wizard Fai (who’s wish is to avoid returning home) and the darkly surly samurai Kurogane (who’s wish is to return home). Yuuko provides them with a fifth traveling companion, the white fur ball Mokona,  who gives them the ability to travel between different worlds. As these companions travel between worlds, pursuing their separate goals, they find their fates more and more intertwined to the point that one has to wonder if it could possibly be chance–or is it, as Yuuko would say, hitsuzen?

This is probably my favorite manga ever, for numerous reasons. The plotline is intricate and well executed; it’s a pleasure to experience each new revelation (although it might take a few reads through to grasp the finer points of the plot). Moreover, the art (as is typical of CLAMP’s work) is absolutely gorgeous. The vast variety of worlds the travelers visit allows the writers a multitude of opportunities to let their artistic imaginations go wild, with breathtaking results. There’s a great sense of wonder expressed in the art of Tsubasa. However, the thing that most attracts me to the story is the characters. (Frankly, I can’t read this manga in public for fear of scaring someone by fangirling out loud!) I love Fai’s fake whistles and pet names for Kurogane, Kuro-tan’s overblown reactions, Syaoran’s earnestness, Sakura’s determination (and drunken meowing–too funny!), and Mokona’s 108 secret techniques. I also find it fun that CLAMP draws in so many beloved (or hated) characters from their other works.  Tsubasa is a wonderful manga that comes with my highest recommendations.

Note: This is a fun omake–CLAMP stuck Miyuki from Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland in practically every world the travelers visit. Can you find her?

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