Manic Manga: Code Name wa Sailor V

Code Name wa Sailor V

 

TitleCode Name wa Sailor V
Alternate Titles: Кодовое имя: Сейлор Ви, コードネームはセーラーV, 美少女戰士·前傳, Code Name: Sailor V
Author & Artist: Takeuchi Naoko
Year: 1991
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
Volumes: 03 Volumes (Complete), 02 Volumes (Omnibus)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Description:
Like Sailor Moon, Minako Aino is a normal 13-year old schoolgirl until a fateful day when a white cat introduces himself to her and tells her she has the power to transform into the hero, Sailor V. Using a magical pen to transform, Sailor V fights the evil agents of the Dark Agency as she strives to protect the earth. All information come from Manga Updates. This blog post will contain spoilers so please read after the cut if you’ve already read this manga.

This manga is the prequel to the all-famous franchise. Originally, it was supposed to be only a oneshot but Naoko decided to continue it as “Sailor Moon”.

But is it any good? Is it really worth the read to learn about Sailor Venus’s origins and why she managed to get Artemis?

Well, you won’t really miss much if you don’t. The manga was only supposed to be a oneshot after all, and it shows.

The battles itself are really episodic and really formulaic – Minako nearly falls into a villain’s trap where they’re to get human energy by manipulating means and she defeats them. Artemis tries to motivate her and Minako is rather mean towards him and all the while trying her best to avoid responsibility. She doesn’t relate as well as Usagi would later but it’s still rather enjoyable as Minako and Usagi are pretty alike.

Boy-crazy, bad grades in school, a ton of friends, but Minako’s way more athletic and way more into idols than Usagi. Minako, at least, takes her job seriously by the end when her memories of the past returned to her and takes things better in stride.

When Artemis first shows up and gives Minako the power to become Sailor V, she just accepts it although she does say that she never said it was okay from time to time.

There is a sub-plot where the police wants to stop her from doing vigilante work (although, the superintendent general is a huge Sailor V fan and would rather recruit her) but it doesn’t really go anywhere other than mishaps here and there.

In the later chapters, they’re cast aside but Sailor V does join up in the end for part time, so I guess it worked for them in the end.

As for the art, it’s still very her unique style but there are a few problems in this manga, even though it’s an early work:

  • The character models look almost exactly like the Senshi (although they do appear here and there as a teaser of what’s to come) and other side characters from “Sailor Moon”.
  • Sometimes, Minako doesn’t even look like a middle school student (except for when she’s in disguise) – she either looks too old or too young. It’s rather jarring.
  • Scenes are a little hard to tell – when things are serious, it can take the reader out when there’s chibis and it’s hard to tell if there’s certain scenes meant to be taken seriously or not. It’s a little hard to understand what’s going on in between scenes and even pages because of how mixed up everything is.
  • The anatomy of the characters are off. Sometimes it just looks downright weird!

Granted, as mentioned before, this is her early work so hopefully it’s improved in her other manga. It is a little annoying, though, with all the side notes everywhere. Sometimes I would have to spend a little too much time on the page just to make sure I got every piece of text that’s on there. If there was a need for extra dialogue, though, it would have been better off using that for more exposition on Minako’s position.

For a prequel, it’s fine. It’s not really a must-read but if you’ve always wondered where Minako got her iconic red ribbon, how she became Sailor V, and to read some of her adventures, then it’s fun. It gets a little boring with the episodic fights and the clones of the “Sailor Moon” characters but if that doesn’t bother you at all, then sure – go right ahead and pick this up!

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