Well ahead now, but thoughts from my recent blind trip through Act 25:
I love that the all-cast illustration preceding the chapter in the Kanzenban doesn’t help clarify anything. Also, I was a bit confused by Chibiusa’s two classmates appearing here, as the Kanzenban saves their introduction for the back of the volume.
Pluto’s sacrifice takes up a huge chunk of the chapter, and I think it makes an effective bit of tension and pay-off for her small arc of frustration over not being able to more directly help. Also a fitting way to restore Chibiusa to normal.
Then again, I don’t know how … great the message about hugs and kisses not being the only proofs of affection are, versus watching over and thinking of someone from afar, if Chibiusa is saying she never gets that kind of physical affection from her parents. They aren’t exactly stranded far away from her. They all live in the same castle.
The spatial distortions caused by the encroaching Nemesis as it attempts to destroy them are petty funky.
I wondered if Demande mightn’t get some moment of redemption, but he’s dispatched rather bitter and crazed as he attempts to take everyone out before Nemesis has the pleasure. Ah well. He didn’t deserve anything else.
Nemesis/Death Phantom drawing them all into its core to provide access to its weakness is a bit baffling, but somewhat alleviated by revelations next chapter (or rather, later in the same chapter, in earlier releases). Plus maybe—ignoring “next chapter’s” revelation—he was simply overconfident in his ability to absorb the Silver Crystal from there. Orrrr … I guess I can speak more about how to make sense of these scenes after everyone’s through the content for next week.
On a side note, the official SM YouTube channel has been uploading episodes of the '90s anime, so I watched the first episode of S earlier, as that’s the arc I’m in in the manga. It is … jarring.
Upcoming digital-only full-color Kanzenban release announced. No date visible, but volumes 1 and 2 will go on sale soon. Confirmation that they align with the Kanzenban comes from another photo downthread. Given how quickly digital colored editions tend to come out in Japan, it’s actually possible they’ll outpace this thread and become another reading option for it.
I feel like every time I buy Sailormoon, it’s outdated in a few years… (Bought shinsouban, here’s kanzenban. Bought kanzenban, here’s colorban…)
I know Naoko’s touched up the artwork from release to release, but sometimes it feels like she got bored with it and skipped a bunch of things that could be improved, then she starts it back up again a bit later on. (It can be a bit jarring when Mercury’s hair is redone in a lot of panels, and then the original art for several pages.)
I wonder if she’s doing the color for these, or if there’s a separate team that specifically does this.
I think I’ll let my physical copies end with the kanzenban, but I’ll probably get the color ones digital for a re-read in a few years.
Edit: The covers shown there remind me of the covers of the Saint Tail re-release, in that it’s clearly not even trying to resemble the original artist’s style. In other words, I’m wondering if Naoko has any involvement at all on it. Would love to know more if anyone happens across a link with info (even if in Japanese).
Could this be the end of the Black Moon arc already? It feels like only a short while ago that it began.
Notice: In the tankoubon release, this the second half of 「Act.23 再生—NEVER ENDING」.
This Act appears in the following releases:
Tankoubon vol. 7
Shinsouban vol. 5
Kanzenban vol. 4
This is the final Act in the ShinsoubanKanzenban volumes. The next story arc begins next week in Shinsouban volume 6 and Kanzenban volume 5.
There are two side-stories appears in Kanzenban volume 4. These are not part of the scheduled reading, but it never hurts to read them when you feel up to it. It’s a good chance to get to know Chibiusa and Rei a little better. (I’ll probably read them a little here and there after finishing the current week’s Act until I complete the two side stories.)
Here are the titles of these first two side-stories, and which volume each appears in:
ちびうさ絵日記 第１話 転校生にご用心！
Short Stories Volume 1
Short Stories Volume 2
I didn’t even realize that this short story already appeared in the tankoubon release!
I’m reading along (ready for Act.26)
I’m taking my time (still on an earlier Act)
I’ve gone on ahead (Act.27 and beyond)
I’m no longer reading this series
You can always change your answer later if you’d like.
I don’t want to keep being the only person to respond to new chapters, but…
(Again, based on scrolling back through, since I’m quite aways ahead now and haven’t been pacing myself at all):
On first read, I thought Sailor Moon had genuinely defeated Nemesis at the end of last chapter, based on the way this one starts, and was let down by what felt like an anti-climax. I was glad when, a little way into this batch of pages, it was revealed she had been whisked away to the actual planet for the final confrontation.
On that note, though, a lot of what’s actually happening with Nemesis in the climax is … not particularly clear. The “Nemesis” that threatened everyone last chapter was merely an illusion of the Black Crystal, but … does that mean they weren’t truly in danger? Was the power of the Black Crystal itself still threatening to warp space around them and crush them, even in if the planet wasn’t truly there? Why/how were they apparently sucked into the planet’s core? The only sense I can make of it is that drawing them in like that facilitated Sailor Moon’s transfer to the actual planet somehow, but uh … your guess is as good as mine. Oh well!
After Chibiusa says everything is her fault for attempting to take the Silver Crystal, Neo Queen Serenity assures her it isn’t, but … Is it, actually, in terms of causation? Story unclear on this. Was the appearance of the Black Moon clan as soon as Chibiusa took the crystal merely a coincidence, or did it give them their in?
Usagi reaching into Mamoru’s chest and pulling out what she calls a “newborn light,” only for it to immediately turn into a superhero, is a page to make Grant Morrison blush.
Sailor Moon and Chibiusa striking the final blow together (with emotional support from Mamoru) is a fitting end to the arc.
I’m not even going to try to begin to make heads or tails of Sailor Moon’s time-travel, especially given later events, but the end of the arc does seem to establish that an idea of different futures/split timelines, as Neo Queen Serenity and Sailor Moon throw caution to the wind by meeting each other, despite both musing that such an encounter shouldn’t take place for the proper flow of history. Though, really, the main plot of the arc itself should already have established an idea of branching histories. Ah well. It doesn’t get any clearer from here, and in fact gets substantially worse.
Sailor Moon and Neo Queen Serenity meeting is a good moment for the series’ prominent coming-of-age themes, which have emerged front-and-center this arc.
The ending of the chapter with Chibiusa’s good-bye is surprisingly touching! While I predicted her sudden return, I didn’t expect the joke of her having volunteered present-day Usagi and Mamoru to train her on their behalf.
On ending scenes with Mamoru: I think that, for now, Usagi finding the courage to face her future obligations in the form of Mamoru’s support is a nice, sincere way to acknowledge the very real role of loved ones–significant others or otherwise–in allowing individuals to stand up to the tasks before them, and incorporate their relationship into the book’s coming-of-age metaphors. However, the extent to which this can be read as Usagi finding strength only through the presence of a significant other, at the cost of individual resolve, is perhaps a bit suspect, and led me to actually hoping for a temporary breakup or similar plotline to explore the ways in which this need not be the case. I’d like to see something which allows her to gain confidence independent of Mamoru, to the extent that he might be cherished but not needed, which seems like both a healthier message and relationship model. Something to keep an eye on in future chapters. As a completed character arc, it strikes me as iffy, but as a stepping stone in a continuing series, it may yet turn out fine. Even taken solely in context of the arc, it feels perfectly sincere and affecting–perhaps just not the best message to leave a young audience with.
Trying to understand the specifics of the space/time travel or even just everyone’s powers - both Senshi and their enemies of the week - just leaves me scratching my head every time, haha.
I think I thought the silver crystal being missing caused NQ Serenity to not be able to effectively fight off the invasion, at least. Of course it’s also possible that Nemesis sensed the disturbance/moment of weakness… or maybe even both…? I don’t know if this is still spoiler worthy, but.
On the page where Neo Queen Serenity addresses Mercury and the others, she claims sole responsibility. 「わたしの責任です」 She says she’s lost her power as a sailor guardian since she became queen, and she didn’t have the strong heart and courage needed to defeat Death Phantom. 「あの 暗黒の犯罪者 デス・ファントムを強い心と勇気を持って倒すことが出来なかった」
I understand this to mean she couldn’t defeat Death Phantom when he caused an uprising on Earth, resulting in him instead being sent to Nemesis. If Neo Queen Serenity was able to destroy him back then, then the recent events never would have happened.
Adding in my own thoughts on events, I fully expect Death Phantom was waiting for the right time to strike, and Chibiusa taking the Silver Crystal was that time. I wonder if Death Phantom was able to have any influence on the kids who picked on Chibiusa. (I don’t recall seeing anything that would necessarily suggest that.)
I’m simply doing my best to maintain suspension of disbelief. Time is broken. Rather than the meeting of Usagi and Neo Queen Serenity (something not really any different than than Mamoru and King Endymion meeting), I’d say Sailormoon losing her transformation brooch, then being given a brand new one, alongside the other guardians being given new transformation abilities, can only change the past’s future.
When the future selves of Mercury and the others were shown earlier in the arc, I took notice of their sailor outfits matching their regular transformations. Granted, at the time Naoko Takeuchi likely had no idea how long the series would run and didn’t know she would give them different transformations. But since Neo Queen Serenity powers up their transformations in the last Act of the story arc, it feels like she’s just going all out on changing the past. (And that’s not even mentioning sending the moon scepter back in time.)
My thoughts on this are going to be a bit colored by some of the various Sailormoon adaptations that came out later, but one key theme I see is depending on others. Most of the characters start out rather alone (Ami with no friends; Makoto without her parents and transferring schools; Rei’s parental situation), and their strength is working joining forces and working together.
I keep wanting to write more, but end up not getting around to it. Perhaps that should be an area of focus for me going into the next arc: force myself to write something after each reading session. I may even find I didn’t understand something as well as I thought, giving me the opportunity to review it.
On S.5.212, Death Phantom uses 惑星. Previously, only 星 was used (in the sense of planet) I think. Or would we say Nemesis is a star? Anyway, what’s the difference between 星 and 惑星? Is it just more selective?
I hadn’t even noticed the difference in words used, but now I’m curious.
星 is defined as 「晴れた夜空に点々と光って見える天体。」 Essentially, a celestial body that can be seen as a glowing dot in a clear night sky. This would include stars and planets.
惑星 is defined as 「太陽など恒星の周りを回り、球状をなすほど十分に重く、その軌道の近くに、衛星でない他の天体が無い天体。」 Essentially, a celestial body that orbits a star (such as the sun), massive enough to form a sphere (like a planet), and…something about having only satellites orbiting near it? (Not certain about that last part.)
Considering this, I wonder if perspective plays into it. If Nemesis is something distant, a twinkle in the sky to to speak, perhaps 星 would make more sense to use? But because Death Phantom’s point of perspective was on Nemesis itself, it wouldn’t make sense to use 星.
I’m currently back to reading Sailor moon, yay! And I will at least finish off the black moon story arc before thinking of picking up something else (perhaps along side). I am finding that I’m interested in reading something that have very few look ups and Sailor moon is not quite it currently, because they never seem to spend time in school at the moment (just started act 19). I have a few other mangas that might be easier just by not having any magical setting stuff. I’ll see when I finish the black moon arc.
Anyway, just finished act 18, and it was nice that Venus didn’t get kidnapped. Nice twist after the others were all kidnapped in the chapters (partly) named after them. At least I understand it as kidnapped. I don’t know if I’m missing something or not, but I haven’t quite figured out what the baddies are doing with them. Apparently they don’t age because the moon crystal (can’t remember if that is what it is called in English…) is protecting them? If I understood a previous conversation correctly from an earlier act.
Also to note, I haven’t read through the whole thread because I wanted to avoid some spoilers. So I’ve only read about half the thread, more specifically to when @ChristopherFritz posted the act 21 reading starts post.
I’m finally back to reading Sailor Moon. Man, my relationship with this series feels so complicated. Nostalgia from watching anime waaaay back when I was a kid. And then my experience with the manga were the story often feel rushed (well the first half of each arc I’ve read so far have felt very rushed). And whenever the enemy talks among themselves or monologue, I get so lost because I basically know one word in 5.
Anyway, chapter 22 (Kanzenban). I couldn’t remember who was who among the enemy so like that was a bit confusing, but I didn’t feel like going back to when they got introduced to figure it out. Didn’t really affect the story, so leaving it for now.
So… Sexy Chibiusa? That is kinda wild.
Tuxedo mask (can’t remember if that is what he is called in English) just running off after chibiusa without even getting a key is more rash than he usually is. But needed for plot, I guess. (Will we see evil Tuxedo mask again?)
The evil monologue felt very superfluous. But maybe that was because I understood about 10% of it. Every time I did lookups to see if I was missing vital parts, it didn’t feel like it.
Learning about the phantom, very juicy stuff. And I didn’t know the Queen wasn’t allowed to kill humans. Seems not doing it in this case created this whole problem. (My speculation)
Really enjoyed that I can easily follow what Usagi thinks and says easily. I don’t know if that was the case when I finished off volume 3 (kanzenban) last year. (Yeah, I took almost a year away, wonder why I can’t remember who’s who among the enemy? ) But probably about the same. Although I’ve gotten some more practice the last couple of months, so maybe not as easily.
So there it is. My act 22 impressions. Not sure how quickly I’m planing to finish of this story arc nor if I’ll take a break after finishing it or not. Time will tell. But later part of story arcs are probably the best parts of Sailor Moon because the story gets less rushed.
@ChristopherFritz I hit reply from your post about the chapter when I wrote my reply yesterday (maybe to link it to that part of the thread? That might have been my reasoning), and I wondered if that bothered you? Considering I’ll probably be writing up little comments and such on each chapter as I read them, I thought I’d ask before I’ve pinged you many more times.
Act 23 (Kanzenban) now read. If I wasn’t so hungry for lunch, I would totally have continued reading.
Did Chibiusa really kiss her future father? I’m… speechless. Yikes and blergh?
And that is like my one big thing from the chapter. Also liked the king’s pleading/talking with the queen, and how Diana made him feel better. #catsFTW
Also from act 22, I never caught why Sapphire started trying to kill Sailor Moon instead of keeping her alive (I think the bad guys wanted her alive?). But that was also a section with a ton of words I didn’t know, and I ended up only looking up some. I remember the verb for being crazy/going crazy was used a lot in that section. Was he mad Sailor Moon had killed the other Black Moon people and kinda lost his mind?
So yeah, kinda excited to keep reading to see how this arc ends. Although I think I have a few chapters yet to come to reach that point! (3 chapters left in the arc)
If I remember right, the first Back to the Future movie happened to have a scene like this.
If I remember correctly, he blames her for enchanting his brother, a problem that would certainly just “go away” if Sailormoon was gone. (I don’t recall how much he said outright versus what I read into it.)
Most relevant dialogue.
Three sounds like so few left to read, yet this series has such long chapters!