Manga Review: Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume One

Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume One is a manga by Naoko Takeuchi, and it was published in North America by Kodansha Comics in 2013. The volume has been rated “T” for ages 13 and up; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume 1
Written by: Naoko Takeuchi
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: September 10, 2013

As the name of this volume implies, this manga is a collection of short stories that feature the Sailor Moon characters. There are three stories that are included in “Chibi-Usa’s Picture Diary,” three stories that are included in “Exam Battle Stories,” and one story is included in “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Side Story.”

The first story in “Chibi-Usa’s Picture Diary” is called, “Beware of the Transfer Student.” This story sees Chibi-Usa transferring to Juban Elementary School; however, she is not the transfer student being referenced in the title. The transfer student is Lilica, the daughter of an ambassador who appears to be thin and frail. However, whenever a boy in the class offers to take her home, the boy disappears and doesn’t return to school the next day. Once day, when Chibi-Usa and come of her classmates go to take some homework to Liliana, they discover more than they bargained for.

This story ends up evolving into a typical Sailor Moon story, where an enemy is disguised as someone ordinary, and Sailor Moon and her friends accidentally learn the truth and have to fight the enemy. If you’ve read enough Sailor Moon, then you know what to expect from this story.

Next is, “Beware of Tanabata.” In this story, it’s Chibi-Usa and Usagi’s birthday. Mamoru buys a Sailor Moon watch being sold by a woman in a cloak, which he gives to Chibi-Usa as a birthday present. At school, she discovers that this has become a hot item with the other girls. This story is also set around Tanabata, a festival connected to the story of “The Princess and the Cowherd.” It turns out there’s more to the Sailor Moon watches than anyone realizes, and Tanabata plays an important role in the story.

This story also ends up using the storytelling formula that’s been utilized in Sailor Moon. This time, an object is used by the enemy to get people to do what the enemy wants, and Sailor Moon and the others find out about it and have to fight the enemy. Again, if you’ve read enough Sailor Moon, you know what to expect from this story.

The next story is, “Beware of Cavities,” which sees Usagi and Chibi-Usa eating too many sweets and getting a cavity. A trip to the dentist ends up uncovering yet another plot, this time with an enemy using a dentist office to pull off their scheme. This is largely another typical Sailor Moon story; however, I found that this particular short story to be one of the stranger ones to be included in this volume.

Next is, “The Melancholy of Mako-chan.” Mako and the other high school Sailor Guardians are studying for their entrance exam. Unfortunately, Mako is more interesting in cooking, cleaning her house, and buying new things for her house than she is in studying. It turns out that there’s a villain that ties into Mako’s not wanting to study.

Next in the exam stories is, “Ami-chan’s First Love.” Ami has been taking mock exams and going to prep schools in order to try yo beat a person who is always tying with her. Ami uses the name “Mercury,” while the other person uses the name “Mercurius.” Ami becomes obsessed with beating Mercurius, and she also hopes to learn who Mercurius is. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s another villain involved in this story.

The final exam story is, “Rei’s and Minako’s Girls School Battle?” Minako becomes jealous of Rei, since she attends a different school than the other girls and Rei’s school is seen as a more prestigious place. When Rei tries to explain how boring her school is, Minako doesn’t believe it. Rei invites Minako to come undercover in order to experience it for herself. Unfortunately, a villain is able to penetrate the school and there’s another battle to fight.

The final story sees Chibi-Usa hanging out with two of her classmates, Naru and Ruruna. They speak like Valley Girls, and they also like to shop and cosplay. From the moment I saw these two, I had a hard time believing they are classmates of Chibi-Usa’s. I’m sorry, but these girls are rather tall and well-endowed for third graders. This alone already makes this particular story rather unbelievable. Hotaru joins them, and they visit a pawn shop the two shopaholics like to buy from. When loan sharks try to destroy the property, a demonic aura is released and another villain appears. By the time I finished reading this volume, I found this final story to be the strangest one that was included.

After reading Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume One, I came to the conclusion that this volume is being aimed at and will appeal a lot more to the die-hard Sailor Moon fans who want to read more adventures featuring Sailor Moon and her friends. Since I’m a more casual reader of Sailor Moon, I don’t think I enjoyed this as much as I could have, and I suspect other casual readers of the series may not get much out of it, either. Not that it’s necessarily bad, I just think that these short stories will mean more to the die-hard fans.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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