Manga Review: Codename: Sailor V Volume Two

Codename: Sailor V Volume Two is a manga written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi, and it is the prequel to the Sailor Moon manga series. Kodansha Comics has the North American distribution rights for the manga, and the company released their English adaptation of this manga volume in 2011.

Codename: Sailor V Volume 2
Written by: Naoko Takeuchi
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: November 15, 2011

Codename: Sailor V focuses on Minako Aino, an outspoken and boy crazy 13-year-old middle school student. In the first volume, Minako meets a talking cat named Artemis, and learns that she has an alter ego called “Sailor Venus.” As Sailor Venus, Minako has the mission to protect the Earth in the name of her guardian planet, Venus. Artemis gives Minako a crescent shaped moon compact, as well as a magical pen that allows Minako to transform into Sailor Venus.

There’s definitely a major difference between the storytelling in the first volume and this volume. While the first volume contained stories that were written in such a way that they followed a predictable formula, Volume Two doesn’t rely on this nearly as much. While the Dark Agency is still around, they aren’t the sole enemy to appear in this volume.

The first story does involve the Dark Agency, but instead of luring people with teen idols, they initially lure them with chocolate so they gain weight, but then open up a weight loss spa to trick people into thinking they’re losing weight, but all that’s really happening is that the Dark Agency is sucking out the power. After Sailor V rescues everyone, a new character enters the story: a mysterious guy who wears a mask and calls himself Phantom Ace.

Phantom Ace becomes a new sensation, and he has a television show. After Phantom Ace comments that he feels any woman has it within her to be beautiful, his female fans want to become more beautiful. A new business called Fashion Building Heroine opens up to cash in on this frenzy, and of course the Dark Agency is involved. As part of their regimen, they hypnotize the girls to want to destroy Sailor V. This story becomes very important, because the Inspector General of the police department ends up discovering Sailor V’s true identity.

After this, there’s a three-part arc that doesn’t feature the Dark Agency as the antagonists. Each part features one of three siblings going up against Sailor V, and each one has a name related to animals; each sibling dresses to look like the animal their name represents. The first one is based on a cat, and she uses cats to try to suck away the humans’ energy. The second one is based on a dog and uses dogs to try and suck people’s energy; this story also features Minako being brought in to help a mangaka get her popular shojo manga chapters out in time. The third one is based on a mosquito, and sets up a blood bank to collect blood to feed her mosquitoes. I have to say that of all the stories that appear in Volume Two, these three are definitely the strangest. In some respects, it almost made me wish they were stories featuring the Dark Agency as the antagonists instead.

The next story in Volume Two is, in my opinion, probably the best story to appear between the two volumes of Codename: Sailor V. In this one, Minako meets a boy in her class named Maiku Otonaru who has a heart condition and can’t compete in sports like the others; however, he is scheduled to have surgery and dreams to be able to participate in athletics. His family owns a karaoke club, and the Dark Agency pants microphones into the karaoke clubs all over town, and the microphones drain away the user’s energy. It becomes personal for Minako when Otonaru becomes one of the victims.

The last story is a two-part story arc that ultimately reveals the identity of the head of the Dark Agency. It also sets the stage for the beginning of the Sailor Moon manga series.

After reading both volumes of the Codename: Sailor V manga, I still have to say that I can only truly recommend these two volumes to readers who are already fans of the Sailor Moon manga that want to know the establishing story that leads up to Usagi discovering that she is Sailor Moon. More casual fans of Sailor Moon, as well as readers who have not read Sailor Moon prior to reading Codename: Sailor V, may not enjoy these two volumes quite as much.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Codename: Sailor V Volume Two that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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