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Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 6 by Naoko…

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 6 (2004)

by Naoko Takeuchi (Author)

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Yay, so in Sailor Moon volume 6 we finally get to meet my two favourite characters - Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune! I'm so happy! Yeah, excuse me while I geek out and fangirl over them!

Haruka and Michiru are students at the new and sinister Mugen Academy - an elite institution that teaches everything from kindergarten to post-grad university programs and boasts famous students and world renowned faculty members . . . though their founder, the scientist Tomoe, is known as something of an eccentric and was "ousted" from his original academic circles.

Haruka is one of the top Japanese race car drivers, while the beautiful Michiru is a talented violinist. When they first meet, Haruka appears male and seems to identify as male, at least in certain crowds. However, he/she also sometimes appears as a woman. Haruka's androgyny is carried over to her Guardian form, as she appears as either Sailor Uranus or a Tuxedo Mask-type figure. She is really interesting - Haruka and Michiru are definitely a couple, that's established within the first few pages of meeting them. Sometimes Haruka appears to be a female-to-male transgendered person, other times she appears definitely as a woman, a lesbian, defying categorization.

The first time Usagi sees Uranus in her Sailor Guardian persona (female) she full-on kisses Usagi on the mouth! my little lesbian heart did cartwheels! Also, Usagi-chan (despite Mamoru being her "one true love") is attracted to Haruka, as well. This seems to go back to the first volume where I think she had a crush on Rei. Honestly, I think the argument could be made that (manga version) Usagi is bisexual - and I love it!

LT user makaiju used the term "Uranism" in her review, which I was not aware was an old term for homosexuality. I think it's really fascinating that Naoko-sama obviously did know that, and so tied it into the character of Sailor Uranus in a really significant way.

There's just no expressing how much I love Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. When I was a kid, watching the DIC Americanized dub on television, I never would have imagined there were characters like this waiting for me later in the series. Of course, the American version of the cartoon did their best to ruin it, but by that time I was watching the uncut subtitled Japanese versions anyway ;) Part of me wishes someone else would re-do the English dub of the anime, though, so that other little girls (and boys!) could have role models this awesome on North American TV. ( )
  catfantastic | Oct 13, 2013 |
Usagi and her friends are finally living normal lives, hanging out at the local arcade after school and preparing to take their high school entrance exams. However, dark stirrings at a mysterious complex called Mugenzu [infinity sandbank] threaten to interrupt the peace of Tokyo. Mugenzu is the home of the acclaimed Mugen Academy, a school known for its star-studded enrollment. Two of its students attract the attention of Sailor Moon: Haruka Ten’ô and Michiru Kaiô. Haruka is a handsome race car driver and Michiru is a renowned violinist – both are rising celebrities in their respective fields. Sailor Moon’s interest is for an entirely different reason – she suspects the two students of being two new planetary guardians! But if these two are truly Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, why didn’t Sailor Moon or the other warriors know about them? Where did they come from, and what secrets are they hiding?

This volume of Sailor Moon introduces two of the most controversial figures in the franchise’s history: Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. The two characters are lovers, and they probably would have been the first exposure of many kids in my generation to homosexual characters on TV - had the American producers not decided to explain away the two characters’ affection as the result of their being “cousins”. Back in 2000, when the American dub first aired on Cartoon Network, superhero lesbians just weren’t happening. The fan outcry to this change is always the first thing I remember when I think about these characters, even though I never watched the dubbed version of their episodes, and their relationship was never rewritten in the manga.

The androgyny of Haruka, the ‘masculine’ half of the couple, is really played up in the manga. The character appears as both male and female, depending on the scene, and it’s not merely a matter of switching from a square-shouldered blazer to a deep-cut, cleavage-exposing neckline. Haruka’s physical shape changes so dramatically that her male and female appearance can’t be the same person – the waist, shoulders, etc. simply don’t match in size. Takeuchi has said that she intentionally drew the character this way, with physically different ‘male’ and ‘female’ forms. It’s an interesting way to tie the character to the ‘third gender’ found in some theories of homosexuality, including Uranism – named for the same Greek sky god as the planet. I don’t think I made that connection at all when I read this as a teenager, but it really stood out to me as I re-read the story.

The villains have become even more cardboard-like than ever before. The members of the Witches 5, as the current crop of baddies is called, are apparently trying to ‘level up’ so that they can communicate directly with their master, Pharaoh 90. (Like a video game?) Like all standard Sailor Moon villains, they seek human energy/souls/vitality and serve a greater, more powerful boss, but beyond that we know nothing. This is the trouble of Takeuchi’s never-ending parade of wicked beings: they appear and disappear so quickly that after a certain point, they cease to matter. I remember this being less of a problem in the anime, which had the luxury of time and was able to develop the various bad guys to a much deeper level. ( )
3 vote makaiju | Sep 23, 2012 |
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Do not combine the original print with the shinsouban. The original print for Sailor Moon has 18 volumes and the reprints (shinsouban: 新装版) have the chapters regrouped to complete in 12 volumes. Volume 6 for the original print contains Acts 20-22, while Volume 6 for the shinsouban contains Acts 27-30.
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Two new Guardians appear who may have something to do with the strange occurrences at Mugen Academy, and the Sailor heroes face off against new enemies while defending the world.

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