Volume 11 begins the Stars arc, where at first it seems like evil has been defeated and the Sailor Guardians can at last begin to enjoy their lives on Earth, such as going to see the concert for the hot new idols, the Three Lights. Except when Usagi goes to see Mamoru off to school in America, the wicked Shadow Galaxia steals him away and blocks Usagi’s memories. Fortunately, it seems that the Three Lights are actually the Sailor Starlights, who serve Princess Kakyu of the Tamkei Kingdom on Planet Kinmoku. And while Chibiusa has returned to her home in the future, the mysterious Chibichibi has come to take her place in the Tsukino home and as a Sailor Guardian. Now the Sailor Guardians of the Solar System must join forces with Sailor Chibichibi, Princess Kakyu and the Sailor Starlights to defeat Shadow Galaxia and save the entire Milky Way galaxy from darkness and destruction.
Volume 12 completes the story of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, with the final battle for the universe taking place between Sailor Moon and Sailor Galaxia, as the representatives of Order and Chaos, in the Sagittarius Zero-Star, the birthplace of heavenly bodies and of the star seeds that create the Sailor Guardians. With all of her friends lost, Sailor Moon must sacrifice everything except hope to save her loved ones and the entire Milky Way.
In these last two volumes we venture beyond the Solar System and learn that there are Sailor Guardians everywhere, and that the Sailor Guardians we know are only a small drop in a very large sisterhood, although even among many Sailor Moon stands out as a Guardian of great power. Eternal Sailor Moon will one day become Sailor Cosmos, who balances the entire universe. The Sailor Guardians return even from death, since their love and friendship is stronger than anything. The final book ends with the wedding of Usagi and Mamoru, and the knowledge that their daughter will be born soon, and they can finally begin to recreate the Moon Kingdom of the Silver Millennium.
It’s been nice finally being able to read the whole story through in the original version for myself. I’d only seen the English dubbed anime before, and the storyline is similar but there are differing details (for example, making Sailors Uranus and Neptune ‘cousins’, the usual American excuse when they don’t want to include a gay relationship (also see Achilles and Patroclus in Troy and Alexander and Hephaestion in Alexander)). Also, the Starsarc was never included in the English anime, so I’d never seen it before. I’ve had friends who liked anime, so I’ve seen images of some of the characters such as Chibiusa as the Dark Lady, but I didn’t know what happened. And the very worst thing you can do to a reader is not tell them the whole story.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is a wonderful story filled with that dreaded phrase, strong female characters. All of them have their own strengths and their own flaws, and their own dreams. What binds them together is their love and loyalty to one another and to Usagi, their Princess Serenity, a love that even defies death. Mamoru as Usagi’s love interest never tries to stop her from fighting, only promises to fight with her at her side. In fact, he needs rescuing much more often that Usagi does, without merely becoming a dude in distress.
I’m sure that there are some details in the story that I missed, even with the help of the translation notes, due to my unfamiliarity with Japanese culture. I got used to turning the pages backwards, but I still sometimes have trouble reading the speech bubbles in order. However, the art is lovely, even though it is mostly printed in black and white, though there are a few of the coloured prints that I wouldn’t mind having blown up and framed. All in all, a great story with great art and characters. Now when are the volumes of Sailor Moon short stories due out again?…