With the inner senshi having all graced the manga covers and introduced into the story for a while now, it’s time to meet new senshi along with a new threat in town. The local new school, Mugen Academy, is becoming famous worldwide for housing brilliantly intelligent students, but at the same time however it seems that people in town are randomly ‘de-evolving’ into monster forms. If that wasn’t enough, the famous violinist Michiru Kaiô and race car driver Haruka Ten’ô have suddenly arrived in the area, along with two new Sailor Senshi – can the two beautiful new faces in town possibly be the new guardians? Or do they have anything in common with the new enemy that arrived at the same time?
Volume 6 starts the new ‘Infinity’ saga (or in anime terms, ‘S’ arc) of Sailor Moon, also known as the darker arc of the series with themes of world destruction, sacrifice and human experimentation mixed in. The main focus of volume 6 however is the introduction of Sailor Uranus and Neptune plus their civilian forms; they make a grand entrance into the series, literally with their own helicopters, and provide one of the many mysteries in this book. One minute they’re charming, the next they’re warning the other senshi to stay away from the academy. They do steal all of the scenes they’re in, and the build-up to the reveal of them in their senshi outfits is handled well. Haruka especially gets a few good scenes with Usagi, showing a tender side to her masculine exterior and a few ‘up close’ panels that yuri fans will no doubt enjoy. There are also a few panels where Sailor Chibi-Moon is in the spotlight, proving to have more character depth than the spoilt brat persona we first met in the previous arc. It’s also a nice addition to have Minako make a reference to her Sailor V series with her compact mirror.
Volume 7 kicks the story into full gear when Hotaru’s identity and poor condition come to light. Sailor Pluto then awakens on Earth just in time for Uranus and Neptune to reveal the purpose of the three talismans. The re-introduction and reveal of Sailor Pluto is a little bit rushed, barely explaining her rebirth after we last saw her in the previous arc, but that doesn’t make her appearance any less grand when standing alongside the other senshi, forming an almost complete picture. The larger team can make the panels seem very crowded but Naoko Takeuchi does a good job of separating teams; the inner senshi and outer senshi have different strengths in battle, but come together to actually plan their attacks towards the climatic battle rather than just charging in like they usually do. Annoyingly, the book ends just as the REAL battle is about to begin, making the wait for the release of the next book unbearable, but with so much happening in one volume it’s understandable. Faults with the overall story are similar to those found earlier in the series: the plot moves at a brisk pace, jumping from one place to another in a matter of panels with no explanation at all, leaving little to no time for character development. Also, the inner senshi seem to make silly decisions that send them straight to Mugen Academy, despite them all agreeing it’s the enemy base, just for them to get weakened by the enemy – all for the purpose of giving them a panel or two to themselves.
Art is still a highlight of the series with the glossy coloured pages at the beginning of each book being especially gorgeous, but in a few panels I noticed that hands and wrists were being drawn oddly. Including one picture where I’m sure Michiru’s fingers looked broken and bent backwards, clashing with the elegance of her pose.
Seven volumes in and the series is still going strong; the introduction of the new senshi keeps things fresh, and with the threat to the soldiers getting bigger and bolder, the story is far from boring. No reason why Sailor Moon fans would stop now, obviously non-fans shouldn’t start here but at least you’ll know there’s plenty of action to come.