Volume 8 sees the long awaited conclusion to the ‘Infinity’ arc with the biggest battle the senshi have faced so far. Naoko Takeuchi doesn’t hold back in this one; the entire planet is in danger, ready to be swallowed by this huge entity from another galaxy, buildings are ripping apart, and there seems to be little that the senshi can do. It doesn’t pull any of the tricks from the previous arcs; the senshi combine their powers but it’s still not enough to save everyone, and love doesn’t always conquer all this time. It all comes down to the awakening of the infamous Sailor Saturn to destroy the enemy and Earth along with it. It seems all hope is lost, and Naoko does a fantastic job of building up the tension and fear, making the whole battle feel huge and epic. It’s also great to see all the senshi playing a part in the battle, including Tuxedo Mask and Chibi-Usa receiving powers upgrades as it all leads to a grand finale.
If the series had concluded with this arc, it would have been a great note to end on. But the second half of this book is actually the start of the new arc, the ‘Dream’ (or in anime terms, SuperS) arc. Just as the senshi start High School and Chibi-usa is ready to go home, the solar eclipse brings in the Dead Moon Circus which rolls into town and Chibi-Usa makes contact with a mysterious Pegasus who seems to want her help to save his world. But can he be trusted? And what is the Dead Moon Circus? The last few chapters open up the new arcs on a comical note and end without much development, leaving enough questions about the new enemy hanging around ready for the new book. The opening of the new arc however does make the impact of the previous battle suddenly deflate. With a turn of a page we go from a world-threatening alien enemy to clowns suddenly rolling into town? It pales in comparison, and even the comedy falls a bit flat in places. However, it’s nice to see the characters evolving with their experiences; Mamoru is suspicious of the circus suddenly arriving in town, echoing the reader’s thoughts, and seeing Chibi-Usa’s character growing in maturity is nice too, even if her mother isn’t maturing in the same manner.
Volume 8 doesn’t disappoint; the Infinity arc conclusion is well handled, and seeing all the Sailor senshi together is great. Even though the heightened emotions suddenly deflate with the opening of the next story and the art is still a little iffy in places, no Sailor Moon fan should pass on this volume.