Narutaki & Hisui VS. 2011

We are here on the red carpet in scenic Brooklyn for the 5th annual Reverse Thieves Anime and Manga Awards. All the stars are here and decked out in their finest. There has already been a bit of drama outside before the awards tonight. We saw Hayao Miyazaki punch out Gendo Ikari over a seating dispute. Then one of the K-ON! girls was seen with a male escort which raised a few eyebrows and possibly caused several suicides. There were also some red faces when Sheryl Nome and Ciel Phantomhive showed up in the same dress. But all that aside we are gathered here today to look back and praise the best and the brightest while scorning the foul beasts that waste our precious time. The viewing audience at home is also encouraged to send in their own votes to see how they stack up to the votes of the academy.

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Manga of the Month: Codename Sailor V

Codename Sailor V (コードネームはセーラーV) by Naoko Takeuchi

Any Sailor Moon fan will tell you that it was a long-time wish for Codename Sailor V to get an English translation. It is so special to us because Sailor V is a character that appears in Sailor Moon but has a much larger back story that most of us couldn’t actually read. Sailor V is a legendary warrior already in the Sailor Moon series and her exploits (and video games) are often mentioned. And again alongside Sailor Moon it is a title that helped transform the magical girl genre. Beyond that though, it is a fun adventure for anyone with a young heart. No deep Sailor Moon knowledge needed since it comes before, too.

Codename Sailor V follows 14-year-old Minako who becomes a champion of justice, somewhat against her will, thanks to a talking cat named Artemis. She battles dark forces in the town as they manipulate the masses through various schemes. Mina has great energy as a lead with a peppy and amusingly dramatic attitude. While her studies suffer as she’s more apt to play video games and daydream about idols, she excels in athletics. This makes the action scenes fun as she loves kicking baddies, literally. Sailor V also becomes something of an idol herself as the story goes on getting her own video game, fan club, and best of all police detective rival who vows to catch her. There is a plenty of humor which should be obvious and nothing gets incredibly serious but Mina does start to realize something bigger is going on. While all the incidents are tied to a deeper story, they are mostly quick adventures.

At only two volumes this is a great, quick read! It adds a little something extra for fans of Sailor Moon but can also entertain with its poppy fantasy. Of course if you want to know the bigger story you’ll have to pick up Sailor Moon next (like you weren’t going to anyway).

Ongoing Investigations: Case #143

It has been awhile since I saw Last Exile but overall I remember liking the series so I was eager to watch Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing. Right off the bat the series reminds you of one thing: Range Murata is definitely a lolicon. Any perusal of one of his Robot art books will remind you of that fact. So when Fam starts the series in her underwear and sleepwalking I am not exactly sure why people were SUPER surprised. It does set an odd precedent as the episodes I have seen since then never have that odd level of fan service again. Perhaps Gonzo thought this was putting their best foot forward but I think most people would disagree. Other than that poor choice it is mostly the Last Exile you remember. Apparently the prediction that moving to an abundant planet would stop the conflicts was optimistic thinking because it seems war had broken out again. But really without giant airship battles I don’t think people would be anywhere near as interested in Last Exile. Since the Guild is no more they don’t have the musket battles but in their place there are air pirates so you can get your Skies of Arcadia grove on. Fans of the original series will notice that Dio is alive and well. Still sort of loopy but definitely calmer. How exactly he survived after Last Exile has yet to be explained (if it will be explained at all.) After three episodes I have yet to make a firm decision on the series. It has a primarily female cast. While there are men the three main characters and primary focus are all young ladies. So that means no wading into harem territory like people accused the series of doing with Claus but it then does lend itself to the yuri subtext being in everything that the world of the pink ghetto casts. Fam and Giselle seem fine with Fam being the spunky one and Giselle being the quiet one. Millia is not only a princess but also a princess character and that means she can be a bit grating. The action has been pretty good so far and the plot has potential. But as far as I can tell the main villain’s problem seems to be that everyone is far too happy and he will not be having that which could lead to a very corny developments. I am interested enough to keep watching but still hesitant to give it a recommendation yet.

As many others did, when I got Sailor Moon vol. 1 I also got Codename Sailor V vol. 1. This was new to me, I knew about it of course and had looked at some of it, but never really got to read it. Having read Sailor Moon first of the two, it put me in the exact mood for the young girl fantasy that is Sailor V. The big difference between these two so far is that Sailor V is decidedly free of any serious romantic entanglements instead focusing on peppy Mina’s daily struggles with classes balanced with sometimes saving the world as a Sailor Guardian thanks to talking cat Artemis. Mina amuses me greatly in her slacker fashion which prefers video games and idols to studying and saving people. Since this is a primer for Sailor Moon you can obviously see a lot of Usagi in Mina but they are still different because Mina is very physically capable. This is also what makes her so fun as she loves kicking baddies once she is roped into caring. Sailor V also becomes something of a legendary icon as the story goes on getting her own video game, fan club, and even a police detective rival among other amusing things. Once she has been in action a while, Mina gets more serious and both her and readers start to wonder who is “the boss” and why Mina was chosen for this role. I am curious to see how this ties in swiftly to Sailor Moon.

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