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Belle's Bookshelf

"With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book..."

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What Maisie Knew
Henry James
My Friend the Enemy
Dan Smith
Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages
Guy Halsall
美少女戦士セーラームーン 1 [Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon 1] - Naoko Takeuchi This review and more are also on my blog, http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/I've been wanting to try manga for awhile so it's probably appropriate that my first foray into the genre was with Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, considering that Sailor Moon was my first experience with anime. While it's probably on the younger side for me these days, it was a non-intimidating way to break into manga, and still a lot of fun to read - especially coz it got bonus points for nostalgia.If you're not familiar with Sailor Moon (where were you in the 90s?!), it's about a young girl named Usagi (Serena in the US version of the anime) who discovers she's a guardian of the moon and the leader of a group of butt-kicking sailor scouts whose mission is to find and protect the "Legendary Silver Crystal" and the moon princess. Exactly what their background is and why this is their mission isn't explored in this volume, and the girls don't really question it themselves. But that's understandable, considering how much does happen within the pages; in quick succession, Usagi discovers Luna the talking cat and finds out she's Sailor Moon, locates Ami (Sailor Mercury), Rei (Sailor Mars) and Makato (Sailor Jupiter) and defeats a few of the nasty Kings of Heaven while she's at it. And let's not forget her many hate-fuelled encounters with Mamoru (a.k.a. Darien from the US anime) and her even more numerous love-driven interactions with his alter-ego, Tuxedo Mask.I have to say, I was surprised at just how quickly everything happened - while the manga was initially identical to the anime, the plot developed much more rapidly on the page than in the show, which I wasn't expecting. I didn't really miss the padding, though, coz, being familiar with the story, I was kinda impatient to get to the action. There's plenty in this volume, but the main focus is on setting up the characters and introducing important plot points. I'm keen to pick up the rest of the series to see how everything pans out (although I kinda sorta already know, but hey, it's a new way of experiencing the story - plus, NOSTALGIA!).Speaking of nostalgia - or perhaps lack thereof in this instance - I'd forgotten just how much of a whiny little so-and-so Serena Usagi is. It can get pretty annoying at times, although it does make her transformation into Sailor Moon all the more potent. My favourite character was definitely Rei; she's a straight-up biatch and it's awesome (though you'd think with all that meditating she'd be a bit calmer). I also enjoyed the fact that Tuxedo Mask is still a bit of a mystery and Usagi is unsure about whether he's a friend or foe; it kinda reminded me of the early days dynamic between Buffy and Angel (again, awesome).Of course, one of the big drawcards with Sailor Moon is that it's oh-so-pretty (it's right there in the title!). The girls fight evil, but they do so while looking fierce in every sense of the word. Their jewellery and cute accessories all turn into weapons, which is way cooler than anything Spiderman has to offer. The illos are exactly what you expect - super cute and fun, if a little overcrowded. I did find it a tad disconcerting to read right-to-left initially, but it doesn't take long to get used to, and the translation notes at the end were really insightful. By the time I finished reading, I felt, like, so cultured and shit. Yeah, from reading Sailor Moon. That's how awesome I am.**May or may not be sarcasm.