Saturday, July 14, 2012

Manga Review: Codename: Sailor V, Volume 2, by Naoko Takeuchi

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: KodanshaUSA
Volumes: 2 (in omnibus)

Goodreads Synopsis:

  Its Valentine’s Day and chocolates are being exchanged, but Minako Aino can’t decide if she wants a crush to give her chocolates to, or just to eat them all herself. If stress of Valentine’s Day wasn't already enough, now Sailor V has to contend with a chocolate shop fatting everyone up, and an evil spa draining people of their life force. It’s up to her to defeat the Dark Agency and their servant deVleene and maybe even find a Valentine of her own.


So this book took way too much time for me to get through. I started it around the same time I finished the last one (or, um, maybe a bit after), but then it took me quite a while to finally get around to reading all of it. Mostly I think it was because every chapter had a new villain that Sailor V had to go defeat, in which most of it was filler type stuff. That just doesn’t interest me enough.
I am glad that I finally got around to finishing it, though, particularly because the last two chapters had an actual plot and point. Honestly, the fact that Takeuchi decided to wait until the last two chapters to show me that she could actually write a story with plot and character development and a point, kind of infuriated me. I mean, I somewhat suffered through one and a half volumes before she showed that she could write something worthwhile.
And I was kind of suffering, too. I don’t know if it was just the mood I was in while reading it or something, but I was nitpicking almost everything that was happening. Not that I didn’t have reason to.
The first half, or maybe six chapters, in this volume were terrible. Dumb. Sailor V was shallow, as was every other chapter introduced. There was one chapter in particular, where a villain used chocolate to make everyone fat and then a spa or workout place to make them think that they were getting skinnier, and every single person was obsessed with it and upset about being fat. It was utterly ridiculous and unrealistic. Another chapter showed that everyone wants to be in love, and how Sailor V needed to find another guy to fall for, which is also dumb. (Really? You can’t just be happy on your own?) Another thing that bothered me was how Takeuchi kept making Artemis pushy and whiny about how Sailor V needed to be focused and couldn’t have any fun, ever. Which, yea, she should have been more focused and actually trying to save people, but some of the things he tried stopping her from doing was just useless, and there was no reason for him to be so pushy.
Another thing that bothered me: how she seemed to only care about being Sailor V in order to be popular and get attention. When Phantom Ace, another superhero or whatever, showed up and began stealing Sailor V’s spotlight, she was all ready to give up being Sailor V and worship him instead, which was just dumb. She’s supposed to be focusing on saving people, but she acted like she couldn’t care less about that.
I try not to nitpick how fighting the villain goes, but I just can’t help myself: the fighting only takes place for a couple of pages, and when it does, Sailor V pretty much only uses her crescent beam mirror with no problems, which it seems like anyone could do, so I don’t understand the significance to why she has to. I’m sure there are tons of people better for the job than she is. It just…
Ugh. Almost everything about this book seemed to bother me.
The last two chapters are what bumped my rating of the book up, though. Originally it would have been a three, but I was a little impressed by the last bit.
Within those chapters, we got a look at her past life and how she lived on Venus and what her significance there was, and how she and, ah, this guy had a special relationship. Sailor V actually grew just a little, I think, character wise, from meeting the guy she had loved again and realizing some things about herself. Some of her growing seemed a little farfetched to me, seeing how nothing like it was even hinted at in previous chapter, but I can mostly accept that. 
I actually kind of liked the guy, or at least was intrigued by him, so what happened with him was a little sad to me. Other than that, I actually enjoyed the end a little bit.
The main thing that bothered me about this, is that there wasn’t more of that throughout the series, and how the author decided to wait so long to show me something actually a little good. I have hope that Sailor Moon, which I plan to start soon, will actually have plot and a point, so I am looking forward to that. I’m just ready to move on to whatever is next, I guess.

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