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Code Name wa Sailor V
Synopsis | Review

One of the mysteries of life that keep me awake at night is whether it's "Codename wa Sailor V" or "Code Name wa Sailor V" or "Code Name wa Sailor V" or "Codename wa SailorV." It's all one big spacing problem. I'm really not sure I'll ever find out which one is correct. If you know which one's correct, let me know and I'll love you forever. Sure, we probably don't know each other and will never see each other in this lifetime, but I'll love you anyway.

Sailor Moon was the first anime I've ever watched in full, so it's particulary special to me. That, and it's so multi-faceted that it remains one of my favorite anime. When I found out that it has a prequel, specifically, Code Name wa Sailor V, I naturally wanted to read it.

Unfortunately, at the time this review was written, U.S. distributors do not seem to have any plans of licensing this series. Incidentally, I just noticed a few days ago that the English Sailor Moon manga's out of print. What is this world coming to?!

So I'm glad that there's still some hard-core moonies around who love the whole sailor saga so much, they translated and scanlated this series. I had to wait for about two years for the scanlated series, but it was worth the wait, I suppose. Akin to Sailor Moon, Code Name wa Sailor V was created by Takeuchi Naoko. It has three volumes and was never made into an anime series. Well, at the time this review was written, anyway.

Synopsis
Aino Minako is an ordinary schoolgirl. She plays volleyball, struggles with her exams, squees over the latest teen idols, hangs out with her best friend, Hikaru, and falls in love at least once a week. Well, okay, maybe she's not that ordinary. And her life took a turn for the weirder when a white cat starts stalking her and eventually talks to her.

The stalking and talking cat is named Artemis, and he reveals to Minako that she has supernatural powers of strength, might, and beauty as the superhero Sailor V. He then hands her a magic pen that allows her to take on Sailor V's form--which is essentially a schoolgirl costume morphed to be more superhero-like. Sounds familiar?

With Artemis serving as Minako's voice of reason/conscience, she proceeds to take on evil powers. These evil powers primarily came from a supervillain Danburite. He sends out minions to launch talent agencies and promote villainous teen idols to the public. In turn, these teen idols attempt to enslave the human race (starting with Japan). They become well-known using various roles: school idols, singing idols, flight attendants, and actresses, among others. Fortunately, Sailor V and Artemis are there to save the day. One of Minako's favorite strategies to infiltrate enemy territories would be to use her magic compact and assume any look, from a young boy to a secretary to an inspector.

Gradually, Sailor V becomes well-known. The police start taking notice. After all, it's not everyday that a teenager in a sailor costume beats the bad guys all the time. The police superintendent general, Sakurada Natsuna, orders one of her officers, Wakagi Toshio, to catch Sailor V. Wakagi has a personal reason for wanting to catch Sailor V. He felt she was giving police officers a bad name. He has no idea that his boss, Sakurada, is a big fan of Sailor V's. Sakurada wants Sailor V caught so she could get her to join the police department.

In-between fighting crime, Minako encounters schoolgirls whom she's not familiar yet, but would influence her life later on. Essentially, the other sailor senshi make cameos in Code Name wa Sailor V. And so Minako continues to battle evil and scrape by in school and argue with Artemis and fall in love with a guy at the drop of the hat. Eventually, she encounters a masked character named Kaitou Ace. He first appears after Minako defeated an enemy, and since then, she couldn't get him out of her mind. Then he helps her defeat her enemies. However, Minako still has no idea who he is.

Code Name wa Sailor V ends with a showdown between Kaitou Ace and Sailor V. In the last chapter, Kaitou Ace's alter ego, Saijou Ace, gains worldwide popularity and Minako uses the morphing powers of her magic compact to end up in a movie with him. During their final battle, Minako discovers that Kaitou Ace is really Danburite, the supervillain who had been masterminding all the supernatural crimes that she had to suppress. She also remembers her previous life as Sailor V, protector of Princess Serenity. Kaitou Ace then reveals that in that past life, he was Adonis. He was destined to be Venus' lover, but he was just a soldier in a remote region of their planet.

When war erupted between the moon kingdom and Beryl's army, the planet Venus joined to help the moon kingdom. Adonis was recruited by Prince Endymion's army to fight Beryl's army. However, as the Sailor Moon series reveals, that war was ill-fated and everybody died. Adonis was reborn as Kaitou Ace. He swore to find the reborn Venus so they could finally be together. However, he realizes that even though he could reach the same status that she has, fate decreed it so that they would never end up together. He would always be destined to die without being with Venus.

Before he dies, Adonis/Kaitou Ace reveals a prophecy to Minako. He told her that her love will always be futile. Consequently, she will never be torn between love or duty.

Minako emerges from the battle as a full-fledged senshi. She then realizes that her role as Sailor V was temporary, and she was destined for a bigger and more important duty, that is, as Sailor Venus.

Review
Code Name wa Sailor V has some qualities of the Sailor Moon manga. Specifically, a superhero had to fight a whole bunch of villains, and with each villain comes a unique situation. In the case of Code Name wa Sailor V, the situation is usually chasing a newfound teen idol. There's a whole bunch of other similarities too, but considering this is a prequel, I'll let those pass.

It was particularly interesting to read Code Name wa Sailor V because Sailor Moon starts with Usagi admiring the popular celebrity, Sailor V. Minako's journey as a sailor senshi began way before any of the others. It was a little repetitive to read through the small enemy encounters; I've sat through about 200 of those when I watched Sailor Moon. The final arc, however, with Danburite/Kaitou Ace/Adonis was interesting. It was never brought up in Sailor Moon. In fact, I was thinking Code Name wa Sailor V would include Minako's trip to London, where she was betrayed by her then-object of infatuation and her friend. That one was rehashed in Sailor Moon. However, it never came up in Code Name wa Sailor V. Kaitou Ace's previous life was certainly something new. It fit into the main storyline quite well and had a bittersweet ending.

If you're a moonie, you should definitely read this series. If you're a big Aino Minako fan, then I'm just assuming that you've read this series already. It's yet another way for moonies to get their Sailor Moon fix. If you like mahou shoujo series, this might be worth checking out, too. Just don't expect profound and very complicated storylines.

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