Sailor Moon Eternal Vol 3 featured Reviews 

“Sailor Moon” #15-20

By | June 20th, 2022
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Welcome back to the Summer Comics Binge of Naoko Takeuchi’s “Sailor Moon,” today we’re looking at the first half of the second arc, the ‘Black Moon’ saga, revolving around — you guessed it — the Black Moon Clan, and their hunt for the younger Usagi, “Chibiusa,” who crash-landed on the other Usagi in the preceding chapter. Friends will be kidnapped; character destinies will be revealed; and Sailor Moon will never be the same again.

Pictured: Sailor Mars
Art by Naoko Takeuchi
Created by Naoko Takeuchi
Translated by Alethea Nibley & Athena Nibley
Lettered by Lys Blakeslee

[Official blurb is the same as the previous volume. “Eternal” Vol. 3 actually contains issues #15-21, but for reasons we’ll go into next time, we split our coverage of the 12-part arc into equal halves. As well as the debut of the Black Moon Clan, these chapters see the introduction of Sailor Pluto, Diana, and everyone else from the 30th century future of Crystal Tokyo.]

As important as Queen Beryl, Metalia and the rest of the Dark Kingdom are to the backstory of “Sailor Moon,” the Black Moon Clan are considerably more fun, and fashionable villains. Led by Prince Demande, his brother Saphir, Rubeus, Esmeraude, and their ominous advisor Wiseman, the group wear distinct clothes evoking some of the runway designs of the ’90s, which tell you a little something about them, unlike the homogenous uniforms of Beryl’s generals: for example, Rubeus’s sleeveless jacket shows you he likes to get his hands dirty, while Esmeraude’s long gloves recall the image of a Hollywood femme fatale.

They’re also much creepier than Beryl’s archaic army, traversing Tokyo in a flying saucer, while their droids infiltrate the city disguised as normal people, allowing the story to tap into the decade’s paranoid obsession with UFOs, crop circles, and alien abductions. The upside down black crescents on their foreheads bring to mind religious adornments, a parallel made explicit by a scene where their droids disguise themselves as nuns, as well as their attempts to recruit followers — some slight social commentary is also provided from the way the Clan tries to paint the Sailor Guardians as a threat, and turn people against them.

Mars tracking the Black Moon's followers
(scan from an earlier translation)

The abduction theme is reflected in the first four chapters, which follow a formula where Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus respectively face off against Koan, Berthier, Petz, and Calaveras, the lieutenants known as the Supernatural Sisters (or Ayakashi Sisters in Japanese). Despite defeating them, they are weakened enough for Rubeus to capture them, leaving readers fearful for what horrors might befall them. Writing off so many of the gang is certainly a curious choice, and the decision to spare Venus does smack a little of favoritism, but it works well for the plot, and gives the Guardians a little spotlight before they disappear.

Mars doesn’t get much of one in ‘Act. 15,’ since that chapter has to do the heavy lifting of resolving Chibiusa’s introduction and incorporating her into the status quo, but ‘Act. 16’ gives us a little insight into Mercury, revealing her parents are divorced, and that her father’s a painter, while ‘Act. 17’ establishes Jupiter’s parents died in a plane crash. Jupiter’s issue definitely gives her the most to do, as she battles a cold, and develops a relationship with Ittou Asanuma, a classmate of Mamoru, who wants to make sure she’s OK, causing her to reveal her secret identity; it’s a really sweet and tender moment, and it’s a shame this burgeoning romance wasn’t followed up on in later issues.

Unsurprisingly, the disappearance of Usagi’s friends shapes the direction of her relationship with Chibiusa: she’s naturally suspicious of the little brat who wormed her way into her life, so when Mars goes, she assumes there must be a connection, and berates her, forcing Mamoru to play peacemaker; however, this in turn causes Usagi to become jealous of Chibiusa, even after learning of her true identity. It’s a bold move to have your protagonist be this unlikeable, but it’s a realistic touch for our emotional teenage hero, one that forces her to reflect on her behavior, and reinforces why Mamoru is a good partner/mentor for her.

Continued below

Ah yes, Chibiusa’s true identity: as is eventually revealed, she’s from the 30th century, and her parents are Neo-Queen Serenity and King Endymion… who are Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask’s future selves, after gifting themselves and most of humanity with long lives through the Silver Crystal. We learn the Black Moon Clan were anarchists who rejected this gift, and used the Beguiling Black Crystal from the fabled tenth planet, Nemesis, to launch a devastating attack on Crystal Tokyo (talk about a death cult.) Chibiusa’s backstory proves to be an evocative, dystopian take on the tale of Sleeping Beauty, especially with the sight of her mother encased in the enlarged Silver Crystal.

It is hilarious to see Usagi and Mamoru realize they will have a child, as well as for Luna and Artemis to meet their daughter Luna, although these moments do get a bit buried between the exposition. Since this is a time travel story, it’s also only appropriate we’re introduced to Sailor Pluto, the Guardian of Time, a tall, dark-skinned warrior, who we know towers over the other Guardians because of her long hair, and the enormous key-like rod she wields (Takeuchi did a really fantastic job further distinguishing the new addition to the line-up.) We only meet her briefly for now, but we already get a sense she’s not as aloof as she seems from her affection for Chibiusa.

These chapters end with a strong twist of the knife for an adventure through time, as everyone realizes Usagi’s Silver Crystal, far from turning the tide, doesn’t work with its future counterpart around, allowing Demande to capture her — and on that cliffhanger, I bid you adieu until next week.

Sailor Pluto's stunning first appearance

//TAGS | 2022 Summer Comics Binge | Mooniversity

Christopher Chiu-Tabet

Chris is the news manager of Multiversity Comics. A writer from London on the autistic spectrum, he enjoys tweeting and blogging on Medium about his favourite films, TV shows, books, music, and games, plus history and religion. He is Lebanese/Chinese, although he can't speak Cantonese or Arabic.

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