Volume three is the start of the next story arc. In this portion of the story, the members of the Black Moon are trying to steal the Mystical Silver Crystal, and they’re after Chibi-usa, a strange girl who literally fell out of the sky and demanded Usagi’s Crystal. Chibi-usa pledges not to let Usagi out of her sight until she has the crystal, so she casts a spell over Usagi's family and moves in as a "cousin" of the family. The Black Moon pick off the Sailor Scouts one by one and weaken Usagi’s confidence in herself and her team. Towards the end, Chibi-usa finally opens up and reveals who she is, where her "home" is, and why the Black Moon is after her.
The five sailor scouts are finally all together, just in time for the Dark Kingdom, headed by the evil Queen Metalia and Queen Beryl, to start tearing them apart. Kunzite steals Tuxedo Mask away from them just as they all regain their memories of their past lives in the Moon Kingdom. The group finally finds their lost Moon Princess, and they must protect her from the Dark Kingdom. A trip to the moon helps shed some light on who the enemy is and how it impacted their former lives.
This review series will focus on the newly published Eternal Editions of Sailor Moon. I have also reviewed the entire series previously.
Usagi Tsukino is a 14-year-old 2nd-year middle school student who wants nothing more than to play games, sleep all the time, and eat delicious foods. She's not a great student, and she's not sure about what high school she wants to go to. One day, she meets a talking cat with a crescent moon spot on her forehead, and the cat, Luna, reveals that Usagi is a legendary guardian, Sailor Moon! Together, Luna and Sailor Moon must track down the rest of the guardians and protect the Princess of the Moon Kingdom. Along the way, they meet a strange figure named Tuxedo Mask, and it's not abundantly clear if he's an enemy or not. Sailor Moon and her Guardian friends must fight against the sinister Dark Kingdom and keep the Mystical Silver Crystal from falling into their hands.
In the Forest of Silence, where magic doesn't work, the girls meet a mysterious swordsman named Ferio, who seems to also want to become a Magic Knight. Fuu strikes a bargain with him that forces him to escort the ladies to the Spring of Eterna in order to obtain the legendary mineral, Escudo. The Spring is nothing like they all imagined, and the trial to obtain Escudo is more challenging than they were expecting. Ferio lets it slip that only those close to the princess know of the legend of the Magic Knights, but he fails to say how he came across this information before he disappears into the wild blue yonder.
As with many series of my childhood, Rayearth has been republished in a hardback anniversary edition with enlarged pages and beautiful covers. In honor of the 25th Anniversary, I will be providing reviews of every volume. I have also reviewed this 6-volume series previously in one review.
Rayearth begins with a mysterious young girl praying for the Magic Knights to save her world. We then join several schools on a field trip to Tokyo Tower. Three girls - Hikaru, Fuu, and Umi - from separate schools are singled out and pulled into a magical realm known as Cefiro (previously published as Cephiro). These three ladies careen through the sky of a land that is very clearly not Japan. They are rescued by a sorcerer, Guru Clef, who explains to them that the Pillar of Cefiro, the kidnapped Princess Emeraude, has summoned them to the world to become the legendary Magic Knights and save them all. Clef bestows upon them magical armor and points them in the direction of a weapon-maker, just before he is overtaken by evil minions. The three find out from Presea, the weapon maker, that they will need to adventure to obtain materials for their individual weapons, and all of this will culminate in awakening the Rune Gods in order to save Emeraude and Cefiro.
Agott tries to find a way to reverse the spell cast on Euini, while Richeh leads the animal charges to safety through the maze. Meanwhile, Master Qifrey fights valiantly against the reanimated Romonons, but he’s been badly injured. Coco shows her cleverness in solving the riddle of the Romonons, but then they are attacked by a Brimmed Cap. Captive Master Alaria is revealed, and Coco and Tetia work together to try to save her. Then, the apprentices come together and try an idea on Euini, all for another brimmed cap to show up and divulge some of their plan to Coco. Richeh continues to wrestle between her need to remain her own witch and learning the spells she's supposed to learn, and we get a glimpse of her past where this issue really came to a head. We see more Knights of Moralis and the inside of the Great Hall of Witches that we’ve only heard about before.
It’s time for Agott to take the second test, the Test of the Serpentback Road, but unbeknownst to all of them, Qifrey has also signed up Richeh to take the test! The two are accompanied by an apprentice from another Atelier, Euini, who has no faith in himself at all. His master also believes Euini will fail, as he has taken the test twice already and not passed. Along with their proctor, Master Alaira, the three apprentices proceed into the cave of the Serpentback Road. Master Qifrey regails Coco and Tetia with the history of the Cave, that it used to be the entrance to a beautiful kingdom of Romonon, and that it was meant as a test to keep out the unworthy. But Agott, Richeh, and Euini are soon faced with more dangers than what the Romonons had in mind, and they must work together and have faith in their spells to save everyone.
After the fallout of Coco drying up an entire river, Qifrey discovers the ink pot she bought in town may be more than it seems. He takes them both back to the shop and questions the ink master, who realizes the ink in the bottle is the same on the dragon’s seal that he’s been examining for Qifrey. Coco and Tartah chat about different dyes and what effects they have on inks, when a mishap sends many bottles to the floor. He reveals he has silver blindness and memorized the bottles by their placement since he can’t see their colors. Later, coco works so hard and has many nightmares to the point where she gets sick from exhaustion and fever.
The four apprentices are stuck in a never-ending loop guarded by a hungry dragon. Only by coming together to create a new spell will they distract the dragon long enough to find the seal keeping them imprisoned. Then, we meet Olruggio, the Watchful Eye of the Atelier, who is insistent that Coco be handed over to the Knights of Moralis because of her history with the Brimmed Hats, but Qifrey convinces him to let Coco stay and to lead their own investigation. Later, a powerful rainstorm knocks out a bridge and sends a carriage into the roaring river, and Qifrey, Olruggio, and the apprentices are implored to help. But, it’ll be difficult for all of them to cast magic with all the villagers around!
Here is a cute "magical girl" manga that has just started, so the buy-in price is pretty low. Witch Hat Atelier is about the exploits of Coco, a young seamstress who always wanted to be a witch, but she wasn't born with the power. When she accidentally discovers her magical abilities, she freezes her mother and gets swept away by a witch who vows to train her so that she can undo the damage she's done to her mom. I imagine we will not see this mother again for some time, as this story centers around her training and the trouble she gets in or causes. The story is sweet and is reminiscent of the "adventuring-to-obtain" storyline of Magic Knight Rayearth.
I've been reading Manga and comicbooks for years. Now, it's time to share my knowledge with you.
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