Volume four gives us the resolution of the Black Moon story arc and introduces us to a pretty interesting character: Black Lady, the awakened adult form of Chibi Usa. Black Lady is the Queen of Darkness, one of Wiseman's most precious warriors, and she is determined to steal the Mystical Silver Crystal of the past and present from Sailor Moon and Neo Queen Serenity. She plans on doing this by launching several more monoliths of Black Beguiling Crystal into the planet's surface, something Prince Demand warms could destroy the Earth. Black Lady also captures Tuxedo Mask and makes him fight against Sailor Moon, something that nearly causes Sailor Moon to give up. But the power of the Mystical Silver Crystal protects the Earth and the Crystal Palace with the slumbering Neo Queen Serenity and the other Moon Kingdom warriors inside. It takes all that Sailor Moon has, and some sacrifices from other Sailor Soldiers, to bring Wiseman to task.
As much heat as Black Lady gets for her small role and her incestuous feelings toward Tuxedo Mask, I find her a little more interesting than Chibi Usa. If you take into account how warped the Beguiling Black Crystal makes everything, it's understandable that Chibi Usa's closeness to her father would be warped into an obsession. There are some other strange storyline choices throughout this arc, like the number of times the team takes a breather by going home and sleeping while their compatriots have been kidnapped by the Black Moon. And time travel can get sticky, but the effects of going to the past and messing with things is sort of glazed over. Regardless of these plot fails, the Future Crystal Tokyo storyline is a little endearing, right down to the kitten Diana, in that readers and our Sailor Scouts get to see how their futures end up. Crystal Tokyo looks like a relative Utopia on Earth before the Black Moon sets in, and that gives the entire story arc a bit of hopefulness.
These Eternal Editions with enlarged pages calls more attention to the lack of definite details in Takeuchi's illustrations. If you compare the drawings of Sailor Moon to manga of today, you may be slightly underwhelmed by the lack of background images and details. However, it is this sparse detail that, I believe, sets this series apart from others. Takeuchi's illustrations are uncluttered, and there's a surprising amount of elegance in the few, clean lines of characters and their outfits.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Magical Girl, Romance, School Age
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