By Naoko Takeuchi. Released in Japan as “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon” by Kodansha, serialized in the magazine Nakayoshi. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.
The fourth volume of Sailor Moon, and Jupiter gets the cover! Unfortunately, we’re also in the middle of a ‘have the senshi get abducted one by one’ arc, so she gets the first chapter and not much else. As with the Mercury and Mars chapters, we see Jupiter bonding with a friend of hers, this one male. It seems pretty platonic, though, at least on her end. We also get the revelation that her parents are both dead from a plane crash, so she lives on her own in a swank apartment. No idea where she gets the money… Rich relatives? Settlement from the crash? Honestly, most of the senshi are well-off. Even Usagi and Minako, the two most likely to be whining about not having any money, don’t seem to be hurting.
But in any case, soon Jupiter joins her friends in ‘captured off screen’ land. Venus is theoretically the next chapter, but honestly she’s not in it much. Presumably as Minako had an entire manga series devoted to her own personal life, she didn’t need a chapter that shows who her friends are and what she does on her days off. What we’re more concerned with is Chibi-Usa and the new enemies (who I will just start calling the Black Moon Clan, as that’s who they are). Chibi-Usa is settling in nicely in the past, and has even made a new friend (Momo will be Chibi-Usa’s designated friend till Hotaru basically replaces her in SuperS and Stars). But she’s still in denial about what’s going on, and actually seems to have some sort of PTSD (and with good reason, as we shall find). So Usagi is worrying about that, to the point where Naru and Umino are concerned. Remember them? Naru here even admits she knows Usagi is part of “another world that she can’t enter”. True enough, Naru, the author will forget you again soon.
Venus is abducted as we expected… but this time Usagi and Mamoru get there in time, and Mamoru gets a bit of powerup (albeit a ridiculous one: Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber is not in the anime, which tended to make Mamoru less powerful and more jerkassish). So Venus gets to stick around and help question Chibi-Usa, who has finally broken down and admits the truth: she’s from 1000 years in the future. And the future is in danger from the same folks abducting senshi. So, after a brief stop at Mamoru’s to get it on… oh, yeah, about that. Chapter 19 has Chibi-Usa basically terrified, so she wants to stay at Mamoru’s apartment. Usagi goes along, and after discussing things and various reassurances, they start to kiss and fall onto his bed. Then it’s the next morning, and Chibi-Usa is looking out the window. Usagi and Mamoru come in, Usagi wearing the same dress she had on last night and Mamoru’s dress shirt. So, nothing may have happened… or something may have happened. Most fans of Usagi and Mamoru’s romance think of this as their ‘first time’.
So we’re off to the 30th Century, something which is basically forbidden. So forbidden, in fact, that another senshi arrives to stop them! Yes, Sailor Pluto debuts here, though at this point in the story she’s still basically trapped in one place, at the Gates of Time. She’s devoted to stopping intruders, even if that means Sailor Moon and company (which makes no sense, but we’ll assume it’s some preventing paradox thing). Luckily, Chibi-Usa shows up, and it’s revealed that she and Pluto are close. In fact, the 30th Century, for all its crystal utopia, seems to be a very lonely place, as Chibi-Usa is mocked for being relatively powerless by the other children (she’s also 902 years old, something so gratuitously broken I don’t even want to get into it. Pretend that line doesn’t exist.), and Pluto’s stoic duty is only relieved by visits from Chibi-Usa (who she dotes on) and Endymion (who she seems to have a small crush on, as noted by her blushes here.)
Ah yes, Endymion. Arriving at the desolate wasteland of corpses that is the 30th Century, we meet King Endymion, aka Mamoru, who is a phantom but can at least interact with the others. We also meet, encased in crystal, Neo-Queen Serenity, aka Usagi, the future ruler of the planet. This is not really a surprise today, and honestly I don’t think it was meant to be back then either. Chibi-Usa is their daughter, and we also meet Luna and Artemis’s daughter Diana. Unfortunately, Usagi is still having difficulty with the whole ‘Mamoru loves his daughter more than me’ thing, and runs off to get captured.
I haven’t talked much about the Black Moon Clan here, but Prince Demande deserves a special mention here as being a loathsome creep. He’s not the true big bad in this arc… that would be Wiseman, who gets the cliffhanger for this volume… but he’s the equivalent of Beryl, and it seems appropriate that he has an obsession with Usagi the way that Beryl did with Mamoru. He even forces a kiss on her, much to her horror. (One note about the odd continuity here. After going to the future and getting told the plot, the senshi quickly go back to their home era… only to pretty much immediately have to return after Usagi storms off and gets captured. Why bother going back at all? No wonder Pluto gets annoyed when they arrive… the Time Gate must be a revolving door.)
We end this volume with Cibi-Usa being the one doing the running off, and running into a fortune-telling black cloud of evil called Wiseman. As with all black clouds of evil in Sailor Moon, this is not going to prove to be a good thing. Not for our heroes, not for Chibi-Usa, and especially not for Pluto. But that’s for Volume 5.