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 third arc of Sailor Moon ends here, with more apocalypse than ever before. Given that this arc was all about trying to prevent the Senshi of Destruction from waking and destroying everything – and that in the end they basically fail – it makes total sense that there’s a lot of, well, destruction. Of course, Saturn is not the Plot-In-A-Box that she was in ancient times anymore – she’s also Tomoe Hotaru, and thus can take things in a different direction.
We pick things up, however, with Hotaru still very much being a disembodied spirit held back by Mistress Nine, the Black Lady of the S arc, who is possessing her body. Hotaru thus uses her disembodied spirit power to help save Chibi-Usa, who proceeds to take off with Mamoru so she can join the others for the end of the world, then destroys her body and Mistress Nine’s taking them both out. Of course, this leaves the traditional final boss, a miasma of evil energy. Luckily, our heroes have an insane amount of power, especially when Usagi let’s the Power Of Christ… erm, the Holy Grail compel her and pours a large amount of sweetness and light into the darkness… which just makes it grow stronger and stronger. Whoops.
Sailor Moon, being who she is, decides to turn herself into a giant nuclear bomb and throw herself into the maw of the enemy. This, as if to show the universe finally throwing up its hands and saying “OK, I’ve had all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!”, seems to be what inspires the talismans (with very little input from their three owners, who mostly get to join the Inners is standing around gasping “Sailor Moon!” a lot) to do what they have to do – resurrect Saturn to destroy everything. Saturn, of course, being Hotaru. And give Takeuchi credit – she does indeed destroy everything. Saturn has an INSANE amount of power, and we briefly see shots of the few bits of Tokyo that weren’t taken out by the villains falling over dead and crumbled.
Of course, Saturn does this knowing that they have an ‘out’ clause – Sailor Moon, who is now SUPER Sailor Moon, can resurrect everyone and everything. So after Saturn shoves herself and Pharaoh 90 (the villain, in case you had forgotten) into a different dimension, Moon proceeds to do just that. Everyone and everything not evil (well, supernaturally evil) is resurrected – including Hotaru, who is now a little baby and presumably lacking cybernetic implants.
This arouses the other Outers’ maternal instincts, in a scene that screams ‘crap I only have 10 pages to wrap this up’ but oh well. They grab Baby Hotaru, thank the others, say they’ll surely see them again, and take off in their private helicopters to a land where they can presumably raise Hotaru and be really freaking rich. All they leave behind is a shot of them nude from the shoulders up in the sky, a classic ‘they may be dead but we will always remember them’ shot only slightly marred by their not actually being dead. This whole arc, honestly, has lost something in textual description, and really does sound less silly and more epic if you read it. It’s quite good.
The last third of the book is the start of the fourth arc, which brings us a new set of villains, a new set of adorably quirky minions (the Amazoness Quartet, who get a lot to do in the manga, and the Amazon Trio, who don’t), and a new theme, this one being dreams. Everyone is now in high school (and Makoto has a real uniform that fits at last), and Chibi-Usa is ready to finally return to the future. But don’t sigh with relief just yet. She can’t quite make it due to unknown forces. Could it be the unicorn that appears and begs her for help? Could it be the evil-looking Circus that’s just gotten into town? Or could it be that she still needs to grow up (as does her mother), with Chibi-Usa whining about wanting to be adult and Usagi whining about how kids have it easy. If you’ve ever watched a wacky Disney movie, you can see what the cliffhanger of this volume will be!
Super S’s arc starts off slow here, but will really pick up next volume, as it (finally!) focuses on the other Inners and their own dreams and desires. Still the epitome of magical girl shoujo, even if I sometimes wish it would take a bit to catch its breath.