Naoko Takeuchi

Sailor Moon

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Sailor Moon Summary

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Sailor Moon is a Japanese manga series by Naoko Takeuchi, which ran in the magazine Nakayoshi between 1991 and 1997. The series chronicles protagonist Sailor Moon’s quest for a powerful stone known as the Legendary Silver Crystal. Together with the Sailor Soldiers, who each represent a different celestial body, Sailor Moon defeats a gauntlet of villains to stop the collapse of the Solar System. The manga is comprised of five major plot arcs, each with its own driving action and climax, and spans eighteen volumes, or tankōbon. The manga has also been adapted into an animated series and translated into numerous languages.

Most of the series is set in Minato, Tokyo, with episodic forays into other celestial realms. The story begins when Usagi Tsukino, a schoolgirl, befriends a talking cat named Luna. Luna gifts Usagi a brooch imbued with a power that transforms her into Sailor Moon, a magical soldier whose destiny is to prevent Earth’s destruction. With Luna, Usagi pulls together a group of new friends, whom Luna helps transform into Sailor Soldiers with the goal of finding a celestial princess and the location of the Legendary Silver Crystal.

These friends include Ami Mizuno, an intellectual student who becomes Sailor Mercury; Makoto Kino, a new girl at school who becomes Sailor Jupiter; Rei Hino, a local priestess who becomes Sailor Mars; and Minako Aino, a girl who aspires to become a pop star but instead becomes Sailor Venus. The girls “awaken” with their new identities and are joined by Sailor Venus’s talking cat, Artemis. They are occasionally accompanied by a boy from their high school, Mamoru Chiba, whose alter ego is Tuxedo Mask.

Sailor Moon’s first plot arc involves an assault led by Queen Beryl of the Dark Kingdom. Beryl leads a quartet of generals called the Four Kings of Heaven, who search for the Legendary Silver Crystal, hoping to free a terrible being known as Queen Metaria. Along their journey, the Sailor Soldiers each discover that they have not merely transformed into their roles, but are reincarnated soldiers from the Moon Kingdom, a place that existed in an ancient period known as the Silver Millennium.

The Moon Kingdom was destroyed by the Dark Kingdom in a great war. To ensure the survival of her people, Queen Serenity sent her daughter, Princess Serenity, into the future along with her Sailor Soldier defenders, as well as Artemis, Luna, and the princess’s lover, Prince Endymion. The Sailor Soldiers realize that Usagi is the princess. Together, they kill the Four Kings. Sailor Venus manages to defeat Queen Beryl and combines powers with the other three Sailor Soldiers to kill Queen Metaria. Sailor Moon acquires the Legendary Silver Crystal, destroys Metaria, and revives the Sailor Soldiers.

In the second story, Chibiusa, the future daughter of Mamoru and Usagi, comes back in time to get the Silver Crystal. She is trailed by her pursuers, Wiseman and his team known as the Black Moon Clan. Chibiusa brings the Sailor Soldiers to a future Tokyo, which is renamed to Crystal Tokyo. There, they meet a new soldier named Sailor Pluto, who guards the portal that passes through spacetime. Pluto stops Prince Demand, leader of the Black Moon Clan, from collapsing the portal, sacrificing her life in the process. Chibiusa transforms into a new soldier known as Sailor Chibi Moon, and joins Sailor Moon to kill Wiseman’s final evolution, Death Phantom.

The third plot arc involves a group of malicious creatures that are engineered by a professor named Soici Tomoe. They conspire to help a cosmic entity named Pharaoh 90 consume Earth. The professor’s daughter, Hotaru, is taken over by the mind of Pharaoh 90’s partner, Mistress 9, who is charged with opening the portal through which Pharaoh 90 can travel. A race-car driver named Haruka Tenoh and a violin prodigy named Michiru Kaioh turn into Sailors Uranus and Neptune. Sailor Pluto is reincarnated as a student named Setsuna Meioh. Usagi obtains an artifact called the Holy Grail, which evolves her into Super Sailor Moon. With the Grail and the Silver Crystal, as well as the support of Hotaru, who reawakens as Sailor Saturn, they banish Pharaoh 90 from Earth.

In the penultimate story, a reincarnated Usagi begins high school while battling the Dead Moon Circus and its leader, Queen Nehelenia. Nehelenia captures Earth’s futuristic Golden Kingdom, taking hostage Helios, its protector and High Priest. Nehelenia also orders her cronies to steal the Silver Crystal.

Meanwhile, Mamoru learns that he is the fated possessor of another artifact, the Golden Crystal. He combines his powers with those of the Sailor Soldiers and the Holy Grail, allowing Usagi to become Eternal Sailor Moon and destroy the Queen. At the end of the plot, Nehelenia’s soldiers (known as the Amazoness Quartet) go back to nonbeing, and Usagi learns that they are Chibiusa’s future guardians, having been possessed by Nehelenia.

In Sailor Moon’s fifth arc, the Sailor Soldiers battle Shadow Galactica, a posse of wicked Sailors pretending to be Sailors Soldiers. They are led by Sailor Galaxia, who wants to steal the Soldiers’ Sailor Crystals to become queen of the galaxy. To do so, she also tries to kill an evil entity called Chaos. Galaxia manages to destroy most of the Sailor Soldiers, including Mamoru.

In response, Usagi travels through the galaxy to kill Galaxia and resurrect her friends. She is helped by the Sailor Starlights, soldiers from a planet called Kinmoku. Among these are Princess Kakyuu and Sailor Chibichibi. After Galaxia is destroyed, Sailor Chibichibi becomes Sailor Cosmos. Usagi finishes off Chaos with the Silver Crystal, reviving Mamoru and her other friends before settling in back on Earth. Peaceful at last, Mamoru and Usagi marry six years after the main events of the plot.

A series propelled by omnipresent antagonists in a universe of eternal recurrence, Sailor Moon follows in the footsteps of many other manga series. Its uniqueness derives from its creative characters and its feminist message, as its female protagonists continually save their male friends and the world.