Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume Two is a manga by Naoko Takeuchi, and it was published in North America by Kodansha Comics in 2013. The volume is rated “T” for ages 13 and up; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.
As the name of this volume implies, this manga is a collection of short stories that feature the Sailor Moon characters. There are a total of three stories included in this volume: “Princess Kaguya’s Lover,” “Casablanca Memory,” and “Parallel Sailor Moon.”
“Princess Kaguya’s Lover” is not only the longest of the short stories in this volume, it’s the longest of all the short stories that appear between the two volumes of Sailor Moon Short Stories. It turns out that “Princess Kaguya’s Lover” is the story that served as the basis for the Sailor Moon S anime film.
At the beginning of the story, a scientist named Kakeru Ohzora finds a crystal, which he keeps for observation. Later, Kakeru rescues Luna as she’s about to be hit by a car. He takes Luna to his workplace and helps her to recover; in the process, Luna finds herself falling in love with Kakeru.
Meanwhile, a comet that Kakeru discovered and named Princess Snow Kaguya, is headed toward Earth. Kakeru, his childhood friend Himeko Nayotake, Luna, the Sailor Scouts, the comet, a strange snowstorm, and the story of Princess Kaguya come together to finish the rest of the story. Of the three stories that appeared in Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume Two, I thought that this was the best one. I especially appreciated how this story was able to take the Japanese folktale of Princess Kaguya and weave it into a compelling story for the Sailor Moon universe. Technically, some of the basic concepts in Sailor Moon were inspired by this folktale, but this story blatantly uses the folktale for its premise.
At the end of “Princess Kaguya’s Lover,” there are a couple of pages written by Naoko Takeuchi about when she went to the Kennedy Space Center in order to do some research for this story. There are also two pages about antiques that inspired artifacts that appear in both “Princess Kaguya’s Lover” and “Casablanca Memory.” I thought these were a nice touch to add to this volume.
“Casablanca Memory” is a story that focuses on Rei and the estranged relationship she has with her father. A music box that plays a depressing song also becomes a central focus of this story; unfortunately, this falls back into familiar territory for the Sailor Moon franchise, because the music box is a way that an enemy is trying to take over the world. While I enjoyed Rei’s portion of the story, I didn’t like the music box element as much; for the most part, the short stories had been able to avoid most of the clichés from Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V, so it was a little disappointing to see this cliché rear its head.
The final story is “Parallel Sailor Moon,” and it’s set in the year 1999. The Sailor Scouts are now adults, and the story focuses on their kids. Chibi-Usa and Hotaru are now middle schoolers, and the other kids introduced in this story are all third graders. The story and humor focuses on Ko-usagi, the younger daughter of Usagi and Mamoru. Personally, of the three stories in this volume, this was my least favorite. I think this was due in large part to the fact that this story was supposed to be humorous, but I really didn’t find it to be that funny.
Even with the couple of issues I have with Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume Two, I actually found it to be a more enjoyable read than Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume One was. Even though I enjoyed this volume one, I still believe that this volume will appeal more to the die-hard Sailor Moon fans who want to read more adventures featuring Sailor Moon and her friends.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume Two that I checked out through the King County Library System.