Over the course of nine years shinee has remained intact as a group. Each of the five members have been able to achieve a multitude of milestones within the first half of their life that stem from different career paths all alongside of being relentlessly involved in group activities. They have never placed restrictions on themselves with what they can and cannot do, and even if circumstances were present they have always surpassed them. Even after debuting nearly a decade ago shinee remain being the definition of constant innovation, as they continue paving the path ahead of them, and for all those who follow behind.
It is 3am and I had a long night at work and a bit too much to drink as a result, so if this comes across snarky or snippy I'm super-sorry and I didn't mean it to it is a legit honest question but I am not toning well right now. Obviously, you are not happy with the way the manga is going. I think one of its issues is that it had only so much space to play with--you had a set number of pages, and that was it. So especially in light of the Giant Sailor Moon Canon Voltron, I'm curious: (1/2)
(2/2) given a similar amount of space, if you had to tell all of the story that was in the original–e.g. no “let’s just skip an arc for space’s sake”–what would you do differently from the actual manga that you think would make it a better story? Like I’m sure it can be done but as someone who masters in talking too much I’m fucked if I can imagine how. I AM KIND OF HOPING YOU HAVE MORE AND OR BETTER IDEAS THAN ME.
Not snarky, no worries!
“How would you rewrite the entire manga in the same amount of space” is a pretty huge fucking question though, and to be completely honest with you, I don’t care enough about the manga to try and fix what I find wrong with it (which is basically everything). But let’s talk about some stuff for a bit!
I don’t think that “there’s a space limitation” is a valid excuse for … well, anything, really. This isn’t a constraint unique to Takeuchi, it’s a truth for basically every form of professional media we have. TV shows have a very set and firm number of minutes they’re allowed, movies generally have about two hours to tell their story from start to finish, books and novels and short stories all have some degree of length constraints, comic books are churned out week after week and for the most part adhere to the same number of pages. I said this repeatedly when I was watching Crystal, but the problem isn’t how much time you have so much as it is what you DO with that time.
Let’s take the final act of the Black Moon. Specifically, let’s look at how limited time and space was used in that chapter. I’ll break the whole thing down, STRAP IN.
pg 1-5 (5): Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen disappear
pg 6-10 (5): NQS wakes up and emerges from the palace
pg 11-17 (7): NQS talks about power, sends Chibs to help Sailor Moon
pg 18-24 (7-1=6): In space, Usagi and Mamoru reaffirm their love
minus one page where Planet Ryan is spooky and threatening
pg 25-28 (4): Chibi-Usa is “born” from their love and they kick Ryan’s ass.
pg 29-34 (6): Crystal Tokyo is revived, everyone gets a free power up.
pg 35-42 (8): Goodbye to Crystal Tokyo
pg 43-49.7 (6.7): Usagi says goodbye to Chibs
pg 49.7-54.7 (6): Mamoru and Usagi say goodbye to Chibs
pg 54.7-54.9 (.7): The Inner Senshi split a panel for their welcome homes
pg 55-59 (5): Chibi-Usa’s back
It’s the end of the arc, so let’s be a little generous about some allotment of space and try to focus on parts that are overly bloated or incidental to the plot.
Immediately, we’ve got five entire pages of something which can be resolved in two panels, but let’s say we steal just two pages.
NQS waking up, easily another two pages we can steal.
YOU CAN CUT EVERY LAST SECOND OUT OF USAGI AND MAMORU IN SPACE IN MY OPINION, but honestly, six fucking pages is so unnecessary, so I’m taking half.
The entire Usagi/NQS meeting makes me grumpy for so many reasons, but it absolutely does not need eight goddamn pages of “BUT I WANT TO MEET YOU BUT I CAN’T BUT I WANT TO BUT I CAN’T OH FUCK IT”. Granting some artistic indulgence, I’ll just take two.
You know what, I’m already at nine pages (NINE PAGES), I can stop. What would I do with those nine pages?
How about one each for the Inners getting to return home? Actually you know who hasn’t hugged them or welcomed them back or said she missed them or was so worried about them? ANY OF THEM TO ANY OF THE OTHERS OF THEM INCLUDING FUCKING USAGI
Rei was missing since LITERALLY THE START OF THIS ARC, and Usagi has yet to actually say her fucking name. So yeah, one page of my nine for the Senshi (ALL the Senshi, looking at you manga Usagi) to actually show they give a shit about each other. Then a page each for the Inners to show them returning home. What kind of relieved but knowing looks did Grandpa give Rei when she returned home after being missing from anywhere from three days to three months ?(seriously how long was she fucking gone) Did anyone water Mako’s plants while she was missing, or are they all dead now? Did Ami have a series of lies and excuses on her lips, only to discover that the note she’d left for her mother since just after Rei was taken is still unread? How is Minako quietly (or not so quietly) coping with having once again been the only Senshi when she lost her girls?
Five pages down. I’ve got four left.
How about one for Pluto actually being dead? Let’s be generous, let’s give her TWO. Pluto gets a fucking memorial. Even if “our” Senshi can’t be there, let’s see it in Crystal Tokyo. You don’t even have to have words. Chibi-Usa lost and mourning. Her mother maybe tentative at first, unsure after so long, but then providing the direct comfort and affection she sometimes struggles with.
Those are ideas just off the top of my head that would have improved just this issue tremendously for me, AND I STILL HAVE TWO PAGES.
The problem isn’t limited space, the problem is limited caring.
As it turns out, the manga and I aren’t going to be great friends. Rather than spend the energy on a liveblog that’s increasingly negative, I’m reading each manga act (mostly) silently, and then writing up summaries at the end. I’ll be very candid, which means there’s likely criticism and snark a’plenty about the manga, either wholesale or in details. If that isn’t a thing you feel like reading, please skip this post!
Things included in this summary:
The final battle against Wiseman/Death Phanton/Nemesis/Ryan. Why Ryan? Why not Ryan. Presumably his parents didn’t name him Death Phantom. Now his name is Ryan.
The conclusion to all the Crystal Tokyo shit.
The arc epilogue, which is where all the character-intensive stuff should happen but in case you forgot, this is a summary of THE MANGA.
Things not included in this summary:
My multiple literal screams.
At least not in audio form.
I’ll still scream in text though, don’t worry.
Usagi aims her love rod at an entire fucking planet which is now I guess close enough to be within visual range of Earth. I have so many questions about this, but it occurs to me that it would only make this arc longer if they were to be answered, so I keep my mouth closed. There’s a burst of light. Usagi disappears. Planet Ryan disappears. Aw, she’ll have to fight the big bad on her own, but this will be test of her mettle that will prove she’s
JUST KIDDING CAN’T FORGET THE REAL STAR
Mamoru joins Usagi by, near as I can tell, thinking about it real hard. Nobody else joins Usagi. Nobody else even tries. I can tell that, somewhere, some part of me wants to cry. The tears don’t come.
Neo-Queen Serenity’s clock finally runs out of snooze times, and she decides she’d better get up. She wanders her dead and deserted palace, noting her potentially dead but certainly unwell Senshi. She considers going to them, checking on them, showing any concern about them whatsoever, but then chuckles to herself. Don’t be ridiculous, this is the manga! Only one thing matters. CAN YOU FOLKS AT HOME GUESS WHAT IT IS??
I know, right? It’s so good to see Mamoru getting the kind of attention he’s due. He’s been so neglected and forgotten. :(
King Douchedymion wakes up, Holodouchedymion disappears, and he and NQS emerge from the palace. Then we get some Family Values propaganda bullshit.
NO FUCK YOU
YOU DON’T GET TO SPEND YOUR WHOLE DAMN ARC TALKING ABOUT HOW CHIBI-USA IS LONELY AND ISOLATED AND HASN’T KNOW A SHRED OF AFFECTION FROM HER MOTHER FOR NINE HUNDRED FUCKING YEARS AND THEN DRAW THIS LIKE IT RESOLVES ANY OF THAT
WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS IS INTENDED TO DO BECAUSE NEITHER CHIBS NOR NQS NOR ANYONE ELSE SAYS A SINGLE WORD ABOUT THE NEGLECT AND ABUSE CHIBS HAS BEEN SUFFERING LEAVING THE ONLY CONCLUSION THAT IT’S JUST NOT A CONSIDERATION TO ANYONE ANY MORE AND WE’RE GOOD
WE ARE NOT FUCKING GOOD AT ALL
And this gets even worse as things go on. I’m obviously having to rely on my translation here, which I grant is questionably accurate at best, but it’s what’s in front of me right now, so.
NQS goes on to tell Chibs that what got her to wake up was Chibs’ transformation into a Senshi. The conversation continues with Chibs expressing all this sadness and remorse for all the people she feels her actions indirectly killed and all the people she couldn’t protect. NQS says “It’s not your fault, now let’s not talk about it any more.” NOTE THAT SHE SAYS THIS WITH PLUTO’S DEAD AND SPRAWLED BODY LIKE FIVE FEET AWAY BUT EVERYONE IS FINE WITH THAT. From here, it starts to really get to me though, because the entire exchange turns to Chibi-Usa’s power. “You have powers of your own now,” NQS says excited. “We can use our powers to protect the planet together.” When Chibs tearfully confesses she didn’t think her mother needed her, NQS starts strong with “You’re my only daughter. You’re precious to me.” but then:
And it doesn’t stop there. NQS turns to the Senshi (MY GOD YOU MEAN THEY’RE THERE???) and tells them that when she ascended, she “lost almost all of [her] powers to fight as a soldier”. And some other shit I think may be translated wrong but doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme. The important part is that she tells Chibs she has to use Pluto’s powers (WHICH I GUESS SHE CAN JUST DO NOW) to find Sailor Moon and Tux, and use her power to help them take Ryan down for good.
(A THING SHE HERSELF WAS UNWILLING TO DO HERSELF BY THE WAY I JUST WANT TO POINT OUT THAT SHE’S SENDING HER EIGHT YEAR OLD DAUGHTER TO KILL A DUDE SHE REFUSED TO TAKE CARE OF)
ALSO FOR SOME REASON THE INNERS CAN’T ALSO GO FIGHT WHY THE FUCK DO THEY KEEP LISTENING TO EVERYONE TELLING THEM WHERE THEY CAN AND CAN’T GO
I’m going to skip ahead a bit to complete my thought about NQS here, but later in the chapter she powers up the Inners with the laughable “You’ll be able to fight alongside Sailor Moon with ease” like yeah, I’ll believe that when I fucking see it. She also powers up Sailor Moon from across time and space, and gives her a new brooch and toy from Bandai, AND OKAY WE’RE COMING TO MY POINT NOW.
Which is, EVERY GODDAMN THING ABOUT NQS AS SHE RELATES TO ANYONE NOT ENDYMION IS ABOUT POWER. And this CREEPS ME THE FUCK OUT. Her entire exchange with Chibi-Usa isn’t about Chibi-Usa, it’s about how now Chibi-Usa can fight. The fact that she didn’t wake up until Chibs could transform upsets the shit out of me. There’s no part of their interaction that, in a sincere way (and no I don’t count the easily tossed out “You’re my daughter, you’re precious” platitude as none of her interactions with Chibs over their 900 year relationship demonstrate these feelings in a way recognizable to Chibs), show NQS has any interest in Chibi-Usa whatsoever UNTIL SHE HAS POWER. She LITERALLY does not wake up and hug her daughter for what last issue suggested was the first fucking time until Chibi-Usa is a Senshi.
CREEPED. THE FUCK. OUT.
God, anyway, then Usagi and Mamoru spend five pages or something telling each other that they’re the bestest and Mamoru is just as important and powerful as Usagi.
Because again, what does female empowering mean if not “reassure the male romantic lead he’s on equal footing with the titular female lead character”.
Somewhere in the 30th century, the Senshi are filling out their resumes.
Chibs shows up, and she and Usagi destroy Planet Ryan, which is sure to send debris hurtling to Earth and upsetting the delicate climate balance that hahaha no of course not, everything’s fine.
NQS then powers up the Senshi, a move she couldn’t have done a few minutes earlier and then sending them off with Chibs to have anything at all to do with the final battle, because why, honestly. Why. Just why.
Everyone returns to Earth, and Usagi angsts a bit about not getting to meet her future self, which she can’t do because all of space and time will unravel and it’ll be very bad. Neo-Queen Serenity is angsting about it herself. It’s all so sad, so very sad, so much sadder than poor dead Pluto still lying there going through various stages of rigor mortis on her first outing in about five thousand years.
THANKS FOR SHOWING ANY LINGERING REMORSE ABOUT THE DEATH OF YOUR ONLY FRIEND LITERALLY TEN MINUTES AGO
But honestly, who has time for any of that when Usagi is sad? SHE WANTED TO MEET HERSELF YOU GUYS AND IT’S HEARTBREAKING THAT SHE CAN’T IT’S TRAGIC THE MOST TRAGIC THING TO HAPPEN ALL DAY, manga!Usagi is thinking to herself as she steps over Pluto’s body still-warm body.
BUT FUCKING WAIT
BECAUSE NEO-QUEEN FUCKING SERENITY AFTER TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY COULDN’T POSSIBLY MEET RUNS THE FUCK UP AND STARTS CHATTING TO USAGI ANYWAY
I SCREAMED I SCREAMED SO GODDAMN LOUD WHAT IS THIS UTTER FUCKING BULLSHIT
JUST THIS CONVERSATION COULD ALTER HISTORY
YOU JUST LOST LITERALLY YOUR ENTIRE CITY’S POPULATION IN A WAR AGAINST FUCKS WHO WANTED TO ALTER HISTORY
SAILOR PLUTO FUCKING DIED SO YOU COULD STOP EVERYTHING UNRAVELING
AND NEO-QUEEN SERENITY SAYS FUCK ALL OF THAT BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO SAY HELLO TO HER GODDAMN FOURTEEN YEAR-OLD SELF
A DECISION USAGI NOT ONLY SUPPORTS BUT IS DELIGHTED BY
I AM A BALLOON FILLED WITH PURE RAGE AND I JUST FUCKING POPPED
THIS IS THE MOST SELFISH SHIT I HAVE EVER SEEN
“Wow, Chibs, your mum’s a bitch,” Minako says. Chibi-Usa just emphatically nods.
R A G E
Ugh, fuck, let’s get this over with. Chibs is packing up and leaving, and Usagi is all “YOU DON’T THINK ABOUT MY FEELINGS”, as though anyone else is allowed to have feelings to ever be considered. She goes to the park to travel home. Only Mamoru is there. I can’t even pretend to be anything but resigned at this point. But don’t worry, because the Senshi have a whole long panel!
Rei is comforting that fan club president she knew for a couple of hours! Makoto receives a hug from the guy who talks about Mamoru 98% of the time! Minako greets Motoki who looks terrified! Ami is just there because like I said back at the beginning of this arc, she has absolutely no other character at all to connect her to!
God, aren’t you bored with all this attention on the Senshi? TAKEUCHI SURE IS BUT DON’T WORRY HERE COMES MORE MAMORU AND USAGI. They talk about how their future is already planned out, and are somehow romantic and wistful about it. And then surprise! Chibi-Usa is back!
Neo-Queen Serenity will finally, after 900 years, get to see her daughter grow! God, how terrifying. HEY FOURTEEN-YEAR OLD ME PLEASE RAISE HER LIKE YOUR DAUGHTER I SPENT LIKE HALF AN HOUR WITH HER AND IT WAS TERRIBLE KTHX ♥
I love that as soon as you say mark, ethan, tyler, etc have ADD people are like ‘source????!!!!!?’ 'where did you hear this bc I’ve never heard this before in my life?!!!?!????’ like,,,, we get it,,,, youre neurotypical
why all the trouble to send chibiusa to the present so she can become a senshi if: a) aside from the black moon, crystal tokyo is a utopia (?) and b) when she becomes queen she's gonna lose all her powers as a senshi