The main thing I remember about this volume is that there's one scene where Zirconia is confronting all the Guardians, and we were having kind of a hard time getting her monologue to work, so we were trying to get into character by saying the lines out loud, and she laughs, and that was the first time I'd done a hearty evil laugh in a long time, and it felt really good. There's an episode of Hercules the Animated Series that crosses over with Aladdin, and Jafar introduced Hades to the concept of evil laughter, and Hades tried it and commented on how cathartic it was, or something like that. And I don't know if "evil" is really the right adjective for it, even though it is the sort of laugh that's usually only done by villains. It's kind of a triumphant laugh? I don't know. But the point is, now I really understand how Hades felt in that episode.
The other thing I remember about this volume is that we actually managed to start and finish it in a reasonable time frame. We knew it was coming, and we didn't have any of our ongoing series pop up, and we had the will power to turn down a couple of new offers (fortunately only one of them was interesting, but unfortunately it was the exact kind of thing that has us really wanting to do it; but if we'd accepted it, we wouldn't have had time for anything else and we still had some other things to do before we got to Sailor Moon, so it hurt but we knew it was the right decision to turn it down), so we were able to just sit down and focus on this volume until we finished it! Tadah! We were just a tiny bit crunched, because at first, we were given one deadline, and that would have been fine, but then, in an effort to make it easier on us, our editor changed it so we had two deadlines--one for the first half of the volume and another one for the second. But we had been really frustrated with ourselves after volume seven, where we turned in the first half of the volume on time and then it took us forever to get to the second half, so we were like, "Whatever, we're just going to turn in the whole thing all at once." But that required us to finish the whole thing by the first-half deadline, which was a week earlier than our original deadline. Fortunately, thanks to a whole lot of action scenes, we managed to do it! And I'm sorry if that paragraph was boring.
Let's get into the interesting stuff! I remember being really scared going into the edit, because I had no idea how long it was going to take, and I couldn't really remember what happened, even though we'd just translated our first draft. That's kind of how I'm feeling now, only with less fear. It's all a blur! It started with...oh yeah, the Outers showed up! And that was all nice and dramatic and yay the awesome characters are back! and everything, but after Minako's whole, "Come on, Do we need them to do everything!?" schtick a couple of chapters ago, it kind of makes me sad to think yeah, I guess they do. But it's not that they needed the Outers to do everything for them, it's that they really needed the whole group to be together, so that's okay, now that I think about it that way. And somehow the Outers are more aware of what's going on with Usagi than the Inners are, and when they have that conversation ("We need to tell Sailor Moon!" "I don't think you can reach her right now."), it just seems so natural that I didn't question it, but now that I'm here, I'm like, "...hmmm..." But the Outers have psychic powers or something that the others don't have...Athena says specifically Saturn does, and I was like, "But it was Uranus doing the talking," and she's like, "Maybe she told them on the way." Or maybe it was Neptune. Well, whatever, it's not really that important.
The important thing is that Usagi is kiiiiind of dying a little bit, but it's okay! because now that she senses that all the Guardians are together, she and Chibi Moon are ready to join the fight, even through all the cursing and illness and whatnot. So Chibi Moon goes on ahead to join the fight, and Usagi runs into Mamoru on the way there, and I...feel like they both just kind of passed out, but I'm pretty sure that's not really what happened. In my fake memory, it's all, "Usa!" "Mamo-chan!" "Are you okay?" "Don't worry about me! *dies*" "*dies*" But I am 78% sure that's not really what happened. ...I guess we could check. Hold on.
Okay, so Mamoru's all, "Oh no, you're infected!" and Usagi's all, "It's okay, I just have to fight anyway!" and then they cut back to the rest of the Guardians. So my made-up memory of what happened sort of makes sense, in that the scene was over that quickly, but! Usagi and Mamoru did show up to fight Zirconia later. You know, after the Outers explained what all was going on with everything. And I guess it's an indication of good writing or something? that it somehow makes sense that the characters who were gone for half the arc suddenly show up and are able to explain the whole business to the people who were there dealing with it all along. It may be that the Inners were too close to the situation, and it's already been established that the Outers have powers and things that help them see things from a broader perspective. And suddenly I'm remembering Haruka's comment about how the jungle heat was nothing compared to the inside of a race car. I don't know why that stuck out to me so much. As it says in the translation note, the average highs in the Amazon really are nothing compared to the inside of a race car, but since it's probably like a thousand percent humidity, it might reasonably be called equally miserable.
So Zirconia shows up, and oh my goodness, you guys, we had such a hard time dealing with her self-professed profession. Apparently no other character has this job in any anime or video game, either, because Googling it did not help. We did find some things related to a movie (or series of movies?) about kyonshi, a creature I always remember as "the Chinese hopping vampire" (kyonshi is the Japanese pronunciation), but the kanji was still different. That was the problem--we tried Googling the exact kanji that Zirconia uses, and nothing uses those four kanji in that exact sequence. There was exactly one source that used one different kanji (the same one used in a Zirconia trading card many years ago) and defined her job as a psychopomp, which is the general term for all creatures that escort (or drag) the spirits of the living to the world of the dead. Then there was another thing that indicated something that did the opposite of that, and that really seemed to fit, because the Dead Moon is full of dead people, and Zirconia would be bringing them back to the mortal plane. We found some stuff connecting that to shamanism, and I do have very vague memories of discussing Zirconia as a shaman waaaaay back in the day, but we didn't think it was a good fit, so we talked it over with our editor and that's how we decided to go with spirit oracle. Our editor threw out some other fancy terms that I don't remember anymore, and that led us to one that I really liked because it meant "bridge"...pontifex? I think it was pontifex. But that would have just confused everyone, so we opted against it.
Anyway, I think it was this scene that had us laughing maniacally, so that was fun. And then Zirconia did her weird zappy thing and Usagi and Mamoru turned into little kids, and we were all, "!!!!" They were super cute, though. Helios acted fast and teleported them to Elysium, where the purification powers changed them back to their normal forms. The powers of Elysium make sense to me, but maybe not if I think too hard about them. Incidentally, when he's explaining the thing about the crystals...I was going to tell you what the line really meant, but that was the problem with it--I don't know if we can. We think it means that when Elysium's purification powers go into effect, that's one of the things that happens, is that things get encased in crystal. We had such a hard time with that line. He also had a line about how, now that they're in Elysium, the nightmares on the surface should have subsided, and we're really not sure what he meant by that, either. We were like, "I bet THAT line's not making it into the animated version!" It really didn't seem to affect the story, anyway. Maybe the nightmares are especially attracted to people who are cursed, so now that all the cursed people are in Elysium, they'll leave the people on the surface alone? Maybe it meant that, even though Elysium is basically overrun with nightmares, now that Usagi and Mamoru are there, the purification powers of Elysium will keep the nightmares from going after them so much? We really just don't know.
But the point is the Maenads. Oh, the Maenads. We have been so curious about their name ever since we found out the last edition changed it and why. The whole theory about the Menae, or however they're spelled (we kept finding variants), was appealing (except to our egos, since we didn't know about it first), but linguistically, we weren't sure it would work. I mean, we don't know Greek (despite our Greek names), but we couldn't think of why Naoko Takeuchi would have randomly added a D to the end of their name if she really only meant for them to be named after the daughters of Selene and Endymion. Of course, we realized that our lack of Greek knowledge was exactly why we couldn't think of why the word would have a D at the end--maybe there was a perfectly valid reason and we just didn't know it. And it's for this exact reason that Athena started learning Greek on Duo Lingo. She didn't find anything by the time Miraculous came along and had us much more interested in learning French anyway (although we did come across a Facebook post somewhere that talked about the Greek suffix -ad, so we looked into that a little bit), but that's just the thing! French!
I think I mentioned in our review of volume seven that when we did the research for Helios, we discovered that his name is based on the French pronunciation. And when you look up the katakana for these Maenad characters at Japanese Wikipedia, and at the otaku version of Wikipedia, they tell you that it is the French pronunciation of the name of Dionysus's mad women priestesses. This, of course, was easily verified with a trip to French Wikipedia. And so we were further convinced of our theory that they were really named after a makeup company. You can read all about that in the translation notes, but I will add, in reference to the Menard resort, that we learned of its existence when we were looking up old '90s commercials for Menard cosmetics because...we don't remember why exactly we did it. Maybe we were hoping to find a commercial that would more obviously tie the cosmetics company to the Elysian priestesses, or some campaign that might have inspired Takeuchi-sensei to create these characters or something. But the point is, the resort has been around since before this chapter was originally written.
Then they find Helios's physical body trapped in a cage, which apparently was alarmed, because Usagi tries to open it and summons Nehellenia. I wonder why the cage was alarmed, though. Did Nehellenia really expect someone to go to Elysium to try to save Helios? Maybe she was just covering all her bases. She has been around for a while. I gotta say, watching the anime and the musicals, Nehellenia really seemed like one of the weakest of all the Sailor Moon villains, but in the manga, oh my goodness, she's scary! She's gotten closer to actually destroying Sailor Moon than any of the villains so far. (We have yet to remind ourselves of Galaxia's progress.)
Oh, but before the whole cage incident, Helios and Usagi and Mamoru have a nice chat about the Golden Crystal, and now that they finally have all the pieces, Usagi easily figures out that the Golden Crystal has been inside Mamoru all along. I mean, it seems kind of obvious when you know that it's the Earth version of the Silver Crystal, but Helios didn't reveal that information until now. I don't blame him--he doesn't know what all the important details are, and he's never really had a lot of time to explain things. He had to pick and choose. But more importantly, the flashback to when he had the vision of Princess Lady Serenity was super super cute.
So now that they have the Golden Crystal, Helios decides it's safer to send Usagi and Mamoru back up to the surface and then...stuff happens and they win! The end!
...No, there's still a lot more to go. First of all, I haven't discussed any of what Sailor Saturn was doing while Usagi and Mamoru were in Elysium. Who would have pegged her to be the impulsive one? When the prince and princess disappear, she and Chibi Usa are like, "We have to do something!" And they run off after the Amazoness Quartet and they have a scene that is...okay, so remember in Sailor Moon Crystal, when they're on their way to D-Point and the Four Generals come along to fight them, and suddenly Minako's all, "No, we can't fight them! We LOVE them!" That's what this scene reminded me of, only it made way more sense. Saturn hadn't been trying to kill them for the whole arc, for one thing. But anyway, she tries to convince them they're only being controlled but she doesn't really get anywhere before Zirconia comes along and traps them all in Amazon Stones or mirror shards. Eventually Usagi rescues Chibi Usa and Saturn.
And then there's story time. Now that everyone else in the Dead Moon has been defeated, it's time to confront Nehellenia directly, and she takes advantage of the Guardians being lost in a kaleidoscope world to tell them her tale of woe. It's not really that woeful, actually. It's just she was a dark force of some kind, she went to live on the moon, Princess Serenity was born, they didn't invite her to the party, so she pulled a Maleficent and cursed everybody. Tadah. We did look up the script to Disney's Sleeping Beauty to get some Maleficent-like wordings for some of it, but of course we could only use it if it fit the context, so it's mostly just things like, "Oh, dear," that are just interjections and stuff. So she's all, "Yup, all that stuff with your star-crossed love and both worlds being destroyed? That was me. You're welcome." And Michiru's all, "No, it was destiny! You're not powerful enough to control destiny!" And I'm kind of thinking, "First of all, I'm not sure you're qualified to state definitively that it was destiny, and even if it was, maybe destiny used Nehellenia for that end."
Meanwhile, Saturn's over here like, "I thought I'd destroyed everything! I can't believe I missed one!" And first of all, dang, we had a hard time translating that line. I don't even know why. ...Athena reminds me it's because there was a "konna tokoro ni," which basically means, "in a place like this!" and was probably her way of saying either she thought she checked there or she didn't check there because she didn't think there would be anything to check. So we were thinking there seemed to be no way to fit that nuance in and still have it sound good, and asking ourselves how important it was really, and maybe it's a little important, but it's so hard and we're tired and... Anyway. The other thing is that I was like, "One job, Saturn. You had one job." If her job is to erase everything, like, how hard is that? Everything is everything. You don't even have to think about it. It's like, "Is that a thing? Erased." Every. thing. Here I was thinking after the anime I was being too hard on Pluto, who, in the manga, did not, in fact, fail at her one job. But now here's Saturn, with one job.
Athena's new theory that she came up with just now is that Nehellenia did what all the Shadows do in Kingdom Hearts. She became a shadow with no form, so when Saturn did her big Megaflare or whatever move it was, she was like, "Oops, I'm not really a thing, I'm just a shadow of a thing." Then the light fades and everything's back to normal, and you thought you beat all the Heartless, but up pops this Shadow that you missed, because it was doing its Shadow thing. Even worse if it's a Neo Shadow, and she's definitely powerful enough to be a Neo Shadow at least. So there you go. Sorry for being so hard on you, Saturn.
And then Nehellenia just takes the Silver Crystal. Just takes it, like, "Oh, this is mine now." She doesn't even touch Usagi, she just uses thought waves or something, and Sailor Moon's brooch shatters and the Silver Crystal flies over to her. That's how powerful she is. She's seriously one of the scariest Sailor Moon villains. But of course, that just triggers a speech about how you think you're so powerful but you're wrong, and now we're just going to crush you the end. It was really cool how it happened, though. Usagi was like, "You think power is something you take, but it's something that is born, and you can't give birth to power all by yourself." And I thought it was kind of a nice concept. I was about to describe what all happens next, but you're all going to read it, right?
Oh! but that reminds me! This is the scene that they use for a Uniqlo shirt that just got announced, and we still haven't seen the design up close, so we're not sure how all it's going down, but we had to translate it way in advance of translating the actual volume so they would have the English version to use for the shirt design. But before that, we also had to translate the Outers' new introduction speeches that first show up in this volume (back in the first chapter). And I wanted to talk about that, because of Sailor Neptune. The speeches are really important, and I still don't know what they were for (maybe the Universal Studios show?), but we wanted to make sure we really got them right, so instead of just emailing back and forth, we actually had a phone call with our editor to discuss them all, and Sailor Neptune's gave us the hardest time. We spent like an hour just throwing around ideas, mostly lists from thesauruses. In Japanese, she is the Guardian of "houyou," which literally means "embrace, hug, holding in one's arms." It put us in mind of that story arc in Fairy Tail, because they melted Ur so she was just a part of the ocean, and later her daughter is being all evil and stuff, so they knock her into the ocean, and she was like, "Oh, it's like I'm being embraced by my mother," or whatever...
Anyway, the point is, if you think of the ocean as where all life came from, it takes on kind of a maternal aspect, and it does kind of hug the Earth, covering whatever percentage of it, so the Guardian of Houyou has this image of embracing, like, everything, like she's welcoming and tolerant and loving and etc. But the Guardians are supposed to be Guardians of nouns, and embrace is a verb. It can also be a noun, like a warm embrace, but that's not apparent when you use the word by itself. So we threw around some ideas, like embracement, which sounds awful, and embrasure, which sounds too much like erasure, and I think we tried other synonyms for embrace, but nothing was clicking. One of our favorites was the Guardian of Cuddles. Somebody make a fan art of that, because it would be awesome. Finally we hit on the idea of using an adjective. I think it took us a while because none of the other Guardians have adjective nouns. So we had to convince ourselves that it would be allowed (by whom? I don't know). And finally we hit on Marine Embrace, and we all liked it pretty well, so that's what we went with. Tadah!
I would tell you the story of how we came up with all the others, but there isn't really one for any of them. We did have a little of back and forth about Saturn (death, destruction, ruin--which should we use?) and Pluto. There was something about mythology involved with the choice of Pluto's thing she's guardian of. Something involving Janus, we think. But I don't remember it anymore. I should have written it down, and I apologize for not doing it. ...Hold on, I'll check if we have it in an email. Okay, so it looks like the word for Pluto's title literally means "reformation" or "revolution," so we had to do some convincing about "transition," because we liked it but we weren't sure if it was close enough to the real meaning. Janus is the god of doorways, and Pluto guarded the time door, so the transition is basically the transition from one phase or era or whatever to another, which is basically what a reformation is, right?
Whew, I'm glad I remembered to go into that. Anyway, next we get to see all the Guardians in their princess dresses, and they're all so pretty. And this is something I want to talk about, because it's coming up in things we watch a lot. In all the entertainment these days, it seems like the way to show girls that they can be strong is to show them acting big and tough, like men. It drives me nuts, because I think there's more to truly being strong than being able to smash someone's face in. Destructive abilities are destructive. They can be powerfully destructive, but surely there are powerful forces that are constructive as well. Of course, someone with lots of big strong muscles can build a house, so that's constructive, too. And I appreciate the people with the strength to do that. But my strengths lie elsewhere, and I don't like being told, "It's okay, weak female! You can be like a man, too!" So I really love this scene in Sailor Moon, because every Guardian gets a power-up, and she gets it by first putting on a pretty dress. Princesses have the power, yo.
So their powers all combine and now we have Eternal Sailor Moon! Woohoo!!! And oh my goodness, the Eternal Tiare. At this writing, we don't know how that's going to end up. As we said in the translation note (if it doesn't get changed), we really wanted to make it the Eternal Tear. When we went through and translated all the colored pages, we came across the previous edition's translation of Eternal Tiare, and we were like, "What? No! Why?" Back when the series was current, we had a friend who was importing copies from Japan and we had been calling it the Eternal Tear (or Tier) ever since. When we were reminded that the Silver Crystal came from Usagi's tear, and then Chibi Usa's Silver Crystal came from her tear, we were like, "See!? It's a tear!" But then the Golden Crystal did not come from Mamoru's tear, and we were like, "It doesn't matter! There's all kinds of evidence in a belief that tears contain magical power!" So we did a Google search and...came up with nothing. And I'm still wondering about it, because Rapunzel (the original one, not the Disney one) did cure blindness with her tears, even without magic hair (it was just super long, not magical).
So then we thought about the things about everyone having a star in their hearts, so we thought maybe it was somehow related to stars, like "etoile," because we're learning, thanks to Helios and the Maenads, that it's always French. And we checked the otaku version of Wikipedia to see if they knew anything about it, but they didn't. They did, however, point out that Eternal Sailor Moon doesn't wear a tiara. And we saw the katakana for tiara, and we were like, "!!! It says tia...ra. Oh." And then we were like, "...Wait. What are different language words for tiara?" And guess what the French was? Because of course it's always French! And so, as of this writing, the translation is Eternal Tiare--the same as the previous edition, but for a different reason. We were vehemently against that reason, by the way, because the tiare flower, first of all, looks nothing like the flower on Sailor Moon's wand, and second of all, the E is not silent. Our editor doesn't seem convinced yet, but I do want to point out that her tiara was Sailor Moon's first weapon, it was the only thing that changed when she got her first power-up, and now that she uses the Eternal Tiare(sp?), she doesn't wear a tiara. And it's a symbol of royalty, and Queen Nehellenia's whole thing was that her power (over the Silver Crystal) proved she was the true ruler of the moon. So now this Eternal Tiare(sp?) will be proof that no, Sailor Moon is.
And of course, she destroys Nehellenia, and there's a big coronation ceremony for King Endymion and Queen Serenity, and Saturn says, "By the way, here's the Asteroid Senshi." And this is where I really start to want a spin-off series. We've seen a lot of people asking for a spin-off about the Sailor Starlights, and that would be really cool, too, but I want a spin-off about Sailor Chibi Moon becoming a "real" Guardian and going around with her team and being in love with Helios. ...I kind of hope that her team changes their hair, though. Those 'dos work for circus performers, but not so much for Sailor Guardians. ...At least not in my opinion.
I forgot all the drama about Helios using up the last of his power and dying and Chibi Usa bringing him back to life with her Pink Moon Crystal. I love it, but I don't have much to add about it. There's the whole thing about how Princess Lady Serenity came to him in a vision, and he didn't know there was a difference between Princess Serenity and Princess Lady Serenity, so it's a little sad thinking about when he finds out Sailor Moon is Princess Serenity, but it's also kind of cute, and he figured it out in the end, so it's okay. But his hair seems a lot more unruly without his horn, and it's kind of annoying. Is Chibi Usa's story destined to be tied to people with bizarre hair? A spin-off would tell us!
So Helios took them all back to the surface and the world was at peace and they lived happily ever after. Until next time!
Then we had four short stories, and they killed us. The end. Okay, I actually don't think they were that bad, but they were pretty wordy. I'm not sure I have much to say about Beware of Cavities. ... *thinks* ... Nope, I got nothing. The Entrance Exam Wars...were something that we could sort of relate to, because all their hours of studying reminded us of all our hours of working. I will say, though, that there was a key word in Mako-chan's Melancholy that had us very frustrated, because it's raburii, which is the Japanese pronunciation of "lovely," but doesn't just mean "lovely" as in "how nice" or "how charming." It specifically means lovely in a cute, frilly sort of way. In other words, it's the Japanese word for "girly." The word is generally more associated with girls than with boys, but it's not gender-specific, and it hasn't taken on the negative connotations of girly. And I'm annoyed that "girly" has negative connotations, too, because that is wrong on so many levels. Anyway, that being the case, we didn't want to use "girly," even though I did want to use girly because it's the right word, because it felt like the nuance would be a little off. But there's not another English word that captures the image as well, so we just alternated between cute, lovely, and adorable. I think sometimes we added modifiers like frilly.
Tohi-chan gave us some trouble, too. I will admit that the Japanese word for toffee isn't really exactly like Tohi-chan's name, but the Japanese word for coffee is koohii, which rhymes with toohii, and she's feeding off of sugar energy, so what are we supposed to think it means? We always worry when we come across a character with a Chinese accent, because we don't want to lose the flavor of the original, but we don't want to do anything racist, either. Personally, as people who have learned other languages, we think it has a lot less to do with race and a lot more to do with speaking a second language, but I guess portraying any minority as not speaking perfect English perpetuates the stereotype that everyone of that minority speaks broken English? I wish people would stop judging entire groups based on single representatives...but it's true I can't say whether or not Naoko Takeuchi would apply the accent to all Chinese characters. But Momo-chan's family runs a Chinese restaurant, so I'm going to say probably not. I don't know. But it's frustrating, because I think accents are adorable. We did give her a little bit of one, but we tried not to make it too strong. Of course, there's no telling what our editor will do to her.
Ami-chan's first love was...I don't even know. It was hard to translate, but I don't remember all the reasons why. There was some technical stuff about tests, but other than that, I don't remember anything that would be obviously hard, except for Bonnon's line about the love letter attack. It didn't make any sense, because supposedly (based on the Japanese grammar) it was an attack of love letters from Ami? I mean, as a genius loci, Bonnon would have supernatural powers that might have enabled her to extract love letters from Ami's mind, but I don't know. I do know that it was a little tricky dealing with Mercurius's pronouns. It's easier to eliminate pronouns when the characters know more about someone than their name. But here, Ami was admitting the possibility that Mercurius was female, while clearly assuming that he was male, so we did deliberately have her slip up once or twice where it seemed reasonable, but again, we don't know how the editor will deal with it.
And finally there's the one where Minako invades Rei's school, and we had to have all girls' schoolgirl speak. Whenever very polite feminine speech comes up, we tend to think of Lila from Hey! Arnold. So we add a lot of "ever so much" sort of things, because it amuses us. I like to think we made up a word (I don't remember), because Minako's attempt at mimicking them was supposed to be over the top. Other than that, that story was fairly easy to deal with. It did have some throwbacks to the Sailor V manga. At this point in my life, I would love to translate it, but I would love it even more if I could do it at a leisurely pace.
And I think that covers it. This has been my favorite arc of the manga so far, and I don't think that's just because I love Helios so much. (I hardly even talked about him! I'm sorry, Helios!) And we're looking forward to the Sailor Stars arc!
Aahh, a review truly fitting of Sailor...V, actually. It is long and rambly. Yes, very much like Sailor V. But also zany and hilarious! Like Sailor V. Anyway, we're sorry we don't have any more Sailor Moon reviews, but we hope you all enjoyed the ones we did have! We're still super excited that we were blessed with the opportunity to translate Sailor Moon.
Today I'm thankful for zany reviews to look back on, making good progress on work today, our Duosion already evolving, the Reese's Pieces Chips Ahoy we had for a snack, and the Under the Weather cat food supplement being on its way.