What is the Manga Comparison Project?
Since its initial release in the February 1992 issue of Nakayoshi, the Sailor Moon manga has gone through four major reprints in Japan – the original Nakayoshi print, the compilation tankobon print (early 90s), the re-mastered ‘shinsoban‘ reprints (early 2000s), and the ‘kanzen‘ (early 2010s). What you may not know, though, is that Ms. Takeuchi has made changes to the art and text with each release.
This project is dedicated to compiling a list of what’s changed with each release to help us better understand how Sailor Moon has evolved over its past 25 years.
While many of these changes are minor, I think they’re worth pointing out since Ms. Takeuchi felt it was worth making these changes. Please note, though, that when a change is made in one version and is retained in the rest, I will only point out the version when the change is made.
Lastly, I’d like to thank my kind Patreon subscribers who help make this, and other side projects, possible. These comparisons go up 1 month early on Patreon, so if you’re interested in being involved, please check it out!
Brought to you by:
- Misty Van Dyke
- Roffles Lowell
- The Sailor Book
- Robin Drain
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Act 1 – Usagi (Sailor Moon)
The versions we’re looking at are:
- Nakayoshi magazine – Published February 1992 (released to stores in January 1992, possibly even in December 1991)
- Original tankobon – Published July 6, 1992
- Remastered tankobon – Published September 22, 2003
- Perfect tankobon – Published November 29, 2013
Let’s get going!
Right out of the gate we can see some pretty significant changes between all versions of the act opening image (though it’s absent in the Original release).
The first obvious change is the exclusion of this image in the Original release, but that was probably due to cost-cutting measures and leaving out color pages. But with that out of the way, the sheer number of changes between the Nakayoshi release and Remaster release are simply amazing.
Sailor Moon’s design was pretty heavily updated in the Remaster release to bring her in line with the anime version. For example, changes in the Remaster include:
- The odango decorations have had the gold borders removed
- Her tiara looks thinner (just me?)
- Stars have been added to her earrings
- She’s now blonde
- The gloves have been redone to match her anime/manga design
- The choker and brooch have been revised
- The boomerang on her chest is now gone
- Her bodice is cut higher, no more cleavage
- The shoulder pads have been made smaller
- Her lower back bow is now red
- The petticoat under her skirt only shows on the left
- The cityscape in her cape is revised, and more decorations added
- Tokyo Tower is much bigger
The Perfect version reverts all of these changes and goes back to the Nakayoshi edition. As we’ll learn later, this is actually pretty rare – the Perfect edition is generally based off of the Remaster edition.
There are are several changes between Nakayoshi / Perfect (which are the same) vs. Original / Remaster (which, except for the Original being in black and white, are also the same):
- In N/P, the newspaper is marked as (1) 4版, which means that this is the fourth printing of the paper in the day. Not significant story wise, but this was removed in O/R.
- N/P says that “all members of the gang were arrested” in pink above the green text noting that Sailor V took down the robbery gang. It was cut in O/R, but I have no idea why.
- In O/R, the bottom panel is waaay zoomed in.
Perhaps one of the most amazing changes that applies throughout this Act is that Usagi’s odango were much flatter in the Nakayoshi release. This applies to every page, so I won’t bore you with that every time, but it’s amazing to see how Usagi’s design may have been altered by the anime.
In the Original version, Usagi’s hand was added to the top panel, and a loose hair added to her bangs, though this was removed in later versions. A hair in front of her face has been shortened, and looks like her mouth updated.
A sniffle has also been added to the top bubble, and rabbits in the box in the first panel and bottom-right panel have been redrawn. Also in the top panel, her neck has been redrawn a bit. Lastly, a background was added to the last panel at the bottom.
In the Remaster and Perfect, it looks like the top odango were redrawn again, to add a little perspective. The hair in front of her face was reverted back to the Nakayoshi version, and yet again, both of the rabbits in the first and bottom-right panels have been redrawn. Back in the top panel, Usagi’s neck has been revised again closer to the Nakayoshi release. The hint of cleavage (??) in the Original is now gone.
Finally, the background in the bottom-right pane has been redrawn, and a new design has been added to the background in the lower-left panel.
Luna was redrawn after Nakayoshi in the top and middle-right panels, and Usagi’s text bubble has been slightly moved in the top panel. In the bottom left, the school was redrawn in the Remaster, which was kept in Perfect.
Nakayoshi / Original seem to be identical, but from the Remaster edition, two small changes were made: in the box in the top-right panel, Ms. Takeuchi made a note about “Please buy Cherry Project!” since that’s where Haruna Sakurada made her first appearance. That note has been replaced by a rabbit in the later two editions. Also, Umino’s collar has been slight revised in the middle and bottom panels from the Remaster.
Naru’s mouth is different in Nakayoshi. From the Remaster edition, Umino’s collar was again updated, as was the school in the top-left and middle-left panels, and Sailor V was redrawn to give her the shoulder pads.
Just some small changes on this page. In Original, a border was added to the top of the panel with Naru in it. From Remaster, the drop-shadow effect was removed in the image, Umino’s collar changed, and the border behind Usagi’s head in the middle panel changed.
Veeeeery small change, but from the Remaster edition,the twinkle effect around the jewels in the middle panel have changed, and the weird black lines were removed.
This is a weird change. In the Nakayoshi and Original, the three sale signs read: Sale; 50% off; 70% off. In Remaster and Perfect the read: Sale 70%; 50% off; 60% off. I can’t imagine who cared enough to change that, or why.
Some more notable changes this time around happened in from the Remaster edition:
- Usagi says くそ (kuso; shit) in the top right panel – that’s a sigh from Remaster
- the Sailor V poster has been completely redrawn
- the shooting sound effects next to the poster were redone
- the gameplay screen in the bottom panel was redone
Once again, pretty minor changes. In the right panel where Usagi’s playing, a small edit has made to the text from Remaster where Motoki says “Ah!” though it’s a weird revision. There’s also been an addition to the note about Motoki in the second box of the top-left panel, where it now says he’s “cool and nice,” rather than just nice. Lastly, the sound effect of Luna walking up to the two of them has been removed.
The Nakayoshi Luna in the bottom right looks downright awful. She was updated in Original, updated again in Remaster, and it looks like her eyes were made larger Perfect. So four versions, four Lunas!
Unique to Nakayoshi, the text above Luna’s head looks different (but reads the same), Usagi’s hair in the top-left panel has been totally redrawn in later releases, and there’s not background to the bottom-left panel.
From the Remaster edition, one character was added to Ikuko’s conversation about Umino on the left, to fix the grammar a bit.
More minor stuff! From Original, a mark was added to Ikuko’s hair to show she’s angry, and from Remaster, the way Usagi says おとうと (otouto; little brother) changes from おとーと to the correct おとうと. Not an error, but maybe too casual/informal.
In Nakayoshi, Usagi’s hair in the top-left panel looked pretty different and was later completely redrawn. From the Original edition, a small text balloon of her sniffling was added in the mid-left panel, as well as a squiggle line above her left in the top-right panel where she kicked the door. Later, in the Remaster edition, this squiggle was changed to a word for a dull, throbbing pain.
This is a rare case where a change was actually made in Perfect, though I’m not sure why. In the top-left panel, “energy” has been rewritten from エネルギーto エナジー. Neither is technically more correct, and even the Sailor Moon manga and anime are across the board over which one they’re using. But what’s really weird is that they didn’t change the spelling in the top-right panel. Huh?
Also, in the Nakayoshi and Original, Morga’s text was handwritten. However, in Remaster and Perfect, it’s typed like everything else. It’s kinda sad, since I liked the creepy handwritten look.
From the Remaster edition, the rabbit on Usagi’s door (top-left, box) and rabbit on her text book (top-left) have been re-drawn. Also, her English textbook (also top-left) has been rewritten from Japanese えーご to “English.” In the Nakayoshi edition only, her English textbook had no cover design and was just white.
First off, it’s probably worth noting that this page is pretty narrow since, in Nakayoshi that space was needed for an ad. It was repurposed in the Original edition for liner notes, then a sketch from Remaster. Also from the Remaster edition, Luna was redrawn in the middle panel (possibly due to her looking like a piglet in the first two versions?) and her eyes were redrawn in the bottom right.
After the Nakayoshi release, Luna was later revised here. It could just be me, but I feel like she was revised again, ever so slightly from the Remaster edition. Lastly, again in the Remaster, there is an arrow on the left speech bubble in the top-panel to let you know it’s Luna who’s talking.
From the Remaster edition, Usagi’s brooch got a pretty extreme redesign which, oddly enough, I really don’t like. It went from really intricate and magical to a much more simplified design. It looks much cheaper to me. In addition to the brooch, the mirror in the lower-right panel was redrawn in Nakayoshi, Original, and Remaster. Lots of revisions there!
From the Original, Luna in the lower-left was redrawn to update her design a bit.
As I mentioned on the previous page, the brooch has been completely redrawn from the Remaster edition, and I’m really not a fan of the simplified design. But that’s just me. Aside from that, the transformation scene at the top has been totally redrawn to show her body, and honestly looks inspired by the anime transformation.
And Luna… wow. She’s drawn differently in the Nakayoshi, Original, and Remaster versions. Also notable, Usagi’s brooch is different in all three of those versions in both the lower right and lower left panels. Some twinkle effects were also added to both panels from the Remaster edition.
Not sure if I should even point this out, but… yeah, this page was totally redrawn from the Remaster edition. A rabbit and Luna face have been added to show that they’re yelling the phrase together, the hands were redone, and a transformation pose was added on the left. Interesting!
This page is a bit of an optical illusion for me. It looks like Usagi’s been both reversed and significantly redrawn from the Remaster edition. I’m not really sure what the need was for reversing her pose, but that’s neither here nor there. Other than the obvious changes to her brooch, her collar in the Remaster was also made shorter. Interestingly enough, her odango were also pretty heavily redrawn in the Original release.
Anyway, her head in the top left has also been redrawn, notably: thinner tiara, new mouth, smaller stars on her earrings, and addition of a neck and choker.
Luna is once again redrawn three times – in the Nakayoshi, Original, and Remaster editions. Also, Tuxedo Mask’s shadow was redrawn and the reflection removed from his hat from the Remaster, in addition to a rabbit being added to the right-most speech bubble so you know Usagi’s talking.
Wait, finally a page where Luna was not changed?? Call me surprised. But anyway, enough of that! There are two small language changes on here, both from the Remaster version: the emphatic よ was removed from Sailor Moon’s speech bubble in the top-right, and in the top-left, she now refers to Morga as a 怪物 (kaibutsu; monster) and not a ごうつく (goutsuku; miserly, pigheaded).
My guess for the change is that it’s both (i) a bit strong for Usagi to say – something like “Cut it out, you miserable hag!” and (ii) inaccurate. I mean, Morga is clearly a monster.
Surprisingly few changes on this page. Obviously the brooch was redone in Remaster, as was Usagi’s mouth in the bottom panel. Also of note, the exposure on the background looks really different in each version, but I’m pretty sure it is the same background.
The stars in the background were cleaned up a lot from the Remaster version, too.
Surprisingly minor changes for such a busy page. Obviously, Luna was redrawn from the Original edition, and from the Remaster edition, Luna’s head was added to the speech bubble on the left-hand side of the middle panel and it was cut off from the bottom one, to make it clear who’s speaking and the order it happened in.
From the Original edition, Usagi’s odango and mouth in the top panel were redrawn. Her mouth was pretty off, so I definitely agree there. Also in the bottom middle panel, Usagi was added since she was absent in the Nakayoshi version. From the Remaster, Usagi’s continued crying (ああーん) is cut out from the bottom middle panel, and Morga is given more hair in the bottom right.
This was a pretty good Luna, so I’m not surprised to see that she wasn’t redone. However, with the Remaster edition, Usagi’s wing/hair pins were completely redrawn in both the top-right and left panels. Also redone in the left panel:
- shoulder sleeves
- thrown tiara
- Text: Moon Frisbee => Moon Tiara Boomerang
One final odd note with the Remaster edition is that in the bottom center panel, they removed all of the blood between Morga’s body and neck. This is strange, because thy retained the blood in the panel immediately to the left of it. Why?
This is such a small change that it probably isn’t even worth mentioning, but: from the Remaster edition, Usagi’s text on the right panel is slightly revised and brought together in one text bubble. It originally said “No way… she faded away into dust?!” while the update says “No way! She faded away into dust?!”
Like I said, really minor.
Also of note, in the middle panel, the hair pins have been redrawn, and the buildings on the left look redone – but I doubt that’s the case. I bet these are just better scans of the same source, which look like they were photocopied from real buildings.
Added in the Original is a background behind Tuxedo Mask, and then the Revised edition takes it a step further and moves Tuxedo Mask’s text up a bit (probably to not overlap with his hair) and redoes the… umm… love-bubble (?) effect at the top and bottom of Usagi’s panel.
Luna? How’d ya guess?? Yep, the top-left Luna was redrawn from the Original, though she also looks cleaned up a bit in the Remaster edition.
One other really weird change from the Remaster edition is that some shading has been added on the underside of Naru’s skirt. It’s kinda weird, and I’m not sure what the benefit was. Also in that version, the bubble effect was changed to hearts all over the left-panel.
Luna was surprisingly not redrawn here – even if I think she could have done with a bit of a touch up – though hearts were added to the top-left panel from the Remaster edition. Also with that change, a sweat drop was removed from Luna’s speech balloon in the top-right.
Most obviously, Usagi’s brooch was revised in the center and bottom panel from the Remaster edition, though the top-left one looks left alone (probably because it wasn’t clear anyway). The background behind Naru in the top-center panel also looks to be cleared up.
Other interesting changes include more stray hairs being added to Usagi, as well as a design to Naru’s ribbon, after the Nakayoshi release.
Also, Luna was revised in the left panel three times, with her design differing in the Nakayoshi, Original, and Remaster editions.
Any there you have it! A far-too-detailed look into how the Sailor Moon manga has evolved over the past 25 years… and this is just the start!
This content is available one month in advance to Patreon subscribers, who help make this and other content on this site possible. If you’re interested in knowing more, please check it out!
6 thoughts on “[Manga Comparison] Act 1 – Usagi (Sailor Moon)”
A comparison between all the versions of the manga has been a fandom dream of mine for years. So excited you’re taking a project like this on. Fantastic work so far, and I look forward to every update!
To be honest, I was really surprised to see that this hadn’t ever been done before. It can be pretty time consuming (approx. 8-10 hours per act), but there’s definitely a lot to learn!
This is incredible! I had no idea that changes were made between the initial publication in Nakayoshi and the tankoban release. While I think most of the changes made (through to the perfect edition) are for the best, part of me thinks Luna looks super cute in the Nakayoshi version and kind of wishes Naoko hadn’t changed her xD
Anyway, keep up the great work! I love all the fascinating articles you post here. It’s amazing that even after 25 years, there’s still so much about Sailor Moon to discover.
I’m not sure why it seems the illustrator has purposely drawn Usagi’s waist wider in just a way I don’t find as flattering to her style. She looks boxy…
the images after the transform (page 26) also show the more fitting changes with the gloves and boots – the red page and the original makes them look loose or just a little bit too big, meanwhile the remastered and perfect have slimmed them down to Usagi’s size, looking more comfortable =)
thanks Tuxedo Unmasked for this article, can’t wait to read the rest of the comparisons you’ve made!! ^^
I’m now very curious to see which version I have in my bookcase ewe probably ending up reading it all, you won’t hear me complain~ ^^
Nakayoshi ch1 the last pg.40 says “to be continued” “in March [issue]” and just below it: something about “Feb the 3rd”, I assume saying something like “available in your press providers from Feb 3”. Do I read this right? This suggests that Nakayoshi had a fixed date of release. Could these dates be trusted? Elsewhere you’ve written that when issued the stated month was OVER a month ahead. This is of interest to me because with the actual release date you can attempt to calculate the astrological chart for the manga. Not as precise as the first episode of the TV series (which we know was broadcasted from AsahiTV in Tokyo on 7.March.1992 at 19:00), but still something.