Codename Sailor V, Volume 1: The Birth of Sailor V!
(A slight detour, since I now have the manga. I must say, the new translation sparks.)
• Hikawa Shrine
Rei: /monotone. "No. No. Hands off, Usagi. I didn't give you permission to read my manga."
Usagi: "Not your manga, my manga, bought with my own moneys for my very own."
Rei: "¡Gimme a look!"
Ami: "Hey, that's the new edition of the Sailor V manga, isn't it?"
Minako: "Dude, why didn't you tell me, Princess? You didn't have to buy it, I'd have given you one of my copies."
Makoto: "'One of…'?"
Minako: "Arty and I are still sitting on STACKS of them. The merchandising was intended to support our operations, but it's kind of taken on a life of its own by now."
Rei: "Wait a minute. ¿You made this?"
Minako: "Well, we hired a ghost artist, but yeah. Did some interviews, provided sample photos and sketches, modeled a bit. It was fun."
Artemis: "Good propaganda, letting the people know their heroes face to face, that sort of thing."
Usagi: "So this is the real story of how it all began, V?"
Minako: "Well, mostly."
Artemis: "I suppose you could say—"
Minako: "Well, it's based on—"
Artemis: "Changed a few details to—"
Minako: "Exaggerated just a little—"
Artemis: "And then there's the timeslip, so—"
Minako and Artemis: "It's complicated."
Luna: "I'm curious to know what you were holding out on me, Artemis."
Ami: "Yes, very."
Makoto: "So you have to do all the voices when you read it to us out loud."
• Three Years Ago-ish, North Juuban Middle School Gym Usagi: "Not London?"
Minako: "That came later."
Teacher: "AINO! I told you you'd get hurt if you screwed around on the high bar!"
Minako: "I'd have pulled off that move if there hadn't been any stupid CATS in the landing zone! My cup runneth over with CATS!"
A certain strange-looking white cat: …mrowrrr… wobble wobble… limp…
Minako: "And we've shared the same faultless working relationship ever since."
Artemis: "You took the words right out of my mouth."
A certain cute girl with short blue hair: "Jeez, Mina! Always trying to stand out!"
Ami: "…What am I doing in this story?!"
Minako: "No, no, that's Hikaru, my BFF since grade school."
Makoto: "She looks just like you."
Minako: "I've told you before, all schools are the same school, with the same people. I'm my school's you, Usagi."
Usagi: "You're your me?"
Minako: "Anyway, uh…"
Minako: /reads a little ahead.
Minako: "…right, we'll just skip this bit—"
Everyone else: "nononononononono"
Minako: "Okay, okay. My first crush was this new transfer, Higashi-sempai, who was on the basketball team. They trained right next to us girls on the volleyball squad, so, uh…"
Rei: "¿Endless eye-candy?"
Minako: "Oh, GAWD, was he. He had a whole, like, entourage of older girls around him who'd chase any competition away, but the court was for team members only, so I had my chance."
Usagi: "ZOMG did you confess?!"
Minako: "Well, I was going to give him a love letter… but a CERTAIN CAT who shall REMAIN NAMELESS kept getting IN THE WAY."
Artemis: "Not without good reason."
Minako: "That's true. But—"
• Eiko Night School Ami: "Sports AND a good cram school? I'm impressed."
Minako: "Mom made me go. I never had time to eat after training, arrgh!"
The teacher: "Since all you first-year students are pathetic, I'm bringing in some of your classmates from the second- and third-year courses to tutor."
Higashi-sempai: /flips his lovely towsled hair. "My name's Higashi, I'll be giving you personal instruction today."
Higashi-sempai: "You know, your long hair is very feminine. But I think you should wear a big, red, ribbon in the back. I like it tied up."
Artemis: "Oh, he wanted to 'tutor' her, all right."
Minako: "Shut up, cat!"
Artemis: "And he was dating another girl and you knew it! Another long-haired blonde—"
Minako: "—with a red ribbon in her hair, I know, Arty. Dude, I was only thirteen, I didn't know any better."
Artemis: "That was the same night you got in that fight, wasn't it?"
Boy Student #1: "Ha! Aino thinks she has a chance with Higashi-sempai?"
Boy Student #2: "She's such a tomboy, he'd run for his life, and leave her crying!"
Minako: "Are you talkin' to me? Are YOU talkin' to ME?"
Minako: "Oh, yeah, that fight. Well, I won, didn't I?"
Artemis: "Do you see what I had to work with?"
Luna: "At least she was capable of taking initiative…"
Usagi: /nods. "Guilty."
• After School
Hikaru: "Any luck with Higashi-sempai?"
Minako: "Naw. But I'll keep trying."
Girl Students #1 and #2 (Twins!): "H-H-H-Higashi-sempai, please accept this gift?" /hand him a present.
Higashi: "Hey, thanks! …If you don't have anything better to do, why don't we go home together?"
Artemis: "I saw it. (They went, too.)"
Minako: "…Oh. Oh, wow. Well, no wonder you were so—"
Usagi: "So what happened after your fight?"
Minako: "Well, I hurried home, and Mom bawled me out for getting my uniform dirty again, and I spent the evening looking into my mirror and wishing I was pretty."
Everyone else: "You ARE pretty."
Minako: "Well, yeah, but… well, you know how it is."
Minako: "And then Artemis stepped in and proved himself a manipulative little pervert snot—"
Artemis: "I say!"
• Aino Residence, Minako's Lovely Suite
Minako: /poses in front of the bathroom mirror. "Mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. I wish I could make myself prettier!"
ENTER Artemis, dramatically silhouetted.
Artemis: "You can, Minako Aino, because you were born under the star of the Goddess of Beauty. Call me Ar—"
Minako: "PEEPING TOM! PEEPING TOM!" /throws Artemis out the window.
Artemis: "…Well, you have good reflexes and perception—"
Minako: "Okay, who's the wise-ass prankster with a tape recorder and a cat?"
Artemis: "—and adaptability. You pass the test."
Minako: "…This is a test?"
Artemis: "…Of course."
Minako: "Uh huh."
Artemis: "My name is Artemis, and Minako, you have been chosen. The power lies within you to change yourself into a woman of strength and beauty—"
Minako: "Wa-wa-wa-wait. Hold up. Stop. Time out. Okay, a talking cat, I buy. But 'chosen'? By whom? For what? And since when do cats speak Japanese?"
Artemis: "I'm still very impressed that you immediately questioned the assumptions instead of simply accepting whatever I said."
Minako: "I guess I'm just naturally suspicious. Someone who could fake a talking cat could fake a great many things—"
Artemis: "—and a talking cat can certainly lie."
Minako: "You ever lied to me, Arty?"
Minako: "That's what I thought you'd say."
Artemis: "Of course."
Minako: "Anyway, that's when Arty gave me the Mirror of Truth." /holds up a crescent-shaped compact mirror for all to see. "And in the Mirror, I saw myself reflected as Sailor V. And you'll notice it shows you all as—"
Usagi: "—as our hidden selves."
Minako: "For mine is the light of truth. When I looked in the Mirror for the first time, I beheld the Earth, and then I saw my castle—"
Minako: "—MY castle, Magellan, floating in its crystal shield in orbit above Aphrodite Terra on my mother world, Venus, the land of incandescent heat and sulfurous atmosphere, and it sang to me in my heart, and above the music I heard a voice that told me destiny had selected me for a great mission. And then I freaked out and fainted."
Artemis: "You would not believe how much trouble I had getting you into your pajamas and to bed."
Minako: "I bet you loved every minute of it, you little perv."
• The Next Day Rei: "Don't tell me, let me guess. Higashi-sempai was…"
Higashi: /answers his cell phone. "Yes?"
Mistress Fluorite (via cell phone). "Narcissus! Brainwash more slaves! We must create a foothold in this primitive nation called 'Japan' from which to further our plan to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!"
Higashi: "Understood, milady! Leave that to your loyal Narcissus! Soon, every woman… SHALL BE MINE! MUAHAH–"
Mistress Fluorite (via cell phone): "Except me."
Higashi: "Er, yes, ma'am! Sorry, ma'am."
Artemis: /overheard the whole thing!
Artemis: "We sort of abbreviated the actual conversation to make the point. But…"
Usagi: "Sweet jumpin' Jesus, Mina, you have the worst luck. Your first love—"
Minako: "—was a womanizing agent of the Dark Kingdom with a mind-controlled harem. Yup. That's me! I even put the ribbon in my hair like he'd asked, d'oh!"
Minako: ♫ Just put a ribbon in your hair, darlin', you'll be the best gift anywhere… ♫
Artemis: /tries to get in her path. "Stop! Wait! Cease!"
Minako: "Talking cats don't exist! It was all a dream! Excuse me." /steps over Artemis.
Minako: /walks around the corner.
That other blonde girl with a red ribbon: "—Higashi-sempai, I've always loved you."
Higashi: "Me too, babe! Let's roll."
Minako: "…That's why you were trying to stop me, wasn't it, cat? I guess men only like the really beautiful ones after all."
Everyone else: "You ARE—"
Minako: "I know! I know! I was insecure!"
Minako: /turns to go.
Higashi: "And now, my dear, YOU WILL BE MY SLAVE!" /casts BRAINWASH on what's-her-name.
Higashi: "Oh, hey, didn't see you there. Care to join in?" /muahahahahaha.
Artemis: "Mina! Quick!" /throws Mina a magic pen.
Ami: "How does a cat throw?"
Minako and Artemis: "Very well, thank you."
A voice from the pen: "Minako, no time to explain! Just call me 'Boss'. That man is your enemy, and only you can stop him!"
Everyone else: "'Boss'?'"
Ami: "There's time to explain now. I know you were taking orders from Artemis in secret, Luna, but who was he taking orders from?"
Luna: "A personality simulacrum of the late Queen Serenity, run on a backup computer in safety on the Moon."
Rei: "¿And the best code-name she could come up with was 'Boss'?"
Usagi: "What's wrong with 'Boss'? I think it sounds cool!"
Artemis and Luna: /look at the others, then just point at Usagi.
Makoto: "…It runs in the family, huh?"
Usagi: "What? What does?"
Higashi/Narcissus: /casts BRAINWASH on Minako!
Artemis: "Mina! Use the magic words! Call out 'Moon Power Transform!'"
Minako: /casts MOON POWER TRANSFORM!
Suddenly! Minako surges with power, and becomes Sailor Venus, Champion of Justice! Her colors are blue, white, and red; her uniform has armored pads and gauntlets; she wears a mask; and the mark of the Moon shines upon her brow!
Minako: "And that was the first time. Actually, I'm glad I'm done with that uniform, it was a bit awkward."
Artemis: "Terribly sorry, I'm sure."
Usagi: "'Moon Power'? Not 'Venus Power'?"
Artemis: "Ah, but remember, she's your body double. I had to make it convincing."
Minako: "Yes, the BIG GLOWING CRESCENT MOON on the forehead was a particularly subtle touch."
Artemis: "But you do 'subtle' so well, my dear."
• Battle is Joined! Minako: "Ever fought a harem of schoolgirls in close combat? It's not as fun as it sounds."
Narcissus: "DESTROY HER, MY MINIONS!"
Schoolgirl army: "Braiiiiiiiiinnssss…"
Minako: /ho haha guard turn parry dodge spin ha thrust ouch
Minako: "Sempai, snap out of it!"
Artemis: "He wasn't brainwashed, Minako, he was never human in the first place! Take him down!"
Minako: "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!"
Narcissus: "You impudent SLIME! You shall die horribly!"
Minako: "Okay, so he's not kidding me. How do I take him down?!"
Artemis: "The Mirror! Shoot him with the Mirror!"
Minako: "You mean like this?"
Minako: /casts CRESCENT BEAM!
Narcissus reverts to his true form!
Narcissus is disintegrated!
• Aftermath Usagi: "Did you go hide in your room afterward?"
Minako: "YES. You understand. It's not easy alone."
Usagi: "No, it's not."
Minako: /utter shellshock.
Boss: "Artemis, you will be this girl's partner. You must help her from now on. She's hurt and confused; now is when you demonstrate your abilities."
Artemis: /kitty kisses.
Minako: /giggle giggle. "Stop! Stop!"
Artemis: "Feeling a little better? Call me Artemis."
Artemis: "A pleasure. Please, get some rest. You've much work ahead of you. Oh, but first, set the Mirror on the windowsill; it will recharge in the Moon's light. Don't want it to run down, after all!"
Usagi: "Hey, how come I don't get kitty kisses?"
Luna: "I happen to prefer men."
Makoto: "So If Higashi was actually a monster, why did you keep wearing the ribbon?"
Minako: "Because you know what? I look awesome in it, thank you very much. Who cares wear the idea came from? It's mine now."
Luna: "How mature of you!"
Artemis: "The very next day she developed a raging crush on a boy idol singer. God help me."