Do you remember Wonder Woman? From an adult perspective, the show was dreadful, marred by ham-fisted scripts, low-budget special effects, campy plotlines, and wooden performances. From a child’s perspective, however, Wonder Woman was magical: the heroine had a secret identity, wore a cool crime-fighting outfit complete with nifty, crime-fighting accessories, and fought bad buys. Better still, she could transform from civilian to superhero by extending her arms and twirling a few times, a transformation made even more dramatic by a blinding flash of light and a musical flourish on the soundtrack.
Codename: Sailor V irresistibly reminded me of the old Wonder Woman show. Judged by adult standards, it’s repetitive, hokey, and poorly drawn; judged by a child’s standards, however, it’s an appealing fantasy in which an ordinary girl can assume a new, powerful identity in order to defeat bullies, robbers, and aliens who like to impersonate idols. (More on that in a minute.)
Sailor V follows a well-established shojo template in which a seemingly ordinary girl discovers her true identity as a soldier, priestess, or princess. For perky tomboy Minako Aino, her alter ego is Sailor Venus, a glamorous, sailor-suited warrior tasked with protecting the Earth from the Dark Agency, a nefarious band of aliens using the entertainment industry to enslave humanity. With the aid of Artemis, a talking cat, Minako begins mastering her two secret weapons: a magical pen and a crescent-shaped compact, both of which enable her to overwhelm opponents with the light of truth….