Sailor Moon, Vol. 01

Sailor Moon, Vol. 01 - Naoko Takeuchi When I was in 7th and 8th grade, I saw the cartoon on TV and picked up the manga soon afterwards. It has love, drama, destiny, and magic -perfect for young girls.

As an adult, I can really appreciate that this is a series with strong female characters that provide good role models for girls. These aren't people whose sole ambition is to make the perfect bento for their boyfriend. They are independent and powerful in their own right (Darien/Mamoru holds his own and provides initial guidance, sure, but there's no way he can compete in terms of raw power). There are female characters in positions of both political and military leadership. Men have little power in this series. Actually, there really aren't many men in general. In addition, the main characters have a great friendship despite initially moving in different social circles, exhibiting none of the petty cruelty 12 and 13 year old girls show to each other on a daily basis. Later volumes include homosexual characters and men who transform into women, without being stereotypical or offensive towards those characters. It does include death and past suicide, so parents of children or teenagers with depression may want to be careful, but the series is ultimately uplifting.

Sailor Moon brought a lot of interest to the entire magical girl genre, and made it possible for a lot of other artists to be published. Even now, there's a very popular TV show in Japan that was obviously inspired (to the point of stealing character designs, really) by Sailor Moon. I could re-read it and still find it enjoyable.