(Review originally posted on my livejournal account: http://intoyourlungs.livejournal.com/29008.html#vol2)
In the second volume, the last sailor guardian, Sailor Venus (AKA Sailor V) reveals herself to the group. The identity of the Moon Princess is revealed, the Legendary Silver Crystal is found and the girls found out some important truths about the past that have brought them to their current situation.
Though I kept it very brief, a lot of things happen in this second volume. Usagi is revealed to the Moon Princess all along, though she embodied that identity in a past life and those memories had not been unlocked to her before. The girls also go to the moon (literally) to learn about their past lives where Usagi was princess of the moon (and the other girls were her guardians) and how the Moon kingdom fell to ruin. When I was younger and was watching the show, this arc had some of my favorite episodes. Being older, this revelation wasn't nearly so cool to me the second time around, but it was definitely nice seeing some exposition as to why the girls were chosen to be Guardians and who the Forces of Evil were (though they're still about as deep as a puddle.) The whole literally-going-to-the-moon bit felt kind of strange though... I'm pretty sure someone would notice if there were decrepit buildings on the moon (in the anime, it's all seen through an induced flashback and I'm fairly sure it's at least hinted at that everything of the Moon Kingdom was destroyed, leaving the moon as we know it today, which honestly makes a little more sense -- again though, I think I'm over-thinking it.)
One thing I've noticed, and appreciated, in this manga adaptation is the characterization of the girls. In the anime, Usagi cries and whines constantly and Rei is a huge bitch who clashes with Usagi constantly. In the manga, they're both much more subdued. Usagi matures considerably when she receives the memories of her past life and Rei is sort of bitchy, but not nearly as catty as in the anime. Overall, all the girls just seem much more friendly and tight-knit.
I'm surprised by how much I've been enjoying Usagi and Mamoru's romance. They're super cute together, and in this volume as well as the first they've had some swoony-ish moments. It might be a little off-putting that they're so attracted to each other so quickly, but the whole reincarnation thing makes that more forgivable. The only problem I had with their romance is that it seems to be all-consuming. I'm always a little discouraged when girls fall apart when their man is absent, and this unfortunately happens here. However, Mamoru being kidnapped by the enemy is sort of a Big Deal and not knowing if she'll ever see him again or if he's safe would definitely suck for a 14 year old who's fallen in love for the first time. Also, while Usagi wallows a little bit, she does buck up, which was nice.