Another two weeks, another episode of Sailor Moon Crystal! It’s been rough for the last few episodes, but the last one ended on such a high note that I couldn’t wait to see this one! Does this one continue to push the series in a positive direction, or will it fall back on old habits that have made the show less enjoyable at times? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to keep on reading!!
The episode begins just as the last one ended where Luna is proposing a trip to the moon. They can’t go until the full moon though, so the gang is preparing for their trip to outer space.
Sailor Venus (Minako) assures the group that everything will be fine BUT she can’t tell them just yet how they’re going to get there, or what air they’re going to breathe, or anything else. Okay, Minako? I know you like being the one who knows the most about the moon, but withholding information is not cool. Okay? Alrighty then. Usagi is feeling better which is nice to see, and even when she’s alone she isn’t pouting or worrying herself to death. She’s done with all that. It’s time for her to fight… or at least it will be in about three weeks.
The opening credits begin, and I’ve finally sat down and done the research (which shouldn’t be a requirement to not be confused, but maybe I’m just a dumb ass). In episode 1,2, and 6-10, the person in the opening has white hair. In episodes 3-5, she has blonde hair. Upon closer inspection (and freeze framing because the scene goes by too quickly for subtle changes to really register) it’s clear that they are actually two different people.
Presumably, the one on the left is the Moon Queen, while the one on the right is Princess Serenity (Usagi’s previous self). Now I can’t speak for EVERYONE who’s new to this seires, but AS someone who is, this isn’t easy to figure out right away. We have yet to see the series, and they reuse several assets for her and Usagi. The hair is the EXACT same, with all the curls in exactly the same places. The pose is EXACTLY the same as well. The only difference is that the Moon queen has a longer face, silver eyes, and I believe she has a larger bust. Still, we only get to see them for about a second in the opening, so the only thing that really jumps out is the hair color. I honestly believed that they were the same person and that the animators screwed up the hair color in the first few episodes before correcting it. That’s what confused me so much when they put the “wrong hair color” back INTO the opening! Even though I know it’s intentional now, I couldn’t tell you WHY they switch back and forth. If there’s some subtle detail in each episode that indicates who’s going to be in the opening, then I fucking missed it. See, this is one of the problems with Sailor Moon Crystal that makes it hard for new fans to get into it! We’re all aware that there is an anime and manga that came before this, so whenever this happens it only worries us new fans that we’re not getting something that the other fans are! After the credits, we get a scene of Usagi with her family. Wait a minute… WHAT!? I don’t think that has happened since episode one! Holy crap! Usagi’s dad has just gotten home and hands her something that she’s been asking for. I don’t think the dad bought it because he asks if it was from a boyfriend, but then how the hell did he get it? The thing in question turns out to be the Legendary Silver Crystal. Wait, what?
It took me a few minutes to suss this out, but what I THINK happened is that Usagi left it at some jewelry place so that she could get a chain put on it, and had her dad pick it up on his way home. The power of the crystal was put in Tuxedo Mask (Mamoru) last episode, so I guess there’s no harm now that it’s an empty vessel. Besides, there are more important things to worry about right now.
While Usagi has defiantly gotten the lion’s share of development in this series already, it’s still nice to see the show slow down and look at these characters’ lives when they aren’t just preparing for the next fight. Who knows? The moon isn’t going to be full for another few weeks, so maybe we’ll spend some time with the other characters. Oh no wait, they’re leaving for the moon in the next scene. Really!? Look, I can understand them not wanting to postpone the trip for an entire episode, but if that was the case why did you show that shot of the moon that’s not even close to full? This means that the jump from the last scene to this scene is an incredibly long span of time!!
Luna summons a… thingy from the lake. Some sort of energy ring I guess? The five scouts then transform (no animation sadly) and hold hands while inside the ring. Then, magic happens. They get beamed up into outer space, so it’s either moon magic or moon technology. Once they’ve slipped the surly bonds of Earth though, it’s quite a sight to behold.
I’m always a sucker for scenes in outer space, so this part of the episode really worked for me. We get a bit of the scope and majesty that has been somewhat limited in this series due to everything happening in one city in Japan. They’re on their way to the moon, and by golly they are gonna give it some fucking gravitas! Once they get there though, everyone seems slightly disappointed.
They find a ruined castle in the distance which is all that remains of the moon kingdom (which was called Silver Millennium) and they find the Master Sword waiting for them. Luna orders all the scouts (except Usagi) to pull the sword out of the stone which is awesome because this is a chance for Sailor Jupiter (Makoto) to shine!
Working together, the four of them eventually dislodge the sword from its resting place which activates some sort of hologram of the former Queen of Silver Millennium.
The Queen here finally gives us the exposition dump that this series has needed for a couple episodes now so that we better understand what happened in the past and how it relates to what is happening now. Silver Millennium and Earth Kingdom lived in harmony a long time ago. An evil force (they’re still annoyingly unspecific about it) descended upon the people of Earth and convinced them to rise up against Silver Millennium for whatever reason. The only one on Earth NOT affected by this evil (which was presumably Queen Metalia) was the Tuxedo Mask from back then called Endymion. He was stabbed to death protecting Princess Serenity (reborn as Usagi) and this is where the show takes an unbearably dark turn that I really did not like.
The way the scene is set up, along with the translation provided, leads me to believe (and hope) that this was just poetic license taken from the source material and isn’t meant to be LITERALLY true. I mean, she falls down onto the corpse of Endymion which, unless shortly after means five seconds after his death, this is just a way for them to CONVEY the basic idea of what happened without having to show it as it actually did. Basically, I’m hoping that the suicide here is just a way to represent her dying, and that she didn’t actually take her own life. Suicide is not fucking romantic and shouldn’t be so carelessly used as to be justified by the loss of a boyfriend. I have no fucking clue if this was in the original manga or the anime. I don’t care. It’s not cool. The Queen of Silver Millennium was able to use the Silver Crystal to seal Metalia away (unspecific on how she did it and where Metalia was sent) but Metalia was able to turn the kingdom to stone before that happened. I guess that would explain why the moon is now the inhospitable wasteland it is today, but it still doesn’t explain how the scout are able to breath there NOW! It’s not clear what happened to the Queen or the Scouts, but Artemis and Luna were put in suspended animation by the Queen to await the return of Princess Serenity and the Scouts. Whether or not this was SUPPOSED to coincide with the return of Metalia is still unknown, as well as Dark Kingdom’s role in the whole thing. Still, we’ve got enough to go on for the story to move forward, and I’m sure some of these questions will be answered once we hear Dark Kingdom’s side of the story. After the story from the Queen, the Scouts head back to Earth which actually surprised me. I was certain that Dark Kingdom was somewhere on the moon, but apparently it’s not and the trip wasn’t about saving Tuxedo Mask, but to get more information. Once back on Earth though, they don’t seem to have much of a plan other than to wait for Dark Kingdom to make a move. We cut to the Dark Kingdom where our favorite boy band is being very naughty by following Queen Beryl to the room that’s holding whatever’s left of Queen Metalia.
During the course of the two Queens’ conversation (they’re gonna use Tuxedo Mask as bait), it slips that the four kings have lost memories that the two Queens don’t want them to regain. Naturally, all four of them get a flashback and it turns out that they were knights of Prince Endymion with really lame specialties. It’s random stuff like Patience, Harmony, comfort…
I’m not a big fan of this twist here. It takes away from the villains when the only reason they’re evil is because of brainwashing, or corruption, or any number of things that can take the blame off of the villains for the havoc they wreak. Who wants to bet that Beryl is ALSO not responsible for her own actions, which just leaves an anthropomorphized cloud as our bad guy? Anyway, Beryl puts the kibosh on all this “remembering” business and sends the four of them out to do that one thing they’re always doing. We cut back to the Scouts in Luna’s mission control center (under the arcade) where they seem to be closing in on Dark Kingdom’s location which is somewhere in the North Pole. Okay, so they ARE on Earth and not the moon. Unfortunately, they get interrupted by the fact that the four kings just froze all of Tokyo. Wait, what?
Seriously! If the villains can flash freeze an entire city, why do they even bother fucking with the Scouts? Just separate, cause massive destruction in short bursts, and then cause even MORE destruction while the Scouts try to clean up your mess! Of course, they stick around waiting for the Scouts to appear which sure enough they do. They get into a fight which is actually pretty damn awesome. None of the Scouts get taken out of the fight right away, and they each have a chance to show off some impressive moves.
At some point, Venus blurts out that the bad guys are not only former knights of Endymion, but they were also the love interests of the other Scouts. Of course! WHY NOT!?!? Why not make Beryl the reincarnation of some adopted daughter the Moon Queen had that we haven’t heard of up until now!? Alright, this isn’t the end of the world. I’m not a fan of putting THIS much connection between characters (it really makes the world seem smaller than it should be), but this isn’t something that would bother me much after we get a chance to explore the relationships. What DOES bother me though is what happens next. The douche bags see an opening and decide to attack. The Scouts, now completely enamored with people they barely know ARE UNABLE TO LIFT A GOD DAMN FINGER TO SAVE THEMSELVES!!
I MIGHT have bought something like this with Usagi because the show has had a chance to explore her relationship with Mamoru (NOT the relationship between Serenity and Endymion) which gave the viewer context for their feelings. I don’t give two shits about what happened in the past if it’s used to justify stupid decisions like this. This is really another problem I have with this whole Silver Millennium arc, which is how willing these characters are to completely resume the roles of their past lives. There are points where I get the sense that by getting their memories back, that they’ve completely shed their previous lives in favor of one that were lived thousands of years ago. I can’t imagine that even if you had memories of a past life that they’d be so powerful as to immobilize you like it’s doing to them now. They’ve probably lived just as long as their CURRENT incarnations as they did their previous ones, but for some reason they always seem to defer to the lives on the moon. Maybe they had less homework back then or something. Anyway, Usagi is thankfully around to smack some sense into everyone by nearly knocking off the kings’ heads off with what appears to be a Destructo Disc.
At this point, Usagi flies her ass to outer space and uses her Moon Stick Thingy to remove all the ice from Tokyo. AWESOME!!
This display of unadulterated badassery is enough to remind the Scouts that there are much more important things to worry about at the moment (like the fate of the world for example) and kick those guys to the curb with an attack that doesn’t appear to do any physical damage. It’s enough to scare them off though, so the day is saved once again! Back at Dark Kingdom, Queen Beryl is putting her next plan in motion which is to brainwash Mamoru and send him back to destroy Usagi and get the Silver Crystal. The episode ends here which leaves us to wait for the next one to find out how that works out (probably not well for our villains).
It’s unfortunate that there were some terrible moments in this episode because it’s probably the best one since the Silver Millennium arc began. We got some answers, the stakes are getting raised, and we even got an action scene that everyone was able to take part of. Unfortunately, the whole suicide thing and the out of fucking nowhere romance subplot for the scouts really did sour this one a bit. It’s still probably the best episode of the arc so far, but it also highlights the problem of what I can only assume is a much faster pace that this series has when compared to the manga. I can’t imagine that the revelation that the scouts and the kings were all in relationships happened in the manga the way they did here. Is this really something that Venus would drop on the Scouts right in the middle of a fight, and that the Scouts would immediately start taking their assault instead of fighting back? Still, I can’t wait to see what happens next, and I hope they handle the Usagi/Mamoru situation a better than they did with the Scouts.
If you like this recap and plan on buying the show, then use the Amazon link below! I’ll get a percentage of the order it helps keep things going for me here at The Reviewers Unite! In fact, you don’t even need to buy the item listed! Just use the link, shop normally, and when you check out it will still give us that sweet, sweet, percentage! You can even bookmark the link and use it every time you shop! HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?
Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]