Another two weeks, another episode of Sailor Moon Crystal. No wait, it’s been three weeks. DAMN YOU POPE GREGORY XIII FOR INTRODUCTING THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR!! IT’S YOU’RE FAULT THERE WERE FIVE SATURDAYS IN NOVEMBER!!! Anyway, let’s jump right in and find out what Evil Tuxedo Mask has in store for our heroes!!
The episode begins with Usagi having another dream about Tuxedo Mask. Despite getting some answers to her in the last episode, the guy is still missing and it’s definitely affecting Usagi.
Usagi and Luna have a pretty great moment here where Luna continues to admire Usagi’s newfound strength in dealing with the disappearance of Mamoru. It’s not like she’s moved on, but she’s not letting herself retreat from her friends or her life. After that, we cut to Usagi and Luna heading to school where Usagi walks into some guy who completely ignores her and continues on his merry way. Not only does the guy look like Mamoru, but the watch Usagi got from him starts working again. Apparently it stopped working when Mamoru was taken by Kunzite to Dark Kingdom, and the fact that it’s now starting again seems to be significant. Now here’s where things get a bit odd because we cut from there to what MIGHT be a completely separate Mamoru
There’s no indication that a huge amount of time has passed between the previous scene and this one, and most animated shows don’t change character models unless there’s a REASON to do so. Is it possible that two Mamoru’s are running around? I’m gonna go with no (I doubt Beryl can make fully functional clones, and even if she did how did the REAL Mamoru escape?), but it’s a bit jarring to change designs like that so quickly. Anyway, Mamoru seems to be staking out the arcade for reasons that probably have to do with the Sailor Scouts and the Silver Crystal when one of the employees shows up with a friend of his. Mamoru uses some sort of Vampire Glamour power to get the guy’s friend to buzz off which leaves Mamoru and the arcade employee all alone.
With the arcade employee (named Furuhata) under his spell, Evil Mamoru proceeds to… hang out at the arcade all day. Okay… A friend of Furuhata comes by with a book for him and notices that there’s a new guy claiming to be his best friend now. She’s distracted by this long enough to drop a book she’s hold which has got a bunch of rocks on the front. Mamoru then picks up the book and says “Jadeite, Nephrite Kunzite, Zoisite”… for some reason.
OH!!!!! The Kings of Dark Kingdom are named after rocks! Wait, why? Do they have some sort of connection to the Silver Crystal? I mean… they do NOW, but I doubt when they were born thousands of years ago that their parents expected them to not only be the personal knights of the Prince, but that the Prince would end up in a relationship with the bearer of the Silver Crystal. That’s something you’d see in My Little Pony, and at least there they take the idea to its logical extreme by including the concept of “cutie marks.” Wait, who exactly are the Kings anyway? It’s not like anyone ELSE who’s a reincarnation of someone from the Moon Kingdom time just sprang up out of nowhere. Were they kidnapped by Queen Beryl or something? Are these guys’ faces on a bunch of milk cartons somewhere? Wait, wasn’t I watching something? Oh right! We cut from the arcade to the Sailor Scouts who are meeting up at Ami’s apartment.
What is this? A scene with our main characters interacting!? That’s right! The four of them are heading to Ami’s apartment and it’s nice to see them just talk to each other.
Once they get to Ami’s apartment though, it’s straight to business, which involves them testing the moon sword they got from the last episode on some hard materials.
They conclude that the sword is made of Moon Metal or something which turns out to be even stronger than diamonds. However, it turns out the blade is poisonous because EVERYTHING on the moon got corrupted after the Moon Kingdom fell. Wait, the show is saying that the moon is one giant ball of poisonous rock? NASA never figured this shit out after Neil Armstrong came back? Furthermore, if the sword is poisonous, why the hell is Minako carrying it around WITHOUT a sheath!? I don’t know, this whole Poison Sword thing feels at best like a McGuffin to be used for later, or at worst a completely arbitrary detail that might be a mistranslation. Another thing that bothers me in this scene is that Usagi falls asleep almost immediately and no one there is the slightest bit annoyed that she’s taking a nap while they’re all working to find out more about the sword. There has NEVER been a point where Usagi got on their nerves or made them upset. EVERYTHING Usagi does comes off as cute or admirable and it’s getting fucking old. They act less like her friends and more like her fan club which makes me care less for these four people who I will remind you have had almost ZERO character development since their introductory episode. Usagi wakes up some time later and decides to sneak out while the rest of the team is doing research (I guess).
So where exactly is Usagi going? Why, wherever the plot tells her to go! Seriously, she feels “compelled” to go to the arcade which of course is where Mamoru is STILL HANGING OUT AT!! Seriously, does this guy even have a plan? Mamoru moves in like a [snake] and starts putting his moves on Usagi, who’s just stunned silent. Luna however is in the command center and sees this going down.
Now this part of the episode is actually pretty great. Usagi starts hanging around the guy, but she also knows that it’s not actually Mamoru (or if it is, he’s not himself). Despite this, she’s just happy to be around Mamoru again even though it’s probably not the smartest thing to do. I’m so glad they actually went in this direction instead of making her clueless. She’s not an idiot who doesn’t know what’s going on, she’s a person with her own specific weaknesses, and this guy is taking advantage of them. Luna tries to get her to stop seeing him, but Usagi won’t and the other scouts don’t know what to do. Eventually Makoto woman ups and confronts the guy, but she gets hypnotized almost immediately. You get some points for giving her some initiative, but then swiftly loose them when the bad guy is able to control her mind so easily.
Now that she’s firmly under the dude’s spell, he uses her to not only get into the Sailor Scout Command Center, but to set the other scouts up for a trap by calling them in with a fake emergency. When the gang comes running into the command center to find out what’s wrong, Makoto’s waiting for them and informs the scouts that the bad guys are closing in and are after the Silver Crystal. When Usagi reveals that she has it securely around her neck, Makoto goes in for the kill but is stopped by Rei who karate chops her ass clear across the room! AWEOSOME!! After Makoto is knocked unconscious (wait, only one hit and she’s out!?), Evil Tuxedo Mask reveals himself and begins to monologue. This gives Sailor Mercury, Mars, and Venus time to not only transform but do their FULL transformations. I timed it. The show took two minutes and thirty seconds to get through all three transformation sequences back to back. They’re nice and all, but it’s pretty obvious that they’re only there to kill time, lest the show come up three minutes short. That said… I’ve seen worse abuses of this shortcut.
Once they transform, all three of them start taking turns trying to knock out Tuxedo Mask and his lackey (the part timer at the Arcade). He actually gets taken care of pretty quickly.
It’s a decent scene considering that each one of them gets a chance to show off their moves and get the upper hand on Tuxedo Mask for a bit, but since Usagi hasn’t transformed yet, you can tell that it’ll amount to nothing. That being said, it’s still nice to see them do some impressive moves BEFORE getting their asses handed to them.
Sure enough, Tuxedo Mask takes the other scouts down and grabs the crystal while Usagi looks on in horror. See, I actually buy this unlike what happened in the LAST episode! Remember when the other scouts stopped dead in their tracks once they realized that the bad guys were their exes in a former fucking life? This is NOT that. Usagi has had a chance to BUILD a relationship with Mamoru, so her reluctance to fight is completely understandable (sort of). Luna knows this, so she has to do something desperate in order to snap Usagi out of it and get her to fight back.
Tuxedo Mask rips her off his neck and throws her adorable ass to the ground where she gives a loud yelp that gets Usagi’s attention. Now personally, I get the feeling that Luna was being intentionally manipulative. She knew she couldn’t actually do anything to affect this battle herself, so she decided to give Usagi a reason to fight by martyring herself. Hell, I’m pretty sure Luna’s playing up the pain here.
That’s not to say she’s doing anything wrong or that I disapprove. Far from it. This is EXACTLY what Usagi needed to get her head out of the clouds and do what needs to be done. She needed to see that this guy isn’t Mamoru and that she can’t hold back. Trust me. She fucking gets it.
She finally transforms into Sailor Moon and heals Luna and the scouts. Her determination to right the wrongs she let transpire before her is enough to bring the Crystal back to full power which would be a good thing if it wasn’t in Evil Tuxedo Mask’s hand. Usagi tries to fire her moon stick death beam at Tuxedo Mask, but it’s not even enough to put a hole in his giant cape. Maybe it’s because Queen Beryl was standing behind it.
Wait a minute. WHAT!?!?
OH SHIT!!! Beryl now has the powered up crystal and has no further use for the scouts! Speaking of which, why the hell haven’t the others gotten up yet!? Sailor Moon healed you all!! You might want to repay the favor right about now considering the ultra-powerful evil witch lady is about to execute you all!!! Beryl gives some cryptic clues that she is also someone from the past but doesn’t give us many details other than that Sailor Moon (or Princess Serenity) should know who she is. The episode ends with Beryl telling Sailor Moon that Evil Tuxedo Mask is going to kill her himself, and Usagi then starts to think that he might actually be the Mamoru she loves. Wait, hold on a second. Didn’t you just get over this? ARE WE REALLY GOING TO HAVE USAGI DOUBT HERSELF FOR THE EXACT SAME REASON NOT FIVE MINUTES AFTER HAVING THIS ISSUE RESOLVED!?!?
This show is so damn flawed, but I love it anyway. This is definitely a high mark for the series in terms of action and character driven storytelling, but the usual crop of issues rear their ugly head as they always inevitably do. The other scouts are weak characters who serve only to bolster Usagi’s ego and take punches. Everything moves too damn fast to let anything of substance soak in. Weird moments in the animation that look astonishingly bad for a license that’s so high profile. Hell, the only really unique flaw in this episode is that weird ass ending line that stops the momentum of this scene dead in its tracks and takes everything back a few steps. Still, I can’t deny that Usagi’s story arc in this episode was extremely compelling, and Luna has her moment to shine and prove why she’s more than just a cute animal mascot. Despite what I said about the animation, it manages to be pretty good overall and the fight scene here has more hand to hand than most of the fight’s we’ve seen so far. This episode is defiantly another step in the right direction for the series, but the fact that it STILL can’t manage to fix any of the flaws that have plagued this series since the beginning is starting to get tiresome. Despite all my complaints, I still can’t wait to see what happens next, especially now that Beryl’s there ready to kick some ass!
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]