Another episode of Sailor Moon Crystal has descended from on high by the benevolent Gods among men who work at Toei. Will this episode fix the awkward stumbling block that we ended the last episode on!? Will our heroes be able to actually do something other than wring their hands for five minutes before each fight!? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to keep on reading!!
The episode begins where so many of them have before, i.e. all the scouts who AREN’T princesses curled up into balls of defeat due to dubious injuries sustained by a dubiously powerful foe.
Queen Beryl is still messing with Usagi’s head trying to convince her that Mamoru is beyond saving and will always be a slave to the Dark Kingdom and Queen Metalia. She proceeds to prove this point by ordering him to finish off Sailor Moon. Mamoru starts firing up his death beam and Usagi just stands there like an idiot, unable to raise a hand against this asshole. Hey Luna, remember when you threw yourself at the enemy so that Usagi could get her head out of her ass? Well you might want to try it again because it’s been firmly replanted there.
It looks like this is the end of Sailor Moon! Except it’s not, because SAILOR JUIPTER COMES IN WITH BADASS LIGHTENING ATTACK AND SAVES USAGI’S ASS!!! WOO!!!!
Having shaken off her bout of unconsciousness, Makoto must have realized how lousy a job the rest of the team was doing and decided that it’s time for a TRUE warrior to take control! Her heroic display of unadulterated badassness was enough to make the others realize that it’s time to act, so everyone starts throwing up shields while Sailor Mercury does some inter-dimensional transport thingy. Wait; did she use this power when they were investigating the haunted bus? Either way, the main fighters (Luna and Artemis were left behind) are now in the Shadow Realm and the scouts are ready to fight back for once. Not one to be taken lightly, Beryl takes this opportunity to show off her… hair powers. Okay…
Needless to say, the prospect of killing off the Sailor Scouts gets Queen Beryl VERY excited.
Have I mentioned how much I love Queen Beryl? She brings so much life to the show whenever she shows up! We also find out that Queen Beryl was the one to land the killing blow on Prince Endymion back in the Moon Times. It would have been a bit more dramatic if they didn’t show a red headed woman killing Endymion in every single flashback since this series began, but at least they finally confirmed it. Once again, Queen Beryl is just overjoyed by the fact that they now know how EVIL she is!
Wait, what did she say after that?
Let’s… hope that’s not leading where I think it is. Beryl starts electrocuting the Scouts (apparently hair is a great conductor) which gets Sailor Venus REALLY mad!
She’s somehow able to summon the holy sword from the last two episodes which she uses to cut the hair that’s binding the scouts, and she then tries to bum rush Beryl with an overhead swing! It doesn’t go too well. That doesn’t slow any of them down though, because Usagi picks up the sword and Ami starts scanning for a weak point. It turns out it’s her necklace which gives her strength! Okay… so Usagi and the rest try to rush her again and take out the necklace. Beryl tries to defend herself, but the other scouts do something useful for once by stopping her counter attacks while Usagi goes in for the kill!!
You may think I was being metaphorical when I said she was “going in for the kill.” Well it turns out to not be the case, because Queen Beryl starts disintegrating like the Wicked Witch of the West at a pool party.
Before she falls apart completely, we get a flashback of her which goes… exactly where I didn’t want it to.
YES!!! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO SEE!!! It’s not that Queen Beryl ACTUALLY wants to take over the world! It’s not that she’s a well-rounded and complex character! SHE’S JUST A FUCKING JELOUS WOMAN WHO WANTED TO BONE TUXEDO MASK!! BECAUSE THAT’S ALL THAT WOMEN WANT!! IF THEY CAN’T FUCK THE PERSON THEY FIND HOT, THEY’LL TAKE OVER THE WORLD INSTEAD!! GOD DAMN IT!!!! And so her story ends (maybe). All the backstory we get for her is that she wanted Prince Endymion’s dick. Not only is it one of the most insulting and cliché character motivations to ever exist, IT MAKES EVERYTHING SHE’S DONE SO FAR SEEM COMPLETELY STUPID!!! Let’s not forget that she had his sorry ass for weeks, and even had him under his control! SHE WON AT THAT POINT!!! Why did she decide to keep fucking with the scouts!? I have no idea if Beryl comes back at any point, but I really hope she does. I really like her as a villain, and she NEEDS a chance to redeem herself for the crappy ending she just got. After Usagi murders another human being, she notices that the sword is now shiny and covered in moon letters rather than its usual black shade. Apparently the sword has awakened its true power or something, and Queen Metalia sees the opportunity to take it for herself (for whatever reason). She telepathically orders Mamoru to steal it away which he does because the scouts still haven’t gotten around to dealing with this jerk wad. Is it okay to just knock him upside the head? Will Usagi have a break down if he’s simply knocked unconscious? He shoots some dark lightening which causes Usagi to drop the sword so that he can grab it for himself. He starts running towards some sort of portal that appears (I’m assuming Metalia made it) and he runs through with Usagi hot on his heels. The other scouts try to chase after the two of them, but the portal closes before they can catch up.
On the other side of the portal, Usagi finds herself in Dark Kingdom which is located in the North Pole. She once again tries to get through to Mamoru and actually gets him to do that thing where a character that is mind controlled gets a throbbing headache when they’re reminded of their past selves. To get back at Usagi for doing that to him, Mamoru starts to choke a bitch.
While Mamoru is keeping his pimp hand strong, the other scouts are flying their asses to the North Pole which is extra funny when you realize that Japan and the North Pole are almost four thousand miles apart. Let’s just say it’s magic. Hell, let’s also attribute magic to the fact that they’re still wearing miniskirts in an environment where the average temperature is below freezing.
You know what? I’ll take it! It’s nice to see the scouts being proactive without Usagi being around to save their asses at a moment’s notice. At least we get to see them DOING something other than getting their ass kicked and waiting for their fearless leader. So what do they find when they get the North Pole? The Kings of Dark Kingdom. Sigh… Alright, just get it over with.
The scouts at least seem determined to not let their feelings for the kings (from lives lived thousands of years ago) get in the way of them reaching Sailor Moon. We cut back and forth between the Scouts and Usagi dealing with their respective significant others who are getting the shit kicked out of them by their significant others who aren’t bad because they’re being brain washed.
I feel like I need a reference here. Anyway, Usagi is feeling a bit down about the ass kicking she’s receiving and is about to give up when Luna starts talking to her. Apparently she has one of those Metal Gear codec thingies.
The Metal Gear comparison is actually a lot more apt than you’d think because Luna starts to give her advice on how to defeat the boss. Mamoru seems to have a piece of the Silver Crystal inside of him, so Usagi has to take it out in order to depower him and hopefully de-hypnotize him. Usagi slowly begins to rise with the encouraging words of Luna ringing through her ears. She gets back on her feet and stares right down her enemy, for Queen Metalia (as a purple cloud thingy) is close by and mocking her for her determination in the presence of certain doom. Mamoru steels himself for whatever Usagi has planned. Usagi has come up with an ingenious strategy to turn this fight around and prove to not only her enemies, but to herself that she really worth of the title that has been bestowed upon her. Her master plan is… to do exactly what she did five minutes ago. She’s going to try and get Mamoru to stop by jogging even more memories. Huh. Okay, I’m being a bit unfair. She’s got the pocket watch (that was given to her by Mamoru) with her which DOES get through to him, and it’s not like that’s ALL she has planned. Once he’s properly staggered by the onslaught of even more memories, she pulls out her moon stick thingy and does that one attack she does whenever she pulls out the stick.
The other scouts have a similar idea where they distract the kings long enough to launch their own attack.
It doesn’t actually seem to do any damage to the kings (naturally) and instead breaks the spell on them once again. Then this happens.
That’s right! Metalia realized that her minions are no longer under her control, so she just zaps the poor fuckers into oblivion! So if Metalia can drop death from above at any time, why the hell isn’t she aiming it at the scouts!? It’s not like they’re deaths will prevent Metalia from using Usagi to… I don’t know; get the power of the silver crystal? Is that what her plan is? Anyway, the scouts are completely devastated by their former boyfriends being obliterated right in front of them, but then the kings start talking to the scouts and try to give them pep talks. Wait, what?
So they’re throwing ghosts at us now? I mean, the Moon Queen was dead, but that was a hologram! WHY ARE THE SCOUTS HEARING VOICES RIGHT NOW!? They couldn’t come to the conclusion that Usagi needs them without dead people having to remind them!? Speaking of which; we cut back to Usagi and Mamoru and find out that the Moon Healing Attack had no effect. Mamoru is still under Metalia’s spell and Usagi is running out of options. She starts eyeing the holy moon sword which Mamoru dropped moments ago and makes a snap decision. She decides that Mamoru is beyond her help and needs to be put down. As the other scouts approach the location where all of this is happening, Sailor Moon picks up the sword and starts charging towards Mamoru. She swings it and lands a blow against him.
It’s a bit vague, but the pomp and circumstance they’re lending to this moment seems to imply a killing blow. Usagi did what needed to be done and now has a chance to save the world from whatever Metalia has planned. Oh no wait. She turns the blade around and stabs herself in the stomach.
This is a weird one for me. As much as I’ve been harping on this episode (and it does indeed have two of the worst things in the entire fucking series), it’s actually a lot more enjoyable than many of the other “bad” episodes in the series. It’s not boring because it’s almost entirely action, the breakneck pace actually works for once because of this, and it swings so quickly between high points and low points that it’s almost masterful in its ability to be so bad it’s good. That said, the way they completely undercut Queen Beryl’s character by making her sole motivation jealousy really hurt this episode, and the suicide cliff hanger is downright atrocious. If either of these things is true in previous incarnations of this franchise, then they were mistakes there too. MAYBE with a bit more backstory and characterization, these events could have carried enough weight to make them feel less contrived, but it would have taken A LOT of good writing beforehand to somehow pull off these two moments. I keep waiting for this show to get better, but it only seems to get worse. That said, I’m still completely enraptured by it. I look forward to every new episode, despite the show continuing to piss me off at points. It has enough good things that COULD become great (*cough* the other scouts *cough*) that I still want to see how the show plays out, and each episode does tend to bring something to the table to make it worthwhile. This one brought the goods in terms of action and hilarious moments, but it’s severely hurt by those horrible missteps. I get the feeling that the next episode is going to wrap up a whole lot of things which will leave the remaining 13 episodes to slow things down and get to the good stuff I can tell this series can pull off. Let’s hope that the Silver Millennium arc ends with a bang and can redeem the ending of this episode. I doubt it, but a guy can hope… right?
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]