After three weeks of waiting (Pope Gregory XIII’s horrible invention strikes again), we finally get another episode of Sailor Moon Crystal! Was it worth the wait, or are we just setting ourselves up for even more disappointment with this new story arc? Let’s find out!! The episode begins with Usagi staring down the barrel of a gun while a little girl demands she give her the Silver Crystal. Why the hell didn’t Queen Beryl think of this?
Damn! This is some cold blooded shit to start off your new story line! The mystery girl (who says that her name is Usagi as well) only gives Usagi about five seconds to comply before she decides to pull the trigger. Mamoru tries to intervene, but it seems that the mystery girl pulled the trigger before he could grab her. Fortunately, the gun turns out to be a fake.
Fake gun or not, that was SUPREMELY fucked up of her! Usagi could have had a heart attack if nothing else! The best part is that there’s absolutely no explanation for this because the girl runs off and we start the opening credits. Even later on, no one confronts her about this and asks her why she felt the need to traumatize our hero. Speaking of the opening, they’ve changed it up for the new story arc. I’m guessing most of these are going to be the villains for this arc as well as what appears to be a new scout.
After the credits, we cut to outer space where our villains are monologuing about how awesome and villainous they are. The budget of show rears its ugly head because they’re recycling the bad guy music they used whenever they would cut to Dark Kingdom in the last story arc. Still though, these villains seem REALLY interesting and I hope they turn out to be more compelling than Queen Metalia and the four kings of Dark Kingdom (Queen Beryl still kicks ass). Let’s run through these new guys real quick. First up we have these four, and I think the leader of them is the white haired dude named Prince Demande. The bad guys all appear to have black moons on their forehead which is PROBABLY significant.
They seem to be after the Silver McGuffin for whatever reason and know that it’s on Earth. The Danny Elfman (circa 1985) looking mother fucker snaps his fingers and four women appear out of nowhere ready to kick some Sailor Scout ass!
Actually it seems clear they have nefarious plans specifically for Sailor Mars who you may recall had a vision of this new threat in the last episode. I guess they’re aware of her psychic powers and want to use it for their own evil purposes. We cut back to Usagi who’s presumably been unconscious for minutes now after nearly getting her head blown off by a toddler with a pistol. When she DOES wake up, she’s pissed the fuck off and ready to kick that pink haired demon’s teeth in! Usagi and Mamoru eventually find her sitting all alone on a nearby swing. Oh this girl is just diabolical! She basically mugs a woman and then tries to pull the sympathy card by being all lonely and sad. SHE’S FAKING IT! SHE’S PURE EVIL!! Mamoru of course falls for this hook line and sinker and promises to take the girl home (who he begins calling Chibi-Usa). When he grabs her hand, he has some quick flashes about future plot points (I’m assuming this is an extension of his powers that we saw manifest in the previous episode) but he doesn’t seem all that concerned about it. While this is happening, Usagi is just FUMING at these two! I would be too considering she was just mortally threatened by the person who’s now clinging to her man! Still, she keeps her cool and tries to be diplomatic. They promise to take her home, but we cut from there to the three of them arriving at Usagi’s house so maybe Chibi-Usa refused to tell them anything. When they get there, the two reincarnations of royal figures from thousands of years ago explain to their talking space cat that this young girl fell from an interdimensional portal. Huh. This show is kind of weird.
Chibi-Usa makes herself known to Usagi’s parents and decides that this is as good a place as any to crash for the time being. She then proceeds to hypnotize the lot of them including Usagi and Mamrou, but Luna springs to action and saves those two from Chibi-Usa’s voodoo magic. However, it’s too late for Usagi’s family.
Usagi has had quite enough of these shenanigans and drags Chibi-Usa up to her room to interrogate her. Chibi-Usa stays evasive and eventually gives Usagi the slip, but not before Luna notices that the girl has a Silver Crystal around her neck! Because of this, Luna convinces Usagi to let Chibi-Usa stay while she tries to find out who she is. Usagi isn’t too happy, but there’s not a lot she can do about it. We cut to the next day where Mamoru promises to check with the police to see a missing child has been reported (uh… she fell out of a wormhole dude) and Usagi goes off to meet the other scouts at an ice cream shop or something. I absolutely love this scene! For too damn long, these characters barely had a chance to interact in situations that weren’t about resolving life or death situations. They finally have a chance to relax and talk so that we can get to know these characters better! WHY COULDN’T WE HAVE THIS AT ANY POINT IN THE LAST FOURTEEN EPISODES!?!? Usagi is mostly bemoaning about Chibi-Usa while the others are trying to figure out who she is.
No one seems all that concerned which I find a little bit strange, but I’ll let that slide for now considering there is no way that Chibi-Usa is gonna turn out to be a bad guy considering we already SAW who the bad guys are. Luna turns up to the party bearing gifts for the scouts which turn out to be brand new transformer pen thingies as well as wrist watch communicators. A cell phone might have worked, but then again these could be MAGIC watches or something. Also, how the hell did Luna brings these here!? It’s not like she has pockets or anything! On the plus side, at least we didn’t spend too long getting past that dumb plot point where the scouts gave up their powers to… do something. I don’t even remember. While the scouts are fawning over their new toys, a friend of Makoto’s comes by and greets them. I think they might have a… close friendship, which by the way I am TOTALLY for.
I really really REALLY hope the show either doesn’t focus on romantic subplots, or has the brains to not have the crisis in those storylines be about how their past boyfriends from thousands of years ago are now dead and it makes them feel unfaithful or some bullshit. I’m not a HUGE fan of dropping plot points for convenience, but I’ll make some HUGE exceptions when it comes to this show, ESPECIALLY considering how little development they gave to that subplot yet decided to make so important for a moment there. Apparently this kid (Asanuma) is not only Makoto’s boy toy, but is also Mamoru’s “Kohai” which I’ve been informed is more or less Japanese for a suck up. You know that little bastard who always followed Gaston around in Beauty and the Beast? Basically that. Wait, we’re being introduced to a new character, yet he already knows at least two of the main players in this story? I SMELL FORESHADOWING!! Whatever his ultimate purpose is, it isn’t revealed just yet because we’ve got more important things to worry about like a school festival! No seriously, Rei’s school is having a festival soon (is this seriously something that happens at EVERY Japanese high school?) and so we follow her around for a bit as she works with the Supernatural Research Club to prepare their booth for the festival. She’s apparently new there considering the president has to show her around and here we find out that UFOs have been spotted around Japan recently as well as instances of human combustion. Rei is concerned about this because apparently she has foreshadowing powers. I was never clear on her pre-scout abilities, but I guess seeing into the future or getting bad feelings about things wouldn’t be too much of stretch. We cut from there to something that is so amazing that I’m almost convinced we aren’t even watching the same damn show anymore. We find ourselves in the middle of some park where some poor bastard gets fucking EMOLATED by a bunch of creepy ass aliens.
Can we take a moment here to appreciate the artistry in this cene!? With nothing more than a couple of minions and some damn good lighting, a character we’ve already seen before (she’s a member of the Gaga Sisterhood) is transformed into a dark and ethereal creature who shares at least a bit of resembles to the classic “Roswell Grey” aliens that have big heads and dark eyes. The UFO plot point they just dropped on us might have come across as silly if they hadn’t done such a great job right here to convince us how anyone could assume these humanoid characters were aliens. I’m certain that the creators are just cribbing off the manga and that this image is somewhere in there, but I’ll take what I can get. Anyway, the whole scene turns out to be a dream that Rei is having, though considering what her powers are it might actually have happened. In that case, what the hell did the bad guys do that for!? HE DIDN’T HAVE THE DAMN CRYSTAL!! We go from there to the next morning where Usagi and Chibi-Usa are having a VERY tense breakfast. I’m so with Usagi on this issue! This nut job (WHO I WILL REMIND YOU PULLED A DAMN GUN ON HER) has fucked with her parents’ minds and is now living under the same roof as her! I’d be upset too!
Usagi runs out the door to head to the school festival while Luna stays behind to keep an eye on Chibi-Usa. That is until she gets distracted by a bowl of milk and Chibi-Usa gives her the slip without any trouble. COME ON LUNA!! You were able to manipulate and control five super powered teenagers for almost an entire story arc! You’re telling me an intergalactic toddler is too much for you to handle!? Despite being unequivocally on Usagi’s side though, I really do like Chibi-Usa who’s mysterious enough to be interesting, yet bratty and obnoxious enough to cause friction wherever she goes. Whatever she has planned at the festival will no doubt piss Usagi off to no end but it will be entertaining to see. Speaking of the festival, Rei is doing her fortune telling shtick and is apparently a big hit. That is until a rival supernatural club starts doing a similar act only theirs is much darker.
Rei confronts the evil fortuneteller (who’s clearly one of the Gaga Sisterhood) but doesn’t really do anything. Instead, she just runs off to tell the principal. We cut from there to the outside of the school which is pretty damn empty considering there’s a school festival today. IGNORE THE BUDGET CUTS!! MOVE ON TO THE NEXT THING!! For some reason, Usagi (and the other scouts) still haven’t arrived at the school but Chibi-Usa’s there already. She’s kind of just wandering around (probably looking for Usagi) when a procession of nuns knock her ass down for no reason. Rei has just come down the stairs and saw this blatant child abuse go down and has determined that these aren’t real nuns!!
Gee, I wonder if the nuns with black moons on their heads have something to do with the bad guys who ALSO have black moons on their heads. Rei doesn’t have time to kick their asses though because someone is apparently burning nearby.
Wait, why did the bad guys set this nun on fire? The hell did she do to deserve that!? At least when Queen Beryl was causing random chaos in the world, they had an explanation. Okay, it was silly but they at least bothered to give one! I guess the bad guys this time around are just assholes! Anyway, the other scouts have finally arrived at the school and the five of them transform so they can face their new foe. Unfortunately, the transformations here take SO GOD DAMN LONG!! I don’t mind these sequences, but the creators still haven’t figured out how to intercut them, so watching EACH OF THEM do their transformation eats up about two and half minutes of screen time when a solid thirty seconds could have gotten the point across. Once they finally finish their transformations, they run off to confront those nuns who should rightfully be in the next city considering how long it took the scouts to get to them. They remove their disguises and start to attack our heroes, which leads to a fight scene that is REALLY GOOD!!!! Okay fine, it’s not all that long but each of the scouts gets a chance to kick some generic minion ass, and they seem to have gotten a power boost since the last time they used their powers.
After this gratifying sequence, the main villain for this episode introduces herself (her name is Koan) and declares her intention to annihilate the lot of them so she can steal the Silver Crystal.
Rei is just about out of fucks to give however and begins to smack talk Koan.
Koan also appears to be a fire user (only hers are blue flames) and the two of them get into a Dragon Ball Z style energy blast struggle. Rei fights valiantly, but eventually gets overcome by the blue flames which don’t seem to burn her, but still manages to cause pain. Usagi tries to step in and help by throwing her moon tiara, but Koan throws a fire blast at her as well. She’s about to get a hit by the non-flammable pain fire when out of fucking nowhere, Tuxedo Mask smacks the flame away with his badass PIMP CANE!!! FUCK YES!!! ALL OF THE FUCK YES!!!!!!
This one insanely bad ass moment redeems almost every problem I’ve ever had with Tuxedo Mask. I FUCKING LOVE THE GUY!!! Oh wait, isn’t someone sort of burning alive right now? Ami eventually realizes that water beats fire, so she tries to shoot a blast of the good stuff at the flames, but it ends up doing nothing. Usagi starts to freak the fuck out about Mars being encased in a fire ball, and tries to reach out to her. I think Tuxedo Mask is trying to stop her and the end up holding hands which summons Sailor Moon’s Moon stick thingy which I didn’t realize needed a summoning spell to appear. Actually, it’s not even the one that transformed into a staff during the Metalia fight. It’s the QUEEN’S stick which is apparently stronger. So why did it show up now? Did Mamrou and Usagi need to hold hands for it to appear? I don’t know but whatever the reason may be, our heroes now have a trump card! Usagi shouts some random spell, points the stick right at Koan, and fucking VAPORIZES HER ON THE SPOT!! HOLY SHIT USGAI!! YOU JUST MURDERED HER!!!
The scouts don’t have long to celebrate their bloody victory because the Danny Elfman looking bad guy jumps out of nowhere and congratulates our heroes for… taking out their comrade? Okay then. Generic bad guy archetype number 5201: Doesn’t give a shit when their own people are viciously murdered. Seriously, who the hell wants to work for a guy like that!? The dude introduces himself as Crimson Rubeus from the Black Moon and then proceeds to whisk Rei away with him to wherever the fuck their home base is located. And so the episode ends with our new villains being somewhat introduced and our heroes now having something to fight for. Oh, and the last frame is a definite contender for Awkward Freeze Frame.
Darn you Sailor Moon Crystal for getting me interested again! This episode is one of the best in the ENTIRE series so far because it’s just brimming with character moments and personality. The characters actually feel like characters for once instead of plot devices or extensions of Usagi’s will. We finally get an indication of what they’re lives are like outside of being around Usagi!! Not only that, but the introduction of Chibi-Usa gives us a great source of conflict for Usagi that really helps to lighten the damn mood of this show after the last story arc was almost nothing but serious business. Were there some weak points? Sure, but they don’t detract all that much from this episode. The bad guys are randomly killing people around town, but their plan is probably going to involve destroying the Earth at some point (their aliens. It’s what they do), so I’m not going to let that bother me too much. The production still has some issues (transformation sequences take up too much time and the budget doesn’t allow a single damn crowd shot for some reason), but they’ve issues with the show itself rather than this episode. The pacing good for once, the characters shined, and the bad guys are interesting. All that said, this episode was mostly just set up for future episodes, so the next few months of this show are gonna have to continue to step up their game to capitalize on the potential that this episode is promising. So then, let’s get into theories! I’m sure anyone who’s read the manga or saw the original series already knows how this will play out, but I want to take a stab at it. First of all, the bad guys are probably not after the scouts, as much as they are after Chibi-Usa. She has her own Silver Crystal, which is probably the one that the bad guys are aware of and might not even know Usagi has one. Also, considering we have two Usagi’s, two Silver Crystals, and a legion of people from the “Black” moon, I’m guessing that all the new comers aren’t simply from another planet, but from some sort of parallel universe a la Mirror Mirror from Star Trek. All we need now is an evil Mamoru with a bitchin Spock beard! So once again I find myself in love with this show that has disappointed me so many times in the past. It was so terrible at points, yet I still kept coming back to it every two weeks! Hopefully, the show runners now know what the hell their doing and will FINALLY give us a show with some consistently high quality episodes!! We can only hope.
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]