We’re back with another episode of Sailor Moon Crystal and boy is getting harder to wait those two weeks for another episode! With the stakes getting high and the writing getting sharper, are we in for another great episode of this born again series, or is this this the beginning of an inevitable spiral downwards into mediocrity and animation cutbacks? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins in the aftermath of Sailor Mercury’s kidnapping. The scouts are now down two members and none of them have any idea what these new foes are after or how to strike back against them. This causes Usagi to be mopey in her room once again (she’s been REALLY sad this story arc) and so Chibi-Usa’s freaky cat head thingy tries to cheer her up.
Chibi-Usa grabs her toy before Usagi can smash it into pieces and instead gives her the Mamoru doll which ends up setting Usagi off again.
Usagi eventually realizes that Chibi-Usa is trying to make peace with Usagi by cheering her up, and this revelation comes as a complete shock considering their neigh constant antagonism since she showed up in their dimension. Maybe Chibi-Usa will start to respect Usagi’s boundaries and they can eventually warm up to each other. No wait, Chibi-Usa follows her to the arcade where she was supposed to have a nice date with Mamoru. Oh well.
As far as I’m concerned, Chibi-Usa is still on thin ice for trying to shoot Usagi’s head off! Boot her scrawny ass out the door Usagi!! Anyway, while Chibi-Usa is being a total third wheel, we cut to Makoto who’s… coughing?
WHAT!? NO!! WHY!?!? Everyone knows that a character coughing means their dying!! WHY AREY OU KILLING OFF SAILOR JUPITER YOU BASTARDS!?!? HAVE YOU NO HEART!?!? Seriously, I don’t even know if I can finish this now!! I don’t want to see Makoto dying in a hospital bed from some mystery disease (my guess is moon cancer) that she just contracted out of the blue!! Before she can keel over and make us all super sad, Minako’s pen thingy starts glowing which apparently only happens when someone is kicking ass as the Sailor V game. The two of them rush to the arcade to find that Chibi-Usa is the video game master and is currently driving Usagi crazy because of it. Fortunately, she can be easily quelled by plushies. Then again, can’t we all?
Mamoru eventually takes Chibi-Usa home so that the remaining scouts can have a meeting and plan their next move. They eventually come to the conclusion that the Black Moon is after Chibi-Usa which means they have to protect her no matter what. Back at Usagi’s house, Chibi-Usa is spying on her parents and gets sad because she’s reminded of her own parents who are most likely dead. It gets pretty bizarre though when it turns out that her parents look just like Usagi and Mamoru.
So maybe she’s from the future? Is this gonna be like the Android story arc from DBZ? Not that I’d be opposed to that! Plus, that means that Chibi-Usa is Trunks! Awesome!! Anyway, all this sadness causes Chibi-Usa to run out the door and she starts wandering the street yet again. There a nice scene here where she tries to amuse herself with her creepy Luna head thingy, but it’s ultimately a pointless effort because she keeps getting reminded of her family by passersby. Mamoru eventually finds her (for like the fifth time in four episodes), and tries to get her out of the rain. When he grabs hold of her shoulder, there’s a crack of thunder and Chibi-Usa is flooded with traumatic memories that Mamoru can somehow see because of his hand telepathy or whatever.
After her bout of PTSD, Mamoru takes her home and we cut to the Dark Moon (or whatever the hell it is) where Prince Demande is scheming his brains out. We get introduced to the Danny Elfman circa 1985 looking motherfucker’s latest sacrificial lamb in the form of Petz who will avenge her fallen sisters by capturing Makoto.
We don’t get the details of her plan, but we can assume they’re quite dastardly! Prince Demande then goes to a… thing that appears to contain the Usagi from Chibi-Usa’s world. I can’t tell though, but I think it’s just a hologram.
We cut back to Earth where Mamoru, Usagi, and Luna are hanging out at a coffee shop. Wait a minute… DID SOMEONE COUGH DURING THE ESTABLISHING SHOT!? YES!! We are no longer dealing with a dying character and are instead about to enter a plague scenario!! Hey, main characters usually tend to survive a plague, so Makoto’s death isn’t as certain now!! At the coffee shop, the three of them are discussing Chibi-Usa which is a subject that doesn’t thrill Usagi all that much.
They don’t really resolve anything here, but what’s important is that Asanuma (who you may remember was Makoto’s boy toy in episode fifteen) happens to be nearby and overhears the entire thing. HOW HAVE THEY KEPT THEIR IDENTITIES SECRET THIS LONG IF THEY TALK ABOUT THIS STUFF SO LOUDLY!?
Asanuma is pretty freaked out by the talk of aliens, magic, and kidnappings so he promptly GTFOs and runs into Makoto. Makoto is pretty weak at this point and gets more or less dragged home by Asanuma. The illness also seems to be causing her to give off sparks like she’s a sick Pikachu which seems to concern Asanuma. Once there, they share some tea and we find out a bit about Makoto such as the fact that her parents are dead. Wait a minute; then who the hell does she live with!? Come to think of it, we haven’t actually seen anyone’s parents except Usagi’s. Asanuma eventually brings up the fact that Mokoto’s friends are crazy space aliens with magic powers and starts to question her human credentials because of it.
Now I’m pretty sure that one of Makoto main characteristics from previous iterations of this franchise is that she’s supposed to be very honest, but that aspect of her character hasn’t really come across in this series; mostly because we’ve hardly spent any time with her. That sort of explains what she does next, which is to tell Asanuma the truth about what she and her friends do. Admittedly, she doesn’t go too much into detail about things such as the fact that they’re from the moon or that she’s a Sailor Scout (does the general populace know about them or is it still just Sailor V?), but she does let him know that they are crusaders for justice and that Ami and Rei are missing because of this fight. I don’t know how I feel about this exactly. Sure Makoto is supposed to be honest, but revealing stuff like this can put her friends and their families in jeopardy if their secret identities are discovered. Then again, there have never really been any established risks for revealing themselves to the world. We have yet to get a sense of what the rest of the world thinks of them or even if they’ve been established as crime fighters. The scouts aren’t even doing THAT all that much considering they tend to fight space invaders rather than purse snatchers. Sailor V seems to be known, but there’s never been any backlash for her presence in the world such as a warrant out for her arrest or something along those lines. Hell, she’s got a video game as well as a line of plushies! I guess we’ll have to wait and see how Asanuma handles this in later episodes, though I doubt there’s going to be any SERIOUS consequences for this. Asanuma seems pretty impressed by all of this and starts praising her for her strength in the face of such adversity and wishes that he could be half as strong as she is. Makoto clearly likes the fact that this guy is bowing before her might and rewards him for his shameless groveling.
Right after the kiss though, we cut to this dude running as fast as he possibly can away from the house in the rain! He didn’t even open his umbrella!! Is he filled with THAT much shame? What the hell is going on!? We cut back to Makoto’s apartment where she’s noticing that the weather is getting worse about as fast as her cold is and she ends up passing out on the floor. The other scouts (Venus and Sailor Moon) can’t get in touch with her and head to her apartment. The storm continues to rage which seems to be due to the machinations of Petz whose plan is a bit… complex. So she’s causing a storm (somehow) and is ALSO responsible for the illness going around (somehow) and is ALSO sending out the robots to take the place of the citizens in the city. Okay…
Petz is easily the weakest villain we’ve gotten so far from the Dark Moon. Her plan is all over the place and she’s barely been in the damn thing. Sure, we could have ASSUMED that she was responsible for the sickness, but they waited until the episode was nearly over to have her show up on Earth. Hell, she hasn’t even met the other scouts yet! The Dark Moon’s presence in this episode is entirely perfunctory which is a shame considering how effect this new threat has proven itself to be in previous episodes. Still, there’s a pretty good scene here where one of the robots tries to take out Makoto. Despite being nearly incapacitated by illness, Makoto kicks that robot’s shiny metal ass and transforms into Sailor Jupiter so she can land the killing blow in style!
Jupiter goes after Petz who’s just hanging around nearby and they begin to fight. The whole ending is so rushed that’s it’s hardly worth going into detail. Petz overpowers Makoto while Venus and Sailor moon are dealing with the remaining robots, Sailor Moon kills Petz with her stick thingy, and the Danny Elfman circa 1985 looking mother fucker shows up out of nowhere to steal another Sailor Scout. This is pretty much the same ending as the last episode beat by beat except in THAT episode they actually built up the final confrontation and it had a decent amount of impact. It feels like the show is getting bored with this story already and is telling us “you know the drill right? Let’s just move it along”. And so, just like in the last two episodes, the remaining scouts have now lost another member to the Dark Moon and are no closer to stopping this new threat.
Sailor Jupiter is easily my favorite scout and I’ really glad we finally got another episode with her. That said, I think it’s a bit weaker than the previous episode which did such a great job of integrating her furthered characterization with the machinations of the Dark Moon. In this episode, they feel about as separated as you can get with a big chunk of time devoted solely to her development and then a rushed action scene at the end. While that aspect of the episode was slightly disappointing, they’re still managing to do a good job with Chibi-Usa and her strained relationship with Usagi. I kinda wish they’d move her story along a bit faster, but at the moment her parts in each episode are very well done. Obviously the next episode is going to focus on Minako, though I really hope she doesn’t get kidnapped like the rest. Dropping it down to a single scout (and maybe Chibi-Usa and Mamoru as back up) would mean Sailor Moon would have to take the Dark Moon down single handedly which would be pretty hard to buy. I’m also a bit weary of what this means for the rest of this season. If Minako gets kidnapped, then how long are they gonna be out of the show? The rest of the Dark Moon saga!? Episodes like this with the other scouts should be the RULE and not the EXCEPTION damn it! As always, I’m excited to see what happens next, but my expectations have been tampered a bit by the weak ending of this episode and the direction that the series seems to be going in. Don’t screw this up Sailor Moon Crystal! Now that you’re getting really good, I don’t know if I can take it if you get terrible again!!
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]