We’re back with another episode of Dark of the Black Moon! For the past few weeks, we’ve basically had the same story but they’ve used that time to give some development to the Scouts who AREN’T princesses which I guess makes them less important. Still, the formula seems to have gotten stale already and we running out of Sailor Scouts to kidnap. Will Minako get kidnapped like the other three Scouts, or will they finally be able to take the offensive against the Black Moon clan who’s been kicking their asses on a regular basis for the last three episodes? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with the remaining members of Team Sailor Moon mourning the loss of Sailor Jupiter to the evil machinations of the Black Moon. How bad have things gotten for them? They actually give Artemis some screen time!
While Usagi is crying her eyes out, Tuxedo Mask and Luna find Petz’s earring which is emanating some seriously bad juju. Luna informs Artemis of this discovery so that he can… materialize a petri dish around it? What!?
Well THAT’S a pretty useful and criminally underutilized tool! Why the hell aren’t they teleporting stuff more often!? This Moon technology is pretty bad ass! Once the Scouts are back at the command center (which I assume they WALKED to instead teleporting), we reiterate the fact that everyone is just as lost as they have been since the beginning of this story arc only now the team is down to their last two members. Minako is tired of playing games and decides that she’s gonna go Jack Bauer on Chibi-Usa and find out exactly who these bastards are and why they’re after them in the first place. FINALLY!! How have they not gotten around to this until after their ranks have been cut in half!? They go to the Usagi household where Chibi-Usa is playing with a new friend of hers (FORESHADOWING!) and Minako decides she will… “play” with them.
Before Venus can question the little brat though, Chibi-Usa notices the evil crystal earring and goes into a severe PTSD flashback.
I like that they’ve done so much to portray Chibi-Usa’s trauma about what happened to her before she got here, and this is another example. Maybe it’s a bit overboard in this scene considering that’s it just an object and it’s not being wielded by the bad guys, but then again you can’t logic out what will be someone’s trigger in these kind of situations. We cut from there to the Black Moon where the bad guys are being all evil and aloof. There’s not a whole lot here, though it does show that one of the leaders (Saphir who looks SUSPCIOUSLY like Mamoru) is less convinced of the efficacy of their current mission than his compatriots are. There’s also some doubt about the mysterious seer named Wiseman who’s been giving Prince Demande advice for a while now and is most likely going to turn out to be the REAL bad guy of this story. Eh, standard villain stuff, but it doesn’t have the obnoxious “we’re only bad because we’re brainwashed” aspect that undercut the menace of the four kings from the Dark Kingdom arc. We also get to meet the sacrificial lamb of this episode and last member of the Gaga Sisterhood. Her name is Calaveras and her power seems to be… fortune telling?
Wait, didn’t at least two of the other members of the Gaga sisterhood have psychic powers? Hell, I’m sure Petz had some psychic powers too if they only bothered to give her some screen time! We go back the Usagi household where Chibi-Usa is crying her eyes out on Mamoru’s shirt while the scouts try to drag some answers out of her. Mamoru tells the other two to stop asking her questions, but they have a pretty damn good reason to continue. THREE OF THEIR FRIENDS ARE KIDNAPPED!! The little girl who was willing to pull a gun on Usagi the first time they met (no I have NOT forgotten about that yet) can at least TRY to help prevent the rest of them from getting killed! The interrogation stops there and Usagi isn’t happy about it. Once she’s back at school, her friend (Naru) runs into her and notices how sad she’s been recently. She tries to cheer her up when all of a sudden the plot rams its way into the scene because Gurio (the nerdy dude at school) walks up to them and offers to show them a DVD with Calaveras in it. Apparently DVDs about mediums are all the rage right now in high school. On the video, Calveras (who’s SUPPOSEDLY a world famous medium already) is channel the Black Moon people and talks about them coming to reform the world and make it better. Also, I can think of at least two reason why she’s already become world famous. Damn that’s pretty blatant for this show.
Not only that, she’s declaring the White Moon people to be the bad guys and she’s holding a rally in the park tomorrow so she can channel some more messages about the glorious Black Moon saviors. Once again, we have this strange situation where a person who comes out of fucking nowhere (LITERALLY FELL FROM THE SKY) somehow has achieved world fame for no other reason than to flush out a couple of teenagers. It just feels unnecessary to give this much grandiosity to the villains scheme if it ultimately doesn’t mean anything. I could at least buy that Berither wanted to get Ami into a chess match because that was thematically relevant. This psychic shit? I don’t get it. Okay, she’s talking shit about the moon which MIGHT be a bit more bothersome to Venus considering she’s the one who seems to have the strongest connection to their previous lives, but it still feels underdeveloped and completely weightless if that is in fact what they are going for. Speaking of Sailor Venus, Artemis apparently got a hold of this DVD as well and shows it to Minako who as you would expect isn’t all that pleased. She plans to crash the rally tomorrow to reveal their evil intent, and I’m SURE that’s going to go well for her considering what happened to the other scouts. Speaking of them, there’s an interesting scene where we see Naru, Kotono (one of Rei’s friends from her school), and Asanuma (the guy who stole a kiss from Jupiter) watching the video as well and thinking back to their friends who have either been lost or are not themselves anymore. I’m actually really curious as to what this is setting up. PROVISIONAL SAILOR SCOUTS!! We also get a scene where Mamoru is… summoning the ghosts of his dead body guards? WHAT!?!?
I… didn’t know he could do this. I could have sworn the LAST time the ghosts appeared, they came from jewels that got destroyed after giving him a pep talk! Now he’s got them on speed dial from the afterlife whenever he’s feeling blue!? Well for whatever reason, Mamoru doesn’t feel like he can protect Usagi from this oncoming threat. Eh, I might buy it a bit more if he hadn’t saved her like a champ the only time she was actually in danger this entire story arc. Remember his badass pimp cane? Anyway, they tell him to get over himself and that he’s super awesome. Still, I like this scene because of how clear it is that Mamoru truly cares about Usagi and that he’s worried he won’t be able to protect her. Mamoru is actually a pretty strong character which is something you can’t say for a lot of other pretty boy anime dudes for the main character to swoon over. The next morning, Usagi wakes up to find that her transformation brooch has been stolen and she has a pretty good idea who’s responsible. Still, shouldn’t that thing be on you at all times? Forget the fact that you can’t turn into Sailor Moon without it; IT HAS THE LEGENDARY SILVER CRYSTAL IMBEDED INTO IT!!! Haven’t we established that that thing has the power of like a MILLION nuclear bombs!? Anyway, because Usagi has to chase down the culprit (Chibi-Usa), she won’t be able to make it to Calaveras’s rally so Minako has to handle things on her own. Calaveras begins to hypnotize the entire crowd, but doesn’t seem to have them do anything other than chant like mindless drones. She DOES seem to have the whole thing broadcasted to the ENTIRE WORLD apparently from this one dude with a news camera. Seeing this possible threat against all of humanity, Artemis charges and bashes that camera guy like a furry missile! WOO!!!!!
Minkao transforms into Sailor Venus, but her plans to stop Calaveras are halted by one of her psychic attack thingies. So remember how the three people who had connections to the missing scouts were seen watching Calaveras’s video? Well they turn up here and she uses them to… summon the ghosts of the other members of the Gaga Sisterhood? Okay…
All she has them do is some lightening attack anything which incapacitates Sailor Venus. I’ve gotta say that this whole battle feels like a lot of wasted potential. Sure, Artemis kicks some serious ass for a brief and glorious moment, but everything else feels so halfhearted. The implication is that Calaveras is hypnotizing the whole world, but you never get a sense of that and it never feels like the people who we can SEE are hypnotized pose an actual threat. She doesn’t use them to take out Sailor Venus or anything like that. They just sit there while this battle goes on. What’s even worse is how they bring up the previous scouts with the inclusion of their friends and enemies, yet do NOTHING with it! What’s the significance of the other Gaga sisters showing up? What’s the significance that Calaveras is using friends of the Scouts as vessels? THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANCE!! Minako doesn’t really acknowledge it, and the Gaga sisters don’t say anything or do anything other than fire an electric beam attack thingy. These aren’t even difficult problems to fix! Throw in a few shots of people watching the rally on televisions. Give Minkao a line where she acknowledges that Calaveras is using their friends as puppets. GIVE THE GAGA SISTERS SOMETHING TO SAY!!! We thankfully cut from this disappointing scene to Usagi finally finding Chibi-Usa and demanding that she return the brooch. Chibi-Usa is resisting, but then the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker shows up and would have blown both their heads off if it wasn’t for Usagi’s quick reflexes. The Danny Elfman looking Mother Fucker starts to charge up his next attack which I’m guessing is generated from some sort of strange magic or maybe Weird Science. All hope seems to be lost for our heroes as the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker prepares to splatter their Grey Matter across the concrete and send their sorry asses to a Dead Man’s Party, when Tuxedo Mask bursts into the scene with his awesome pimp cane again and bashes the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker right across the face!! Don’t worry though. This is still a kid’s show so there’s No Spill Blood.
The Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker doesn’t take kindly to this assault and begins to charge another attack. Once AGAIN all hope seems to be lost until the voices of the 4 kings start whispering into Tuxedo Mask’s ear and tell him to do a Kamehameha. Apparently he can do that kind of thing.
This attack dwarfs the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker’s energy blast, so the guy just buggers off to most likely die in the next episode. Seriously, the guy is out of cannon fodder to throw at the scouts and he just got his ass kicked by Mamoru. This dude’s number is up. Why the hell did you think I shoved all those Oingo Boingo songs in earlier? I NEED TO USE THEM WHILE I CAN!! Once the dust has settled, Mamoru convinces Chibi-Usa to return the brooch to Usagi. Chibi-Usa complies and Usagi swiftly transforms so she can save Sailor Venus. Back at the rally, Venus is still getting electrocuted by ghost magic (I think) when all of sudden Usagi’s tiara comes screeching towards Calaveras’s and almost decapitates her. Usagi gives her justice speech, Calaveras tells her to piss off, and the Usagi uses her moon stick to disintegrate another person. Usagi is REALLY racking up the body count in this series!
Surprisingly, the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker DOESN’T pop in out of nowhere to kidnap Minako! See!? He can’t even do THAT right! DEAD MAN WALKING!! Usagi goes to tend to Minako who’s still wounded from the fight. While doing so, she demands that Chibi-Usa finally tell them what the hell is going on and what her part in all of this is. The episode ends with Chibi-Usa finally telling everyone the truth which is that she’s from the year 3000 (also known as the time of Bender) and came back to find a way to save the future! And thus the episode ends with… a lot more questions.
This episode had its ups and downs but it was still ultimately enjoyable. The problem is that while it DOES develop some important details and characters to move the overarching story forward, the actual plot of this episode feels underdeveloped and perfunctory at best. Calaveras, despite getting more screen time than Petz, is barely any more developed. Hell, most of her lines in the show is her “channeling” the Black Moon, so we don’t even get a strong sense of who she is with all the screen time she’s given. Even Venus’s development in this, which SHOULD have been the point of the episode like it was for the other three Scouts, is nonexistent and feels like a wasted opportunity to flesh out the least developed Scout in the series. What ultimately saves the episode is that it lays down a lot more groundwork for what will be revealed in the next episode when Chibi-Usa explains her purpose for being here and the Black Moon’s involvement in that. Chibi-Usa has been a real bright spot on this series and the show has done a good job of showing how scarred she is by what happened before she came here in search of help. The Black Moon as well has been pretty interesting as villains, and with the eminent downfall of the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker; I can only hope the rest of the bad guys can step up to the plate. So as a piece of set up to get us moving towards the Sailor Scouts’ eventual siege on the Black Moon, this episode definitely works and has some really good character moments to keep us invested in the fates of everyone involved. As a standalone though, it feels even more by the numbers than the last one which was already feeling tired of the Gaga Sisterhood routine. Hopefully with them gone, the show will breathe some new life into the episode to episode stories instead of just filling time between plot points for the bigger picture.
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]