We’re back with another episode of everyone’s favorite remake of a much more beloved series form the nineties! Last time around, the remaining Scouts were actually able to prevent another kidnapping and Chibi-Usa finally decided to tell everyone what the heck was going on. The story arc overall has been pretty good, but last episode was definitely starting to wear thin, what with it basically repeating what made the episodes before it so good. Will this episode take the series in a new direction to inject some life into it, or are we in for yet another downward spiral into mediocrity and broken dreams? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with everyone reeling over the drama bomb that Chibi-Usa just exploded in their faces. For those who don’t recall, she reveals that she came here from the 30th century to try and get Sailor Moon to save the future from some terrible disaster that befalls it.
She’s still a bit tight lipped on some of the details though and frankly this routine in starting to get old. All she tells them is that there was an explosion, something vague about her mother, and something about it being her fault which I’m guessing is not really true. Artemis tries to get more information out of Chibi-Usa, but she either doesn’t know anything else or is simply keeping quiet about it. She doesn’t even know if the Black Moon was responsible which is kind of odd considering how she reacted to the Black Moon crystal shard in the previous episode. Minako gets the brilliant idea to have her take them to the future so we can SEE the rise of the machines (or whatever the hell the apocalypse was) which seems like a GREAT idea from where I’m sitting, but of course she’s too scared to go there and Mamrou swoops in to protect her from the big mean Sailor Scouts who want do helpful things.
I get that he wants to protect her because more than anyone else, he knows the trauma she’s endured (his magic hand psychic power thingy from episode  gave him glimpses into her memory), but there should REALLY come a point where they need to get something done before anyone else is hurt. If she’s here to save the future, then she needs to help them! Mamoru’s comforting helps Chibi-Usa to relax and she decides that she’s staying the night with Mamoru. Since this is at least the second time she’s stayed at his place I believe that means she’s spent more nights with Usagi’s boyfriend than Usagi has. Eh, I’m sure I’m overthinking this.
Come on Toei! You can’t be THAT tone deaf! It’s just a weird way to frame the shot. THAT close up and keeping his face in shadow? It’s just creepy. Oh, but it gets worse. Usagi seems to be watching on (and for some inexplicable reason they didn’t draw her mouth) so when Mamrou finally comes out of the room, she confronts him. Oh, it’s worse than you can imagine. She seems LEGITIMATELY concerned that Mamoru is going to fall for a damn nine year old and it’s just uncomfortable to watch.
WHAT IS GOING ON!?!? Why is our hero (a bad ass space princess with magic powers) so threatened by her boyfriend spending time with a child who clearly has some deep trauma and is clinging onto him as a source of stability!? I know I’ve been taking Usagi’s side whenever friction between the two came up (WHY DID SHE TRY TO SHOOT USAGI IN THE FACE!?!?), but seeing Chibi-Usa as a ROMANTIC rival is just ridiculous, creepy, and kinda paints Usagi as pathetic and needy. Two traits you REALLY don’t want for the main character of your female targeted action series! After this awkward moment, the two of them make up (I THINK they have sex) and we can thankfully move on and completely forget this ever happened. Back at Minako’s house, Luna is crashing for the night and has a dream about something she remembers from Silver Millennium. Apparently she found a door one day that was giving off some evil vibes and the queen told her to forget about it. I WONDER IF THIS WILL SOMEHOW BE SIGNIFICANT LATER ON! The foreshadowing here feels really forced because nothing about this door is explained to the audience or even Luna, so why is she dreaming about it now other than to give the audience a clue as to what’s going to happen later on? When Chibi-Usa has foreboding dreams it makes sense because she’s actually involved in the story. Now we’re throwing Silver Millennium into the mix? I don’t even think we’ve established that they have anything to do with the Black Moon or the future world other than the Scouts being dragged into the middle of their conflict. It simply ends up feeling clunky and awkwardly crammed into the episode. The next morning at Mamrou’s house, Chibi-Usa has finally decided to take the group to the 30th century so they can hopefully find some answers to what the hell is going on. They all meet in the park (in full uniform I might add so I’m sure they’re VERY conspicuous to any onlookers) where Chibi-Usa has a flashback of a mysterious figure before beginning the time travel ritual. In the flashback, the mystery lady informs her of the dangers of traveling through time. Considering she’s already done it though, I doubt that Chibi-Usa took those warnings to heart. She tells them that they have to keep hold of her while traveling through time and she starts to say a prayer to the time traveling god while holding aloft her magic key.
Of course, Usgai can’t seem to keep hold and drags everyone else down with her into the magic time stream to who knows where. You had ONE job Usagi!! Not only that, but the Dark Moon baddies are aware that they are traveling through time and apparently they’ve been waiting for this to happen so they can put their evil plans into motion. I think they can use Chibi-Usa’s time stream thingy to sneak into the future which will allow them to take that place over. Whatever the plan is, one of the leaders Esmeraude promises Prince Demande to handle it with her own personal cohorts who remind me a lot of the twins from The Matrix Reloaded.
Despite setting off a pretty sizable trigger by mentioning the queen of the future kingdom, Prince Demande agrees to let her and the wonder twins handle it. We go back to our heroes who seem to be stuck in the hyperbolic time chamber, only it’s filed with a lot of holes and random tornados. Luna theories that they are between times and then proceeds to plunge head first into a hole that would have been the death of her if it weren’t for Mamoru’s quick reflexes.
Before another one of them can fall into a wormhole, a the mysterious figure approaches that identifies as Sailor Pluto and is the guardian of Time and Space. Holy shit! She really IS Doctor Who! Of course, being the guardian of something means you have to massacre everyone you see, so she proceeds to assault them for being in the time travel realm or whatever.
I’m not sure if she’s supposed to be way stronger than the Scouts and Tuxedo mask, but she seems to get the upper hand rather easily and is about to land a killing blow against them when Chibi-Usa (who somehow was able to find out where exactly everyone was) jumps into the scene and stops Sailor Pluto from finishing her attack. We find out that the only reason Chibi-Usa can travel through time is because her time Space Time Key was stolen from Sailor Pluto but she DOESN’T proceed to decapitate her for whatever reason. You’d think if trespassing was worthy of death, then stealing would be worth like five deaths. Sailor Pluto is just happy to see that she’s okay so they clearly have some history with each other.
The team also finds out that Chibi-Usa is a princess in the 30th century Earth (if that wasn’t obvious) and Usagi has her expected childish reaction. Eh, I’m okay with that. I still like it when Usagi acts silly. Sailor Jupiter lets them all through a giant door (the one Luna foreshadowed so thank you for planting that VERY important seed earlier) which connects the directly to the 30th Century. On the other side they find nothing but death and devastation. A full on apocalypse has happened with building destroyed, dead bodies in the streets, and a giant ominous black crystal in the middle of the city. At least now we know why Chibi-Usa was freaked out by the shard in the last episode. Being surrounded by all this death and destruction yet again gives Chibi-Usa severe PTSD flashbacks which end up causing her to black out. Mamrou also gets a mysterious voice in his head telling him to stay the fuck away from the giant pulsating evil rock dead ahead.
When Chibi-Usa wakes up, she informs them that all she can recall is a giant explosion, lots of dead people, and the giant crystal. She tells them that they need to head for the Crystal Palace, but on the way they get stopped by the wonder twins who somehow made it to the 30th century successfully. So does the Dark Moon have the power to travel through time, or were they piggy backing off of Chibi-Usa? If it’s the latter, then how did they end up in the correct time when NONE OF THEM made to the 30th century without a trip to Pluto’s inner sanctum? I guess they could just have time travel abilities, but then that opens up a bigger can of worms and unanswered questions. If they were after the queen in the Crystal Castle, then why didn’t they stick around the 30th century and siege the place? If they needed the Silver Crystal to do that, then why didn’t they go to some OTHER time in history where the Silver Crystal was easier to find? Clearly there’s a lot of resistance to getting the one Chibi-Usa holds, so why not go to the year 2950, and see if it’s easier to take from THAT time? DAMN YOU TIME TRAVEL FOR MAKING THINGS DIFFICULT!! Well however the hell they got here, they trap our heroes in some sort of crystal thingy in a scene that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I actually kind of like the way it’s visualized. There’s a sort of abstraction here that I think makes their powers more interesting than just shooting crystal beams all over the place. Once the heroes are safely incapacitated, Esmeraude enters the scene and… does a thingy.
While our heroes are getting electrocuted by science beams or whatever, Mamoru hears that voice in his head again and it tells him to make a prayer for the crystal to break. Wait, isn’t that one of Bible Man’s powers? Well however the hell this new ability is supposed to work, it does its job and the crystal explodes. Sailor Venus takes this opportunity to tie up the twins in her chain of beads and Mamoru finishes them off with an energy blast.
Esmeraude gets away, but our heroes aren’t too concerned about that head straight for the palace. They find Chibi-Usa’s mother (Neo Queen Serenity) inside the palace who seems to be sleeping while encased in a giant crystal and looks exactly like Usagi. There’s also a cat with a crescent on their forehead, though it doesn’t seem to be able to speak, called Diana. Seriously? At some point, they’re gonna run out of moon names! Diana leads them to another individual inside the palace who turns out to be the King who looks exactly like Mamoru. We don’t get a name, but he’s definitely the guy who has been speaking in Mamoru’s head the entire time. And so the episode ends with a lot of new questions to bring us back next time to get those answers!
Well THAT certainly was a let-down. Considering how much I genuinely liked the first half of this story arc, it’s sad to see it fall back onto the things that made the second half of the Silver Millenium arc such a train wreck. The animation in this episode is noticeably worse than pretty much any episode in this story arc and there are some flat out baffling moments throughout the episode that makes you question what the HELL they were thinking. That whole scene at Mamoru’s apartment is probably the most cringe worthy and unpleasant moment in the entire series, not to mention the absolute worst writing of for a character since the Scouts decided they’d rather die a painful death and leave the world in the hands of its enemies than to fight their ex-boyfriends from thousands of years ago. Sailor Pluto is an interesting addition, but her presence here feels really removed from anything else that’s going on. I’m sure they’ll explain more in future episodes, but her introduction in this episode was completely underwhelming. She only serves as a way to get the Scouts from point A to point B, and she comes across as an unlikable idiot for trying to straight up murder them for no reason whatsoever. It’s not even like she’s consistent with that considering she’s already let Chibi-Usa get away with A LOT already. The villains as well are getting tiresome, and while having a new mini-boss each weak does a lot to give the show some variety, it also means that none of them stand out and they feel completely harmless because of that. Seriously, who was the last person to actually pose a threat to the Scouts? Queen Metalia? There’s still hope for this series, and I’m still interested in finding out what exactly happened in the future as well as the Black Moon’s part in it. Hopefully this episode was just a fluke and isn’t going to be indicative of the rest of the story arc. PLEASE DON’T LET ME DOWN AGAIN!! I DON’T KNOW IF MY HEART CAN TAKE IT!!!
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]