Sailor Moon Crystal, as predictably as the tides, had started going downhill in the second half of its story arc. With lots of great set up and interesting characters to fight the Scouts, it looked like things had started to turn around for the show after the disappointing ending to the Silver Millennium story line, but once the Scouts were taken away and we got to the future (where there’s pretty much no one to care about), it started to look grim once again for this series. Still, the show had Chibi-Usa who has been a consistent bright spot so far, and the way the last episode ended gave us some hope that things were at least going to escalate in an interesting and meaningful way as we approach the end of this story. Will this episode make good on the promises of the the last episode, or were we just getting set up once again for disappointment? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Chibi-Usa being tempted to join Wise Man and feel the POWER of the Dark Side!
This seems to be causing a disturbance in the space time continuum which is give Sailor Pluto some serious jitters as everything around her turns into a giant storm and she collapses from… something. This causes some reactions back in the Moon Palace where Neo-Queen Serenity seems to wake up (a bit) and holo-Mamoru starts running to the Time Door or whatever it’s called. Tuxedo Mask follows after him and naturally tells Sailor Venus to stay before for fear of her doing something interesting for once.
Oh no wait, she has to stay behind so that we can finally see a picture of Death Phantom/Wise Man and get a bit more detailed backstory.
Despite having super powers like Evil Eye and Beast Hand (both powers that seem to have been given to Prince Demande and Esmeraude respectively), he was a human and therefore Neo-Queen Serenity was unable to kill him. Are you sure about that? Usagi killed at least five people this story arc. Do they not count because they were aliens or robots or something else? MAYBE the Gaga Sisterhood (the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker’s minions from episodes fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen) weren’t actually human, but what about Esmeraude? You can’t tell me SHE wasn’t a human, yet Mamoru killed her (episode twenty) without a second thought! Why didn’t Neo-Queen Serenity let HIM take care of Death Phantom!? Well whatever the reason was, Death Phantom was banished to Nemesis instead of getting the death penalty and used that time to build up his power and convince the Black Moon Clan to join him. We cut to the two Mamoru’s who have found Sailor Pluto and just how messed up the Space Time Continuum has gotten. Sailor Pluto informs them that Chibi-Usa wandered into Space Time without her key so now she’s lost and that’s what’s causing the storm. Tuxedo Mask then starts to run into the empty void to search for Chibi-Usa and Sailor Pluto calls back to him to get a key first or else he’ll get lost just like her. Naturally he turns around, walks the ten steps back to Sailor Pluto, gets a key, and THEN begins his rescue attempt. No wait, he doesn’t do that at all.
Well while Mamoru goes on his suicidal mission (which didn’t NEED to be so), Usagi is wandering the halls of the Black Moon Castle in search of her friends. Luckily for her, she just so happens to pass by the ONE room where the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker and the one Black Moon Clan guy who hasn’t fought anyone yet (Saphir)discussing the fate of the Sailor Scouts.
She learns that the three of them are at least alive still, but are stuck in the Chamber of Darkness which gives even the bad guys the willies. Sailor Moon isn’t able to hear much more though because the oppressive atmosphere of Planet Nemesis causes her to pass out and she’s found by Prince Demande who takes her to a nearby bench. The creepazoid tries to make his move on the unconscious Usagi, but gets a MIGHTY cock-block from the heavens.
The lightening blast wakes up Usagi who runs off again to search for the other Scouts. She ends up running into Saphir who’s doing some sort of ominous crap in front the Malefic Black Crystal reactor. Okay… I guess the Malefic Black Crystal is a nuclear generator as well. Anyway, Saphir starts to explain that he’s not happy with everything that’s gone on since Wise Man got his hooks into Prince Demande.
This begs the question though as to what it is that Saphir wants. I get that Wise Man is a mysterious interloper, but what exactly is outside of your original plans? You wanted to stop people from living longer lives. Well you’re pretty damn close to achieving that goal now that you have the bearer of the Silver Crystal in your midst. Hell, even if she can’t give you the Silver Crystal that’s protecting Neo-Queen Serenity, she’s pretty much the only one left who can threaten you and your brother’s rule! Saphir realizes this though and decides to murder Sailor Moon on the spot. He gets some ghost android thingies that he was conjuring at the reactor (I know that makes no sense) to hold her down while he lunges at her with a sharp crystal. Before he can land the killing blow, Neo-Queen Serenity does a thing in her crystal tomb and I guess it sends some seriously powerful magic to Usagi who is now able to transform into the one and only Sailor Moon!
With this newfound power provided by Neo-Queen Serenity, Usagi is able to locate the Chamber of Darkness and wakes their asses up so they can transform as well. Once they do, they fly their asses through solid concrete and make their way to the reactor room to kick some Black Moon ass!! HELL YEAH!! Let’s get to the smack down!!
By this point, Prince Demande and the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker have made it to the reactor room. While the Danny Elfman Looking Mother Fucker helps Saphir, Prince Demande summons Wise Man to assist them who happens to bring along a new companion. Gee! I wonder who THIS could be!!
No one really seems to notice Evil Chibi-Usa over here which is a bit odd, but Wise Man informs Prince Demande that he should… you know. Try attacking. Realizing the utter genius of this strategy, Prince Demande does in fact fight, but first starts to smack talk the group about the Silver Crystal which prompts Usagi to lay down some TRUTH to this mother fucker. But wait, is it just me or is her voice deeper? Also, why are her eyes glowing? HOLY CRAP!! Neo-Queen Serenity has possessed her so that she can make platitudes about the Silver Crystal being awesome and the Black Moon Clan being misled!
The only thing that REALLY pulls me out of this is that the other Scouts SOMEHOW know who Neo-Queen Serenity is despite the fact that NONE of them should even be aware they are in the future! Oh well, the Scouts begin their attack but are cut short when Prince Demande uses his Evil Eye to freeze them in their place. Really!? I’ve been waiting half a dozen episodes to get them back, and all they do is get frozen!? Also, this guy’s powers are pretty lame considering all he can really do is rip-off Guldo’s attacks. For some reason, this sudden influx of Crystal power is causing the Malefic Black Crystal reactor to start going haywire which appears to be causing the castle to collapse. The Danny Elfman looking mother fucker tries to make a break for it, but is stopped by Wise Man and Evil Chibi-Usa.
Sailor Moon (or Neo-Queen Serenity) is able to break herself and the other Scouts free of Prince Deamnde’s hold and uses her power to summon one of those Time Traveling keys to teleport herself and the other Scouts to safety. Wise Man isn’t all that please, but considering what kind of trump card he has up his sleeve, he’s certain that they’ll be back in no time. Not sure exactly WHERE they’ll be back though considering the castle is crumbling to the ground, which prompts Demande and Saphir to run for their lives to who knows where. We cut to Tuxedo Mask who’s still aimless wandering the space time continuum in search of Chibi-Usa, when she finally appears in her evil form to take him away for presumably nefarious purposes.
While this is happening, Sailor Moon and the Scouts have made it back to the entrance of the space time Continuum, and they have a happy reunion with Sailor Venus. This is also one of the WORST bits of animation in the entire series, and considering how many mistakes have already been in this show, THAT is saying something! It’s a bit hard to describe. Do you all know want the Spike Lee Dolly Shot is? Well basically, it’s a tracking shot where the person being filmed is ALSO on the track so it looks like their floating through the scene instead of walking. What they do here is that the 4 Scouts appear to be floating across the floor in a ridiculous pose (like their all on a track) while Sailor Venus is floating towards them in the same stupid pose.
The happy reunion is cut short though as Sailor Moon is reminded of their current situation and is informed about what happened to Chibi-Usa (she got lost in the space time continuum) and that Tuxedo Mask is probably just as lost. And so the episode ends with them taking two steps forward but then another two steps back.
This episode was a HUGE improvement over what we’ve been seeing for a while now. Now that they have the exposition out the way, they had a chance to give us some decent character moments and finally get the other Scouts to do something for once. The show is usually at its best when it’s about the team working together, and we finally got a taste of that after so long without them. Even Usagi who’s been pretty useless this story arc now gets to shine like she hasn’t for a long time and it makes the episode a joy to watch. How hard is it to realize we want our heroes to DO shit rather than just stand around and listen to other people gab endlessly about stuff that hardly matters!? That said, this episode does have it fair share of flaws. Mamoru’s decision to go out into the endless void without a damn key makes absolutely no sense and just feels like a set up for disaster. Ok fine, he PROBABLY would have still gotten caught by Chibi-Usa at the end anyway, but it just feels like a cheap (and dumb) way to get us to realize just how much he cares for Chibi-Usa. I CAN’T TURN AROUND BECAUSE I’M SO DETERMINED TO FIND HER!! Also, while I LIKED that Neo-Queen Serenity is finally a presence in this show, she still doesn’t feel like an interesting character. Powerful? Absolutely, but that alone doesn’t make someone interesting. Her speech to the Black Moon Clan is the only time she’s had dialogue so far and it felt like a soulless lecture from a teacher who knows their stating the obvious. Is she just going to be an all-powerful God figure in the show? I guess that’s okay, but it also makes her hardly relatable which makes it hard to care about her fate. The last thing is where I’m ASSUMING this whole Evil Chibi-Usa thing is going. She didn’t have a lot to do here, but it’s clear that she’s FINALLY an adult now that she’s turned to the dark side. So she’s a good guy when she’s forced to stay as an innocent child, but her evil side is symbolized by her growing up? There are some REALLY sketchy connotations there about women’s worth as they get older (or the EVILNESS of a woman’s sexuality), and I get the feeling the show will trip over these unfortunate implications several times before this story arc ends. Still, this episode shows definite improvement over what we’ve gotten recently, so hopefully the rough patch is over and we can enjoy the remaining episodes of this story arc as we get closer to the end of it! Let’s hope that they AT LEAST do a better job than they did with the finale of the LAST story arc!
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]