After another three week hiatus (will we ever escape the consequences Pope Gregory XIII’s evil invention!?) Sailor Moon Crystal has returned with a lot to live up to. The last episode was a great mix of compelling story beats and bombastic action that gave me hope that this story arc would manage to NOT descend into utter chaos like the previous one did. With Chibi-Usa’s recent turn to the darkside, the show definitely has a lot to work with in terms of both storytelling and epic confrontations, but this series has also been known to drop the ball when it had plenty to work with. Will this episode continue steering this storyline into the right direction, or was the last episode the last gasp of quality before everything descends into mediocrity and outright awfulness yet again? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Usagi finding out that Mamoru and Chibi-Usa have wandered into the time dimension wasteland thingy and haven’t returned since. There’s currently a storm blowing through there (because of reasons) and Usagi is told that even under good conditions that searching through the never ending miasma of time and space is a suicidal endeavor. Usagi calmly considers the pros and cons of her situation and then decides to search through the never ending miasma of time and space.
The faithful sheep at her disposal (sometimes referred to as Sailor Scouts) don’t put up a fuss at becoming the next dirty dozen (or half dozen I guess) and agree to follow Usagi to the ends of space and time! Not only that, but they convince Sailor Pluto who is FULLY aware of how damn stupid this is to lead the way. Okay fine; I doubt the show is gonna kill them all off in a time storm, but couldn’t they have AT LEAST come up with a plan? Maybe something other than wandering aimlessly through the void? Hell, could one of them at least get a first aid kit? Anyway, the journey is about as mopey as you’d expect with Usagi crying about Mamoru and how much he pays attention to Chibi-Usa and we’ve heard it all before. WE GET IT! NOW CAN WE FOCUS ON SOMETHING ELSE!? Oh look! They found Luna P all by its lonesome which puts some doubt into Chibi-Usa’s safety considering she never went anywhere without it. Then all of a sudden, Usagi just passes out.
So in the span of two minutes, our hero has dragged everyone else into a death march, whined incessantly about her rivalry with her own ten year old daughter, and lost all consciousness in the incredibly dangerous wasteland. Aren’t we all glad that Sailor Moon is around!? If just one of these things happened, it would be tolerable and I could get over it. Say Usgai drags them into the endless void but is leading the charge, or Usagi is letting out her emotions but not during a perilous quest, or Usagi had passed out with at least SOME explanation, then those would have been good moments for the character. Here though, everything is compounding on each other (presumably because the show doesn’t have time to do these things separately) and it just makes Usagi seem like a total mess. This is a shame considering how awesome she was in the last episode where she was indeed sad about a lot of things but managed to fight back and save her friends! Why is she regressing into this dead weight that everyone else has to carry!? We cut from there to Chamber of Darkness (where the Scouts were being held until recently) and find that Saphir and Prince Demande have been brought there to protect them from the raging inferno on the surface of planet Nemesis. Their savior turns out to be Chibi-Usa (referred to only as Rabbit) and she explains that the reason the planet is going to hell is due to that Malefic Black Crystal reactor thingy that Usagi blew the fuck up in the last episode.
Loving the design on adult Chibi-Usa by the way. She’s definitely got a Femme Fatale thing going what with the long red dress, leather wristbands and choker, and three inch heels. Not sure what her powers are though other than to float around and open portals. I guess that could be useful. Open a portal on the floor, one on the ceiling, shove the hopeless bastard into it, have them infinitely free fall, and remove the floor portal once they reach terminal velocity. Speaking of playing with portals, Rabbit opens one up and takes the two of them to Wiseman’s dimension which appears to be full of flying clocks and germs. They arrive at Wiseman’s castle (which just appears to be a giant rock) and Prince Demande gets all up in his face about the shit that just went down and his true intentions for what remains of the Black Moon Clan. Wiseman isn’t about to take this lip so he shoots mind control beams at the two of them which brings them back in line and with brand new accessories.
Now that tensions have settled, we find out what Wiseman’s plan is now. He apparently has the Legendary Silver Crystal (I believe Chibi-Usa had the one from the future) but it doesn’t appear to be working for him. Rabbit explains that Neo-Queen Serenity is the only one who can use it and volunteers to bring her and Sailor Moon to Wiseman on a silver platter. Hold on, if the moon queen is the only one who can control the Legendary Silver Crystal, then what the hell was the point of the first story arc!? Why exactly did Queen Beryl and Metalia work their asses off to get that damn rock if NO ONE ELSE was able to use it!? The show doesn’t let us ruminate on that too long though because it then bombards us with this uncomfortableness.
I’m seriously getting sick of this show’s reliance on incest to inject drama into this story and to give Mamoru a reason to be in this damn thing. Who knew I’d have to be dealing with THAT in this show!? Was this really in the original series and manga!? I can’t imagine that it was any better back in the 90’s than it is now, even if those previous versions didn’t have the faults and limitations that are holding this series back. The worst part is that Usagi’s absurd paranoia has been one hundred percent justified now. One of the worst aspects of her characterization this season has officially been venerated because she somehow turned out to be right. The whole jealousy and mistrust thing COULD have ultimately worked in the end if Usagi had turned out to be dead wrong and that her feelings had a much more complicated source than just seeing Chibi-Usa as a romantic threat. She’s only fourteen years old (let that sink in in case you forgot it) and she’s in a serious relationship with a much older guy. She’s still going through puberty and is trying to figure out this whole relationship thing on top of becoming a warrior of justice who spends her free nights fighting bad guys and saving the world. To add on top of that, she’s currently going through time and seeing her future self as well as her own fucking daughter! Think of how much that is to deal with for someone who’s still a child themselves. It’s no wonder she’s latched onto this crazy idea that her daughter wants to fuck her boyfriend! Oh no wait. It’s no longer a crazy idea now is it? She was right the whole time. Guess she’s the picture of perfect mental health then! After Rabbit locks lips with her own brainwashed father (can this guy do anything other than get brainwashed!?) we cut back to Usagi who’s just woken up from her bout of unconsciousness.
Wait, so she’s back in her own time with all her friends surrounding her and her mother isn’t giving her hell for being gone for a couple of days? NOT BUYING IT! WAKE UP USAGI! YOU’RE IN THE MATRIX!! Seriously, everything is just a little TOO serene for this to be real. I mean, don’t you all have shit to do? Did you all really need to drag her ass back to her own time to find a bed? Speaking of which, how the hell did you even get back from the unnavigable void of time? Okay, they explain that Usagi’s mom had her memory erased by Luna P, but I don’t buy that either! That’s TOO easy of a hand wave! Something is up! They all start to joke around to try and keep Usagi happy, but she ultimately gets filled with the blues when she remembers that Chibi-Usa and Mamoru are still missing. They all agree to keep looking for them once Usagi gets better… and she still hasn’t woken up from this obvious dream sequence. Wait, is this real? Did they REALLY go back in time just to give Usagi a breather and left things unfinished in the future!? Speaking of which, Ghost Mamoru is lamenting the fact that Neo Queen Serenity is still stuck in the crystal despite coming to Usagi’s rescue in the [last episode].
You know, as much as I don’t particularly care for Mamoru (especially his boring as hell future version), this scene is actually very strong. I don’t think the dialogue does a great job of conveying it, but seeing him lament the fate of Neo Queen Serenity shows a real depth of emotion that we rarely see this stoic character (both future and present versions) portray. Think about it. He’s the only one still left to take care of his daughter and what remains of this decimated future. His wife who he’s being with for hundreds of years is all but dead at this point and he has no idea how to help her. I think Mamoru has been his best in this show whenever he has to confront the fact that Sailor Moon relies on him, but he’s ultimately much weaker than she is. It’s an interesting dichotomy and should be explored more often. Less interesting however is when Diana (the future child of Luna and Artemis) comes in and gives some vague platitudes about trusting the crystalized queen and whatever.
For some reason, this placates Mamoru (or he’s at least pretending to be for Diana’s sake) and we cut back to the present. The team heads back to their own homes after finally leaving Usagi’s place, but they don’t get too far when… time breaks I guess?
Um… I’m not sure what just happened. It only seemed to have affected the scouts and no one else, so I guess things are still okay in the present. Still, they all decided that MAYBE they should go back to the future and finish what they started. I bet it was Sailor Pluto backhanding them from the future to get their asses moving. Once they GET to the future, they find out what’s happened.
Yeah, apparently their big plan was to launch ANOTHER Malefic Black Crystal. Well considering how effect the first one was (wiped out all life on the planet) I can’t fault them for trying it again. Not only that, but Rabbit is heading right for the gates of the Crystal Palace and is able to walk right in unlike the other members of the Black Moon Clan. The reason why is that she’s a member of the Royal family, and only them and their allies can enter the protected building. Once inside, she confronts the unconscious Neo Queen Serenity and her father. Her evil monologue though isn’t quite as effective as shoe hoped when you realize how damn short she is.
Before the hologram can be shocked into a memory dump error, Sailor Moon bursts into the room and sees the new Chibi-Usa. Rabbit charges immediately for her and tries to take her Silver Crystal as well which prompts Neo Queen Serenity to act once again by ejecting Rabbit from the Castle. This is actually a great moment here where Rabbit has officially been cast out by her family who had no choice after her turn to the dark side.
Rabbit/Chibi-Usa has always been a bright spot on this story arc and that continues here. I’m not a big fan that she’s basically become Wise Man’s lap dog (she now believes that Wise Man’s will is absolute), but I can buy that she was manipulated down this evil path. The Scouts run out to surround her and she calls in Wise Man to back her up. The episode ends with Rabbit finally revealing her new identity as Black Lady and preparing to kick some Sailor Ass!!
Now this episode was pretty bad for its first half, but it did end up improving towards the end so it’s not a completely awful episode. Sadly, Usagi turns out to be the weak point once again, which is a shame considering she had turned around significantly in the last episode. She makes bad decisions, puts others in danger, can’t pull her weight, and yet is constantly rewarded and praised by her friends. I was seriously convinced that the scene of her waking up in her room was some sort of space time enduced dream or a trick by Wise Man, but nope. It’s played one hundred percent straight and just felt out of place in an episode that shouldn’t have a lot of down time. We’re getting close to the end and wasting time for a trip to the past that is ultimately pointless is waste of the show’s oh so precious running time. Still, Chibi-Usa/Rabbit/Black Lady continues to work great in this with plenty of dimensions and a bad ass new design. While Future Mamoru gets some moments to shine as well, she’s really the only thing carrying this episode and most of the story arc at this point. I JUST WISH THEY’D DROP THAT WHOLE “SHE’S ROMANTICALLY INTERESTED IN HER FATHER” THING!!! I’m not sure how many episodes are left in this story arc, but it can’t be that many. Hopefully the next one will pull out all the stops and give us the epic confrontation they were promising at the end here!
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]