Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media
Episode directed by Yuji Endo
We’re back with another episode of The Three Moon-eteers (Luna of course serving as our d’Artagnan in this metaphor)! With Jadeite on the ropes after so many schemes not only failing but bringing his foes greater and greater power, he’s starting to get desperate for a way to stop them before he retires from this Evil Organization to pursue interests elsewhere. Maybe Disney? Anyway, will he be able to succeed in his latest hair-brained scheme, or will it all end in failure once again? Well you can probably guess which one, but let’s see how it plays out!!
The episode begins in the bowels of Hell Corp where Jadeite is hiding from Queen Beryl’s condescending stare that he surely deserves considering his recent track record. His self-imposed exile to the basement is unfortunately interrupted as one of Queen Beryl’s personal assistants tracks his butt down.
The PA in question named Thetis seems to have the hots for Jadeite (and who wouldn’t with his Owen Wilson hair and greenish sclera?) which leads to why it is she actually bothered looking for the sorry bastard. Apparently SHE’S thought of a brilliant scheme to leech energy off of the humans which I guess is going to help get the heat off of Jadeite for a bit. Gee. I wonder what this monster with water-based power will come up with.
This Romantic Cruise plan doesn’t seem to be all that different from Jadeite’s last scheme where he just locked a bunch of people into a plastic castle, only this might be a bit more obvious considering she just plans on kidnapping people on a boat. Maybe they’ll get enough energy on their maiden journey because I certainly doubt Thetis will get docking permits a second time after all her passengers disappear. The first trip is already a smashing success because tickets sold out quicker than a Yeezus concert with Jesus as the opening act, and one of the unlucky ladies looking for love on the high seas is Usagi who’s hoping to either scalp her way onto the ship (figuratively but I wouldn’t discount literally), or win two tickets in a lottery.
Rei manages to walk by the stand and hears all about Usagi’s plight, but doesn’t have an ounce of sympathy for her lovelorn leader and merely scoffs at her attempts to… I don’t know, have fun? She gives her a speech about how being a Scout means they don’t have time for frivolous activities, but then again she’s missing the OBVIOUS EVIL VILLAIN SCHEME staring at her in the face. Also, who invited the buzzkill? Is killing monsters and facing horrors beyond the scope of human understanding her idea of a night out? If Puella Magi taught us anything, it’s that self-care is important… I think. Anyway, Rei is SO not into going on that trip that she’s gonna teach Usagi a lesson by using her magic powers to win those tickets.
I’m sorry, what?
So apparently Rei’s psychic gifts extend to her being able to cheat the lottery (I guess it’s a good thing Usagi hasn’t learned how to abuse her own Moon Powers like this) and she takes the opportunity to lord her winnings over Usagi as much as possible! DANG!! Rei is just flat out NASTY to her comrade! This isn’t just her trying to get Usagi to take her job seriously; she’s literally waving the tickets in front of her in an effort to get a rise out of her! On the sidelines, Luna and Ami are trying to see how long they can be Switzerland in this situation which turns out to be a fool’s errand as Rei drags Ami far far away from the prying eyes of Usagi, leaving Luna to deal with THAT fallout. Luna, by the way, seems to have very little power lately over Usagi’s terrible choices, the latest being to stalk Rei and Ami to find out what the plan is (like she doesn’t know already). Remember when Luna threatened to disfigure her face when she wouldn’t get her act together in [episode 4]? I think someone’s due for a reminder. Anyway, Rei butters up and badgers Ami until she finally agrees to go along to get along which means the two of them are going on the cruise, leaving Usagi to stew in her own bitterness while Ami prays that her involvement in this won’t cause further strain in their friendships. Now on the one hand, this IS an improvement over Crystal simply because they’re bothering to give these characters flaws, grievances, and actual development for their relationship. On the other hand, I’m reminded by how much I REALLY didn’t like Mamoru at the beginning of this series, and while he HAS gotten better through organic character interactions, it just felt unnecessary for him to be as big of a jerk as he was during his initial interactions with Usagi. I’m having similar feelings about the Rei and Usagi rivalry but I’ll reserve judgment for at least a couple more episodes. I’m fine with them having tension, but there seems to be a level of bullying involved or lack of respect for each other that’s off-putting at the moment, especially when Ami and Luna get dragged into their scuffles.
We cut to the night of the cruise where the lucky few who got tickets are boarding the ship, and those scorned by their friends (namely Usagi) are trying to find a way on board. Usagi uses her magic transformation pen to turn herself into a photographer (okay, so she’s learned how to abuse SOME of her Moon Powers), but then sneaks on the ship anyway through a very obvious yet completely unsupervised docking bay with; all the while Luna is kvetching and wishing in vain she had the power to keep Usagi under control while being dragged along for whatever felonies she’s committing at the moment. All I’m saying is the claws worked at least once so she should at least try them again! Jadeite is on board as well as the Captain with Thetis as the First Mate and we find out that the luxury ship in question is actually an old tanker riddled with rust and tetanus that Thetis has… magic-ized into looking like an enchanting seafaring vessel.
The thing is that it seems to be MORE than just an illusion as the rickety metallic husk is actually able to sail along the ocean and no one’s falling through holes or cutting themselves on sharp edges. Either this illusion is so good that they didn’t even have to bother putting them on a boat (just put in a giant box or something) or the ship is in a restored state until the magic spell is broken upon Thetis’s eventual death. Pondering about the technicalities of dark magic is of little concern to Usagi however (though Luna knows that something is up with the ship) as she’s soon discovered by Captain Jadeite who dyed his hair black for some reason (does he think the Scouts know what he looks like?) and she immediately starts swooning on the spot which I guess puts her ahead of her friends in terms of finding dates. Speaking of which, Rei’s showing herself to be not as high and mighty as she thinks she is (at least in how she compares herself to Usagi) considering she’s just come up with a plan so ridiculous that had she been wearing a blonde wig, no one would have guessed that Usagi hadn’t come up with it herself. Apparently no one on this darn ship came stag aside from the dateless wonders here, so Rei thinks it’ll be a great idea to stalk couples until they find some that are on the ropes and swoop in to nab the guys after the break up so they can… do whatever the fourteen-year-old version of a hook up is. I have serious reservations about the possibility of this leading to them actually getting boyfriends and Ami seems to be having similar concerns. Thankfully the possibilities of this backfiring are rendered moot a the plan doesn’t seem to be going very well and Rei rather quickly retires to the buffet to eat her worries away. The ship is ALSO full of judgmental jerkwads that have nothing better to do than watch a teenage girl eat for some reason.
While Rei and Ami are having a disappointing evening, Usagi is continuing her mission to get the Captain’s number before the night is over which isn’t going as well as she thinks it is. Neither one is aware of the other’s identity, though Luna and Jadeite are getting some bad vibes over all of this, and it’s clear that Jadeite isn’t interested in this very clingy high schooler pretending to be an adult.
Sadly enough for Usagi (and fanfiction writers), the two are separated due to Jadeite’s Captain Duties as he’s called away by his First Mate once the two of them find their way out of the back end of the ship. Not deterred in the least though, she decides to follow him around anyway and discovers that he and First Mate Thetis are up to no good! Well… she doesn’t discover it as much as Luna has to explain it to her, but that’s beside the point! The point is that they’re about to set their plan into motion by gathering everyone into the reception hall and Usagi has to stop them before it’s too late! That is if she can find her way around the ship…
Rei and Ami are already in the reception hall so they get a front-row seat to the evil machinations of the two monsters on stage which boils down to… sleeping powder. Well, go with what works I guess considering this has basically been their strategy for the last three episodes. The spell doesn’t affect Ami and Rei however and it’s NOT because they have Moon Powers, but because they didn’t bring dates. Seriously, the energy siphoned off of the other guests was the energy of love or whatever, so when Thetis put them all to sleep; it had no effect on those two. That… seems a bit risky. Did they not think to add a stipulation that anyone coming aboard could not be single, or did they just assume those two were together? Well despite this oddly fortuitous turn of events, Jadeite and Thetis have a backup plan which is to kill them with water monsters. That is until Sailor Moon FINALLY finds the reception hall, makes her hero for justice speech, and challenges Thetis directly to a fight. Thetis pounces and knocks the both of them through the glass ceiling with Jadeite not far behind, giving Rei and Ami a chance to transform into Mars and Mercury outside of the watchful eyes of the enemy. You can probably guess what happens from there. Bubbles from Ami, fire from Rei, and a tiara from Usagi are enough to destroy Thetis and thwart Hell Corp’s evil plans once again!
It looks like the day is saved once again by our three heroes! Except it isn’t! Jadeite comes down to finish them off once and for all and charges up a lethal attack! Plot Twist! NO WAIT!! Queen Beryl transports him away mere moments before one of the attacks hits, leaving the Scouts unharmed! DOUBLE PLOT TWIST!! Apparently the Mistress is not too keen about Jadeite taking one of her personal assistances away from her regular duties only to get her killed in the process, so while that was PROBABLY the worst time to recall your subordinate, he definitely has deserves whatever punishment is on the horizon.
With the death of the monster keeping this vessel presentable, everything begins to decay around them as the ship returns to its natural form. Fortunately, the Coast Guard was apparently lying in wait as they begin to collect the passengers off the ship while the Scouts lament their lack of a love life. With no other proper outlet for their frustrations, Rei and Usagi begin their dance once again of seeing how pissed off they can get the other while Ami and Luna look over in sadness and exasperation; presumably because they realize that this dispute is not about to end anytime soon.
This was a pretty solid episode that I feel we’ll be getting a lot of as we continue on with the Sailor Trio for the next dozen or so episodes. There’s nothing all that great about it when compared to some of the better episodes we’ve gotten so far, but it’s also far from the low points we’ve had to suffer through. It’s workmanlike and competent which is perfectly fine for the occasional filler episode, especially when we’re still working through character building exercises to flesh out their relationships. The only problem I have will presumably be an issue going forward and that’s just how antagonistic Rei and Usagi are towards each other which seems to go just a bit too far. They don’t have to be more or less the blank slates they were in Crystal, but then I’m not a fan of seeing them be so argumentative about everything until the final battle (and then immediately after the battle). Fortunately, this is definitely something I expect them to work through over future episodes, so it won’t be a problem unless they never get any better than they are now. The next episode is going to be the death of Jadeite, so hopefully it will be more than simply competent and will give a proper send-off to such a great villain!