We’re back with another episode of The M-Files! Unexplained and terrifying things keep happening at this school, and yet no one seems to have dropped out yet. I guess despite the numerous horrors to befall its students, it still gets them a kick ass reference! Still, the strange stuff only got stranger last week when the formerly dead Scout (Sailor Pluto) showed up in what I can only assume is a reincarnated form; similar to what happened with the rest of the Scouts. Does this episode manage to explore the true nature of Sailor Pluto’s return in a satisfying and compelling fashion, or is her reappearance merely a stab at fan service to keep the fans’ collective attention span from waning? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Not Sailor Pluto (Setsuna Meioh), or at least Not YET Sailor Pluto, working in one of Mugen Academy’s science labs that also looks like a greenhouse. Actually, it looks a bit more like an office than anything else, but she said in the LAST episode that she’s a student. If that’s the case, then how did she manage to get her own office!?
It’s not clear yet exactly what’s going on with her (is she a reincarnation? Does that apply for someone who already exists outside of space and time?) but this is still very early into her story so I’m okay with a couple of unanswered questions just as long as they don’t endlessly dawdle on it like they’re doing with Uranus and Neptune. What little we do find out is that she seems to have come up with some theory about space being distorted (wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff) but isn’t sure where the idea came from. This either means that she truly IS the reincarnation of Sailor Pluto or she fell off the same toilet that Doc Brown did when he came up with the Flux Capacitor. Not only that, but she has a friend who I can only assume goes to the academy as well named Reika who is dating Matoki who works at the Game Center Crown. I don’t THINK this was established before now, but for all I know it was mentioned in season two and I just forgot about it between the time traveling and the giant skull of evil. Besides, after Usagi chose Mamoru his whole reason for existing kind of evaporated.
While Meioh is sadly forced to reject Reika’s invite for dinner what with so much science left to do today, Dr. Frankenstein (also known as Dr. Tomoe) is in his secret laboratory doing his creepy monster experiments, and he’s assisted by Ursa of the Zod Gang who I guess is acting as General Zod’s liaison for the not so good doctor. She’s basically that weird five thumbed dude from The Avengers who got Loki in contact with Thanos. It’s REALLY similar to that actually because we immediately cut from the science lab to wherever the fuck that fountain thing is and the two of them are having a meeting with Zod. I guess that means they aren’t ACTUALLY there and it’s some kind of subconscious world? Maybe they teleported? Oh well. We don’t get to see Zod just yet, but the way they’re representing him for now is the same thing they did with Wiseman in season two which is a bit disappointing. They couldn’t come up with a better visual cue than super glowy eyes?
We get some more information in this scene which is appreciated, but it’s really muddled and hidden under so much jargon that it’s damn near incomprehensible. Here’s what I can gather. Master Pharaoh 90’s ultimate goal is to strip the earth of humans so that he can make it his kingdom, hence the clever nickname of General Zod. To do this, he needs Hostes and Vessels. I don’t know for sure what those are, but I think Hostes is another word for Human Energy that Dark Kingdom was collecting all the way back in season one, and I’m guessing Vessels are the bodies of humans who had their Hostes taken out. The reason I can’t be SURE of this is that I think they’re also saying that the Daimons (the monster things that Dr. Frankenstein are creating) can only be implanted in Vessels. If that was the case, those egg things (presumably Daimons in their nascent form) wouldn’t be able to take hold of any human that happens to be walking by which is EXACTLY what has happened in every episode so far.
ANOTHER bombshell dropped upon us is that Dr. Frankenstein is implying that him and Ursa (probably the witches too; not sure about his daughter Hotaru) are Vessels as well. So… now it’s basically Kingdom Hearts with the STRONG Heartless and Nobodies get to keep looking human? Wait, if THEY’RE perfect Vessels, or perfect Daimons, or whatever, then how are they having trouble recreating the formula!? WHO MADE THEM!? Master Pharaoh 90!? THEN WHY ISN’T HE GETTING OFF HIS LAZY ASS TO MAKE MORE VESSEL/DAIMON THINGIES!? Also, the Taioron Crystal (which looks like a shiny ear of corn) isn’t as powerful as the Silver Crystal which Usagi and Chibi-Us have, so they want to get their hands on those (I don’t think they’re aware of Chibi-Usa’s crystal, but Hotaru is aware after what happened in episode 29). So why do they need this power? I don’t know. I ALSO don’t know if the ensuing apocalypse is part of their plan or not. It’s REALLY not clear who they are talking about when they’re referring to whatever it is that’s going to be destroyed and whether or not the destruction will be by their own hand. It SEEMS that they don’t want the destruction because it’s supposedly going to be caused by the three talismans which I though was supposed to STOP THE DESTRUCTION!!
Maybe I’m the big dummy here, but it has to mean something when someone can watch this scene and not be able to tell if the world blowing up is a good thing or a bad thing for the bad guys. Let’s get back to something that makes a bit more sense! Before returning to the lab, Ursa calls upon the next sacrificial lamb for the Scouts which is Mugen Academy’s sports star AND expert botanist Ruru Teruno. I’m sure this is all gonna end well for her considering how easy the other three witches have been taken out. Has none of them done the math yet? Seven or eight Scouts vs each witch one at a time is not a winning strategy! I’m sure she’ll get a Sailor Scout Smackdown soon enough, but for now we go to Chibi-Usa who’s in class and we learn that the students’ next assignment after MAKING the damn clay statue is to give it away as a gift! I see how you’d get an A on that and I see how you’d get an F. Is there any way to get a B- for that assignment? Chibi-Usa already has one person in mind who she plans to give it to (*cough* Hotaru *cough*) which is clearly foreshadowing for some later event. Maybe it really IS the Holy Grail! I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough because after that (and after a brief scene of Haruto getting bullied because why not) we go to Usagi who’s still feeling an unending sense of ennui due to her crush on Haruka and possibly Michiru as well. Honestly, out of ANYONE in this show she’s the one talking the most sense as she’s absolutely committed to get them on their side as they are OBVIOUSLY NOT THE BAD GUYS! Ami and Makoto are there to hear her lamentations, but they’re pretty uncommitted on this whole issue and don’t give her a straight answer for some reason.
We cut to some time later where The Moon Crew is meeting up at the Sailor Scout Command Center and they JUST NOW find out that the evil doctor who runs the school has a daughter who JUST SO HAPPENS to be the mystery girl they met at the school. Since Chibi-Usa is planning to give her Holy Grail to Hotaru, Usagi thinks it’s probably a good idea to accompany her in case the bad guys have any shenanigans planned. The visit itself is pretty uneventful as we once again have Hotaru get somewhat healed by the awesome power of the Silver Crystal (Usagi still doesn’t know this by the way because she was in the bathroom at the time), but we DO learn that there’s some sort of split personality situation going on with Hotaru. She turns all Bilbo Scary Face on Chibi-Usa for just a second after seeing the crystal; or maybe Galadriel would be the more apt comparison.
The momentary out of body experience does little to change Chibi-Usa’s very strong feelings for Hotaru so she more or less ignores it and doesn’t bother to tell Usagi. On their way home, Chibi-Usa just barely sees Meioh out of the corner of her eye, but loses sight of her after a bus passes by and she disappears. Okay, THAT’S some bull shit right there! Why did Meioh disappear? There has been nothing so far to indicate that she knows anything about her past… future… whatever, so she shouldn’t have the ability to just vanish! Who knows. We’ve got bigger fish to fry anyway; mainly that we haven’t even gotten to the ACTUAL plot of the episode yet which is about the evil plant lady’s evil plants that she’s selling to the masses! With a plan worthy of Jadeite, Ruru is using magic plants to suck the energy out of whoever buys them; one such victim turning out to be Makoto who’s rightfully suspicious of anything coming out of Mugen Academy, as should ANYONE at this point! Does no one remember that a concert turned into a super powered brawl like a week ago!? I guess not, and because of everyone’s short term memory, the world is gonna be overrun by Audrey II’s! GOOD JOB HUMANITY!!
Clearly the only solution is to blow up the school’s botanical garden which is gonna go SUPER well with the cops… if cops actually existed in this universe which I’m pretty sure they don’t. The Moon Crew agree on this and need to find Usagi which they eventually do at what appears to be a train station for some unexplained reason. Was she planning to go somewhere or did she just want to look at a map of the Mugen District? Either way, this seems to be a very fortuitous place to be standing at because Haruka and Michiru JUST SO HAPPEN to pass by them and immediately bolt when the realize they’ve been spotted. They probably weren’t even planning anything! They were just going to get a taco or something but now they have GTF outta there! They’re actually not that good at doing that because not only did they fail to lose Usagi (though for some reason the other Scouts aren’t give chase with her) but they lead her RIGHT TO THEIR FRONT DOOR! Usagi’s standing outside the apartment asking them to come out, and the two of them are just staying quite like they’re ducking the landlord looking for last month’s rent. This whole scene feels pointless because it only exists is to draw out the drama of Usagi chasing after someone who’s still not sure whether or not they want to be caught. It’s not like we learn anything new here and I doubt this is gonna end up being a pivotal scene in their ongoing relationship. I guess it accomplishes its goal of providing us a moment of drama, but by this point I’d rather things move forward rather than circling the same plot points over and over again.
From there we jump ahead to that night where the Moon Crew is infiltrating the garden to destroy it. Okay, MAYBE they didn’t bring a bomb with them, but at the very least they are gonna cause some SERIOUS property damage! That is if they don’t walk right into Ruru’s trap. Oh look. They walked right into Ruru’s trap.
All hope is lost, not only for the Scouts but for anyone who bought the plant which includes Meioh! We can see that she’s slowly growing weaker due to the plant sucking out all of her energy, but then something inside her snaps and this near death experience turns out to be just the push she needs to awaken her inner powers which causes some sort of sonic boom throughout the city. The shock wave’s reach is so far that even Mamoru can feel it (oh hey! He’s in this episode!) and its strength is so massive that I guess it blows away all the spores that were sucking up the Scouts’ power. With the area now clear, they all transform and try to take down Ruru! You know the drill; water attack! Fire attack! Lightening attack! Some sort of chain attack I guess! Then finally, Usagi uses her spinning top heart attack to finish of the bad guy. But wait! It doesn’t WORK this time! Someone ACTUALLY used a counter attack which is probably the biggest twist we’ve gotten so far this season! The sheer magnitude of this revelation that bad guys can block is enough for Chibi-Usa to start praying to whatever God she believes in (*cough* Neo Queen Serenity *cough*) who answers her prayers with a miracle!
Luna P appears out of nowhere, turns into the chibi-fied version of Usagi’s Super Rod, and she does her own version of the same attack. Wait, if it’s basically the same attack, isn’t Ruru going to be ready for it? Short answer; yes.
Well THAT certainly didn’t work! Not only that, but I’m guessing that Ruru was collecting the energy instead of just dispersing it because she transforms into a super witch and aims her sights right at Chibi-Usa. She’s moving too fast for any of the Scouts to stop the attack and not even Tuxedo Mask (who just got there and crashed through the ceiling like a bad ass mother fucker) can get to her in time! Wait a minute… that’s it! Who ELSE can save the day other than their resident Time Lord also known as Sailor Pluto! Apparently she is fully awakened (transformed and everything), shows up, and uses an attack to COMPLETELY obliterate Ruru in her tracks! I certainly wouldn’t want to be the last witch at this point considering there’s ANOTHER Sailor Scout that’s gunning for her! And so the episode ends with everyone staring agog at the presumed dead Sailor Guardian standing before them who’s not even the least bit phased that she just killed a fellow classmate! I guess the Scouts get used to that kind of stuff rather quickly.
This episode was a muddled mess, but I wouldn’t say it’s one of the worst episodes so far. It has some strong moments with Chibi-Usa, Usagi, and Sailor Pluto that helped carry the episode when it was either retreading material we know already (apparently the Mugen district is a hotbed for spooky stuff!) or throwing even more confusing exposition at us. The episode really only had one goal which was to get from the ending of last episode which introduced us to Meioh to this point here where she’s awakened and back to her old self. That wasn’t enough to carry a whole episode though and it ends up suffering for lack of anything meaningful to fill the time. This could have been fixed if more focus was given to Makoto who could have had an Ami sized role in this story (it’s clear she’s the Scout that this subplot was meant for) but it pulled way back on that aspect of the episode to confirm that Hotaru is still sick, Usagi and Haruka have a weird relationship, and the bad guys make no damn sense. At least we did get to the logical endpoint of Sailor Pluto coming back into the picture and it seems clear that there’s a connection there between her and the Outer Senshi, so hopefully her presence will move things along with them. On its own, it doesn’t have much going on to justify a full episode, but outside of the villains it manages to keep itself grounded enough so that what they’re spending all that extra time on is the characters rather than the overly convoluted plot. There’s still a balance to be made between letting us know what the hell is going on and making it matter so while this may not be a step in the right direction, at least it’s not a step backwards.
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]