We’re back with another episode of Sailor Moon Z! The last episode managed to really kick the story into high gear which was good considering that several of the episodes prior to that ground everything to a screeching halt as we circled around the same plot points with no real forward momentum. Ironically, the show that is known for going too damn fast ended up slowing things down TOO much. Does this episode finally find a happy medium between the two, or is the concept of a properly paced episode of Crystal as likely as Uranus’s and Neptune’s actions actually making any sense? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins where the last one left off, mainly with the non-royal family members beating the hell out of each other and the Doublemint Twin Witches bragging about it. Fortunately, the Holy Grail has just materialized and has the power to release the Scouts from the mind control spell the witches had cast on them. Not only that, but the Outer Senshi’s talismans (Aqua Mirror, Space Sword, and Garnet Orb) are all reacting to the Holy Grail and getting a significant power boost! Yeah, Sailor Moon would only get in the way MY ASS!!
All of the Scouts (including the less than friendly Outer Senshi) begin to release their power into the Holy Grail as a means for Sailor Moon to power up which mainly reminds me of Ronin Warriors. Nineties Toonami FOR LIFE!! Anyway, the energy is collected and Sailor Moon turns into the one and only SUPER SAILOR MOON!! That’s right! She’s the Legendary Super Senshi!
Oh, I see how it is. SHE gets powerful new weapons and badass clothes, but all that the other senshi get is a new buttons on their blouses in the shape of hearts! CLEARLY we know where all the Moon Power resources are going to! Everyone’s blown away by the sheer power on display, including Ursa of the Zod Gang who’s watching it from her fountain of knowledge or whatever it’s called, as well as Doctor Frankenstein who has just realized exactly who the hell it is he’s been fucking with!
The only ones who aren’t about crap their pants over the Legendary Super Senshi are General Zod who’s just monologuing about crystals and shit (WE GET IT! YOU WANT THE FREAKING SILVER CRYSTAL!) , and Hotaru who doesn’t even notice the pillars of infinite power radiating from the city as she’s doubled over in pain from whatever it is that’s affecting her. The pain finally subsides for a moment; not because she’s awakened to Sailor Saturn, but because General Zod and the Taioron Crystal have… corrupted her I guess? I’m not sure (it’s probably similar to Black Lady from season two) but whatever it is, she sudden starts speaking in another voice and talks shit about Ursa before reverting back to regular old Hotaru. This actually surprised me as I figured the pain she was feeling was due to her Sailor Scout power trying to escape from her only it couldn’t because of her dad’s experiments or something like that. I know she becomes Saturn at some point, but I guess we have to deal with Evil Hotaru before that.
Back where the REAL plot is happening, Super Sailor Moon uses an attack to blow away the two witches and gives a speech to the Outer Senshi telling them to chill about the whole “we don’t want your help thing” which leads to the three of them FINALLY agreeing to let the rest of the Scouts in on what’s going on. HOLY SHIT! Super Sailor Moon really IS a miracle worker as she’s FINALLY brought this overlong subplot to and end! ALL PRAISE THE MOON GODDESS!! Alright, so after the three Outer Senshi decide to not be jerks anymore, they all head back to the destroyed mess that was once Haruka and Michiru’s apartment and begin to muse about how the hell they’re gonna pay for the damages. Maybe if they had INSURANCE this wouldn’t be an issue, but then again maybe a witch from another dimension tossing bombs in your apartment falls under Act of God and not all insurance policies cover that.
Before the conversations about home repairs gets too riveting, the trio proceed to tell the Inner Senshi (plus Mamoru and Chibi-Usa) about the day that Silver Millennium was destroyed. Now my memory on that is a bit fuzzy considering it’s from ALL the way back in season one, but the implication here is that after the kingdom fell (presumably after Princess Serenity killed herself) the three talismans held by the Outer Senshi began to resonate just as they had a few minutes ago. Now considering they were in the far reaches of space (well I’m not so sure about Pluto. Isn’t she always standing outside the time door?) they couldn’t do anything to stop it, but because of how sever the situation is, they came together and summoned the one Scout who should only be summoned in the most dire of circumstances. Their Winter Soldier if you will.
So what makes Sailor Saturn such a dangerous last resort? Well when she was summoned she destroyed… everything? I’m not sure the exact reach of her power but the idea is that she destroyed the remnants Silver Millennium, as well as any of the remaining senshi… maybe. Honestly, Pluto’s presence and entire role in this is just gonna keep raising questions, so I’ll try not to dwell too much on her. Now this doesn’t seem like a BAD thing! The Moon Kingdom is starting to be reborn after all AND the future is gonna be SUPER awesome, so it’s not like she’s a bad guy and was destroying everything for shits and giggles! The problem now though is that all three Outer Senshi (and their talismans) are back in one place AND Sailor Saturn has been reincarnated as well; just not awakened yet. Not to mention that WE know General Zod has some sort of control over the Nuclear Moon Bomb which makes the whole situation that much more precarious. So what’s the solution? Murder the girl in cold blood! GOOD! I’m SO GLAD that RATIONAL solutions are being thought of! Okay fine; it’s not like the Scouts have any qualms about murdering people. Hell, Usagi just killed two witches less than ten minutes ago! Still, this seems a bit EXTREME considering that she can ONLY be summoned by the three outer Senshi. How about… I don’t know… NOT doing that? Yeah, that seems like a perfectly good solution? DON’T press the history eraser button! Not only that, but what if they NEED her again? Kill her now, and your trump card is permanently out of play! Their justification is that Hotaru is going to die soon anyway because she’s a half robotic abomination, so killing her now just means they won’t have to risk her blinking out all of existence in the meantime. Now I don’t know if she’s ACTUALLY dying, but the whole SHE’S NOT REALLY HUMAN ANYMORE bit feels a bit callous.
So that’s the big secret the Outer Senshi have been hiding. They’ve gotta kill a little girl to save the world (because human sacrifice ALWAYS works out for the best!) and they didn’t want the other Scouts involved in that. The reason they haven’t killed her YET is a questions that still goes unexplained by the way. Sailor Moon has had enough of this shit and tries to use her Moon Princess Authority to tell them to not murder a helpless girl, but the plea falls on deaf ears as the three of them are perfectly willing to martyr themselves for the greater good and run off into the night to do the deed. The greater good I will remind you is MURDERING A HELPLESS GIRL. Yeah, Chibi-Usa isn’t buying this either and races off to protect Hotaru from the Outer Senshi, but she finds something not so great when she arrives. Hotaru is still on the floor writhing in pain but when she sees Chibi-Moon, she instantly transforms into a much older and much eviler woman (so it’s EXACTLY like Black Lady) who has telekinetic hair… for some reason. Okay…
This isn’t a bad direction to take things; it just feels a bit rushed. Think of how well they set up Chibi-Usa’s feelings of isolation and despair before having her turn into Black Lady in the second season. I don’t get the sense of that kind of build up to make this Moon Shock moment all that compelling. Hotaru has been around in these episodes, but she hasn’t really done much. Her story is sympathetic, but we barely know anything about her. If anything, the whole purpose of her character is simply to be a ticking time bomb and to be someone that Chibi-Usa will fight for. Granted, both of those are well executed, but it still doesn’t feel fully developed for this moment to have impact. It also undercuts any sense of betrayal if it’s done involuntarily so there’s not much to distinguish THIS servant of General Zod from the other ones. We didn’t have the chance for others to accept her and Chibi-Usa’s confidence in her doesn’t get a proper build up for this inevitable betrayal (if you can even call it that). I’m sure it’s pretty much exactly how they handled it in the manga and also pretty close to the anime as well, but it doesn’t feel earned quite yet. Oh well. At least she has a bad ass villain moment where her hair rips the Silver Crystal right out of Chibi-Moon’s brooch!
Super Sailor Moon and Mamoru were right behind her by the way, and yet they couldn’t seem to do anything about the evil hair so they just stood agog while their daughter’s power was being ripped away from them. I understand that Mamoru can’t do much, but Super Sailor Moon JUST got a power boost! SHE COULD HAVE HANDLED IT!! Also, she’s not the only one who could have done something!
The rest of the Scouts show up, but only to be bystanders, and the Outer Senshi seem to be stuck where they are; unwilling to leave the safety of the tree. It looks like it’s all up to Super Sailor Moon to fix this, though it’s going to be a bit hard considering that Evil Hotaru has the future Silver Crystal in her possession, and Chibi-Usa isn’t looking to good. Like… at all. We’ll have to wait until next time to see how that all works out…
This was an odd episode as it feels like very little actually happened in it which isn’t really a bad thing, but it made for an interesting half hour. The episode is really three events. Sailor Moon becomes Super Sailor Moon, the Outer Senshi explain that they gotta kill someone, and Hotaru goes all medieval on their asses when they show up. None of these are badly executed except maybe Hotaru’s transformation, but that’s hardly this episode’s fault as it probably happened that way in the source material. My problems with this mostly extend from the story they’re trying to tell rather than how this particular episode presented it. I’m still not sold on the Outer Senshi being the super competent ones, so their explanation as to why Hotaru needs to die falls flat for me. Not only that, but it’s not clear exactly how it would be anyone’s fault but their own if she does awaken and go nuclear on the planet. Sailor Saturn, according to the flashback, ONLY appeared once she was summoned by the Outer Senshi. Did they KNOW she was going to… do whatever the hell it is she did to Silver Millennium? Do they REALLY have control over their Talismans? These are answers that really need to be explained if they don’t want me to dismiss the murder option out of hand or even sympathize with their feelings that they NEED to do this. Hopefully that option is off the table for a while (I’d like to see them TRY to kill her after she’s gone all super evil) and that Hotaru’s predicament will take front and center in the coming episodes as that’s the story line that has the most potential. AND I’M SURE CHIBI-USA’S GONNA BE FINE! They only want to end the episode on a cliffhanger! …right?
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]