We’re back with another episode of Grey’s Moon-atomy! The last episode ended on quite the cliffhanger with Hotaru turning into Evil Hotaru and then proceeding to rip the crystal right out of Chibi-Usa’s uniform; leaving her in a coma and the Sailor Moon absolutely distraught. Now that Usagi has to face the consequences of letting her daughter fight bad guys while still in grade school, she must decide how she should handle the new Hotaru moving forward. Will she stick to her guns and refuse to let someone else’s death be an acceptable sacrifice for the rest of humanity, or will she listen to the great Mr. Spock and realize the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Chibi-Usa in the hospital after getting attacked by the full grown Evil Hotaru and her wicked hair. We’re not sure exactly how we got from the fight to here (did the Scouts just run away? Did Haruka teleport herself to General Zod?), but that seems a bit inconsequential considering that Chibi-Usa is… well…
So after ONE heart attack, Chibi-Usa is pronounced dead with no attempt to resuscitate her and to get the heart going again! A flat line on an EKG doesn’t mean they’re ACTUALL Y dead yet! There are still quite a few options! Oh well. This is MAN’S medicine anyway! Get out of here with your heart rate monitors, vasodilators, and tongue depressors! It’s time for MOON MAGIC to step in! According to Haruka, Chibi-Usa is NOT dead; she just had her soul stolen. Oh thank goodness! NOW we’re dealing with something that makes sense! The soul snatching seems to have happened when Evil Hotaru ripped the Future Silver Crystal from Chibi-Moon’s brooch which I guess means that that whole subplot from Puella Magi Madoka Magica about the soul gems was ripped off from this. Who wants to take a guess as to what Haruka thinks is the ONLY WAY to save Chibi-Usa?
So shock of all shocks, everyone thinks the best way to fix this is to kill Hotaru because… she’s the head vampire? I don’t know how killing her and taking back the Future Silver Crystal is all that different from NOT killing her and taking back the Future Silver Crystal, but whatever. Everyone seems to be on board with this plan now (except Usagi) because, well they don’t have any better ideas so child murder it is! For the record, they gave Chibi-Usa a chance to repent and go back to the good side when SHE went evil, but I guess Hotaru doesn’t deserve that chance. Look. I can get behind a story where a really tough decision has to be made. Hell, that’s the ENTIRETY of Breaking Bad. If the show is going to do that though, then it needs to sell it as the best option off of a list of bad choices and I’m just not seeing it here. Anyway, Mamoru takes the presumably decaying body of Chibi-Usa back to HIS house so that he can put her on MAGIC LIFE SUPPORT which I guess will keep her organs from shutting down while they try to get her soul back. Because life support machines don’t exist in this world. Neither do defibrillators. Say, did anyone check to see if that one guy was a real doctor?
While Mamoru is stuck keeping Chibi-Usa fresh with his own life energy… or something, the other Scouts have to plan their next move. Before that though, we go check in on Evil Hotaru and what she’s up to now that she’s fully awakened. Now unlike Chibi-Usa who was seduced into a life of evil and was very much in charge of her own decisions, this seems to be more of a parasite situation where the consciousness of someone else was implanted into Hotaru some time ago by her douche bag, Frankenstein wannabe, dad. I guess this is what was giving Hotaru non-stop heart attacks throughout her childhood (worst parent EVER) and the implanted… soul I guess, turns out to be someone named Mistress 9 who I guess is connected to General Zod (also known as Master Pharaoh 90). I’m not sure exactly what she brings to the table though considering the only things she does this episode is to give Zod the crystal and then to tell Ursa of the Zod Gang (Magus Kaolinite) to finish off the Scouts. On top of that, she’s getting flashes of Hotaru in her brain that keep distracting her which is only gonna make it harder for her to be an effective member of this evil organization.
Ursa seems to realize this and plans to reassert her position as General Zod’s second in command once she finishes off the Scouts; A task that I’m SURE she’s up to considering every one of her underlings were decimated by them with very little effort. Actually, she seems to be aware of this problem (well that’s refreshing) and plans to resurrect the Witches5 to do her bidding again… or something like that.
While Ursa is getting things ready for her masterstroke (and more than likely her downfall), Usagi has gathered the Inner Senshi to plan their assault on Mugen Academy! Now it’s not clear exactly what decision Usagi has come to in regards to the killing of Hotaru, but I guess that makes it all the more interesting to see what ultimately happens. The Sailor Scouts head out to the Obelisk of evil that was once Mugen Academy so they can kick some bad guy ass and save Chibi-Usa in the process; the Outer Senshi looking on from a nearby building; who have DEFINITELY decided to kill Hotaru, but still haven’t really come up with a plan yet.
I swear, the Outer Senshi are the biggest drama queens imaginable. Everything they do is the least sneaky way to do something sneaky, and it’s getting tiresome to watch them look forlornly at the other Scouts who will live a life of purity that they will never know because they have to do what needs to be done, and blah, blah blah. WE GET IT!! IF THEY’RE SUCH BAD ASSES, THEN HAVE THE FOLLOW THROUGH ON AT LEAST ONE OF THEIR PLANS!! The Outer Senshi FINALLY get off that building and presumably are gonna go into the school (from the roof it looks like) while the others are caught immediately in Ursa’s trap once they get inside. Each one of them is sent to… another dimension I guess, where their resolve as warriors is tested by the Witches5. Not a bad idea I guess, so let’s see how this plays out. First up is Rei who’s confronted with Yuko; the first witch they took out. Things take an… interesting turn here as all she basically does is knock Rei on her back and pin her to the floor while telling her how much it sucks to be a Sailor Scout. Okay…
And the thing is; this seems to work. I mean, I guess it HAS to for these scenes to have tension, but… I’m curious how Yuko (or maybe Ursa) came up with this plan, especially when the rest of them are a bit more elaborate. Ami for instance is running through the halls and somehow finds herself in a room a super computer so big it makes Hal 9000 look like a TI-84. Not a bad start as it’s a symbolic representation of her thirst for knowledge, and can be used to temp her into giving up Scouting so she can have more time to study. This SEEMS to be the direction that Yui (the smart witch) is going in, but then things take a turn for the strange when she starts torturing her for no reason; yet it doesn’t damper Ami’s desire to drop everything and go study.
Maybe these scenes are supposed to be them getting brain washed rather than actually tempted, but if that’s the case then it’s something they JUST did two episodes ago, and it makes these temptation scenes meaningless. The next two for Minako and Makoto are better as they are similar to Ami’s downfall (present them with a symbol of their desires) but the witches in these dreams are at least smart enough to not attack them out of the blue. Even with that though, I have trouble buying these scenes as the Scouts legitimately giving into temptation. There’s no build up in prior episodes to indicate that they aren’t happy with being Scouts, and the fact that their enemies are showing up as themselves as part of these dream sequence thingies would be a pretty good tip off as to the nature of what the Scouts are seeing.
A story like this could have worked if given proper foreshadowing and context, but as we’ve learned from Crystal already, stuff like character development or organic plot structure are necessary sacrifices for making sure each season comes in at a dozen episodes. The last Scout on the list is Sailor Moon who doesn’t get the nice “hakuna matata” speech, but instead is attacked by her loved ones in a pretty grim horror scenario.
Now obviously Sailor Moon is able to break out of her evil dream because Mamoru can feel her distress and I guess he starts sending good vibes to her. Brainwashed Scouts and the Royal Family triumphing over all? This really IS episode 32! Once Usagi breaks free of her mind prison, she finds the other Scouts have been caught in The Stuff.
While she’s contemplating what to do next (how DID they get rid of The Stuff in that movie?) the Outer Senshi are fighting plant monsters upstairs because I guess Ursa didn’t plan for all eight of them to be there which seems like a REALLY obvious oversight if you ask me. Neptune’s magic mirror informs her that the Inner Senshi are in trouble, so the three of them swiftly make their way to the ground floor (my hope is that Saturn just punched her way through all the floors like a bad ass alternative to the stairs) and proceed to mop the floor with the Witches5 who are trying to finish off Usagi now that she’s clearly not gonna fall for their tricks. The revived witches get taken out surprisingly easily (maybe they lost all their XP after dying) and the Outer Senshi then move on to freeing the Scouts from The Stuff before it can devour their internal organs… at least I THINK that’s what The Stuff was about. Now that the band is back together (minus Chibi-Usa I guess), the Outer Senshi FINALLY agree that working with the other Scouts will be in everyone’s best interest and that they should all be the bestest of friends! Of course, no one brings up how they’re gonna deal with Hotaru once they find her, but they’ll cross that bridge once they get there.
All the Scouts let their powers combine so they can summon the Moon’s Mightiest Hero! CAPTAIN MOON! No wait… SUPER SAILOR MOON!! With her at the highest strengths of her power and seven bad ass back warriors, the whole crew heads right for Ursa’s inner sanctum and are ready to settle some accounts! She tries to gain the upper hand by turning into a monster, but that does little to stop the endless onslaught of elemental attacks followed by Super Sailor Moon’s Super Ribbon Heart Attack!
And so the Scouts have conquered yet another challenge. Not just the fact that they finally stopped the Witches5 along with their leader, but now they are finally working together as one cohesive unit instead of two groups constantly at odds! Those Death Buster bastards better watch their asses, because NOTHING’S gonna stop the Moon Crew now! Well, there is still Evil Hotaru who doesn’t seem all that concerned about the situation, but just to be on the safe side, SHE EATS THE FUTURE SILVER CRYSTAL! I’m not making that up! Apparently the power of Silver Millennium can be ingested orally! And so the episode ends, with Hotaru… swallowing the Silver Crystal. Seriously…
This episode feels under-cooked with a lot of good elements in here that needed to be better explained or better executed. If Chibi-Usa is in a coma, that’s fine, but the subplot feels unnecessarily complicated and unexplained. She’s actually dead instead of in a coma, but that’s okay because Mamoru can keep her body from decaying by holding her hand which is apparently a power that he had. Who knew!? They spent five minutes explaining this when it feels like it needed ten but then also could have been explained in ONE minute if they just went with the “she’s in a coma and we don’t know when she’ll wake up” trope. The other element that was completely wasted was the Inner Senshi being… tempted I guess by the Witches5 which could have been a solid examination of these characters, but the insight we get into the characters is completely shallow which is very disappoint because these four don’t get enough screen time in this show already, and we’ve SEEN the show handle this much better when Chibi-Usa was tempted to the dark side. Not only that, but this is the second brainwashing in three episodes which feels way too repetitive to simply present this to us at face value instead of exploring the depths of each character’s innermost desires and their feelings about being Sailor Guardians. There still managed to be some great elements in here though, particularly that final fight where all of them are working together, so let’s hope this alliance between the Outer Senshi and Inner Senshi manages to hold together for at least a couple more episodes. Now the end of this episode made it clear that this particular mission doesn’t end here, and considering how close we are to Hotaru at this point (I don’t think there’s any more Death Busters the Scouts can fight), we’re probably heading into either the endgame of this arc or a significant part of it. There’s still lots of stuff to get through such as Hotaru becoming Sailor Saturn and the true identity of General Zod, and hopefully the next few episodes are all about paying off those subplots and letting the characters kick a lot of ass in the process!
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]