Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media
Episode directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi
We’re back with another episode of Sailor Jupiter Ascending! The day has FINALLY come to introduce the greatest of all the Scouts who knows how to kick ass and take names like nobody’s business! Does the first episode to bring this Scout into the mix turn out to be a great way to start her tenure as the Badass Supreme, or does the Best Scout Ever deserve a better introduction? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Queen Beryl (clearly not mourning the loss of Nephrite nor concerned that Zoisite’s the one who killed him) seems to be in the bowels of Evil Corp using all that collected energy to finally raise her boss from their deep slumber.
Queen Beryl is absolutely stoked by this development, but their Great Ruler (presumably to be revealed as Queen Metalia at some point later) lets her know that the power she’s been given is not enough and that they must find the Silver Crystal immediately! But how can they possibly do that when they don’t have any leads!? Well the Great Ruler has that one covered. The trick is that they have to find SEVEN crystals and THEN then can find the Silver one! Wait, what?
Something about Rainbow crystals and super monsters… I don’t know. I’m sure we’ll get back to that at some point, but for now we have more important things to worry about; namely that Usagi is running late for school again! Oh Usagi! Will you ever learn? Her mad dash is cut short however when she runs into a bunch of goons who want to scam her out of money. Fortunately, Usagi doesn’t have to face them alone (though she could probably take them all out with a single tiara) as there is someone else there to help…
So already this episode is very different from Crystal’s version by integrating Makoto’s storyline directly with the filler arc they’re currently working on and the fact that Makoto seems to be coming off as a much more proactive badass. She doesn’t even blink when these street punks start threatening her and she talks a lot of mad shit at them before wrecking their internal organs. Compare that to Crystal which has zero punching from her and instead has her save Usagi from getting hit by a car (a car that doesn’t slow down by the way). Now that wouldn’t be a huge issue if the rest of that episode of Crystal wasn’t all about people avoiding her because “they say she gets into fights a lot”, so it’s an example of telling instead of showing. Here though, we get the show part, so we believe people when they say there are rumors she got kicked out of the last school for fighting. Now that Makoto has saved these goons from a certain death (hey, broken ribs are better than decapitations!), Usagi heads for her school and we cut back to Dark Kingdom to get an explanation of what the current arc will be about. So way back in the before time (in the long long ago), there were seven legendary monsters who were trapped by the Moon Kingdom and sealed away into fragments of the Legendary Silver Crystal which I guess means it broke apart like the Shikon Jewel. The monsters, coinciding with the reincarnation of the Moon Kingdom, have been reborn in the human world and have the fragment of said crystal within them. The Dark Kingdom’s plan is to find these dormant monsters (Nephrite’s Dark Crystal has been modified to locate them), extract the crystal from them (thus awakening them), and recruit them to the Dark Kingdom cause. Zoisite wastes no time in locating the first monster by summoning the power of the Dark Crystal (which for some reason starts playing a tune that sounds like the Final Fantasy Prelude), and locates his target.
So now we’ve got our nominal antagonist for the episode! Some dude in glasses who I’m sure Makoto will pound into the dirt! Before that though, we need to see how Usagi becomes friends with the soon to be Sailor Guardian. It’s not all that different from what it was in Crystal where she’s the only one who wants to have lunch with her, and they end up hitting it off right away. Later on, they go to the arcade and Makoto meets Rei, Ami, and Luna who I THINK are suspicious of her being a monster or something (like Luna was with Ami in her introductory episode), but thankfully that subplot drops off entirely once Makoto works her magic on Luna.
Watching these scenes (the lunch and the arcade) back to back with Crystal’s version of it is kinda interesting; especially now that you can find the English dub for Crystal which uses the same voice actors. Crystal’s interpretation of these moments (as with most of the moments Crystal recreates) is without a lot of personality and is extremely reverential to Usagi. Makoto in that just seems like a sad sack waiting for someone to save her from loneliness, and then when Ami sees Usagi has made another friend, she looks in awe as if she saw her walk on water or saw her eat a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper whole. Compare that to this episode where Makoto seems to be fine on her own while still being happy to have a new friend, and how Rei and Ami manage to get into a big fight at the arcade; something that would NEVER happen in Crystal because everyone has to get along with Usagi at all times.
While everyone is getting acquainted with each other, they noticed that there’s some guy at the claw machine who’s somehow winning all the prizes. The guy in question turns out to be the nerd that Dark Kingdom is looking for that has one of the dormant monsters inside him. His name is Joe the Crane Game Troll (nice) and he has some sort of telekinetic power which allows him to float items into the claw as it closes its grip. Now if you know anything about claw machines, that actually wouldn’t work because the problem with winning at one of those games is not that the claw doesn’t grab the item; it’s that the claw doesn’t GRIP IT once it has it (the grip by the way is regulated by the owner of the machine). Anyone can line up a shot which seems to be all this guy’s powers are good for, but unless he’s also telekinetically carrying it, there’s no way he’ll still win those prizes.
Now you take one look at this guy and your first thought is LOSER (even if you knew he had psychic powers, he’s wasting them on THIS?) yet Makoto is falling for him hook line and sinker. I guess a character has to have at least ONE flaw, so a terrible taste in men will have to do for her. He’s supposed to remind her of the punk who shot her ass down at the old school and so for that reason alone she becomes immediately obsessed. So much so that she starts to follow the guy home which would normally be very creepy except that she just so happens to be there when Zoisite springs his trap. KICK HIS ASS MAKOTO!!
It takes a bit of doing considering the guy has magic powers, but Makoto manages to land a solid left hook right across his perfect face; causing him to run off like a jabroni and cursing her with the an insult that’s less scathing that it is AWESOME. Seriously, who WOULDN’T want to be a prehistoric witch!? The Crane Game Kid, who nearly had his soul sucked out or whatever by Zoisite, doesn’t feel the need to even thank her and just starts wandering off. Wow. Mascilentiy so fragile much? Makoto still hasn’t given up on him though and is following him around (Usagi saw the fight and is now following Makoto) which only gets him even more irate despite the fact that she’s probably the only thing standing between him and certain death by a pretty blonde guy. Then again, he didn’t exactly come out unscathed and seems to be suffering from Plot Convenient Pain Disease whose symptoms include clutching of the chest at regular intervals and insisting that EVERYTHING IS PERFECTLY FINE.
He’s SO SURE that he’s one hundred percent healthy that he goes to have coffee and orders Makoto to stay outside as he still wants nothing to do with her… for some reason. Makoto of course only likes him more because of this and waits outside with Usagi to make sure the mystery blonde dude doesn’t try anything again. Eventually Joe feels bad enough that he allows Makoto to sit down with him (what a gentleman) and he explains to her his super power and how he uses it to win prizes. Makoto doesn’t seem too happy that he’s basically cheating to win the prizes, but I’m actually on Joe’s side here. The whole point of the crane game is to screw people out of their money! The owner of the machine sets the win/loss ratio in the machine so that the crane grips at full power at a very profitable (and hopefully legal) rate. Besides, you can STILL win at the game even if it’s NOT at full pressure (what if you get a claw hook through a loop of some kind?) so the fact that he’s good enough to win doesn’t mean he’s a cheater! The moral ambiguity of using psychic abilities on games of chance aside, they at least seem to be talking now which is an improvement over one of them forcing the other to stand outside, but things take a turn for the worse when their waiter turns out to not actually be an employee there.
Since the sneaky bastard got the drop on her, Makoto gets knocked back from Zoisite’s magic and Joe the Schmo starts running his ass out of there as fast as he can. Usagi tries to tell him to stand up to the magic firing bastard so that Makoto doesn’t face him alone which admittedly DOES sound like a stupid idea, but then again he has to be a fucking asshole about it and tells Usagi that the tall amazon goddess is not his type (WHAT!?) which I guess means he doesn’t care about her safety. Remember kids! Only help those you want to bone! Makoto hears this and has flashbacks to the One True Love who broke her heart by saying the same thing more or less. While Makoto contemplates the reason all the men in her life treat her so badly (here’s a hint: aim higher), Zoisite chases after Joe who JUST SO HAPPENS to run into that one park where pretty much half these episodes end up. I’m sure that if Nephrite left a corpse instead of turning into pixie dust that Joe would be tripping over his shallow grave. Makoto though, filled with righteous fury, chases after them so she can bash some heads with Usagi taking a detour to transform into Sailor Moon. Unfortunately, both Makoto and Sailor Moon (the former didn’t see the latter transform) arrive too late and Zoisite has already sucked out the Red Jewel which has awakened the monster inside Joe. The very lame monster inside Joe. Seriously, this is supposed to be one of the seven legendary monsters? He looks like a rejected Sentai villain who couldn’t menace a four year old.
Zoisite brags about his victory, reveals his name to Sailor Moon, and disappears just as Robo Joe begins his attack. Now aside from the Kings of Dark Kingdom, I’m pretty sure this is the first male baddie that the Moon Crew has had to face. Hell, even the dudes that Nephrite mind corrupted were actually inhabited by female monsters! So how does this guy stand up to any of them? Seriously, just look at the guy. What do YOU think is gonna happen?
Makoto’s mastery of the Gorilla Press Slam is all the proof that Luna needs to throw a transformation pen at her which she uses to transform herself into the one and only SAILOR JUPITER!! If this guy was screwed before, he’s even more so now and is about to get a lesson in pain that he won’t soon forget!
Now normally this would be the point where the support scout would set the bad guy up for Usagi to knock down with her tiara of death, but Luna warns them not to kill the bad guy as he was once a human. Okay… well it’s not like Usagi knows any non-lethal attacks, so what are they gonna do!? Well Luna summons a Moon Stick for Usagi to use that will merely incapacitate the bad guy as well as cure them of whatever darkness has taken over them. Wait, what!? You mean this WHOLE TIME, Usagi could have been HEALING the bad guys instead of outright killing them!? Okay, the monsters of Dark Kingdom may not be humans per se, but she could have AT LEAST given it a shot first before becoming a mass murderer! Ugh… whatever. Usagi uses her Moon Stick to save Joe from a life of being a laughing stock villain by turning him back into his former self… which went around winning prizes at claw machines all day.
And so the day has been saved once again, but with the emergence of Sailor Jupiter, the Moon Crew is finally complete according to Luna (*cough* bullshit *cough*). Not only that, the emergence of the Moon Staff (which Luna seems to have been able to summon at will) is the signifier that Sailor Moon must be the leader as they must focus all of their efforts on finding the Princess of the Moon. The princess of course couldn’t POSSIBLY be the most powerful and highest ranking Scout because that would be silly! Oh well. That’s a story for another time as the episode ends after we cut to the next day (presumably after Usagi and Luna explained this whole “being a warrior for justice” thing) where Makoto is trying her luck at the arcade machines but stops the moment she catches a glance of Motoki; yet another dude that reminds her of the dude who stomped all over her heart. I sense that this is gonna be a running gag.
This episode was amazing and is another example of why Crystal (while strong in many places) falls flat compared to what was done in the original series. Makoto has always been my favorite of the Scouts even if my first real exposure to her was the mollified version in Crystal. Here though, she’s a total firebrand that’s brimming with life and personality, as well as personal struggles and deep seated issues. I’m not the biggest fan of the fact Makoto is instantly drawn to anyone (personal failings notwithstanding) who in any vague way reminds her of her first love and I hope they don’t run with that joke too much. Still, I do like this flaw to some extent as it’s never easy to navigate love or attraction which is too often not the case in shows like this. For crying out loud, we JUST got through a story line where Naru successfully changed a genocidal despot with her love and then he immediately died afterwards so that realties of that situation wouldn’t get in the way of the wish fulfillment. A little less idealism is appreciated as long as they don’t take it too far with Makoto that it overshadows what makes her so amazing in the first place. Her presence alone really does elevate this to one of my favorite episodes of the series and I cannot wait to see what they do with the show now that she’s part of the team. PLEASE GO TO ANOTHER HAUNTED HOUSE! THAT WOULD BE SO AWESOME!!