We’re back with part two of the Sailor Scouts in the tragically Bowie-less Labyrinth! When we last left our heroes, they had managed to kick the Witches5 asses AGAIN and were trying to find their way to wherever the hell the bad guys were before it was too late to save Chibi-Usa as well as the world! Now the last episode has some really great ideas in it, but didn’t really come together very well which left things a bit disappointing at the end. Does this episode manage to pick up the slack as they work their way through this maze, or is it just as underwhelming as the last one turned out to be? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Evil Hotaru feeling the effects of eating the Future Silver Crystal, which are significant indeed. She seems really happy about this development. Like… REALLY happy…
General Zod as well is getting a second hand high off the power of the Silver Crystal and gets caught up in such a frenzy that he completely destroys the Taioron Crystal for seemingly no reason. It may not be as strong as the Silver Crystal, but I’m guessing it would be a damn good plan B in case something goes wrong! OH LOOK! SOMETHING IS GOING WRONG! As much fun as Evil Hotaru had when she first ingested the Silver Crystal, it already seems to be turning on her and she’s starting to hear the voices again.
Apparently by activating the Silver Crystal, it woke Chibi-Usa back up… I think, and we see her floating in some nether region which I guess is a metaphor for her being lost without her Crystal… I think. I don’t know what the hell is going on and it also looks like she’s flapping her pigtails to fly.
So in this subconscious space or whatever, Chibi-Usa manages to find the Silver Crystal with the help of ACTUAL Hotaru, and I think what’s happening is that the Silver Crystal (despite being eaten by Evil Hotaru) has returned its power back to Chibi-Usa. She goes back to sleep in the real world, but her internal organs seem to be functioning again, and Evil Hotaru is clearly coming down from all that power. Great! Now she’s gonna have to eat TWO Silver Crystals just to achieve the same high! While that’s going on (I have no idea if The Death Busters are totally screwed now), all the Scouts are trying to find their way through the school and are having no luck. This of course leads to the most logical of plans which is to split up (ugh…) and have some check the various floors of the school while the rest go to the basement and the labs there. Why don’t they ALL go to the labs!? What else are they even looking for!? At best, this is just a lame excuse to get the Inner Senshi out of the way so that Sailor Moon can fight the bad guys with the Outer Senshi… because reasons.
Before we can see how THAT turns out (probably not well for the Inner Senshi), we cut to Frankenstein Dad who has FINALLY decided to tell us just what the hell is going on by monologue to no one as he waits for the Scouts to find him in the basement. Okay, so on the day that Frankenstein was going to fix his daughter with awesome robo-pieces, out of absolutely NOWHERE, the sky opened up, General Zod farted out a ball of evil, and smashed it through the operating room to attack Frankenstein’s assistant Kaori who I’ve been HILARIOUSLY referring to as Ursa of the Zod gang, but now that I know she wasn’t always part of his crew, I think Igor (pronounced eye-gore) is more appropriate. Anyway, Igor gets hit with this ball of evil and becomes General Zod’s second in command with all the badass fountain powers that come with it, because… reasons. Maybe she was the best candidate, or maybe he just chose a building at random. Who knows.
All of this by the way is in full view of Frankenstein who was simply trying to save his daughter from dying of… burns I guess? Seriously, for someone who was caught in a fire, her skin is FLAWLESS! Anyway, Frankenstein was already halfway to evil, so General Zod didn’t even have to attack him to get the mad scientist on his side. The guy willingly ate one of those balls of evil and… I guess that led to him getting the eyepatch? He doesn’t have one During the surgery (and clearly doesn’t get injured during Zod’s attack), but in the next scene we see him swallow the egg and he’s already wearing the eye patch! WHAT IS IT EVEN SUPPOSED TO DO!? IT’S NOT LIKE HE’S GOT A SHARINGAN UNDER THERE, RIGHT!? Now that Frankenstein has gone full on Bad Guy, he takes another one of those balls of evil and gives it to his unconscious daughter, who as we saw will one day blossom into Mistress 9. He also grew the Witches5 in his lab which is something I did not see coming, and honestly I’m not a huge fan of this explanation. Aside from General Zod, no one on team Death Busters is a willing participant and is simply under some form of mind control. Sure, it didn’t take much to push Frankenstein over the edge, but now that we know he’s basically a mind slave (due to the ball of evil), all his actions are called into question. Would he REALLY have implanted the Mistress 9 evil ball inside his own daughter if he WASN’T being directly controlled by General Zod? Say what you will about Wise Man, at least he let the people he was manipulating make their own choices!
Now that we’ve got the backstory filled in for us (turns out it wasn’t all that complicated!), we go back to what I can only assume is the Sailor Scout’s A Team (Sailor Moon is Hannibal, Neptune is Face, Uranus is Mad Murdock and, Sailor Pluto is OBVIOUSLY BA Baracus) who are going down the elevator towards the laboratory. Along the way, Sailor Moon is starting to feel tense about the whole situation so the Outer Senshi try to cheer her up by telling her what an inspiration she is to them; so much so that in their previous lives as defenders of the galaxy or whatever, they would always think of Princess Serenity whenever they got lonely or anxious. Now this is a nice sentiment I guess, but what’s really bugging me is that we get to see them on their lonely vigils from their past lives, and somehow both Neptune and Uranus are standing on their planetary namesakes. So not only do the Scouts not need Oxygen (I think the Inner Senshi went to the moon once, but someone cast a spell to protect them for the short time they were there), but they can ALSO somehow stand on planets made ENTIRELY of gas! WHAT!?
I guess this is supposed to be more symbolic than anything else, but I never thought they were ACTUALLY just hanging out all alone on planets within their own galaxy! Wouldn’t they be out on alien planets where they can get things like food, water, and OXYGEN? And what the hell did they DO with all that time? It’s not like there’s aliens in OUR solar system; hell, probably not even in our galaxy (I have no idea if we’ve fully mapped out the Milky Way yet) so they seem to be wasting their time sitting solemnly on the surface of whatever planet they just so happen to be named after! Let’s… move on before my brain starts to implode. The speeches do the trick to get Sailor Moon back into her fighting spirit which is good because the elevator JUST THEN decided to not only break free of the cable, but I guess evaporate? Seriously, one moment they’re in a falling elevator car; the next they’re falling into an infinite void.
It’s a long fall too by the way because Sailor Moon has enough time for her life to flash before her eyes and then to get her confidence back ling enough to perform one of her attacks mid fall. For what purpose I’m not sure, as it’s not like there’s an enemy to fight, so I guess she’s attacking… the darkness? That might actually be it because the next thing she knows, all four of them are back in the elevator car and it has reached the basement where the laboratory is. That’s actually a pretty interesting idea as a way to keep them from reaching their destination, and it reminds me a bit of the leap of faith moment in that one Doctor Who episode that has Satan in it, but it while that one felt like a necessary step in order to reach their goal, I don’t feel that the endless falling spell or illusion or whatever it was had a real chance to build up or have any real significance as it’s introduced and deal with within two minutes. Of course, they’re troubles aren’t over QUITE yet as they find out as soon as the door opens.
And so a fight begins as Frankenstein sics his monster thingies on the Scouts. Despite some odd editing here (the scene begins with Frankenstein and crew standing in front of the elevator, but in the next cut he’s got to be halfway across the room) the animation is very solid and some of the best we’ve gotten so far in terms of fight scenes. The attacks the Scouts use don’t feel quite as detached from everything as they usually feel, and there’s plenty of movement so that everything feels like it has weight and impact. Also, we get the bonus of seeing Frankenstein go full Nicolas Cage!
The Scouts have no trouble beating back the monsters (they’ve already killed like a dozen of them over the course of this arc) so Frankenstein pulls out the big guns which means he transforms into a monster himself. Hasn’t that been the death nail for EVERY villain in this show? The moment they go all monstrous, they’re only two minutes away from death. Sure enough, the Scouts have no problem kicking HIS ass either, but Usagi tells them to pull back as this is still a human being their fighting! She didn’t have such compunctions when she was fighting Igor, but then I guess she wasn’t Hotaru’s REAL mom which makes her disposable… I guess. Usagi’s big heart though isn’t enough to fix this situation as the momentary distraction she creates is enough for Frankenstein to land a clean hit on Haruka which sends her ass flying backwards into near unconsciousness. With only two options before her, let Haruka die or kill Frankenstein, Usagi decides to finish the bastard off with her Heart Attack attack! I mean, I guess she COULD have at least tried Moon Healing Escalation, but then hindsight is 20/20.
BOOM! Guy is obliterated in the blink of an eye. Within two episodes, we’ve taken out the heavy hitters of the Death Busters which only leaves Evil Hotaru and General Zod. The series is very predicable in this way and it undercuts any tension or payoff that can be earned by having villains who are not only interesting in their goals but are an actual match for the Scouts. They get all this build up and we see them in every episode, but whatever menace they COULD have had is ruined by the fact that it’s gonna take barely any effort for the Scouts to completely obliterate them. Speaking of Evil Hotaru, ACTUAL Hotaru (who I guess is still inside Evil Hotaru’s head) senses that her dad is dead and then Usagi senses that sensing… I think. There’s not a lot of time to contemplate that though as I guess Frankenstein had a Dead Man Switch on him because the whole freaking building explodes moments after. Fortunately Pluto manages to get them all out in time to avoid the blast! Every last one of them because they OBVIOUSLY didn’t split up earlier in the episode for no reason, right?
Because Super Sailor Moon is powered by the other Scouts and at least half of them went flying in opposite directions like they were Team Rocket or something, she gets downgraded to regular Sailor moon which may prove to be a problem because both Evil Hotaru and General Zod have risen from the crumbled building’s ashes and are ready to throw down! Hopefully the Inner Senshi mange to get back in time (or aren’t… you know… dead) so that they don’t miss this epic final confrontation between a half robot girl and a giant cloud of smoke! The most epic of all battles is about to take place!!
Since this is a direct continuation of the last episode, it shares a lot of the same problems; mainly that the foundation for solid material is there but the execution doesn’t live up to that potential. The opening scene where Evil Hotaru eats the Crystal but sort of gets rejected by it is interesting concept, but it completely undercuts her power as a character, so I have no idea what her actual strength is now and if she would stand a chance against Usagi. It’s nice that they finally bothered to explain what was going on with the bad guys, but the explanation feels half-assed and underwhelming as there really only is one bad guy and, at best, an overzealous underling that WAY overestimates their own power which is proven once he gets his ass kicked at the end. The part the fell the flattest for me though had to be the Inner Senshi who are once again relegated to the background and have so little to do here that they’re violently ejected from the plot so that they won’t get in the way of the big fight. I guess the fact that we only have so many episodes to tell this story and it makes sense that we would focus a bit more on the new characters, but this the way the Inner Senshi are relegated to the background doesn’t feel natural in the slightest. Did they SERIOUSLY do the “let’s split up” trope in this episode!? Hopefully the next episode promises to be the start of the big fight between the heavy hitting bad guys and the OP new Scouts, so let’s hope they can finish this arc out on a high note!
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]