Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 26 (Restore Naru’s Smile: Usagi’s Friendship)

Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media

Episode directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara

We’re back with another episode of The Naru Diaries!  Part five I think…  Anyway!  Now that Makoto has officially become a member of Team Moon, we can back to that whole “Naru being emotionally destroyed” thing that was left kinda hanging after episode 24.  Will they manage to sew up that loose end with care and satisfaction, or is this an afterthought to fill out the number of episodes this season?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Mamoru having another one his Silver Millennium dreams where a very obvious Usagi is asking him ONCE AGAIN to find the Silver Crystal.  So wait, are these actual visions he’s having that someone is putting into his head?  If so, who else COULD it be besides Usagi considering the Princess here looks just like her no matter HOW much fog they use to try and obscure it?  I mean, I GUESS it could be part of his subconscious trying to give him a message, but this isn’t really a memory or something like that, so his subconscious is being REALLY unhelpful by giving out vague commands with no real direction!  Also, you may recall that the Tuxedo Mask persona is ACTUALLY a separate consciousness (I think) because Mamoru has no memories of being Tuxedo Mask, yet they made it clear in episode 19 that Tuxedo Mask has no memories of who HE is (Prince Endymion), so these dreams must not be coming from him specifically but yet another layer of his subconscious… or something.  He’s getting orders from a memory of a split personality with amnesia.  Did Christopher Nolan write this shit!?  It’s a memory of a memory of a memory of a taco!

“And why was Marion Cotillard in my dream?  She’s only supposed to be in there on Friday nights!”

The guy vows to find the Silver Crystal so that he can get the answers to his dreams, but we know he’s not gonna do a damn thing as Evil Corp already has the situation well in hand!  If you recall from the last episode, they are currently hinting down the Rainbow Crystals which they are able to track, and by finding all of them it will somehow point them towards the Silver Crystal… or maybe they’re all pieces of the Silver Crystal they need to put together.  It’s one of those two… I think.  Anyway, they’ve already tracked down this week’s dormant Super Monster that’s hiding inside a human; no one the wiser to the demon lurking inside of them.

“A little on the nose, don’t you think?”     “Well it’s not like a Super Monster has much use for subtlety.”

Oh well THAT’S not gonna be super awkward, now is it?  Well we’ll have to wait to see how this plays out as we FINALLY get to the actual point of the episode which is what Naru’s been up to since the “love of her life” (*cough* bullshit *cough*) died in her arms last week.  The answer to that question is… not much I guess because we cut to their school where Usagi managed to make it to class, but Naru didn’t and has not for quite a few days now.  She decides that she should go see her friend who’s in mourning which is a probably a good idea, but for some reason she brings Umino along which is the exact opposite of a good idea, especially considering he hasn’t been around for like a dozen episodes and probably doesn’t even know who Masato Sanjoin is.  Now that I think about it, didn’t Nephrite own a company or at least a bad ass sports car?  What happened to that!?  Needless to say that the two don’t do much to lighten Naru’s spirits (especially Umino who’s a witless clod) but she seems to at least be putting on a brave face which… probably doesn’t mean anything good but at least Usagi gets to feel better.  Hooray I guess?

“You get three minutes of smiling and then you get the fuck out.  Deal?”     “Deal.”

The rest of The Moon Crew by the way are getting a debriefing from Luna at Rei’s Shrine (I guess this is Sailor Scouts’ secondary command center) where she explains that Evil Corp is collecting the Rainbow Shards by awakening the Great Monsters reincarnated as humans.  Aside from the fact that this the third time in two episodes that we go the Rainbow Crystal explanation; how the hell does Luna know any of this?  Did she already know about the super demons before the last episode and just put two and two together?  If so, why didn’t she tell the Scouts about this earlier!?  What other threats is she not telling them about!?

“I’ve been thinking… if we’re Sailor Scouts, then does that mean Sailor V-“     “NO MORE TALKING!  We uh… NEED TO DO SOME TRAINING!  RIGHT NOW!!”

See, its stuff like this that makes me think the show writers couldn’t decide how much Luna knew about not only Silver Millennium but the Scouts themselves.  In Crystal, it seemed VERY clear that she knew everything from the word go and was leading Usagi to the revelation that she was the princess.  There are episodes in this series though that contradicts that a bit, such as the fact that she didn’t know what the Silver Crystal was in episode 22, but now knows about the Silver Crystal fragments embedded in these super demons. Not only that, but the Sailor Scout B plot in this is all about them not thinking Usagi is good enough to be leader (okay, it’s mostly Rei but the other two aren’t putting up much of a fight), and Luna insisting that being in a position of power will teach her more about leadership.  Gee… I wonder why USAGI SPECIFICALLY needs to learn about leadership…

“I have another question Luna.”     “Shit!  Uh… CUTE FACE!!”     “… Okay, that’ll work.”

Usagi meanwhile isn’t doing much to help Luna’s case as she’s already dodging the meeting to hang out with her mere mortal friends and doesn’t bother to explain that she’s helping someone work through the grieving process.  Speaking of which, Naru decides to take them to a random graveyard just so she can lament the fact that Nephrite doesn’t have his own headstone out there, causing her to breakdown once again.  In her anguish, she runs through the cemetery (leaving her friends behind) and runs into The Priest who we know will turn out to be a demon and asks him for advice about dealing with Nephrite’s death.  Since the guy hasn’t turned into a demon yet, he tries to give her some helpful advice… but it doesn’t exactly pan out.  Hey, A for effort buddy, but telling her that there are people all around her full of kindness and love, and then having her turn around and JUST SO HAPPEN to find Zoisite, the guy who killed the man she loved, right behind her?  Well, it’s probably not the best of times to give that particular piece of advice.

“I’m sure this guy is all sorts of wonderful!”     “Oh shut up you bible thumping imbecile.  I’m FABULOUS, not wonderful.  There’s a difference.”

Zoisite tries to begin his monster summoning routine using the Dark Crystal and Naru recognizes it immediately as the one he stole from Nephrite, so she pounces on the fucker without hesitation!  Damn!  She’s got a lot of nerve to be tackling the super powered dictator, but it seems to have been the right call as it catches him completely off guard which gives Usagi just enough time to notice that her Moon Stick had started to glow (meaning a Rainbow Monster must be nearby) and for Luna to show up because… I guess Luna needs to show up at these things.  Usagi transforms and eventually finds Zoisite in the cemetery just as he’s knocked Naru on her ass.  Unfortunately Naru’s distraction was in vain as Zoisite manages to hit the priest with the Dark Crystal before Sailor Moon can stop him; therefore releasing the Rainbow Crystal and released the monster within.  Maybe if Sailor Moon didn’t have to give a super hero speech every time she showed up, this ALL could have been avoided and Naru risking her life wouldn’t have been so pointless!  Zoisite further compounds his incompetence though by following up this success he lucked his way into with another failure as the Rainbow Crystal just shoots off into the sky and presumably landed somewhere in the cemetery, so he’s going to find that while Sailor Moon deals with the new monster.  I gotta sat this may be the most interesting monster design they’ve thought of yet.  It’s… something.

“I’m the greatest thing that ever lived! I’m the king of the world!”     “Let me stop you right there buddy.  I am in fact a king.  One of the Kings of Dark Kingdom in fact.  You?  You’re boxing bird.”     “Well I’m also the prettiest thing that ever lived.”     “Okay, THAT was uncalled for!  Have you SEEN my face!?”

Okay, where the fuck did this come from!?  Even if we ignore the fact that both of the Rainbow Monsters we’ve seen so far have sported themes that don’t jive with them being millennia old bad guys (first a Super Sentai styled video game character and now a modern day boxer), how did we go from a priest to Boxing Chicken Man?  The crane guy made a BIT of sense considering he spent all his time at arcades, but THIS!?  The guy’s name is Boxii (at least they didn’t go with Punchi) and he is absolutely fantastic; basically Muhammad Ali if he could fly.  I LIKE the design and it’s clear that even Usagi is baffled by the absurdity, but this just came out of nowhere!!

His belt is a freaking boxing bell!

Anyway, the guy apparently hears voices in his head that he mistakes as the roaring cheers of a crowd so he forces Usagi to put up her dukes so they can fight.  Except of course that he’s a CHEATER because REAL boxers don’t have rocket fists.  Oh yeah!  You read that right!  Motherfucker shoots rocket fists.

“It wasn’t a meteor that killed the dinosaurs.  It was the Rocket Powered Fist!!”

One of those fists (you’d think he’d only have two, but he uses the same move about four times) is aimed square at Naru but thankfully misses its target as Umino of all people jumps out of nowhere and manages to knock her out of the path of destruction!  WOO!!  Good on you Umino!  At least you got to do something for once!  When that fails, Boxii aims his rocket fist right at Sailor Moonbut this misses as well for the same reason as someone pulls her out of the way at the last moment.  At first, I was expecting this to be Makoto because she is THE BEST (and Luna called her up so she should be on her way) but instead it was Tuxedo Mask.  Hooray I guess…

“Hail to the king baby.”     “Yes sir!”

Boxii tries AGAIN to hit someone with the Rocket Punch despite not hitting anyone yet (seventh time’s the charm I guess) and Tuxedo Mask, whom I will remind you does not have powers… I think, is able to deflect them with ease.  For monsters that were SO bad that they needed to be sealed away with pieces of the most powerful source of energy in existence, they don’t seem to put up much of a fight.  Makoto has FINALLY arrived at the scene and transforms into Sailor Jupiter so she can tag Tuxedo Mask out and single handedly take down this prima donna cock fighter once and for all!  Okay, she just breaks his Rocket Powered fist, but if Sailor Moon didn’t have to “heal” him like ALL the other monsters they fought up until now, she could have dropped a few People’s Elbows on his ass!  Instead, Sailor Moon uses her Moon Stick to cure the priest of his demons (didn’t even need an exorcism!) and I think the guy also got upgraded from Priest to Bishop in the process.

Congratulations!  Your MAN OF THE CLOTH has evolved into TEAM GOD BIGSHOT!

Zoisite isn’t happy with any of this and gets EXTRA pissed when it turns out Tuxedo Mask has located the Rainbow Crystal in the three minutes it took for the Scouts to take down Eagle Man.  Zoisite gets pissy as you’d expect, but so does Luna who wants Sailor Moon to hunt down Tuxedo Mask to get the Crystal from him.  Of course she doesn’t because she’s super smitten with the guy (to Luan’s dismay) and we cut to a short amount of time later where Tuxedo Mask has apparently evaded his pursuers and turns back into Mamoru.  Apparently the Rainbow Crystal or the dream he had last night finally connected both the Mamoru personality and the Tuxedo Mask personality so that now he knows that he is indeed the sharp dressed vigilante.  Whether or not he knows he’s a former Prince of Earth is yet to be determined.

“My mission is so much clearer now!  I will use my powers to find these Crystals that will do… something.  Eventually.  Maybe.”

Back at the cemetery, Usagi has managed to turn back into her usual self without Naru or Umino noticing; the former of which is fixing a scratch that the latter got during the fight.  She’s using the same strip of clothing that she used for Nephrite’s wound (I certainly hoped she washed it first) so I guess this means that everything is fine now.  Well that’s good to know… I guess.  All she needed was to get threatened by a madman and get saved by a nerd!  We’ll go ahead and put that as the unofficial sixth stage in the grieving process.  Well now that she’s all better, Usagi can focus on this pendent she found while fighting Boxii.  Yeah, I didn’t bother to mention it until now because it comes out of nowhere (she just finds it on the ground after dodging one of his attacks) and now that we have a closer look at it, it’s REALLY big and it plays a music box version of the Sailor Moon theme.  I honestly have no clue if this is gonna be relevant later as I don’t recall this being in Crystal which was much more faithful to the original manga.  Maybe this is that thing she’ll end up giving to Mamoru right after revealing himself and right before he turns evil?  Questions for another day I suppose.  And so the episode ends with Naru getting a new outlook on life, Luna proving to Makoto that Usagi is good at what she does I guess (hopefully she’ll be an ally if Rei tries to stage a coup later on), and Usagi getting a new toy to play with that may or may not factor into future episodes!

Get yours today!  Only $19.95 plus shipping at the Sailor Moon eShop!

This episode was absolutely fantastic!  It had a fun villain with a… shall we say UNIQUE character design, it finally got us past that lame subplot of Tuxedo Mask basically being Mamoru’s werewolf self (I know I’ve brought this up before, but WHY AREN’T THERE ANY WEREWOLVES IN THIS SHOW!?), and while we did only get one other scout this time around she is easily THE BEST.  I do have one problem with this though, and it’s kind of a big one.  As a Sailor Scout episode, it’s great.  As a Tuxedo Mask episode, it does a lot for his character.  Hell, even as a straight up villain of the week episode, it’s so much more imaginative and fun to watch than a lot of the other baddies we’ve gotten.  What it isn’t though is a great Naru episode, and that’s a HUGE problem.  They set her story up well enough in the beginning, but we keep getting distracted by other elements for her to remain the focus, and while there is a well done scene in the middle with her pleading to the priest for guidance, the wrap up at the end feels rushed and unsatisfying.  Maybe they plan to build on this in ways that aren’t hinted at here (I would LOVE to have the rest of the arc have Naru trying to find Nephrite’s killer), but right now it feels like we’re closing the book on this storyline a bit prematurely.  Still, there was a lot of fun to be had here with the Scouts and the bad guys who had a really fun punch up this time and will hopefully continue this trend as we work our way through the Rainbow Crystals arc.  It’s a bit disappointing that the heart of the story got pushed to the background, but I can only be so upset about them for doing so as it was in the service of giving us something really fun to watch.

3 thoughts on “Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 26 (Restore Naru’s Smile: Usagi’s Friendship)

  1. Nice! That’s an Ikuhara episode for you. The same man that did the haunted house episode. He really enjoys the “1 look is worth a thousand words” approach.
    The priest got turned into a boxer because the japanese for priest is “bokushi”.
    So he basically says “I’m not a priest (bokushi), I’m the demon Boxy (bokushii)”


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