We’re back with another episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, but it’s not just ANY episode! We are at the end of season three which had one stated goal of winning back fans after the less than stellar first two seasons! Did they manage to not only succeed in surpassing the first two seasons but in also outdoing their finales? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins by recapping what had happened at the end of the last episode, mainly that Sailor Saturn was about to nuke the planet to kill General Smooze (also known as Master Pharaoh 90) and no one was particularly happy about that. Sailor Moon is still somewhere inside General Smooze’s goop of evil, but I’m sure she’ll be just fine! I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself…
Then after the opening credits… we get another recap of what happened at the end of the last episode. Seriously!? It’s the same clips!! Sailor Saturn swinging down her Scythe of Annihilation, the Scouts just sitting there doing nothing, General Smooze feeling somewhat distressed, and Chibi-Moon shouting MOM while Mamrou repeats over and over and OVER again that this is the end of the world! We get it!! The show only has twenty-two minutes to finish off this season, and it’s being THIS repetitive!? It’d be one thing if it was an actual buildup, but it’s repeating the SAME buildup over and over again.
Oh good! Something finally happens! While Sailor Moon is… I guess sleeping in the General Smooze muck, she wakes up from hearing the cry of her daughter (why didn’t this happen the LAST three times she shouted her name?) and… does something helpful. I’m not sure what’s going on actually, but they ARE playing the theme song so it must be significant. I THINK she hits General Smooze with a super strong attack, but then he’s still hanging around so it’s not like the fight is over, and the Scouts get SLIGHTLY different uniforms but it honestly took me two viewing to notice any difference (they have bows now and their sleeves are see through). Also Sailor Saturn stops swinging her Scythe down… for some reason. Come to think of it, does she have to answer to the Royal Family? I mean she IS a Sailor Scout and it would be odd for the Outer Senshi to be able to summon the Apocalypse without having some sort of check on that power. I can buy that after the fall of Silver Millennium that they would be next in line to make that call, but now that the queen of the new Silver Millennium is nearby, why SHOULDN’T she have to check with her first?
Sailor Saturn seems to have a new plan now as she heads straight for the remnants of General Smooze and pushes him (along with herself) back into the hole in the space time continuum so that I guess she’ll destroy HIS world instead of theirs. Wait, isn’t this EXACTLY how Ultima 9 Ascension ended? Come to think of it, Sailor Saturn is basically the living embodiment of the Armageddon Spell, though the Ultima comparisons stop there as Sailor Moon is CLEARLY a better ruler than that fool Lord British. Anyway, Sailor Saturn gives her parting words which amount to “The Apocalypse isn’t ALL bad you guys!” and orders Sailor Pluto to seal the worm hole behind her and General Smooze… which is a power she has apparently. Would have been nice to know THAT in advance. Then again, if I knew she could do that the whole time, I would have been complaining about it non-stop as she was wasting her time with the Magical Bell Jar from the last two episodes. Sailor Pluto, despite not being all too happy about it, does what she needs to and utters a prayer to Chronos to activate the spell. Wait, what?
So first of all, Chronos doesn’t have a planet associated with him. CRONUS does though who is often associated with Chronos, but the planet HE’S associated with is Saturn instead of Pluto, and then that gets into a debate that I’ve only just found out has been raging for decades and frankly I’m not gonna go into it. More to the point, is this implying that the Greek Pantheon is real? Wait where does that leave Rei who’s a Shinto Priest? Wait, isn’t USAGI a messianic figure to them!? All these characters DID reincarnate, and Neo-Queen Serenity is more or less a God in the future. I’m… sure all of this will make sense eventually. Getting back on track, General Smooze is shoved back up his wormhole with Sailor Saturn along for the ride to kill him I guess, and the door is locked behind them which means the world is saved once again! The rest of the Scouts don’t feel that way though considering Sailor Saturn is gone (isn’t that a good thing?) and I guess the collective sadness and emotional significance of this moment is enough to awaken Usagi into her Neo-Queen Serenity form (albeit it temporarily) so that she can fix the entire planet that was sort of destroyed by General Smooze.
And so the day is saved! For real this time! I think. Well Usagi has turned back from Neo-Queen Serenity to Sailor Moon, so I’m guessing everything is okay. Why else would she go back to normal if there was still stuff to clean up? Oh, but there’s some sort of beam that shoots down from the sky and where it touches the ground, it leaves… a baby? WHAT!? Not just any baby, but little baby Hotaru. Seriously!? I’m PRETTY sure this is exactly how The Omen started! Upon seeing the helpless child, all three of the Outer Senshi decide to raise her together. That’s… progressive I guess.
This is just weird. Did Hotaru die when she was sent to whatever star system General Smooze was sent back to, or was she already dead but now Sailor Saturn is dead as well? Either way, why is she reincarnated immediately? Isn’t she only supposed to be reincarnated when things are going to Hell and the whole world needs a reset button? Are we going to be in the exact same place in ten years!? Furthermore, I don’t think any of the OTHER Scouts were reincarnated like this. They were born to human parents and then were eventually awakened to their power. Then again, I guess we don’t really know exactly how the Outer Senshi came here, but even so, unless this baby grows up super-fast or we start introducing time travel again, what’s the point of introducing her into the series!? I guess we’ll find out next season as the Outer Senshi decide to go away somewhere to raise the kid and are being intentionally vague about it. Who wants to guess they’ll end up moving in across the street from Usagi?
Chibi-Usa in particular seems broken up about them having to go but Sailor Neptune manages quell her fears by giving her that Magic Mirror of hers. I figured she herself would need it if she plans on going back to her day job of protecting the outer reaches of the Solar System, but maybe she plans to be the stay at home mom in this relationship. Then again, if Chibi-Usa takes the mirror back to the future… you know what? Let’s move on before this gets any more confusing.
The Outer Senshi may have departed to Parts Unknown, but that’s not quite the end yet! I believe there’s a significant time jump at this point (maybe a few months) where we see that the Inner Senshi have already graduated from Middle School and have all successfully made it into high school! Needless to say that at least one of them is super stoked about it.
Why is it that this show can only get silly and charming at the beginning and end of each season!? We get this in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of the original Sailor Moon!! This part is just plain fun with Usagi slowly feeling dejected as each of her friends in turn tell her how her ability to get into high school was pure luck and probably due to some sort of cosmic intervention. Except for Minako, but her version of helping isn’t really… well, helping.
Sadly enough, it’s also a day of sadness as it is Chibi-Usa’s last day in the present (or the past depending on your perspective) as she has decided to return to her own time now that she’s a full-fledged Sailor Guardian. Before that though, there JUST SO HAPPENS to be a solar eclipse that day and the Royal Family decides to observe it before sending her back. And so the season ends on this happy moment of this family spending one last day together before having to be separated; only to meet again at another time. NOT REALLY THOUGH!! They decide to hit us with a cliffhanger this season! MOON SHOCK!! Right before the episode ends, a bell can be heard by both Usgai and Chibi-Usa (not Mamoru for some reason) and the two of them look back into the camera just before we fade to black! BUM BUM BUUUUMMM!!
As a finale, it was okay. It’s clear they had to wrap things up rather quickly in order to get us to out of the whole WORLD DESTRUCTION situation that they had been building up for the last few episodes, but I wasn’t entirely thrilled with a lot of the choices they made here. Sailor Saturn has JUST shown up and is so radically different from Hotaru that you can’t even really think of them as the same person and therefore I had no emotional attachment to her, her motivations, or her ultimate sacrifice in the end. I still don’t know why she stopped herself from destroying all of existence, and I don’t even know how doing it somewhere else (the Tau Star System) would prevent this all-consuming apocalypse from reaching them back on Earth, though I think they might have mentioned the Tau Star System is ALSO in another dimension, so maybe that’s what’s going on. Wait, if that’s the case then did Sailor Saturn needlessly kill a whole bunch of other peaceful creatures who JUST SO HAPPENED to share a dimension with that asshole? A show doesn’t have to make perfect sense for it to be good. Hell, just look at something like Yuri Kuma Arashi which was almost ENTIRELY made of nonsensical elements! I can buy into some of the more outlandish sci-fi and magical elements but there has to be something there for me to grab onto and for me to care about. True, the Sailor Guardians who are pretty much all developed well enough for me to care about their fates are in DEEP trouble if either General Smooze or Sailor Saturn destroy the world, but they ultimately become background noise and don’t contribute anything to this episode or even the last one. Thankfully things do pick up as we move beyond the giant battle what with the tearful goodbyes of the Outer Senshi (they couldn’t even stay for the after party?) and the brief glimpse into the Inner Senshi’s lives now that things have returned to normal. More of that please, and less of the barely threatening cloud monsters, random powers that come out of nowhere, and unclear actions taken by our heroes.
Since we’re at the end, we might as well also talk about the season as a whole. Everything about the show has been improved since the retooling between this season and the last one (or I guess last two as they were done back to back) and the show is so much better for it, from the more polished animation, the interesting plot lines, and the risks they took by staying as true to the source material as possible for certain characters like Haruka. Still, the show suffers from the one thing that apparently no one can fix which is that ALL anime nowadays (unless it’s something like One Piece) can’t be more than thirteen episodes a season. There’s simply not enough time for certain elements to be given their due justice and it’s clear that they still haven’t found a way to properly adapt an entire chapter of the manga into a single twenty-two minute episode. I don’t blame them for that though! Well… okay I KIND OF blame them for wanting to do that in the first place, but I don’t blame them for not succeeding. Television is not the same as a manga and so stuff in regards to pacing, staging, exposition, what have you, cannot be handled the same way in one format as they are in another. I still haven’t read the Sailor Moon manga so I couldn’t tell you exactly if they COULDN’T adapt every chapter faithfully and satisfyingly into a single episode, but considering that everything else about the show EXCEPT this one aspect has been improved, and therefore the show suffers for it in terms of pacing, characterization, and storytelling. All that said, better is certainly better. There’s no denying that they’ve got a better idea of what they need to do to make the show work, and while I hope they keep refining the formula (even with the stuff they’ve improved greatly on) it’s an admirable effort from a studio that seems to be struggling to take care of its biggest cash cows (*cough* Dragon Ball Super *cough*). While there was disappointment to be had in this season (especially the final two episodes), I’m still optimistic for this series and can’t wait to see what they do in season four! That’s coming out next week, right? They released seasons one and two back to back, why not three and four!? Well whenever it is, I hope you all will come back to check out my thoughts on that season as well and thank all of you who have stuck with me and this recap series so far!
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Sailor Moon “Crystal” Set 1 Standard (BD/DVD combo pack) [Blu-ray]