Never mind hitting the fan – that just hit a whole freaking wind farm.
Boy, when Sailor Moon decides to focus on plot, it doesn’t mess around, does it? Not only did we finally meet Sailor V this week, but it turns out she’s the already-awakened (and quite well-informed) scout, Sailor Venus. She even has her own talking cat, Artemis, who despite being named after a Greek goddess appears to be the only male member of the main group. And he and Luna are already friends! (They better be friends, anyway. ‘Cause Luna/Rhett OTP, 5eva, y’all.)
I honestly wouldn’t have minded if the show had taken an episode or two to spend some time getting to know the last members of what I’m told are called the “Inner Senshi,” but ain’t nobody got time for that, ‘cause now that the gang’s all here it’s time to uncover some identities, solve some Moonie mysteries, and watch some people get crystal-shanked. And by “some people” I mean “Tuxedo Mask.” Repeatedly.
Game-changers galore, and since I’m still trying to digest it, I think it’s best that we jump straight into the Recaps and work our way through this plot’splosion together. Moon Prism Power, Sum Up!
Episode 33 – Tuxedo Unmasked
Down in the Skulltryoshka, Zoisite is treating Beryl to a Tuxedo Mask Highlight Reel, all to prove his bromantic feelings his belief that The Tux always shows up whenever Sailor Moon is in trouble. Zoisite suggests they use this as a way to lure him out and retrieve the last two Rainbow Crystal shards. Beryl once again warns him that this is his “last” chance.
Cut to… a bank robbery! Some guy managed to obtain one of the, like, six guns in the entirety of Japan, but it’s no match against… well, someone with evil eyes dressed as Sailor Moon. Who actually knows how to kick people. So yeah. Definitely NOT Sailor Moon. The eyes make me think Zoisite. Please, please let that be Zoisite.
Bizarro Moon strikes again shortly thereafter, first attacking and then saving a bunch of window-washers who were oh-so-conveniently cleaning the window right outside where Mamoru was standing. Usagi and Makoto also see the strange display from the ground and decide they need to investigate. A blonde girl and her cat look on, concerned. But we can ignore them, you guys. I’m sure they’re not important to the story.
The Moonies get together and follow the fleeing Bizarro Moon down to the docks. They’re not sure if she’s the fifth guardian or the princess or what, but either way, Usagi is gonna sue her pants off. That costume is copyright protected, dammit!
Elsewhere: Tuxedo Mask appears, Bizarro Moon dangles from a crane, and Kunzite monologues about DARKNESS while posing like someone’s about to play some screaming guitar riffs behind him. And yes, I ask that you imagine him death-growling all of his lines this week, because on the inside, he totally is.
Nobody needs Admiral Ackbar around to tell them this is a trap, but they also can’t just let Bizarro Moon dangle there in the middle of a lightning storm, so everyone runs to her rescue. Kunzite intercepts the Moonies on the way and creates a BLACK DOME OF CRUSHING NIGHT which will BOIL THEIR BLOOD AND GRIND THEIR BONES.
The scouts are pretty seriously outclassed here, and this would usually be the part where Deus Ex Maskina shows up to pose dramatically and give everyone a pep talk. Unfortunately, the ZoiKun double-team is a fearsome beast (I’m surprised they never tried working together before now), and The Tux ends up “saving” Bizarro Moon instead. She thanks him with a crystal-shank.
Sure enough, Bizarro Moon is Zoisite in disguise. He performs a quick-change that’s impressive even for a cartoon villain, then delivers his Bad Guy Lines super flirtatiously (“Poor thing. I’ll make the pain go away soon, Tuxedo Mask”), and finally blows some flower petals into Tux’s face, just to keep the mixed signals going strong.
Now normally The Tux would be all about a little sexy wind (it makes his cape oh-so-billowy), but he’s injured this time, and instead of looking cool he ends up crouching on the ground, grimacing, and LOSING HIS MASK WHAAAAT PLOT TWIST.
Zoisite takes a moment to appreciate that his Fated Rival is a good-lookin’ fella as well, not that it’ll save him from a crystal sword to the throat. But just as Zoi’s about to deliver the killing blow, a masked blonde girl throws a Crescent Beam at him, injuring his hand and giving Tuxedo Mask enough time to escape. Zoisite proceeds to lose his shit.
Meanwhile the sailors are still being slowly crushed as Kunzite demands that they TASTE HIS DARKNESS. Zoisite arrives to watch the Moonies’ downfall, as does the re-masked Tux. There’s a mostly dialogue-free moment where it looks like The Tux has decided to turn himself (and his Rainbow Crystals) over in order to save the Moonies, but just as he steps out from behind the building…
Gasp! The famous Sailor V at last makes her appearance!
Sailor V – or rather, Sailor Venus, she says as she and her magic cat Artemis appear – uses Crescent Beam to smack Kunzite’s hand like a nun with a ruler. It breaks his concentration long enough that the DOME OF OBLIVION vanishes, but he and Zoisite aren’t ready to give up… at least, not until Beryl commands them to return. Plans have changed and she doesn’t have time to explain it, so just get the eff back to base before she Jadeites your asses (yes, “Jadeite” is a verb now). The two grudgingly retreat.
The Tux runs off as well, still clutching his shoulder and grimacing. To which I say: Suck it up, ya big baby! You’re in an anime, son! Characters cut off their own limbs on a regular basis! That shoulder wound is the anime equivalent of a skinned knee. The entire cast of Fullmetal Alchemist ALONE is judging you so hard.
With their enemies vanquished(-ish), the “five guardians and two cats” come together at last. Usagi fangirls over Sailor V for a bit, then asks the question that’s on everybody’s minds: “Are you the Moon Princess?”
END CREDITS!? Whaaaat?! Cursed cliffhangers! But thanks to the Power of Hulu, instead of debating Sailor V’s identity for a week, we can just click this here Play Next Episode button, aaaand…
Episode 34 – New Moon Rising
…No. No, Sailor V is not the Moon Princess. She’s just another guardian, albeit a very well-informed one, and with her own magical cat to boot. She’s also got her own crime-fighting agenda, like this investigation she was halfway through until she got delayed because SOMEBODY was about to get dome-crushed by the bad guys. So she’ll be getting back to that investigation, now. Peace.
Back at the Skulltryoshka, Beryl tells ZoiKun (that’s their couple name!) that plans have changed: They must now retrieve the Rainbow Crystals AND capture Tuxedo Mask alive. Their “Great Ruler” has commanded it. And NO, she doesn’t HAVE to tell you why. That’s what makes HER the queen and YOU the minions.
(…I bet the Great Ruler didn’t tell HER why, either.)
And speaking of Tuxedo Mask, he’s back at his apartment, Mamoru’d up and bleedin’ all over his jacket. And his door. And his couch. Not gonna lie, I actually screamed “NOT ON THE LEATHER!” when he sat down, because that shit will NEVER come out. Of course, he’s loaded, so he’ll probably just buy a whole new furniture set. Oh, also, The Zoisite Show is playing on his massive TV. And everyone knows that series is for premium subscribers only.
So Zoisite now knows The Tux’s true identity, and he’s contacting him so they can have a winner-take-all duel for the Rainbow Crystals. They agree to meet at Starlight Tower the next night, and the whole conversation is very congenial and pleasant and involves a lot of hair-twirling, so, yes, I imagine Dark Kingdom duels are a lot like dates. I sense parfaits in our future.
The next day, as the injured Mamoru limps off to get his ass kicked, Usagi spots him stumbling down the street STILL holding his shoulder and wincing (because TYLENOL IS FOR WOMEN, HOO-WAH). So she does what any observant person would do: Sneaks up behind him and smacks him in the gaping, bloody hole on his back.
Usagi expects him to mock her like he usually does, but instead he encourages her to stay cheerful and energetic, gives her an “I’m Going to Go Die Now” smile, and stumbles off. Usagi’s confusion quickly turns to concern when she realizes there’s blood on her hand, which, SERIOUSLY, Mamoru? You had an ENTIRE DAY. I get that you couldn’t go to the doctor because Secret Identity, but you could have at least hit up the Japanese equivalent of a Walgreen’s and bought some damn gauze.
Anyway. Usagi decides to follow him, even after he tells her to go home, and long story short Zoisite teleports them both up to the Starlight Tower. Usagi gets the vapors on the way up, so she doesn’t see the part where Mamoru and Zoisite place their Rainbow Crystals all together at the center of the room. This means she doesn’t know that (1) Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask, and (2) Tuxedo Mask is So Dumb. So, So Dumb.
Of course as soon as the crystals are all together, Kunzite teleports into the room, steals them, and teleports out again. And Mamoru is SHOCKED, just SHOCKED, that the man who has repeatedly lied, tricked, and taunted him would do such a thing. Enraged, he flings a rose at Zoisite, scratching his beautiful, perfect face. I think this means the bromance is over, you guys. :(
Right about then Usagi wakes up, VERY confused, just in time to hear Zoisite tell Mamoru to come to the observation deck if he wants to get the Rainbow Crystals back. Then the ceiling turns into Murder Stalactites and chases the two into their second favorite date spot: The elevator.
Freed from their costumes, the two finally have a real conversation. Mamoru tells Usagi why he needs the crystals, and then he tells the audience what’s up with his memory. Turns out he was orphaned as a lad after his parents drove off a cliff, and although he survived the accident, his memory did not. Freed from one pesky set of memories, his subconscious was (I’m assuming) then able to access ANOTHER set, as he’s been having his Tuxedo Dreams ever since.
It’s hard not to sympathize with an orphaned amnesiac, and Usagi does just that, upgrading him to “second worst” person she’s ever met. (I’m assuming Nephrite is now The Worst. ‘Cause obviously.) She even (finally!) notices the resemblance between Mamoru and Tuxedo Mask, which is great, because it will probably make the last Act of this episode a little less traumatic for her.
The elevator opens onto a Hell Dimension, where Kunzite launches a DARKNADO and Zoisite attacks them with a fire cyclone. (Wait—he can use fire magic?! Then why the hell has he been slapping people with flower petals?! Zoisite, you crazy.) Faced with a choice between Cake Secret Identity or Death, Usagi wisely chooses Secret Identity, and transforms into Sailor Moon so she can protect them from Zoisite’s flames.
Mamoru’s reaction is about what you’d expect:
Zoisite (who’s plan all along was to “accidentally” kill Mamoru, and to hell with Beryl’s orders) comes down to finish the job, and along the way he refers to Mamoru as “Tuxedo Mask.” He somberly pulls a rose from his pocket and is all “Rose Petal Power, Suit Up!” He even gets a transformation sequence this time (Spanish guitars free with purchase).
Usagi’s reaction is about what you’d expect:
But while the two are all
at each other, Zoisite sends a giant crystal flying straight at Sailor Moon. And so The Tux do what The Tux do.
Sorry, guys—I know this is pretty serious stuff, but this show is 200 episodes long, and while I may not know a lot of the details, I do know that Tuxedo Mamoru is a HUGE part of it, so there’s no way he’s gonna die here. Honestly I was just kind of annoyed because instead of Embracing and Weeping and Exchanging Dying Words, Usagi REALLY should have been whipping out her Moon Stick and using a little Moon Healing Escalation. Maybe not as romantic, but a helluva lot more helpful.
One good thing does come out of Mamoru taking his second crystal-shank in as many days, though: Usagi’s awakening. The Rainbow Crystals come flying together, forming the Legendary Silver Crystal, and mounts itself all shiny-like in the middle of Usagi’s Moon Stick (“Neat—now USE IT TO HEAL YOUR DYING BOYFRIEND!” Armchair Critic Josei cries from the couch). The Sailor Moon uniform then melts away, transforming into the dress we’ve come to recognize from Mamoru’s Tuxedo Dreams. That’s right, kids – Usagi was the Moon Princess all along!
Next week is gonna be so much fun, you guys.
This, That, and the Other
- When Ep33 opened with the recap footage of Nephy and the monsters, I may have screamed “NO! YOU’RE DEAD! GO AWAY!” at my tablet. Possibly. Maybe.
- For those who don’t know, “mamoru,” means “to protect/keep safe,” so it’s a little sad when he talks about how he failed to protect Sailor Moon, because it’s almost like his own identity is compromised. Admittedly, it’s also a little funny, too, ‘cause it’s kind of like he’s saying “I couldn’t Me her!” Poor Romantic Interests, forever defined by their relationships with the protagonists…
- Meanwhile, at Rei’s Shrine: A blonde girl in a sailor suit with a magical talking cat shows up at the gates, but the color of her school uniform is like two shades different from her Sailor V outfit, so the other girls have NO IDEA who she is, and I have to pause the video because I’m laughing so hard.
- By the way, Sailor Venus’s real name is Aino Minako. I got so caught up in the Tux/Moon drama that I forgot to mention that. I suspect I’ll be calling her Mina a lot, because in case you haven’t noticed, I hate typing names that are longer than two syllables. ^^;
- Hark! A Plot Point! Beryl was all “GASP!” when she saw Tuxedo No-Mask, similar to the way Nephrite acted when he bumped into Mamoru. ZoiKun don’t seem to recognize him, though, so… hmm. I’m just gonna let my brain have a little fan-theory party for the next few days. Man, I really hope the explanation is full-on crazypants. Like Beryl is his long-lost sister or something.
- Crystal Count (Final): And the Moonies heave a Hail Mary and win it, 7-0! Talk about a comeback for the ages, folks!