The Moon Princess has awakened, and everything is terrible.
You’d think that finding the Moon Princess, the Legendary Silver Crystal, AND regaining a whole bucket-load of memories would lead to some power-ups, knockout punches, and a few happy endings, but HAHA, NO, THIS IS ‘90S SHOUJO WE’RE TALKING ABOUT, AND ‘90S SHOUJO RIPS OUT YOUR HEART AND TAP-DANCES ON THE LEFT VENTRICLE.
Turns out Sailor Moon is helmed by a bunch of sadistic bastards, so y’know that finish line we saw on the horizon? Yeah, it’s actually a mile farther back than we thought, and there’s a moat full of crocodiles between us and it. Angry, brainwashing, character-murdering crocodiles.
If you were still wondering if I was invested in this show, I think it’s safe to say that I am. Shouts were shouted. Feels were felt. Les Miserables numbers were sung. Truly, I may never recover. All I can do is retrace the journey for you, dear readers, and hope that in the writing of it I may find succor from the sorrow in my soul. But I probably won’t.
Those sadistic bastards.
Episode 35 – For Whom The Beryl Tolls
In case there was any doubt, Luna and her Moon Disco Powers inform us right off the bat that, yes, Usagi is Princess Serenity, the Moon Princess we’ve been looking for. Zoisite really doesn’t care WHO she is, but when he tries to take back the Silver Crystal, Usagi casually uses her own Moon Disco Powers to toss him into a wall. Then she goes wandering down memory lane.
It’s still a bit unclear, but it looks like Princess Serenity was in love with a guy called Endymion, who is Tuxedo Mask, who is Mamoru, and geez, people, how many more names am I gonna have to memorize, here? I’ve read Russian novels with fewer character names than this. At any rate, Endymion and Serenity were all happy in the Moon Kingdom, until it caught fire, and then Endymion ran into the fire, and… That’s all we know, actually. Usagi doesn’t have the memory to handle all this sudden data and starts freezing up.
Kunzite takes this moment to trap The Tux in a DARKOSPHERE and take both him and the wounded Zoisite back to the Skulltryoshka. This will prove to be the single worst decision of the episode. You should have run for it, boys! All three of you! Right into the sunset!
‘Cause see, Beryl knows that Zoisite tried to kill Tuxedo Mask, and she is PISSED. Kunzite does his best to take the blame, but Beryl’s having none of it. She slams Zoisite with a bolt of dark energy that leaves him smoking on the floor.
But hey, at least she didn’t Jadeite him! That means he’s just in timeout, right? He’s gonna be okay, right?
Kunzite pleaded for leniency but Beryl refused, so now all he can do is cradle his beloved in his final moments. As the two exchange heartfelt farewells, Zoisite makes one last request: “I want to die in a beautiful way,” he says. And so Kunzite gives him a Shoujo Funeral, the single greatest send-off an anime character can receive.
And that, team, is how Sailor Moon broke me.
While the best character on the show is dying, and the silliest character on the show is clinging to life in Evil ICU, and your blogger is picking her stomped heart off the floor, the Moonies continue to search for an exit from the Hell Dimension—oh, I’m sorry, the “sealed complex projective space.” Ami rattles off some SCIENCE at us, which involves briefly shattering the fourth wall by describing this as a “two-dimensional space” (provoking my only real laugh of the episode), all of which is a nonsensical way of saying that she can’t find the exit.
That’s okay, though, because Usagi has rebooted at last, and now that she’s up and running again, Artemis wants to tell us a story about the Moon Kingdom, “Silver Millennium,” who once fought a battle against The Evil Entity. The kingdom sealed the Evil away but was destroyed in the process, so the Moon Queen had her daughter (Serenity) and her four guardians (guess who?) reincarnated on earth during the “most peaceful time” in history (well, maybe in Japan, at least). The queen had hoped the girls could live happily on earth, but now The Evil Entity is back and the guardians must fight it again.
Artemis’s story prompts a lot of fist-clenching and resolute nodding from the scouts, except from Usagi, who’s all:
She’s sick of fighting, she just wants to be a normal girl, and she can’t stand the idea of her friends getting hurt the way Tuxedo Mask did. It’s understandable, don’t get me wrong, but this is also the worst possible time to decide to turn in your tiara, and combined with her friends’ much more positive reactions, plus all the shit going down with The Tux and Zoisite (ZOISIIIIITE!), I’m having a hard time mustering any sympathy for the kid.
Rei is having similar troubles, and so she responds to Usagi’s tantrum with the most ancient and mysterious of Zen koans: What did the five fingers say to the face?
Not gonna lie, kinda glad she did that, even if it doesn’t really help things. Ami sticks up for Usagi as usual, saying she’ll come around soon enough. And meanwhile, Ami’s found the exit! And meanwhile, Kunzite has found the Moonies! Man, NOBODY is having a good day today.
Ami adorably steps forward to protect Usagi, and Rei adorably steps forward to protect Ami, freeing up Venus and Jupiter to fight Kunzite. But they’re in Kunzite’s two-dimensional inverse-polarity space connected by a zero… they’re in Kunzite’s Hell Dimension, and he can absorb anything they throw at him and toss it right back in their faces. He knocks out the scouts one by one until it’s just him, Usagi, and the voices of Usa’s injured friends and lover urging her to be The Hero.
So she busts out her Moon Disco Power and does just that.
Kunzite escapes death but his Hell Dimension does not, and the Moonies bust out into the real world. The girls all thank Usagi for finally getting off her ass and kicking someone else’s, and then they all share a nice Resolute Pose Before the Sunrise.
A sunrise that Zoisite will never see.
MY SADNESS IS VAST AND INFINITE.
Episode 36 – Now You’re Just Some Sailor That He Used to Know
We begin with another memory of Endymion running into the burning Moon Palace, despite Serenity’s pleas that they don’t need no water, let the motherfucker burn. Cut to Usagi, dreaming, and monologuing in full, coherent sentences while she does it. Good ol’ TV sleeptalkin’! She repeats pretty much all her objections from last week, although at least now she’s only doing it at night and not in the middle of a freaking battle while her friends are getting the crap beat out of them. Luna feels bad for her but she also knows they have to keep fighting.
The central issue here is The Tux’s Adbuction (Abtuxion!), since Usagi still doesn’t know if he’s alive or dead. She’s listless at school and mopey at home. Rei’s worried about Mamoru too, for obvious reasons, but as usual she’s doing a better job of keeping it together (and judging Usagi fiercely for not being able to do the same). And meanwhile Artemis would like them to all stop being teenagers and start being proper Crystal-wielding guardians, pls and ty.
Oh, and Zoisite was NOT magically brought back to life through the power of true love and flower petals. So yes, in case you were wondering, everything is still terrible.
Concerned for her new friend, Minako/Sailor V goes over to check on Usagi. They get to chatting about this new salon that’s giving out free haircuts, and Mina encourages Usa to see if a new hairstyle might give her a new outlook on life. Because even when you can’t control the rest of your life, you can at least control your damn hair.
This is Plot Level: Jadeite material right here, so of course the stylist has been turned into a monster, and of course she’s under Dark Kingdom control. Kunzite managed to snag some of Sailor Moon’s hair and he’s using it to see if he can discover her true identity. Everyone who uses the salon’s steamers gets their hair examined via Sweet Sciency Magic, and Usagi’s next in line.
Fortunately(?), Minako gets under the steamer before Usa does, and the silly device thinks Mina is Sailor Moon because, uh… hairbrushes? This doesn’t really make sense because all we see is Mina brushing Usagi’s hair, so how Usagi’s hair got onto Mina’s head remains a mystery (headbutt party? let’s go with headbutt party). But y’know, the people in this show fight with roses and tiaras, so I’m not gonna think too hard about it.
Besides, this brings us to my favorite part of the episode: the monster Mitsuaami, whose arm is a barber shop pole that doubles as a scissor-cannon. Yeah, you heard me. A SCISSOR-CANNON.
Usagi transforms into Sailor Moon while the monster is preoccupied with Mina, which gives Moon a great opportunity to confront the monster with her two special skills: Running and dodging. Aaaall over the place. To Moon’s credit, she actually does an all right job, distracting the monster and prepping herself for a heal spell. But just as she grabs hold of the Moon Stick, a rose flies from off-screen and attacks… Sailor Moon?!
Could it be…? It IS!
But all is not well in MoonLand, for the Tux introduces himself as “Endymion, commander of the Dark Kingdom,” and orders Mitsuaami to take out Sailor Moon and steal back the Silver Crystal. Usagi flees into the street, chased by both the monster and The Tux. I like to imagine the people of Tokyo treat sailor-clad vigilantes flying down the street chased by absurd monsters the same way I used to treat that mysterious puddle on the sidewalk outside the Blue Line station: I get out of its way, but I try not too think too hard about what it’s doing there in the first place.
Usagi runs and dodges spectacularly until Minako can transform into Sailor Venus and round up the rest of the Moonies. They do their one-two-three-four punch, weakening the monster enough so that Usagi can “shampoo, rinse, refresh” it back to normal. And I gotta be honest: This plot structure is a lot less fun when Zoisite isn’t around to smirk, shriek, and give Tuxedo Mask shit.
Speaking of Tuxedo Mask and things being less fun, looks like he’s gone Full Bad Guy, although he does retain enough of his memories to make a lot of rose metaphors and quote some Poison lyrics at us.
He prepares to fight the Moonies for the Silver Crystal, but Beryl calls him back to base, so all he can do is spout some cryptic, vaguely sexist lines (“a woman’s friendship is fragile,” whatever that means) before vanishing back to the Skulltryoshka. The Great Ruler refuses to let Endymion die, hence the summons. Beryl assures Kunzite that The Tux has been fully brainwashed to their side, which I suppose makes him less Bad Guy and more Dude-in-Distress, but either way, I suspect his role in this story just got a lot less ridiculous. Alas.
Despite all the brainwashery, both Usagi and Rei are glad to know he’s still alive. Usagi perks right up and Rei does her best to do the same (with some encouragement from Makoto). Fist to the sky, Usagi vows to save Tuxedo Mamorion with her “love power.”
However you save him, I hope you do it soon. I’m not sure how many more soul-crushing depressing weeks like this I can take.
This, That, and the Other
- I bet the artistic team has a blast coming up with all these crazy Dark Kingdom monsters. “Give it Pippi Longstocking braids!” “And a barber shop pole for an arm!” “That can transform into a superheated hairdrier!” “And a razor!” “And a scissor-cannon!” “A scissor what?” “JUST TRUST ME.”
- Poor heartbroken Kunzite has misplaced his anger, blaming the Moonies for Zoisite’s death even though it’s TOTALLY that jerkface Beryl’s fault. Am I the only one rooting for a Dark Kingdom coup right about now? Topple the monarchy, Kunzite! Zoisite shall be avenged!
- So is “Silver Millennium” supposed to be the name of a period of time, like “the Elizabethan Era,” or an actual kingdom, like “England”? Artemis was none too clear on that.
- The phrase “Sweet Sciency Magic” gets tossed around a lot in these posts, so I should probably give out some proper credit: It’s one of the many lines I’ve picked up from the very funny (and incredibly quotable) Dragonball Z Abridged web series. If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend it.
- Hark! A plot point! The Great Ruler has a name now—Queen Metalia (yes, I accidentally typed “Metallica” the first time), and she seems to have the hots for Endymion. Who it turns out was the prince of the Kingdom of Earth. No, not that Earth Kingdom. Or at least I assume not. Mamoru is tragically lacking in a pet bear.