Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 45-46 (Season 1 Finale)

Please keep your arms and legs inside the emotional roller coaster at all times.

It’s hard to feel tension when you know a show isn’t actually about to end, but I’ll give Sailor Moon full credit for giving its best-known side characters some truly memorable send-offs this week. From Ami’s brilliance to Rei’s toughness and even over to Mamoru’s surprisingly sweet “You are not alone” moment with Usagi, these characters died the way they lived – and died satisfactorily, too, true to themselves and their ideals to the very end.

Except, you know, that they didn’t.

I knew the series would find some way to bring them back to life, but I gotta admit that an unexplained “miracle” was a pretty unsatisfying way to do it. I’m sure it had something to do with the Silver Crystal and probably a lot to do with Usagi’s overwhelming desire to “live normally,” and maybe they’ll take some time next season to explain it a little better, but right now I’m not sitting too comfortably on this season finale.

This has less to do with the “miracle” and more to do with its side effects: Yes, everyone is alive again, but their Sailor/Tux identities and memories have been wiped in the process, making them strangers to one another (this is particularly depressing when we see Usagi giving Ami the stink-eye because of her good grades). This may be an even worse plot development than “it was all a dream,” because at least if Usagi had woken up from a dream she would have still remembered her character arc, even if she hadn’t actually lived it. But now all those connections the girls made and experiences they had—which were so integral to the way they grew and matured over these past 46 episodes—have vanished, putting them right back at Square One. This is the Doctor Who Season 4 finale all over again, and I don’t like it this time, either.

Fortunately this is just the end of a season, not the entire series, and Sailor Moon has ample time to “refresh” its characters’ memories and get everyone mentally back to where they were before. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take too long.

But while the girls may not have their memories anymore, I certainly do. So let’s retrace the final hour of the original Sailor Moon season, with all its twists and turns.

The Recaps

Episode 46 – A Song of Ice and Fire Soul

I thought we were going straight into the DK HQ this week, but apparently the girls popped back out into the real world to get some kitty bandages and give Usagi a chance to make one last terrifying dinner for her family. But once those vital tasks are handled, it’s time for the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny! The girls meet at Hikawa Shrine and throw up a bunch of Death Flags, talking about what they’re gonna do “after this battle” and thinking dreamily about “my guy back home.” Gulp?

After a truncated transformation sequence, the girls learn they can combine their powers not only to summon Serious Business Sailor Moon, but also to teleport. That… feels like something we could have used before now. Plot conveniences aside, the girls form a magic circle, click their heels three times, and head out to the Arctic Circle. Their injured cats see them off with a smile.

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Ami uses Science to find the entrance to the Dark Kingdom, because the volcano belching gross purple smoke was a little TOO subtle for the gang. Only problem is Beryl has spotted them, and she doesn’t have time to play. She sends a group of monsters calling themselves “the DD Girls” after the scouts, and they say “hello” the only way a team of evildoers knows how: By busting out an illusory puppet version of Tuxedo Mask with tentacle-vines tearing out of his chest.

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The Japanese version of a chestburster WOULD be 100% tentacles.

Usagi’s fooled by Imposter Mask twice (shame on her), then the illusion shifts from Tuxedo Mask to Motoki, which makes Sailor Jupiter hesitate just long enough for Team DD to get her with their tentacle-vines. Come ON, girls! This is, like, Trick Number freaking Two in the Villainous Playbook (Trick #1 is The Pitfall, if you were curious). Stop hesitating and blow a hole in that charlatan!

Or you could get electrocuted, fight thunder with thunder, and end up creating an ice sculpture out of snow and corpses. That works too, I guess.

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I just don’t understand modern art.

As Makoto lies trapped and dying, begging her allies to go on without her, Usagi reminds her of the promise she made to “experience love” after the battle is over. “If you lie to me, the King of Hell will rip out your tongue!” Usagi cries. This is the last thing Mako hears before she dies. -10 Friendship Points, Usa-chan.

I suppose I should be upset about this, but I’m not, really. I mean, we all KNOW Mako’s not gone for good. There are over 150 episodes left! She’s fine, you guys. She’s fiiine.

Usagi doesn’t know the show’s episode count, though, so she understandably freaks out, screaming for Beryl to come and take the Silver Crystal. Usa is fine with losing this war as long as it means no one else has to die. And I get it, I do, but given that Beryl is gonna plunge the whole world into darkness, I don’t see how crying “uncle!” is gonna change your fates much. Ami knows this too, which is why she reminds Usagi of that ancient Zen koan Rei posed 10 long episodes ago.

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“Don’t let Jupiter’s death go in vain,” Ami scolds her, and then strongly implies “or my death, either,” when she orders the others to go on ahead while she stays behind to stall the monsters. Her reasoning? They’re better fighters, essentially making Ami expendable. Oh, Ami. Why is it that everything you do makes me want to hug you?

Speaking of hugging Ami, the remaining DD Gals try to pull that “illusion of your beloved” trick on her with Ryo, but instead of hesitating, Ami just sadly acknowledges her own feelings before going straight into Kickass Mode. Because in case you’d forgotten, Ami is the shit.

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Ami is too classy to end that sentence with “bro,” but rest assured she is thinking it as hard as she can.

She’s up against a Great Ball of Fire (goodness gracious!), which may be an illusion but it sure is a deadly one. Too bad for Team DD they’re facing a damn genius. Ami finds the source of the illusions (the gem on one monster’s forehead) and, after cleverly using her Bubble Spray as a shield, breaks into the monsters’ fire den. They tentacle-vine her right proper, but she’s able to get close enough to use her Magic Palm PC as a hammer, smashing the illusion gem and creating another ice sculpture before she, too, dies.

…What? C’mon, you guys. I’m FINE. Don’t worry about me. Yes my two favorite characters just died in the span of about ten minutes but I mean, I mean, HAHAHA, it’s not like it’s gonna LAST. 150 episodes, remember? They’re FINE. I’m FINE. It’s FINE.

…We’re fine.

The others feel Ami’s passing and Usagi loses her marbles again, but Rei and Minako drag her on—for approximately ten feet, anyway, before the DD gals catch up again and use that Villainous Trick #1 to take out Minako.

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And then there were two.

Rei expresses her frenemy love for Usagi, because there weren’t quite enough Death Flags getting thrown around this episode, then the final pair of monsters catch up to the girls. Usagi begs Rei to go home and let her fight alone, but Mars goes in fire souls blazing. She gets captured in an ice mountain, but that doesn’t stop her from long-distance incinerating one of the monsters. Then she dukes it out with the other inside of the ice mountain in a fight that is so epic, so brutal, so jaw-droppingly glorious, that they were NOT ALLOWED to show it on TV. Yeah. That’s what happened here.

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“Sorry we couldn’t animate this fight, you guys. We spent all our money on Moon Prism sparkles and Tuxedo Mask entrance poses.”

When the ice mountain finally shatters, the monster appears to have risen victorious. But Mars is a BAMF to the end and uses one last fire soul to send the final DD Gal into oblivion. It’s too badass for me to be sad, so I’m still okay. Even when Usagi sits on that mountain ridge sobbing about her lost friends, I’m still okay. I’m sure Usagi will pick herself up and carry on just like the rest of us, and—

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NO. NO. DAMMIT. NO. YOU DO NOT GET TO HIT ME WITH A GHOSTLY GROUP PEP TALK WHILE A SAD ORCHESTRAL VERSION OF “HEART MOVING” PLAYS IN THE BACKGROUND.

THAT IS CHEATING, SAILOR MOON, YOU ARE CHEATING, THERE IS NO UNIVERSE WHERE MY FEELINGS CAN HANDLE THAT.

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*DIES*

While SM is punching me in my emotions pouch, Usagi is setting her jaw and getting back to that whole saving-the-world business. This may be more difficult than expected, though, because Endymion has arisen from Evil ICU like {Insert Vampire Heartthrob Of Your Choice Here} from his coffin, and he doesn’t look content to just toss a couple roses and give a pep talk this time.

Episode 46 – Refreeeeesh!

Ever the good host, Beryl teleports Usagi straight into the throne room, where our Final Boss and her freshly-brainwashed evil boyfriend await.

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Endymion attacks Sailor Moon on his queen’s orders. Usagi unleashes her Moon Disco Powers, but no amount of sparkles can save him this time (because she’s “too inexperienced” as a princess, according to Beryl), and Usa gets kicked around for a while until she finally decides to use her other special attack, the ol’ Magic Tiara to the Breadbasket.

But all that Dark Metalia Energy has made Endymion into a berserker, and he comes at her again. So Usagi uses her deadliest attack yet: The power of her FEELINGS! She pulls out the music box pendant and pleads with “Mamoru” to remember their shared past. Endymion is confused.

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His Earth memories come flooding back to him yet again, along with a very sweet promise from Usagi to his lost, lonely selves (both child and adult) that he’s “not alone.” And if there was any doubt that Mamoru was back for good, his rose even shifts from black to red again! Huzzah!

Of course, now that he’s Mamoru again, SOMEONE is going to have to stab him. Beryl gets pissed that he dumped her, chucks a dark crystal at his head, and even though his magic rose shatters it AND stabs Beryl, he still gets crystal-shanked AGAIN for his troubles. And I know I should be upset because he’s full of holes and dying, but honestly, I couldn’t stop laughing. AGAIN! In the SAME shoulder, no less! He is to crystals what Brett Bunsen is to bullets.

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As with everything in this episode, the power of Mamoru’s FEELINGS imbues his rose with super strength and fucks Beryl up right proper. She vanishes into the ground as Usagi clutches her dying lover to her chest. “Have a normal life,” he urges her. “Find a cool boyfriend.” “Nobody’s cooler than you,” she tells him. This is the last thing Mamoru hears before she dies, which is definitely a step up from “If you lie to me, the King of Hell will rip out your tongue.” Usagi’s getting better at this whole deathbed dialogue thing.

While our planet-crossed lovers are saying their farewells, Beryl is pleading with Queen Metalia to give her the power to defeat Sailor Moon. Metalia complies, ordering Beryl to “wipe out all living creatures but yourself and cover the world in darkness.” Metalia has boring goals, you guys. But Beryl is on board with the plan, and she blooms like an evil, evil flower outside the Skulltryoshka, ready to take down Sailor Moon.

Usagi quick-changes into her Moon Princess cosplay and faces off against Beryl. As mentioned previously, the show’s budget is running a little thin here, so the two decide to settle their dispute the old-fashioned way.

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Amidst the blazing lights and epic music, the two have time to shout-chat about their ideals. Turns out that despite losing a whole mess of her loved ones, Usagi still has faith “in the world itself,” which gives her strength. Also ghost friends. Ghost friends are a big help, too.

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Aaaand there go my feelings again.

Using the last of her energy, Usagi defeats Beryl. The power from the Silver Crystal envelops everything—Usa, Mamoru, the scouts—in a lovely pink glow, causing…

A respawn, apparently.

“It’s a miracle!” Exposition Bear Cat Luna cries. “All the girls were reincarnated!” And by “reincarnated” she means “were restored to life in their current forms at their current ages, but without their memories.” Which is not what reincarnated means, but she’s a cat, so we’ll cut her some slack.

But hey, it’s cool. There’s a whole ‘nother 150 episodes for them to get the band back together again. And who knows? Maybe this time they’ll even remember it.

This, That, and the Other

  • Mina’s death sequence was the shortest of the scouts, but man, her voice actress really nailed the few lines she did get. Her pained, furious scream when Usagi offered to give up the Silver Crystal to save her (“I’ll never forgive you if you do that”!) was visceral and passionate, and really conveyed Venus’s dedication to her work as a sailor.
  • Usagi refuses to kiss Mamoru’s still-warm corpse because none of the other girls ever got to kiss the boys they liked, and Usagi “can’t indulge in this happy feeling.” It concerns me that Usagi thinks kissing the dead body of her reincarnated lover would be a “happy” feeling.
  • “Toggle faster, Usagi!” I shouted during the final “dueling ki blasts” fight, a reference that will be lost on anyone who hasn’t played the old PS2 Dragonball Z Budokai fighting games. Ah, good ol’ high school gaming adventures.
  • So does the “R” in Sailor Moon R stand for “Reboot”? “Refresh”? “Reincarnated”? “Redundant”? “Returns”? “Retcon”? Nah. I bet it stands for “Rhododendron.” Plant people are coming, mark my words!
  • And of course, the most important question of all going forward: Do the people around the scouts still remember everything that happened, and if so, how does that affect their relationships? I guess what I’m really asking here is, are Ami and Ryo still dating or did they never meet at all?! This is vital information. VITAL. If Sailor Moon destroys that relationship, I may never forgive them.
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