And so as one Sailor Moon aRc ends, another begins…
And no, we do NOT have time for a retrospective! There was FAR too much happening this week. So I’ll cover my reactions as we go, with my usual blend of exaggeration and irreverence. But don’t let my cheekiness fool you: I quite enjoyed both episodes this week, and I’m looking forward to telling you kids all about it.
Episode 59 – The Root of the Problem
In case you forgot, the Makai appears to be a tree of the acorn variety, ‘cause it’s nuts! After Mars uses her miko powers to determine the Makai’s sentience, it lets the scouts inside its arboreal mansion only to immediately spit acid and try to shank them with roots. Make up your damn mind, tree! Are you evil or aren’t you?! Fleeing the attack, the scouts make it into yet another Death Elevator and climb the shaft towards their captured leader.
And speaking of our captured leader, she and Mamoru are getting warm hugs from the Makai Tree.
Ail and An argue about which of the two should be the Makai’s next dinner – Ail wants to spare Usagi and An wants to spare Mamoru, predictably – but things take a dramatic turn when the scouts arrive and get their asses kicked, which encourages Usagi to transform into Sailor Moon. And now that she’s a badass halating superhero, she can hold Mamoru’s hand even MORE! Superpowers, Usa. Yer doin’ ‘em right.
Ail: Alas, cruel fate! I cannot BEAR to fight Sailor Moon if she is my dear Usagi!
An: Nay, An! If she truly loved you, she would never have fought you at all!
Ail: GASP! Was our love nothing but a LIE?!
Me: Uh… when did Usagi ever say that she…?
Ail: But LOOK, An! Your Mamoru is HOLDING the HAND of another woman! He never truly loved YOU, either!
An: GASP! You SCOUNDREL! This betrayal has cut me to the quick!
Me: No… but… he told you he didn’t…
An: Come, Ail! Let us take the knives they have PLUNGED into our hearts and use them to exact RIGHTEOUS vengeance!
Ail: Indeed, it is our only choice. TO BATTLE!
With their “attachments” gone, Ail and An are now cool with destroying the planet. Sailor Moon is ready to take ‘em out… just, just, can give you her like FIVE minutes, you guys? She needs to cradle her reincarnated lover and plead with him to remember their shared past life. THIS IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO DO THAT AND THERE IS NO WAY A PAIR OF AILIANS WILL ATTACK HER WHILE THIS IS HAPPENING.
So there’s more fighting. Or rather, there’s more invisible energy chucked in the general direction of Mamoru, who is an absolute MAGNET for the stuff. Usagi throws herself in front of him and takes the blasts head-on to protect him. Seeing the “giving love” that Makoto explained to him a couple weeks ago, Ail finally gets around to having that epiphany he’s been flirting with for the last few episodes.
An still doesn’t get it, and her confusion only grows when Mamoru tags out Usagi and starts jumping in front of energy blasts to save HER instead. And then The Sheik shows up for some reason and it’s just WAY too many platitude-spouting romantics for An to take. She goes off about how she and Ail have always had to steal to survive and starts hammering The Sheik with energy blasts.
And that’s when the Makai Tree finally performs the arboreal version of a table flip, attacking its Ailian greenskeepers and going all #StabStabRegret on anyone within reach. But when it tries to strike Ail, An jumps forward, arms splayed, and takes the root-shank that was meant for him.
Ail cradles her in his arms as she dies, and… and…
OKAY. I know they’re the bad guys and everything, but there’s tears and quavering voices and professions of love and Ail’s voice actor Hikaru Midorikawa is an old favorite of mine and I cannot deal with the sound of him being sad and he is SO SAD, you guys, he is SCREAMING and it is HEARTBREAKING and I am NOT okay with this turn of events, not one tiny bit.
So of course now, after one of our Ailians lies DEAD in the other’s arms, NOW is the moment the fucking Makai Tree chooses to use its words instead of its flailing tree roots of death to explain the situation. That’s right, folks: The Makai Tree could talk the entire time! Not just talk: It can MONOLOGUE!
And oh, does it ever, telling us the tale of its life on another planet, where it gave birth to the Ailian Race. “Those were fun times,” it reminisces, before telling us of the not-so-fun times when its people began fighting over energy and destroyed their planet in the process. (I get it! It’s a cautionary tale!) The Makai Tree floated through space with the few survivors until the population dwindled to just two (make that one now, ya murderous asshole).
“But you guyyys,” Treebeard tells us, “It was never energy I needed. It was love.” To which Ail replies, “Awesome – SO WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL US THAT FROM THE BEGINNING, YOU MURDEROUS ASSHOLE?” and sobs into the gaping root-sized hole in An’s chest.
Okay, so no. He doesn’t say that. He doesn’t say anything. Nobody really does, until the Makai Tree asks Sailor Moon to halate it, and Moon complies. Then things get even weirder as The Sheik appears again to tell Usagi that – gasp! He’s been Mamoru all along!
Well, sort of. Actually he’s a psychic projection that Mamoru created because even though he’d lost his memories he still had a deep subconscious desire to protect Usagi and that desire manifested as… He’s a Horcrux, okay? The Sheik is a Horcrux. And now that Mamoru has his memories back, the two can merge into a single person again. So they do, and it’s weird.
The Makai Tree is reborn as a sapling, and WHOA WUT An comes back to life?! HUZZAH! I am SO on board with this. And NO, do not ask HOW she comes back to life. An is alive and we are going to get our Disney ending, dammit! Nothing else matters.
Which is exactly how the series feels, as Ail and An disappear into the vastness of the universe to nurture their tiny tree of love, and everyone’s memories are finally and truly returned. Gee, the status quo is so thoroughly restored, it’s almost like this entire arc was filler or something…
Episode 60 – Two Bunheads Are Better Than One
I burned a lot of my emotional energy on recapping that finale, so I’m going to be all “just the facts, ma’am” with this one. Well, mostly.
Usagi and Mamoru are on a date, because for the first time in 60 episodes neither has amnesia or brainwashing or a crystal sticking out of their chest. So basically what I’m trying to say is that it’s boring as hell up in here. Someone needs to drop a plot bomb and ruin this idyllic interlude.
Into the series comes a little pink-haired girl ALSO named “Usagi” and her magical floating ball called “Luna-P.” She would like the Silver Crystal, pls and ty. Actually, scratch that “pls and ty.” She would like the Silver Crystal NOW, muthafugga.
When this tactic fails, she tries a different one: She Dawns herself into Usagi’s family (Buffy fans know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout), fabricating photos and memories straight into their heads about how she’s their “cousin” who’s staying with them for a while. This allows her to harass Usagi the Elder upstairs, downstairs, and in my lady’s bathtub, without fear of anyone calling, like, child services or something.
Meanwhile we have new villains in town. Their general is a “Sir Rubeus” but their leader seems to be an old dude with divination powers oh-so-humbly calling himself the “Great Wizard Wiseman.” The gang is seeking out both the Silver Crystal (you so popular, SC!) and someone called “Rabbit.” So the “Four Spectre Sisters” go out a-sleuthing. But don’t worry about them, you guys. I’m sure they have NOTHING to do with Pinky and her Magical Cat Ball.
Speaking of Pinky, she continues to be kind of terrible, as she uses a sedative to knock out Rei’s Grandpa and then adds it to the Moonies’ tea. Also, her “Luna-P” can apparently transform into pretty much anything, which seems like an extremely unfair advantage. Someone needs to explain to this kid what “OP” means. Unfortunately none of the scouts can do so, as they’re all taking a field trip to dreamland…
…Well, all of them except Usagi, whose Bean Jam Bun-only diet keeps her awake and pissed. She gives Pinky the spanking she probably deserves (“We! Do! Not! Drug! Our! Friends!”) and demands to know what’s going on. But Pinky has crying superpowers as well: As soon as she starts wailing, a crescent appears on her forehead, and it alerts Koan, one of the Four Spectre Sisters, to her presence. Surprise! Pinky is the “Rabbit” they’ve been searching for!
Kidnapping ensues, but it’s brief, because Sailor Moon to the rescue! Usagi takes a page from The Sheik’s book and dazzles Koan with some nonsensical monologuing, then uses a good old-fashioned body slam to send her into the dirt.
Usagi is killing it here and is in absolutely no need of any help, but she’s still going to get the equivalent of a “Hey, look over here!” distraction from…
Oh my God.
I CANNOT EVEN ALL MY JOY RIGHT NOW. SHOW ‘EM, TAMAKI:
The Tux’s rose (man, I’ve missed typing that) distracts the enemy long enough for Usagi to cast her halation spell. It doesn’t defeat Koan but it does get her to retreat, leaving Moonsagi and Tuxedo Mamoru (HE’S BACK YAY) to wonder about the unconscious “Rabbit’s” true identity. The Tux (YAY) also has some kind of weird flashback/premonition about a Crystal City, but it’s gone before he can make sense of it.
So, for now, the pair vow to protect their mysterious stranger from the people attacking her, and in the process maybe get her to trust them enough to tell them who she really is. And so the curtain opens on a whole new act!
This, That, and the Other
- I kinda wanted Ail and An to stay on Earth and become regulars, because we’ve had precious few recurring characters since the Sailor Moon Reset, and a pair of fish-out-of-water aliens would have been a fantastic permanent addition to the cast. I didn’t think any this would happen, mind you; I just kinda wanted it to.
- The animators know how to draw pitifully wounded cats like nobody’s business. I can watch Usagi and Mamoru get pummeled without batting an eye, but the second someone so much as scratches Luna, my heart freaking shatters.
- “I don’t know who you are, but you seem evil!” -Usagi, using her superior powers of deduction, as per usual.
- Koan describes our returning crusader as “a really smug bastard calling himself Tuxedo Mask.” And I know that’s not supposed to be a compliment, but…
- Hark! A plot point! Our villains want to destroy “Crystal City Tokyo,” which may be difficult seeing as how it’s not going to show up on any maps of 1990s Earth. I can’t decide if I want this to be some kind of underground kingdom, another outer space thing, or something that actually doesn’t exist yet (hey, dude DID say he had divination powers). Oo, oo! Or maybe it’s an UNDERGROUND SPACE KINGDOM FROM THE FUTURE. Yes. This is my theory now.