Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 167-169

The Three Wise Men ain’t the only ones following Stars tonight.

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I’ll be off holidaying it up with the family this weekend, hence why this post is going out a day early (my Noragami post may be delayed for similar reasons). As I mentioned last week, thanks to Viz’s awkward release schedule, I’ve got a whole trio of Stars episodes to cover this time around, and h’oh man, did this season waste no time in diving right into the fracas. Hit the jump to say hi to some old friends and some even older plot points.

The Recaps

Episode 167 – Sailor Star Wars Episode I: The Fandom Menace

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Big changes are happening in the Mooniverse, although some are less magical than others. Our gals have at last made it to high school (and Usagi and Mina can finally run to class late with a friend at their side!), which opens up an array of new freedoms and responsibilities, from part-time jobs to after-school activities to, y’know, grown-up relationship stuff. WINK, WINK.

On the other side of Juuban, Li’l Hotaru (YAY!) and her dad (who’s been upgraded to Anime Hottie now that he’s no longer possessed by a SENTIENT UNIVERSE) are enjoying the cherry blossoms. But our harbinger of destruction senses danger on the wind, and a fellow outer guardian fresh out of Time Jail (YAY!) agrees with her. Looks like we’re stealing a baby again!

"Just... *sigh*... just promise me you won't leave her in a bush unprotected while you fight monsters, okay?"

Seriously though. Forget Mamoru. Professor Dad is officially Sailor Moon Heartthrob Numero Uno.

But all is not happy reunions and opening ceremonies. Up in the sky floats Nehelenia, content in her timeless prison until a creepy disembodied voice busts her outta the slamirror and shows her that, LOL, J/K, you didn’t get your revenge at all, those Moonies are just as alive and happy as ever!

Nehelenia’s so pissed that she RAGES her own Heart-Mirror out of her chest and then (at The Voice’s bidding) RAGES it into tiny shards, sending them down to the earth to jab into people’s eyes and fill their hearts with darkness. And if there’s folks getting stabbed with something, I think we all know who’s gonna join that party.

Everybody mark your Sailor Moon season Bingo cards!

Everybody mark your Sailor Moon Seasonal Bingo cards!

Still elsewhere (it’s a busy episode), Haruka and Michiru (YAY!) are being all cute on an aquarium date, at least until Michiru’s mirror starts acting up and they see the mirrorteor shower sailing in. One of the falling shards wedges into Haruka’s hand, so Michiru gets it out using a method recommended by 9 out of 10 anime doctors.

Cousins!

Cousins!

Once freed, the shard transforms and multiplies into a glass Nehelenia “Mirror Paredri” army. Transformation Time! And it looks like you’ll be getting an assist from Sailor Pluto, too! Doncha just love getting the band back together again?

The Paredri are persistent little buggers, though, nearly throwing Haruka off a building and attacking Li’l Hotaru (Doctor Puu naturally brought her defenseless companion into battle with her, because Time Lord). Which is right about when our last guardian decides she needs to keep pace with the rest of the scouts and do some growing up of her own.

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Still had time to get a decent haircut along the way, though. Priorities.

She’s full of visions and vague prophecies, and it all points to one person: Sailor Moon. Reckon it’s time for the outer guardians to come out of retirement.

Episode 168 – Sailor Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Crones

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Now that Usagi’s in high school, she’d like to upgrade from furious hand-holding to furious dry-humping, but Mamoru’s too busy dealing with the shard the Snow Quee—I MEAN, Nehelenia—jammed in his eye to think much about canoodling. He’s listless, distracted, and really has it out for balloons. Convinced he’s sick, he excuses himself, leaving Usagi to worry and talk it out with her gal pals.

On the other side of town, a new family is forming among the outer guardians. Hotaru’s growing both physically and mentally at a surprising rate, and is even getting in touch with her Sailor powers, using them to create her own miniature universes.

OH GOOD, TINY UNIVERSES, THAT HAS NEVER ENDED POORLY FOR YOU OR YOUR FATHER BEFORE.

OH GOOD, A TINY UNIVERSE, THAT HAS NEVER ENDED POORLY FOR YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONES BEFORE.

Haruka muses on “Fessenden’s World,” an SF story written by Edmond Hamilton about a man who creates a miniature universe and then starts toying with the planets and life-forms that develop within it, sometimes destroying entire worlds just because he can. It’s not what you’d call a feel-good story, but Haruka takes some comfort out of the idea that, because human life is so fleeting, sadness and pain too are temporary, “illusions.”

As night falls, Mamoru moves from balloon to laptop abuse, and Hotaru receives a visit from both Nehelenia and Sailor Saturn’s spirits. Shit’s getting real and Saturn doesn’t have time for this 15-episodes-to-get-to-the-plot nonsense, so she awakens Hotaru’s memories and ages her back to where she was before her rebirth. Also, MOAR prophecies! Let’s go save the Princess!

Back at Rei’s Shrine, Sacred Mirrors are losing their marbles, and the Moonies are under attack from their own squadron of Glassassins. Despite his ongoing war with balloons and laptops, The Tux shows up to lend a hand, but HE’S NOT STANDING POISED ATOP A TALL STRUCTURE?

Is...is he dying? ARE YOU DYING, MAMO-CHAN?!

Is…is he dying? ARE YOU DYING, MAMO-CHAN?!

The outer guardians arrive to pose and toss around catchphrases, and Hotaru comes face-to-face with her old bestie again (“So what’ve you been up to, Chibiusa?” “Well, I dated a magical flying dream horse for a while…”), all of which would be very touching if the Moonies weren’t in the midst of being strangled by Paredri. A, uh, little less monologuing, little more spell-slinging, if you please?

The whole team combines their powers to summon Captain Planet Eternal Sailor Moon, who trades in her cool staff for another healer’s rod (meh), adds even fancier wings to her costume, and unleashes ALL of the Moon Disco Power, vaporizing the Paredri. But as awesome as it is to finally have enough Moonies to start a baseball team, there’s a huge shadow looming over this reunion, and she’s got her claws sunk deep into The Tux’s dapper chest.

Episode 169 – Sailor Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Narcissith

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A strange illness is sweeping Juuban, characterized by listlessness and extreme fatigue. Normally I’d say the city had come down with a nasty case of the vampires, but the afflicted people’s obsession with mirrors points to a slightly different supernatural force at work. (Interestingly, more women have been affected than men, but given how the guys are identically affected, this likely has more to do with social norms—guys being less likely to carry compacts, therefore having less contact with mirrors and falling under the spell more slowly—than with any overarching gender commentary.)

Usagi sees a golden glow in a “sick” student’s eye and remembers seeing the same thing with Mamoru. She hurries over to check up on him, but he’s finally come to realize what every character on this show has been saying for 169 episodes: DAYUM, he fine!

mamoru-laddy

Dude won’t leave his hawt reflection, and snaps at Usagi when she tries to pull him away from his Mirroroom. She respects his request for privacy, but doesn’t hesitate to share her fears with the rest of the Moonies. Our team finally, FINALLY puts four seasons’ worth of crime-fighting to use and draws some quick lines between the mirror-monsters and the mirror-illness, and Usagi even connects the shadowy figure to Nehelenia herself.

And I’m just… I’M JUST SO PROUD OF THEM, YOU GUYS…!

feels - proud

While the outer guardians take care of another Peredri Parade, our main team rushes to Mamoru’s aid, only to find him knee-deep in mirrors and uninterested in being saved. Nehelenia shows herself so she can curse Sailor Moon for “laughing at her” and gloat about her upcoming victory.

Then, nefariously as you please, she drags Kay—I MEAN, Mamoru—through the mirror and into her own realm, assuring Usagi that he will be “completely under her control” by sunrise. Usagi can’t hold her Eternal Moon form long enough to attack properly, and Nehelenia saunters off into Mirror World, dragging her dude-in-distress along with her.

Man, three episodes in and Mamoru has already been stabbed, brainwashed, AND kidnapped again. If we were playing the Sailor Moon drinking game, we’d all be dead by now.

This, That, and the Other

  • There’s a new opening theme, and it confuses and angers me.
  • Hotaru adorably refers to her guardians as “Mommies” Michiru and Setsuna and “Daddy” Haruka. Sailor Moon‘s Fun With Gender Binaries continues.
  • Hark! A title point! So. Um. It’s possible I have a list of exactly 34 episode titles with “star” references in them. Whether or not I will actually use them all is still up for debate. But. Just so you know. This could be a truly Star-Spangled season.
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16 thoughts on “Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 167-169

  1. Yeah, I had a friend who also disliked the Stars opening. I think you’ll come to like it eventually, it’s a really good song. I understand how you feel though, something new after 166 episodes of the same song does feel a little strange.

    The Nehellenia Arc at the beginning of this season is anime-original, as they needed a way to introduce Eternal Sailor Moon in the story (in the manga, Usagi gained that power during the final battle against Nehellenia). It’s just like the Ail/Ann arc, where they needed a way for the girls to regain their memories before the main plot because the manga didn’t feature amnesia.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder what did Setsuna do to Hotaru’s dad, as surely he wouldn’t just up and give up on his precious daughter just because some random stranger said she came to get her.
    Did she kill him? I hope he’s fine.

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    • Well, in the manga, Tomoe was already dead since he was pure evil there and serving Pharaoh 90 of his own free will, thus giving the Sailors no choice but to kill him. Thus Harkua, Michiru and Setsuna more or less stepped in to rise the reborn Hotaru. But that didn’t happen here in the anime, so now the anime staff needs to get around it and get Hotaru with the Outers. Best guess is Pluto restored Professor T’s memory of what happened back in S so that he would understand and let her borrow her for the crisis to come.

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      • When in a similar storyarc Luna randomly ass-pulled an ability to restore people’s memories, of course it makes sense Pluto can do the same, because why not.
        Except what memories are there to restore for him, as all he knows is his experiment killed his daughter, then he agreed to have her possessed by devil for years just to keep her alive, and has no knowbledge of any sailor soldier business.
        And even if Pluto shared the knowbledge with him, why would he agree to her robbing his infant daughter of her chance at a new life to make her into a kid soldier. What kind of arguement would Pluto need to get his aproval, hypnosis?
        It would be really nice to see him alive again, just to show that he survived the encounter. If Hotaru can already have 2 mamas and 1 “papa”, why can’t she also have 1 more papa to even the odds and make this family into a harem with a nice variety.
        Of course, Pluto doesn’t neccesarily have to KILL him, as he’s just a disabled man in a wheelchair, and she can summon a metal stick, so what resistance can he put.
        Or another possibility, maybe she just made him forget he ever had a daughter. Or maybe he’s still alive somewhere, thinking that he used to have a daughter until she died in the same disastrous experiment that left him with damaged memories all those years ago.

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      • Man, y’all went to some dark places with these theories! I can’t see Pluto ever killing an innocent person. I suspect she rebooted his memory, and even if there were still some pieces missing, Tomoe’s an experimental scientist, so it’s not like he hasn’t seen his share of weirdness and would have an easier time buying in to what she told him. Plus they’ve previously established that Sailor Moon is sort of famous in Juuban. If he saw another person in a similar outfit, and remembered Sailor Moon trying to protect his daughter, AND remembered his daughter wielding a ton of cosmic power, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch for him to believe that his daughter could be in potential danger and that Pluto would be better able to protect her than he would. Tomoe’s first priority would be keeping Hotaru safe, and if some “threat” is possibly targeting the guardians, then getting his infant into the hands of people with the power to protect her would make sense to me.

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    • Wow, thank you for bringing that logic!
      Now I can see this scene as not neccessary the death of Tomoe Souichi (90-167)!
      Indeed if Pluto actually transformed, that may have made him think “hey this girl wears same clothes as that Sailor Moon character, and that means she can be trusted with my infant, haven’t made an attempt at her life the last time they met, and totally not going to bring her to a battlefield the first thing she does!”
      Of course I’m sure he would have liked to grow his daugther on his own, but at least he’s been spared the diaper age. I hope they can stil reconnect!

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  3. I squeed so hard at seeing Haruka and Michiru again. They’re my favorites so seeing them back again gets me really excited, especially since they’re dropping any pretense about their relationship.

    I remember back in 06 or so that I found an excellent fan-dub of this arc on YouTube (or it was excellent as far as my 16 year old self thought) and it was my only exposure to the Stars season of Sailor Moon. I’m pretty hyped to actually see this season in full now for the first time.

    I also have mixed feelings on the opening. On the one hand, it’s a very energetic and upbeat song and the animation that accompanied it was nice. It is a bit refreshing to hear something new after four seasons of the same song.

    On the other hand, Moonlight Densetsu is a pretty unique opening song for an anime about crime fighting superheros as the song is themed more around the romance and the journey of being a youth than said crime fighting.

    I guess the biggest crime about the Stars song is that it’s more a generic Super Sentai opener. You could put the song as the opening to a lot of Magical Girl contemporaries (such as Toei’s own Pretty Cure franchise) and it would still work.

    At any rate, I hear good things about Stars itself as a season, and so far that’s held true. This mini-arc is going at a breakneck pace but it’s keeping the drama pretty high and I like it. I can’t wait to see the conclusion.

    Happy festivities Dee!

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  4. This anime original (but it is absolutely NOT filler) arc which leads into the main manga-based arc serves three purposes. One to get the Outers back since they didn’t show up in SuperS like they did in the manga. Two is get Sailor Moon’s new power-up that she got in the final battle against Nehellenia in the manga. Three is to buy time and see what Naoko Takeuchi was doing for the final story. Because let’s just say that like the Black Moon arc before it, The manga Stars arc was very difficult one to adapt to the somewhat episodic approach of the anime as it’s full of so may twists and turns that give you no choice but to constantly advance the plot at light speed and feels at times like Takuya Igarashi and his crew are struggling with the source material to make it fit with their preferred take.

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  5. Yay, thanks for all the giggles at the funny commentary!
    It’s a pity the episode wasn’t very likeable, the inconsistent quality may be the worst flaw of the original SM series, as it mostly was made up like this:
    1 ep the unforgettable masterpiece that stays with you
    3 eps the best eps ever that make the series
    5 eps of forgettable not good not bad
    1 eek the worst episode ever
    About the episode not ending Usagi’s solo adventures on the best note, I think it’s possible this was unintentional production oopsie, as it was common for anime of the time, episodes were created mostly at the same time, so unless a certain episode order was necessary, sometimes 2 episodes were switching places in the final stages of production. And sometimes that was creating a mood disorder like this, or even breaking a tiny subplot from a chain of consequential events over several episodes that were making a logical whole to a bunch of disjoined events of similar theme that dont obviously encourage connection, with only the order of 2 events switched. I read an interview mentioning this for Sailor Moon and Utena, both series directed by Ikuhara in under 5 years of time difference.
    So it’s possible the episode where Usagi was the most skilful and proactive maybe was meant to be the final episode for this portion of the series, but a delay in the production of an episode before it, caused that one to be aired prematurely.
    And notice how they updated the transformation by drawing her a new hand, now much more of a closeup so they don’t have to produce the CG fade into an orgamental silouette every time Usagi wears a new sleeve. Which also serves as an ad for the first merch they produced, the transformation brooch “pendant” that hides a bottle of nail polish inside, and gives reason to the transformation phrase having “make up” in it.

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  6. When I suggested that it would be best if you did the wrap up for SuperS before watching Stars, this is precisely why. This arc is essentially both a continuation of the Dream Arc using material from the manga that wasn’t acknowledged in SuperS (basically everything to do with the Outer Senshi) as well as tying it in to the main Stars attraction. This is actually one of my favorite parts of the series period, and I’m excited to see what you’re reaction will be over the coming weeks.

    I’m not going to go into spoilers because, frankly, too good to spoil. But I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that you’ll love one of next week’s offerings in particular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate not going into details or hints, particularly with this season. There are a lot of other readers watching this arc for the first time, too, since it was never officially released in the U.S., so keeping the experience fresh and exciting for them is important to me. Thanks!

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  7. Would you be interested in doing Wedding Peach eventually? I know it gets written off a Sailor Moon knock off a lot, but I think it’s more distinct and valuable then it gets credit for.

    I really like how it handles it’s villains.

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