1:34 – The Sparkling Silver Crystal! The Moon Princess Appears
Alternative Title: I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours
First Aired: 28th November 1992
Now that Queen Beryl has seen Mamoru’s true face, she seems keen on capturing Tuxedo Kamen alive. Zoisite tracks Mamoru to his home and lures him out, but on the way to the pretty-obvious trap he’s spotted by Usagi. Concerned that Mamoru seems to be injured, she follows him straight into Zoisite’s trap, and over the deadly final fight for the Rainbow Crystals, both Usagi and Mamoru’s secret identities are revealed.
Woooooooahhhhh this episode is awesome! The truth finally comes out! It’s beautifully animated! Original pieces of music are used! This episode shows how dramatic, fun and heartbreaking Sailor Moon can be.
Also, since it’s Christmas, I’m going to do a sizable post JUST FOR YOU. Enjoy
Following on directly from the previous episode, Sailor Moon is the midst of interrogating the newly-arrived Sailor Venus on whether or not she’s the Moon Princess. She denies this, but Sailor Moon is more taken by the idea that the legendary Sailor V is standing right in front of her. The team all put their hands in, and the moment lingers on all five Sailor Senshi, as weird dramatic synth notes play in the background.
Artemis the male white cat, contrasting nicely next to Luna, suggests they all meet up the following day to discuss a “certain area” that he and Sailor Venus have been investigating, which, when taken out of context, sounds disgusting now that I think about it.
Having been launched directly into an action-heavy storyline, there’s very little chance to get to know Sailor Venus, and the show sort of pre-supposes that you’re vaguely antiquated with the Sailor V manga series that ran before Sailor Moon, which is frankly absurd, but they get away with it through sheer charm.
The lingering shot of all five Sailor Senshi is obviously trying to make the point that the complete group somehow feels right. And you know what? It totally does. This is the set of characters, the five-way dynamic we’ll be with for a loooong time. Get used to ’em.
Over at the Dark Kingdom, Queen Beryl is lying her ass off to Kunzite and Zoisite, both a bit snooty at having been asked to return before they could kill the Sailor Senshi and retrieve the Rainbow Crystals from Tuxedo Kamen (which is bullshit.)
Beryl tells them that the withdrawal order came from “The Great Ruler” (bullshit), who has also told her that they must not kill Tuxedo Kamen (also bullshit) and that they must bring him to the Dark Kingdom alive (there’s so much bullshit in this room I’m surprised they aren’t slipping it it).
Zoisite doesn’t seem too happy about their ever-changing strategy, but handles it like a petulant child, and gets one of Queen Beryl’s famous rebukes for his cheek.
Over at Mamoru’s pad, our favourite uppity douche isn’t doing so well. Asides being gravely injured from the crystal that Zoisite shoved into his back while wearing a skirt (he’s still bleeding), he’s also sore at having been unable to protect Sailor Moon.
I’d worry more about your blood loss that your pride, you silly lovable prick. He whispers “Sailor Moon…” into his dark empty apartment and looks like a goddamn creepy loon, but a cool one at least.
Sitting his ass down on the couch, he gets not a moment’s rest as Zoisite appears on Mamoru’s giant fucking TV twirling his hair through his fingers.
I’m just going to pause and ask how it is that a 17 year old orphan in college has a giant TV and an amazing high-rise apartment with an unobscured view of Tokyo Tower? Answer: drugs. He totally deals drugs. I’ve got your number, Tuxedo Pusher.
Zoisite, being his usual creepy self (he calls him Mamoru-chan, which is megacreepazoid if you ask me), invites Mamoru to “settle this” once and for all. I assume he’s talking about the sexual tension.
Understanding that Zoisite will find him and kill him whatever he chooses to do, Mamoru puts his game face on and accepts the challenge to come to “Starlight Tower” in Tokyo Bay. Alas, his injuries have him wimpering like a baby as soon as Zoisite’s face leaves his TV.
There’s a definite sense of threat throughout this episode, and they do a good job of foreshadowing the events that unfold…
Usagi, having been held behind after school, is late to the Sailor Senshi meeting, but is completely distracted when she see’s her arch-nemesis Mamoru skulking in the streets. She picks that moment to slam him right on his wound.
Mamoru, wincing, notes that she’s “perky as always”, which Usagi takes as an insult, since anything out of his mouth usually is an insult, but Mamoru returns by being nice, which completely takes Usagi off guard.
Still confused at Mamoru’s sudden shift away from being a complete dick, notices that there’s blood on her hand, and reasons that it came from Mamoru’s back. This is the first time she’s ever put two and two together.
Imagine how much blood there must be seeping from Mamoru’s wound to be able to soak through his coat onto Usagi’s hand from a single slap.
Mamoru is closing in on Starlight Tower (he’s brooding in an alley like a rapist. That’s where they hang out, right?) when a hand emerges behind him. Who could it be!? Mamoru spins around ready for murder, but it’s only Usagi lurking behind him.
Mamoru yells at her to go home, as his injury is none of her business, but she gets all haughty. This is a trait that will become more defined over the future 166 episodes of Sailor Moon – Usagi’s tendency to worry about others to a fault. Despite his rudeness, she continues to follow him, despite now sporting a huffy attitude.
As Mamoru approaches Starlight Tower, Zoisite senses him, and unleashes his first trap. Usagi, right behind, also gets caught in whatever weird red light thing Zoisite set off. What are the odds, eh? The two are teleported to Starlight Tower. Oh the humanity!
Over at the Hikawa Shrine, the girls are getting worried about Usagi’s absence, figuring that even she wouldn’t be this late. Nice to get a dig in at your friend who’s gone missing, eh Rei?
As they’re wondering what to do, an unknown girl enters the shrine and announces that Usagi’s at Starlight Tower. The others realise, thanks only to Artemis’ presence, that this girl must be Sailor Venus.
I love this silly rule they stick to about the realisation of people’s true identities. Used to annoy me a little, but I see the insane charm of it. This common anime trope was parodied brilliantly in the show Samurai Pizza Cats, whose heroes couldn’t understand why no one could recognise them when they were dressed up as robotic samurai, and were a little sore about all the attention they were missing out on.
Sailor Venus, or should I say Aino Minako, maintains the efficient and motivated atmosphere she had in the previous episode. I wonder how long that will hold up? In Usagi’s absence, the Senshi seem all too ready to follow Minako’s direction towards Starlight Tower.
Within the tower, Mamoru and Usagi reappear in front of Zoisite. Usagi is unconscious. I was a bit confused as to why at first, but I suppose I could reason that Zoisite, having realised that he had caught an extra passenger, knocked her out mid-warp to keep her out of the way. Or whatever.
Mamoru looks suuuuuper pissed.
Zoisite walks to the centre of the room and places his Rainbow Crystals on the ground, then invites Mamoru to do the same, under the guise that they’re about to fight over them.
My sister and I used to do the exact same thing as children with weapons we constructed known as “sockers”, which were one sock bundled up into another sock and used as a cudgel of sorts. There, that should give you an insight into our fucked-up Gladiatorial Death Arena childhood games.
Mamoru tries to bargain with Zoisite to let Usagi go first, but naturally he isn’t having any of it. In the end, Mamoru taking his Rainbow Crystals out seemed more like an attempt to secure Usagi’s safety rather than an attempt to obtain the remaining crystals, but it’s all to no avail, as Kunzite appears from nowhere to steal all 7 crystals!
Mamoru’s reaction is priceless and idiotic – “That’s playing dirty!” he moans. Well duh. They are the bad guys after all. He vents his frustration by throwing a rose a Kunzite, who disappears with the crystals to let the rose hit Zoisite in the face instead. What a considerate lover.
Usagi finally wakes up to see Zoisite’s bitching, and wonders why Mamoru knows anything about the Rainbow Crystals. She really did miss all the important bits, didn’t she? What are the odds? Her suspicions about him begin to sink in, especially when she notices that Mamoru has the same shoulder wound as Tuxedo Mask had the day before.
And yet she doesn’t quiiiiiiite put it together. One can only assume that her disbelief is willful.
Zoisite uses falling ice crystals (a bit cheap) to chase the two into an elevator. What is it with these two and elevators, eh?
Usagi thinks they’re safe, but Mamoru, the misery guts, thinks otherwise. He’s proven right as the architecture warps into weird gross biological curves. It looks like they’re inside a massive green wang, which, again, is stealing right from my fanfiction.
We move to the elevator with Mamoru and Usagi. I absolutely love this scene. Usagi shyly asks why Mamoru was talking about Rainbow Crystals – she’s uncharacteristically sensitive for once, and doesn’t want to push him.
Mamoru responds that he has to obtain the Ginzuishou (Silver Crystal) in order for him to regain his lost memories. As it turns out, he has amnesia. This is typically a pretty lame trope, but they use it in an interesting way here.
Mamoru’s parents were killed in a car accident when he was six years old, and in the same accident he suffered head trauma. His amnesia relates to the period of his life up to that point.
This doesn’t seem crippling by itself, but it’s led to an identity crisis of sorts, especially when combined with Mamoru’s overwhelming sense that he’s missing something in his life.
We’ll soon discover that Mamoru is being nagged by memories from a former life, which compounded with his trauma, explains his motivation to obtain the Ginzuishou – his dreams of the Moon Princess keep telling him to find the crystal to regain his memories, but it’s not the memories he thinks they are. It’s an interesting character development, and one adds depth to Mamoru without becoming a focus of the rest of the series.
For some kind of resolution to this backstory, you have to look to one of the Sailor Moon films (which I shall be reviewing, dear patron), which doesn’t explore what happened to Mamoru before the crash, but examines the psychological impact of a child being unable to remember his own name.
Yes, the whole thing seems a little manufactured, but I like it nevertheless. It’s quite a lot of take in for the intended audience of Sailor Moon, and you have to give them props for including it in a children’s anime.
Usagi is taken aback by this revelation, as is Mamoru, who wonders why he told her all that. Her response is just perfect:
I couldn’t have scripted a better response than that. Let’s move on before I get all emotional and gushy.
For one last time, Usagi seems to suspect that Mamoru is really Tuxedo Kamen, but dismisses it. It could be that the writers want you to think that Usagi sees the big reveal of his true identity coming, but the truth is slightly more complex than that – Usagi has been madly in love in a childish way with Tuxedo Kamen. By seeming to merge, in her head, the identities of Tuxedo and Mamoru, the show is demonstrating, without spelling it out, that Usagi’s feelings towards Mamoru are becoming palpably similar to how she feels about Tuxedo Kamen.
You may have seen this trope before, most noticably in Superman, where Lois Lane harbours feelings for the superhero and subsequently Clark Kent, or in the Sam Reimi Spider-Man film adaptations with Mary Jane and Peter Parker.
Did… did I just over-geek a blogpost about Sailor Moon…?
Upstairs, Kunzite is doing his usual creepy talking-to-no-one gig, and fully transforms the tower into something grotesque. It reflects the look of the inner-sanctum of the Dark Kingdom, where the Great Ruler bubbles away like a lava lamp, and it’s an interesting reoccurring motif. We’ve seen it to a small degree in the episode where Nephrite died – the three assassin monsters who come after him all have this same creepy over-grown biological vibe.
A great scene begins as Usagi and Mamoru are now stuck at the bottom of a long shaft. Tense string music begins playing, original to the Sailor Moon score, which reuses a hell of a lot of music. Zoisite has his most malevolent scene, with hair flipping around, looking down on the two.
He begins to play with flames, beautifully animated, really gorgeous stuff considering that it’s all hand-drawn and coloured, and sends a cascade of flames down upon Usagi and Mamoru.
Usagi realises that the two of them are about to die unless she transforms in front of Mamoru, and in a brilliantly dramatic scene yells “Moon Prism Power Make-Up!” like never before.
The transformation scene has become such a staple in the series thus far that it seemed completely throwaway, but this scene makes it so vastly important that it feels fresh.
My favourite, minuscule detail about all this is that Usagi is blushing just before she transforms. You will have noticed how… revealing… her transformation sequence is, and although it might seem just like fan service to us heterosexual males in the audience, this gives it a new spin – it suddenly feels intimate, as if she’s revealing the most private aspect of her life to Mamoru in this moment.
This is obviously true, but it’s important to note that the character’s realise this too. Mamoru’s reaction is just to stand there and gawk like an idiot, but we can forgive him this one time – Usagi really doesn’t seem like she could be a super heroine.
BACK ON TRACK.
Zoisite chuckles coldly as he surveys the damage he wrought, and mutters that he’ll have to tell Queen Beryl that he “accidentally killed Chiba Mamoru”. As much as I hate him, he’ a brilliant bad guy. This is an important moment that will come back to bite Zoisite firmly on the bum.
Sailor Moon and Mamoru appear from the smoking shaft unharmed (how, I don’t know. She hasn’t got a “Moon Fire Extinguisher” attack in her arsenal) and she gives Zoisite shit about picking on the two of them.
Zoisite retorts with something about how he will kill both Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask together, and Sailor Moon is hilariously, and a little bizarrely, confused at what the hell he’s talking about.
Mamoru’s reveal to her is fantastic, just a little smile and a rose. She turns around so slowly too, it’s as if she knew the truth and feared it. A great moment that makes the entirety of their relationship up to this point pay off in a BIG way.
Mamoru then transforms into Tuxedo Kamen, and I have to say this is amazing. It’s completely, absurdly lame, in a brilliant way, and makes me burst out laughing every single time that stupid hat goes on. It’s also the only time we see this sequence, I suggest you watch it here.
Sailor Moon tries to dispell the wave of cognitive dissonance that swells over her, of all the shitty teasing remarks of Mamoru’s, and all the shitty supportive one-liners of Tuxedo Kamen’s. It’s pretty funny seeing that the dick and the douche are one and the same.
Sailor Moon doesn’t want Tuxedo Mask to fight Zoisite as he’s injured, but in that obstinate, potentially sexist, but probably more romantic way, he wants to protect her with his life.
He gives a rather moving line. In Japanese, it’s “kimi wa watashi na mamoru” which is simple “I will protect you” in English, but that ignores the parallel between his name, Mamoru, which isn’t uncommon in Japan, and the verb “mamoru”, to ‘protect’.
Although many of the characters have names linking them to their true identities, for instance Ami’s surname means “of water” and Rei’s means “of fire”, Mamoru’s seems particularly poignant in this moment, as it relates to the very core of his character. He is Mamoru, he will protect Sailor Moon. It’s a poignant moment.
Yes, I’m looking too deeply into things again, so sue me, that’s what I’m here for.
As a final note, Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Moon’s relationship up to now has been completely childish and unrequited for the most part. In this moment it seems legitimate, mature and completely rewards the investment of the viewer over the last 33 episodes. Sailor Moon is the best.
HOLD UP WE FORGOT ABOUT ZOISITE.
Tuxedo Mask moves forward to fight, but forgets that Zoisite is a sneaky fucking bastard – he launches a pointy crystal at Sailor Moon’s back while she’s not looking and it hits…
…Tuxedo Kamen instead. This is a horrible wound. Coming so soon after the pair’s revelations, this seems overly cruel. It’s a bit emotional-overkill at this point if I’m honest, but let’s role with it and see where it takes us, yeah?
Another original piece of music plays in the background, a ballad that’s forgettable enough, but definitely makes the end of this episode stick in one’s memory.
Tuxedo Kamen loses consciousness as the other Sailor Senshi FINALLY ARRIVE, and Sailor Moon begins to cry. Her tear, however, begins to glow…
The seven Rainbow Crystals seem to react and fly away from Kunzite, wherever the hell he is, and the silver-haired fellow is left looking like a complete gormless chump. It’s pretty funny actually.
The crystals have been summoned by Sailor Moon’s grief, and they reform the legendary Ginzuishou atop of the Moon Stick. Sailor Moon is suddenly completely out of it, staring blankly.
The crystal glows, and transforms Sailor Moon even further… into THE MOTHER FUCKING MOON PRINCESS OMFG.
As if you didn’t know it. It’s still dramatic as hell though, on par with when Goku finally went Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball Z, except that it didn’t take a million years and one exploded Krillin to happen. What a reference, eh?
The Sailor Senshi, the cats and Zoisite all stand there looking as gormless as Mamoru was when he watched Usagi transform earlier, and the episode ends surprisingly on a cliff-hanger!
This has never happened before. The shot lingers on the Moon Princess, or as we will be calling her hence forth, Princess Serenity, not looking blank, or surprised, or grief-stricken, or angry…
…but just sad. Just amazingly maudlin. You might think that this is simply the result of Tuxedo Kamen’s mortal wounds, but, in fact, no. That look conveys a lot – it’s a deep sadness that comes with the entirety of her memories from that previous life.
Which we’ll thankfully explore next time…
Episode Score: 5/5 (rivals the episode of Nephrite’s death)
Evil Plot Score: 3/5 (it sort of worked, but Zoisite had about 17 different chances to murder Mamoru and didn’t take them)
Number of Times Usagi Suspected that Mamoru was Tuxedo Mask but Failed to Make the Connection in a Single Episode: 4