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1:44 – Usagi’s Awakening! A Message From the Distant Past

Alternative Title: “Upon My Pride I shall Not Yell Refresh!”

First Aired: 13th February 1993

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The Sailor Senshi have discovered the entrance to the Dark Kingdom, and it’s straight into battle as they decide to lead an attack for once. Sadly, they get about 10 steps through a cave before Kunzite throws the girls into an alternate dimension. Thanks to the Ginzuishou, the Senshi are taken to the residual image of Queen Serenity, the mother of Princess Serenity, who reveals to them the final hours of the Silver Millennium.

This is the first in the final trilogy of episodes of the first season. The final arc is incredibly dark compared to the tone of the rest of the series, and there are some very interesting developments in this episode alone…

But it’s not a good episode.

Upon watching this episode, you may also notice that Usagi’s voice, while almost usual, sounds slightly more childish. This is because her usual voice actress, the brilliant Kotono Mitsuishi, had to go have a baby or something. The actress who picks up the role is Kae Araki, who will play Chibi-Usa next season, and she does an admirable job considering all the emotion that’s about the occur. You almost, almost completely don’t notice the difference!

Almost.

This episode starts without any preamble of any kind – Luna is running like a loon towards Usagi’s house, busting through the window and in on a dreaming Usagi, who seems to be having some sort of filthy dream about Tuxedo Kamen.

The big news is that Sailor Venus and Artemis have found the way into the Dark Kingdom, and shit’s going down.

So where is the all-important gateway into the Dark Kingdom? It must be somewhere fittingly evil, right? Nope, it’s at a crepe cafe. I rather enjoy the complete lack of reverence towards the Dark Kingdom. The juxtaposition is rather lovely!

Inside, there’s no pissing about. Everyone has already transformed, with their “super serious” faces on, so you know they’re super serious. Also, everyone is talking as though there’s an ice-lolly shoved up their bums. Very serious.

As serious as they are, they really don't think twice about running into the enemy base

As serious as they are, they really don’t think twice about running into the enemy base

Going through, they find themselves in the most unimaginative cave I have ever seen. It’s so very dull.

Luna and Artemis also find it incredibly uninspired, and run off ahead to a) scout and b) find somewhere with interior decoration.

"This place could really use some wallpaper."

“This place could really use some wallpaper.”

This leaves the girls by themselves as they are IMMEDIATELY set upon by Kunzite, who gives them a warm welcome to the Dark Kingdom.

I think this is about 3 minutes in. It feels really rushed.

Kunzite isn’t pissing about today either. No silly plans today, he just sends them “to the chaotic world of multiple dimensions!” – whatever that means.

"Bathroom's on the left, there are some healthy snacks on the coffee table aaaaand make yourself at home I guess."

“Bathroom’s on the left, there are some healthy snacks on the coffee table aaaaand make yourself at home I guess.”

“It may be the primitive era in Africa when dinosaurs roamed. Or it could be the era in Europe when fierce wars broke out.”

This is the extent of Kunzite’s world history. Dinosaurs in Africa (they were all over the world) and “fierce wars era”, as if there has ever not been a time of war in Europe.

This better be good.

You can tell the writing is bad in an episode where they have to rely on Sailor Moon making stupid faces for cheap jokes.

So hilarious

So hilarious

As the Senshi are blown back into “multiple dimensions” by Kunzite, Sailor Moon loses hold of the Moon Stick and the Ginzuishou (Silver Crystal). Oh no! Kunzite might get hold of it!

Or not.

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I love how stupid this makes Kunzite looks. A great moment!

After some a trippy sequence of the Sailor Senshi falling through space and time, we expect to see, like, a Tyrannosaurus in the Renaissance, right?

Nope, just the Silver Millennium again. They’re on the Moon. Fun.

It's pretty bitching actually, despite the obvious lack of oxygen or air pressure

It’s pretty bitching actually, despite the obvious lack of oxygen or air pressure

It looks awesome in ruins, and pulls up the 2nd opening, which I love, for the dead ambiance and the aesthetics.

A voice announces where the Ginzuishou has taken the Senshi, a voice that, rather ostentatiously, calls it the “Land of the Gods”. That’s pretty cool actually.

The big reveal of the voice is rather… odd.

"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope."

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”

It’s the woman who appeared before in one of the flashbacks, but she’s all… tiny and shit. It’s weird. Why not just make her full size?

She announces herself to be the incarnation of the Moon Goddess, Queen Serenity. What a title. We never really hear about this Moon Goddess stuff again, I might add.

She also happens to have been the mother of Princess Serenity, and therefore Sailor Moon. That’s rather uncomfortable seeing as Usagi has her own biological mother too. Freaky stuff. I like it a lot.

Queen Serenity was the one who sent Luna and Artemis to awaken the Sailor Senshi too, thus she is the great instigator behind all of this malarkey.

She pulls the girls into a vision of the end of the Silver Millennium. It’s a great sequence, even if it completely removes the agency from the girls in this episode and completely destroys the pacing.

Still, it looks great

Who needs pacing when YOU’RE THE MOTHERFLIPPING MOON PRINCESS?

We get the usual stuff of masquerade balls and Princess Serenity looking all demure and stuff, when Prince Endymion of the Earth turns up. The way he says “Princess Serenity” is hilariously weird, as though he’s climaxing just be saying the name.

"Juliette is the sun. Urghhhh yeah."

“Juliette is the sun. Urghhhh yeah.”

Endymion informs Serenity that the entirety of Earth has been brainwashed by Beryl – at this time, she’s like a great sorceress that falls victim to the powers of Queen Metalia. You actually feel pity for her… if you read the manga and/or play the Sailor Moon: Another Story computer game, that is.

Meanwhile, (they want us to remember stuff is actually going on), Luna and Artemis reach the end of tunnel and find themselves…

"...still warmer than Michigan."

“…still warmer than Michigan.”

In the fucking Artic, at D-Station of the North Pole. Blimey, the Dark Kingdom are great at choosing real estate.

Back in la-la memory land, it’s another bloody msquerade ball Despite the fact that the Earth is about to invade and kill everybody, Endymion, dressed up like Tuxedo Kamen (hence why he continues to look like that in the 20th Century) and Serenity say “fuck it, let’s dance.”

"Wait, what were we talking about again?"

“Wait, what were we talking about again?”

I don’t like this Usagi. She’s very demure, and lacks any grit or agency. She just acts diminutive next to Endymion. Oh well, it was the past.

There’s a big kissy moment, which is actually rather risky considering it’s still a kid’s show. At this time you couldn’t show lip-on-lip kissing on screen, so the Sailor Moon team got around it by doing everything up to that. Good on you, SM.

Pretty racy stuff

Pretty racy stuff!

Enough of that gross kissing though, let’s get to INVASION!

It looks weird, but awfully cool, as Beryl’s powers sort of fire a giant wave of brainwashed idiots from Earth towards the Moon. They’d have to be going awfully fast, it took the Apollo capsules about 3 days for a round trip to the Moon.

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"We've been flying for days now. I've had to take so many space-dumps."

“We’ve been flying for days now. I’ve had to take so many space-dumps.”

We get a completely out-of-context and useless roulette of the Sailor Senshi’s attacks, just to show that they were, in fact, there. Nice way to eat up time.

They immediately get their asses kicked. Nice to see that their fashion hasn't changed in 1000 years

They immediately get their asses kicked. Nice to see that their fashion hasn’t changed in 1000 years

Beryl herself led the attack on the Moon – she’s looking all crazy as a bag of… crazyness… and announces the birth of the Dark Kingdom!

"I'M SO SANE."

“I’M SO SANE.”

Her army is led by four generals who look awfully familiar – heeeeeey it’s Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite and Kunzite! With rather fetching swords and shields no less! I wish there was more of them in the past, but all we get is a shot of Kunzite laughing like an idiot.

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These guys, you see, were once the guards of Prince Endymion on Earth, but were brainwashed by Metalia. It’s a rather sad fate for them, really. You never know this, of course, because the show doesn’t tap that wealth of backstory. Bit of a shame, but not the end of the world.

The end of the world is, in fact, rather depressing.

I know you're evil and all that, but leave the architecture alone at least, Metalia!

I know you’re evil and all that, but leave the architecture alone at least, Metalia!

Queen Beryl, floating in the air, moves to attack Princess Serenity (she seems rather jealous, really.)

As to be expected, Serenity does nothing but stands there looking worried (it’s ALL she does), so it’s up to Prince Endymion to step in with his signature rose.

Come on Princess Serenity, at least put up a little fight. Bitch gon' slash yo' face!

Come on Princess Serenity, at least put up a little fight. Bitch gon’ slash yo’ face!

Beryl is less than please about this, mainly because it’s her dearest wish to marry the flower-wielding buffoon.

She decides to kill everything instead. That a girl.

Endymion gets pulled up into the air, and Serenity, the love-struck idiot Juliette that she is, jumps up after them. Sadly, the force known as Metalia decides to murk them both. Here she is, floating about under extreme murkage:

That's pretty awful stuff there. Oh well, at least we won't be seeing anymore dead bodies this season. Right?

That’s pretty awful stuff there. Oh well, at least we won’t be seeing anymore dead bodies this season. Right?

Aww tragic lovers. I felt oddly detached during all this, mainly because it’s a flashback whose consequences weren’t permanent.

It’s not so for Queen Serenity and the cats, who are all rather distraught at their beloved Princess getting all killed and that.

Although Beryl is suuuuper happy about all this, she seems to have forgotten the Deus Ex Machina of the Ginzuishou. Queeny decides to unleash the full power of the crystal to seal away eeeeverything.

"Behold! The glowy pink reset button!"

“Behold! The glowy pink reset button!”

Metalia, gone. Beryl, gone. Generals, gone.

"I'm meeeelting! No seriously, this is pretty fucked up right here."

“I’m meeeelting! No seriously, this is pretty fucked up right here.”

Pretty neat. Unfortunately, the price of using the Ginzuishou at its fullest is death. Fortunately, we get a long-ass goodbye speech from old Queen Serenity.

"Look, I just sacrificed my life for the good of the universe, you're going to SIT THERE and  LISTEN."

“Look, I just sacrificed my life for the good of the universe, you’re going to SIT THERE and LISTEN.”

She reveals that such is the sadness and totality of the death of the Silver Millennium that the population of the Moon – the Sailor Senshi, the people and even the two cats – are to be transmigrated to another time so that they may find peace.

That's a lot of dead people floating about there

That’s a lot of dead people floating about there

It’s all very well done, and beautifully scored too.

We even get a bit of an Easter Egg:

Take a look at the bubble between Serenity and Endymion. It's a Sailor Senshi! But which one!?

Take a look at the bubble between Serenity and Endymion. It’s a Sailor Senshi! But which one!? Why, Sailor Neptune, who we’ll meet in season 3. Cheeky!

Queen Serenity’s final wish is for them all to have happy lives (it’s actually rather moving, thanks to the score).

HEY! Christian allegorical imagery! See, the Japanese can play that game too

HEY! Christian allegorical imagery! See, the Japanese can play that game too

Also, the cats end up in weird goo capsules for some reason…

Awwwww... wait, what?

Awwwww… wait, what?

The Sailor Senshi, the modern day ones, are all unceremoniously and lazily dumped back in that awful-looking passage, filled with a new sense of their remarkable existence.

There’s no time to grieve over a 1000-year-old dead mother you never knew, Sailor Moon, Luna and Artemis are in trouble!

There's nothing that can inject a sense of peril like putting my Luna in danger

There’s nothing that can inject a sense of peril like putting my Luna in danger

Bloody Kunzite attacking animals. He’s a villain I tells ya! Poor Luna!

It’s final showdown between the Senshi and Kunzite! This will be awesome, right?

"YEAHHH! Boomerangs. This is what I do."

“YEAHHH! Boomerangs. This is what I do.”

No, not really.

His ultimate attack is purple boomerangs. Sigh.

Sailor Moon gets cut up first, which causes the remarkable remark of Sailor Mercury – “You’re more sinister than I could have imagined!” REALLY? This is the least evil thing he’s ever done.

She's now dead weight, both figuratively and literally.

She’s now dead weight, both figuratively and literally.

The other four Senshi decide that, instead of attack, they’re just going to stand there and take the boomerangs until Sailor Moon gets off her ass. It annoys me when Sailor Moon is so pitiful that she must be defended at all cost. She’s like a rag doll.

Kunzite ignores the pointless light show (seriously, what does it DO?), until Sailor Moon gets annoyed and uses Moon Healing Escalation (which sounds BIZARRE out of the mouth of Kae Araki – the only time it’s jarring.)

They really try hard to make this a dramatic moment for Sailor Moon, but it falls a little flat

They really try hard to make this a dramatic moment for Sailor Moon, but it falls a little flat

Sailor Moon looks briefly badass using her attack, but remember – Moon Healing Escalation removes evil energy! Will Kunzite be restored back into a regular human, as he was before Queen Metalia turned up!?

YEAH That's the Kunzite I've been waiting to see!

YEAH That’s the Kunzite I’ve been waiting to see!

No. As cool as his defiance is, and as brilliant as Sailor Moon’s reflection of the purple boomerang is, I can’t help feel that this is a pathetic end to Kunzite.

Oh. He gets good, then dies. Fantastic

Oh. He gets good, then dies. Fantastic. Still, that’s a pretty good-looking death

Oh well, he seems happy enough as he calls out to Zoisite as he dies. It’s all rather quick.

Poor Luna looks so darn cute and sad in Sailor Moon’s arms.

AWWW SHE'S ALL HURT. I'd call Rolf Harris of Animal Hospital, but that's really not appropriate anymore, is it?

AWWW SHE’S ALL HURT. I’d call Rolf Harris of Animal Hospital, but that’s really not appropriate anymore, is it?

The episode ends with the girls all promising to punish the Dark Kingdom. It’s rather poorly done again. Oh well it’s over now.

This episode had some many ups and downs. I loved the flashback, but hated almost everything else.

So full of hope and life. Nothing can stop them now! ...right!? ...right?

So full of hope and life. Nothing can stop them now!
…right!?
…right?

Next episode is…

The big one.

I think I can only bring myself to watch it once for this review, really, it’s that traumatic for me.

I think there will be a rather long discussion on it too.

Episode Score: 2/5

Nephrite’s Death Score: 3/5 (Looked good, but still pathetic.)

Total Number of Masquerade Balls in the Series: 8

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