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1:45 – The Sailor Senshi Die! The Tragic Final Battle

Alternative Title: No No No No NO NO NO NO STOP WHAT NO

First Aired: 20th February 1993

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With the burgeoning revival of Queen Metalia, the Earth is in peril. The Sailor Senshi travel to D-Point in the North Pole intending to defeat the Dark Kingdom at any cost. They are confronted by the strongest of all of Queen Beryl’s monsters, the DD Girls, and one by one, they are overcome…

The title of the episode gives away why this episode has become infamous in anime history. Having spent an entire series getting to know, and coming to love these characters, only for this episode to happen…

I’ll reveal it now: I cried copiously when I first saw this as a spry emotional teenager. I am now a grown-ass man, and thought that watching this episode this time would lack the pathos that it had since the last time.

I was wrong. This episode got me again. Have tissues on hand, folks.

The episode begins focused on a news report from a TV in a window. Natural disasters are ripping the planet apart, with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and typhoons. It’s suggest by the report that this has something to do with the large number of sunspots forming.

I have never seen a TV in a store window, ever. It's like inviting the thieves in

I have never seen a TV in a store window, ever. It’s like inviting the thieves in

Luna and Artemis, heavily bandaged and watching the report, are worried. This episode starts off so very cheery doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, in the Tsukino household, Usagi has cooked dinner, and the kitchen is hooorifying. There’s, like, brown smears up the wall.

Now it's time for Cooking With Shit, starring Tsukino Usagi

Now it’s time for Cooking With Shit, starring Tsukino Usagi

Usagi’s family are understandably concerned at her new-found enthusiasm for cooking, and even more so for the gloop served up in front of them.

Usagi’s a little insulted by Shingo’s suspicion over her curry’s taste, and tries a spoon herself. After a long pause, we discover that yes, it is in fact inedible.

This is why you taste the food as you cook, instead of when it's served up

This is why you taste the food as you cook, instead of when it’s served up

And that’s the last memory Usagi has with her family. Just sayin’.

At night, the Senshi have collected at Hikawa Shrine, preparing for battle. Everyone has got their “Super Serious” face on, until Usagi slyly suggests to Rei that she give Yuichiro a kiss before they leave, just in case.

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Rei’s rather angry at Usagi’s fatalism, and the other girls try to shift the mood a little. Minako tells Usagi to stop worrying about “what ifs”, and Makoto announces her intention of having a “full-blown romance” after they return.

What the hell is a full-blown romance? I mean, aside from the obvious, and dirty?

Musing, Ami thinks about having a romantic tryst herself, and immediately regrets voicing her thoughts aloud in front of 4 very nosy teenage girls. She’s very cute here.

Just not with Urawa. You can do better, Ami

Just not with Urawa. You can do better, Ami

Then Artemis is a complete buzzkill and tells them to stop messing around and transform. Such a little ass.

So are the girls going to go through the parfait shop from last week to get to the North Pole? Nope, new power time!

That's pretty swish. They really don't use this power enough

That’s pretty swish. They really don’t use this power enough

Combining their powers, the girls use Sailor Teleport for the very first time. It’s a great little sequence. In fact, all the art in this episode is phenomenal. The Senshi warp to D-Point, leaving behind a very concerned Luna.

This just goes to show, you should always take Luna with you. She’s a good luck charm, and her “eye-gouging claw attack” is particularly effective against monsters.

So, North Pole.

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It’s cold. Really cold. The only one who seems to notice the temperature is Sailor Moon, however, which is crazy since they’re all in miniskirts.

Her moan of “How can you all act like nothing’s wrooong!?” is brilliant.

"Oh no I'm cold, I've just lost all motor-function over my muscles."

“Oh no I’m cold, I’ve just lost all motor-function over my muscles.”

The Senshi head off towards where Mercury’s super computer tells her the Dark Kingdom is, and the landscape is just grim. Never have I seen such an allegorical environment reflecting the scenario so perfectly as in this episode.

Queen Beryl, noticing that she has enemies on her doorstep, displays her brilliant management skills yet again: “Yeah does anyone want to handle this? Anyone at all?” Brilliant work, Bezza.

Sadly, the group of monsters who step forward to take the job are wholly adequate for the task.

"Fuck these bitches", in the immortal words of rapper Obie Trice

“Fuck these bitches”, in the immortal words of rapper Obie Trice

The DD Girls are the most notorious group of monsters you’ll ever find. For one, their name is a cup size, although I hope it’s more to do with the location of D-Point than their boobs. For another, I fucking hate them. They’re just detestable. In a good way, I suppose.

The Senshi are suddenly enveloped in a purplish fog that does not bode well. They are immediately put on their guard, of course, but this doesn’t stop Sailor Moon completely freaking out when she sees Tuxedo Kamen in the mist.

"Hey. HEY. I'm totally not a trap."

“Hey. HEY. I’m totally not a trap.”

He’s being held up with chains, and appears to be battered, quietly (and disturbingly) calling for Sailor Moon.

Naturally everyone realises this is a trap, an illusion of some sort, but only a few seconds go by before Sailor Moon loses her cool and tries to run towards what is CLEARLY a fucking trap.

Man, her boobs must be FROZEN

Man, her boobs must be FROZEN

The fake Tuxedo Kamen is the creepiest thing.

CREEEEPY

CREEEEPY

Sailor Moon is rugby tackled to the ground by the others, before the first DD Girl reveals herself. These monsters all have strange weedy biological vine attacks, which fits into a reoccurring motif of the Dark Kingdom.

You’ll remember the monsters that Zoisite set upon Nephrite, and the Starlight Tower that Kunzite trapped the Sailor Senshi in. They had similar flowery themes.

After the DD Girls introduce themselves, they try the ridiculous tactic of repeating the exact same move. Tuxedo Mask is once again hanging in front of the Senshi, and Sailor Mars is contemptuous:

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“What kind of ninny would fall for the same trick DON’T FALL FALL FOR IT AS I’M SAYING THAT!”

Yes, in fact Sailor Moon has to be saved from this illusion twice.

Sailor Jupiter decides to go on the attack, but before she can fire off a Supreme Thunder the illusion changes, now showing stupid lame Motoki.

Yeah, that's my Sailor Jupiter! Kick some ass!

Yeah, that’s my Sailor Jupiter! Kick some ass!

Don't stop, even if it really Motoki, KICK SOME ASS

Don’t stop, even if it really Motoki, KICK SOME ASS

This startles Jupiter enough for all five of the DD Girls to attack her simultaneously, and cheaply I might add, and our poor Senshi is being squeezed to death high up in the air.

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Sailor Moon and Mars try to cut the vines off Jupiter, but the DD Girls all move in close to Jupiter so that she can’t be freed. I begrudgingly call this a smart move.

The DD Girls begin to shock Sailor Jupiter with electricity, which pisses her off no end. “You’ve got some nerve using an electric shock against me!” – it’s delivered like a complete badass.

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Still being crushed by the monsters, Sailor Jupiter calls down one last Supreme Thunder on to herself. The screaming from Jupiter is horrific as the resulting blast of thunder disintegrates two of the five DD Girls.

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Sailor Moon looks up, and the world seems to end. Her shock, the absolute silence, we know what we’re about to see.

Brilliantly timed, perfectly foreshadowed

Brilliantly timed, perfectly foreshadowed

Jupiter is mortally wounded. A giant ice sculpture formed from the explosion she caused, and it’s a really fascinating, beautiful and haunting image seeing her so battered lying atop it.

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Sailor Moon tries to get to her, of course, but with a final “cheer up…” Sailor Jupiter dies.

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Are you crying yet?

Are you crying yet?

The emotion evident in the deeply sensitive Sailor Moon is gut-wrenching, as is a final sad shot of Makoto waving goodbye. If you’re a kid who loved this show, tuning every week, I don’t understand how you could watch this without being traumatised for life.

Still, if you have to go, Sailor Jupiter’s death is was pretty fucking badass.

Sailor Moon is understandably horrified at Jupiter’s death, and refuses to go on. She starts screaming, offering the Silver Crystal, not wanting to go through this anymore.

Some might say that Sailor Moon is extremely weak in this episode. The other girls remain (mostly) stoic, understanding that they have to finish the job, while Sailor Moon falls apart. I identify with Sailor Moon completely, however. Upon the death of a close friend, the majority of us would act the same. It’s her grief that gives this episode so much pathos, as it’s the viewer’s entry into how they should feel. Screen writing 101, bitches.

As Sailor Moon is on the verge of having a complete meltdown, Sailor Mercury steps up and administers the “you’re being hysterical!” slap from 1950’s cinema. Mercury’s line, “Please understand. Don’t waste Jupiter’s death” may be one of the most beautifully sad lines delivered in this episode, if there weren’t so many others.

"I've been waiting for an excuse to do that for months."

“I’ve been waiting for an excuse to do that for months.”

Even then, Sailor Moon doesn’t look convinced.

Mercury’s computer informs her that the enemies are returning, and Sailor Mars and Venus step up, ready for a fight. Mercury, however, has other plans. She convinces the others to go on while she holds them up, under the reasoning that Mars and Venus are far more powerful than she.

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I’ve spent the series mocking Sailor Mercury’s weak and pointless attacks, but seeing her frankly admit this, and using it as a reasoning for her sacrifice, is disturbing.

The other Senshi leave Mercury. This is yet another gut-wrenching scene. It’s the fact that they all know what’s going to happen, even Sailor Moon, who seems just bewildered that they’re leaving Mercury behind. It makes what happens that much more horrifying, for me at least.

Leaving your friend for dead can't be a great experience

Leaving your friend for dead can’t be a great experience

Poor Mercury. She’s shown illusions of her own, this time of lame-ass Urawa, if you remember him. Mercury seems happy than anything else that she qualifies as having an attachment strong enough that the monster would try and exploit it.

When that illusion gets no response, a giant fireball seems to emerge from the ground, ready to engulf her.

Now, time for the only decent use of Bubble Spray. What a time to use it. Mercury uses the attack on herself, wrapping herself in a protective layer.

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“Finally! I KNEW it would be useful!”

Mercury goal is to be able to stop the power of illusions that the DD Girls have, seeing as it’s the most destructive of all their attacks.

Inside the fireball, Mercury is treated to the same crushing vines from the monsters as Jupiter was. As in evident horrific pain as she is, Mercury finds the strength enough to use her super computer one last time – as a bludgeon on the head of the lead DD Girl, destroying a stone that gave her the power of illusions.

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That's the way they use iPhones in Glasgow

That’s the way they use iPhones in Glasgow

She’s left broken upon an ice shard as Jupiter was, and with a farewell shot from Ami, Sailor Mercury dies too.

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Are you bawling yet? Because I was.

Bye Ami...

Bye Ami…

Sailor Moon felt the moment when Mercury died, and falls apart again. Her desolation is painful to watch, but Sailor Mars tries some tough love, telling her not to cry every time someone dies.

With Sailor Moon still paralysed by grief, Sailor Venus notices that the DD Girls are about to attack her from beneath, and pushes her out of the way!

Uh oh, I see where this is going

Uh oh, I see where this is going

Venus is lifted into the air by more horrible-looking vines. There’s something about how helpless she looks that really gets me here.

She’s sucked into a deep hole in the ground by the monsters, who proceed, naturally, to torture her. Unable to help Venus, Mars drags Sailor Moon off as really quite awful screaming begins.

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This truly is an exercise of masochism for the viewer.

Before she dies, Sailor Venus manages to fire off a Crescent Beam right into the face of a DD Girl. Good on you, V. You’ve got to take your small victories as you find ’em.

This is an awesome kill

This is an awesome kill

Sailor Venus is left dead upon another ice pillar, her body looking disturbingly lifeless.

...this is a less-than-awesome kill

…this is a less-than-awesome kill

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With only Sailor Mars and Sailor Moon left alive, we all know where this is going.

So does Sailor Mars. Looking surprisingly serene, she gives the one line that, above all else, brought me to uncontrollable weeping:

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“We always fought, but it was fun.”

It’s seemingly innocuous by itself, but taking into account a series of bickering between the two, as well as the acceptance of her fate, and the voice actress’ warm delivery, it really is heart-breaking.

The remaining DD Girls approach, and Sailor Moon begins to beg Mars to go home, promising that she’ll beat the monsters and Queen Beryl by herself, if Mars just goes home.

Mars does not go home.

She tries to shoot off a Fire Soul at the DD Girls, but they’re too fast and fly into the ground. There’s a horrible moment of inaction, where nothing happens, and then…

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The ground engulfs Sailor Mars, cutting her off mid-scream. It’s horrible. Sailor Moon thinks so too. She’s completely gone at this point.

This is probably the most disturbing visage of the episode

This is probably the most disturbing visage of the episode

She doesn’t even raise a hand to defend herself as one of the DD Girls shoots out from under the ground and attacks her.

Once again, however, she’s saved. Mars destroys the attacking monster from inside the rock mound with a Fire Soul. How the hell did she even aim? Who cares, she’s awesome.

Sailor Mars is so cool

Sailor Mars is so cool

…Until the remaining monster defeat’s Sailor Mars and drops her body upon the ground.

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As the final DD Girl rises up to attack Sailor Moon, Sailor Mars has her final revenge. She grabs the monster’s vines and, I can’t express this enough, has the coolest fucking look on her face as she blows the bitch away with one final Fire Soul.

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Such a badass

Such a badass

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BUUURN you bastarding monster

This final attack was too much for our beloved Rei-chan.

It’s at this point that the orchestral version of Heart Moving begins to play and I lose my shit completely. Seriously, with the heart rendering music, and the beautiful way that Sailor Mars dies upon the ice, the entire team of Sailor Moon must be commended. After 23 hours of Sailor Moon thus far, it’s peaked at this moment.

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful or so sad?

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful or so sad?

Sailor Mars wishes she had kissed Yuichiro after all, and with a final smile from Rei-chan, she dies.

:-(

:-(

Sailor Moon, now left alone in the fucking North Pole, is completely bereft. The image of her sitting alone on the ice is deeply affecting.

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Not sad enough for you? Well let’s crank it up a notch shall we?

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A ghostly hand appears on Sailor Moon’s shoulder. It’s an ethereal, beautifully drawn Sailor Jupiter, quickly joined by Sailor Mercury and Sailor Venus, all telling her to cheer up.

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Finally, the voice of Sailor Mars tells Usagi that they’ll always be together, and that’s pretty much it for my tear ducts, they just won’t stop.

"We'll always be together."

“We’ll always be together.” Ok now you guys are just being mean to me

Sailor Moon, a sad smile on her face, runs towards the Dark Kingdom.

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This writing is unbefuckinglievable. In any other situation, having the ghostly forms of the recently departed would be corny. Such is the balance that Sailor Moon hit that it not only got away with it, it turned it into something moving.

The true grief of this scene doesn’t come from simply the deaths of characters you come to truly adore over a series, it’s something more. It’s the same bittersweet emotions invoked by the song Heart Moving – among all the death and tragedy, there’s something worth getting up for, fighting for.

Now I sound corny as hell. My point is that the level of writing was such that they did not just want to devastate their young viewers like sick emotional sadists, they were trying to make something wonderful, and they succeeded.

For me, in all my life, I’ve never found any other piece of media quite as affecting as this episode of Sailor Moon, which is sad in a way. It’s sweet, and painful, and captures the very essence of a “beautiful sadness”.

The episode ends ominously.

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In the Dark Kingdom, Endymion’s recuperation under the influence of Queen Metalia’s energy seems to have finished.

He steps out with a creepy smile and horrid, blank eyes.

So there you have it, a deeply traumatic episode that’s executed perfectly. Sorry the jokes were a little thin on the ground for this review but, hey, it’s sort of hard to crack wise when your drying your eyes and typing at the same time.

Goddamn I’m lame.

Episode Score: 5/5

Pictures thankfully captured by The Oracle.

31 Comments »

  1. Oh holy fuck.

    This episode, dude. This FUCKING episode.

    I know from the Internet that there is in fact a Senshi for every planet in the Solar System — except Earth which gets Tuxedo Kamen, which makes me feel like we got SEVERELY ripped off — but when you ask me who the Sailor Senshi are, it’s these five: Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus.

    This is it. This is the team, right here. And aside from Our Heroine Of The Dumpling-Hair, this is the episode where they ALL. DIE. HORRIBLY.

    Like you, I totally felt Usagi’s grief and pain and terror at losing one after the other of these beautiful, powerful young women I’ve come to idolize and respect. My two favorites dying first and last, in probably the most prolonged deaths in the episode, were just salt in the wound.

    I, a 32-year-old man, sobbed like an infant watching them go out one after the other.

    But their deaths, traumatic as they were, also served a greater purpose. Each of them took out a Youma, except Ami, who took away their most hurtful power (for all the good it did Minako and Rei). More importantly, they motivated Usagi in a way she’d never been motivated before.

    I’d argue that this marks the permanent death of the Usagi Tsukino we saw in the first season — the spoiled, weak-willed crybaby who whines about everything and doesn’t understand that most of her misfortune is her own doing. In her place (at least after the Season 2 opener brings her back) is the Usagi we come to know throughout the rest of the series, someone who understands the risks and dangers of being a Senshi even if she can still act self-centered sometimes — okay, a lot of the time.

    Because something about watching your best friends die in front of you forces you to grow the hell up real quick.

    • Yeah… this episode is one of the most traumatic things I have ever seen. I still can’t believe they had the guts and artistic vision to go through with it. They make you feel every one of those deaths. I still get very emotional.

      Just thinking about this is getting me a bit anxious sitting here at work, so I shan’t go into it, but I’ll tell you that writing the blog on this episode was simultaneously painful and cathartic. Strange how a kids’ anime could have so much pathos.

  2. You want to know what makes this episode ironic? It’s in the way it handled the Inner Senshi’s deaths, as compared to how Dragon Ball Z killed off its characters.

    When I first watched the Vegeta arc, I thought that all those Z-Fighters coming to fight Vegeta and Nappa were Goku’s team. Unfortunately, they weren’t, because their power levels were too low, and they were only there to delay the two until Goku arrived. In other words, they were DEPENDENT on Goku to save them at the last minute, and died as useless victims as a result.

    The four Inner Senshi, on the other hands were the ones who rescued Usagi at their own expenses, rather than the other way around. Unlike Goku’s friends, who died as worthless victims, the Inner Senshi all died heroes, obliterating each and every one of the DD Girls (plus an illusion device in Ami’s case) and thus clearing a path for Usagi toward the final battle.

    And yet, the Inner Senshi were all girls, compared to the Z-Fighters who fought Vegeta, and eventually Frieza, being mostly male. Normally, when women die, they die as victims just to move their male counterparts’ character-arcs forward. But when male characters die, they sacrifice themselves as heroes instead of go down as victims, just so that they could be brought back better than ever.

    The Inner Senshi and the Z-Fighters almost felt like the reverse. Four girls whose deaths were portrayed as heroic sacrifices designed to protect Usagi, compared to a whole slew of men who went down like victims who were overly dependent on Goku to save them.

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