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1:46 – Usagi’s Everlasting Wish! A New Reincarnation

Alternative Title: Moon Prism Reset Button Power, Make Up!

First Aired: 27th February 1993

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After leaving behind her fallen comrades, Sailor Moon heads towards a final conflict with Queen Beryl. She must, however, face the greatest obstacle of all – a reinvigorated Endymion, saturated with Metalia’s evil power that even her Moon Healing Escalation cannot breach. With such terrible adversity, can Sailor Moon rise above it and become the Princess Serenity she was born to be?

Here it is – the final episode of the first season. It still feels like a dream that I’ve managed to get this far with the Pretty Soldier Project. I never believed I would have been able to stick with such a regular schedule as I have.

The timing of this blog is fortuitous. With the rebooted Sailor Moon series now set for a global July release, it’s even more interesting to look back at the incredible series that started it all.

This episode certainly doesn’t rip you apart emotionally as the previous episode does (hooo boy that was rough), but as a capstone to the series, it’s a pretty darn lovely, and frequently heart-breaking, episode.

The episode opens with Sailor Moon at the (metaphorical) gates of the Dark Kingdom. After all it took to get here, the actual “Kingdom” itself is a bit of a letdown – it’s just a big smelly hole in the ground, with wafting waves of purple energy. It reminds me inexorably of the Northern Crater in Final Fantasy VII, but that’s neither here nor there.

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Sailor Moon’s thoughts are dominated, naturally one might think, of her recently-deceased friends. They are, in fact, the true motivation for Sailor Moon at this point. She’s not even thinking about Endymion, a point which I feel is rather important, as we”ll see.

"Endy-whatsit now?"

“Endy-whatsit now?”

Queen Beryl, rather than, I dunno, just sending out a bunch of monsters to kill her, decides to whip Sailor Moon right into the throne room via a big red teleportation ball.

This is the Dark Kingdom's version of tea-bagging

This is the Dark Kingdom’s version of tea-bagging

Queen Beryl’s reveal is pretty darn disturbing. It’s odd to think that this is the first time she’s ever had any dialogue with a Sailor Senshi – she’s been such a consistent presence in the series for the viewers.

"...I'm not trying to make a point or anything, I just forgot to pay the energy bill."

“…I’m not trying to make a point or anything, I just forgot to pay the energy bill.”

Her creepy welcome is compounded by the reveal of a kneeling, and hand-smooching, Endymion, in full battle regalia.

"Hey, can I get up now? Your hand smells of bombay mix and desperation."

“Hey, can I get up now? Your hand smells of bombay mix and desperation.”

Seriously, he’s disturbing to the extreme in this episode. Queen Beryl, not wishing to preamble any longer, orders Endymion to kill the Princess, and he acts without hesitation.

"Oh come on Endymion, give us a cheesy line or two for old time's sake."

“Oh come on Endymion, give us a cheesy line or two for old time’s sake.”

Thus begins a deeply disturbing sequence of Sailor Moon and Endymion in a rather one-sided battle.

Sailor Moon does try a Moon Healing Escalation which, you may remember, worked the last time, but Queen Beryl kindly exposits that Endymion has such powerful dark energy from Metalia within him that he is un-Refreshable.

"Your kaleidoscopic powers have no effect on me, Moon-Woman."

“Your kaleidoscopic powers have no effect on me, Moon-Woman.”

Which pretty much leaves Sailor Moon completely fucked.

Endymion goes on the attack again, first slicing, then pulling out his signature black rose. Oh what’s the bad man gonna do with the widdle emo flower?

"I stayed up all night spray-painting a bouquet."

“I stayed up all night spray-painting a bouquet.”

Oh. Torture. That’s pretty messed up, Endy.

Messed up.

Messed up.

This scene is actually rather rough to watch. The attack itself is a bit silly, evil shocking flower vines, but it’s the reaction of the characters that make it distinctly uncomfortable. Endymion’s blank psychotic stare at watching the woman he supposedly loves in agony is bad enough, but Sailor Moon’s scream is fucking terrifying.

That thousand-yard psychotic stare is hella-scary

That thousand-yard psychotic stare is hella-scary

As much as I love Kotono Mistuishi’s perormance as Usagi and Sailor Moon, I think this episode actually benefits from having the replacement voice actress Kae Araki step in. You’ll remember that Mitsuishi was having a baby at this point, I think.

Araki sounds much younger, much more vulnerable than Mistuishi. As a result, these scenes of her in distress are that much more dire. I’m sure Mistuishi would have done an admirable job, but Araki has got heart-broken and tortured by the man you love DOWN.

Sailor Moon still can’t forget about Mamoru.

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And then as Sailor Moon is lying on the floor crying, “Mamoru” kicks her. Viciously.

MESSED UP. MESSED UP.

MESSED UP. MESSED UP. SO MESSED UP.

This is really unpleasant. It’s virtually spousal abuse. We’ve seen people being stabbed by giant vines or with giant crystals in the series before, but there’s something so mundane, so very realistic about a girl being kicked in the stomach by her lover while she’s weeping on the floor that sends shivers down my spine.

The abuse continues: now Endymion has her lifted off the ground by the throat, shocking her. Such is the level of pain that Sailor Moon is enduring that the screams of agony coming from her are really quite abominable. It’s fucked up. It really is.

Seriously, you guys. Messed up.

Seriously, you guys. Messed up.

Especially since Endymion is now smiling.

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I would almost say that it’s too much, especially for a children’s show, if it weren’t for what happens next.

Queen Beryl, giving exposition as ever, reminds the viewer that soon the sun will be covered in sunspots and Queen Metalia will be revived. As if that were worse than the abuse Sailor Moon is currently experiencing.

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Beryl finally seems bored by the torture and orders Endymion to “cut off the Princess’ head.” It really is chilling to the bone to realise that Endymion is willing to do this, getting out his sword and advancing on Sailor Moon.

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Now, it get’s really, really interesting here.

Sailor Moon, battered (a term used with meaningful precision here), is reaching for her Moon Stick, evidently to attempt to turn Endymion away from the dark. It may be useless, but she has to turn him back to good.

Queen Beryl, laughing and expositing even more, speaks of how Queen Metalia will fill the world with darkness using Sailor Moon’s Ginzuishou (Silver Crystal). Her taunt of “Everything you have been doing will have been meaningless!” finally stokes a fire in Sailor Moon like nothing else.

Just to bum you out, here's another shot from last episode

Just to bum you out, here’s another shot from last episode

She had seemed to almost accept her fate at the hands of Wife-Beater Endymion, but the memory of Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and Mars laying dead on the snow outside seems to harden her resolve.

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So what does she do? Try and “save” her lover by grabbing the Moon Stick once more?

No. She chooses self-preservation with a Moon Tiara Action.

Yeah, FUCK HIM UP SAILOR MOON

Yeah, FUCK HIM UP SAILOR MOON

This is one of the most important decisions Usagi’s character will ever make, and let me explain why. She progressed from a passive character, unable to fight back against the man she loves, continuing to try and save him, into using an attack that could probably very well have killed him. She stands up for herself.

The motivation of the other Senshi’s deaths reminded Sailor Moon of her purpose – it isn’t to save Endymion, something she doesn’t even know if she can do, it’s to honour what the Senshi sacrificed their lives for, to defeat Queen Beryl and Metalia.

I won’t suggest that the writers saw this as an allegory for the physical abuse of women, but the comparisons are certainly there.

Sailor Moon seems shocked by her actions herself. Her heavy breathing and out-stretched arm feel very organic, and we can see that the action cost her something.

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Endymion, however, is very much alive, if brutally injured. Queen Beryl exposits AGAIN that Endymion has too great dark energy within him to be defeated easily, and Sailor Moon looks utterly crushed.

Quick, kick him in the balls and run away

Quick, kick him in the balls and run away

Endymion looks absolutely manic by this point, and raises his sword to strike her. Sailor Moon’s broken and pathetic plea for Endymion to stop really is heartbreaking.

So what can she do?

She looks adorably heart-broken, that's what

She looks adorably heart-broken, that’s what

Sailor Moon offers the Moon Pendant once more to Endymion in a last-ditch attempt to break through to him. I’m not sure she expected this to work at all, but seeing her bear her soul to Endymion one last time, it’s the logical conclusion to reach.

Endymion actually pauses at the sound of the Moon Pendant, and Sailor Moon’s declaration of love, which feels remarkably genuine for a bloody kid’s anime, causes Endymion to reach out and touch the pendant…

This is why you don't touch stuff proffered by random strangers

This is why you don’t touch stuff proffered by random strangers

And glowy shit happens! Endymion is being Refreshed!

Is this a Deus Ex Machina? I don’t think so. In fact, I think has been heavily foreshadowed throughout the series. If you remember, Nephrite’s Dark Crystal could not tell apart the energy of the Silver Crystal and “Love”. This “Love” energy that Nephrite stole from Naru all those episodes ago was, in fact, extremely powerful, so much so that Queen Beryl was willing to overlook his recent failures in the face of such power.

Who could forget this guy?

Who could forget this guy?

Add on to this the fact that Endymion had previous said that the music of the Moon Pendant threw his “heart into confusion”, and that the pendant became a physical representation of the love between Prince Endymion and Princess Serenity, and this ending is the perfect close of that story arc.

The pendant, the representation of their love that spanned lifetimes, had become so powerful that it purged Queen Metalia’s energy from Endymion’s body, something that even the Ginzuishou couldn’t do.

So, Endymion, or should I say Mamoru, seems to have gotten his memory back. We see inside his head his feelings at having been left an orphan with memory loss at the age of 6 or so. “I’m all alone!” he whines. Usagi appears to comfort the boy, who turns into a grown-ass Mamoru when she says, and this really chokes me up, “You have me.”

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Aww. Seriously fucking aww.

Yes it’s cheesy as hell, but you know what? With all the death around you need a little cheese.

This scene will have extreme relevance in one of the Sailor Moon films, so don’t you forget it.

Mamoru falls into Sailor Moon’s arms. It’s really lovely.

FINALLY these kids can get together

FINALLY these kids can get together

But we totally forgot about Queen Beryl, didn’t we?

Oh FUCK

Oh FUCK

Beryl, over the last eon, has harbored a creepy obsession with Endymion. She does not take the latest rejection well.

She throws a massive black crystal at the two of them, exactly like (and this is the second Final Fantasy reference today) Edea throwing icicles in Final Fantasy VIII.

Mamoru, ever living up to his name (it means “to protect” in Japanese), throws a rose that shatters the crystal and flies straight into Beryl’s heart.

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At the same time, however, Mamoru takes several crystal shards into his back AGAIN. I think this is the third time this series. Mental.

"...again?"

“…again? My back already looks like mince meat.”

Queen Beryl’s not looking so hot. She’s got a ruddy rose sticking out of her chest. She bemoans Endymion’s betrayal, saying “If you had married me, you could have been king of all the worlds!” as if that were a good enough reason for doing so. She really seems sad and pathetic here.

Even worse, the rose begins to crack her skin like porcelain, revealing a horrible sickly shade of green beneath. What is up with this I can only imagine.

It's like stage 3 syphilis or something

It’s like stage 3 syphilis or something

The rose continues to burn Beryl (it’s loaded with more of that yummy love energy from Mamoru), and she melts into the floor (again, like Edea in Final Fantasy VIII. Seriously is this a coincidence or what?)

"SeeDS!?"

“SeeDS!?”

We see Beryl’s true motivation for all she does here: she cannot fathom how Endymion could love someone else. It’s not a desire to see Queen Metalia rule the Earth, or even power that she truly desires: it’s purely Endymion. And that’s pretty sad.

About here, the orchestral version of Heart Moving begins playing. If you haven’t realised the significance of that piece of music yet, you should know that some sad shit’s about to go down.

Mamoru is mortally wounded. So wounded, in fact, that his last words to Usagi come out in a hoarse whisper.

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“Hurry, leave this place. Go back to being an ordinary girl and find a cool boyfriend or something.”

“You’re the coolest, Mamoru.”

"Even though you're sometimes an obnoxious dick. Oh see now you're bleeding on me"

“Even though you’re sometimes an obnoxious dick. Oh see now you’re bleeding on me”

This might be funny if it were said in English. In Japanese, with Usagi smiling through her tears and Mamoru dying in her arms, it’s devastating.

He, too, dies. Sailor Moon has never been more alone. This is a ruthless show.

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Queen Beryl is a busy girl. After melting into the floor, she does to Metalia to beg for some power – not to complete Metalia’s revival, or even to save her life, but to “defeat that hateful girl!” – she’s a brilliantly single-minded and bloody antagonist worthy of Sailor Moon.

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Queen Metalia, sounding a little annoyed and resigned, says “fuck it, let’s do this thing” and inhabits Queen Beryl completely.

"Aw jeeze, do I have to? It's so warm in here."

“Aw jeeze, do I have to? It’s so warm in here.”

Sailor Moon, meanwhile, is about to kiss a dead guy. I guess it’s ok because he’s so recently dead, but necrophiliac kisses in Sailor Moon don’t actually end with this scene – again, wait for the reviews of the movies.

"He smells like death, but that's OK, he still looks solid enough."

“He smells like death, but that’s OK, he still looks solid enough.”

In the end, she decides not to kiss Mamoru, not because it’s frowned upon by near-all civilisations throughout history, but because the other Senshi all died without getting to kiss the one they loved. It’s a little weird, but hey, she’s in a dark place right now emotionally, and it’s sort of sweet she’s still thinking about her fallen friends. “I just can’t find happiness myself” is a defining characteristic of Usagi, and also not exactly applicable in this situation because Mamoru is already frickin’ dead.

Usagi walks away from Mamoru’s body resolved to finishing the job.

This is so fucking depressing, but in a really beautiful way

This is so fucking depressing, but in a really beautiful way

It may be a little tough, however, because Queen Beryl has taken Metalia’s evil crack and transformed into a giant flower-woman.

"Yo. This is what I do now."

“Yo. This is what I do now.”

This is another example of the weird flower motif of the Dark Kingdom coming back again, to great effect. Super Beryl is creepy, with her giant hair and blue-tinged skin.

The rarely seen side-effects of stage 4 syphilis

The rarely seen side-effects of stage 4 syphilis

Sailor Moon walks rather calmly towards Massive Beryl, and the big huge flower lady doesn’t even hesitate, instantly attacking her. Maybe if she was this prompt before we wouldn’t be here now, eh Beryl?

Her attack creates a massive pillar of ice, a little like when the other Senshi died on the ice. The difference being that the top flattens out. This imagery is just fantastic. It looks bloody gorgeous.

"Ow."

“Ow.”

Standing at the centre of the ice isn’t Sailor Moon – it’s Princess Serenity!

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BADASS

BADASS

We return to Tokyo briefly. All the lights of the city go out, and darkness begins to swirl above. Artemis realises that Metalia has been released.

Knowing what is going to happen, Luna starts off towards the Dark Kingdom crying. She realises that Usagi is going to use the Ginzuishou to its fullest extent, and that this will result in her death.

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Her affection for Usagi, so often lost in a cloud of snark and judgement, is really touching. I have to ask though – what did the cats think would happen? Surely they must have know this was the ultimate outcome? Oh well.

The battle betwixt Princess Serenity and Mega Beryl plays out like you might expect from most animes. It’s set to Miracle Romance, the Sailor Moon opening song, which gives it a great dramatic feel.

As if this wasn't dramatic enough

As if this wasn’t dramatic enough

Beryl throws dark energy, Serenity returns with the Ginzuishou, it’s the energy-blast duel we’ve come to see a lot. We can forgive the writers though – everything else has been exceedingly original and beautifully set, and this is the sort of ending you want at the end of 46 episodes.

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This is such a vindication of all the hours you've spent watching Usagi grow as a character

This is such a vindication of all the hours you’ve spent watching Usagi grow as a character

Serenity is having trouble against Beryl, but she asks for help from her friends. We get a lovely mini-montage of the other four Senshi, and then Serenity is joined by the ghostly figures of Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus once again, who lend their powers.

Yeeeah probably shed a tear or two here as well, for no real reason except that I felt I should

Yeeeah probably shed a tear or two here as well, for no real reason except that I felt I should

Yes it’s cheesy, but you know you love it. It’s only been an episode, but Sailor Moon with the Senshi dead is torment.

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Together, the Senshi throw a MASSIVE pink ball into Beryl’s face. You can actually *see* her disintegrate. It’s awesome. Seriously, well done animators.

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"I'm meeeelting oh what a world what a world..."

“I’m meeeelting oh what a world what a world…”

Serenity falls back and hits the ground as plain-old Sailor Moon. She’s not looking so good… and she too dies.

...Bummer

…Bummer

However!

It's like Akira, but without all the drugs and psychic-blowing-up of people

It’s like Akira, but without all the drugs and psychic-blowing-up of people

The energy release from the Ginzuishou expands outwards, absorbing Sailor Moon’s body, then Mamoru’s. As it travels further, (under the Northern Lights, which is a beautiful touch), and it absorbs the body of Sailor Mars, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter in turn, Usagi gives a voiceover, which is worth repeating her for it’s strange poignancy:

“When I wake up in the morning, a pure white curtain of lace is rustling in the breeze. The cuckoo clock in the room says it’s 7 o’clock, and Mum’s voice say’s “You’ll be late if you don’t get up!” I’m still half asleep, and I think, “Please let me sleep for 3 more minutes.” I’m late for school every single day like clockwork, my teacher makes me stand out in the hallway, and I still get failing grades of my tests.

The crepes we’d all eat on the way home. We’d gaze dreamily at a party dress in a shop window. The little things bring such joy and I’m happy.

I wish… I wish I could go back to that kind of normal life.”

It’s a brilliant summation of the series, and shows how far the series has come from its humble beginnings, as well as Usagi as a character. It’s also deeply sad.

You may remember that when Queen Serenity died using the Ginzuishou, she was able to transmigrate the dead into a new time through reincarnation. This ending of Usagi’s final wish being granted is foreshadowed by that event, so I’ll let them off on the fact that it feels a little like a cop-out.

It doesn’t matter if everyone comes back to life – it’s still a kid’s anime after all, and it’s the ending we want. They show you the mechanism by which it happens, and as such also avoids the Deus Ex Machina label.

So what does Usagi’s final wish bring? She’s late for school again, naturally.

They use footage from the first episode in the final sequence, and you can see how far the animation has come, too! You don’t realise it stacked side by side, but the confidence and skill of the animators has improved leaps and bounds.

As Usagi runs for school, she’s overtaken by Makoto, whom Usagi stares at resentfully, and without recognition.

She runs past Rei sweeping at the shrine. She runs past Minako anxiously waiting for a bus. She gets awful grades and stares jealously at the number one grade, Ami.

Artemis and Luna are surprised and gratified to find the girls all alive and well, but Luna remains sad that they’re all strangers now.

Artemis, in the only likable scene he’s in for this entire bloody series, tells Luna not to worry – they only need to meet each other again!

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“I finally managed to get that stick out of my arse, hence my pensive mood.”

It’s incredibly sweet, and sad, and satisfying. As Usagi is walking home with Naru, she gets frustrated with her 30% score on her English test and hurls it behind her.

Naturally, it hits Mamoru on the head, and her mocks her mercilessly through his stupid shades.

"What a silly girl. I hope I don't end up marrying and having kids with her."

“What a silly girl. I hope I don’t end up marrying and having kids with her.”

Naru asks Usagi if she doesn’t think that guy was sort of cool looking, and Usagi gets irate at this suggestion.

Yaaay Naru snuck in the last scene

Yaaay Naru snuck in the last scene

Usagi tells Naru of her romantic dream – “I’ll find a cool boyfriend who’ll protect me no matter what!”  and I shed a tear, a tear of happiness no less, as credits role.

That's the dream!

That’s the dream!

What a great episode, what a great ending to a great series. I cannot stress this enough – this is one of the best animes ever produced, and this episode justifies the ridiculous number of hours I’ve poured into this blog.

I appologise that this post has gotten out of hand on the word count, but I really found every point of the episode worth picking over.

I’ll be wrapping up my thoughts of the series as a whole, as well as a few other bits and bobs, but expect reviews of the second series of Sailor Moon to commence in a couple of weeks.

Episode Score: 5/5 (of COURSE)

22 Comments »

  1. Just gonna put this out there, Final Fantasy VII is my favorite video game of all time. I love that you referenced it (and one of the admittedly cooler things about its IMO-less-awesome sequel) in this review.

    I wasn’t *as* ripped apart by this as I was by Episode 45, but that was because of two things.

    1) I do not like Mamoru. At least not as much as his role in the show suggests I should. More on him elsewhere, once I can order my Tuxedo Thoughts into something like a semblance of cohesion.

    and

    2) Usagi fixes literally everything.

    That second part is more of a *squee!* on my part than a gripe. Usagi’s wish for the resurrection of her friends and her love, and the safety of her world, makes such a perfect emotional sense I’m willing to throw logic and the usual tiresome gripes about Deus ex Machinae out the window. I’m so much a sucker for happy endings that I think it was completely worth it in the end.

    Plus, that final battle with Beryltalia was absolutely stunning. The equivalent fight in Crystal had me cheering, but this? This was great.

    • Good to hear!

      This episode could never been as cruel and beautifully sad as 45, but I still get emotional over Mamoru’s death, not because I’m particularly attached to him, but because of Usagi’s complete and utter devastation. It’s such torture for her in these two episodes, with one tragedy on top of another. Her reaction as he dies… man, that gets me every time.

      As for the happy ending, yeah it is totally deus ex machina, the holy reset button, but I don’t mind. In fact, I like it. The battle still cost them something. The girls walking around not knowing each other seems a fitting trade for all they went through, and it’s not as though this wasn’t foreshadowed with Queen Serenity’s original transmigration.

      And I like happy endings too, but it’s even better when it’s tinged with sadness as this was.

      As for Crystal, and the manga, it’s not even close to achieving the levels of pathos as the original anime. When the four Senshi appear beside Princess Serenity and offer their power to her from death… gosh.

      • I know! The ending to the first arc of Crystal was not remotely as strong as this episode and i was somewhat disappointed. I grew up watching the dub (which cut out the actual death scenes and the more horrific violence from evil Endymion) so i was quite shocked the first time i watched the uncut sub. As much as i generally prefer it now, i still have to watch the final fight dubbed right after, i just love the song ‘Carry on’ :)

  2. I wonder what would have happened to the fandom if this series ended with everybody dying without the reincarnation wish by Usagi. That would’ve been number 1 in saddest endings in anime. I remember that’s what Naoko wanted to do. Ami was suppose to lose a body part in the manga and die dramatically but a bit glad that didn’t happen.

    • She’s talked about how her editor had to beg for her not to, you know, go full-on crazy. It was the right decision, her best work was yet to come I think.

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