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2:27 – Defeat Rubeus! The Final Battle in Space

Alternative Title: You Needed a 7 Year Old As Your Backup?

First Aired: 13th November 1993

Rubeus burns to death

Rubeus delivers Sailor Moon an ultimatum: deliver the Ginzuishou and The Rabbit to him in his UFO and he’ll let the rest of the Sailor Senshi, abducted in the previous episode, live. Usagi knows that it’s hopeless, and against the advice and knowledge of Mamoru, Luna and Artemis, hands herself over, but not before Chibi-Usa, racked with guilt, tags along. Despite the odds heavily against them, they fight back against Rubeus with all their strength, together.

After last week’s rather disappointing set-up, this episode blows me away. I love a lot about this; Chibi-Usa redeems herself, Usagi’s character development reaches a turning point, and Sailor Moon gets to kick ass, just being assisted, without being rescued by her friends or a dude.

Great art, great writing, great great great fucking demise for Rubeus. That guy can burn in hell. Or in space.

We left off last episode with Rubeus, triumphant, lording it above Usagi, Chibi-Usa and Tuxedo Kamen. Instead of pressing the advantage and just murdering everything, he offers a deal, shouting out to Sailor Moon (although he doesn’t know she’s right beneath him).

"Also, bring me a Wendys meal. Ive been wanting to try one of those square burgers, like, FOREVER."

“Also, bring me a Wendy’s meal. I’ve been wanting to try one of those square burgers, like, FOREVER.”

These questionable actions are probably more a result of the dodgy writing of the previous episode leaving the characters in such a precarious position than any actually planning.

He looks pretty damn dangerous floating up there. Usagi, Tux and Chibi-Usa are hiding in an alley, which is quite unlike them. Their fear and helplessness is quite effective in this episode’s set-up. I like it a lot.

"I know I should be really worried for your friends, Usagi, but Ive just stepped in an old burrito and thats more of a pressing issue."

“I know I should be really worried for your friends, Usagi, but I’ve just stepped in an old burrito and that’s more of a pressing issue.”

Rubeus demands that Sailor Moon show up with the Ginzuishou and The Rabbit at the same spot in 3 hours (I guess he likes them to stew for a bit), lest he kill off the other Senshi.

Right this very second I would totally hand over Chibi-Usa, except for that I reckon he’d do me in too. Maybe my mind will change over the course of the episode, however.

Rubeus is looking pretty badass today.

High above the Earth, the Black Moon UFO hovers like a dark star. I’ll reiterate how much I love its design, both inside and out. The effect of seeing the planet high up is fantastic too, makes Rubeus seem that much larger and oppressive.

So cool. I know its evil and all, but I want NASA to take notes on design

So cool. I know its evil and all, but I want NASA to take notes on design

His smug musings are rent, once again, by that horrid screeching we’ve come to know as Esmeraude’s voice. Goddamn I hate this thing. Especially her stupid fluffy fan. I guess they wanted something to contrast with all the green, and all the bitch-face.

"I stare at the mirror for 4 hours a day to practice this look just to make you feel bad about yourself."

“I stare at the mirror for 4 hours a day to practice this look just to make you feel bad about yourself.”

She taunts Rubeus for a bit, the usual stuff of in-fighting, although she does ask the question that we all had: why didn’t Rubeus just kill The Rabbit when he had the chance?

His response is: “A woman like you wouldn’t understand”, to which I say, go cut off your dick, Future Space Misogynist Man. Apparently he just wants a challenge or something like that. Truth is, he just wanted to ensure he had to Ginzuishou too, just to make sure he didn’t get fired.

Rubeus reveals his trump card: the Sailor Senshi are all unconscious and.. well.. easier to show then to tell:

Yeeeah not sure I quite understand the reference, but A for effort

Yeeeah not sure I quite understand the reference, but A for effort

So… I’m not quite getting the Christian allegory, but the sight is arresting enough. There’ll be time enough for heavy-handed Judeo-Christian symbolism in Sailor Moon series 3.

All I know is that these girls genuinely seem in danger today.

Then he gives another creepy face.

Best creepy face of the day

Best creepy face of the day. Looks like a Yoshitaka Amano illustration

Back at Mamoru’s place, Chibi-Usa is looking worried and guilty on his rooftop. Mamoru joins her, and Chibi-Usa expresses mild surprise that he was, in fact, Tuxedo Kamen. Not nearly enough – for one it was painfully obvious (who else would buy a Tuxedo Kamen puppet?), and for another, she says “Nothing surprises me anymore, because who would have thought that Usagi was Sailor Moon?”

You know what…? Good point.

Chibi-Usa having an epistemological breakdown over Usagi being Sailor Moon

Chibi-Usa having an epistemological breakdown over Usagi being Sailor Moon

We find out that Chibi-Usa has returned the Transformation Broach to Usagi, and there’s no bitterness in Chibi-Usa – only regret. They’re doing a good job with her writing today.

Mamoru finally gets his chance to grill Chibi-Usa on what she was planning to do with the Ginzuishou: return to the future and use it to save her Mama.

Despite Mamoru being a complete dick to anyone else who tried to wrest information out of this stubborn and apparently ignorant child, he finally snaps a bit when she can’t tell him what happened in the future. FINALLY.

"TELL ME. Do I still look fabulous in the future?"

“TELL ME. Do I still look fabulous in the future?”

But apparently no one told Chibi-Usa shit, all she knows is that bad guys turned up and hurt her mum. Convenient for plot purposes, but seriously, who thought it was a good idea to keep this kid completely in the dark?

We get a funny little cut away of a news report discussing the UFO – finally Japan is actually reacting to all the supernatural shit going on in Tokyo.

The show is being watched by a worried Luna and Artemis, but Usagi can’t handle the pressure of just waiting around. Her anxiety and powerlessness is spot on. I love her in this episode, she’s so compelling to watch today.

She says, emotionally and callously, that she doesn’t care if Chibi-Usa is being hunted: “I can’t protect a girl like her any more! I almost want to give the Ginzuishou and Chibi-Usa to the enemy to get my friends back. Besides, if she had never shown up here, this town would still be peaceful.”

"Also she wet my bed that one time."

“Also she wet my bed that one time.”

It’s shocking, and it’s meant to be. It’s also meant to be the option that everyone thinks of, but dare not give voice to. It’s fantastic writing, especially the follow up of Luna and Artemis in horror at her words. Luna asks her if she seriously meant what she just said…

How could I have been serious? But I’m not grown-up enough to stay tough in this kind of situation.”

As she breaks into helpless tears, it always gets to me. A kid’s show has no place being this excellent in its writing. Usagi loves Chibi-Usa, despite it all, and even though she knows that it’s an option, she could never, ever betray her.

It’s super touching. What a great show.

Usagi tells the cats that she’s going get some fresh air on the balcony while the others come up with a good plan. Oh you poor simple kitties.

"They may be able to talk, but their brains are still the size of a walnut"

“They may be able to talk, but their brains are still the size of a walnut”

Usagi has another brilliant monologue here. It’s a little on the nose, and there’s no reason she should be speaking to herself, but it’s superb anyway.

Another great shot

Another great shot

After a long, hard pause, she looks up, revealing that she plans to go to the UFO by herself, in the hopes that bringing the Ginzuishou will make Rubeus lower his guard. It’s a bit of a hopeless gamble, but as Usagi says, she can’t expose Chibi-Usa to any more danger.

We so rarely see Usagi so serious that its super effective

We so rarely see Usagi so serious that its super effective

“If this had happened a while ago, I would have no problem saying, I’m sleepy! or I’m scared! or I don’t want to go there by myself!”

It’s proof of how far Usagi has come. Even by the end of the first series, Usagi was a weak character who found her resolve in the face over overwhelming difficulty. She’s grown. She may not be the ultimate cool warrior that you might expect, but her development and strength of will is so admirable here.

Maybe I’m pushing this a little strong. I’m just adamant that this is one of Usagi’s best character moments in any episode of Sailor Moon.

The cats, meanwhile, are discussing tactics in doors. They’re discussing… disguising themselves as Chibi-Usa in an attempt to trick Rubeus. The way they imagine it would go is pretty much what would happen.

Maybe Rubeus is really short-sighted?

Maybe Rubeus is really short-sighted?

Mamoru rushes in freaking out like crazy, yo! The front door is wide open and “Usako” (he’s still using that term of endearment) has disappeared. Mamoru knows exactly where she’s gone. Bit of an oversight by the cats not to have suspected that Usagi might do this.

Chibi-Usa looks even more distraught as ever by the thought that she’s sent Usagi off to die alone and, as such…

When Mamoru turns around to see Chibi-Usa vanished, the look on his face is priceless. He has a rather great line, too:

“Both of them had the same idea! Unbelievable! They think alike as if they were identical twins!”

"Something tells me that theyre ALMOST like the SAME PERSON like the SHARE half their GENETICS."

“Something tells me that theyre ALMOST like the SAME PERSON like the SHARE half their GENETICS.”

Well, not exactly, but close enough, Mamo-chan.

When Rubeus returns in his UFO, Sailor Moon is looking pretty darn adamant. Rubeus thanks Sailor Moon for coming, and for bringing the Rabbit along with her, to which Sailor Moon gives  a great WTF moment.

"Hey, he really is short-sighted..."

“Hey, he really is short-sighted…”

So Chibi-Usa has come along too, despite everyone’s best efforts to keep her safe. A bit like Harry Potter and the Marauder’s Map, one might say. Before Sailor Moon can tell her to fuck off, it’s too late, they’re both caught in the UFO’s tractor beam.

"At least now I have a human shield, so swings and roundabouts."

“At least now I have a human shield, so swings and roundabouts.”

Mamoru turns up too late. As usual. I do like seeing him in emotional turmoil.

With her crucified friends behind him, Sailor Moon instantly tries to bluff against Rubeus, laughing at him for thinking that she’d actually bring the real Rabbit. It’s quite funny seeing her try to pull off pretending that Chibi-Usa is just her cousin.

"Also Im not really here - youre just dreeeeeaming."

“Also I’m not really here – you’re just dreeeeeaming.”

Rubeus actually seems worried for a second, but figures he can find out the truth after he checks her cold corpse.

Now the battle begins. Sailor Moon kindly tells Chibi-Usa to fuck off behind a bookcase or something, as the UFO ascends into space… The escape strategy is going to be tough.

The fight doesn’t begin well. Sailor Moon is being knocked about a bit. Rather unpleasant to watch. Her Moon Princess Halation attack  is rather ominously launched without the usual fanfare music, telling you something’s going to go wrong.

"I hope you like my UFO. I colour-coded my outfit especially for this occasion."

“I hope you like my UFO. I colour-coded my outfit especially for this occasion.”

Nice effect that, one you wouldn’t have anticipated.

Rubeus is cheating – is UFO is providing him with a barrier that protects him from her attacks. Furthermore, there’s also gravity-o-meter that pushes Sailor Moon down onto the ground.

I couldn’t leave this moment without a reference to that episode of Dragon Ball Z with all the gravity, so there it is and I’m not returning to it again.

I love the effect the gravity has on her rabbit hair.

"Should have gone bald before I came up here."

“Should have gone bald before I came up here.”

As Rubeus uses the UFO to throw Sailor Moon around the room with gravity attacks, Chibi-Usa astutely notices that big black crystals are flashing every time he draw power. Very much like a boss battle in a computer game, that, but it gives Chibi-Usa something to do.

Chibi-Usa first tries getting to the other Sailor Senshi, and it looks rather hopeful for a second, but then-

THATLL TEACH YOU TO STEAL STUFF. If only Karma were real

THAT’LL TEACH YOU TO STEAL STUFF. If only Karma were real

Ouchies. It’s always horrible seeing this little girl get hurt, but today it’s really rather nasty. The pain from the invisable barrier sets off her energy peak, which tells Rubeus plainly that Chibi-Usa is most definitely the Rabbit.

Not learning a goddamn thing, Chibi-Usa immediately tries to run into the barrier again. OK, that time she sort of deserved it, but now she’s forming a plan.

Rubeus continues attacking Sailor Moon, who is just tanking blows. Honestly, every time she hits the ground it looks painful. Really feeling for her today.

This is how I feel every morning

This is how I feel every morning

Despite the incredible gravity, we get another scene of Sailor Moon’s resolve as she stands up regardless. She looks bad ass. This is the Sailor Moon I like, even if it serves nothing whatsoever.

Now the battle starts in earnest, as Rubeus chooses to revert gravity back to normal and attack with energy blasts against Sailor Moon’s Moon Princess Halation.

We get the classic energy-on-energy fight, which looks great, even if it’s a little derivative.

She means business today. You can tell because there are even more fashionable pink lights

She means business today. You can tell because there are even more fashionable pink lights

The difference here is Chibi-Usa – she tries to break the black crystals that seems to be granting Rubeus his amplified powers, but they’re shocking her something fierce. This girl can tank too, she’s taking quite a lot of punishment today.

Hrmmm now that I pause on this frame it doesnt look entirely... innocent?

Hrmmm now that I pause on this frame it doesn’t look entirely… innocent?

I love this dual-nature of the battle, that Sailor Moon is being aided by this little stubborn girl. It’s a great pay off for all the shit they’ve been giving each other all series.

Finally, as Sailor Moon goes down, Rubeus moves in on Chibi-Usa to prevent her from breaking his power amplifiers, but just as he takes his eye off the battle-

"Surely nothing can go wrong as I pause and turn my back in the midst of battle and- OW SHIT."

“Surely nothing can go wrong as I pause and turn my back in the midst of battle and- OW SHIT.”

BAM! Sailor Moon in for the surprise attack! I love this moment.

Sailor Moon yells for Chibi-Usa to pull the lead out, and her energy blast forehead thing is the key to pulling the black crystal out of the ground, causing Rubeus to get a full blast.

Always nice seeing him tossed aside like a doll. Such a great episode.

Alas, that crystal also appeared to be powering the whole goddamn ship. Everything starts falling apart, and a rather ominous siren starts. Even the Sailor Senshi are freed from their… crucifixes…? and awake to find themselves in goddamn space.

"Thank god Rubeus planted destructable crystals as the source of all his powers that a 7-year-old could pull out around the room"

“Thank god Rubeus planted destructable crystals as the source of all his powers that a 7-year-old could pull out around the room”

Sailor Moon and Chibi-Usa aren’t in great shape. The battle really cost them something, and I think that makes a great difference in this episode too, to show how far they’re willing to go for their friends.

Their reunion is cut short, however. Rubeus has gone a little nuts, laughing with glee that the UFO is on the verge of exploding in space, and not caring that he’s about to die either.

"Im so mad I took off one of my earrings. Thats REALLY mad just so you know"

“I’m so mad I took off one of my earrings. That’s REALLY mad just so you know”

Man, this guy is a sore loser. He couldn’t do one goddamn thing right. He deserves anything that’s coming to-

"OW. Fire extinguishers are just over there guys. No? Seriously?"

“OW. Fire extinguishers are just over there guys. No? Seriously?”

Well holy shit that looks like it hurt. None of the girls are particularly fussed that Rubeus just exploded in a fiery death ball in their face.

Now the Sailor Senshi have to figure out how the hell to get back down to Earth. The answer normally would be Sailor Teleport, but not only is Sailor Moon exhausted, the extra burden of Chibi-Usa is too much, or so Negative Nancy Sailor Mars thinks.

"Lets just leave her. Shes dead weight."

“Lets just leave her. She’s dead weight.”

Mercury thinks it’ll be ok if they all try really, really hard. We all know how this is going to end, but I still love this added drama after the fierce battle. I feel like they put a lot in this episode.

Sailor Moon asks Chibi-Usa to help them, how neither of them are particularly sure, but I like how Sailor Moon promises to get her something nice when they make it home. Bit of a bribe, but it shows their relationship growing. Chibi-Usa goes for the easy option of pancakes, obviously.

Sailor Teleport is rather efficient today, they vanish instantly, and we linger in the fiery inferno of the UFO.

You may be wondering why we’re still here, until a charred Rubeus rolls out of the fire, having now successfully failed even to take the Sailor Senshi with him. Good job, jerk.

Esmeraude finally shows up, and her glee is infinite. This is definitely not the last sound you hear before you die – her goddamn cackling.

"GYA YA YA *hack* *hack* all this acrid smoke cant be good for my throat."

“GYA YA YA *hack* *hack* all this acrid smoke cant be good for my throat.”

Rubeus is glad to see her, under the stupid impression that she’s there to save him. Alas, his face when Esmeraude disavows him of this, is amazing.

"Tell you what, lick my fan and Ill give you some painkillers before I get the hell out of here."

“Tell you what, lick my fan and I’ll give you some painkillers before I get the hell out of here.”

Poor Rubeus dies alone, in space, screaming. DAAAAMN MAN. That’s cold. Or hot. Whatever.

"YOULL NEVER GET BACK THOSE DVDS I BORROWED...!"

“YOU’LL NEVER GET BACK THOSE DVDS I BORROWED…!”

Half of that explosion was fuelled solely by Rubeus ego

Half of that explosion was fuelled solely by Rubeus’ ego

The episode ends on a happy note quite at odds with the horrific death we just witnessed. Always gotta end happy, I guess. It’s approaching dawn – I love the ambiance – and as Chibi-Usa reminds Sailor Moon that she promised pancakes, our poor heroine is faced with the prospect of having to cook.

"Well that was far easier then we kept saying it was going to be."

“Well that was far easier then we kept saying it was going to be.”

I hate when scenes fade out on group laughter, but after all they’ve just been through, I guess I can go easy on them today.

"Hahahaha that guy totally just burned to death in front of us haha."

“Hahahaha that guy totally just burned to death in front of us haha.”

But it’s not over. In the heart of the Black Moon, Esmeraude is delivering her report on Rubeus being murdered “by the Sailor Senshi”, and we see this elusive Prince Dimande for the first time.

He’s… well… he’s pretty, rather dapper, has this apathetic air about him and a nonchalance reminiscent of Oscar Wilde. Even better, he’s always drinking wine. A shit ton of it. He can’t get enough, I’m surprise there aren’t any stains on his crisp suit.

"I have 54 identical outfits because I keep getting this Rosé all over me"

“I have 54 identical outfits because I keep getting this Rosé all over me”

I’d like Prince Dimande a lot more if he wasn’t a rapist, but more on that some other time.

It seems that Esmeraude is now up for the job of fucking with Earth.

The episode ends with the creepy-ass Dimande staring at a hologram of Neo Queen Serenity… and his gaze is not that of an enemy, but something far more insidious.

"Hey look guys, its like shes IN MY WINE haha oh my god Im so funny."

“Hey look guys, its like she’s IN MY WINE haha oh my god I’m so funny.”

I will get everything I want. Everything…“, he says. Told you, rapist.

"Good thing I wrote all the sexual assault laws in the Black Moon."

“Good thing I wrote all the sexual assault laws for the Black Moon.”

 

Episode Score: 5/5 (LOVE this)

Rubeus’ Death Score: 5/5 (Exploding spaceship while screaming? HELL YES.)

Dimande’s Creep-O-Meter: 83%

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11 Comments »

  1. I’m caught up to this point in the anime thanks to Hulu. Expect commentary on the relevant episodes as they show up :) LIKE IT OR NOT.

    MWAAAAAhahahaha *hack* *cough*

    …So, that’s coming along.

    Anyway, this is tied with the final Petz and Calaveras battle as my favorite episode of R-slash-Season 2 so far.

    Now that people are back to straight-up trying to murder Chibi-Usa and the girls, I feel much more confident in this series.

    Rubeus was a delight, pure malicious thuggery and bullying. I felt no sympathy for him at all at the end, and I feel good about that. In fact I haven’t felt this happy about an adversary’s departure since poor crystalled-up Jadeite. I wonder where he ended up after Usagi Ginzuishou’d Beryl-Metalia to dust?

    I want to like Esmeraude. I really do. She reminds me of Naga from Slayers in a lot of ways. But I have a bad feeling they’re not going to do everything they could with her.

    Wiseman intrigues me. He’s creepy as BALLS, yo. Maybe it’s just me, but he feels like he’s gearing up to be bigger than he seems so far. Of course, that could just be his character design, which as I said before, is CREEPY AS BALLS.

    However, I’m resisting reading ahead because this is my first time watching and I really, really want to get the full impact of these episodes.

    Keep being awesome. :)

    • This is fascinating! Sailor Moon has been such a perennial part of my life for so many years that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to watch it through fresh eyes. Please please keep me updated on your thoughts :)
      Rubeus was a really great bad guy, just uncomplicated and straight-forwardly slimy. No redeeming qualities whatsoever, so his demise you can enjoy in a dark kind of way. What happened to Jadeite after getting frozen in carbonite? Maybe… Jabba’s Palace? I’d like to think that he’s just stuck in the North Pole watching the polar bears for all eternity. Well, until the ice caps melt. Esmeraude… I shan’t ruin it for you, but suffice it to say that she brings more pain than pleasure. A lot more of it.

      As for Wiseman? Mwahaha…

      Thanks for reading, and even more thanks for commenting ;)

      V

  2. Honestly, I do not understand what is suppose to be so great about this episode. I don’t think it deserves more than a 3/5.

    While the opening act has some good moments thanks to the mood, it all goes downhill after that awful ‘Luna and Artemis disguise themselves as Chibi-Usa’ joke. The battle was mediocre, and the final laugh of the senshi in stark contrast to the death of someone just a couple of seconds ago.

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