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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-
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.
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.
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.
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-
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.
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.
Man, this guy is a sore loser. He couldn’t do one goddamn thing right. He deserves anything that’s coming to-
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.
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.
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.
Poor Rubeus dies alone, in space, screaming. DAAAAMN MAN. That’s cold. Or hot. Whatever.
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.
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.
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’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.
“I will get everything I want. Everything…“, he says. Told you, rapist.
Episode Score: 5/5 (LOVE this)
Rubeus’ Death Score: 5/5 (Exploding spaceship while screaming? HELL YES.)
Dimande’s Creep-O-Meter: 83%