2:28 – A Mysterious New Warrior, Sailor Pluto Appears
Alternative Title: IT’S PUU! Squeeeeee!
First Aired: 20th November 1993
Victory against Rubeus may have been sweet, but there’s no time to savour the victory. Chibi-Usa has been struck with an illness so severe that she cannot be roused from her dreams. Usagi and the other girls are contacted by the mysterious figure Chibi-Usa converses with via her Luna-P ball, Puu, revealed to be the enigmatic Sailor Pluto! She reveals that dark forces are attacking Chibi-Usa through her subconscious, and that to save her the Sailor Senshi must protect her against her nightmares.
This episode is a great mid-series break, distancing itself from the Rubeus & the Phantom Sisters (still a brilliant motown band name) storyline and introducing a fair number of interesting new twists.
First and foremost is, naturally, a brand new Sailor Senshi! Sailor Pluto will continue to be the most mysterious of all the Senshi… that is until Sailor Saturn, of course… and even though her appearance is brief, it’s enough to secure this episode’s importance.
Also great is the extended time we spend in Crystal Tokyo, albeit a Crystal Tokyo in the mind of a scared, dreaming girl. I love everything to do with the future city, and the oppressive atmosphere here is spot on.
We open with Chibi-Usa running for her life in the darkness. Her obvious fright, at odds with her usual bravado, as well as her exhaustion, and the sense that something is chasing her, tells us that this may be a slightly dark episode.
It’s revealed that the thing chasing her is probably the most ominous monster we’ve seen this series – a floating hooded figure with a nasty-looking scythe. Oh I wonder who he’s supposed to be?
The exhange between the two in the darkness is great:
“I don’t know you… who are you!?”
“You know the answer to that better than anyone else.” CUE CREEPY CHUCKLE.
I believe that it’s not a coincidence how many similarities there are between this monster and Wiseman, but more on that later in the series…
The final shot of Chibi-Usa’s dream is of the most ominous-looking Crystal Tokyo we’ve seen yet, a monstrous moon hanging over a dead city. I adore this imagery. Chibi-Usa’s voice over is of her begging her mother to save her from the people with the Jakokusuishou – the Evil Black Crystal. I love that name in Japanese.
So yeah, what a creepy opening.
The vibe continues in the Black Moon, with Prince Dimande casually reflecting on the Jakokusuishou behind his throne, spewing up dark shit every so often.
The point of this scene is to establish that the vile Esmeraude (gawd that laugh) is utterly besotted by her Prince, and also to establish Dimande’s brother, Saphir (you can see the theme in the names) as a character.
Saphir is much less chill then his ruling brother. Not sure why he isn’t King Dimande but whatever, the regal law of the Black Moon is not the issue here. Saphir is a firebrand, asking his brother why they don’t just use the Jakokusuishou to destroy the Tokyo of the 20th Century.
…probably because you would cease to exist, you imbecile?
The point is that Saphir loves his brother, and doesn’t trust the Jakokusuishou to solve any of their problems.
There’s a great moment when Esmeraude boldly announces that she’ll take care of the 20th Century before bursting out in the usual horrific cackle – Dimande essentially tells her to shut the hell up.
About time someone did, honestly, that laugh.
Saphir doesn’t think that going after the Ginzuishou or the Rabbit is worth their time either (a strange nobility about this enemy), and Dimande seems to give this a long pause… before calling out Wiseman for consultation.
I bet this guy charges by the minute. By the way, this guy’s amazing voice actor is also the King of the Red Lions in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Just thought I’d throw that in there.
Wiseman, in a few short words, tells them that they must destroy the Ginzuishou if they are to live, and that’s all it takes to have him convinced.
Enough of that, let’s go have fun with the Sailor Senshi!
Oh, they’re all around Chibi-Usa, who appears to be in a fucking coma. Jesus, Ami, take her to a hospital for god’s sake.
It’s touching to see Usagi once again so helpless, but this time her tears are for the little idiot she’s come to love. None of the other girls can offer any words of comfort either. Seriously, they’re the worst friends.
As Chibi-Usa calls out in her nightmares for “Puu”, Luna-P begins connecting a call. The earliest form of Siri available I guess. The ball floats up and turns into…
A LITTLE WEE SAILOR SENSHI!
Her first words are “I am no one suspicious,” to which I’ve got to call immediate bullshit on. This is Sailor Pluto. A big moment in the series! Soooo many implications… Why hasn’t she fought with the Senshi before? Is she reincarnated from the Silver Millennium too? If there is a Sailor Pluto, does that mean that there are other Sailor Senshi too…?
A simple appearance is enough to bring up all these questions, and they are all answered… at some point. Sailor Pluto claims that she is “the warrior to protects the gateway of time and space” which is pretty bitching, but sounds like a full-time job.
She also reveals the cause of Chibi-Usa’s illness, who she calls Small Lady – it’s the Jakokusuishou, attacking her mind from the far future. That’s fairly powerful stuff, and again this is all a precursor to events later in the series.
Sailor Pluto invites the girls to enter Chibi-Usa’s mind and fight the infection from within, and the girls don’t have second thoughts about it. You may want to think this through a little…?
Nope, the girls are all in, along with the cats. It’s pretty crowded in that tiny brain at the moment. The girls all wake up… and it’s a complete dump.
This is what Chibi-Usa’s Crystal Tokyo has become. Makoto comments on how dark the future is, but Rei cheerfully, hopefully, and as it happens, fruitlessly, that Chibi-Usa’s mind is merely exaggerating things.
Usagi hears Chibi-Usa calling for her mum, and the girls find her huddled in a ruin. She seems even smaller and more vulnerable then usual… and she doesn’t recognise them. In fact, she’s downright hostile towards the whole group.
Ami postulates that the Chibi-Usa they’re confronting in her subconscious is one from before she ever met Usagi et. al, which I guess makes sense? All in all it ends up just treading on old ground. I suppose it works to establish even further the bond between Chibi-Usa and the Senshi, but it still feels a little derivative at this point.
So Chibi-Usa runs off, the little idiot, straight into the Reaper himself. See, you should have trusted the people who were obviously trying to help you… but don’t take that advice into the real world, guys. Remember: a stranger is just a person who hasn’t tried to murder you yet.
Chibi-Usa does a pretty good job of dodging the blade for a while, but it’s up to the Sailor Senshi to intervene to stop her getting her shit scythed, yo.
The Senshi’s colours look fantastic against the backdrop of the destroyed Crystal Tokyo. Really good job on the ambiance today.
The Reaper’s opening attack is really rather violent – he throws the scythe like a goddamn boomerang, this thing looks deadly.
The Senshi throw a couple of attacks against him… but he’s entirely unharmed, laughing the attacks off. When the Senshi are aghast, he once more says “The Rabbit knows the reason for that better than anyone.”
OK, so we’ve got one of those internal-mind-empowerment things going on. And then sodding Chibi-Usa runs off again. Honestly, it’s like she wants to get scythed.
Sailor Moon runs after her while the rest of the Senshi occupy Death-Butt. She always gets the least fun jobs.
Sailor Moon catches up to an extremely distrustful Chibi-Usa. She’s like a polecat today. It takes all Sailor Moon’s charisma points to convince Chibi-Usa that she isn’t actively trying to murder her.
Chibi-Usa doesn’t quite believe her, again reflecting her mental state in this nightmare, that no one would ever bother protecting her, but Sailor Moon in her sweetest form seems to begin winning her over.
Chibi-Usa asks Sailor Moon to help her save her mother (wink wink, knowing audience. Seriously though, love this plot), and takes her to the Crystal Palace. It’s pretty bitching… but Chibi-Usa reveals that the the Jakokusuishou has set up an impregnable barrier around the palace.
Chibi-Usa challenges Sailor Moon to break the barrier, but seems to expect the outcome when she fails to do so.
Meanwhile, the situation with the other Senshi seems to have deteriorated, and Sailor Moon leaves Chibi-Usa with the cats to go support the team. Yeah, as if leaving her with Luna and Artemis has ever done her any good.
I suppose there was that one time that Luna totally saved Chibi-Usa’s ass…
Sailor Moon, quite reasonably for once, suggests that saving Chibi-Usa’s mother may break the cycle of nightmares she’s fallen in, but to do that means having to take old Grumpy Guss Krampus-Face down first.
The Senshi don’t do too well against him in round 2, instantly getting scythed. That should be a one-hit kill, but remarkably they survive… sort of.
Sailor Moon gets back up and starts bum rushing the dude, fighting against him with all her might. She looks pretty awesome actually.
Reaper cracks the ground in two and Chibi-Usa falls in, and Sailor Moon juuuust manages to grab her. It seems as though Chibi-Usa finally trusts her. That big old Disney moment is coming any second now.
Reflecting that scene with Mamoru and the Tuxedo Kamen puppet (what a weird sentence that was), Chibi-Usa once again asks, “Are you invincible?” It’s a naive and youthful question, but I really think it taps into something at the very heart of how children see adults and, centrally, their parents.
Now that Chibi-Usa “believes” and stuff (so Disney), Sailor Moon is imbued with a heck of a lot of energy, managing to fend off a scythe attack single-handedly! Seriously, I know this is a dream and all, but so bad ass.
Sailor Moon with a glowing aura kicking ass with confidence, I love this.
She fires off a Moon Princess Halation that wipes the Reaper right out of Chibi-Usa’s mind. What’s left this time is not a gem, like with the Black Moon’s Droids, but a shard of the Jakoksuishou itself. Very insidious.
The group head into the Crystal Palace – an interesting name for anyone from England: it was the name of the 1851 exhibition in Hyde Park that was pretty much the most remarkable even in the 19th Century… and then the name given to a naff little park and a pretty rubbish football team, so it sounds rather funny to my ears.
The group approach a large crystal, where someone seems to be sleeping… but somehow they don’t seem to quite make the connection of who it is inside.
Chibi-Usa’s “arigatou” is so sweet. A glowing light marks the end of the nightmare.
And the girls all wake up to a newly-awoken Chibi-Usa! Bet she needs to take a shit real bad. Comas will do that to ya. Sailor Pluto talks to Chibi-Usa again, reminding her of how important it is to remain in the past for now, with Sailor Moon, before hanging up without saying goodbye.
Wow, what a bitch.
The episode ends on a rather ominous note, as Usagi embraces the crying girl and vows to protect them all; Chibi-Usa, the Ginzuishou and the future.
A great episode all in all. Thematically, we’ll revisit the ideas of Chibi-Usa’s fragile ego, her refusal to accept that she can trust others and her vulnerability to the Jakokusuishou later in the series. I think this adds as great set up for the rest of Sailor Moon R.
It’s also a great watch, especially when Sailor Moon starts kicking ass, and the relationship development between Chibi-Usa and Usagi feels poignant too.
What a shame it is for me to have to tell you, then, that the next episode of Sailor Moon is the worst episode they ever made.
I mean it. The worst. Hold on to your butts.
Episode Score: 4/5
Monster Score: 4/5 (The Reaper is great. Threatening and quite different in flavour to the usual Droids)
Sailor Moon Power Level: OVER NINE THOUSAAAAND