2:35 – Journey to the Future! Battle in the Space-Time Corridor
Alternative Title: A Timely Deku Nut to the Face
First Aired: 22nd January 1994
The Sailor Senshi, Tuxedo Kamen and Chibi-Usa prepare to travel into the 30th Century and Crystal Tokyo. The Space-Time Corridor is fraught with dangerous, however, and between the fierce guardian of time and Droids sent by Esmeraude, the Senshi have their work cut out for them. Can the Senshi even make it to the future unscathed?
I always enjoy ending synopses with a stupid question.
This is a pretty good episode. It’s such a foreign location, filled with mystical-yet-sci-fi references to space-time and physics in general that it really appeals to my sensibilities.
The enemies are never that threatening, but the oppressive atmosphere and the sense that only disaster waits for them at the end of the corridor is effective. Even better is our first full appearance of the long-awaited Sailor Pluto, and she really manages to make a good first impression.
The episode starts off with an action shot of the Sailor Senshi running towards, uhh, death and stuff.
As soon as we see the dead Senshi floating about, and a frantic Chibi-Usa, it’s obvious that we’re seeing the inward fears of Chibi-Usa about the capabilities of her protectors.
Thanks for showing your support, kid.
Normally in a show like this, a deadly premonition wouldn’t mean much – it would be just a cheap way to set an uneasy tone – but this dream scene eerily echoes that infamous episode that confirmed that Sailor Moon is not a show to shy away from death.
As such, the dark blues, the purples, the greys and the blacks, the scenes of complete and inescapable devastation, should be actually quite effect for those who do not know what is ahead. It succeeds in setting the atmosphere of impending doom that this entire episode is dedicated towards.
I should also say that the art today is fantastic.
In the park (IT’S THAT SAME PARK AGAIN, GUYS), Chibi-Usa is obviously uncertain about her decision to take along the Sailor Senshi. I like this. It’s half a question about their capabilities (she’s always the cynic) and half a question about not wanting to put them in danger.
I feel that this inner conflict is emblematic of the two aspects of her personality she most strongly inherited from Mamoru and Usagi, pragmatism and empathy.
Mamoru appears to have been stalking her, because he sneaks up to give her a pep talk about committing to saving her mum. It’s telling that Chibi-Usa seems just as afraid of saving her mum then she is for her to die… A childish fear of being reprimanded that isn’t obvious yet, but manifests itself over the next few episodes.
Also, note the colour palette, the brown and dying leaves, the grey, lifeless sky. All perfect for the atmosphere they’re going for.
Mamoru give his famous “everything will be OK bullshit-smile” and Chibi-Usa seems convinced. Well, that was easy.
It seems that the agreed upon location for travelling through time is the little jetty that Chibi-Usa first arrived from the future at. The Sailor Senshi are already transformed. It’s a little strange to see them geared-up in such a mundane location, simply waiting around.
The Senshi are all a little concerned about Chibi-Usa’s tardiness (they constantly let a 7-year-old navigate Tokyo by herself), but Tuxedo Kamen appears in his most pugnacious and most-condescending tone. Chibi-Usa in tow.
I’ve always liked the scenes of Chibi-Usa using the Space-Time Key. It’s always very dramatic, and the excitement of having our Senshi actually travel into the future is awesome. A really cool scene, made more cool by the juxtaposition, once again, of the magical next to the mundane air of a Tokyo winter.
Also, gotta love that there’s no one about to see all this stuff. Tokyo is completely devoid of people whenever it needs to be.
SO. The Space-Time Corridor. It’s obviously going to be mystical and mysterious as hell, right? Well it’s that, but it’s also pretty creepy. Sailor Moon finds herself alone in blue fog. Very awesome.
Even more mysterious is the shape of a free-standing gate that looms out of the mist.
EVEN MORE MYSTERIOUS is a figure wielding a staff that scares the living daylights out of Sailor Moon. She has this to say:
“STOP. Any and all who break the taboo and attempt to approach the doorway of space-time shall be eliminated! PREPARE TO DIE!”
Well that’s one way to introduce Sailor Pluto, now, isn’t it? We haven’t seen her properly in person yet, only tiny and in a floating ball, if you recall.
All of this is brilliant.
Before Sailor Pluto can open up Sailor Moon’s skull to drink the sweet nectar of her brain, Chibi-Usa grabs her by the legs.
I guess having that fog machine installed at the Space-Time Gate wasn’t such a great idea, was it Pluto? She looks fantastic, but the way.
With her long, green hair, muted colour palette, key-like staff and obvious age over the other Senshi, Pluto really stands out from the get-go. She’s more then just old – her atmosphere, the constant implication that she knows more then she lets on, and the hint of sorrow that this seems to bring her. is just so darn slick.
Sailor Pluto is mysterious and remains so – she has a human name, but other then this, even by the final episode of Sailor Moon, we know very little about her, and it’s just how it’s meant to be.
Back to the episode.
Chibi-Usa seems to expect a reprimand from Pluto for bringing along the Sailor Senshi (to the point where she thinks Pluto is going to hit her. This must be an unnerving woman to be around), but Pluto remains stoic, merely complimenting Chibi-Usa on her use of the Space-Time Key.
Pluto’s name for Chibi-Usa is Small Lady, in English. It sounds very strange and clunky, but it does have a certain ring to it. In fact, everyone in the future calls her Small Lady. I would have gone for Precocious Brat myself…
Now comes the most enigmatic fucking line of Sailor Moon ever:
“You certainly are always a source of trouble for me,” says Pluto, looking Sailor Moon deep in the eyes with wry amusement.
The implications of this line are huge. I’ll end up going through this fan theory some other time in more detail – suffice it to say that the Sailor Pluto we meet in other series of Sailor Moon do not follow a linear timeline. It’s all very Doctor Whovian.
The point being is that Sailor Pluto seems intimately knowledgeable about Sailor Moon and her companions. What a perfect line, delivered perfectly enigmatically with perfect artwork. A great moment.
Sailor Moon’s blank stare is great too.
Sailor Pluto opens the Space-Time gate for them, and what a gate it is. I’ve always loved the design of this thing – the phases of the moon all laid out. It’s not only beautifully designed, it’s creepy – like a wall covered in runes. Full of ancient unseen meaning.
For a great geeky comparison, I might compare it to the carved wooden doors that lie at the entrance to Obernewtyn… but that’s just me. I wonder how many people will get that reference?
I can’t impress upon you how wonderful this all is: the open gate, the omniscient gate-keeper, the mist, the light, the sensation of standing upon the precipice of time itself. It’s a little like that scene in Star Gate starring Kurt Russell.
Sailor Pluto impresses upon them how dangerous the Space-Time Corridor is. She warns her to never ever ever let go of Small Lady’s hand. You can tell that she’s totally going to let go of her hand though.
Sailor Mercury implores Pluto to come with them. She seems to know her way around the crevices of time, after all, but she out-right refuses, saying that she cannot leave her post.
Once again, I’ll be revisiting this binding of Sailor Pluto near the end of Sailor Moon S… so probably in about 6 months or so. Haha.
As they leave, Sailor Pluto looks proper lonely, and Luna immediately begins gossiping about her behind her back. She has heard of her Pluto from Queen Serenity, back in the age of the Silver Millennium on the Moon. Luna is a font of information only just after it seems relevant.
She describes Sailor Pluto as the guardian of Space-Time, a lone warrior, whom no one even knows about, for all time. Seriously, someone give this gal a call or a text or something, she needs friends.
The corridor itself is pretty cool. It looks unknowable. As soon as they land in the corridor, the group instantly being to get pushed back by a fierce wind…
…Cut to the Black Moon headquarters, Saphir, Esmeraude and Prince Dimande. They must have alarms set up in case anyone tries to use the Space-Time Corridor without travelling from their planet Nemesis. Rather impressive, really. They’re not usually this clever.
Wiseman appears like the goddamn creeper that he is, out of the ground, to show Prince Dimande who it is using the corridor, and to tell them that the time to take the Ginzuishou and the Rabbit has come. God, what a pervert.
Wiseman wants to capture the Rabbit to use her power (his electricity bill is massive and she would offset some of the costs) but Dimande is faaar more interested in Sailor Moon. “Those eyes,” he says, like a goddamn rapist.
I’m not using that term flippantly. Dimande is totally a rapist, as we shall see next episode.
Saphir and Esmeraude are not in the least bit happy that Dimande has apparently developed an obsession with Neo Queen Serenity and, thusly, Sailor Moon. Dimande gets her to go and capture the Rabbit… and bring him Sailor Moon.
I should point out that Chibi-Usa now has 4 names. 5 by next season, in fact.
Saphir blames Wiseman for this sudden infatuation, and Esmeraude seems to agree, suspicious of Dimande’s desire for the Ginzuishou, and utterly contemptuous of his desire for Sailor Moon. There’s plenty of steam building up in the Black Moon, and it shan’t be too ling before it bursts…
See? Esmeruade is blaming the object of Dimande’s obsession instead of the man attempting to purrpertrate sexual assault. Victim blaming at its worst. Learn a lesson, kids.
The episode is somewhat less interesting from this point on, which is good because I’m only half-way through.
The corridor is looking pretty tough to navigate through. There are some really nice effects with the pink and azure wind, but I can’t say this is quite as interesting a journey as I would have expected.
Chibi-Usa immediately begins to doubt Sailor Moon’s abilities. Gosh, she really has no faith in her whatsoever, does she? Not like I can blame her…
Not remembering the ONE GODDAMN THING that Sailor Pluto said about the corridor, Chibi-Usa’s grip slackens, but Sailor Moon grabs her again.
It may seem like a strange moment to throw in, but these abandonment issues will become important soon. Nice to see the writers considering Chibi-Usa’s internal machinations and foreshadowing events to come.
Esmeraude turns up, her stupid-ass laugh preceding her. She gives the usual threat (her hair looking fantastic, by the way. I hate her, but damn she gives Nephrite a run for his money), then blasts the group apart.
Everyone is blown into those “Space-Time Crevasses” Pluto warned about, and Chibi-Usa is separated…
The idiot that she is, Esmeraude loses sight of them. What was the point of blasting them apart then!? She sends off a creepy 1920s-looking Droid, Ryuakusu, to go clean up her stupid work.
Ryuakusu has orders not to kill the Rabbit, but Esmeraude conveniently “forgets” to order her not to kill Sailor Moon. I don’t know why she thinks this Droid is going to be able to kill her, every single goddamn Droid has been vaporised so far.
The Sailor Senshi land in… a whole mess of darkness, minus Chibi-Usa and Tuxedo Kamen. Again, the lighting and palette is creepy, really gives a sense of danger and urgency to Chibi-Usa’s disappearance.
Just as Sailor Mars is giving a rather nice pep-talk to a dispirited Sailor Moon, the Ginzuishou (Silver Crystal) in Sailor Moon’s broach begins to glow – apparently it’s acting as a guide of sorts, another identical pink glow in the distance is resonating with the crystal.
Sailor Mercury postulates that the Ginzuishou of the future is reacting to the one from the past. No idea how she came up with this. This is a nice, subtle foreshadow to something at the end of the series, but for now it’s enough to know that the Ginzuishou is pointing the way towards Chibi-Usa…
Meanwhile, Tuxedo Kamen has landed inside poorly maintained magnetic VHS tape from the 80s. It’s pretty weird. He’s with the cats… I don’t think they’ve ever really gotten along too well now that I think about it. Luna’s never exactly the friendliest around Tuxedo Kamen, even less in the manga now that I recall.
Tuxedo Kamen prepares to wander aimlessly in a place in which he cannot even tell where the group is (idiot) when a disembodied voice warns him to go in a different direction… and it’s rather familiar. Let’s say for now that it’s the same voice as the premonitions from Tuxedo Kamen’s dreams, although he doesn’t recognise it as such yet.
The gang are really getting a lot of help today, huh?
Chibi-Usa’s location is the creepiest out of the lot. Blood red air and sky, dead, white bramble trees… and the door to the future!?
Well OK that was easy for her. Chibi-Usa considers running straight through, but realises that she has to wait for the others if she wants a hope for helping her mother.
Speaking of which… guess who dropped by? It’s only flipping Neo Queen Serenity! Chibi-Usa’s expressions, from shock, to overwhelmed joy (it’s really moving), to running towards her mother, is really spot on. Even the music is joyful (misleading, works brilliantly)… but there’s just something a little off, and it’s juuust the right amount of creepy with that dead-stare.
I can’t believe that Chibi-Usa doesn’t realise that this is Usagi… She must face face-blindness.
Suddenly, Chibi-Usa stops short. She must have realised that something is fucking wrong too, because she knows this isn’t her mother.
This is effective, especially on me. The sense that a person you know and love very much is standing there, but that there’s something not quite right about them… something inherently off, is a deep fear of mine. The actual psychological sensation of this is actually diagnosable, falls under diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV for Paranoid Schizophrenia.
As such it’s a fundamental fear in every human mind. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Tommyknockers and, (ha!) The Faculty all played upon this. And so did Sailor Moon.
When Chibi-Usa asks who Serenity really is, she gets the answer “I am your mama, Little Rabbit” and the jig is up – Chibi-Usa was only ever called Small Lady by her mother. “Rabbit” is the name only the Black Moon use when they’re trying to murder her.
The unveiling of the monster is also delightfully creepy. We see only Serenity’s arm, open for an embrace, and her hair, but it all begins to bubble and warp. Again, someone you love is wrong, is tainted, is monstrous, is a powerful effect.
I like this monster, It cocked up, but I get great threat off her, and the gross mutating stuff reminded me a lot of the early monsters of Sailor Moon, such as the one from the very first episode.
Ryuakusu closes in, but Chibi-Usa remembers Mamoru’s words about trust and not running and junk and decides to fight back. See, Mamoru? Your stupid ass advice got a 7-year-old fighting a monster.
Luna-P smacks the Droid in the face, then Chibi-Usa follows up by transforming the ball, not into a gun, as might be useful, but a slingshot. Link would be proud. Go smack her with Deku Nuts, girl.
…The Deku Nuts do nothing. Good job, Luna-P.
Ryuakusu gets a little scary again, promising punishment and advancing on Chibi-Usa by using her hair (they use that a lot in this show, did you notice? Evil hair? Crops up again a few more times next season).
Sailor Moon and the Senshi finally turn up to save Chibi-Usa. I guess they took the scenic route.
Oh, Ryuakusu totally has power over time, although not like that last shitty monster with those powers. The attacks the Senshi shoot at her, such as Burning Mandala, are reversed straight back towards them.
Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus, bless them, don’t catch on and get the same reverse-time treatment.
No this time-reversal stuff doesn’t quite make sense, but it doesn’t really need to, does it?
Sailor Mercury, using her super computer (SCIENCE!), isolates a small opening after the Droid uses her time powers where they can hit her. Only problem is that there’s no way she’ll let them hit her.
Damn this is a strong enemy. An everyday Droid isn’t usually this tough to kill. She’s like a mid-level boss.
Also, where the fuck is Tuxedo Kamen? Move it, cape-face.
Some actually great tactics are used to get the Droid to use her time-powers again. The team are ready to hit her with a Sailor Planet Attack (sort of their only back-up plan), but first it’s up to poor little 7-year-old still-wets-the-bed Chibi-Usa to act as bait.
I LOVE this plan.
Chibi-Usa looks like a complete lunatic as she rushes Ryuakusu. The Droid is merely amused at this bizarre kamikaze attack, but Chibi-Usa has an ace up her sleeves…
She shoots the Droid with another slingshot attack, but this time combines it with the innate super-powers she has for some reason and smacks her in the face. Nice shot! Seriously though, where did this come from?
In retaliation, the Droid directs her powers at Chibi-Usa, whom is saved by a (LATE) Tuxedo Kamen. Seriously dude, did you need to take a shit behind a time-bush or something? You’re SO late.
The Sailor Senshi unleash a Sailor Planet Attack on poorRyuakusu, and it looks great today! Has a lot more flavour then the last time they used it.
There’s a bunch of self-congratulating, but don’t get too happy guys…
When the door to the future opens, the very worst is confirmed: Crystal Tokyo is a dead city, as desolate as it was in Chibi-Usa’s dreams.
A great end. This is what all the colour palettes and foreshadowing and themes of death and its inevitability has been leading up to. This is good writing, and an excellent episode. I can’t say that the last 3rd was the most thrilling, but there was so much subtle stuff here today.
Not the shiniest, loudest or most dramatic episode, but I think that it deserves a 5/5 for all the setting up it does, not only for this series, but for the next, too.
The next one is great too…
Episode Score: 5/5 (Word Count over 3000. Jesus.)
Monster Score: 4/5 (Threatening, powerful, without flair but with an insidious malice I liked.)
Sailor Pluto Bad-Ass Score: 82%