2:36 – The Shocking Future! Dimande’s Dark Ambition
Alternative Title: That Dark Ambition Being Sexual Assault
First Aired: 29th January 1994
The future Crystal Tokyo is as desolate and dead as it was in Chibi-Usa’s dreams. Although it seems entirely empty, the Senshi are met by a lone figure. Tuxedo Kamen recognises his voice as that in the dire premonitions that caused him to break-up with Usagi, but after it’s show that he’s merely a sentient hologram, the group are shocked to find that this is Mamoru in the future, Kind Endymion. The Senshi barely have time to compute even more amazing revelations before Prince Dimande makes his move against the woman he has become obsessed with, Sailor Moon…
Wow wow wow what an episode. It’s starts off good, quickly gets amazing, then falls into an awkward attempted rape scene of the main character that beggars belief how it made it into a kids show.
I like the mood, I like the atmosphere, I love the characters’ reactions… but the frankly horrifying behaviour of Prince Dimande does leave a rather sour taste. His assault on Usagi is deeply troubling, and I really can’t say whether or not Sailor Moon should be tackling the issue of sexual assault.
Let’s get to it.
We start in Crystal Tokyo. No one can quite believe how crappy the place is. You’d think that after a thousand years they would at least learn how to clean up after themselves.
Once again, the imagery of Crystal Tokyo is something to behold. It’s so cold, so alien, so dead.
They take their time here, lingering on the beautiful, haunting vista shots. The Sailor Senshi, being so colourful, stand out as interlopers. It’s a very effective way of making them seem extremely small and irrelevant aside so much destruction.
Chibi-Usa freaks out, because she’s a freak and that’s what she does, and runs out into the dense fog of the city. Honestly. Get a grip.
The Senshi run through the city screaming their heads off. I’m not sure how they could considering the creepiness of the place. With the whites and blues, crumbling palladian architecture and complete lack of score, the oppressive atmosphere would keep me from yelling.
While running down an avenue, a figure steps out of the fog. He’s… rather… familiar… Sailor Moon even wonders if he’s Tuxedo Kamen, although the pillock standing to her left should have told her that this was impossible.
The dramatic music and quick cuts between Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Kamen and his doppelgänger are so hilariously dramatic that I can only think of Dramatic Look Gopher. I realise that meme is ancient history by now.
The other Tuxedo Kamen looks a little different from the one we know. Aside from the difference in clothes, he has a different shade to his hair, a purple sheen, as well as a certain… something… in his gaze that sets him apart from our Tux.
Unknown Mask Guy congratulates the group on making to the 30th Century, and his voice triggers a strong memory from both Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen – this is the voice who so strongly advised against Tuxedo Kamen from dating Usagi in his dreams.
You might recall the wedding-explosion-dream from earlier in the series. The two were promised that if they were to marry, the ENTIRE GODDAMN WORLD would EXPLODE and other bad things.
Tuxedo Kamen does the smart thing and immediately attacks the guy for turning him into an emotionally abusive dick to his girlfriend (ahem), but, rather hilariously, Tuxedo Kamen falls right through the guy.
Always nice to see him off balance. I don’t know why I get such a thrill of it.
The doppelgänger speaks down to the heap of cape and hat and mask on the floor (how embarrassing), introducing himself as King Endymion.
Heeeeey wait a second that’s MAMORU’S name. Well that explains everything. King Endymion is the future Mamoru. Despite his obvious lack of qualifications, Mamoru will be king of the Earth… by marriage anyway.
Sailor Moon is understandably outraged that the future Mamo-chan would try to break his past self up with Usagi. Maybe he just wanted his younger self to get laid a bit more before settling down with a 14 year old girl?
All will be explained… actually it sort of isn’t, but at least for now it’s shown that King Endymion is a hologram – a projection of the real, unconscious Endymion currently taking a nap or something somewhere.
And for once, Chibi-Usa running off didn’t cause any major hassle, since Endymion claims to have found her and is keeping her safe.
For now at least. This guy is the worst father. Although Chibi-Usa’s mother isn’t much better.
As Sailor Moon is led towards the Crystal Palace by the ethereal King Endymion, she’s being spied upon by a very very bad man. Voyeurism is, in fact, the least of Prince Dimande’s crimes today.
He’s struck by the similarities between Neo Queen Serenity, whom he is obsessed with, and Sailor Moon, mainly because they’re the same person. In a distinctly Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones sort of way, he seems to transfer his feelings onto the younger model.
As I said, a very very bad man.
Saphir instantly turns on Esmeraude, blaming her for letting the Senshi get to the 30th Century. To be fair, it is entirely her fault. She’s incompetent. Esmeraude vows to head off and kill them at once (yeah right) but Dimande, hiding his erection, announces that he will go after them himself.
We can sort of guess his motivations…
We get another shot of Esmeraude furious at Sailor Moon for “capturing Dimande’s heart“. This is definite victim blaming. You’re a bad person too, Esmeraude. You’re also majorly 2-dimensional. Aside from narcissism and an unrequited obsession with Dimande, there’s nothing more to her character.
I hope you get turned into a dragon and fucking die in the next episode. Ahem.
The Senshi find themselves in an interesting room. High ceilings, no light, smooth wall and floors… I can’t say much for the Crystal Palace’s interior decorator.
King Endymion braces the group, because he’s going to lay down some major truth-bombs. It’s exposition time, baby. So here it goes.
Sometime in the years ahead of the Sailor Senshi, a “great calamity” befell the Earth. By the inclusion of stellar objects, we might be able to infer that something rather nasty fell from space. As a result, the Earth fell into a “cold sleep” – a complete ice-age that lasted several hundred years.
Then, in the 30th Century, Neo Queen Serenity awoke, using the power of the Ginzuishou (that old chestnut) to revive the Earth and usher it into a new dawn of sociological & technological advancement. I should point out that, while never explicit, this also makes the population of the Earth unaging and eternal.
So the Earth is all happy and good, and Crystal Tokyo seems to be flourishing as the seat of Neo Queen Serenity’s power.
However, and Endymion is sort of shady on this point, “Evil People” appeared and tried to “fuck our shit up” (Endymion’s words, not mine). We don’t know who they are or where they came from, only that once Neo Queen Serenity defeated them, many refused to be cleansed of evil by the Ginzuishou, and were banished from the Earth.
After some time, all peaceful and whatnot, the planet Nemesis appeared. UH OH IT SOUNDS EVIL. And it is. Nemesis is full of evil magic and stuff, and granted the exiles from Earth many dark powers.
And thus the Black Moon clan was born. They returned to get revenge on the society that was doing just fine without them, thank you very much, and as a result we have the dead empty city.
The four guardian deities who still protect the Crystal Palace with a barrier, Sailor Mars, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus have been standing around for months just doing their thing.
I love the reaction that the present-day Senshi have:
“Warriors with the same names as us? What could it mean?”
Well what the fuck do you think it means!? Yes, they’re the future Senshi! Shame we can’t see them, they’re rather engaged with, you know, barriers and stuff.
Endymion tells them all that he himself was gravely injured, hence his rather powerful hologram walking around. I don’t know why everyone in the future isn’t just operating ghostly versions of themselves from bed.
The only thing that could save the Earth now is the Ginzuishou, but alas, only Neo Queen Serenity can use it, and she’s in a crystal coma. I hope that’s code for “she took too much meth and is totally whacked out“.
Sailor Moon finally puts two and two together at this point and realises that Neo Queen Serenity is her. Honestly, how did it take you this long…?
At first her shock is just total at realising that she’ll be the queen of the goddamn Earth one day, but then they takes a moment to stare at Tuxedo Kamen…
…and then it really hits home. I laugh my ass of every time I see this. Her reaction is precisely what it should be, and it’s also the reaction of the viewers: how the hell does this bumbling ditzy super heroine become ultra-queen?
So much exposition, I know, but it’s all so goooood. I can’t say it’s thrilling as an episode, but such is the revelations and the characters’ reactions to it that I can’t not love it.
The group are shown Neo Queen Serenity locked away in crystal, and we finally see past and future selves in comparison. Neo Queen Serenity’s design is really lovely. It’s clearly Usagi, of course, but they do a wonderful job making her appear, not only older, but wiser, kinder, more beautiful, more together and more divine then our protagonist.
Can you image the circumstance? You’re a complete fuck-up, only ever wishing for a normal life, only to see yourself a near-omnipotent leader of the planet. I love this plot so much. I wish we could see a little more of Usagi’s psychology around this – her shock is perfect, but that’s really where it stops. From here on, her emotions are nearly completely wrapped up in Chibi-Usa. We never really see the ramifications that such an experience has on her psyche.
Bit of a shame I suppose.
The crystal prison Serenity is being kept under is, in fact, a defence mechanism that the other Senshi enacted as soon as Serenity was attacked by the Black Moon while saving Chibi-Usa. Too bad they seem to have no clue how to remove the stuff. Good going, Future Senshi.
And now for the final revelation: Chibi-Usa, Small Lady, appears in a bed out of the floor and…
…Hang on a sec. Why was she in a shoe box underneath the floor? Is this where King Endymion meant by “somewhere safe“? What a weirdo.
Sailor Moon picks up the unconscious Chibi-Usa – I’m guessing King Endymion fed her whisky to keep her trap shut – and there’s a lovely moment where we know what’s coming…
“Sailor Moon. Tuxedo Kamen. She is your daughter.”
Weeeeeeeeell shit why not tell them everything from now until the 30th Century, King Endymion? Destroy any sense of surprise or discovery for your past self, go ahead. Why isn’t the timeline collapsing under this many paradoxes?
The look on Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen’s faces is AMAZING. It’s nice to see Tuxedo Kamen just as embarrassed and lost for words as Sailor Moon is.
No one else can quite believe it either, least of all Sailor Mars, who screams:
“What year, month and day did that happen!?” – which sort of sounds like Sailor Mars wants details on how Chibi-Usa was conceived. Amazing!
I love everything about this. So good.
Endymion explains that as Chibi-Usa was growing up, he regailed her with the many tails of Sailor Moon kicking ass and saving the world, hence her belief that she could rescue her mother with… her mother.
We have one more… “revelation”… to come, and that’s King Endymion’s explanation (excuse) for why he was trying to screw with their relationship in the past. His answer?
“In order to win this war you will be no match if your love is fickle and insecure. Without the strong bond of love between you two, you are unlikely to surmount the coming crisis. That is why I put you through that trial.”
So all that turmoil, emotional abuse, eating disorders, all of it was just to “strengthen their bonds”? You complete and utter piece of shit, Endymion. I’ve never really bought this excuse. They could have come up with something – anything – other then this. It’s so vague and wishy-washy, not nearly as satisfying as everything else in this episode.
You may have noticed that there has been nothing other then exposition so far in this entire episode. Let’s correct that.
Endymion’s hologram suddenly fades as black wind fills the room. No, Artemis hasn’t been eating chilli again, Dimande has turned up. He has the chance to steal the Rabbit, steal the Ginzuishou, kill the Sailor Senshi…
Dimande has a rather singular method of using his powers – a third eye opens on his forehead. It’s sort of cool, but the fact that it’s sideways makes it look distinctly… er… how do I put this delicately…?
He looks like he has a fucking vagina on his forehead. There, I said it.
Dimande has the powers to choke an entire room of Senshi. I can’t adequetely explain why he can’t just kill them all and end the war right now, but hey, he needs to get his forcible sex on.
“I wanted to kill two birds with one stone, but as long as I can get my hands on you, I will be quite satisfied” is the most disturbing line you’ll ever hear a character say in Sailor Moon. NOT COOL DIMANDE.
Tuxedo Kamen instantly freaks out, his future wide having been dragged off against her will (ewwww), but King Endymion’s ghost-thing reappears to tell him exactly where Dimande is headed. That was useful, shame you couldn’t hang around to lend a hand when Dimande was here.
The comparisons between the name Dimande and the word “demand” is quite interesting. I’m not convinced it was intentional – many characters in Sailor Moon are named after stones or precious gems (Rubeus, Emseraude, Saphir, Dimande), but it’s still interesting to consider that the comparison was intentional. Dimande is a man of many wants and without any entitlement to them.
Sailor Moon, or should I say Usagi, wakes up in a bed. Creepy. Her head hurts like she’s been slipped a drug. Also creepy.
She’s wearing different clothes? SO CREEPY.
Dimande you fucking rapist lunatic. At least he has enough hubris to leave her Transformation Broach right next to her – apparently he doesn’t respect her enough to consider her a viable threat.
Literally the only thing in the room Usagi wakes up in is the bed, which leaves me to believe that this is all that Dimande told the interior decorators to bring in. Creepy.
Prince Dimande tries to get his… “charm” on, but it quickly lapses into him using his psychic powers on her. Sailor Moon tries to transform, but fails to do so – she’s so near the Jakokusuishou that she can’t.
Things get so so so so so creepy as Dimande floats up to invade her personal space. She refuses… he uses his third eye to paralyse her…
It’s all so, so horrible. The talk of his plans to use the Jakokusuishou to obtain ultimate power, even the arrestingly weird cut to Tuxedo Kamen zoning in on Usagi’s location via hang-glider (seriously though, what the hell?), all of it is thrown off by this attempted rape scene.
First things first: as an upper-working class male in a 1st world country, I’m woefully under-qualified to be dissecting a scene of sexual assault in a little girl’s anime. Honestly, my stance on this doesn’t matter one jolt, ignore whatever I have to say as ramblings.
That being said…
Her helplessness, her powerlessness, her utter mercy at the hands of this sexual predator, a lot of this leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. Is it distasteful? I don’t think the writers were going for that. I could try and excuse the writers by pointing out that this was 1994 in Japan, but that would be special pleading.
The truth is that the weren’t trying to say anything meaningful here, it’s simply an attempt to place Sailor Moon in real danger and have Tuxedo Kamen rescue her as a way to redeem his actions earlier in the series. The end result is that we have a kidnapped girl, placed on a bed, utterly physically powerless to stop the advances of a man who won’t take no for an answer. She isn’t the one who saves herself, she must be rescued by another man because of a warped social importance placed on male heroism…
My point is that this was indicative, and to a large extent still is indicative, of gender inequality and the approach to sexual assault in Japanese society. It falls right in, instead of attempting to buck the trend from a feminist/humanist perspective as a lot of other Sailor Moon episodes have successfully done. It’s awkward in the extreme, but it’s not a deal breaker.
Anyway, Tuxedo Kamen does manage to break Dimande’s hold over Usagi, just as she’s crying and he’s about to kiss her. Thank god for that.
Tuxedo Kamen sounds suuuper pissed off today, as am I. I’d prefer Sailor Moon to kick Dimande’s face in until he could read the label on his own underwear, but Tuxedo will have to do I guess.
…Except not even that happens. More black wind appears, but this time it’s directed at Dimande, who is buffeted back/
Tuxedo Kamen takes the chance to carry Usagi off…via hang-glider again… SO weird. You’re in the future and you’re using hang-glider!? Did King Endymion just so happen to have one lying around!?
As they fly off, Esmeraude stares after them looking haughty. Saphir approaches her to accuse her of being the one who attacked Dimande to stop him raping a 14 year old girl, but he’s fine with it. Not because his brother is a rapist, but because she’s not good enough for him, apparently.
Ugh. So much is twisted here. Oh yeah, Saphir even gets in a completely sexist line too:
“Women are frightening, unpredictable creatures when they become mad with jealousy.”
…as opposed to men, who just beat, rape and subjugate women on a daily basis around the world in numbers far outweighing anything women have ever done to men. Prick.
Daaamn I’m getting my feminist game on today.
The episode ends with Tuxedo Kamen and Usagi by a lonely and broken fountain. It would be a lovely scene if it weren’t for the horrible purple hang-glider haphazardly abandoned on the ground.
Tuxedo Kamen reaffirms his dedication to Usagi, and the two embrace as a cold wind begins to rise. It’s all very sombre and ominous, and really gets you intrigued for what is to follow… or it would it that last 3rd of an episode wasn’t so messed up.
Episode Score: 3/5 (It’s two thirds of an amazing episode)
Monster Score: 1/5 (I like my monsters without the capacity to force themselves upon women.)
Final Thought of the Day: I hope Endymion left breathing holes in that floor dungeon he kept Chibi-Usa in