Act.6 – TUXEDO MASK
First Aired: 20th September 2014
Usagi has been made leader of the Sailor Senshi, but she lacks self-confidence – even more so when Tuxedo Kamen makes a statement to all news sources announcing his intention to steal the Legendary Silver Crystal. When Zoisite uses the opportunity to brainwash large numbers of people to search for the crystal himself, Usagi finds new powers within herself.
The first part of this review is spoiler-free.
While this episode progresses the main plot of the series nicely, it does mark something of a lull in the show thus far. Similar to the masquerade ball episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, everything is put together competently enough, but the lack of a hook means this episode leaves without the same memorable impact as those which introduced the other Inner Senshi.
That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable. More of Usagi’s psychology is explored here, and although I’m not enamoured of the character arc Usagi is taking (nor did I like it in the original manga, to which this series is wholeheartedly sticking to), it was interesting to see her wrestle with very human self-doubts.
The episode also explores, albeit briefly, Mamoru’s modus operendi, even if his motivations are as of yet unclear. I liked the return of the meaningful dreams that he and Usagi have, and hey, why not throw in a couple of shots of bare torso from everyone’s favourite masked crusader?
This is the first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal where I felt the writing was a bit stilted. Things would just start happening without any preamble, as though the writers were keen to get to certain scenes without too much thought of how to get there. Usagi, for instance, suddenly keels over in a faint for no particular reason at one point, just to give Tuxedo Kamen a chance to enter the scene.
I was also left a little cold seeing Usagi clouded in self-doubt. While I appreciate the character exploration, I don’t think she came off looking great, and there remains something wholly condescending in the way Tuxedo Kamen treats Usagi. I’m not saying that this is a deal-breaker, but it’s there if you look hard enough.
I did really enjoy the battle sequence. In the last few episodes, while the fights looked pretty, I did feel that it was simply a matter of exchanging energy blasts. Here, though, with the Senshi battling Zoisite, it was much more dynamic. It was still a case of throwing energy attacks at one another, but the scene felt involving, as though the characters were actually there.
With a hint at what the next episode will be about, I think it’s fairly safe to say that this slight lull in the overall story arc won’t last too long. Besides, it’s good to hold back a little and focus on character moments. I just don’t think that in a few weeks I will remember this episode with too much clarity.
I’m about to discuss a couple of points from the episode, so look away if you don’t want to know!
First off, the opening credits had a minor change in design, specifically the hair and eye colour of Princess Serenity. HUH. I guess they’re really going for the silver theme. I have to wonder, though: why did the animators not know the colour of Serenity’s eyes and hair before the goddamn series started? I really suspect that they’re doing a lot of work on the go, which is frankly worrying.
Topless Mamoru. Total fan service, but hey, goddamn, that guy is in shape.
Mamoru’s big plan to find out where the Silver Crystal is makes no sense whatsoever. Start a media storm? What? The end result, that this weird plan gets hi-jacked by Zoisite for pure goddamn evil, is the icing on the cake. Oh well, he looks all cool standing on random roofs.
So Zoisite is taking over in this episode, eh? And he spends most the episode pretending to be a woman, which fits right in his character. Doesn’t look like they’re giving him a homosexual relationship with Kunzite in this iteration (it was wholly an invention of the original anime), which is a shame. The Four Generals of the Dark Kingdom are actually blending into one another this time…
Luna reveals that she is from the Moon in this episode, as well as explaining that the Princess they’re meant to find and protect is also from the Moon. This didn’t have nearly the reactions it should have had, but the scene looked pretty.
The moment that Usagi found the computerised Sailor V telling her to get her act together from the arcade machine was quite funny, actually. And a little silly. This becomes weirdly important as the story goes on…
Yeah this was a weird plan. Why did he have to cross-dress to get on TV? Who knows. A whim of Naoko Takeuchi. I rather suspect that this was honoured in the original anime with Zoisite dressing up as Sailor Moon, which was vastly more disturbing with the up-skirt shots.
The reveal of the secret base was pretty cool, especially since it was excised entirely from the original anime. You have to wonder how a cat managed to build a super computer beneath an arcade, though. So pretty!
The entire scene of Usagi running away, leaving her friends to be defeated by Zoisite, fainting, being caught by Tuxedo Kamen, the rambling talk… none of it was clicking for me. I really wanted to get into it, but it felt all so manufactured. Too bad.
The fight that the Senshi gave Zoisite was great! I loved seeing Sailor Mercury in particular looking dangerous, really getting on in there and blasting him with water. Much more involving!
Queen Beryl descending from the sky’s anus was quite threatening, actually. I’m not sure I like her design, exactly. She doesn’t look particularly terrifying, but certainly her appearance was enjoyable, if under-utilised.
Usagi’s self-doubts, that she can’t create fire, water or electricity, that she’s weak, is completely bullshit when you remember that she has a lethal Moon Tiara Boomerang attack, not to mention her Moonlight Flash. Your friends are passed out from fighting and you’re here getting hugs. Great job.
We get Moon Healing Escalation! Looks nice and sparkly… but I sort of miss the tinkling harpsichord hook from the original attack. They didn’t really make it obvious here, but Moon Healing Escalation in the manga actually restores every living thing around her, from the point of death even. I’m wondering if they’ll bring this power up again.
After the battle, Tuxedo Kamen carries an unconscious Sailor Moon off… and puts her in his bed. I touched on this before when reviewing the manga, but this gives off as creepy a vibe as it did then. I know that Mamoru’s character is meant to be such that he wouldn’t take advantage of an unconscious girl unable to give consent… but by the end of this episode, he’ll have kissed Sailor Moon while she’s unconscious twice, which remains undeniably creepy.
I love Mamoru’s reveal to Usagi, though. He just gives zero shits. This lacks the tension and drama of the original series episode, of course, but I love how understated this is.
I imagine that breakfast is going to be awfully awkward. And oh yeah, let’s end on this sneak peak! Yaaay!