3:22 – The Grail’s Divine Power! Moon’s Double Transformation
Alternative Title: Super Saiyan Sailor Moon!
First Aired: 22nd October 1994
After the Talismans hidden within the Pure Hearts of Uranus and Neptune emerge, Eugeal manages to gain possession of them, leading to a fierce chase through the Marine Cathedral. With her extremely powerful weaponry, and Uranus and Neptune on the verge of death, the mysterious woman Setsuna enters the battle, and Sailor Moon sees her most mysterious transformation yet…
Wowzers! What an episode. Sure, it doesn’t hold the subtlety or humour of the brilliant episodes previous to this, but my word the moment when Sailor Moon powers up into Super Sailor Moon is such an iconic moment in anime history, and my own childhood, that it’s the dramatic height of the entire show.
That being said, I think the saving of Uranus and Neptune’s life is a little Deus Ex Machina, but it’s not like we can just kill them off, is it? Also, having Pluto as a reoccurring character is, frankly, worth the contrived set-up. There’s also a bunch of problems in pacing and animation.
SO! You may remember that crazy shit went down last time, where Uranus and Neptune were shown to be Talisman-bearers and had them removed, thus placing them on the edge of death with no way to return those hearts to them.
That’s still the case, naturally. Uranus is still, somehow, concious, and begs Usagi to find the last Talisman and give it to the Messiah before the Death Busters. This is nice and dramatic, and saves on complicated exposition from last time. I feel no threat whatsoever that this is really the end of Uranus though.
Just to drive home the foreshadowing of Usagi being the Japanese Jesus, Uranus gets another final vision of the Messiah (carefully-drawn boobies and all) before she, uh, “dies”.
Usagi’s cry of pain cuts deep, and the sequence is beautifully animated, but I maintain that there’s no finality of death here, not like the truly harrowing incident which we do not talk about ever again *sob*.
And, of course, immediately in the next scene Sailor Mars hears a heartbeat (by pressing her ear on Uranus’ boob. Awful timing, really). The problem remains that the stupid Talismans no longer fit inside their owners once they’re out. bit of a design flaw.
Eugeal, back from her sojourn from the pits of the cathedral, shoots fire from her Flame Buster thingy and swipes the Talismans. I hate this part. Felt rushed, uninteresting. The animators did the minimum amount of work to set up the subsequent chase sequence.
Scenes differ wildly in quality in this episode. Obviously a collaboration between different studios.
I love that Eugeal immediately stuffs the Deep Aqua Mirror inside her bra, though. Neptune’s Pure Heart is now firmly nestled against her boob. Seems… fitting.
Finally Usagi transforms into Sailor Moon. I rather liked that she remained just normal Usagi for the entirety of the previous episode. She celebrates her return to power by immediately getting a Fire Buster II to the face.
That’s great work, Sailor Moon.
Oh, and to add fuel to the, uh, fire, Eugeal has also trapped all the Senshi inside a ring of fire. Again, this feels like cheap tension-building that isn’t really paying off yet.
There’s some faffing about with this flame ring: Sailor Mercury has ONE JOB to do, put fires out with water, and she fails to do that, exciting the flames more instead. GREAT WORK, MERCURY. Honestly, the Inner Senshi are completely debuffed this entire season. Only Jupiter got the chance to truly lay the smack-down on an enemy.
Then again, Sailor Mars’ plan, attack fire with more fire, is even more tragic than Mercury’s.
Well I guess this is the end for our Senshi, right? Naah, Tuxedo Kamen finally turns up by jumping through a priceless stained-glass window. Nice one. What took you so long, were you on the toilet?
As it turns out, his secret weapon is… a monkey-like clinging Chibi-Usa, who uses Luna-P as an extinguisher.
Apparently this is a chemical fire? Makes sense. Are they actually using actual science here…? I have a feeling it’s more just an excuse to have Chibi-Usa do something useful for once.
This reuniting is really weird: the image is static and all the voice actors are just going “oohhh ahhhh hahaha ahahhh“. Definitely less interestingly directed than last time.
STOP TALKING AND RUN AFTER EUGEAL. JESUS.
Now we get the proper chase sequence, and I like it a lot. Eugeal is triumphant as she clip-clops down dark, brooding corridors that in no way looks like they exist in reality (looks more like the Mines of Moria). I like the art here, it’s picked up again. The sound mixing is great too, everything is crisp and powerful.
Eugeal notices she’s being chased by some very cross Senshi. I would honestly freak out if these girls were charging me down.
Eugeal doesn’t freak out, however. She, uh… spews some sticky liquid from her gun and spurts it all over the floor. It would be far too easy to make a bukkake joke here, so I will, or rather I just did.
The episode turns comedic… not entirely sure this is in keeping with the aesthetic or the mood, but that being said it’s still funny as heck seeing the girls trying, and failing, to escape from the goo.
Chibi-Usa falling face first is particularly tragic.
It turns out that Sailor Moon’s dilly-dallying with Uranus and Neptune was actually a good thing, as it’s left Sailor Moon the only on with mobility. We can all see where this is going, right?
Sailor Moon embarks on a Takeshi’s Castle run on top of her friends, and actually makes it look fairly graceful. Gosh this is a funny scene. I like how no one is too pissed off about this, and wish her well… even if it is another case of the Inner Senshi getting the short end of the stick.
Sailor Moon’s fierce determination to get the Talismans back to save Uranus and Neptune is admirable. I like it when she gets serious about kicking ass. It happens so rarely that it’s a real treat seeing her go for it.
And meanwhile, Setsuna is… hiding up on some pipes? Why? Yeah we get it, she’s mysterious.
Eugeal is so close to the exit that I actually sort of want her to get out. She’s tried SO hard to get these Talismans. There has been no bad guy to put the amount of effort in as she has, no other bad guy to actually succeed in their mission… up to this point anyway. Poor Eugeal.
Also, why didn’t Eugeal… I dunno, park her station wagon next to the organ, to make a quick getaway There’s enough room to drive down this church…
Sailor Moon gives her big spiel, and once again whips out her Love Rod (is that what it’s called… I forget. Love Rod sounds… not right) to fire a Spiral Moon Heart Attack at Eugeal, who stands there… looking very cocky. I love her stance.
Eugeal reminds Sailor Moon that she managed to deflect the Spiral Moon Heart Attack once before, and it’s clear that Sailor Moon is not entirely sure this is going to work.
When the attack starts, it’s an incredibly interesting choice to cut the music entirely and stick with this creepy, melodyless beat. It’s extremely disconcerting, and it’s a deliberate choice to foreshadow this not going to plan.
It’s the first time that we’ve seen a sequence like this, usually with an up-beat tune and sparkles and such, delivered like a funeral march. And indeed, Eugeal’s Fire Buster deflects the attack once more.
Sailor Moon literally has the one trick up her sleeve. She’s boned and alone. Great atmosphere, great tension here. Nothing manufactured about it like earlier.
There’s a great moment where Eugeal revels in triumph (she really should JUST RUN YOU FOOLS), and it’s animated beautifully, with a rainbow prism cast upon Eugeal’s face… as another foreshadowing. Remember that the Messiah thus far has been represented with a rainbow glow. Nice touch!
Eugeal is just about to turn Sailor Moon into crispy tempura when yet another voice interrupts. How many Senshi are there going to be? Eugeal never catches a break. Setsuna calmly, politely, asks for the Talismans to be returned, just as the other Senshi turn up, and WE GET A SURPRISE TRANSFORMATION!
Hell yes, Pluto Planet Power rocks as much as Sailor Uranus and Neptune’s transformations, set to the same rocking charged violin-led track.
Look at how lovely that is. Fits right in with the Outer Senshi theme, while bring a level of mystery and class to it as well. You might think it would be ridiculous to see a grown woman in a sailor’s uniform and mini-skirt, but Pluto makes it work.
I love the white mist, I love the full-moon spin, I love the lipstick, I love the orb. Great job with this, really top notch.
Just to make sure we’re all aware at how cool she is, Pluto dramatically announces that the final Talisman is, in fact, the orb atop her staff. It’s been in the show since last bloody season! What a great reveal! I love this moment. It’s all coming together, it feels like a rich, interesting and intertwined mythos.
Doesn’t always play out that way in Sailor Moon, but right now the show has never been so good.
Eugeal is ecstatic about this: she has the final Talisman in front of her, and she doesn’t even need to invent a new programme to find it. I have to admit, I’d be arrogant too.
Sadly, this is utter hubris, as Sailor Pluto immediately displays that she has some kind of mastery over her Talisman, and the Talismans of the other two Senshi, summoning the items away from Eugeal.
POOR EUGEAL. She tried SO HARD.
This is where we get the Deus Ex Machina of Pluto summoning the bodies of Uranus and Neptune, reviving them. Sure I would have liked their sacrifice to mean a little more, but this scene is beautifully paced and animated.
It’s oddly exciting seeing the planet symbols appear on the foreheads of the Outer Senshi. Doesn’t happen often – with the Inner Senshi, it’s only been in huge dramatic battles, or when they first awoke as Senshi. The event, therefore, has been established with great emotional triumph, as it is here. Good job!
Blatant Christian imagery again with the Trinity of Talismans, like it, like it. We steal far too much from them, about time they returned the favour.
Pluto returns the Talismans’ Pure Hearts back into Neptune and Uranus, leaving the items behind. I guess shooting yourself in the chest with that rifle has no lasting side-effects. This does seem all a little too easy doesn’t it? Pluto totally Gandalfed the situation.
So these girls are going to be all contrite and humble now, right? Yeah, likely.
The Outer Senshi use the power of the Talismans to put on a kickass light show, and just as the audience at home slip into epileptic shock, we cut to a character in the show freaking out just as much! Who is this!? Where is this!? Why is this!?
Nice to see that the series hasn’t run out of revelations just yet. The final third of the story is yet to cone, and this brief glimpse of… someone… just the blood pumping.
The Professor, in the Death Busters’ lab, is equally shocked. Something big has happened…
Some Triforcey goodness finally produces the legitimate Grail. As with the Space Sword, I’ve never liked the design of the Grail. It looks a bit cheap, frankly. I think they were going for a Fabergé Egg-look. Still, it is a cool appearance.
Soooo… was it a good idea to summon this thing right in front of an enemy with a fucking flame-thrower? No? Well I guess you learned your lesson then.
Eugeal is taking no chances this time, she blasts the entire gang with flames (they should be dead, really, and like properly dead), and legs it towards the Grail.
The only Senshi to make it out of the flames is… Sailor Moon! How…? Well anyway, this seemed like a fortuitously dramatic moment that had to happen. They both look very cool.
Sailor Moon takes another Fire Buster to the face (and actually looks a little crispy – ouch), but keeps on going for the Grail.
Eugeal’s face when she realises she might not get there in time is fantastic.
We all know what’s going to happen, obviously, but this sprint to the Holy Grail is pretty darn tense. I enjoyed it thoroughly, even if all the time the Senshi looked like they were burning to death.
Sailor Moon looks just the coolest as she launches herself, managing to grab the Grail and…
Well, shit goes down.
An explosion of light, the flames disappear, and we get a second transformation of Sailor Moon’s. It looks wicked. Not too long, mysterious and symbolic as heck, full of Messiah references which the series has been alluding to thus far, and SUPER FUCKING RAD.
Super Sailor Moon’s new design is so cool. I love her usual outfit, but you can’t deny that the transparent shoulder pads, triple-coloured miniskirt and fancy hair-clips aren’t amazing. More importantly, this transformation felt earned.
I like the touch of Chibi-Moon suddenly getting matching hair-clips, and her reaction of “oh well isn’t that interesting?”
Eugeal whips out the Fire Buster II again, but there’s no way this is going to work against the goddamn magic Jesus, is it?
She pulls some proper Neo from the Matrix shit here, and simply holds up a hand to blast Eugeal out the window. I love how effortless this looks. Really gives you a sense of scale, and is especially shocking since Sailor Moon is so usually on the edge.
If Eugeal wasn’t already having the worst day, just the worst, her trip home is about to get a little dicey. Mimett’s stupid irritating voice begins playing, thanking her for her work and pointing out that she’s a big disappointment to the Death Busters.
Considering that she found out the secret identities of two major enemies, took their Pure Hearts and was only defeated by a direct act of god, I think this is being cruel.
Poor Eugeal. This is about to get nasty. A bit too real, you know? She tries to brake her car but…
Mimett took the fucking brakes and replaced it with snails. Oh. My. God. That is messed up. And the final childish insult from Mimett?
You may remember my biggest problem with that note was the grammar, but I’m weird like that.
Poor, poor Eugeal. This death is fucked up. She drowns to death in her car because Mimett sabotaged it. Wow. Just, wow. What a way to go for my favourite bad guy thus far. You realise, of course, that this means I will never forgive Mimett. She’s already lost.
Anyway, back in the church, Super Sailor Moon has run out of juice, and she’s de-transforming back into regular old boring Sailor Moon again. Turns out this isn’t a permanent power up. This is much like her using the Ginzuishou, I suppose.
Despite the fact that Sailor Moon is obviously the Messiah, Uranus takes this power loss to mean that she is, in fact, not the Messiah after all. I’m just going to spoil it now: she’s totally the bloody Messiah, ok? She’s the mini-skirt wearing butterfly-winged blonde-haired blue-eyed, clumsy cry-baby Jesus, OK? Deal wit’ it.
Turns out Uranus and Neptune just needed an excuse to go do something else.
Meanwhile, Pluto so obviously knows that Sailor Moon is the Messiah, owing to the fact that she’s from the fucking future and chooses not to enlighten her companions.
I have to say, this separation of the Senshi actually feels a little artificial, in the sense that Uranus and Neptune were so dedicated to finding the Talismans that any other goal for them seems somehow superficial. We have to keep them around, though, don’t we?
We get a clearer shot of the girl who cried out at the creation of the Grail earlier… spooky. This is actually one of my favourite characters, by the way, which is quite something considering how many awesome characters there are here.
The Professor, meanwhile, is laughing merrily, even as Mimett reports that the Sailor Senshi have the Holy Grail. You’d think that he’s see this as something of a defeat at last… but no. As he claims, if someone who actually knew how to use the Grail appeared, the Death Busters would instantly be vapourised.
Alas, they are not. This is true cause to celebrate for him. It’s actually really impressively intimidating to see him screaming out “NOT ONE CRACK HAS EMERGED.” Really great moment, where it could have been a degrading of the enemy.
They seem as dangerous as ever!
As for whom the Death Busters would like to use the Grail…? Our young, pained girl seems the choice… as credits roll. I’m super excited, and still hooked on the series.
This for me represents the highlight of Sailor Moon S. Yes, the previous episode is better thematically and emotionally, but the meat and bones, the dramatic moments that stick with you even after all these years, are all here.
Yeah, there are some issues here, but the pay-off moments, linking together not only the references in this series, but the last as well, is so satisfactory that I have to give this full marks.
This good will won’t last in the coming episodes. I actually find Mimett’s run to be one of the weakest in the series, even if the brilliantly tragic Hotaru is introduced, but this is a brill launching pad for the concluding 14 (I think?) episodes.
Episode Score: 5/5 (It has to be, right?)
Eugeal’s Death Score: 5/5 (SHE DROWNS IN A CAR CRASH. That’s so fucked up.)
Final Thought: Where does the Holy Grail go when Sailor Moon doesn’t need it to transform? It just sort of disappears without explanation. After all that effort to get it too…
NEXT TIME: Yaaaaay Hotaru! Boooooo Mimett.