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Act.8 – MINAKO – SAILOR VENUS

First Aired: 18th October 2014

Sailor Moon Crystal - Sailor Venus transformation

Sailor V, Aino Minako reveals herself to be Sailor Venus, the final member of the Sailor Senshi. Not only that, but she is, in fact, the Princess Serenity they girls have been looking for. Minako seems to be keeping something secret from the other Senshi, however, which is when Kunzite attacks, summoning the Princess to Tokyo Tower…

The first part of this review is spoiler-free.

It’s been a pretty decent rule thus far to say that Sailor Moon Crystal episodes introducing a new Senshi have been rather better than those without, examples thus far being the masquerade ball and antics with Tuxedo Kamen. This episode is no exception.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Sailor Venus

There’s a whole lot to like here. Aside from the excitement of finally meeting Sailor V and having all five Senshi reunited once again, there’s the implication of subterfuge, the deepening of Usagi and Mamoru’s relationship and some enjoyable action.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Usagi and Mamoru in the park

There are also some very pretty shots. While the animation drops in a couple of places (undoubtedly to be rectified for the Blu-ray release – such is the strange times we live in), the gorgeous shots of Aino Minako smiling, or the Senshi firing off attacks, are just fab.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Tuxedo Kamen catches Sailor Moon

Minako is fairly obviously hiding something from the rest of the Senshi, something which didn’t come up in the original series, but can be seen in the manga. They pull this off well, and it really adds some flavour to Minako’s arrival – she’s not just a passive joinee, but a full-fledged competent and experienced soldier.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Minako serious

Artemis, her trusty side-kick, I’m not too sure about yet. He hasn’t had much airtime, but his eyes are so startling green as to unnerve anyone who knows him from the original series. His voice is also rather low, which seems slightly unexpected coming out of a little furry cat. I’m interested to see if his character is any different, or what his relationship with Luna is in this iteration.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Artemis talking to Luna

I’m increasingly fond of Sailor Moon Crystal’s Mamoru over the original anime. He’s once again humble, yet noble. His continued awareness and appreciation of Sailor Moon’s strength and determination is endearing. And hey, he always looks good with his glasses on.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Mamoru reading

The climax of the episode brings in Kunzite, the greatest of the Great Four, and he doesn’t disappoint. I like how lazily he fights the Senshi, barely lifting a finger. The location of Tokyo Tower has been done to death in anime, of course. I would be shocked to see any anime set in Tokyo which didn’t at some point have a huge supernatural battle atop the observation deck.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Kunzite attacks

The ending of the episode happens rather abruptly, which is a shame because I feel as though that not a lot was resolved in anything they started, but I don’t take this as a negative – it keeps me coming back wanting more. And I’m very much looking forward to seeing this plot threads come together in a couple of weeks.

…although, fyi, I will be on holiday in New York on the weekend of the next Sailor Moon Crystal episode, so expect my coverage a few days late!. Thanks for your patience.


 

Spoiler Section

I’m about to discuss a couple of points from the episode, so look away if you don’t want to know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Still here?

Good.

Gotta love how beautifully Sailor Venus is drawn in this opening.

There's not even glass in those glasses. She's a total bloody hipster!

There’s not even glass in those glasses. She’s a total bloody hipster!

There’s a bunch of little moments that really make me question how much effort is going in to write these episodes. I’m not saying that the writing is lazy… but when you have people talking at a normal volume from about 100 feet away, it does raise questions. I chuckled at this.

"I'm Sailor Venu--" "WHAAT?"

“I’m Sailor Venu–“
“WHAAT?”

I always appreciate a de-transformation scene. Since this is animated without the weird cel-shaded effects, I think it actually looks better than the transformation sequences…

Probably should do this somewhere less conspicuous as where you've just been fighting with massive energy blasts

Probably should do this somewhere less conspicuous as where you’ve just been fighting with massive energy blasts

Artemis’ eyes are bugging me out. They’re just so GREEN. And his voice is deep too. I don’t mind these changes, I think I just need to have a little time to get used to them. It was much easier getting used to Crystal Luna, I must say!

That's pretty adorable though. Almost looks normal with his eyes closed!

That’s pretty adorable though. Almost looks normal with his eyes closed!

I loved how serious Minako got as she walked away from the other Senshi. She’s definitely a different character to Ami, Rei and Makoto. I wonder if they’ll make her as ditzy as the original series did…?

"Yeah I think I hate those guys. That Usagi kept staring at my face and blushing."

“Yeah I think I hate those guys. That Usagi kept staring at my face and blushing.”

They’re really making the true Serenity & Endymion identities fairly obvious here. I found the plot by Sailor Venus to mask the identity of Serenity rather confusing at first in the manga, they’ve made it a little more obvious in Crystal. This looked very much like the scenes in the original anime.

Why does he keep calling you Serenity in your dreams, you ask? Do I have to spell it out, Usagi?

Why does he keep calling you Serenity in your dreams, you ask?
Do I have to spell it out, Usagi?

Mamoru in glasses, totally bish, let’s just move along and pretend he’s not reading a book on magic crystals as thought it’s a scholarly work…

Stick him in a uniform and he's totally bish.

Stick him in a uniform and he’s totally bish.

This whole meeting in the park was so cute. Both of them is shy, hesitant, completely in love. Really loved this scene, even down to Luna who just walked away sadly (not sure how she suddenly knows Mamoru is Tuxedo Kamen though). This is all fresh territory, remember. We didn’t get this shy little flirty dance between the two in the original anime, since their feelings coincided with the revelation of their identities.

"Are you stalking me, Usagi?" "No. Well, a little."

“Are you stalking me, Usagi?”
“No. Well, a little.”

Kunzite’s entrance. Have been looking forward to him entering the battle. He looks and acts very much as he did before… although there was no creepy hand-kiss. I find this move completely appalling in any situation. Other than the creepy sexual suggestion involved, it’s also unhygienic as heck.

"...You didn't wash your hands, did you my Queen?"

“…You didn’t wash your hands, did you my Queen?”

Really liked the scene of Kunzite singling out Minako. Have to ask though… how did he know her identity, without knowing who the true Princess is? They don’t establish this at all. Oh well, any excuse to get her over to Tokyo Tower. Her decision to go alone is a -little- suspect.

"Oh no I didn't know you were Sailor Venus. I've just been asking every person in Tokyo until I found the right person."

“Oh no I didn’t know you were Sailor Venus. I’ve just been asking every person in Tokyo until I found the right person.”

Hrmm… they’re completely copying the original transformation sequences now. If you’re going to do a reboot, simply shoving into 3D isn’t enough to make it fresh. Not happy with these.

I call this "Sailor Venus carries invisible tray of after-dinner coffees."

I call this “Sailor Venus carries invisible tray of after-dinner coffees.”

So Sailor Jupiter now has the ability to fly with an anti-gravity field…? This was weird and unnecessary…

Well that's a handy trick... feel like they're taking liberties with what "electricity powers" can do

Well that’s a handy trick… feel like they’re taking liberties with what “electricity powers” can do

The first full Senshi battle stance. Felt good, felt right.

PUNISH YOOUUU - this made me happy

PUNISH YOOUUU – this made me happy

Tuxedo Kamen flying out of nowhere to save Sailor Moon was also a bit weird. There’s so many odd choices here, such as giving him the power of flight. He’s just a dude, suddenly he can fly? Very strange.

By the way, Tokyo Tower is surrounded by pretty tall buildings. They always make it look like it's in the middle of nowhere.

By the way, Tokyo Tower is surrounded by pretty tall buildings. They always make it look like it’s in the middle of nowhere.

This is the scene I’ve been waiting for! This is hands down the best kiss in anime I’ve seen (oh yes it is) and I’ll tell you why – this is a kiss instigated by Sailor Moon, without shame or shock or shyness. She completely takes Tuxedo Kamen aback, but to her it’s not strange – it’s just natural. That’s what I love, Sailor Moon taking agency over her sexuality, not some masked man kissing her while she’s unconscious in the middle of the night.

Hands down one of my favourite kisses in Sailor Moon. And she's AWAKE this time.

Hands down one of my favourite kisses in Sailor Moon. And she’s AWAKE this time.

…but why, Sailor Moon? Why would you jump 40 feet into the air right in front of an enemy? I -think- the reason is because she thinks Venus is Princess Serenity and you’re trying to defend her, but -say so- otherwise you look like an idiot.

"Hey guys what's going on up here oh shit I'm about to get smashed in the face."

“Hey guys what’s going on up here oh shit I’m about to get smashed in the face.”

Speaking of which… OK I get that we had to get Tuxedo Kamen to sacrifice his life for Sailor Moon, although I never thought it fit right in the manga. It seemed like more of an action out of pride than anything else, he seemed deflated that he couldn’t defend Sailor Moon (even though he just saved her life). He’s also just a normal human at this point, so obviously this was not going to end well.

"Don't worry, I'll save y-- OH OW SHIT MY EYES. That's like SO bright. I'm going to be seeing stars for hours. Oh yeah, also I'm severely injured."

“Don’t worry, I’ll save y– OH OW SHIT MY EYES. That’s like SO bright. I’m going to be seeing stars for hours. Oh yeah, also I’m severely injured.”

My main objection is that he flies again. He just jumped 40 feet into the air to catch an energy blast. Just looks weird. Wish the producers had just had this happen without all the magic flying about, could have easily been done.

The episode end is a bit sudden here, like they just cut it right down the middle. I don’t mind so much, but it does make the pacing a little wonkier than normal. Still, we got excellent character-building from this pace, so no complaints.

Rather looking forward to watching the conclusion to this in New York with my Sailor Moon buddies!

One final shot of Usagi waking up for the road

One final shot of Usagi waking up for the road

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