Act.10 – MOON
First Aired: 15th November 2014
Luna leads the Sailor Senshi to the Moon, and the ruins of the Silver Millennium, where they encounter all that remains of the long-dead Queen Serenity: a projection of her memories. Now knowing that Tuxedo Kamen is still alive, albeit in the hands of Queen Beryl, they return to Earth, only to find the Four Generals of the Dark Kingdom waiting for them, newly brainwashed, as even more memories from the Sailor Senshi’s past lives return…
The first part of this review is spoiler-free.
We’re really getting into the meat and bones of the Dark Kingdom arc of Sailor Moon Crystal. With most of the revelations from the Silver Millennium coming out this episode, it kicks off a chain of events that becomes the climax of the season. So there is, once again, a bonanza of new information, augmented by interesting settings, character background reveals and worthwhile action.
This is a solid episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, but this is in spite of a couple moments of truly clumsy writing. Characters just seemingly scream things out in the midst of battle just to reveal some pertinent information, for instance. This is indicative of the fact that this is a direct adaptation of the manga, and thus the creators hinder themselves by sticking too rigidly to a format that is not as fluid as animation.
That being said, it was a fantastic moment seeing the Senshi on the Moon. Queen Serenity (I really can’t think that this is a spoiler seeing as she’s in the opening credits) remains an enchanting and utterly unknowable entity, and this is rather nicely juxtaposed with a good family life scene for Usagi earlier in the episode.
The largest change in the anime compared to the manga thus far has been revolving around the Great Four – here called the Four Kings – of the Dark Kingdom, but as it happens the difference hasn’t cause a single change in the story line thus far. The Four Kings have arguably an even more interesting story yet to unfold, seeing as it was entirely absent from the original anime adaptation. I enjoyed all the scenes with them in, even if Kunzite seems to be stealing most of the attention.
Queen Beryl felt for the first time a real threat. Seeing her become truly obsessive and manipulative, her character is really coming into play. Her motivations are fascinating and repulsive, and seeing her increasingly turn the objectives of her ruler Queen Metallia into her own warped plans is extremely interesting.
I’m glad the other four Senshi got a chance to shine today. I’ve felt like they have been brushed under the carpet as Usagi increasingly took centre stage, but it was fascinating to see their own memories of the Silver Millennium. While there may have been a -few- too many flashbacks in the last 2 or 3 episodes, I found them all intriguing nevertheless.
With some decent action and a couple questionable moments by the end of this episode, it really makes you long for a little more attention and time paid to the more visual elements of the series. I really enjoyed the action of this episode, however brief it was, and I’m hoping to see fewer scenes of just exposition, but I suppose that might be optimistic in the extreme.
I’m about to discuss a couple of points from the episode, so look away if you don’t want to know!
The opening felt rather rushed. The writers obviously wanted to recapture a sense of slice-of-life that they have completely lost in this series so far thanks to time-restraints, but we don’t really see more than Usagi playing an arcade game and Ami deciding to read a Big Book of Children’s Facts about the Moon. I had to laugh.
I also had to laugh at the fourth or fifth time someone said “we’re going to the Moon!” within the first 2 minutes of the show. Especially when Makoto said it so plainly and boldly. It’s not like going to the beach, you know.
I enjoyed the brief time we spent with Usagi and her family. Considering the enormous psychological changes she’s been going through, it would be fascinating to see people who have no connection with her mystical side come to terms with her awakening as an entirely different person altogether.
Heeey it’s Shingo. I really liked that Usagi insisted that he was playing her handheld game system. And damn straight, she seems like 10 times the gamer he is: she lives in Crown Arcade after all.
Sailor Teleport was… a little disappointing, actually. The build-up, the music, the art, the effects, all were so moving in the original series. Here, their powers develop so arbitrarily, and the act felt so flat, that it just felt like they were taking yet another stroll through the park.
The Moon was really cool, but again, a little disappointing. Even in the manga there were a couple of beautifully dead vistas. Here they’re really eager to get them into the ruins of the Silver Millennium that there’s no time to savour the idea that Sailor Moon is actually walking on the fucking moon.
Queen Serenity was rather brill. Loved her voice actress, loved the effects they use to digitise her, loved the flashbacks she instigated, even if we have seen a bit of it before. I also love that she’s still tiny for no apparent reason.
We never really have seen the other Senshi in the Silver Millennium before, even in the manga. Everything is usually so focussed on Usagi’s needs and emotions. Not that it’s much different here, ever girl only gets her flashback in relation to Princess Serenity.
Seeing Sailor Mars peer out through the crack in the palace door really made me laugh, not least because it reminded me of Kaorinite doing the exact same thing in Sailor Moon S. She hasn’t had any chance to really display her fiery personality at all in this series. Just blending in a bit at the moment.
Queen Serenity’s flashbacks get suuuuuper dark as it’s shown that Princess Serenity stabbed herself in the stomach with a sword after Endymion died. That’s messed up. And it will continue to be messed up. I never liked this in the manga, was sort of hoping it would be dropped for this… the Japanese and their “noble suicides”, eh? It’s pretty messed up.
Seeing Sailor Moon react to her second mother is fascinating… yet once again it’s over so quickly. It must be a complete head trip to know that you have two mothers, both equally related to you. Poor Ikuko is sort of overshadowed by the deity of the goddamn Moon though.
The scene where the Four Kings followed Queen Beryl down to the basement was suuuuper interesting. For one, everyone but Kunzite should be a corpse by now, according to the manga. For another, the reveal that the Four Kings were Endymion’s sworn guard is so interesting, especially since they then lose their freewill once again. It’s an interesting tragedy, even if the reveal is so ham-handed in set-up. Just seemed a tad clumsy in execution.
Queen Beryl, for the first time, felt like a genuine threat as she rounded upon the Great Four. Just her look, her casual disregard for their minds, her evident reliance upon yet utter contempt for these guys is great to watch.
It’s obvious that Zoisite, Nephrite and Jadeite are meant to be absent here – every frame focusses on Kunzite alone, and he has the only lines that have any impact on the story whatsoever.
The action back on Earth was pretty damn good, actually. Love quite a bit of it, even if the actual plan was stupid and dull – freezing a bunch of people? Sailor Moon Crystal has a Tokyo that feels completely bereft of people. Civilians only exist to get attacked in large numbers. There’s no connection to any of them. May as well be an empty city.
Loved the action shots, even if they were super brief.
We get the reveal that the Four Kings are not only brainwashed former generals of Endymion, but that they’re former lovers of the Sailor Senshi. I like this twist – wasn’t used in the original series. Gives the Senshi an interesting motivation, even if they use the knowledge to immediately just refuse to fight. Probably better if Venus just hadn’t started yelling it in the middle of battle?
Sailor Moon’s Moon Healing Escalation was… distinctly weird… Why fly up into orbit? Why? Just why? So weird, so arbitrary. They made it look pretty, and the spinning was fun (reminded me of Rainbow Moon Heartache in that sense), but all I could think was “WHY?”
Queen Berylis beginning to get very dark indeed. After being super scary attacking the Four Kings, she looks even more insane clasping Mamoru’s face like a lover. I’m always found her motivations fascinating – her ambition and her unrequited love are wrapped up together in a crazy tentacled mass. Really interested to see if they can expand upon her a bit more. I believe the manga had a nice flashback for her.
Soooo evil Mamoru! Very excited for this. While Naoko Takeuchi’s original manga managed to brilliantly alter Mamoru’s look at this point by making him have psychopath eyes (it really was brilliant), here he just sort of looks… a little grumpy.
Oh, bite my tongue, they gave him evil glowing eyes.