3:34 – Shadows of Destruction! The Awakening of the Messiah of Silence
Alternative Title: My Twin Comes With A Discount
First Aired: 28th January 1995
The time has come for the Death Busters to reawaken the Messiah of Silence. The final member of the Witches 5, Cyprin, calls forth all the students of Mugen Academy to the school in a daze to harvest Pure Hearts, and the Sailor Senshi move to defend them, but Kaorinite takes advantage of the mayhem to target a Pure Heart of her own.
Aaaaand we’re back to Sailor Moon S. Thanks for you patience while I’ve been away, I’m planning to really hammer out a lot of content in December.
What a good episode to return to. There’s a couple of speed bumps here, such as the final Witch(es) who turns out to be a real let down, but the continuation of the final push in Sailor Moon S can’t be underplayed. Real big events start to happen here, and the introduction of the true face of the Messiah of Silence, the Big Bad if you will, is fantastic.
Best of all is the heightening of the tension as the danger hits pretty close to home. I like this one a lot.
Mugen Academy is a plain-looking office building, but this is all the most effective when they make it look like an evil monolith. All the students of Mugen Academy are walking like zombies into the school. An unknown Witch appears to have hypnotised them out of their beds towards their school…
…while also getting them to change back into their school uniform too. Whoever this is, she’s a stickler for rules.
Haruka and Michiru, atop their fancy-pants building in their fancy-pants Japanese garden (THE ONE PERCENT) sense the event, with Michiru giving what seems like a total melodramatic statement of “The planet is cowering at the horrors of the unknown as well.”
It’s called anthropogenic climate change, Michiru.
I love this opening. It’s dark, it’s creepy, it’s starting with the tension and the episode doesn’t drop it. And everything looks great too.
Chibi-Usa, meanwhile, is thinking about Hotaru… in the bath. Huh. Well that’s a bit weird. What a strange decision by the animators.
And this cuts to…huh. Well you know I have no comment on this. What did you think I was going to say you perverts?
If I were to stretch I suppose I could comment on the iconography of their nudity and frailty reflecting Usagi and Chibi-Usa’s inability to fight in the way of fate, leaving them defenceless. Perhaps also this could leave them open emotionally, this is them at their most honest and raw with one another. Perhaps I could talk about the idea of “skinship” in Japanese culture, the idea of bathing together to improve interpersonal ties.
Or they’re just naked for the hell of it, whatever.
Naturally we can’t have a bath scene without someone embarrassing themselves, so Usagi kindly breaks the tension by slipping on soap (just like in prison) and smacking hard into the bath.
Chibi-Usa’s response, of trying to drown her future mother, seems both perfectly apt and not at all likely to end with the death of both parties.
In actuality this is a very sweet moment, along with Usagi wrapping Chibi-Usa in a towel as they run up the stairs. Even if it is highly odd from a Western perspective, you can still appreciate the mother-daughter closeness these two have reached at this point in their relationship. Quite at odds with how they were at each other’s throats before.
Chibi-Usa looks rather adorable as she tells Usagi that, while she’s worried about Hotaru, she’ll cheer up soon. How very mature of her. Definitely taking after Mamoru right at this moment.
I love the art in this episode by the way. How Usagi’s eyes look and the damp of her hair and all that.
After being dragged out by Luna and Artemis, Usagi leaves the house without Chibi-Usa to investigate Mugen Academy’s students suddenly wanting to study at 2 in the morning. You could not get me out of the house at this time for all the money in the world. Here’s my Senshi membership card, I quit as Sailor Ganymede or whatever.
So how’s our Hotaru doing? Not well. Even Professor Tomoe agrees, commenting on her rapidly weakening body.
He’s joined by someone who we haven’t met yet, but anyone with a modicum of memory will recognise her as the Witch who led the students into the school earlier.
This is Cyprin, the last and “greatest” of the Witches 5 (YEAH RIGHT), and she recommends a prescription of Pure Hearts, and soon. Well what have these guys been trying to get a hold of for the past few weeks then? Anyway, Cyprin has gathered the students to the school for this very reason.
The Professor does his usual creepy sociopathic “you’re the only one I can count on now” speech to Cyprin, while she gives a quick dig in herself at Kaorinite, who is obviously not hanging around like a bat and…
…oh dear she’s standing right behind you guys. Well this is awkward.
Kaorinite decides that she needs to have a personal vendetta against every other woman she deals with professionally and gets super pissed off at Cyprin. She has some real self-esteem issues, combined with Tomoe just being an awful emotionally-bullying asswipe, and decides on getting the purest Pure Heart in the laaaand.
…and then she remembers that super annoying little girl who kept hanging around.
Chibi-Usa, meanwhile, is having the most fucked-up dream manageable that doesn’t involve sex. It looks so rotten, evil and beautiful. Really great job on the art here. This animation team do the rare episode, but when they do it always looks fantastic.
Chibi-Usa sees Hotaru… crucified, with long, disembodied hands rising up to drag her down to hell. This is horrible imagery, reflective of the pseudo-Christian references they keep making, but more importantly just horrifying.
Hotaru screaming as those demonic hands grab her face and pull her away would freak anyone out.
And naturally Chibi-Usa wakes the hell up in a cold sweat. I would be rolling on the ground screaming myself. After checking whether or not she’s pissed herself (she most definitely has pissed herself), she gets a determined look on her face. You know, the look that says “I’m about to do something stupid“.
Those Mugen Academy students (my lord they must have an open door policy for admissions) are still filing into the school. The music here is original, and very very cool/creepy, especially next to the huge statue of the Messiah of Silence in the main hall. Who designed this building. It’s messed up.
Cyprin, who has been hugely boring thus far, boringly nabs all the Pure Hearts from her victims. She doesn’t even use a special gun, or a Daimohn, or evil plants, or mid 90s computer monitors. Boo Cyprin.
The girls, who have snuck into the school, are immediately noticed by Cyprin, who whacks them inside a red marble and sends them up through the ceiling. Instead of, I dunno, chucking them into a volcano or something. Smart move, Cyprin. The animation is actually suddenly rather shit here. The awesome studio who have done the best scenes in this episode so far is apparently not doing the entire episode, only select scenes.
So we get stuck with these rubbish “action” shots” that feel complete disjointed every now and again.
The girls appear in what looks like the Headmaster’s room, as Cyprin identifies them at once as the Sailor Senshi. Man, they spend so long not knowing who the Senshi are and then suddenly they’re so easily identifiable.
I love Makoto’s reaction – she’s sort of happy to be able to throw off her disguise. It’s also a great opportunity for a long extended transformation sequence. Eat up those minutes, guys. Seriously, this lasts ages. At least they give the Senshi each a snappy line about going to save the world. This is the last big transformation before the final battle, so I guess they wanted to milk the moment.
We start off with a good old fashioned Burning Mandala. Been a while since we got the full charge up and everything. It’s pretty cool actually, how it blasts out the windows of the office. Shame it did nothing useful.
In retaliation, Mars gets hit with both a blue and a red light that smacks her right into the wall, and my it looks like it hurts. She then dodges another red blast before getting slammed with another blue blast, and Sailor Mars is looking distinctly worse for wear. Great start, Sailor Mars, keep it up.
Sailor Venus whips up Cyprin with a Venus Love-Me Chain, but the smirk Cyprin gives back is distinctly unsettling. I like this moment, really sells you on her cockiness.
Venus is, naturally, slammed from the side with a red blast as it’s revealed that the Witches 5 has the worst name for a group ever, seeing as there’s actually six of them. Yep, Cyprin has an identical twin by the name of Petirol. I’ve never liked this reveal. Seems a bit cheap to be honest, and the identical bad-guys trope has never turned out too well in Sailor Moon.
OK OK I get that they’re both two halves of the same person, but honestly that seems like splitting hairs.
Next up is Sailor Jupiter with a Sparkling Wide Pressure, but Cyprin and Petriol combine their magic wand thingys to make them pretty much invulnerable. Naturally Sailor Mercury learns quick, so does not attack. Either that or she’s a complete coward.
Oh, I should point out that by now the room has become the endless cold void of space, but who’s noticed a thing like that. I can only imagine this was to give them more room to fight, and a static backdrop is easier to draw on top of.
With the twins on top, you’d think they would just finish off the Senshi and get back to work, but nah of course they need to play with their food.
Enough of that, let’s check up on Chibi-Usa shall we? For no particular reason, she’s decided to leave the house in the middle of the night without telling anyone just to stare at the empty house that she knows her friend isn’t in. And then for no particular reason she decides to transform right in the middle of the street.
For what reason? Is she going to attack the front door? The empty kitchen? What? Very random. I think they just wanted to have her in her Sailor Senshi outfit one last time before the end of the series, because frankly she’s not going to be a big part of it.
Kaorinite, hanging out like an emo in the shadows of the empty house, calmly notices that Chibi-Usa is a Sailor Senshi. “One of the shit ones,” I seem to recall her saying.
Sailor Chibi-Moon runs into the house. She’s NOT IN THERE you idiot. The only thing she finds is Kaorinite, offering to take her to Hotaru, or at least one particular part of her anyway.
Just to show that he isn’t a complete dead-beat dad (he totally is though), Tuxedo Kamen swoops in spewing his usual rhetoric. Too bad Kaorinite has had enough of his bullshit, because she decides just to blast out the entire room.
Chibi-Usa goes flying out the window. I guess she’s boned right?
Nah, just to show the world that she’s a better guardian than Sailor Moon to her own daughter, Sailor Pluto turns up with a lovely Dead Scream. Kaorinite, however, has learned well from being, you know, murdered last time, and makes off with Chibi-Moon in a cloud of smoke.
Good job guys. You have the one thing to do, not let Chibi-Moon get abducted, and you failed. You guys should be feeling so bad right now.
Just to underline that we’re going to see as many full-length attacks and transformation sequences in this episode as possible, Sailor Mercury finally gets over her crippling cowardice to use Shine Aqua Illusion on Cyprin and Petirol, and receives a face full of energy as her reward.
Told her she should have just hidden underneath a desk or something.
SO! How are the Senshi going to defeat these bastards? TEAM WORK! Or something. I actually like this bit quite a bit. Always nice to see the Senshi being tactical and working together for once.
And then I DON’T BELIEVE IT FUCKING BUBBLE SPRAY. Jesus Christ, it’s the 123rd episode of Sailor Moon and they’re still using an attack from season 1. At least give it a graphical overhaul or something… oh well, it’s like a rubbish old friend by this point. Go on then, get it all misty and junk.
I love being mean to fictional characters.
Anyway, the twins don’t seem phased by a bit of mist, and easily combine powers to defend against another Venus Love-Me Chain…
But they didn’t count on Moon Tiara Action and Fire Soul! Talk about old attacks. Can’t believe this is getting another run. Ahh nostalgia.
This still does absolutely nothing to break the twins’ combined wand thingys… but they didn’t count on Sailor Jupiter being a complete ruffian and rugby tackling Cyprin to the ground! Nice one, liked this a lot. Even better, as Cyprin moves to angrily retaliate against Jupiter, she runs off, and Cyprin follows. Wow that’s an old trick, but a good one.
You can already see where this is going, of course, but it’s still hugely satisfying.
Mars hammers Petriol on the back of the head so hard. I love seeing fisticuffs in Sailor Moon, not enough of it. Petriol disregards her own advice to Cyprin about not chasing after enemies and inevitably getting yourself killed, and totally chases after Sailor Mars.
Jupiter and Mars are both dodging like crazy, and both Cyprin and Petriol begin charging up for huge attacks.
OH NOES ARE THEY DOOMED?
Nah, Jupiter and Mars just step aside and allow the twins to kill each other. Well that really was something of a let down for the “greatest of the Witches 5“. It was still satisfying though.
Just to recap, Sailor Moon did very little in that fight. She threw her tiara and that was it. Just putting that out there.
So that’s all the Pure Hearts of the students returned for some reason. Nice and neat. Even nicer and neater is the convenient worm hole that suddenly opens up right in front of the Sailor Senshi leading them to the Death Busters lab. This really is unnecessary, just have them run down to the basement…
…just like Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune did, apparently. They waltz right up to Professor Tomoe performing Memories from the hit musical Cats.
This alter is… pretty darn unsettling. All green and black, with bells hanging off strings overhead. There’s something so eerie about it, reminds me of the sealing wards they put on demon-haunted rocks and toilets and that in Japan. The soft tinkling is horrible. Good job on the ambiance here.
Tomoe welcomes the Sailor Senshi and the creepy Death Busters music picks up. I love this tune. This alter has a real sacrificial vibe going on. I really like this too, the science of the Death Busters is at an end, and dark fantastical magic begins, with Chibi-Moon unconscious on stone carved with strange runes.
This is scary stuff.
Naturally seeing their future Princess in the clutches of the enemy enrages Uranus, so she decides not to use her usual smarts and runs straight into…
…a shocking barrier. Well did you think he was just going to stand there and let you run at him?
The arrival of the other Senshi at this point is entirely moot. We can assume they took the worm hole, but why not just make them take the stairs? There’s very little fanfare at their arrival here.
Tomoe, looking cool as shit, chuckles as Sailor Moon notices that her one and only future daughter has been captured by a weirdo in a lab coat. You’re a shitty mum sometimes.
As the Messiah of Silence begins to stir, Sailor Moon decides that her boobs are really itchy, and runs torso-first into the shocking barrier. Seriously though, it looks pretty weird.
And then oh god oh god oh god it’s AWAKE IT’S AWAKE THAT’S SO SCARY.
Seriously though, after all the build up, this really feels like a great pay off. After all the horrible ways we’ve seen Pure Heart’s extracted over the series, how much pain and suffering it causes, this is hands down the worst. Hotaru, or rather the Messiah of Silence, stumbles up from her seat, with a strange energy-hand emerging from her.
This enters Chibi-Moon’s chest and my god it looks horrifying as it rips her heart right out of her. Honestly, this is the worst, especially as Chibi-Moon wakes up and looks over…
…to see her friend ripping her heart out. And all she says is “I’m glad you’re OK” before the heart is taken. Well shit, that’s so rough. They’ve done such a good job, this is captivating stuff.
The imagery as the Pure Heart descends towards Hotaru is fantastic. Absolutely love this. Uranus reminds them that if Sailor Saturn revives, the world will be destroyed, but honestly everyone, the audience included, only really cares about Chibi-Usa at this point.
The sight of Hotaru opening her mouth to -literally- eat Chibi-Usa’s Pure Heart as Sailor Moon can do nothing but watch is, again, cruel and strange and captivating. And it all looks amazing.
With one last attempt, a frantic Sailor Moon (her panic is perfectly performed here) begs Professor Tomoe to stop this if he really loves Hotaru. His slow, cold reaction, turning around and saying “Love…? What are you talking about?” is, again, so effective.
And what emerges from Hotaru? Not Sailor Saturn after all, but something quite different…
My my my who or what the hell is this? This has not been foreshadowed at all. This is no Senshi of Ruin, this is something else entirely. This is the Lord and Saviour of the Death Busters, Mistress Nine. What a name. Naoko Takeuchi did an amazing job in this series. Death Busters. Messiah of Silence. Senshi of Ruin. Pharaoh 90. Mistress Nine. What evocative, alien names.
Apparently, Hotaru was already possessed by a powerful being, and it is this that has awakened, not sailor Saturn. That’s… good? I think? For now at least. It’s not immediate death after all, even if it’s delayed death. She looks the business too, with that long dress, the hair, the crackling lightning. A sure sign of Mistress Nine being a complete badass.
Just to make sure everyone knows it, Mistress Nine decides to immediately liquefy Kaorinite, just because she’s such a total dick. Who can blame her? She doesn’t even leave behind a body, she just vanishes in smoke. Pretty good death, that, even if it’s a little anti-climatic. Actually, it’s the complete lack of drama or pomp around Kaorinite’s death that makes it effective – she’s less than a fly to whatever new enemy they’re facing.
Oh yeah, the Professor continues not giving a shit. Talk about sociopathy.
Mistress Nine begins blasting apart whatever dimension they’re in, and Sailor Moon manages to grab Chibi-Usa’s corpse before the girls escape.
Mugen Academy isn’t looking too good either, the explosion smashes up the whole of the top of Mugen Academy, just as Tuxedo Kamen and Pluto arrive… way too late to do any good whatsoever.
We begin to see that Chibi-Usa is in worse shape than we have ever seen a Pure Heart victim – she’s not breathing. That’s an incredibly eerie sight to see, a mortal, human, everyday way to die, in a young kid. It’s disturbing as heck.
Back in Mamoru’s apartment, the writers have suddenly realised that they have completely neglected to develop Mamoru’s powers and character, as he suddenly has the ability to link his lifeforce to Chibi-Usa’s. Handy, yes, but would have made more sense if we saw his burgeoning “aura” powers present in the manga.
This is a bit of a cheat I suppose, but it massively raises the stakes of the climax to a personal level, and removes Chibi-Moon and Tuxedo Kamen in a single fell swoop too, so that’s perfect. Very neatly done.
Usagi begins to question everything she’s done thus far, all her ideals and ethics… for about 2 seconds. Setsuna comes in and delays any self exploration, which I’m fine with to be honest. She announces that she has to defeat the Messiah of Silence with Uranus and Neptune… to save Chibi-Usa.
Well that’s not easy to argue against is it?
Usagi strengthens her resolve and announces that no one else will be hurt by this (she’s obviously gone insane). The episode ends with the Senshi regrouping and marching towards Mugen Academy, as a sure fire sign that we’re about to enter the final climax of the series in a very cool shot.
I love this ending. Brilliant set-up for the series finale.
All in all a fantastic episode. If Cyprin and Petriol hadn’t been so disappointing (the fight wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t enough) I might give this a perfect score. Great art in places, decent writing in places, with a brilliant crescendo at the end that makes you want to immediately watch the next one.
GOD I love this series.
Episode Score: 5/5 (Gorgeous, scary, emotional. A couple of shots are uneven but that finale topped it to the highest echelon)
Monster Score: 3/5 (Cyprin and Petriol just didn’t have enough time to give themselves any character.)
Final Thought: Not one fire engine or police car around Mugen Academy after kids leave their beds en masse and a giant explosion wrecks Odaib. About the level of competency I’ve come to associate with the Tokyo police force.
NEXT TIME: Ohmygodohmygodohmygod it’s SO EXCITING. Fights, battles, time stopping, helicopter explosions! And the Inner Senshi get to kneel down and hang out outside…