3:37 – A New Life! Time for Separation of the Destined Stars
Alternative Title: I Kick You Because I Respect You
First Aired: 18th February 1995
In the aftermath of the battle against Pharaoh 90, Haruka and Michiru have taken the reincarnated Hotaru, leaving Usagi and the Senshi unclear of her fate. In the final confrontation of ideology, the Outer Senshi and the Inner Senshi come to a head, as Sailor Moon defends her actions and her beliefs against Uranus and Neptune.
This is the first time in Sailor Moon we’re had a “wrap-up” episode. Previously, the climax and the conclusion of the series has happened in one go, so it’s rather interesting to have not just one, but two episodes to really let this series sink in.
And, of course, I think it needs it. This has been such an amazing series, with such a strange interesting conclusion that this episode just feels right. There’s no routine structure here – we’re getting a send off of two of the best characters in anime history.
Haruka and Michiru will be back, of course, but my god by the time they return I’ve missed them deeply.
This isn’t the best episode, there’s problems with art and a bit of writing, but the positive moments are just so enjoyable that I have to love it.
You’ll remember that the final, dramatic shot of the defeat of Pharaoh 90 left a curiously blank Super Sailor Moon left standing in the aftermath of the battle holding a teensy tiny baby. What a perfect place to stop that was.
We pick up with a brief recap. Nor sure we need it, but hey, kids are stupid and need reminding. Either way, we get to see again the incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring shot from last time. No complaints here. This remains such an iconic, moving moment for me that I think the animators succeeded in their attempt to make the scene look… transcendent, alien… biblical.
Sailor Moon has never looked so damn awesome as right now.
Super Sailor Moon falls to her knees, and Uranus and Neptune, the closest ones to her when the whole big shabang went down, rush over.
And then the animation instantly gets shitty.
It’s such a contrast from the moment before, this hand-over to the less-talented animation team, that it really stands out. It’s not bad for them – they’ve been far far worse – but the contrast is noticeable.
The Inner Senshi rush over to Sailor Moon… to find her alone, no Uranus, no Neptune, no baby. Well we can add kidnapping on the Outer Senshi’s list of crimes, then.
We cut to Chibi-Usa regaining conciousness in Mamoru’s bed. She’s spent a while without a Pure Heart, but apparently there’s no last side-effects. I was sort of hoping for some kind of Hulk-mutation, but we can’t have everything.
Naturally the first thing she thinks about is Hotoru (she’s a wee bit obsessive, like her ma), but when the room looks shifty as heck she seems to assume the worst.
Wow, Haruka and Michiru are totally fine letting Chibi-Usa think that her friend is dead. Although saying that she is pretty much wiped out here, but we can talk about that later.
Chibi-Usa mumbles that she saw Hotaru, as Sailor Saturn, visit her in her dreams, and Mamoru totally lies and says he’s certain she’s still alive out there somewhere.
Excellent parenting, Mamoru.
Chibi-Usa swallows these assurances whole and, acting far older than her tender years, thanks Usagi for doing her best. Usagi has a distinctly pained expression on her face here. She definitely isn’t even sure what happened in the end.
I always laugh at this next bit. The show reintroduces Momo, who you may remember as a 7 year old hypnotised martial artist wielding a mop back in series 2. She and a couple of other school friends are outside yelling for Chibi-Usa to come out…
…which is when we realise that Chibi-Usa did have more friends than just Hotaru, despite half a season’s insistence that she’s a complete loner – she’s obviously blanked everyone her own age until she had no choice but to start hanging out with them again. Mean Girls: Sailor Chibi-Moon Edition.
Usagi continues to look worried as Chibi-Usa leaves. I like this. She’s definitely a lot more maternal here than previously. I much prefer the mother-daughter side of their relationship rather than the shouty-sisterly stuff. It happens so rarely that it’s always interestingly complex when it pops up.
Usagi knows that Chibi-Usa is hiding her pain of Hotaru’s disappearance, while Luna and Artemis point out that she’s doing so to avoid worrying Usagi, so there’s this infinite loop of emotion suppressing which is clearly the cornerstone of every dysfunctional relationship.
Luna, getting down to business (who cares about FEELINGS AND JUNK), mentions that they haven’t been able to determine Sailor Pluto’s whereabouts (top tip: she’s in time-jail). There’s a thought – the Inner Senshi must presume that Pluto is totally dead right now/ And since they haven’t seen Uranus and Neptune, they could be dead to.
It would take such little effort on their part to assure their comrades that they aren’t feeding the worms. Outer Jerks.
Usagi refuses to give up hope (why are her gut instincts always right dammit?), especially because she felt something back in the battle – “Hotaru’s warmth”. Bit vague, that.
We then see… a rather curious sight.
Haruka and Michiru acting like young parents in a cafe with baby Hotaru. Wow… this looks so… domestic. They’ve transformed Michiru. With her hair up, and that cardigan, she looks no less lovely as she normally does, but she also looks infinitely maternal.
I have to admit, same-sex parenting is totally cool guys, but you did just steal that reincarnated baby. Baby Hotaru, meanwhile, totally looks like a chubby baby. Cute. If you like that sort of thing I suppose.
Michiru is getting a little too into this, I think, suggesting that the three of them live peacefully as a family. This is reminding me inexorably of a little movie called The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
Also, you can totally tell the difference in quality not only in the animation, but the pacing and writing too. Nothing feels organic here. It’s all a little strained. Oh well, my goodwill from the last two episodes is so strong I don’t really notice it.
The picturesque scene (bet Hotaru smells of vomit and baby-poo though) ends with the two racing off in Haruka’s yellow convertible towards some kind of arranged meeting. I will point out that this is probably not the best form of travel for a goddamn baby.
Haruka will be as good a mother as Mamoru is a father.
We get a ham-fisted scene of the couple racing along in the car on the top of the screen, while Haruka reminisces beneath. This is a curious framing device. I like it for its weirdness… but I think the flashback is a bit unnecessary, and serves only to further highlight the difference in animation quality between today’s episode and previous ones.
Also, I don’t really get the context of these memories. Haruka and Michiru have just concluded the reason for their existence for the past year, if not their lives, if not their previous lives, yet I don’t get how they’re processing this. They just seem to be in a “oh well, I’m glad that’s all over” mood.
Still… the nostalgia here is undeniable. This has been a great series, and Haruka and Michiru have made it so.
Might be a good idea to point out that they’re, like, 16. They look and act like they’re in their mid-20s. Well, alright, everyone in Sailor Moon except for, well, Sailor Moon acts that way.
Michiru and Haruka arrive at a hospital, as a nurse leads them into a room…
It’s Tomoe. He survived. And he’s not in the greatest shape by the looks of it… With his back to the door and shrouded in darkness, they definitely want to give the impression that this is no longer either the manic nor the restored father.
Poor git, he even has a broken leg and arm. Mistress Nine did not like him too much, did she?
With his electric wheelchair, blank stare and substandard animation, I have to say that Professor Tomoe now looks as insane as he did before, but in a completely different way. Is… is it really a good idea to give Hotaru back to this dude…?
Well Hotaru seems happy at least.
*CUE UNNECESSARY EXPOSITORY VOICE-OVER*
Doctor Why-Am-I-Here helpfully explains that Tomoe has lost his memories and, well, pretty much all higher-order cognitive functioning.
We briefly see on Doctor Dipshit’s 1995 clipboard Tomoe’s professional medical diagnosis – “Guten Appotit Labon“, which is essentially German spoken by someone with only the vaguest idea of what human language is.
Oh how I laughed.
Seeing Tomoe scoot around in his electric wheelchair with Hotaru on his lap is… I can’t help it… it’s hilariously bad. It looks distinctly stupid. Not trying to malign the disabled here, merely pointing out that as it’s drawn, this looks absurd.
Also – he’s only got one working arm and leg. Also he has retrograde amnesia and severe convenient head trauma. This cannot be an advisable way to look after a baby, especially one who just saved the word.
Michiru looks on, a little sad and lonely, but apparently without guilt that she’s just returned Hotaru to a man who seems only barely cognisant, unquestioning of why his daughter is now a baby again.
Haruka, in rather an intimate manner, gets real close to Michiru and says “before we leave town, we have one more thing to do.”
So many dirty things come to mind.
Before we can get to that (no it’s not sexy, more’s the pity), we have to wrap up Chibi-Usa’s malaise storyline. Apparently the school trip is just to a massive park, full of freeze-frame low budget drawings of ugly children having fun.
Chibi-Usa, cycling with her friends, loses her big floppy hat. Heeey this all seems familiar somehow…
Chibi-Usa is interrupted in her hat-gathering by a sudden apparition. It’s Sailor Pluto! Just to hammer down her connection to time, the thoughtful animators included stupid melted clocks around her. My eyes have not stopped rolling.
Any chance to see Pluto again is fantastic… but of course it’s the shitty writing team, so this entire conversation is utterly pointless and I really wish they hadn’t included it. Makes her disappearance that much less mysterious.
Pluto, who is not dead, tells Chibi-Usa in a rush that a) she wants to congratulate Chibi-Usa (on what?) b) that she no longer has a physical body in the world (interesting, if vague) and c) that Hotaru/Sailor Saturn is totally alive.
Well thanks for that Sailor Pluto. On your bike. I’m sure you’re busy guarding that door for all eternity.
Chibi-Usa is all sad again when Pluto leaves. I don’t feel like that gave any closure whatsoever.
But then we do get some genuine closure.
Her hat has been caught by Tomoe (still looking creepy as shit). Chibi-Usa recognises him immediately, of course, which is shocking because I certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell that this was meant to be the same character as Professor Tomoe from better-drawn episodes.
Instead of running and screaming, Chibi-Usa realises that the baby in Tomoe’s arms must be… Hotaru. See, I think this would have worked just fine without Sailor Pluto popping up and being all boring.
Baby Hotaru seems to like Chibi-Usa. As Chibi-Usa gives a hand to Hotaru, the true weight of the cruelty of Hotaru’s fate really crashes down on me here. I actually got a little misty-eyed just thinking about it. Not because of this rather inelegant writing, you understand, but at the thought of the situation as a whole.
This is a cruel fate. Yes, Hotaru has been reincarnated, she lives, but everything that made her who she was, her experiences, her memories, has been killed. In the end, Super Sailor Moon could only save Hotaru’s life, not who she was.
I’m not sure the show sees it that way at all. I realise that Sailor Saturn is revived in the 5th season (JEEZE, SPOILERS), bringing back Hotaru’s memories with it, but seeing Chibi-Usa in this brief moment of seeing her dearest friend as an infant again cut me deep.
But, hey, that’s what I like about Sailor Moon. It’s not always a clean victory. There are sacrifices after all, despite Sailor Moon’s ideology. There’s hope too, of course, but never quite the hope you’re expecting. Make no mistake – the resolution of Sailor Moon S is not a happy ending.
But it is immensely satisfying and interesting.
While some might call this a Deus Ex Machina, the idea of Sailor Moon having the power of reincarnation is by no means out of the blue. She performed it in the first season, for instance. I also think that if Hotaru had been wholly saved, without repercussion, it would have been less of an impactful moment. As it is, I find it beautiful, mystical, sad, joyous and memorable.
Tomoe is called back by his nurse (he really should not be zooming about with an infant on his lap), and Hotaru waves goodbye to Chibi-Usa.
As Chibi-Usa tears up a little, saying goodbye and promising that they’ll see each other again, I also got a little emotional. What the fuck. I’m meant to be cynical and uncaring -sniff-
Right, now to the serious stuff. Enough of the FEELS let’s get some action on.
We move back to the ruin of Mugen Academy, which has not been taped off by the police or fire department as you might expect after a building explodes from dark magic. The Senshi are hanging about trying to get info on what exactly happened before.
Interesting to think that such a dramatic conclusion could have occurred with none of the Inner Senshi clued in on the truth.
Ami uses her super computer to find that no trace of the alternate dimension of the Tau Nebula. Which is a good thing right? Because they look rather miserable still.
Makoto and Rei arrive, asking if Minako and Ami have found any clues. I love Minako’s response here: “Nothing. It’s just a normal building after it’s been detonated.” Gotta love the Minako snark. Haven’t seen it in aaaages.
Usagi, meanwhile, is off moping. Nice to see her doing no work whatsoever.
This is actually rather lovely, even if it’s a bit random. Michiru starts playing her violin in the ruins. Glad to have had this one last time.
Usagi runs towards Haruka and Michiru, who are trying to look cool as heck and succeeding, but Haruka gets super angry and throws a rock at her, hitting the ground.
Haruka just threw a fucking rock at the Queen of the Earth. I love her. This does seem unnecessarily aggressive though.
I do like this scene quite a bit. Michiru and Haruka get a dangerous look in their eye. We’re about to beat out all the tension built up over the whole of the series, the schism between the Outer and Inner Senshi’s ideologies.
Michiru’s line, “your idealism is too painful to watch,” is so brilliantly cold and precisely true.
Haruka’s line of “Yes, the world was saved, but we can’t forgive you for what you did,” is also, unfortunately, true.
Yes, I empathise with Usagi’s idealism. It’s her stance against utilitarianism, her belief that every life is worth the same, that I admire about her character, but at the same time, the world was saved by pure damn luck. Were it not for Sailor Saturn, the world would have ended, and it would have been Sailor Moon’s actions which caused it.
So… yeah, I need to see Haruka and Michiru properly confront this. Bring it on, this is actually an awesome situation.
Usagi does not handle such accusations well. She can’t defend herself, and falls to the ground as Haruka shouts that she has no qualifications to be the future queen. Again, this is an unanswerable charge. Neo Queen Serenity and Usagi have little to nothing in common.
The Inner Senshi rush to Usagi’s defence here… well, not really. They call Haruka and Michiru jerks but offer nothing in the way of actual contradiction…
And then, for one last time, we get to see Uranus Planet Power and Uranus Planet Power. These are the best transformation sequences in the show, and I’m glad they stuck them in one last time.
Uranus and Neptune have always been a little scary, but seeing them turn on allies like this is pretty hardcore.
Everyone else transforms too… except for Usagi, who yells for everyone to stop and is thoroughly ignored. GOOD. I want to see a street fight!
Sailor Venus gives the first line here and it’s… well…
“I have no grudge against you, but I can’t tolerate you criticizing Usagi!”
I will be honest, Venus, that’s the worst opening line to a fight I’ve ever heard.
Usagi finally gets herself heard here, breaking down into tears and begging her friends to back down. It really hits home when Usagi freely admits that everything Uranus and Neptune have said about her is true.
“I’m a crybaby… I’m naive… but… I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong!”
That’s what I wanted to see, Usagi sticking up for herself! It looks even more intimidating to do when six people are in front of you transformed.
Usagi begs them to undo their transformations, but like the complete badass that she is, Uranus says cooly “If you want us to, you have to force us to,” and Neptune follows up with “If you don’t we will be enemies forever.” If there’s any way to get Usagi to fight you, it’s promising to hate her if she doesn’t
Yaaaay, STREET FIIIIGHT!
Well that looked awful didn’t it? Surely the Playstation 1 will give us some better graphics…?
Oh dear god… moving swiftly on…
Sailor Moon does this by herself. I really like this. It makes Usagi a character who is willing to fight for her ideology, no matter how stupid it is. Nice seeing Uranus and Neptune’s forcefulness being matched.
Sailor Moon does not have a great time of it, getting immediately hit with a Deep Submerge.
The other Senshi rush to here, but… Tuxedo Kamen throws a rose down in front of them? I thought that was meant to be solely a threat, dude. That seems a little much…
Tux has apparently been listening in, because he seems thoroughly behind the idea of getting people to resolve their differences by punching each other in the face. I agree, Tux. So please don’t rose me.
He’s such a dope. He’s written so condescendingly sometimes. They should have let Sailor Moon tell her friends to back off here.
Round 2 goes pretty much the same way, with Uranus and Neptune calling her “Princess Crybaby”. OK that’s kinda mean. I know you’re fighting and all, but…
World Shaking comes next, but Sailor Moon dodges… when it’s about where you realise that the animation quality has risen slightly! No way the naff animation team did this without significant help.
Sailor Moon actually gets in range of Sailor Uranus, but she’s forewarned and throws a beefy kick at our poor protagonist.
This is getting seriously cool. Uranus is flat-out trying to kick Sailor Moon’s head off, when all she can do is dodge and beg her to stop being such a meanie.
Eventually, Neptune creeps up behind Sailor Moon (this is really unfair, two against one!?) and holds her down in an arm-lock as Uranus gets ready for a final attack…
…and sprints towards her for a kick to the face. Fuck me this is really, really aggressive stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, I think this is exactly what I’ve come to love about these two, but I am a little shocked at how murderous they can be, even after all the times they’ve tried to kill Hotaru.
It really does look like Sailor Moon is going to have her face ruined here, but, very calmly, she looks up, and starts… glowing and stuff. No I don’t understand it, but she certainly seems to.
It looks as though Sailor Moon is using the power of the Ginzuishou, the Silver Crystal, which we haven’t really seen in play since the end of last season, to force Neptune to release her.
And the same time, Sailor Moon jumps away as Uranus slams right into Neptune… and it looks like she won but employing the most powerful object on Earth. Bit cheaty, but I’ll let it slide.
I love this. I love Uranus and Neptune, but I love even more seeing them humbled in the face of their true Queen. And, what’s more, this is the conclusion that Uranus and Neptune wanted to.
They kneel down in recognition of Sailor Moon’s powers. This also gets me right in the feels. The conflict has been going on for so long. It has always seemed to me that the hardest thing to earn from the Outer Senshi was true respect, and it’s really moving to see Sailor Moon finally earn it.
Such a fitting conclusion for Uranus and Neptune. They tell her that they found the true Messiah, and the Earth has been saved, so there’s nothing left for them to do in this town. Awww don’t leave! You can just stay and hang out and stuff… No doubt evil stuff will happen again soon…
Like, real soon…
Sailor Moon, like the naive crybaby she is, asks them who the true Messiah was. I had to chuckle, and so does the Outer Senshi, who admire that Sailor Moon could even have gotten the Senshi of Ruin on her side.
Damn straight. It’s been Usagi’s strongest trait since day one that she can charm precisely anyone she puts her mind to, and it’s something that really has developed and grown in her character.
Uranus and Neptune don’t look back as they leave, There’s some nice repartee between them, as Uranus whispers that it wasn’t just Sailor Saturn saved by the Messiah… You big old softy, Uranus.
Sailor Moon finally asks them as they walk away whether Hotaru is alive, and completely flippant right to the end, Uranus mumbles that yeah, she’s alive, and they’ll see her again sometime.
Well, there’s closure for the Inner Senshi too. Shame we have to wait for… gosh, about 40 episodes before we do meet Hotaru again.
The episode ends in a similar way to how the other, amazing Haruka and Michiru episode ended – driving by the sea at sunset. It’s not a pretty here as last time, but it’ll do. I would also have liked one last line from them, but as farewells go this is a pretty good one.
Seriously, though, I so painfully miss Haruka and Michiru over the next season.
I’m pressed with this episode. A few times I thought it was going to be completely rubbish, but they kept surprising me. I give the B-team animators a hard time, but that’s just because the A-teams are so very good. Here, they manage to keep up, maybe not in art, but certainly in emotive moments.
Bravo. Satisfying, but I stiiiiiill need one last episode just in case…
Episode Score: 4/5 (Without the awesome fight, only 3)
Monster Score: WHAT NO MONSTERS? Unfathomable!
Final Thought: Never really got why Michiru and Haruka had to leave town. Maybe they killed a dude before they left. Would fit, wouldn’t it?
NEXT TIME: One final Daimohn for the road, huh? Bring it on