3:38 – Self-Awareness as a Senshi! Strength Lies in the Pure Heart
Alternative Title: One More for the Road
First Aired: 25th February 1995
With the battles over, Chibi-Usa receives a letter from Neo Queen Serenity asking her to return to Crystal Tokyo. Chibi-Usa is reluctant, and confused when her friends offer to throw her a farewell party. Meanwhile, a surviving Daimohn crawls into the Daimohn Oven in the ruins of Mugen Academy, and it’s only remaining purpose is to collect Pure Hearts…
First of all, Happy New Year. I’m delighted you made it.
Having rewatched seasons 1, 2 and 3, reviewing them thoroughly along the way (you think 6000 words is too much to spend on an episode of Sailor Moon?), I can safely say that Sailor Moon S is my favourite series.
Before the Pretty Soldier Project, I couldn’t have been sure. I love the first and second series so much that it would have been impossible to split the difference in my enjoyment of them. However, here at the end of Sailor Moon S, with the mature and complex issues and character developments, it’s clear to me now that this does juuuust about trump the other two.
Only just though.
This is a strange episode. With all the storylines resolved, this is one final wave to this wonderful series. It’s actually fantastic that the animators decided to pop in one final show to solidify character ties, ensure the Inner Senshi weren’t completely forgotten, and develop Usagi and Chibi-Usa’s relationship in time for Sailor Moon Super S.
I really like it.
We start out with Usagi and Mamoru being all lovely dovey looking over Tokyo at night. There really isn’t anything better in the universe than having a view over Tokyo at night. It figures that we should have a moment between the two of them, as the series went on we’ve seen progressively less of Mamoru.
In a way, I’m glad that Usagi isn’t defined by her relationship with Mamoru, as she was in the latter half of the first series. Her character as shown in the show is, of course, still besotted with him, but the narrative focusses on Usagi. It is her show after all.
Usagi, blushing, pointedly asks if it’s a little cold out on the balcony, and she whispers coyly, with her bedroom eyes out, “I want you to warm me up…”
YEOWZA. I do like it when Usagi gets forward. Which happens quite a lot. Good on her, there’s too much emphasis on shyness as a virtue in Japanese media sometimes.
She looks around ready for some smoochin’, but Mamoru is already headed back inside to make some hot cocoa, and Usagi is thoroughly disappointed.
I love this moment. A comfortable return to the good old light romantic humour of old… even if there’s something worry about Mamoru’s instinct to treat her like a child when she wants to be treated like a woman. And then you remember she’s 15 and he’s 18 and things get icky again.
Best not to think about it.
Chibi-Usa, the product of whatever night sweaty, swift rutting and broken condoms occurs when Mamoru finally stops making hot cocoa, is also staring at the night sky.
She’s interrupted by a pink swirl of clouds, which drops a letter for her. You may remember such an effect as a time-space portal from the previous season.
It’s a letter from Crystal Tokyo! From Neo Queen Serenity! It’s always fascinating hearing anything about this future queen of the world. I’m so infinitely obsessed with it. Yet, just like earlier in the series, Neo Queen Serenity is sparse on juicy information, as well as has a general inability to use Kanji, or to write neatly.
Her doodle of her own head, however, is surprisingly good…
“Small Lady, how are you? I’m lonely because I can see you. It’s about time you came home. From Mama. PS Papa is waiting too.”
OK, first of all, you sent you 9 year old kid back in time to fight evil monsters, presumably knowing that she’d get her Pure Heart taken from her at some point, and now you’re guilt-tripping her home?
Sounds like Usagi alright…
We get a little shot of Chibi-Usa being happy as a penguin on MDMA, prancing about in a field of flowers in Crystal Tokyo. It’s always really cool seeing Serenity and Endymion in Crystal Tokyo. This would have looked even better with the premier animation squads, but this’ll do just fine too.
I like this animation studio. They may not be the greatest or cleanest, but they’ve produced some of my favourite episodes, and have a certain cute charm to their style.
Evidently, Chibi-Usa is conflicted about this letter, and stands there for a long moment before Usagi, her younger, less regal version of her mother, comes blasting in the door. I love how raucous she is.
Chibi-Usa’s body language is actually rather interesting here. She hugs the letter close to her chest, staring hesitantly at Usagi. It’s a secretive, worried movement that also show sentiment. Good work there.
Eventually, Chibi-Usa hands it to Usagi… whose face falls just as Chibi-Usa did. Apparently Neo Queen Serenity is just generally the bearer of bad news.
Usagi then discusses the letter with her friends. I’ve really missed these scenes of the girls just generally chit-chatting. There’s been so much drama over so many episodes that the main group has been rather neglected.
In a serious voice, Minako asks if the letter was, once again, entirely in Hiragana. Chuckles.
Usagi reveals to the others that Chibi-Usa has been reluctant to return home, saying that it doesn’t have to be immediate, and that she can return whenever she wants, but this seems to trouble the group.
Chibi-Usa is still a kid after all. She may be a Senshi but it does seem cruel and unusual to keep so far away out of space and time from her actual parents.
Deciding that Chibi-Usa is obviously too proud to admit she wants to go home, the group decide unanimously and presumptively that they’ll send her packing with some “nice memories“. With a party, obviously.
These girls… honestly…
The announcement of a farewell party does not make Chibi-Usa as happy as the girls expected it to be. Chibi-Usa is obviously hurt that they’ve decided that she should go before she has. These Senshi are pretty shitty.
Chibi-Usa wallows in self-pity over the fact that she won’t be able to see Usagi, Mamoru or the other Senshi again… and it’s here I have to point out the fact that this is all she does in future Tokyo as well.
Saying that, they aren’t the same people. Just as Hotaru’s return to an infant means the death of her experiences and everything she was, the Senshi of the future, her mother and father, are not the same people as they are in the 20th Century. I can completely empathise with her.
They really linger on her tears just to underscore how attached Chibi-Usa has become to the 20 Century. It’s effective too. We’ve had one moment like this before, and it was beautiful and emotive, but I’m enjoying seeing true emotion regarding the relationship between Usagi and Chibi-Usa for once.
Usagi, meanwhile, is working on this farewell gift. When Luna asks her how she’s going to do this having spent all her allowance, Usagi cheerfully responds that she’ll make one herself.
Luna looks appropriately terrified by this.
Chibi-Usa does whatever she doesn’t when she’s pissed off with Usagi, she ends up at Mamoru’s place, and they have one of those awkward conversations where Chibi-Usa thinks everyone hates her.
Instead of just calling her a dumbass, Mamoru actually tries to be a good parent for once in his life, and points out that, no, everyone doesn’t hate her, and wishes she could stay, but she hasn’t yet undergone tertiary socialisation and needs to be further reared by her actual parents.
Also, it has always seemed to be rather cruel and unusual to have a kid, then foister it off onto your teenage selves. When does Usagi get to have a life? That’s just me though, I’m sure Usagi is thrilled to be raised her kid 10 years too early.
Or 1000 years I suppose, depends how you look at it.
Finally Mamoru seems to get through to Chibi-Usa, who agrees it’s time she buggers off back to her parents, after forcing Mamoru to say that he’ll miss her, spilling a cup of tea on the carpet and leaping onto him.
I’m flippant, but this is a nice moment. Good pathos today, especially because none of it feels important or meaningful. I say this is good because of all the heart-wrenching pain we’ve seen recently. This is a nice gentle re-entry into bollocks feelings.
That night, Chibi-Usa is asleep in Usagi’s bed when the sound of Usagi doing something in the room awakens her. I like this little moment. Usagi is obviously working on Chibi-Usa’s gift, but Chibi-Usa just thinks that Usagi is being a total dick.
The look on Usagi’s face as she gets caught, as well as when she repeatedly stabs herself with a needle, makes for such a comic moment, combined with the sadness of Chibi-Usa’s misunderstanding.
Dark things are afoot in the ruins of Mugen Academy. There has been absolutely no effort made to clear up the area or even cordon it off for a police investigation. Good job boys.
It’s a bit heavy handed here with the thunder and lighting, but I like how corny, how hammy this all is. The Daimohn Oven is all that remains of the Death Busters is seems. Great ominous door swinging here…
…and the final remaining Daimohn Egg… Wow, Germatoid made them hardy, apparently. The egg’s Daimohn falls out as a weak mess of a monster, but drags itself over to the Daimohn Oven…
I love that little moment too. Nothing too taxing, all entirely silent, but good foreshadowing of later events. And again, it’s ominous without being too pressing. It’s rather nice to return to something of a formula.
I never thought I would say that about Sailor Moon ever, but there you are.
The farewell party is as pathetic as you would imagine for Japanese teenagers in the middle of the day without access to alcohol and in the presence of a 9 year old.
Usagi tries to cheer Chibi-Usa up for throwing her such a shitty party with the great line “The Future is just a little further than Hokkaido, and it’s a little closer than Heaven.”
Hey, you know what, that’s oddly poetic, Usagi.
The party picks up when Rei offers to do some karaoke. I would be jumping out the window right now.
Looks like it took the entire night for the last remaining Daimohn to crawl over to the Daimohn Oven. I have to say that I feel oddly protective and supportive over this thing now. It’s had a pretty crappy birth and looks to be in genuine pain. So what if it’s a monster? It still has a right to live. Maybe. I dunno. Whatever.
I’m also so glad that they gave the Daimohn Oven a proper send-off today, too. Always liked that mechanic, thought its design and animation effects were always cool. This feels properly complete now.
The Daimohn crawls inside the oven, without any other objects to possess… and comes out as the Daimohn “Rangy.” I have no idea where they got that name.
Scrap that, just checked the Sailor Moon Wiki and apparently it’s Katakana name is “Renji“, which means “microwave oven“. Brilliant. I love Sailor Moon.
Apparently without a purpose, the Daimohn Rangy is after only one thing: Pure Hearts. Heeey we’re not done with Pure Hearts yet either! This is actually shaping up to be one fun episode. I really like this set up.
Apparently the episode isn’t going to give us another heart-rending performance by Rei, since they cut straight to the gift giving portion of the party. I can’t believe everyone hasn’t left yet.
Mako’s gift is… a bento. You cooked her lunch for a farewell gift? Jesus, Makoto… Still, I liked it when she told her to eat it with her parents. Must be interesting to think that your food will be eaten by your friends’ future selves.
Ami’s gift is… a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk on which she’s programmed a computer game with everyone in it HOLY SHIT AMI MADE SAILOR MOON: ANOTHER STORY!? Can’t wait to explore that fan theory when I review the amazing Super Nintendo RPG.
Always laugh when floppy disks are brought into Sailor Moon, they seem so antiquated now. Then again, we in the UK wouldn’t be using CDs as a regular form of data storage for PCs until around 1998.
Saying that, why Ami thought that floppy disks would be compatible with any device in the 30th Century is beyond me. It’s like handing over a Betamax tape to someone from 2015. Not to mention that Chibi-Usa probably has computer games of slightly higher quality there too.
Well it’s going to be hard to be worse than Makoto’s lunch or Ami’s completely obsolete technology isn’t it?
Rei gives Chibi-Usa a cassette tape of herself singing. Fucking fantastic, Rei. I’m not going to even bring up the fact that CDs were being used for music since 1985.
Minako gives the best gift, simply by being moderately distracting: A photo album. Rather nice, really. I wish Minako could make stuff for me.
So, Mamoru is going to give an awesome gift to make up for all the shitty ones, right? I mean, he is going to become her father after all. It has to be something meaningful, something unique.
It’s a rose, he gave her a fucking rose. It’s not like you have a million of those you summon by magic at will. Jesus Christ. JESUS CHRIST, MAMORU.
Thank GOD Usagi steps up, like I knew she would. She reveals the project she’s been working on, a pink bunny backpack similar to the one Chibi-Usa bought for Hotaru! Nice call back.
The backpack is also super cute and I wish I were a little girl so I could wear it without being laughed at by strangers.
Rei mistakes it for a puppy. So mean. The girls get into a big childish fight over this (this is the best party ever), and ends when Rei shoves a band-aid into her hand for all the cuts Usagi has inflicted upon herself in the making of the backpack.
Chibi-Usa seems rather blank having been given so many shitty gifts and then a half-decent one from Usagi, merely noting how Rei and Usagi are so close and yet she has no one.
I must say she seems a little shitty in this moment. Poor Usagi. Worth noting that Usagi sacrificed her favourite dress from when she was a kid for this.
The group head out to the park (where else?) to see Chibi-Usa off back to the future. She’s rather upset about leaving, obviously.
She and Usagi have a proper cry-off. This is in no way close to the pathos of the last time we said goodbye to Chibi-Usa, but as this isn’t a permanent farewell, it would be mean of the director to make us go through all that again.
It’s been so long since we’ve seen Chibi-Usa use the Key of Time. A nice call-back! Been so long. She gives the old speech to open up the Space-Time Corridor, and the skies open once more.
I wonder if she’ll meet Pluto somewhere in there…?
Usagi finally catches Chibi-Usa before she leaves the 20th Century. This is actually a cool shot, with the pink light swirling above them. They have a tearful goodbye that seems to wash away all the friction between them over the last few days. Again, nothing is overly emotional for the viewer, but this is a raw moment for the two of them.
It seems as though neither want Chibi-Usa to go whatsoever, but Usagi swallows her feelings again and tells her to bugger off and be a good kid to her parents in the future.
And then she’s gone. There’s a great lingering shot of Usagi staring up into the clouds, silent, but with tears on her face, looking exactly as a mother does saying goodbye to her kids. I love that shot.
Of course there’s no time to enjoy the moment, Luna comes shouting that there’s an incident occuring. Somehow the cats know exactly everything about Rangy’s existence and its obsession with collecting Pure Hearts. These guys must be psychic or something.
How convenient. Ah well it gets them where they need to go.
We get a rather lazy super-imposed shot of citizens having their Pure Hearts stolen… somehow… before we land on Rangy and a giant beaker of Pure Hearts… this is a little weird.
The Sailor Senshi give their spiel for the last time this series (Tuxedo Kamen looks rather awkward standing to one side and announcing his name unnecessarily), before Rangy attacks.
I love the look of this thing. It is the Daimohn Oven personified, with cool steampunk copper tubing for her hair. I also like how she has retained a lot of what makes a raw unposessing Daimohn – this simple red gooey look.
This is another chance for the Inner Senshi to demonstrate how crap they’ve become lately, as they get their asses kicked one by one. Sailor Mars’ Burning Mandala is easily dodged and countered with a slam that sends her back about 40 feet.
Jupiter, Mercury and Venus all get to use their attacks too, as a kind of helpful wrap-up to viewers wanting to see their favourite repetitive 3-second sequences one last time.
Venus gets the worst of it. Rangy extends her arm, grabs her by the leg and swings her around like Bowser in Super Mario 64, launching her right into Mercury. That looks like it properly hurt.
Chibi-Usa, meanwhile, is walking along the Space-Time Corridor. Apparently, she’s allowed to do so by herself, despite the danger we’ve seen before.
Aaaaand no Pluto. I suppose it would have been too neat if they had her here to confirm or refute my pet theory about her personal timeline, but we can’t have everything I guess.
Chibi-Usa is obviously thinking about the friends she’s just left and who probably don’t give a shit about her, when she sees the exit to Crystal Tokyo.
Why would you pause there? It looks like bloody heaven on Earth. I’ve never seen a sight more inviting in my life.
Rangy, meanwhile, is turning out to be a pretty cool Daimohn, using electrical cabling as an attack. Very cyberpunk, this, really like it, even if the animation quality isn’t the best right now.
Sailor Moon realises she doesn’t have enough power without the Grail to defeat this enemy. Perhaps you shouldn’t have given it to an obviously evil being to destroy, then? Honestly, you have one of the most powerful objects in the universe that allow you to become Sailor Jesus, and you gave it away. Typical, no?
But the PINK SUGAR HEART ATTACK!? Well no, Sailo Chibi-Moon lands out of the air and, rather than actually firing off anything, she does what she does best and uses her body as dead weight to knock Rangy to the ground.
That’s our Chibi-Moon! Love the call-back to her first appearance.
Rangy, however, appears to break Chibi-Moon’s future pink Ginzuishou when she throws her rod back at her! Well that’s probably not replaceable off Amazon, is it Chibi-Moon? Get out the super glue…
Tuxedo Kamen, in an attempt to be relevant, decides to finally help out and throws a rose which embeds itself into the helmet of Rangy and knocks her down.
Yes, yes, something about maidens and trust and hearts, go make us some hot cocoa Tuxedo Kamen and stop talking.
Sailor Moon breaks out the lovely old Moon Spiral Heart Attack. Even if she doesn’t have a Grail, she’s still a murder machine. We really didn’t get many uses of Rainbow Moon Heartache, did we?
Poor Rangy. She was doing so well. All together now for the last time… LOVELY!
Tuxedo Kamen ruins the moment by suggesting bollocks about the Grail REALLY being the love people have for one another. Where’s my fucking cocoa, Tux?
This has all gotten rather corny, but we have one last issue to clear up. Sailor Moon begins grilling Chibi-Moon on why she hasn’t left, and she gets the response that they’re useless without her. And apparently they are, if they can’t even beat a single Daimohn without her help.
Luna-P reappears with another letter, with a much better picture in it this time, but equally awful writing, thanking Chibi-Usa for the souvenirs (so in other words they stole those crappy farewell presents from her), telling her not to be too much of a nuisance (she will be) and telling her to bring back more presents next time.
That last line makes me laugh so hard. It’s most definitely Usagi, whatever her title is.
The series comes to an end on Chibi-Moon’s face as she announces that she’ll be hanging around a bit more, and you can hear my screams echoing in the halls of the Deep God Cthulhu still.
This is an oddly undramatic way to end a series, I grant you, but I think it fits perfectly. We’ve had the big drama, we winded down, this is an episode of bringing the characters back together to normalise and prepare for the next season.
I really like this episode. It doesn’t try to be too emotional, exciting or meaningful. It’s just a nice episode with some really nice moments. I feel like the true end to the series was a couple back, of course, but this is a great epilogue that rides nicely on the coattails of the best season we’ve had of Sailor Moon.
Coming up: a couple more In Memoriams, a big long wrap-up of Sailor Moon S (that’ll take me a few days to create, phew), a review of Sailor Moon S: The Movie, reviews of the Infinity Arc of the manga and then… Sailor Moon: Another Story, the Super Nintendo RPG, broken down section by section for your pleasure.
If you’ve never played it, or never even heard of it, yet are Sailor Moon fans, this will be a revelatory experience, since the storyline of Another Story is, in my own opinion, better material than Sailor Moon Super S. I realise that’s a controversial statement, but wait until you see my justifications and then send me hate mail.
So there you have it. Another series done. I’m now 3/5 of the way through the classic series. I’ve been doing this for about 16 months now, this blog has been a true labour of love, and I’ve poured more of myself into it then anything else I’ve ever done.
Which is sad, really. But thanks for reading, it really does make it all worth while, as clichéd as that sounds.
Episode Score: 4/5
Monster Score: 3/5 (I love Rangy, although she doesn’t get to do much really)
Final Thought: Seriously, what the hell happened to Pluto? She’s meant to be the darn guardian of Space-Time. Maybe on holiday…?
NEXT TIME: Sailor Moon S: The Movie, where Luna falls in love with a douche. Who isn’t Artemis.