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Act.16 – ABDUCTION – SAILOR MERCURY

First aired: 21st February 2015

Sailor Moon Crystal - Berthier looking evil

As Usagi becomes increasingly suspicious and paranoid about Chibi-Usa, the Black Moon continue their assault. Berthier, with powers of water, decides to remove Sailor Mercury, who. with her intelligence, she perceives as the biggest threat against them. Challenging Ami to a televised chess match, Berthier forces Ami into a corner.


Continuing the Black Moon arc precisely where we left off, we find the Sailor Senshi in the position of having had Sailor Mars abducted. It’s an interesting position to find the series in, and creates a level of anxiety.

That being said, this episode is somewhat less enjoyable than the previous one. There are a myriad of issues here that dull what may have been a great episode. It’s not terrible, certainly not the worst in Sailor Moon Crystal, but between a dull climax, questionable character developments and an attempt to make a chess match look fast-paced and life-threatening, I won’t be looking back at this episode too fondly.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Naru and Usagi in a pool

A large part of annoyance is born from Usagi’s character development. As with the anime, Usagi takes somewhat of an unlikeable turn here. The loss of Rei, Sailor Mars, understandably drives her despair, but Usagi becomes paranoid and downright unpleasant where Chibi-Usa is concerned.

This is a real issue because the show is doing all in its power to show Chibi-Usa as a young, frightened, parentless and innocent girl caught up in a battle she isn’t equipped to deal with. Her utter fragility and naivety when with Mamoru is then followed by sheer hostility by Usagi, who appears to withdraw into a sullen and rather reprehensible judgement of Mamoru when he shows kindness to her.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Usagi being a dick

Is this interesting character development? Well it’s certainly development, but it’s not one I like to see in a character I should be looking up to. Character flaws maketh the character, but they should serve to make them more relatable and understandable, rather than detestable.

They do not spend to much time on this personality shift, either, leaving the entire issue hanging like an unpleasant thought. This will be resolved over many episodes if Sailor Moon Crystal adheres to the manga (as if there were any doubt by now), but it will be a rough few episodes.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Usagi recoiling from Mamoru

Aside from Usagi, the artwork also took a tumble here. There are moments that look especially ugly, and the Black Moon’s Droids, initially deeply creepy and threatening, look pathetic and laughably jerky in the light of day.

Ami’s arc is interesting, but ultimately doesn’t make me see her in a different light. Her associations between her distant father and the chess match against Berthier feel clumsily put together, and while I appreciate that they tried to flesh out her character a bit more, there wasn’t enough her to make me feel as though it were a central plot point.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Ami shocked

As for the chess match itself… it’s pretty boring. They tried their best to make it seem exciting, but just as the original adaptation couldn’t make a chess match into an exciting climax, Crystal serves us an evil plot by Berthier that makes no sense whatsoever, which also ends entirely predictably.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Berthier loses

All in all, some moments were good, some moments were very good, most were just dull and the worst moments had me recoil from Usagi’s personality as though it were flame.


 

 

The spoiler section begins here.

Don’t scroll down if you don’t want to get a blow-by-blow analysis!

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Still here? Glad you could join me.

The episode picks off immediately where the last one left off, with Sailor Moon looking seriously pissed off and ready to blame anyone else for Sailor Mars’ abduction but herself. She lands upon a little girl peeking around a corner looking small and frightened. Strike one for Sailor Moon.

"YOU'RE CLEARLY GUILTY!" "I'm 8." "GUILTY!"

Someone drawing Sailor Moon’s face said “ehhh good enough” and went to the pub.

Oh it turns out she has a crystal that looks exactly like the Silver Crystal!? WHAT COULD THAT MEAN? They keep focussing on this thing, really hammering home the point.

"Oh this? I uhh won it from a capsule machine."

“Oh this? I uhh won it from a capsule machine.”

Usagi runs home and her mother asks where Chibi-Usa is, to which Usagi yells “SHE’S STAYING AT A FRIEND’S PLACE” before running to her room. She could be out on the streets dead by now for all you know. Usagi is, in her own words, “the worst.” Simply recognising this fact does not absolve her, however.

"Shit, should've gotten life insurance on her first."

“Shit, should’ve gotten life insurance on her first.”

Chibi-Usa had it coming though, right? She threatened Usagi with a toy gun, then hypnotised her family, right? Yeeeah Usagi’s totally justified for… oh…

Naoko Takeuchi really wanted us to hate Usagi here, and I'm not entirely sure why

Naoko Takeuchi really wanted us to hate Usagi here, and I’m not entirely sure why

Chibi-Usa is carried into Mamoru’s bed, and she has horrible dreams of… some city… in ruins. The most heart-wrenching moment is when her mother, just a voice off-screen, telling Chibi-Usa that Sailor Moon could be trusted absolutely.

That’s… that’s really… not on the money. At all.

"And if you ever meet Sailor Moon, tell her the lottery numbers for the next 1000 years..."

“And if you ever meet Sailor Moon, tell her the lottery numbers for the next 1000 years…”

Mamoru cheering her up, looking tender, massively endears me to him here. He’s fulfilling everything that I’m lacking from Usagi. This is such a contrast from Sailor Moon R, where Mamoru was a total bag of dicks.

...Someone... make this and put it on Etsy... I'm begging you...

…Someone… make this and put it on Etsy… I’m begging you…

Oh Ami’s a chess master apparently? This is brought up as abruptly as it was in Sailor Moon R. I appreciate the analogy of the Black Moon’s tactics and chess here, individually taking out the members they think will cause them the most trouble.

"If you think I'm good at this you should see me at Mario Kart."

“If you think I’m good at this you should see me at Mario Kart.”

Then Usagi is a total dick upon seeing Mamoru drop off Chibi-Usa back home. Note that Ikuko doesn’t mind at all that her supposed niece has spent the night at some dude’s house she doesn’t even know. Usagi’s reaction here isn’t comically outraged. It’s weird, and paranoid, and suspicious, and bitter.

Jesus Usagi, he gave her a bed to sleep in so she wouldn't freeze to death. STOP BEING A DICK.

Jesus Usagi, he gave her a bed to sleep in so she wouldn’t freeze to death after you were horrible to her. STOP BEING A DICK.

AND THEN SHE’S STILL A DICK.

This is the first example of Usagi being genuinely suspicious of Mamoru and Chibi-Usa's relationship. Yes, that is my skin you can hear crawling.

This is the first example of Usagi being genuinely suspicious of Mamoru and Chibi-Usa’s relationship. Yes, that is my skin you can hear crawling.

Sapphir and Dimande speak briefly about some amplification device (safe to assume it’s the Jakokuzuishou), before Rubeus pops along to mention that Sailor Mars has been shoved in the Room of Darkness, having been interrogated about the Silver Crystal. I like how all of this looks.

"So can we get, like, a TV in here, bro?"

“So can we get, like, a TV in here, bro?”

Berthier then begins “Operation Remove”. See, the problem with this is that we already know the ending. The last episode set a certain expectation. Nothing that Berthier does can surprise anymore. That being said, she’s pretty creepy, and not as annoying as her Sailor Moon R incarnation.

"My plan is to play chess against Sailor Mercury until she dies. Or something."

“My plan is to play chess against Sailor Mercury until she dies. Or something.”

Ami reveals a new power: she can water dowse by listening really hard. Pretty sure this is like Sailor Moon’s soundwave power: never brought up again. Probably a good thing, otherwise she’d end up as the world’s greatest plumber.

She could seriously earn, like, millions by joining the sewage industry

She could seriously earn, like, millions by joining the sewage industry

OK. This bit. Let’s break this down.

1) The art sucks here. This guy’s face is so pooly done.

2) The art doubly sucks here, because the angle makes him look like he has weird pointy limbs. His weird blank face makes him look like a goddamn 15-footer from Attack on Titan.

3) Dowsing isn’t real. It’s the ideomotor effect. I know Ami has magical powers, but this goes along with this strange credulous 90s tone Naoko Takeuchi introduced in the Black Moon arc, along with alien abductions and crop circles. Just… bugs me a little, I guess.

If this turns into an Attack on Titan cross-over episode, I'm outa here

If this turns into an Attack on Titan cross-over episode, I’m outta here

Pool! Why!? Who knows!? Nothing really happens of note here at all, except they swim for a bit and Ami mentions her father. Oh and we see Naru-chan, which is nice and rare.

"Hey it's one appearance for the season!"

“Hey it’s one appearance for the season!”

And then… Berthier calls Ami out on TV. What. The. Fuck. This is a terrible plan. Not least because it works instantaneously. One minute Berthier is challenging Ami, the next she’s on TV playing a chess match against her. This is the worst plan…

"Excuse me, but what the fuck are you wearing on the Chess Channel?"

“Excuse me, but what the fuck are you wearing on the Chess Channel?”

Yeah, guys. This was pretty much my reaction too.

Yeah, guys. This was pretty much my reaction too.

So Berthier is super smart and super evil right? Naah she’s just kind of a petty jerk. She goes about how alone Ami is etc etc. What’s most interesting is that she knows Ami is Sailor Mercury immediately. So really Berthier could have taken Ami out in any way she wished, so she chose humiliation on TV? What?

"This made more sense when I was high."

“This made more sense when I was high.”

Oh no! Ami is in trouble! Can Ami find the power of friendship and turn the tables!?

cfgfd

If this idiot keeps yelling the answer is yes, apparently

Oh see now this is where your plan that made no sense went wrong. Call it hubris or whatever. I call it a tad dull. Berthier literally had no back up plan if she lost this stupid chess match on TV. She went through all this effort and for what?

Yeah that looks really threatening Berthier. Wave your crystal at her some more that will ease the pain of defeat

Yeah that looks really threatening Berthier. Wave your crystal at her some more that will ease the pain of defeat

Oh well this is MUCH more threatening. Berthier runs out into a car park with her gang from Rent the musical. This whole thing looks… pretty bad. There’s no threat here. Mercury’s new attack, Shine Snow Illusion, doesn’t look great. It could have looked awesome, but there’s just no money in the production to make things look good.

I know my next cosplaaaay

Jesus guys, turtlenecks are so 1998

Mercury did look cool in a couple of shots, but she mostly spent this climax like Mars did previous: getting her ass kicked.

Gotta have to hand to Mercury: When she wants to she can be the coolest of all the Senshi

Gotta have to hand to Mercury: When she wants to she can be the coolest of all the Senshi

So her coolness lasted 4 seconds. There's so easily defeated. Would have liked more of a fight

So her coolness lasted 4 seconds. There’s so easily defeated. Would have liked more of a fight

Remember how I meantioned there was no money to make anything look really good? Moon Princess Halation is a complete joke of a sequence. Bright light, more bright light, Berthier dead (we presume. We don’t actually see more than light.)

"I can't be killed with such a shite attaaaaaack!"

“I can’t be killed with such a shite attaaaaaack!”

The episode ends in another cliffhanger, with Mercury abducted. We can safely assume it’ll happen again next time, eh? Maybe the Senshi should, I dunno, run and hide for a bit?

The cruellest moment of this is seeing Chibi-Usa witness all this, remembering her mother tell her that Sailor Moon is invincible. I get the impression hat Neo Queen Serenity is rather reliving misremembered past glories…

"Shit he took her supercomputer. That thing had my Tetris high score on it."

“Shit he took her supercomputer. That thing had my Tetris high score on it.”

And that’s it. There’s no resolution of Usagi’s bitterness towards a relatively innocent child, Ami fails to make chess interesting and Mamoru comes off looking like the most interesting and likeable character.

Seeing as my favourite episode of Crystal thus far has focussed on Makoto (like, 6 months ago), I really hope that they get next episode right. Unfortunately, from the previews, we can see that they’re continuing with the whole Asanuma thing… and goddamn I hate that guy.

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20 Comments »

    • Yeah… It’s uncomfortable. He can’t understand why she’s suddenly so cold. Her behaviour is irrational. Worse though is the idea that you simply have to force affection into someone for it to be reciprocated. I think it sends a bad message.

      Thanks, actually forgot that part in the review. I would call the moment “problematic”

  1. I noticed that they seemed to have cut out the part of Motoki knowing the senshi’s identities and Asanuma’s parts to give time for Ami and Berthier’s chess match since in the manga I remember, as soon as Berthier reveals to know Ami’s identity, everyone goes into battle. You’re probably glad that Asanuma and Motoki were cut out.

    • Weeeell I found Motoki knowing their identities interesting, although it does nowhere. As did Asanuma, the little the better, although since he has a moment next act it would have made more sense to give him airtime.

  2. It sounds like you’re saying it’s ok if you’re hero has flaws, so long as they’re likeable flaws. I don’t see why it’s such a huge problem that Usagi is being portrayed as an anxious, frustrated and demoralised fourteen year old girl. Given the circumstances, I think it’s a fairly realistic and actually lends itself to a more satisfying personal growth story arc once the season is over.

    The pool scene was basically set up Ami’s backstory. Given the overwhelming criticism about the lack of character development, I’m surprised that you question it’s inclusion. We see how Ami copes with stress in this act; by partaking in meditative activities such as swimming and chess (in stark contrast to Usagi). We get an insight to her past and her insecurities, which are played off against during the chess match.

    I thought the animation was relatively good, and will look fine once it’s cleaned up for BD.

    • I love flawed characters. I really do. To take a random example, Theon from Game of Thrones. He’s a reprehensible character in almost every regard, and I find that fascinating. However it’s a different type of show. I’m not expected to respect Theon. Or Walter White from Breaking Bad.

      Usagi’s reaction to Chibi-Usa may be realistic, but I don’t find it interesting. In the manga, I found this story arc frustrating, and never really connected with Usagi again. She becomes petty and sullen without a satisfying conclusion.

      To compare this to the original anime, which I try not to do, we have Usagi acting childish and petty, yes, but the balance is that Chibi-Usa gives as good as she gets. She’s also unaware that Usagi is her mother. We also have moments where Usagi acts incredibly protective towards Chibi-Usa despite their animosity towards one another, and she has moments of true heroism. In the manga, I saw no such moment.

      Perhaps knowing where this arc will take Usagi in Crystal has coloured my opinion of this episode, but I was hoping that the writers would have recognised that Usagi is being made an unlikable bully of a fairly defenceless girl. I can only hope they redeem her character more than in the manga.

      I certainly welcome the idea that my negative reaction to this episode was less a criticism of the writing of Usagi’s character and more of an instinctual revulsion of a mother acting this way towards her daughter, even if it’s unknowing. It certainly isn’t unknowing from Chibi-Usa’s perspective, at least in the manga.

      As for Ami’s backstory… I did enjoy seeing more of Ami. I liked her calmness, I liked her insecurities, but I felt it was really hammed up by the chess scene. I can’t say it’s good writing, however. I just couldn’t connect to these scene. Everything is explained in dialogue, there’s no subtlety here, characters are just announcing their feelings. I also never felt that Ami’s insecurities were at all relevant to the plot. If we had more time with her character, then this may have been an interesting and informative episode, but as it is we haven’t seen much of Ami at all since Act 2.

      As for the animation being cleaned up for BD, if it’s not good enough for the first time then it shouldn’t be there. I’m not going to get the Blu-Rays, this is the only release I’ll see of Crystal, so this is all I’ll remember.

      I understand your frustration with my reviews. I’m frustrated too. I feel immensely guilty every time I complain about Crystal, because I know there’s good content here, and I know people like it. I’m just finding it hard to separate the wheat from the chaff at the moment, because I’m just not getting enough from Crystal.

      • Chibs WILL give as good as she gets later, I believe. Pretty sure this mountain of abuse her future okaa-san is heaping on her is part of the sequence of events that will lead into Wiseman turning her into Black Lady further down the line.

        It feels like there’s going to be payoff this time, as opposed to the Dark Kingdom arc’s letdown. There *better* be payoff this time.

    • this is the first time in SMC reviews I almost totally do not agree with VK, but instead I think and feel exactly the same as Tammy.
      In my opinion this episode was just..great, and for many different reasons. First of all I have to say Ami has always been my least fave character in Sailor Moon, both manga and original anime. So after the pretty good episode 15 I wasn’t particulary excited to wait 2 more weeks just to see some Sailor Mercury action. BUT I was completely disproved by the new episode cut. I think while following the main manga plot for the first time it even added some phatos to it!Didn’t expect that was possible at all in SMC…
      I always truly hated the Mamo-Chibi Usa relationship since I read the manga for the first time back in the 90s. I knew Naoko introduced her as a disruption element serving the cause of making Usagi/Sailor Moon grow stronger during the story, but to me that was the disturbing part. Let me explain: Usagi has been through a lot during the first arc. her life has been completely twisted, she discovered she had a previous life and that she killed herself for love, just to rest in peace with her beloved one. Also she had to fight alone the final battle against evil (is this not enough alone to act a little confused and insecure!?!?) and finally after all this she gets to savor happy life again, finally together with her only love.
      And what?! This annoying little girl with the same name literally comes out of nowhere, showing she knows a lot about sailor moon and even holding a crystal like hers. And in all that, all the concern should be that she is a kid, frightened and lost?C’mon!I know it’s Sailor moon BUT we’re supposed to see it as if it was a real life event…and in real life girls fallen from the sky pointing a gun at you are not cute at all. Even less if then they hypnotize you family and just pretend to stay at YOUR house with NO REASON AT ALL! I totally stick to Usagi’s feeling for the whole R series, and in SMC too. Mamo-chan acts like there’s nothing odd in taking care of an unknown lost child and instead of reassuring his girlfriend and share with her his dreams and thoughts, he just acts nice to the kid in all possible ways. I mean…you don’t even know you’re the father at this point!
      Also It is obvious to me that Usagi is just “jealous” of all the attentions Mamo gives to Chibiusa because as always he acts cold and cryptic with her. Why not picking up the phone and warn your girl that Chibi Usa is at your place?What’s the point Mamo?Are you maybe hiding something or just don’t give a damn? Also, when you can clearly see Usagi feels so insecure…why aren’t you reassuring HER before acting like the perfect daddy with a total stranger?This isn’t just believable, doesn’t hold at all.
      I am curious to see how the thing will evolve is SMC because both manga and original anime really made an asshole out of Mamo chan and I didn’t like it at all. Just made me wish Chibiusa never happened and they could just enjoy their life together as a couple, for a while at least…
      (all this not considering the “Black Lady” part of the story when it turns out poor little lost Chibiusa had developed some strange feelings towards her dear papi….. °____° )

      anyway VK thanks for sharing your thoughts!Love your reviews and think they’re the best out there!

      • Thanks!

        I actually think I may have been a little dismissive of this episode in my review. The fact that there are multiple interpretations from an episode is in itself a mark of improved writing.

        I have to give props to Takeuchi for giving her characters challenging arcs. The weird Haruka-Usagi-Mamoru-Michiru love square in the infinity arc, for example. I appreciate what they’re trying to do in Crystal too, but I just can’t get on board with this character turn.

        I do find it hilarious that we have exactly the opposite opinions on Usagi and Mamoru here. I actually found him to actually be an admirable character in a way the original anime adaptation never quite managed to do. For me, the sight of Chibi-Usa hiding out in the rain, then crying in her bed, was such a sympathetic sight that I can’t resolve the feelings of resentment I have for Usagi, in either the manga or Crystal.

        I always thought it was a little cruel of Neo Queen Serenity to chuck her kid with her past self, thereby depriving her kid of her real mother and sticking her teenage self with a level of responsibility she clearly isn’t up to yet.

        And yeah… the less said about the Electra Complex the better… although I suspect that this team will chicken out and pull away from the overt romantic feelings Black Lady expresses towards Tuxedo Kamen. They didn’t have Koan burn a kid alive after all.

        Thanks for the comment, really appreciate this feedback.

  3. I Disagree with the episode review unfortunately. I really expected different mostly because you’ve been spot on with every other review ’til now, but alas it is personal preference, not a dealbreaker.

    The review itself was awesome, I find I get some insight into your relationship with the characters, and though we may not share the same views necessarily this time, it’s refreshing to see somebody owning it and not the classic :

    “I am a fan, you are a fan, we should think the same, this hasn’t happened, ergo YOUR REVIEW IS WRONG!”

    Your review is absolutely right – for you, and I get you have some hangups with Usagi, which comes through – I get the passion in it, Usagi has let you down (and for a split second lets just forget they are animated characters because it’s disrespectful seeing as they are completely real characters in my head) and I love that it drives this review, so yeah I disagree but, seeing it from another perspective made me appreciate it in its own right.

    The “awkward moment” really felt awkward but more in a cringey way that felt quite realistic and in hindsight I think if it evokes that much of an emotion, then rightly or wrongly it did it’s job. I have only experienced this arc of the manga through your reviews so I am watching this with fresh eyes as it were, and man those last few Dark Kingdom eps destroyed my soul in so many torturous ways one could fashion.. so this ep in my opinion was pretty strong.

    90% of this is Mercury having a microphone a la Madonna circa 1994 when she fights.

    Also.. Berthier, a suit jacket over your shoulders is hardly appropriate attire for a chess match you pricktease, she won more of my respect for just shamelessly flaunting her body and not giving a shit.

    I’m even more interested to see what you make of the rest of the series, keep it up!

    • It appears I’m at odds with quite a few people on this one. As with the other comments, I suspect my reaction at Usagi’s character shift coloured my view of the episode. This goes back to the manga – I didn’t like Usagi in the Black Moon arc and I don’t like her here. It might be real, but for me it’s bringing Usagi close to irredeemable. This wasn’t resolved in the manga for me.

      I understand people enjoy what they’re doing here, but for me most of the episode felt rather lifeless and predictable. I loathe to compare Crystal to the original incarnation, but compared to the stories Ami was given there this one doesn’t come close to inciting the emotion it should.

      Still, as I said in another comment, I love the fact that we can disagree on interpretation here. It tells me that there’s more to the writing than what was going on in the previous arc.

  4. I always find myself oscillating on the two Usagi’s (O.G. anime, and manga/Crystal many times before). While I like original anime Usagi more, I think Usagi’s character development in the manga OVERALL makes a lot more sense.

    In the original anime, Usagi is more resilient, and her resilience stems completely from her love and faith for the people who are close to her, and her desire to protect and treasure them. That’s part of what makes the last episode of the original anime’s first season SO good, is the tension between her romantic love for EvilMamo, and her need to transcend her own feelings in order to honor her friend’s sacrifice and fulfill her mission. For this first season, it’s perfect, spot on. After the fact though, i think it becomes a major flaw for her, and not in a good way. Her resiliency and unshakable faith in her feelings results in her putting up Mamoru being a bag of dicks both when he doesn’t remember her, and when he breaks up with her like total douchenozzle—that’s twice in two f***ing seasons. I get that its Usagi never giving up on love, but as you’ve put it in many of your reviews, it really just feels like emotional abuse with a cherry on top. And then after R, the relationship between the two of them for the most part is just so stale, with him acting paternally towards her and treating her like a child. Usagi’s character is enjoyable throughout most of the original anime, but Mamoru to me is most interesting and complex in the first season, and subsequently, thats when I enjoy most of their relationship.

    So I agree that Usagi is pretty unlikeable here, but I think it makes sense, and that it contributes to the growth of her character and relationship through the rest of the arc/manga. Her inability to reconcile the dissonance of being angry at Chibi-Usa, feeling bad for how she treats Chibi-Usa, feeling jealous of Chibi-Usa, probably feeling guilty for feeling jealous of Chibi-Usa, and feeling the loss of Mars I think really comes through. I like how she can’t even look at Mamoru when he is trying to console her, and I think it makes sense in that context to try and hold someone, or touch them to show support. I think it’s interesting to see Usagi refrain from communicating here whereas in the original anime whatever Mamoru says goes, and all her feelings/insecurities are immediately assauged. I’m like, for real definitely reading into this too much because I don’t want grade my students’ HW, but it’s nice to see them both be a bit a clumsy and unsure in this relationship, and it’s nice to see this shown rather than explicitly told, imo. I think its also nice in the context of how their relationship develops in the next few manga arcs (its nice to see both usagi *and* mamoru still have insecurities but also more demonstrated relationship growth in the S arc, and by the time SuperS rolls around, their issues are not related to security within the relationship, which I think is overall a nice progression).

    In short, I think there is nuance to Usagi being pretty awful here, and I think there are a lot of interesting places her character could go this arc (though, I won’t get my hopes up). I’m mostly curious to Neo Queen Serenity in Crystal, since all manga iterations of past/present Serenity made her seem so ethereal, so celestial, that the lack of mortality made her almost seem untouchable and a little cold. I couldn’t never really tell if that was an intentional part of the storyline or if Naoko was really into drawing beautiful unearthly goddess moon-babes.

    Ugh, I guess I ought to grade my students HW now….

    • I like that you call it the OG anime. Makes it sounds rather gangsta.

      I completely agree with all your points. While original anime Usagi is infinitely more likeable and heroic, Manga Usagi (and by extension Crystal Usagi) goes through actual personal issues. That being said, these personal issues are handled like a daytime soap. Getting paranoid that your boyfriend prefers a little girl over you and withdrawing into anger and suspicion is pretty hammy. I don’t think Naoko pulls it off in the manga, however interesting an idea it is.

      Manga Usagi is our entry point into this world. Original Anime Usagi might be silly and argumentative, but I never felt actively disappointed in her like I do in the Black Moon arc. This might have all worked with a great resolution, a redemption on the scale of what they gave Usagi in Sailor Moon R, but it’s lacking in the manga. There, it’s Chibi-Usa’s relationship with Sailor Pluto, her surrogate mother when Serenity is cold and distant for 1000 years apparently, that breaks Black Lady. We also never get that defensive, sacrificial aspect of Usagi that would really redeem her character.

      Remember that first fight with Rubeus in the Original Anime where Sailor Moon got the crap kicked out of her defending Chibi-Usa? That was what the Original Anime writers realised: that having Usagi too far would alienate viewers.

      I can’t speak for most people, but I feel alienated by this Usagi.

      That being said, I enjoy her character much more the Infinity arc, and think that the relationship stuff with Mamoru is much more enjoyable. I completely agree, however, that Mamoru became a redundant character from Sailor Moon S, while he continued to grow in the manga. Saying that, he was kinda rubbish from the start in the Original Anime, so I wasn’t too fussed.

      I’ll be honest: I think Neo Queen Serenity in the manga is an awful mother and a complete dick, but I do find the idea that becoming a god makes you unrelatable even to your own kid. She seems warm enough towards Usagi in that one scene they actually meet.

      Great essay there Momo, reward yourself by chucking the homework in the trash x

  5. The comments on here are actually more exciting to me than this episode was for the most part. Haha, it’s neat to hear how much people’s opinions differ on it. :^)

    For me, I also had trouble getting past was Usagi leaving Chibiusa to fend for herself on the streets then telling her parents that Chibiusa was at a friend’s house. Holy shit! If this was any other series that would be dangerous, intentional neglect! It actually truly gave me the creeps. Even though Chibiusa didn’t get injured or kidnapped, imagining being a child in her shoes is really terrifying. A little kid on your own in a thunderstorm, at night, without a guardian or shelter or knowing how to get home. I think it’s perfectly alright for Usagi to be flawed but so much of her character is supposed to embody compassion and this just blindsides me at how wildly out of the blue it feels.

    I get that Chibiusa’s a mysterious, brainwashing pest; but no one except Usagi treats her as a serious threat because as mysterious as Chibiusa is, she couldn’t really be a physical threat on her own to the senshi. That makes Usagi’s actions look especially bad.

    And I agree with you Vincent, I actually really like the way the scene with Mamoru was here. In fact, a lot of what makes me appreciate Mamoru is how he seems to do his best with the crazy familial situation of his girlfriend and future-daughter bickering constantly. I like that it shows how much he appreciates having a real family since he’s an orphan.

    One thing I can say that I like about how the episode dealt with Usagi’s actions is her blankness/coldness during her meeting with Mamoru and Chibiusa the next day. I like to think that the gravity of how terrible she was to Chibiusa dawned on her. Besides that, she could have been terrified that Mamoru might realize that she /knowingly/ ditched Chibiusa and that he would think that she’s cruel. Usagi’s shutting down there could be seen as a huge turning point and if her actions following this show this I’d be a little more forgiving. It’s just going to be a tough fix and the way the manga handled it was kinda poorly done since I felt like it placed more emphasis on Chibiusa and Pluto’s bond than hers with NQS, and that just paints a cold portrait of her as distant and enigmatic. It’s a really big missed opportunity considering how fantastic the manga showed them.

    ———————

    I thought the scenes with Ami were fine. Though, now I appreciate the first anime’s attempts to liven up the chess match and make Berthier memorable more. Here the chess match was just a plain old chess match and Berthier was devoid of anything noteworthy.

    I appreciate that they attempted to inject some character background to Ami. It’s not the first time her strained relationship with her busy parents has been done –and to be truthful it wasn’t exactly the most deep– but here it’s sufficient. (The episode about Ami and Rei’s parental figures in PGSM is actually one of the series highlights to me) The father thing here with Ami was serviceable but still kinda weird to see placed squarely in an episode that says in it’s TITLE that Ami will be abducted. (Seriously, I wish that anime titles could leave a little mystery)

    • I think you’ve hit on the difference between Usagi in the original anime and in Crystal. Previously, she had bitter petty jealousy, but overcame it with compassion for Chibi-Usa however strained her relationship here. So far in Crystal, we’ve only seen the bitterness. Part of this is how the series is structured, there aren’t many episodes to explore character development, and the gaps between episodes leaves issues like these hanging.

      It may be some time before we see any other side to Usagi, which is something I’m a little afraid of seeing. I’m not I’m ready for a gritty reboot yet.

      As for Ami… I appreciate that they’ve tried to bolster her development, although there’s nothing in here that wasn’t in the manga. They’re not looking at the manga and thinking “how could I improve this?”, they’re satisfied with their source material, which is dangerous. It’s the writer’s chance to really get under the skin of these characters. They’ve just not taken advantage of that yet.

      And yeah the titles… remember “The Sailor Senshi Die! The Tragic Final Battle”? I mean… Jesus.

  6. Yeah, this isn’t Mercury’s finest moment here. IMO whatever development she may have gotten was ruined by her being captured and defeated. Shame, she’s my favorite Sailor. :(

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