Sailor Moon: Another Story (Part 7)
We continue the series looking at the 1995 Super Nintendo RPG Sailor Moon: Another Story. Now that all the Inner Senshi have retrieved their Hi Stones, we still have to find the mysterious Barazuishou. Luckily, Chibi-Usa is on the case. This… this is probably a bad idea, right…?
Chapter 3: The Barazuishou
Alternative Title: That’s a Lot of D’s
We catch up with what’s going in Japan with Chibi-Usa sneaking into Mugen Academy itself, looking for the Barazuishou, under the false assumption that she has the ability to step inside enemy territory and actually defend herself. Saying that, this opening isn’t all bad. True, I find the fact that Chibi-Usa brings along her friend Momo-chan inexplicable considering the danger she suspects she’s walking into. Also, walking around the empty and bland corridors feels a bit pointless.
I’m glad they’ve thrown Momo-chan in here, it’s a nice reference, but of course she’s immediately attacked and “saved” by Anshar, Sin’s younger brother, who appears somewhat taken with Chibi-Usa. I have to say… this guy is kind of an idiot. He wants everything, to kill the Senshi and change destiny, and also to protect Chibi-Usa from Sin. In that way, I wonder if Dimande is something of an inspiration for him.
There’s a few rooms to run around here, Momo-chan has been poisoned and you have to find a control room to open the nurses office… though what antidote to evil monster poison is going to be in a school’s nurses office I have no idea. There are no monsters here, I guess they figured that Chibi-Usa couldn’t fight her way out of a paper bag… and they’re right, because they do throw the one scheduled event fight against… Heeeeey it’s my best friend Boxxy! I’m SO DAMN HAPPY.
Eventually (it’s dull, I won’t lie) we get to the nurse’s room where Anshar reveals himself to be Shock! Horror! the younger brother of Sin. Chibi-Usa doesn’t immediately throw medical supplies at his face, which is a mark against her, and gives Sin the opportunity to snap her neck.
ONLY JOKING she just warps her away to… well I have no idea, frankly. Seriously, Sin, classic Bond villain move there.
So yeah… forest *somewhere*. Anshar is there too but claims to be extremely weak. He’ll spend the rest of the chapter complaining and scheming in his head. As a bad guy he suuuucks.
Right, back to the good stuff. Chibi-Usa’s cry for help crosses time, space and frozen tundras, reaching Usagi. Might be similar to that weird power she displayed way back in episode 1 and no other episode ever, where she hear’s Naru’s voice from far away. Either way, it feels really great to play as Usagi again, something I didn’t expect. As much as I enjoyed playing as the other Senshi, this just feels right.
As soon as we cut back to Sin in the Infinity Academy office, I get suuuuuper excited. For one, this building was destroyed pretty comprehensively in Sailor Moon S, so we sort of know what’s coming. And here he is! One of the best characters to come out of Sailor Moon, Professor Tomoe. Very excited to see what he’ll bring to this story.
And he doesn’t disappoint. Luring Sailor Moon to his secret underground lair (I said that in my head like Doctor Evil, obviously), he gives the mad crazies like he did before, and it really feels right. When he whips out Mistress Nine right in front of Sailor Moon, it’s pretty terrifying. This is the character that was almost limitlessly powerful, and here I am fighting her by myself. Luckily, I SODDING TRAINED, DIDN’T I?
Just to make sure we get our money’s worth, after Mistress Nine is defeated he yells for Kaorinite! Who is, in fact, a big disappointment, since she has no lines, only appears in the battle scene, and is a push-over after Mistress Nine. Poor Kaorinite, side-lined again.
Things are beginning to get really cool and really dark here. After Hotaru comes to, morphing back from Mistress Nine, she insists on confronting her father. And we get some pretty damned good pathos as Sailor Saturn begs her father not to fall into the same nightmare as before. None of this has any impact to those who watched the show, and honestly every line is perfunctory, but it’s still riding high on that nostalgia, and as such this whole sequence of Sailor Moon and Sailor Saturn, together, and kicking ass in the basement of the Death Buster’s lab, is pretty much my dream.
Walking around the lab is pretty cool too. There’s a room full of test tubes with bodies floating in them that feel very similar to Final Fantasy VI’s magitek factory (I’m sure they are COMPLETELY unrelated). There’s no explanation given, it’s just creepy as heck.
Confronting Tomoe for the last time, we find ourselves in front of the device that called Pharaoh 90 from the Tau Nebula, if you recall all that. It was an impressive scene, and lovingly recreated here. There’s so much effort to spark those memories from the show that I have to forgive the lousy design in almost every other area.
Now, I recalled that there are actually two separate paths you can take here. Neither of which impacts the game in any meaningful way, but let’s see what each path is. Upon reaching Tomoe, you are given the option to reason with him. Just for kicks and giggles, because I couldn’t remember what happened when, I clicked “No”.
As it turns out, this is apparently the right thing to do, as Sailor Moon decides not to bother with, you know, diplomacy and instead just zaps him with the Ginzuishou, the result of which is a Daimohn breaks out of him (the shadow looks like the cormorant daimohns from Sailor Moon S, nice touch). He’s not getting off scott-free, however. Tomoe has a rather sad moment as he apologises to Sailor Saturn before he dies… Wow that’s pretty grim.
Let’s see what happens when you try to reason with him, then. I’m sure it must be better than a sad farewell as Sailor Saturn watches her father die, right?
NOPE. You remember those hairy turds from the manga, right? Also that one episode of Sailor Moon S? Well the makers liked it so much they threw it in as an optional boss. You know, in case you felt like you wanted to murder the transmogrified form of Professor Tomoe.
So either way Tomoe dies. Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb, I suppose. I gather that the writers of the game wanted to merge the canon of the manga with the anime here. They took a character that survived in the show, Tomoe, and rewrote his fate to match that of the manga. That’s pretty ballsy, especially because they couldn’t be sure if the character would ever come back in a later series.
…which as a matter of fact, he does…
Anyway, we’ve kind of crushed Sailor Saturn’s spirit a bit, having killed her father twice in two different save files.
In a poor design feature, the game sees you getting back to Usagi’s house, resting for a bit, then seeing the two decide to return to the labs to see if they can find any evidence of where Chibi-Usa went. Well why did you make me walk all the way back!? Jesus, sometimes this game wants me to hate it.
There, Uranus and Neptune are waiting for us, ready to perform the Sailor Teleport to travel… wherever the shit it is that Chibi-Usa has ended up. Again, it feels great to have these guys in my team. I love the sass they bring to the game.
There’s not a whole lot in this forest, which I can only presume is in some kind of alternate dimension or something. It’s really vague, and I’m not sure to blame the game or the translation. Guessing it’s the game. We eventually met Chibi-Usa and add Sailor Chibi-Moon to the team, so we’re now a full party again! Yaay! It’s been sodding aaaaages.
Despite him obviously being evil, the team decide to take Anshar with them, still unconscious and muttering away about Princess this and Serenity that. This is his evil plan? To play dead? Anshar is such a turd.
There’s a conspicuous cave at the back of this forest… I instantly see Plato. Also The Empire Strikes Back. Whichever suits your reference better I suppose.
So yeah, as soon as Sailor Moon starts going on about D-Point, my heckles rise. This is probably one of the most interesting and emotionally wrenching moments they appear to be building up towards, and they do a good job building up the tension.
They know you know what’s coming, and they drag it out just long enough
They throw the most evil, most despicable monsters they can at you… the DD Girls, whom, while worryingly named, are also real dicks to get down too. Just seeing these guys are bringing up all sorts of bad memories. While we’re not with the Inner Senshi here, Sailor Moon does seem more disturbed than any of the previous monsters she’s seen come back to life.
Aaaaand Queen Beryl. Her appearance is really rather entertaining, although they don’t do much more with her character than have her give the old “I’m back, bitches!” spiel. I would have liked to see more nuance here, but alas, this will have to do. And yet I’m still enthralled by this. Beryl remains Sailor Moon’s most personal enemy.
I could question why some strange forest that Sin sent Chibi-Usa to has a portal to the North Pole where Queen Beryl is waiting for a scripted fight… but that wouldn’t be much fun. So instead I’m just going to roll with the weirdness.
One fight just isn’t enough to impress on you quite how fiendish Beryl is meant to be here, despite her 3 or 4 lines, so they throw another round at you. Naturally Super Beryl had to be a boss battle, they’re giving the audience what they want!
Of course, this second fight is actually unwinnable. Her defence is almost infinite and she kills you party in a couple of hits. The whole things is set up just to draw out the scene a bit more, build up the tension and pathos before Sailor Moon and Chibi-Moon combine Ginzuishous to weaken her enough to murderville.
Not that the characters seem particularly moved by all this. Despite all the build up, they don’t spend much time on Beryl, which is kind of sad. We’ll get some interesting moments with her backstory later one, but for “destiny-changed Beryl”, there isn’t much here other than one of the GODDAMN TOUGHEST FIGHTS I’ve had yet. Not as bad as that first boss with Sailor Mercury, but this took me a few goes.
Just to make sure we at least get Beryl’s defining feature in here, she goes out like a complete punk as ever:
Chibi-Moon’s Ginzuishou reacts to some cheap-looking crystals in the back of the cave and, what do you know, the Barazuishou is here! So… Chibi-Moon’s crystal warped her and Anshar to where the crystal was? None of this makes sense at all really, but that’s ok. I’ll forgive it. It’s charming in how shit it is.
Naturally we can’t have anything go right, can we? We’ve also been lugging around our own lazy downfall. Get up Anshar you git. We’ve been dragging your stupid ass around this stupid North Pole, go do something!
Well the little shit thinks that by preventing the Senshi getting the Barazuishou, he won’t have to fight Chibi-Usa, because he has stupid feelings or whatever. Saying that… So of Mamoru doesn’t get the Barazuishou, he’ll die. Meaning that Chibi-Usa will never have existed anyway. So yeah, Anshar, great plan.
I enjoyed Chapter 3 quite a lot! It got away from the formula of the Inner Senshi’s stories, and gave some real pathos in Professor Tomoe. The more I see of Saturn the better, as well. True, there were maybe more boss battles than was necessary, and I had to grind for 20 minutes whenever I reached a new area, but I gotta roll with the good and the bad. I knew this wouldn’t play well, but the story continues to charm and, I dare say, impress.
We finally meet up with Sailor Pluto, who is having a date with the Doom Tree. Way to write your own slash fiction, Puu.