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Act 28 INFINITY 1 – Premonition – Second Part

First Aired: 11th April 2016

Hotaru heals Chibi-Moon

As the Senshi investigate Mugen Academy, Chibi-Usa visits an amusement park nearby… and ends up meeting a strange girl in pain outside of the monolithic school. Usagi, meanwhile, sneaks into the academy, but it isn’t long before the new enemy sends the Witches 5 to test the Sailor Senshi with a strange beast once again.

 

I’m sorry! I have no excuse for the lateness of my Season III reviews. I’ve been a bit distracted with the old podcast I’m afraid. Transformation Sequence has just been signed onto the wonderful network Geekly Inc, and the transition took a bit of work. Hopefully I can bust out reviews of all the episodes out in the next couple of days.

Anyway, on with the spoiler-free review! Which I’m sure you’ve all seen by now, seeing as it was out 2 weeks ago.

This episode wasn’t bad at all, which is not to say it’s brilliant. It’s an decent adaptation of what is a rather exposition-heavy and awkward act in the manga that doesn’t quite manage to get around the weaknesses in the plot… but I liked it nevertheless. We’ve continued to see the same goofy humour as set up in Act 27, and it really does bring more of a fresh and accessible atmosphere to everything.

Usagi in Mugen Academy uniform

It’s also nice to see the inclusion of the other Senshi more than the previous season. They don’t get to have much fun here (again, the manga offers limited material to work on here), but they opted instead for a full transformation sequence two episodes in a row, with each Senshi getting an arrival speech too… in the opening episode of the series I understand, but I here I really feel like they were using them to eat up time, which could have been better spent on character moments. Give me more humanity please.

While I appreciate the goofyness of Usagi, I’m also not quite at home with her portrayal. For some reason, maybe it’s the age, or the innocence, or the direction and writing, I found Original Series Usagi a lot less grating when she whined. They were able to make it charming, you were laughing along with Usagi. Her, I must admit, when she’s having spats with Chibi-Usa, I’m just a tiny bit unimpressed.

It may be simply that her actress, Kotono Mitsuishi, has gone a different direction in this iteration of Usagi.

Usagi picking up Chibi-Usa

Meanwhile, I absolutely love Kaorinite. She seems mysterious, capable, malevolent and beautiful, in a way that Queen Beryl last season rather lacked. This is the opposite to the Witches 5 here, whom did not get enough to really sink my teeth into. Eugeal (I just can’t call her Eudial, feels too weird), my favourite of the Witches in the original series, just seems like a basic bad guy. In 12 episodes we’re unlikely to get much character out of any of these guys, which is a real shame since they have the potential of being such interesting characters.

I sound like I’m being overly critical of the episode aren’t I? I suppose I’m just a pessimist at heart.

The Witches 5

On the upside, I really enjoyed the introduction of Hotaru, as coincidental as it was delivered, and the brief appearance of the new Senshi has me very excited for where this season will be headed. I loved Mamoru running around in a panic like a shitty dad after Chibi-Usa went AWOL, I liked Sailor Moon’s horror at Chibi-Moon’s cavalier attitude to her secret identity, I love that all the Senshi got their part to play in battle.

The Moon Spiral Heart Attack in Crystal lacks, of course, the majesty of Sailor Moon S, but it’s a welcome throwback and gave me a huge grin when it came on.

I’d like to consider this episode as the second half of a single opening, as the name implies. That way it works better. As a stand alone act, this was never going to be an amazing episode thanks to the manga chapter, but I’m satisfied, if not blown away.

Let’s see if Eugeal can swing a home run in the next episode.

Moon Spiral Heart Attack

 


 

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.

This whole opening felt a weeeee bit perfunctory. The dialogue between Usagi and Chibi-Usa has definitely improved from last season, but their whole fight seemed a bit less charming than, say, in Sailor Moon S. I still thought it was fine, and appreciated Usagi being silly and fun again.

Although when she gets like this it tells me she reeeeeeally shouldn't be dating yet...

Although when she gets like this it tells me she reeeeeeally shouldn’t be dating yet…

Mamoru’s stupid watch lol

"No one will be able to tell that I'm secretly Tuxedo Kamen with this official Bandai Tuxedo Kamen Wristwatch (tm)"

“No one will be able to tell that I’m secretly Tuxedo Kamen with this official Bandai Tuxedo Kamen Wristwatch ™”

Kaorinite is super badass here. This is the best part of the episode for me, just watching her hold court. What she’s saying is utter rubbish of course, never liked the weird power levels stuff from the manga, although I always suspected this was Naoko Takeuchi having a laugh at stupid Dragon Ball Z obsessions with power levels. I suppose my gripe is that, while I get the joke, I’m not sure it’s needed.

"Make you tea? MAKE YOU'RE OWN GODDAMN TEA, PROFESSOR."

“Make you tea? MAKE YOU’RE OWN GODDAMN TEA, PROFESSOR.”

The Witches 5 weren’t explored much here… but no one really stood out for me here. They all just looked and acted identically. Not much flavour if you get my drift. There also lacks the superiority and condescension that was palpable with them in the original series, they seem confused and disbelieving most of the episode. The result is that they really aren’t threatening on the same level as Kaorinite. I expect they’ll all last 1 episode again, just like the Phantom Sisters.

Is it me or are Eugeal's lips freaky as heck? Shame they didn't get rid of ALL the lips then

Is it me or are Eugeal’s lips freaky as heck? Shame they didn’t get rid of ALL the lips then

WHY ASANUMA WHYYYYY

"What you do not smell, Asanuma, is called Iocane powder. It is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid, and is among the more deadly poisons known to man. "

“What you do not smell, Asanuma, is called Iocane powder. It is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid, and is among the more deadly poisons known to man. “

I rather enjoyed the Transformation Pen scene, although I thought it genius of Usagi to have thought of it. Quite why the other Senshi were so exasperated wasn’t obvious to me, but hey, if I were Usagi’s friend in Crystal I imagine most things she did would illicit some form of criticism from me. Either way, always fun seeing Usagi in disguise.

Hard to tell but I -think- Rei is actually pleased with this?

“Steal a projector when you’re in there, those things sell for like 100,000 yen.”

Michiru’s violin scene was rather brilliantly done. I liked the moodiness, I liked the sense of destiny, I liked the cold-ass look she gave Usagi when she stopped. The music itself was unremarkable, lacking something of the dramatic beauty of Sailor Moon S, but it was still effective and I really must stop comparing everything to the original series.

"Excuse me, but I'm trying to look mysterious and sexy, would you please fuck off?"

“Excuse me, but I’m trying to look mysterious and sexy, would you please fuck off? A freshman, ugh…”

YOU AS COLD AS ICE

"I see into your soul Tsukino Usagi and it is FILTHY."

“I see into your soul Tsukino Usagi and it is FILTHY in there, you really should clean  up after yourself.”

Hotaru! I actually rather loved her voice actor. Really decent job. Not a lot to do just yet, but give it time. I appreciated how she was flat-out hostile to Chibi-Usa at first, slapping her hand away, so afraid at any level of intimacy or connection. She seems like a cursed child from the start here. I’ll say that I never really liked how Chibi-Usa first met her – the hat and the following fight are just a bit… cheap for me, but Naoko Takeuchi was never great at getting characters where they needed to be in a natural fashion.

"Cant see... everything going dark... oh thats my bangs in my stupid face again, sorry."

“Can’t see… everything going dark… oh that’s my bangs in my stupid face again, sorry.”

Ok here the lips don’t look so bad… still not sure why she’s fucking about with a cat and a Daimon Egg though. How about, like, a RHINO or something.

"Here kitty kitty oh shit I dropped the Daimon Egg onto it... hrmmm... just gonna... walk away here..."

“Here kitty kitty oh shit I dropped the Daimon Egg onto it… hrmmm… just gonna… walk away here…”

As in the previous episode, I don’t think much of the Daimons in Crystal. They’re just ill-defined purple shit-lords that, while menacing, really could have played on the body-horror more. I’m pretty sure the manga had like tentacles and a tragic backstory about how it was an alcoholic and walked out on its family or something, I can’t remember.

"GWAAA I need tuna and then a fucking dentist in that order GWAAA"

“GWAAA I need tuna and then a fucking dentist in that order GWAAA”

GIRLS, YES.

"Why did you dress as Tuxedo Kamen?" "Ehhh just to piss him off. Somones gotta show him how to wear this thing with style."

“Why did you dress as Tuxedo Kamen?”
“Ehhh just to piss him off. Someone’s gotta show him how to wear this thing with style.”

Cue a third of the episode being taken up with stock footage. If they do this next time then we know for damn sure they’re just trying to put as little content in as their budget demands. Still, Chibi-Moon got her own transformation sequence and it was… pink. Very pink. With weird sound effects. I liked it… but her and Sailor Moon’s limbs seem a little… twitchy in Crystal. Kinda like they don’t have complete control over them.

"So what Im trying to say is that I like pink."

“Probably a bad time to bring up that I don’t really like pink, huh…”

The fight is… well, you know, it’s Crystal so it’s just fine. But but BUT I was so damn happy with Burning Mandala for the simple reason that it’s almost identical to the original series’ version, with the wood block sound effects at just the right time and everything!

Pretty big bill every time she misses with one of those fireballs ya know

Pretty big bill every time she misses with one of those fireballs ya know

Aaaaaand Moon Spiral Heart Attack. Again, massive fan service to the original series. I must say it looks lovely, although of course my preference will always be the classic version. They even have the Moon Kingdom background and the ridiculous pose! But sadly not the absurdly funky music.

I have to admit I was clapping and giggling here. Dont worry, I punished myseld with bullclips later

I have to admit I was clapping and giggling here. Don’t worry, I punished myself with bullclips later

I also really liked Sailor Moon’s reaction following the fight to Chibi-Moon telling Hotaru exactly who and what she is. Like a resigned horror. It worked well! I also liked Hotaru’s wide-eyed wonder at them all, and her healing powers too, which looked rather nice. It’s not going to win any awards for writing but hey, it’s just fine.

"...hey whats your bank account and pin number by the way...?"

“…hey what’s your bank account and pin number by the way…?”

All of that goes out the window as we see Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus run away from the scene like the bad-ass Senshi they are. SHE’S SO SHINY. These guys will be the turning point of the series for me. Get them right and I think the series will be gold. If not… ehhhhh we’ll see.

"Oh shit they saw us, NEPTUNE GET THE HELICOPTER REVVED UP"

“Oh shit they saw us, NEPTUNE GET THE NUMBER 2 HELICOPTER REVVED UP”

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8 Comments »

  1. Sailor Moon S gave me three phases of the Outer Senshi, particularly Uranus and Neptune:

    *The annoyed “Who the FUCK are these women and why the hell are they not helping out?”

    *The ecstatic “OHHHHH SHEEEIT THINGS GON GET REAL!!!!” as they became more involved in the story,

    *And then the angry/heartbroken “JUST DO IT USAGI’S WAY ALREADY SHE’S JUST A LITTLE GIRL WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!” at the very end.

    Though phases 2 and 3 often conflated themselves, like in the final fight with Germatoid.

    Right now, the Outers are firmly in Phase 1. Haruka’s smug-smugging as they leap around and Michiru’s standing around looking glam, but they’re not really DOING much of a damn thing. Everyone I know gets all excited and gibber-y when they show up, even here in Crystal, but to me, that excitement hasn’t really been EARNED yet.

    They are pretty though. I’m so glad the art style changed for this season, I don’t think I could have dealt with it if they’d screwed up the Outers like they did Mars early on.

  2. “although I always suspected this was Naoko Takeuchi having a laugh at stupid Dragon Ball Z obsessions with power levels.” Takeuchi is apparently good friends with Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragonball and married Yoshihiro Togashi, creator of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter. So I’d say it’s just your own prejudices speaking.

    • Soooo it’s not possible to take a friendly jibe at a colleague? No need to sound so standoffish, I love Dragon Ball and was making a joke. Chill, yeah

  3. I have always loved your reviews and I respect your opinion, coming back every week for more since day one. While you are mostly right I agree with your complaints here and there, there is something I have to disagree with a fire passion – the witches 5. Some people say the manga never had monsters of the week This is a false perception by someone who have watched the old anime and the lack of youmas, droids, daimons etc make them believe there aren’t monsters of the week in it. In fact the manga use the same format as monster of the week thing in every story arc, but instead of using strange snow monsters, talking balls etc, it uses the four heavenly kings, the ayakashi sisters, witches 5 etc as monsters of the week. So all in all it is the same stuff, but the manga monsters of the week has connection to the main story, instead of being a pure filler. Only people who have used to the original anime and know the witches 5 characters from their adaptation would complain about their lack of development. Other people wouldn’t expect them to be something more than that, because they have never been something more in the manga. They are in a way the same as Morga, Iguara and every monster of the week from the 90s anime. We never expected character development from these monsters,why should we expect it for the manga version of monsters of the week – monsters of the week actually integrated in the main plot and nothing more. This criticism of the manga is done by people, who watched the old anime and aren’t used to the fact that these characters have always been the same monster of the day figure as the ones used excessively in the 90s anime without being developed and without being expected to be developed. Hope my rant makes sense, as I am obviously not a native speaker.

    • There are many monsters of the week from the original anime that I love. They’re brief, but they have character, they stand out, they leave their mark.

      My problem with the Witches 5 in the manga, and thus in Crystal, is that they feel like identical and interchangeable throwaways. They’re developed as much as the Daimohns. I’m not asking for the huge characterisation of the original anime, I’m asking for flair, something for me to dig my teeth into.

      Besides, 3 of the Witches 5 in the original anime lasted 1 episode, but they each had a spark that, say, the Phantom Sisters in Crystal lacked.

      • Your comment draws down to a fundamental question about Crystal’s existence. Is Crystal here to serve as a gateway to the world of Sailor Moon, or is Crystal a love letter to the fans of the past series who would have, by now, likely read all of the manga and seen all of the anime? I think it’s in the camp of the latter. Crystal provides the lifelong fan with a modern, beautifully animated (lol in their dreams), condensed telling of the series. For example, in the most recent episode, Venus fangirls over idol Mimi Hanyu, which feels without precedent to the story of Crystal, but I think the viewer is expected to already know that Venus has been characterized as an idol chaser over the history of the franchise, so the details are glossed over a bit. As nice as it would be to have a fully fleshed-out series that didn’t borrow so heavily from the manga and gave us something truly novel, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to continue the Sailor Moon story where the manga leaves off (do we really need another series of Chibi-Moon?), and the anime really missed some cool opportunities to work with the Stars manga material, which is infinitely better written than the anime, but lacks the pathos that one would have if those eleven or so acts were the final eleven to the 200-episode anime, where you’ve really gotten to know each character. I feel that if one were to watch the anime through S, then watch a Crystal adaptation of SuperS and Stars, they would get a full Sailor Moon experience.

        Wow, I’ve got some run-ons in there, but… ah well, gotta get ready for the RuPaul Drag Race showing at the pub tonight XD

  4. I have always been your big fan and all, but there is something I have to disagree of. The only reason we are expecting them to develop the witches 5 in the manga or here is their role in the 90s anime. In the manga they have the same function of the monsters of the day and nothing more, they are just in my opinion better integrated to the main story, instead of being pure filler and have their place in the main story. We have never expected character development from Morga, Iguara, and every single monster of the day in the 90s anime, so we shouldn’t expect it from the witches 5 or ayakashi sisters because in the manga they are the monsters of the week, we expect them to be something else because of the old anime, forgetting this is a totally different story, with different use of monsters of the day formula.

  5. I had a quick look, and it actually was a cat in the original. Sailor Moon is indeed serious stuff.

    I found it a satisfying episode. Usagi’s antics don’t bother me as much as it seems for some people. But then, the humour for me has so far been this seasons biggest strength.
    I’m actually not that interested in the plot, since I know it already. But keep the silly faces coming and I’ll stay on.

    As I suspected, the Witches Five didn’t really come across as Individuals here. I guess you can’t win ’em all, but I was hoping that they would draw some influence from the new musicals. Which so far have put this show to shame.

    Hotaru’s cute, but then she’s always cute. Providing the animation holds up.

    The main highlight for me was having all the Guardians fight together, as I like team efforts. The other four weren’t involved originally, so that change was a welcome one.
    Well done Crystal, you’ve actually improved something.

    If I have one slight criticism, there doesn’t seem much point in the doing the speeches to what is essentially a mindless monster. I doubt it really cares if you’re here to punish it. Felt like there was room for an interruption joke there.

    I’m going to be honest here, I’m not really that big on Haruka and Michiru.
    Whilst I appreciate their positive portrayal of a same sex relationship (not so much in the manga), their attitudes throughout S grated on me.
    I felt the feud between them and the Inners (who I prefer) was a bit forced, plus I disliked how they kept making them out to be super perfect and stronger at their expense.
    There were points where I really felt they needed putting in their place. I don’t hate them, but they’re not exactly in my top ten list.

    Naoko is indeed a fan, but what’s wrong with poking fun at Dragonball? Sailor Moon is spoofed constantly. Toriyama parodied weird poses and “In the name of the moon!” type monologues with the likes of the Ginyu Force/Saiyaman. So it’s all fair game.

    It’s tiring how personally fans take things sometimes…

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