Jab’s Reviews: Sailor Moon (Episodes 30-36)
Sailor Venus- the fifth and final Sailor Guardian of the main cast.
And we’re back!! When last I left off with these Sailor Moon reviews, we’d finished 29 episodes. Nephrite died a hero’s death, rejecting a lifetime of villainy, and our new general is the effeminate, vain Zoisite, who is after the Seven Rainbow Crystals, which the writers have clumsily told us is the ACTUAL form the Legendary Silver Crystal that they’ve been searching for all this time! Our trio of Sailors have now added SAILOR JUPITER- a rough & tumble brawler- to the roster, and she’s got a bit more of Usagi in her. She’s a poor student and completely boy-crazy, making her a fun addition.
Three sides have formed: The Sailors, the Dark Kingdom, and the Sailors’ mysterious ally TUXEDO MASK forms the third, as he states that he’s now after the Silver Crystal for his own reasons (ie. his dreams are telling him that he must get it). Oh, also, he’s totally Mamoru but the cast doesn’t know it yet.
Zoisite, the effeminate new General, and his lover, the mature, caped Kunzite.
Lucky SON OF A BITCH.
Another big one for me as a young fan, because it’s a REI-centric episode (that really hasn’t happened since the first one), and it debuts the guy who was once named “Chad”- a hobo-looking kid named Yuuichiro who ends up working at the Hikawa Shrine. He spots Rei for the first time, and INSTANTLY falls in love (well, who wouldn’t, really? A grouchy, bossy brunette? Sign me the hell up), and asks to become Grandpa’s apprentice. However, Grandpa’s going through mood swings after he gets attacked by Zoisite- the old bastard uses strength of will and CHI to fight the villain off the first time, but in the second, he gets transformed into a bug-eyed Oni thing, then chases people around the shrine for a while.
Despite easily overpowering Rei & Yuuichiro, the monster doesn’t get up to much- all of these “Seven Deadly Warriors” have been no stronger than the REGULAR Monsters the Dark Kingdom uses! Rei kisses Yuuichiro without thinking at the episode’s end, gets made fun of for it, and Grandpa attacks Yuuichiro for the suggestion that he & Rei be married. Episodes that let Mars scream her head off at people are always fun. And peculiarly, despite this being her “Focus Episode” of the “Seven Crystals” arc, she doesn’t transform
(First Appearance: Yuuichiro)
A pretty comedy-centric episode, one I thought was hilarious back in the day. Luna is attacked by an army of alley cats, but a GIGANTICALLY-fat feline named “Rhett Butler” saves her (complete with “Tuxedo Mask” Music and throwing a fish-bone like a rose). The Sailors & Zoisite all think his owner (a little girl) is the final Crystal Carrier, but in a twist, it turns out to be THE CAT! Luna & Rhett run off, and it’s clear the fatso has a thing for her. The Sailors trying to fight Zoisite in a tiny alleyway is pretty funny (Mercury falls on her face and Jupiter stares pretty much RIGHT at her crotch/ass for half a minute, then Jupiter nearly tries Supreme Thunder with the others RIGHT BESIDE HER), as is Zoisite having a freak-out because he’s in a sewer and being chased by an army of rats (the scene where he leans against the wall, only to find the wall “warm… and MOVING” under his hand will freak the shit out of anyone who’s afraid of rodents.
The Cat turns into a HUGE Cat-Monster with a CRAZY-awesome design- He’s still in control of himself, however, rescuing a fallen Luna (this is odd, because Rei’s GRANDFATHER of all people couldn’t maintain control over his Monster Form, but Ryo and THE CAT can!). SAILOR MARS of all people being moved to tears by their “Kitty Love” is hilarious, especially because Luna keeps denying it and getting angrier with each moment Mars goes on about it.
With this one, all seven Rainbow Crystals have been gathered, though nobody has all of them just yet.
Another comedy episode centered around a Sentai-like hero getting zapped by Zoisite and turning into an algae-blasting monster, while Umino tries to impress Naru by becoming “Tuxedo Umino Mask” (I prefer the original ’90s dub’s “Tuxedo Melvin”- rolls off the tongue better)… except it’s actually really important to the overall plot! Luna discovers from the sentient computer she talks to that “soon the Five Guardians” will be united, and gets Luna to tell the girls MORE of the story. See, it turns out she’s FROM THE MOON, and the Princess they’ve been searching for is from the Moon KINGDOM! I didn’t actually realize they hadn’t dealt with this yet.
Zoisite gives the Dark Crystal the ability to turn regular humans into monsters, but is spooked from zapping Naru by Umino, mistaking him for Tuxedo Mask! Okay, that’s pretty funny. So this “Redman” theme park mascot gets zapped the NEXT time Zoisite tries to use the thing, and starts suffocating people in algae balls (which I guess are a popular treat in Japan). Umino saves the girls by drawing aggro and getting his ass kicked (impressing Naru), and Sailor Moon stuns the monster with her Tiara (which oddly isn’t energized- it simply turns into a normal tiara in mid-spin and knocks him over), then changes him back. Zoisite looks like a bit of a tool, but DOES manage to steal Sailor Moon’s Rainbow Crystal- now FIVE are in control of the Dark Kingdom! But at least Naru/Umino is totes a thing now.
(First Appearance: Humans-To-Monsters Attack of the Dark Crystal)
Finally, we have Sailor Venus!
And FINALLY, we come to the introduction of the last of the five Sailor Guardians! But first, Zoisite is planning to lure out Tuxedo Mask by pretending to be Sailor Moon (in a costume that really can’t fool anyone… could he just not FIND red boots & bows? What’s with the purple?). The imposter’s kidnapping is staged, and Kunzite introduces himself to the group, then immediately houses them by trapping them in a Giant Energy Dome (!!) and starts dropping exploding balls onto them. Meanwhile, Zoisite stabs Tuxedo Mask in the shoulder, and reveals himself as the imposter (that’s… obviously some kind of Magical Morph power, there), but he’s saved by the intervention of SAILOR VENUS, who then zaps KUNZITE as well, saving everyone.
In a move that the first dub skipped, the Sailors actually go “HEY WAIT A MINUTE- You’re SAILOR V!”. It bugged the hell out of me that this omnipresent background concept in the early part of the series (the Sailor V series of games, movies & cartoons) was basically completely glossed over when the REAL character actually showed up, complete with the mask. Here they at least acknowlege that “no, Sailor V is actually just an alternate identity of Sailor Venus”. She and her cat Artemis (who can talk, just like Luna) both arrive, but Queen Beryl intervenes before things go too much further- she recognizes the face of Tuxedo Mask from somewhere!
The episode is odd- it doesn’t follow the show’s Template, and Sailor Venus doesn’t even get any characterization at first- the previous introductions spent entire episodes on their characters before we saw them transform into Sailors! Here, we don’t even learn her name (or why there’s another cat there who Luna ALSO recognizes). The art in this one is pretty bad, with a lot of weird faces throughout.
(First Appearance: Sailor Venus, Crescent Beam attack, Artemis)
Another “non-Template” episode (it’s funny how the show actually shakes things up fairly often), as Sailor Venus joins up with the group properly, revealing her identity to them… mysteriously, they appear confused by the girl with long blonde hair and the TALKING WHITE CAT, despite having met Sailor Venus and her TALKING WHITE CAT literally the night before. The original dub actually forced in a mention that “we look different in real life!” to explain this away. But still- the CAT. In any case, her real name is Minako Aino.
In this episode, a still-injured Tuxedo Mask is made to fight Zoisite for the Rainbow Crystals in a duel (Queen Beryl has demanded he be caputured alive, by this point), but he stupidly puts the Crystals in the center, and they’re stolen away by Kunzite.
It’s here that, trapped in an elevator with no other way out, Sailor Moon & Tuxedo Mask FINALLY reveal their identities to each other by observing each other’s Transformation Sequences (yes, Tuxedo finally gets one)! But Zoisite challenges him AGAIN, and this time, Telekinetically creates a giant crystal shard, which IMPALES TUXEDO MASK FROM BEHIND. Dying, he tells Sailor Moon not to cry… except she totally does, and her tear crystalizes, going all Deus Ex Machina by forming the Seven Rainbow Crystals into the “Legendary Silver Crystal”, right in front of everybody! They finally make the big reveal: Usagi Tsukino is the Moon Princess they’ve been searching for this entire time!
(First Appearance: Minako Aino, Kunzite’s Darkness Power & Building-Altering Spell, The Legendary Silver Crystal)
In the second part, we get the full explanation. Though it’s funny- the whole “Usagi is the Moon Princess” thing takes an astonishing THIRTY-THREE EPISODES to be revealed, which always comes off as a huge waste of time. Even as a young fan, this bothered me, because I knew about it beforehand, yet it was all they talked about sometimes- it’s like you wait ALL THIS TIME, and then it’s “oh wait no- she was here the whole time”. Kind of anti-climactic, y’know? THIRTY-THREE EPISODES of this.
Usagi, in her powered-up form of “Princess Serenity”, one-shots Zoisite in hilariously-casual fashion, and now their memories come flooding back- Mamoru is “Prince Endymion” of the Earth, and the two were lovers centuries ago. THAT’s the source of the odd feelings they’ve had around each other, and why Mamoru was always trying to protect her. Kunzite manages to abduct Mamoru/Endymion anyways, but Beryl, furious with Zoisite’s attempts to murder Mamoru against orders, executes her subordinate, leading to a bit of “sympathy for the devil” from us, as Zoisite dies in his beloved Kunzite’s arms. A horrified Kunzite can only watch as Zoisite’s life ends.
There’s some great character bits in this one, too- the Sailors are all “YEAH, LET’S FIGHT!” when they find out that yes- they are ALL the reincarnated souls that died in the “Silver Millennium” (the name for the Moon Kingdom centuries ago)- the Sailors were Guardians of Princess Serenity. But Usagi… refuses to fight. She’s sick of all the violence, watching Mamoru get impaled, and more- rather than “Leap at the Call to Adventure”, she packs it in and wants to go home and be a normal person. She’s just DONE with this. The other girls appear sympathetic… and then Rei just walks up and SLAPS HER, calling her a coward, and chiding her for allowing Mamoru’s sacrifice to be in vain! It looks super-callous… but then you get a look and Rei is CRYING as she says it- she’s as stricken by the tragedy as any of them, but has to soldier on! And later she smiles at Usagi and tells her to embrace her destiny- little things like this let you know she’s not JUST the bitch of the team.
Eventually, Kunzite attacks again, easily defeating the Sailors. But Sailor Moon jumps up, uses the Crystal’s power, and makes him Teleport away. She declares her willingness to continue the fight… but now Endymion’s being healing up as the Dark Kingdom’s prisoner…
(First Appearance: Usagi as Princess Serenity, Prince Endymion)
I wanted an extra picture, so here’s one of the five assembled Sailors, all wearing some… pretty plain dresses, actually.
In a continuation of last episode, we see Usagi suffering from acute depression since Mamoru’s abduction. The Sailors meet to figure out what to do, and now it’s REI who is the most sympathetic! After all, she’s the one who was DATING the guy! But this turns more into the standard “Template Episode”, right down to the “new business opening up in town”, which is a hair salon intended to find which girl has hair that matches Sailor Moon’s, thus figuring out her secret identity. Sailor Venus/Minako ends up taking up the “most important secondary character” role, as she’s the newest Sailor- in previous episodes, she seemed all action and fairly serious, but here she’s a bit more normal. But in a funny bit, Minako got some of Usagi’s hair on her earlier in the day- the villains thus mark Minako as their target!
Naturally, an episode with the serious ramifications of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Usagi’s feelings of utter loss also features an enemy that uses Hair Salon supplies as weaponry. Sailor Moon’s about to transform the creature back to a person when a FREAKING ROSE knocks the Moon Rod out of her hands- in a sick reversal of fate, TUXEDO MASK has now been turned evil, and is saving the BAD GUYS at the last second instead! They manage to beat the bad guys… but this twist is BIG.
(First Appearance: Sailor Venus Transformation Sequence)
And that’s all for now! Next up, it’ll be Episodes 37-44, and then we hit the final two- the Season Finale! Stay Tuned!