Sailor Moon R: Episodes 69-74
I love how the show’s so goofy 50% of the time, and then just slaps you upside the face with THIS.
More Sailor Moon reviews! When last I left off, the final episodes aired in the initial run in North America were posted here. As of this point… we reach the episodes I CAN’T quote off the top of my head! Villains I barely remember, turns that I have to actually read to recall, and more. Exciting times!
So the Sailors all have their new attacks, the Four Spectre Sisters are established, and we’ve finally seen their boss, Crimson Rubeus, fighting!
Rubeus finally does stuff himself in this set.
Oh my God, it’s the debut of Motoki’s SISTER! The cute, blue-eyed red-headed girl would soon make seasonal appearances as Victim Of The Week, owing to each new season finding a new thing to use to target people (Dream Mirrors, Heart Crystals & stuff like that). And we FINALLY get the full truth of why Mamoru broke up with his “Usako”- he’s been visited with nightmares that promise their wedding will bring about the end of the world, and her death. This guy and his secretive nightmares & dreams… Mamo then goes for a jog in his atrocious Early ’90s Pastel Sweats. It’s like ten minutes of stuff (Usagi sees Mamoru with a girl that he deliberately plays off as his girlfriend, in order to drive her further away) before we even see the villains, which is pretty rare for this show.
The Sailors arrive to chase off Petz & Calaveras, but not before their Droid puts Sailor Moon to sleep and promises to drain her energy until she dies! Sailor Mars’s panicked slapping and “Wake up!” really show how their relationship has evolved- she’s essentially fallen apart, because GOD those two. Luna, recognizing the danger (and Usagi’s depression holding her back from waking up), rushes to Mamoru’s place to plead for assistance. She wakes him up by jumping on his dick (even SENTIENT cats find that to be a universal trick), but her pleas fall on deaf ears, until a “Sailor Moon is going to die!” snaps him back to reality, and suddenly he’s changing into Tuxedo Mask in MID-MOTORCYCLE JUMP, like a BOSS!
Then he arrives, wakes Sailor Moon up with True Love’s Kiss (dude, when lights start shining out of nowhere and the girl starts friggin’ FLOATING when you kiss her, you’re destined to be together- just give it up). The Droid is cast out of her nightmares, and she wipes it out after it yanks a sword out of her unicorn horn and misses a near-fatal swing.
BUT Tuxedo Mask just goes all “The red string of fate that has linked us together has been severed” and drives off to go cry on his motorcycle helmet, ruining that Sleeping Beauty vibe. However, Usagi’s unbreakable optimism eventually returns, especially once she finds out that Motoki’s sister Unazuki has a boyfriend- now she immediately assumes that she’s just gonna win Mamo back after all.
(First Appearance: Unazuki Furuhata)
Sailor Mars = Best Sailor.
The next arc begins its set-up, as Rubeus coldly throws Koan into near-certain death. And yayyyyyy- it’s another REI-focused one! We start off with poor Yuichiro carrying a comically-huge stack of boxes after Rei, begging her to slow down. Instead, she yells at his uselessness, then emasculates him (“you’re a man, aren’t you?”)… damn, this is where I get it from, isn’t it? Heh- there’s a fun bit with Artemis getting jabbed for making fun of dateless Mina & Mako, which I remember all the way back when I read a guy’s “What REALLY happened in the original Sailor Moon” website, because Mako flicking him on the nose was left out of the original dub.
In any case, Koan is sent to kill Chibi-Usa, and she hangs out at the Hikawa Shrine- Rubeus toys with her affections, destroys her gift to him maliciously, and she’s STILL all “he DOES love me!”, comparing the “love” between them favorably to Rei picking on Yuichiro. There’s a funny bit where Koan pretends to be a make-up saleswoman and gives this insane speech about how “faith in a man” is worthless and how only looks matter, and the girls just stare at her like she’s crazy. And also a cute bit where they call her “ma’am”, and it turns out that Japanese women have the same issue with “a term of respect that tends to be given to older women”, as it translates pretty much perfectly (“… ‘ma’am’?”). Also, apparently nobody recognizes her, despite having the EXACT SAME FACE AND HAIRCUT. REI YOU HAVE FOUGHT THIS WOMAN SEVERAL TIMES. YOU EVEN MET HER EARLIER THAT DAY.
In a bit I still remember, Koan attacks, and Yuichiro DIVES to save Rei (who’s untransformed), taking a “Dark Fire” blast meant for her. Koan is like “that’s stupid- she obviously doesn’t love you, and she treats you like garbage!” Yuichiro can only state “it doesn’t matter! I cannot stop the way I feel!”, because by God, even these motherf*cking side characters will give you the feelz, and Mars gives her the Japanese equivalent of the greatest insult in the world (“Unforgivable! I can’t forgive you!”), transforms, and they get into a brawl, showing one of the few times a Sailor uses her Special Attack without the animation (she uses it a couple of times in the fight). And Koan even gets a killer move- she Teleports, jumps behind Mars, and then elbows her in the face after springing off a tree! Mars takes a hellacious ass-kicking, and nearly dies saving Yuichiro. She also gives a “Ship Sinking” that explains that she DOESN’T love him, but wants to honor his kindness and sincerity by rescuing him at great cost to herself.
Not only are there great animation and character shots in this one (so much of Mars looking injured, but willful and defiant), but it’s actually a relatively Usagi-lite episode, which you don’t always see. And Koan just LOSES it when her plan not only fails, but Rubeus coldly declares that he never loved her, and her suicide attempt doesn’t work. She just lashes out, slashing with her nails at everything, and blaming everyone else for her problems. But rather than react with disgust, Sailor Mars feels PITY for her, and actually takes a Sailor Jupiter knee meant for the villain (a HUGE shot, too). She promises that Koan can still make things right, and soon enough, Sailor Moon uses the “Moon Crystal Power Refresh” to turn her into an ordinary woman.
Great episode. And MAN, that music when Koan is lashing out… just awesome.
OLY CRAPFARTS A NEW OPENING YOU GUYS!! Oh my god- the next villains! Wiseman! Chibi-Usa & Sailor Pluto! THEY’RE HERE IN THIS ONE!!
So Berthier gets her “moment”, as she invades a Giant Chess-Themed Building that has just opened (naturally). Hearing Ever After High‘s Madeline Hatter’s voice screaming “Go to Hell!” is a blast. It’s an Ami-centric one, but she plays a fairly minor role, as Berthier’s all “winning is all that matters in competition”, while Ami only plays chess for fun. Berthier’s chessboard dress = ohmygod. The Chess tournament goes down to the two of them, but once Ami starts winning, Berthier reveals her powers and traps the other Sailors in a bubble while Ami-as-Mercury is forced to become more frozen in ice with every piece she loses. Petz & Calaveras are hilariously cruel to their sister here, basically bailing on her the second she loses (only due to the intervention of Tuxedo Mask, who basically cheats like she did and blows up a piece), and suggest she die fighting the Sailors instead. Berthier’s about to, but a simple speech from Koan about how “Humans possess a deep and abiding love!” converts her, and she’s turned human as well.
Kind of a “bleh” story (no real focus on Ami at all), and the animation was that horrible “triangle eyes” style from that one director, but Berthier is always a bit fun.
With Koan & Berthier having betrayed the Black Moon Kingdom, Petz & Calaveras are both angry about their sisters, and nervous about Rubeus’s newfound distrust of the whole group. And so he gives Petz a super-powered-up Evil Stick of Whatever, and sends them to finish the Sailors once and for all (after a vision from Wiseman tells him that his life depends on the elimination of our heroes). The evil sisters kidnap their now-good sisters, and the Sailors run to the rescue (and in a big shocker, Chibi-Usa actually witnesses them transform, meaning the jig is up!). Petz unloads with huge “Dark Thunder!” attacks that destroy a chunk of bridge, in a scene that showcases the Sailors can essentially fall hundreds of meters without harm so long as they land on their feet.
Petz goes insane with power, nearly killing Calaveras alongside the others, but when the Sailors successfully disarm her by working together (again, the Bubble Spray is irreplaceable), she’s left powerless. The sisters still risk their lives to save hers (Calaveras switches sides after being shocked by Sailor Moon’s compassion towards her injuries), and Rubeus then plans to blow them all up using the stick to tear through dimensions. Only a Last-Minute Random Power (“Sailor Planet Power!”) from all the girls saves the day and blows up the device. The last two sisters sure are, uh… hella-naked when they’re “Refreshed” and turn human. The Four Spectre Sisters open up a make-up/salon store thing and engage in screaming rivalries to mimic Rei/Usagi, and the day is saved.
Esmeraude, our (SPOILER ALERT) new General.
Chibi-Usa deals with the revelation that the hated Usagi is actually Sailor Moon, while Rubeus is now badgered by his very own “Zoisite”! Yes, that familiar Sailor Moon charater- the “Taunting Up & Coming General”, as Esmeraude (pronounced like “Esmerald” in English) joins Rubeus (now without his henchwomen) on his spaceship thingie and begins taunting him for his failures. And mention of “Prince Dimande”, who is in charge, is made as well. The “1960s Spider-Man” theme music going on behind her is pretty groovy.
Chibi-Usa has a freak-out and decides to bail on the team (as she finds Usagi to be detestable), but her multiple attempts at fleeing (one time, Mamoru tries to cheer her up by bringing out a plush Tuxedo Mask and OH MY GOD IT’S SO ADORBZ I WANT) only lead Rubeus to her once she steals Usagi’s Silver Crystal. The remaining Sailors use a weakened Sailor Planet Power technique to resist the gravity beam of his FRIGGIN’ HUGE Spaceship, but they are ultimately drawn in, leading Usagi to curse out Chibi-Usa for being “Stupid!” and causing this whole thing, while Rubeus laughs. Usagi is so furious that she nearly unloads on a freaking CHILD with a slap to the face (Tuxedo Mask only holds her wrist and shakes his head, like “now’s not the time”). To Be Continued.
(First Appearance: Esmeraude/Esmerald)
You’ll never guess which part didn’t make the 1990s broadcast targeted towards children.
Rubeus’s final plan- lure Sailor Moon into rescuing her friends, then slowly kill her. Actual dialogue when Esmeraude leaves: “Esmerald, you bitch”, translated to “Watch me, woman”. Doing Dubs with Subtitles beneath them is the BEST! There’s a nice moment where Usagi comes to terms with her newfound maturity, as instead of crying and wailing about “I want to go home!” like her “old self” would have done, she’s now forced to suck up her tears and do things on her own- she sneaks out without her remaining allies knowing, so she can’t put them in danger. Then CHIBI-USA runs away on her own- for a guy with a Danger Sense about women being in trouble, Mamoru sure sucks at keeping an eye on them.
Sailor Moon & Chibi-Usa end up on the Nemesis Starship, where Rubeus slowly toys with Usagi and taunts her. However, she actually manages to force herself up from a gravity well (“this ship amplifies my powers” he says), and in a nice touch from the animations, her ponytails are clearly being pulled straight downwards all the while. Sailor Moon resisting the pull of the gravity well, while her friends sit crucified and helpless, is one of those bad-ass moments you only get from this show. And then CHIBI-USA pulls off the heroics, destroying Rubeus’s Power Amplifier, despite its electric charge!
All this fighting causes Rubeus to get blasted by Moon Princess Halation, and then his ship starts falling apart. He’s determined to go down fighting the lot of them, but he’s caught in fire, they “Sailor Teleport” away, and he’s taunted one last time by Esmerald, who gleefully leaves him to die on the exploding spaceship. Esmerald is thus the new “General”, with the ACTUAL leader, Prince Dimande, saying so in the finale.
(First Appearance: Prince Dimande)
That’s all for now! Next up- the first Esmerald/Esmeraude episodes!!