Jab’s Reviews: Sailor Moon R (Episodes #80-84)
See this guy? He’s the “Wise Vizier” character in this entire season, and spends all his time just giving advice. Except only the dumbest kids by this point didn’t realize that he’s our true Final Villain.
Time for more Sailor Moon R! Esmeraude has taken leadership of the Black Moon Clan’s war against Neo-Tokyo’s past, Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask are FINALLY back together again, and the bad guys have developed an evil counterpart to the Silver Crystal! Prince Dimande now expects RESULTS, but Esmeraude is blinded by her love for him, Saphir is only concerned for his brother Dimande, and Wiseman has schemes of his own!
This is the penultimate set of reviews for this season, as we approach the endgame.
Esmeraude now targets a cram school (a major “post-school study hall” thing that’s common in Japan), and its students now accuse Ami of cheating on her tests to get her high grades! Really good “Character Animation” in this one- Ami’s look of worry comes across really well, and her hair is actually shown as short-but-feminine, not the big block it’s often drawn as by weaker directors. The students get REALLY hostile to Ami (doing the “Shonen Manga” thing of referring to everyone by their last names in a nasty manner), one of them puts his hands on Makoto AAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDD he’s dead. Two more join the pile, but Ami’s now actually worried about what others think of her.
Ami soon discovers a Droid at the cram school, and its illusion power eventually causes Ami to think her friends are insulting her. This nearly breaks her spirit, but in a funny bit, the same trick doesn’t work on Sailor Moon, who’s USED to people insulting her! That is amazing- using her status as the Butt-Monkey to defeat the villain’s manipulations. This Droid is one of the few I’ve ever seen actually lay a beat-down on Tuxedo Mask, but of course Sailor Moon’s immunity saves the day.
Esmeraude gets right into it this time, as her pair of minions (who were apparently full-on Black Moon Clan characters in the original manga- not the forehead moons- but here are depicted as generic Droids- in both cases, they’re one-offs, however) infect Juban Elementary School, causing Chibi-Usa’s friends to get into a violent brawl with each other. The Sailors get involved quickly, nearly lose to the villains, but then Chibi-Usa’s dearest friend (who we met… five minutes earlier) takes a shot meant for the “Rabbit” and nearly dies, sending Chibi-Usa into a volcanic bout of rage that lights up the ENTIRE SCHOOL (a huge structure, actually) and blows the two baddies out of the way. She soon “powers down” and the villains are beaten (in a neat bit, they try to “phase” through the ground mid-attack, but Jupiter’s attack destroys their hiding place), but this causes Wiseman & Prince Demande to immediately alter their plans on killing her. Their new plan: to recruit her.
This episode initially kind of had me going “meh, whatever” about the school, but having seen many of the later episodes, I know realize that the “throwaway kids” with no personality are actually RECURRING CHARACTERS, as Momoko (her friend who dresses in Chinese get-ups and is friendly) and Kyusuke (taller boy; kind of a smart-ass) show up 2-3 times a season after this, usually as ways for Chibi-Usa to get more exposition.
I’d show a picture of the two of them, but they’re really hard to find online… and Momoko pictures make her look like a seven-year-old with GIANT BREASTS, so no. No way.
(First Appearance: Momoko Momohara, Kyuusuke Sarashina)
The Sailors make good on their plans from last episode: they jaunt directly into the “Time-Space Corridor” to Chibi-Usa’s time, finally meeting Sailor Pluto in person! Pluto sadly says that she cannot go with them, however, because her appearances are kind of a buzzkill that way. The Black Moon Family notes their presence, and Prince Dimande basically jizzes himself at the sight of Sailor Moon (Dude! She’s half your age! And Sailor Mars is RIGHT THERE! Have some decorum… and TASTE!). Esmeraude is sent to capture both Meatball-Headed Ladies while Sapphire curses Wiseman for turning the Prince into a weakling.
The animation takes a MAJOR upgrade here, by the by- I guess they gave the important jobs to the best studio.
Esmeraude, being a bitch, decides to “forget” to tell her Droid not to kill Sailor Moon. The girls are still able to win, defeating the Droid’s “Reversing Attacks” game by timing a Sailor Planet Attack (their team uber-blast) to the right moment, when her powers “re-set”. Next up: The Future.
It’s funny because it’s a cutesy picture of the time where the villain tries to rape a helpless teenage girl, LOL!
The Sailors finally arrive in a bleak and lifeless (though fancily-built) future, and meet up with King Endymion, the future self of Tuxedo Mask! And it turns out that HE was the voice in Mamoru’s dreams, convincing him to break up with Usagi! He finally (holy god, with like thirty episodes gone) gives us the Infodump we’ve been craving: Sometime in the future, the Earth will fall into a deep sleep/ice age, and it will be in that state for centuries, until Neo-Queen Serenity awakens and becomes the ruling monarch of the world, having woken up everybody else. However, some malcontents attempted a takeover, and when they were finally defeated, those who refused to be cleansed by the Silver Crystal (which, remember, can cleanse people of evil elements) flew off into space- these beings’ descendants, who settled on the planet Nemesis, make up the Black Moon Clan.
Nemesis attacked the Earth, injuring Endymion, putting Serenity into a deep sleep, and trapping the four Sailor Guardians into projecting their energy over the helpless city, which is once again frozen in time. Oh… and all of these good guys are the FUTURE SELVES of our heroes! Though of course only the dumbest kids hadn’t figured that out by this point.
Naturally, this means that Chibi-Usa is the DAUGHTER of Sailor Moon & Tuxedo Mask! Their embarrassment upon figuring this out (they’re basically like “we eventually have SEX?”) is pretty classic, considering how serious this episode is. Especially since Sailor Mars appears pissed off by it, too. Endymion now explains why the Black Moon Clan is all “let’s ruin the past, then!”- because the Sailors are now well-protected inside an impregnable fortress, so ruining the past is their only option to weaken the stronghold in the future. Oh, and the only reason Endymion was manipulating a break-up between Mamo & Usagi? “You can’t win without a strong bond of love, so I decided to test the foundation of your relationship?” … REALLY? THAT’s the best reasoning you could come up with?!? We spent 20+ episodes in non-stop sadness and angst… because you wanted to prove to yourself that you actually loved your wife in the past? What the balls kind of an explanation is THAT?
But then of course Prince Dimande attacks, easily capturing Sailor Moon, dressing her up like the Queen he loves so much… and tries to RAPE HER? Jesus! Seriously, he’s all “I will make you mine”, mind-controls her so she can’t resist him physically, and is about to kiss her while she softly cries. It’s absolutely horrifying, and treated as such. But then we get our Big Damn Hero moment with Tuxedo Mask, who’s all “how dare you force yourself on a woman!” HAAHAHHAAHA- the dub actually has Dimande respond with “Silence, you self-righteous prick!” Dimande attacks, but a mysterious gust of wind/energy distracts him, allowing the heroes to escape on Tuxedo’s Future Hang-Glider. At the very end, Saphir confronts Esmeraude for the “mystery power” wind-gust, suggesting it was her, and she blows him off in the kind of way that’s all “now why would *I* do a thing like THAT?” with a big smirk… so yeah, it’s her.
Fantastic episode, which really paints Dimande as a lunatic, and the Black Moon Clan as more or less bitter descendants of former stubborn rebels.
(First Appearance: King Endymion, Neo-Queen Serenity)
Esmeraude’s Dragon form.
With Sailor Moon returned, we find out what happened to the Silver Crystal in the future- it disappeared once Chibi-Usa touched it. Her guilt over this is used by the Wiseman to allow him to capture her (Tuxedo Mask the GIANT IDIOT prevents the girls from chasing after the girl when she runs away out of guilt- “as long as she stays in the palace, she will be safe!” Naturally, she leaves the palace and is immediately captured). Esmeraude, meanwhile, gets pissy over Dimande’s fawning over Sailor Moon, and so makes a deal with Wiseman for greater power. He lures her with promises of her becoming “Queen Esmeraude”, but the full power of the Malefic Black Crystal overwhelms her, transforming her into Wiseman’s puppet (she wisely doesn’t trust the old man, but STILL goes for this lure, such is her love for Dimande). This ends up with her transformed into a giant Dragon, which immediately attacks the barrier around the palace.
The Sailors are able to wear it down with their attacks (despite some regenerative powers), but using the King’s advice, they strike its Black Crystal crown (with Tuxedo Mask’s precise Rose attack), then Moon Princess Halation vaporizes the creature in that cool “glass crystals slowly sprinkling down” effect on a huge scale. And so Esmeraude dies, disappearing and ending up cast into “the black void”, never to be seen again. Too bad in a way- she was your typical “Fawning, Vain Female Henchwoman” seen so often this season, but her sheer arrogance was always a bit amusing.
With her demise, Wiseman coldly states that “No matter. My objective was never victory for the Black Moon Clan. Eventually, Saphir & Dimande will also give their lives for my cause” And a wicked woman’s cackling is heard as we end the episode…
That’s it for this set! Next up is the final five episodes of Sailor Moon R!