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Film Review: Sailor Moon R: The Movie
In 1993, Kunihiko Ikuhara released Sailor Moon R: The Movie: The Promise of the Rose, which starred Kotono Mitsuishi, Aya Hisakawa, Michie Tomizawa, Emi Shinohara, Rika Fukami, Toru Furuya and Hikaru Midorikawa with Terri Hawkes, Vincent Corazza, Julie Lemieux, Katie Griffin, Karen Bernstein, Susan Roman, Stephanie Morgenstern, Jill Frappier, Ron Rubin, Tracey Hoyt, Steven Berdnarski, and Susan Aceron providing English voices. It grossed ¥1.3 billion at the box office.
Taking place around the end of the Sailor Moon R season, a stranger appears from a fountain and vows to keep his promise to Mamoru, which makes Usagi uncomfortable. However, the stranger, named Fiore, disappears as quickly as he arrived. Meanwhile, an asteroid is approaching earth, leading Luna and Artemis to believe they may be connected.
A good film in its own right, Sailor Moon R: The Movie: The Promise of the Rose is a pretty decent addition to the Sailor Moon franchise.
Though it’s not established how Fiore originally came to earth when he and Mamoru were children, the film does establish that not only did they know each other, but they had a very strong friendship. This makes it so that the latter’s return, acting crazy and sort of jealous about him being around Usagi sort of bizarre. Then it’s revealed he’s under the control of this parasitic flower alien called the Xenian Flower, who controls those that feel alone and isolated. Though it's not really shown why he feels that way, Fiore actually seems to be of the same race Ali and En were in the first arc of the second season, where it is explained that they were the last of their kind. Without the Tree of Life, it makes sense why Fiore would feel the way he does and be susceptible to Xenian.
The way Xenian operates is also pretty interesting as it finds the host, sucks the planet it’s on dry of energy, kills it shost and finds a new one. It plays on the fears, loneliness and isolation of people and can do so by telling them that it is the only thing that knows their troubles and what they’re going through. In essence, it’s a sociopathic and psychopathic flower. Knowing what it’s character is like also helps understand how it throws Fiore away during the climax and makes him think he’s still its loyal servant. The asteroid is barreling towards earth with the Senshi on it fighting Fiore and Xenian says that once the asteroid hits, which will kill everyone but the flower, she’ll suck the earth dry in his memory. However, it's an incredibly clear realization that Xenian is ecstatic that it found an incredibly easy way to get rid of the host.
As a good foil to how Xenian treats Fiore, the film also demonstrates the bond that close friends can have. After seeing Tuxedo Mask taken by Fiore, Sailor Moon comes to the conclusion that she should go to the asteroid on her own to rescue him, with the mindset that she wouldn't risk the lives of anyone else anymore. This is actually pretty realistic in that she lost someone that she cares for greatly and doesn't want to lose anyone else she cares for. However, Chibiusa snaps her out of it and the rest of the Senshi explain they’re all in it together, that they're a team for better and for worse. This declaration of unity and companionship is demonstrated in the climax, when Sailor Moon is using the Silver Crystal to stop the asteroid from hitting and during an incredible song (Moon Revenge), they all remember how they met Usagi and how she managed to break them out of their respective shells and change them all for the better. Tuxedo Mask’s rose also shows Fiore that Mamoru does remember him because of how he gave Fiore a rose when he had to leave when they were children. What he remembers is the Fiore that wasn’t corrupted by Xenian. He also learns from everything that happens as he reverts back to the child he was when defeated and tells the Senshi and Tuxedo Mask to give Sailor Moon his life force when she sacrifices herself with the Crystal to stop the asteroid.
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