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Film Review: Sailor Moon R: The Movie: The Promise of the Rose
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. It grossed ¥1.3 billion at the box office.
When an old friend of Mamoru's named Fiore appears with flowers he promised Mamoru as a child, the Sailor Guardians discover he being manipulated by the evil Kisenian blossom. It's up to Sailor Moon and her friends to stop Kisenian before she kills Fiore and destroys the world.
A good film in its own right, Sailor Moon R: The Movie: The Promise of the Rose is a pretty decent entry 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 the two of them not only know each other, but had an incredibly strong friendship. When the latter returns, acting crazy and sort of jealous about him being around Usagi, it creates an bizarre atmosphere until it is revealed Fiore is under the control of a parasitic alien flower able to control those who feel alone and isolated. It's not shown why Fiore feels this way. However, he looks to be of the same race as Ali and En from the Doom Tree arc of the second season. Ali and En were said to be the last of their kind and without the Tree of Life, it would make sense why Fiore would feel the way he does and be susceptible to the Kisenian blossom.
The way Kisenian operates is also pretty interesting as it finds the host, drains the planet it’s on dry of energy, kills its host and finds a new one. It plays on the fears, loneliness and isolation of people and can do so by telling them it is the only thing aware of their troubles and what they’re going through. In essence, it’s a sociopathic and psychopathic flower. Knowing what it’s character is like further helps understand how it throws Fiore away during the climax while continuing to manipulate him into thinking he's still its loyal servant. This is seen when an asteroid heading towards Earth is the sight of the final battle. The Guardians are fighting Fiore and Kisenian says to him once it hits, everyone on the planet will be dead and she'll consume its energy in his memory. Yet, it's clear to the other characters and the audience it is ecstatic to have found an incredibly easy way to get rid of its host.
As a good foil to how Xenian treats Fiore, the film also demonstrates the bond close friends can have. After seeing Tuxedo Mask taken by Fiore, Sailor Moon comes to the conclusion she should go to the asteroid on her own to rescue him, believing she cannot and should not risk the lives of anyone else around her anymore. Her doing so is pretty realistic, considering she lost someone she genuinely cares for and does not want to lose anyone else she cares about. Nevertheless, Chibiusa snaps her out of it and the rest of the Guardians explain they are all in it together and are a team for better and for worse. Their declaration of unity and companionship is demonstrated in the climax. Sailor Moon is prepared to use the Silver Crystal to stop the asteroid from making impact and during her attempt, the Guardians remember how they met Usagi and how she managed to break them out of their respective shells and change them all for the better.
Additionally, the expression of said bond gives Fiore satisfying character development. Tuxedo Kamen's rose demonstrates to Fiore that Mamoru does remember him due to him giving Fiore a rose when he had to leave when they were children. Nonetheless, the Fiore he remembers is the child not corrupted by the Kisenian blossom. This causes Fiore to revert to the child he was upon defeat, telling the Guardians and Tuxedo Kamen to give Sailor Moon his life force when she sacrifices herself with the Crystal to stop the asteroid.
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