Sailor Moon Crystal: Episodes 6-10 Review
Sailor Moon Crystal is a popular reboot of the 90's anime Sailor Moon. This is a very condensed re-adaptation of the manga. It takes out a lot of the comedy of the original show. This creates a mood that is more somber and dramatic, taking out some of the goofiness of the original anime. But, all the same beloved characters are there, and these episodes (6-10) deal with the following major plot points:
- Figuring out who Tuxedo Mask is, and if he can be trusted or not.
- Sailor Moon discovering she is the leader of the team of Sailor Scouts.
- The emergence of the fifth and final inner senshi, Sailor V/Venus.
- Princess Serenity is introduced, and Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask learn of their past lives together.
It ends by building up toward the dramatic final showdown between the Dark Kingdom and the Moon Kingdom.
Episode 6 - Act 6 - Tuxedo Mask
This episode deals with Luna, the talking kitty in charge, and all the Sailor Scouts, being unsure whether or not they can trust this "Tuxedo Mask" guy. He tends to show up at all the Sailor Scouts' fights, and sometimes saves the girls, particularly Usagi. But afterwards, he usually vanishes mysteriously, and doesn't even text the next day!
It turns out, Mamoru Chiba, the boy whose secret identity is Tuxedo Mask, is after the Legendary Silver Crystal that the enemies of the Sailor Scouts are also looking for. This may signal that he's not to be trusted, but Usagi feels like she can trust him and follows her heart, against the wishes of the others. It turns out, that was the right thing to do.
Episode 7 - Act 7 - Mamoru Chiba - Tuxedo Mask
Sailor Moon passed out at the end of the last episode from the energy it took to use her new attack, and Tuxedo Mask took her to his house. This is how she finds out that Tuxedo Mask is actually Mamoru. This episode explores their relationship starting to form, as they're both beginning to realize that they were together in another life.
This episode gives Mamoru's back story, explaining why he is after the Legendary Silver Crystal. When he was a boy, he was in a car accident and hit his head, forgetting who he was and losing his parents. Since then, he's wondered who he really was. His dreams, featuring the yet unrevealed Princess Serenity/Usagi, only taunted him, but they gave him the name, Legendary Silver Crystal. So he became Tuxedo Mask, wandering the streets at night in disguise to try to hunt down information about the Crystal.
Then, it's revealed that Luna is communicating with Sailor V through the computer-diddle she talks to. Meanwhile, Queen Beryl visits her superior, Queen Metalia, an amorphous flame-like being of evil energy. Their conversation clues the audience in on the fact that Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon, and the other Sailor Scouts are the heirs who are destined to re-awaken a one-defeated Moon Kingdom.
So Beryl tells Zoisite that Sailor Moon must be found because she might have the Legendary Silver Crystal, and he gets the whole town brainwashed into searching for her. (Because it worked so well in the last episode when he brainwashed everyone into searching for the crystal itself?) When the girls find the enemy's brainwashing DVD, it's Sailor V from the arcade game that warns them about how stupid it was to try playing it.
Sailor Moon is able to use her new attack, Moon Healing Escalation, to un-brainwash people. However, Zoisite is able to grab her, repel all the other Sailor Scouts' attacks, and threatens to strangle Usagi unless she tells him where the Legendary Silver Crystal is. Tuxedo Mask has to be the one to save her.
But he is also no match for Zoisite (well no duh, he doesn't actually have any powers). So who actually saves Sailor Moon? Sailor V/Venus. Bam!
I loved this episode. It's not formulaic like others (although the brainwashing thing is getting a bit old at this point), and it really takes its time in developing Mamoru's back story.
Episode 8 - Act 8 - Minako - Sailor V
Turns out, white, male talking kitty Artemis thinks that not only is Sailor V a Guardian, a Sailor Scout, but that she's also the princess of the Moon Kingdom, Princess Serenity. (Sailor Moon is, obviously, because moon... but they don't get to this for a while so it's a cringey thing Sailor Moon fans will just have to put up with for a while.)
Sailor V had become a Sailor Guardian before any other Scout, and she went around with Artemis as Sailor V solving mysteries. Eventually, she realized the Dark Kingdom, the enemies the Scouts have been fighting, were responsible for every mysterious crime she'd been tracking.
Kunzite, one of the bad guys, tells Sailor V she must come to Tokyo Tower alone with the Plot Crystal, or everyone in Tokyo will die. The main inner conflict here is that Sailor V wanted to fight the bad guy herself, but the others show up in time to beat him, reminding her that she no longer has to do everything alone.
It also deals with Mamoru and Usagi's relationship. They've been dreaming about each other, getting ever closer to remembering their past lives as Prince Endymion and Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom, before evil destroyed it. (They finally kiss in this episode! Fangirl squee!) But, the episode ends on a cliff hanger, when Mamoru leaps in front of an enemy's attack to protect Usagi.
Episode 9 - Act 9 - Serenity - Princess
So, in the last episode, Tuxedo Mask jumped in front of Zoisite's attack. He was knocked unconscious. Sailor Moon let's out a big "No!" and transforms into Princess Serenity, regaining her lost memories of her past, with Tuxedo Mask having been her lover, Endymion, who had been the Prince of Earth while she was the Princess of the Moon.
It was originally forbidden to her to see him, but just like with Romeo and Juliet, teenagers don't listen to their adults when it comes to such things. A war erupts when jealous Earth people want to rise up against the Moon Kingdom to take for themselves the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal, with the warring faction being led by Beryl. Endymion was killed defending Serenity at that time.
Remembering all this makes modern-day Usagi cry, and her tear becomes the Legendary Silver Crystal. But, what this does is attract Beryl and Metalia to the scene, who kidnap still-unconscious Tuxedo Mask. All the Sailor Scouts try to fight, but can't prevent this.
It's revealed that the true reason the Scouts were led to think Sailor V/Venus was the Princess and not Usagi was to protect Usagi, a lie thought up by Artemis.
Anyway, when the other girls find Usagi distressed and unsure what to do, Luna suggests that they all hop the next charter bus to the Moon to seek out answers about the Dark Kingdom, and how to save Tuxedo Mask and defeat the evil that once destroyed the Moon Kingdom and which currently threatens to subdue or destroy the Earth.
Episode 10 - Act 10 - Moon
So the girls hop a bullet train to the Moon (well, a magic green bubble), where a handy tour guide shows up in the form of the voice and a holographic image of Princess Serenity's mama, Queen Serenity. Mommy completes the story of Princess Serenity; after Prince Endymion was killed trying to protect her, just like in Romeo and Juliet, Princess Serenity killed herself.
Queen Serenity was able to seal away the power of the evil being that had overtaken Earth and brainwashed everyone into warring against the Moon Kingdom. But sadly, doing that turned the remains of the Silver Millenium Moon Kingdom to stone, while the Kingdom of Earth was also destroyed, causing the history of Earth to have to start all over again.
The latter half of the episode deals with the past lives of the Sailor Guardians, who had been Princess Serenity's body guards as well as her best friends, and their past romantic interaction with the Four. Zoisite, Kunzite, Nephrite, and Jadeite were all once knights in the service of Prince Endymion. The Sailor Scouts combine their powers into a Sailor Planet Attack, making the dudes remember their original love for them. It doesn't exactly work, but they go away.
Meanwhile, Queen Beryl is controlling Endymion/Mamoru. She has him in an underground chamber, but when he wakes up, she is controlling his mind and orders him to go kill Sailor Moon and take the Legendary Silver Crystal. The episode ends there.
One criticism I heard about this arc in Crystal compared to either the manga or the original 90's anime of Sailor Moon is the way the romances, especially that between the four bad dudes and the Sailor Scouts, feels a little too rushed. And I agree that there isn't enough time given to building up their relationships with more interactions the way there was with Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask.
But, the original anime didn't really do this that well either, it just included too many bland, formula-driven episodes with them to try to get this Sailor Scouts - Four Kings interaction time taking place. I'm kind of happier with this shorter version, even if it may have cut out some of the characterization of those guys, it still leaves in their most important aspects and scenes. Also, in this version, Queen Beryl doesn't kill any of them for failure. I kind of like this more because it gives each of the Four Kings a chance to rediscover their true self.
Anyway, there are a few minor flaws here but I overall really enjoy this story, in any form. Crystal is cutting unnecessary speed bumps that slowed down the plot development of the previous anime, and I think that's a good thing. However, there might be something to be said for taking things slower. But, this is an area where these episodes, 6-10, are better than the first five episodes. I think this series is emotionally gripping and has a likeable cast.