Episode 13: Final Battle – Reincarnation
This is not the last episode of this story arc, despite the title.
It starts with the aftermath of Sailor Moon attacking Evil Tuxedo Kamen with the Moon Sword and then stabbing herself. As they drift past each other, Sailor Moon knows that they will be reincarnated and fall in love again.
The other Senshi had witnessed these dramatic events, and Venus is particularly upset; she says “We were not reincarnated to repeat the tragedy” of Prince Endymion and Princess Serenity dying violently. This touches on a sub-theme of the series, which is one’s purpose in life/destiny – the Four Kings and the four Scouts mention several times of being reincarnated to serve their prince and princess, and continually draw strength from that knowledge.
As the Scouts watch, the Legendary Silver Crystal becomes whole again (you’ll remember Tuxedo Kamen had a sliver inside him) and grows so large it envelops the couple. Its power attracts Queen Metalia, who heads straight for it and takes the Crystal and both people inside her.
Luna and Artemis appear through a portal and Luna attempts to attack Queen Metalia. This poor kitty is always attacking beings much stronger than she, and then feels guilty she can’t protect Sailor Moon! She remembers sitting on Queen Serenity’s lap on the Moon as the Queen pet her and told her to always protect the princess.
As Queen Metalia retreats, Artemis assures the Scouts that the Crystal will protect Tuxedo and Sailor Moon. Then the cats go to the Moon and the Senshi go ‘above ground’ (I wasn’t aware they were underground, actually), where Metalia awaits them. They attempt a Planetary Attack, but Metalia absorbs their power. She spreads over the Arctic Circle and the whole world.
As she covers the globe, the sky turns dark purple and bits of debris fill the air, resembling a nuclear winter; people turn into monsters and attack each other. It’s pretty awful.
On the Moon, in the Chamber of Prayer, Luna goes to three large crystals and begs for Queen Serenity to appear and help Sailor Moon. This was the most heartbreaking part of the whole episode for me – this poor, beat-up cat crying and begging for her princess to be saved. Her little paws on the crystal got me right in the feels.
Understandably, the Senshi have lost hope. They lay beaten on the ground, the whole world covered in Queen Metalia’s evil aura. But then four little glowing spheres descend from the sky – each is a memory of when Usagi had first sparked a sense of friendship in the girls.
As we’ve seen, remembering Usagi’s gift of friendship and love is what gets these Scouts on their feet. But it’s way more serious this time – they really have run out of options. Venus sees a huge Sailor Moon reaching down from the sky – perhaps she really sees her, or maybe it represents her certainty that Sailor Moon is still alive. (I’m okay with that kind of symbolic imagery in anime, but it’s not everyone’s bag.) Regardless, when Venus grasps her arm, it turns into the Moon sword! Once again, Sailor Venus is so badass she makes stuff appear out of thin air.
The Scouts decide to send up all their energy – their life energy – up to Sailor Moon in hopes she will wake up. With Venus holding the sword, they take their transformation pens and yell out their “[planet] Power, Make Up!” Their energy rises up as a giant glowing sword. Metalia cuts them down, but little bubbles of their light drift upward.
Sailor Moon indeed wakes up inside Metalia’s body, seeing the Crystal (now normal size) and an unconscious Tuxedo Kamen. Now here’s something weird – she discovers that, when she stabbed herself, Tuxedo’s pocket watch actually received the stab. So… my question is – wouldn’t you immediately realize that you hadn’t stabbed yourself? I would imagine during all the slow-motion falling, she would have thought, “Gee, my stomach feels strangely un-stabbed.”
Metalia tries to absorb Sailor Moon, but she resists and reaches for the Crystal. I love how they did this scene, because we the viewers are suddenly in first-person perspective, and the second her fingers close around the Crystal, the screen goes black. Then we are taken out to a global view, and a massive ray of light breaks through Metalia’s darkness into space.
Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen are now on the ground, outside Metalia, and he wakes up. He says her nickname, “Usa-ko”, and they’re super happy to both be alive; as they hug, they both think “You made this miracle happen.”
Their happy moment is cut short when Metalia rushes at them. Sailor Moon holds her off with the Legendary Silver Crystal, but the energy isn’t enough. Kunzite’s spirit appears to Tuxedo Kamen and tells him that Metalia’s weakness is the cross-shaped mark on her forehead. (I am told this is exactly like the manga.) Jadeite, Nephrite, and Zoisite appear also and tell him that “Finally, you two will live happily ever after.” (That’s nice of them to say, but they obviously don’t know about the other Sailor Moon series!)
And then here’s the other weird not-actually-getting-stabbed thing. Remember how the Four Kings had crystals on their foreheads? Tuxedo Kamen discovers that, when Sailor Moon had sliced him with the sword, these crystals had appeared and kept him alive… somehow. However, I’m inclined to believe she actually cut him, otherwise the sliver of the Legendary Silver Crystal wouldn’t have been able to re-unite with the other part and form a whole; so I guess the spirits of the Four Kings kept him alive with their energy? It was a bit confusing.
Sailor Moon is overcome by exhaustion and she falls into Tuxedo’s arms; he kisses her and stands her back up, supporting her. I thought this was really nice and obviously Sailor Moon did too, as the Crystal blooms into a lotus and she (rather cheesily) turns her baton into a staff, declaring that, as Sailor Moon and Princess Serenity, she will seal Queen Metalia for good.
So, I have some thoughts. I checked the comments on Hulu, and I was surprised to see how many people didn’t like this episode. They complained about three main things:
- the non-Moon Scouts have had no character development
- they have no reason to feel loyal to Sailor Moon
- Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon have no real relationship and this whole “their love will save the world” thing isn’t believable
I heartily agree with the first complaint: I think the series would have benefited from giving Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus each an additional episode (or more) for further character development. Even without more episodes, I think the writers could easily have characterized them by giving them more distinct dialogue, instead of giving them basically the same voice in every scene. I can only hope they get more episodes focused on each of them in the upcoming story arc. Of the four, Venus had gotten more attention than the others, since she was a crime-fighter before the series started.
The second complaint I absolutely do not agree with. In my reviews, I’ve commented on the ways Usagi treats the girls – making them feel valued when others have always made them feel like outcasts. Jupiter’s episode, #5, demonstrates this the best. And those memories that floated down from the sky weren’t the only nice moments between Usagi and the girls – they were symbolic of all the moments of their friendships.
Besides Usagi’s individual interactions with Ami, Rei, Makoto, and Minako, there are also all the experiences they’ve been through as a group that have bonded all of them together; and memories of their past lives certainly count as well. So I think there are lots of good reasons that Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus feel love and loyalty towards Sailor Moon. I also want to point out that they don’t sacrifice their lives just for her, but believing that she will take their energy to defeat Queen Metalia and save the whole world.
The last complaint, too, is one I don’t understand. I noted in my reviews that I enjoyed how the relationship between Usagi and Mamoru had started as a crush and gradually turned into something deeper as they got to know each other. From Usagi’s perspective, Mamoru always supports her and believes in her, and from Mamoru’s perspective, Usagi has “a special power to make everyone smile” and is pretty damn brave.
Also, for anyone complaining that Usagi is a crybaby… that’s part of her character! Besides that, the definition of bravery is being scared and then doing what’s right anyway, which Usagi certainly does.
Lastly, a minor note about sexual dimorphism. Just before Sailor Moon discovers that Tuxedo Mask is alive, there is this shot of their hands.
See how close in size they are? No Disney-esque messed-up proportions here. Compare with the ridiculous size differences between Merida’s parents from Brave. (Pretty much my only complaint with that movie, by the way.)
So! Acknowledging some issues, I am still loving this series and looking forward to
- kicking some Metalia ass
- reviving the Scouts
- the next story arc with Chibi-Usa!