Sailor Moon Crystal review: episode 15

Sailor Moon Crystal review: episode 15

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**SPOILERS**

Episode 15: Infiltration: Sailor Mars

Last time, the little girl with pink hair – who everyone will come to call Chibi-Usagi or Chibi-Usa – was pointing a gun at Usagi and demanding to know where the Legendary Silver Crystal is. Mamoru rushes at her just as she pulls the trigger – and flowers pop out! Haha. I don’t blame Usagi for fainting.

Chibi-Usa runs away (not for the last time) and the opening credits start. Just before it comes to the part with Queen Beryl and her Four Kings, the new villains appear! That was neat, but THEN there’s a shot of Sailor Pluto and I lost it! Looking at this image now, though, I notice that her upper torso is oddly shaped, and I’d say her skin is too light – Pluto has always had darker skin than the other scouts. Her ethnicity isn’t ever defined, so she could be a Japanese minority (Ainu, Okinawan, etc.) or not Japanese at all.

Image of Sailor Pluto: a slightly darker-skinned woman with green hair and red eyes, holding a staff with a heart-shaped top and large red stone.
Sailor Pluto Sailor Pluto!

After the credits, we meet the new villains – the Black Moon clan, who live on a fictional 10th planet in our solar system. They are named after minerals and precious stones: Prince Demand (I’m going to call him “Diamond”), Blue Saphir (sapphire), Green Esmeraude (emerald), and Crimson Rubeus (ruby); Wiseman is the only one with a non-stone name. I believe each has their own henchmen/women, but we only meet Rubeus’s hench-ladies today. They are the Ayakashi Sisters: Koan, Berthier, Calaveras, and Petz, and I have to say right now that they have ridiculous outfits.

Left to right: Rubeus, Diamond, Wiseman, Saphir, Esmeraude
Ayakashi Sisters, right to left: Berthier, Koan, Calaveras, and Petz (Petz says, “Hey, my eyes are up here”)

After some talk about how the Legendary Silver Crystal is “disturbing” them and should be destroyed, Koan volunteers to go to Earth and take on Sailor Mars because they both have fire powers. (Koan is probably pronounced “Koh-ahn”; she was named Katzi in the 1990s anime, and that actually suits her because her hair looks like cat ears.)

Back on Earth, Usagi wakes up from her faint and she and Mamoru find Chibi-Usa in the park. Chibi-Usa whispers to Mamoru “It’s my fault” – very foreshadowy. She has an air of sadness and anger that’s very striking in such a young character.

When they take Chibi-Usa to Usagi’s house, she uses Luna P – her ball that’s shaped like a cat head – to hypnotize Usagi’s family into thinking she’s part of the family. It was hilarious. Luna snaps Usagi and Mamoru out of the hypnosis, though.

Image of Usagi, her father, brother, mother, and Mamoru all have swirly eyes

Usagi confronts Chibi-Usa, but the little girl doesn’t give anything up. When she runs out of the room, Luna notices her necklace, which has a key and a crystal that looks just like the Legendary Silver Crystal – but that’s impossible, right? So she doesn’t say anything.

The next day, the Scouts hang out at a restaurant, eating dessert and talking about how nice it is not to have enemies to fight. Makoto introduces a younger boy she met at the restaurant before, who is a younger classmate of Mamoru. He says Mamoru is super cool, and Usagi feels nice that her boyfriend inspires younger students. I’m sure this kid comes up later, but for now we just have to wait to see what his significance is.

Luna gives them new transformation objects and new communication watches. I’ve always thought that the show is just a little bit too merchandise-able – like, maybe someone remarked to Naoko Takeuchi that she should give the Scouts lots of items that they could sell to fans? The items look like plastic children’s toys.

Haul from the Sailor Moon aisle at Toys R Us

Anyway, Rei’s school is having a school festival. (Longtime anime fans will know that you can’t swing a cat without hitting a school festival in Japan.) Rei agreed to be a fortune teller, and she meets the class president and other girls in the particular club she’s doing readings for. Some more foreshadowy discussion of UFOs and spontaneous human combustion ensues – there have been UFO sightings and someone was found to have been consumed by flames. That night, Rei has a nightmare about Koan killing a man with blue fire.

Over breakfast the next morning, Usagi and Chibi-Usa fight, and Chibi-Usa slips away from Luna (who was distracted by a saucer of milk, hee hee). She shows up later at Rei’s school, where the festival is in full swing. Rei is telling nice fortunes, but down the hall, another club is telling scary fortunes!

Guess who it is – oh yes, it’s Koan telling girls they’re going to die soon and they should join the Black Moon Clan. Rei and the class president decide to tell “the sisters” – I didn’t realize until that moment that Rei’s private school is Catholic. I think it’s interesting that Rei is a Shinto priestess with powers of premonition who also attends a Catholic institution.

On their way to tell someone about Koan, they find Chibi-Usa, who had been knocked over by a nun – who has a black moon on her forehead! Chibi-Usa runs away and Rei and her classmate find a dead nun enveloped in blue flames – Koan’s work.

Rei’s classmate conveniently faints so that Rei – and the other Scouts, who had just arrived to attend the festival – can confront the nuns. They’re Koan and her minions, who look like aliens. The girls transform one after the other – taking up roughly two minutes. I don’t mind telling you that I skipped over that part!

Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus immobilize the minions and remark that they feel more powerful – after the events of the previous story arc, they apparently have more Magical Girl Energy (TM) than before. Koan reveals she is looking for the Crystal, and an eavesdropping Chibi-Usa clutches her necklace, so you know that she has a Legendary Silver Crystal too.

Mars uses an AWESOME new attack, Burning Mandala, on Koan, but the villainess dodges it and shoots blue flames at Mars, trapping her.

Image of Sailor Mars against an intricate, symmetrical design and surrounded by eight balls of fire
Gonna burn some shit up

Sailor Moon throws her Moon Tiara Boomerang, which Koan deflects. Then, because we have to have some cheesiness, Tuxedo Kamen shows up to save Sailor Moon from her own weapon. Come on, Sailor Moon! Xena catches her chakram every time, and that thing is sharp! But I had to laugh when Sailor Moon said “Tuxedo Kamen!” breathlessly. It was just silly.

Image of Tuxedo Kamen holding Sailor Moon in his arms while she looks up at him admiringly
Oh Tuxedo Kamen!

Mercury tries to douse the blue flames, to no avail. Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen are inspired to join hands, and their “united energy” produces a Moon Rod (which also looks like a toy), and she uses a new attack: Moon Princess Halation. According to WikiMoon.org, “halation” is a halo around bright objects in photographs (or in my glasses when they are fogged up).

This attack outright kills Koan. I don’t remember this arc of the 1990s anime well, but I don’t think that Koan ever died, and actually had somewhat of a character; this reminds me of just how much Lust played a part in the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime and how angry I was when I saw her die in the closer-to-the-manga Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime. I was mad.

I didn’t expect this Crystal to extend the Ayakashi Sisters’ story lines like they did for the Four Kings, though – there are so many hench-people to get through, they don’t have the time.

At the end, Rubeus shows up in his combat boots to whisk Sailor Mars away in a UFO-shaped disk of light. Diamond seems to think he will interrogate her about where the Crystal is – sounds like bad news.

I’m looking forward to

  • Sailor Pluto showing up! I know it won’t be soon, though
  • New attacks for the rest of the Scouts
  • New characters! Especially one bad character who is sooooo bad (haha)
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