Queen Beryl unveils a new aspect to the hunt for the Silver Crystal: it was actually shattered into seven Rainbow Crystals (why this was never mentioned before now seems incredibly counterproductive, but whatever), inside was trapped one of the Dark Kingdom’s greatest youma. Both youma and crystals have been reincarnated into humans in Tokyo, so using the black crystal, Zoisite sets out to collect them. Meanwhile, a tough tomboy named Makoto Kino transfers to Juuban Middle School and turns out to be a girl after Usagi’s own heart, into food and boys. When Mako-chan’s latest crush turns out to be one of the crystal carriers, she ends up in harms way, but rather than require Sailor Moon’s protection, she awakens to her own powerful identity as the next guardian, Sailor Jupiter!
Finally. We’re finally here. We’ve come to the introduction of the one, the only… Sailor Jupter!
It really is amazing how this first season is clearly divided between everything before the death of Nephrite and everything after it, and in a way it becomes a very different show. The arrivals of Jupiter and Venus really shift the character dynamics, Zoisite and Kunzite working in tandem even makes the villain material different. We finally meet Metalia, the dark leader to whom Beryl has been referring, the reason they’ve been gathering all that energy, and we see Beryl answering to someone. The story is also moving forward at a noticeably increased pace. Much as I love me the Nephrite/Naru story, this, to me, is where the show really starts to get good.
It appears the Dark Kingdom reached their goal. They gathered enough energy to wake Metalia from her hibernation, and now they’re completely shifting their focus to obtaining the Silver Crystal. Now, this knowledge about the Rainbow Crystals and their connection to the Silver Crystal, which would have been very helpful to have, is understandably new. If this is info Metalia had and she’d been sleeping all this time, then fine. Only thing is, Beryl was around for all that shit. She was there, so how come she doesn’t remember? Whatever.
There’s a reason Zoisite is my favorite of the Shitennou, and it’s mainly because we see the most of him. He shows up at the very beginning of Nephrite’s stint and sticks around for 21 episodes. He gets a rival, a promotion, and a relationship over the course of his tenure and manages, despite being a selfish, arrogant, coldhearted bitch, to be charismatic and likable.
He also, by the very nature of his mission, has to interact directly with the senshi the most. He meets them right here in his first episode in the driver’s seat, establishing his relationship to them right off the bat. And he looks fabulous doing it. I am admittedly conflicted about Zoisite’s gender. The purist in me prefers the true Zoisite, male and super-gay and in love with Kunzite, but I did meet Zoisite as a woman in the dub, really loved Kirsten Bishop’s performance, and was pleased that a smart, powerful woman was counted among Queen Beryl’s four finest warriors. It’s something I wrestle with to this day… which Zoisite do I prefer?
I never really feel all that bad for Joe. He wear his pants like Urkel and he’s a total dick. Let him have his metaphysical heart attack. I really don’t give a shit how much it hurts. I actually must commend the writers for not making a saint out of every victim. Sometimes the people the hero saves are dickheads. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be saved. Even if their pants are way too tight. Even hipsters would be like, “Dude, for real, how’s your circulation?”
One complaint I have about all the Rainbow Crystal youma: they are incredibly anachronistic, and not just slightly like the whole sailor thing. Gesen is an arcade-themed youma with arcade-themed powers. In fact, “gesen” is the Japanese word for arcade, being a portmanteau of game center (geimu sentaa). So, are we led to believe that the youma were like this a thousand years ago, or are they merely taking forms that jive with their current incarnations’ personalities? Zoisite did call him Gesen, so it seems like the former, which…fuck that.
But all of this, all of it, is all just a prelude to discussing the girl of the hour. Sailor Jupiter…dear God, from the very beginning, I love you. Mako-chan, you are amazing. Even Usagi can see it right away, and not just because Mako-chan saved her ass. But, as Umino will note, Usagi is a genius at making friends. A throwaway line here, but it does become a defining aspect of her character, one which will be touched upon throughout the series.
Even in her civilian identity, Mako-chan brings something fresh and new to the ensemble, something we’ll see more of in the episodes to come. We start off with Usagi, the unlikely hero, with her plethora of flaws. Then comes Ami, who steadies Usagi a bit, reeling her in. Then Rei, who has a zero bullshit tolerance, the bad cop to Ami’s good cop.
Now, finally, we have a girl who simply gets Usagi. They’re both boy crazy. They both love food. They both dig video games.It’s great that a show like Sailor Moon shows girls not only that there are many different kinds of girls to be, but that they don’t have to restrict themselves to one type. Mako is a bruiser who kicks ass, but she’s also got a lot of domestic qualities and is a crush addict. She’s not just a cardboard cut-out, she’s a multidimensional person with varied, sometimes seemingly contradictory traits.
Mako also brings something new to the Sailor Senshi. Sailor Moon is obviously the heart of the team, with Mercury being the brains and Mars bringing her spiritual knowledge to the table. Sailor Jupiter comes right out swinging as the muscle, but she also serves another function. Mercury and Mars (and even Luna) are constantly critical of Usagi, always trying — through varying degrees of harshness — to whip her into shape. Jupiter is the first member of the team to more or less be on Usagi’s side, to tell the others to cut a bitch a break and try to see things from her side, something that at this point in the story was rather necessary.
To have added another character who criticized Usagi would have really started to tip the scales. Luna is a mentor, Ami is all about discipline, and Rei has a low bullshit threshold, but nothing in Mako’s personality necessitates her siding with them against Usagi. So, why not have her be the devil’s advocate?
I just love much of a go-getter Mako-chan is. She’s really just full of courage, and not just punchy/kicky courage, but emotional courage as well. She saw Joe, wanted him, and went after him. And even though she liked him, she wasn’t afraid to speak up when he ended up exhibiting some rather awful personality traits. And even then, she didn’t think twice about saving him from someone who had super powers when she (for all she knew at the time) didn’t. But then the sign of Jupiter flashes on her brow, and y’all know what that means.
Magic kitty turds! And Luna must have really pounded the Raisin Bran today, because she passed a transformation pen and the moon stick. Holy shit! I love how Mako-chan’s world get turned completely upside down, and she just inda rolls with it. Luna’s like, “Yo, Mako, you’re a superhero. Kick that guy’s ass,” and Mako’s like, “On it.” And oh… oh… Supreme Thunder. Yes. Just… yes.
In regards to the Moon Stick, it’s with the introduction of this little bit of merchandising that we start to add more layers to Sailor Moon’s messianic vibe. She is now becoming a healer, going from destroying evil to purging it from the good. We also see the intro of the villains’ death cry, which in this case is “refresh!” This has, for nigh twenty years, been a source of countless jokes for me. “Tell me, do you ever feel… less than refresh?”
All in all, nitpicks aside, this is pretty damn close to a perfect episode. It introduced an incredible new character, brought a minor character into the foreground, and it started up an interesting new storyline that yielded several plot and character developments. The only real flaw I can see is that it does absolutely nothing to address Naru or the loss of Nephrite, not even a passing mention. Granted, this is mostly due to the limits of being a half-hour series, and in all fairness, the next episode is all about Naru mourning the loss of Nephrite, so it’s not like we don’t get that story. It’s just odd to me that there wasn’t so much as some mention of Naru missing school or anything. But again, that’s a minor complaint. This episode was awesome, a classic, and one of my favorites. Here’s to Sailor Jupiter, the powerful girl in love!