This Sailor Moon Crystal review contains spoilers.
Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 Episode 12
The Mistress 9 Demon Lotus merges with Pharaoh 90, and together they shatter the Outers’ barrier. Demon sludge that reeks of death pours out, and Sailor Moon reckons that the only way to stop it is to swan dive into it and use the full force of her power on Pharaoh 90. While her plan isn’t terribly successful, the Outers’ talismans finally resonate in just the right way, summoning forth the Senshi of Silence, Sailor Saturn. This is, of course, a mixed blessing, because while Saturn very well may be able to eradicate Pharoah 90, her plan pretty much consists of doing so by magically nuking the planet.
As difficult as it was for me to recap the previous episode, this one is even harder, because I can only say, “Holy shit! That ruled!” in so many ways.
This episode’s momentum is exquisite. The build of action, layer by layer is damn near perfect. There was not a single scene, not even the pared down rehash of the previous episode’s ending, where I was left wondering why we were seeing this. It all fit together.
The first half focusing on Usagi and her realization that self-sacrifice might be the only option is… well, there are some flaws to her logic, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Emotionally, however, it’s freaking perfect. So much of this season was about Usagi’s insistence that no one should be sacrificed to save the world, and now here she is, accepting that sacrifice is necessary and yet sticking by her guns by being unwilling to sacrifice another. She’s offering herself.
Even when she was up against Metallia and Death Phantom, self-sacrifice was an accepted possible byproduct of her efforts. It wasn’t the plan. This time it is. The gesture and her face once she’s resigned herself to it are just heartbreaking and the perfect culmination of all her character development up to this point.
The only problem with it is… Chibi. How can Usagi willingly sacrifice herself, knowing that it means Chibi will never be born. It seems kind of a dick move and inconsistent with how fiercely protective of her future daughter she is. It would actually be an interesting development to explore how just knowing of Chibi’s existence has compromised Sailor Moon.
After all, her life isn’t entirely her own anymore. She’s surviving for two. She can’t take as many risks in battle. She can’t pull the big self-sacrificial Hail Mary. She has to be careful, because if she gets herself killed, she’s essentially killing her daughter. And yet… the world needs saving. It’s an incredibly delicate balance to strike, and I’m disappointed (though not surprised) that it was never properly addressed.
Of course, we have long-awaited arrival of the lady of the hour, Sailor Saturn. And damn, what an entrance she makes. From the second she shows up, it is clear that this chick is not fucking around. There is also that part of me that loves that she got like half a transformation sequence. It’s more than she’s ever gotten anywhere else.
Saturn is awesome in the archaic sense of the word. It is incredibly difficult not stare in silence at her, and she doesn’t even have to do anything. She just has to stand there and be a bad-ass. She walks this razor’s edge of being fascinating and unsettling, and the creepy ass organ music doesn’t hurt. Oh, everything about her was just fantastic.
Equally chilling was the way she ran down the sequence of coincidences that compounded to allow this very showdown to occur. Her calm and insight just add that extra oompf to her character and make it very clear that this is not Hotaru. This entity could have eventually merged with Hotaru and become part of her the way Serenity became part of Usagi and Endymion became part of Mamoru. However, that never happened, and this is not Hotaru, as evidenced by the fact that Saturn refers to Hotaru in the third person, as though she were a complete stranger, which in a lot of ways she is. I mean, from Saturn’s perspective, she was just snoozing in the same house Hotaru was walking around in. They never met. It’s amazing she’s aware of her at all.
This episode was really great at tying together the various threats spun earlier in the season. Props for the flashback to Ami’s spotlight ep with the mini-galaxy. So much came to a head here. Now that we really now these characters and their relationships to one another – See?! This is why character development is important! – everything that happens in this episode has so much gravitas, and next week’s finale looks like it’s going to be taking things up yet another notch.
And when the dust clears and we’re staring down one last disco-infused adieu from Tuxedo Mask, will we find ourselves presented with another “See you soon?” alluding to a Season 4? Dare we Dream?