Unfortunately, we have the benefit of over two decades of knowing the love story behind ‘Sailor Moon’. But, there was a time when no one could really be sure if Tuxedo Mask was a good guy or not. Well.. sort of. This chapter is within the first book of the collected manga, so it’s not like if you had doubts, they were going to last very long.
In any case, Tuxedo Mask/ Mamoru decides to announce that he’s looking for the Silver Crystal, and it makes the news. Or rather, Zoisite (who, in this incarnation and the manga, is a far more preferable villain in his cleverness, and interesting take on gender fluidity) tells everyone that Tuxedo Mask is a criminal looking for the Silver Crystal. He then uses the power of the radio waves to convince everyone to look for the crystal while simultaneously framing Tuxedo Mask. If only he had thought to do that to the Sailor Senshi… then he could have sent the whole world after them.
So, the Senshi have a long serious talk about whether or not Tuxedo Mask is the enemy, and Usagi leaves them because she can’t believe what they are saying. After all, Tuxedo Mask has always saved her! There can be no nefarious reason for him doing that! So, she basically leaves her team mates to fight Zoisite alone.
If you’ve always been the sort of person who got a little tired of seeing the same attacks over again, and worried about Sailor Mercury’s usefulness with her Bubble Spray attack, you’ll be glad to know that you actually get to see them in action, and its glorious. No more speed lines, and random jumping. The Sailor Senshi are genuinely attacking, and using strategy in doing so.
Too bad they can’t take on the power that is Zoisite, and then Queen Beryl. I would like mention, again, just how much I love Zoisite in this series. He’s no longer a crying, whiny whimp who comes off as a joke. No, he’s powerful, and he’s vindictive because he knows he’s the smart one, but yet he has loyalties. In the original series, it seems like he’s out only for himself as he constantly attacks Nephrite’s efforts, but here, he nearly sacrifices his life for that of Queen Beryl, which shows that his distaste for Nephrite is for the man’s failures, and not the fact that Zoisite wants his place.
Anyway, while Zoisite is taking down, Usagi runs into Tuxedo Mask, he seems to recognize her despite not being Sailor Moon. They talk about how not evil he is, and then she hesitates to go save her friends because she doesn’t want to transform in front of him… which is odd, because it’s very clear he already knows. What’s really touching about this scene, though, is how Usagi talks about how she feels powerless. She doesn’t have fire, water, or lighting like the other Senshi do. She has a tiara she throws, and the rest of the time she just cries as she runs away… and I really liked that. I had never really thought about how useless Sailor Moon’s powers really are in the grand scheme of things. We know the damage fire can do, but frisbees and pink heart attacks?
Maybe she’s right to be a little worried. Tuxedo Mask tells her her power lies in how she brings people together, and that’s when it comes together. That’s why someone like Usagi, who is clumsy but good-hearted becomes one of the most powerful people in the universe. It’s because she’s brave, and kind, and can bring the people with the truly fearsome powers together in the name of good.
And that’s how we got to see her new attack: Moon Healing Escalation.
Now, Moon Healing Escalation has always been one of my favorite attacks, but until now, I didn’t realize how gentle it was in the original series. This attack, with it’s violent twists, shoots out like a whip and it actually looks dangerous, where as in the original series she sort of draws a circle and stands there while the monster screams in pain. This new Moon Healing Escalation looks like it hurts, and it must have because it looks like Zoisite is out for the count.
I was initially very skeptical of ‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ when it came out. The animation style, and the 3D rendering of the transformations made me long for what I used to have. But I think harkening back to the manga has done the story some really positive things. The characters are stronger, the action a lot less repetitive, and the pacing works better. It’s still monster of the week, but you still can feel them moving towards a grander goal.
So I’ll give this episode a