With Mamoru still gone, Usagi tries her best to be cheery while she buys snacks for sleepovers for the Sailor Scouts to try and figure out how they are going to win the war against Queen Beryl.
Oh, except Usagi falls asleep during the planning, and then sneaks out in the middle of it only to find a clearly possessed Mamoru hanging out at her favorite arcade posing as Motoki’s best friend, Endo. Endo. Get it? Like short for Endymion, his past self’s name. That, and changing his eye color, he’s doing a fantastic job of making everyone think he’s not Mamoru Chiba.
You can hardly recognize him.
In any case, Usagi returns to see him at the arcade over and over, hoping to feel closer to Mamoru, but she doesn’t let herself for his hypnosis. Makoto, who confronts Mamoru later after the scouts discover he’s an imposter of sorts, however, is not so lucky. Under his control, she calls the Sailor Scouts out to their secret headquarters, and Mamoru attacks and eventually gains control of the Silver Crystal despite Sailor Venus’ best efforts (she’s clearly the most battle-hardened of the scouts, as she is the only one to truly hold her ground in the battle, and I think it’s wonderful that the anime explores this), and Queen Beryl appears to finally put an end to the Sailor Scouts.
That’s it. That’s the story. This episode is either fast and furious, or has absolutely no plot. Owing to the five minute transformation sequence for all the Sailor Scouts in the middle of a battle (begging the ever-present question of why no one attacks during the transformations), it’s probably safe to say a lot happens, but not enough to fill twenty minutes.
So, things are coming to head, as they have done for the past few episodes. Unfortunately, stretching the manga into twenty minute episodes are taking a toll on the pacing for the show. In this chapter of the manga, for instance, nearly every scene in the anime is played out on one to two pages. Dialogue is hurried, and gone quickly, and the plot moves within the space of evening. It is, in the end, much quicker than this episode would have you believe.
In the past, I have felt that adapting the manga to this anime has actually fixed most of the pacing problems in the manga because it stretched scenes that may have only been one frame on the page to ten to fifteen seconds in order to give the scene a little bit more depth to the characters. However, in this case, this chapter was far too thin on plot, and there just wasn’t a way to do it without adding the transformation sequences, and the lengthening the battle scenes. As such, it was felt slow, and disjointed.
It’s not a strong episode in this arc coming to an end, but we know there is much more to come. I am still excited for the next few episodes, but this is not one I will relish re-watching in the future.