Another Spectre Sister down, another Sailor Guardian captured, and another step closer to the truth about Chibi-Usa. Perhaps my favorite thing about Sailor Moon Crystal at this point is that I can never quite tell how things will turn at the end of a path. Thus far the Sailor Guardian’s encounters with Black Moon have been reminiscent of the escalating conflict with the Dark Kingdom, but on a larger scale. I saw that the formulaic structure if monster of the week in that initially and in some ways, it is even stronger here, but there’s a twist: the Sailor Guardians keep losing. I also didn’t foresee everyone dying at the end of Queen Metalia’s role in the show, or that the world would be directly threatened by her, but it was interesting. If I apply the same idea to the conclusion of the Black Moon arc, I can assume that the world will be at stake again, but we’re only 4 episodes in and 3 of 5 sailor Guardians have been swept of the board already, Metalia didn’t do that until she made her move all in one big push at the end.
Besides the opaque progress stated in the very first sentence, this episode gave us more time with the characters who are left. Makoto and Asanamu have some adorable interactions. Asanamu’s love for his sempai and desire to be like Mamoru makes his relationship with Makoto feel a little repetitious of the Mamoru-Usagi love that will never die, but it’s handled with a different touch that feels better to me. Perhaps the fact that Makoto feels older and more sure of herself than Asanamu, is what makes me enjoy their interactions a little more. There is no feeling of discomfort to get over between them, as an outsider, or from within the show. They’ve known each other for some time but the sad memory of her parents’ deaths Makoto shares seems to make him realize there is so much more of her he can know. The blossoming feelings between Makoto and Asanamu are exciting to see, even as the old couple are getting into a different space in their relationship.
The way Mamoru is balancing himself to support: Sailor Moon in fighting the Black Moon; Usagi in the loss of her friends and dealing with this child who won’t let up, and Chibi-Usa who misses her mom and is afraid of something she can’t yet explain, is quite novel. The separations between each role are narrow, but each requires a nuanced shift in approach. One of the most compelling things to see play out may be that Usagi is powerful enough to destroy her enemies, but no quite strong enough to break their hold on her friends. How will she deal with that reality when she is alone among the Sailor Guardians? I can’t wait to find out.
I give this episode a 4 out of 5.