Sailor Moon Crystal 25 – Showdown – Death Phantom
I move to nominate Takeuchi to win two awards, the first is for Most Inexact Titles and the second is for Best Use of Split Focus in a Webcast episode. Showdown – Death Phantom is the work I would submit as proof of her accomplishments in both categories. Even though I’m poking fun at those features of the episode, they aren’t actually issues. How much should the title matter anyway? I’m not sure, as long as it isn’t distracting it shouldn’t, I suppose. The inexactitude of the title didn’t stop this episode from being really enjoyable. The split focus I alluded to earlier was actually part of what made the episode so good. In the past few episodes, the action has been ramping up and the conflicts have become more defined until now where there is a fantastic amount of momentum established and there is nothing else to impede the final conflict. I feel like going into the finale is going to be so much more enjoyable because of where the episode left off: Usagi and friends are at the precipice of battle and the stakes have been raised for the Sailor Guardians VS. Wiseman round two. Death Phantom seems like he could be unstoppable, but Sailor Moon just seems to keep growing more powerful. Our heroines have risen from a pit, but now must take on a foe they thought they had defeated. Again: this set up is really exciting.
Going back to the split focus of the episode, Takeuchi has done this before in Act 13. Queen Metalia is finally defeated and the Guardians go back to their normal lives until Chibi-Usa drops from the sky and ruins Usagi and Mamoru’s tender moment. This technique reminds me of the caesura used in poetry, where there is a break in the middle of a line. I feel like Takeuchi uses it effectively in both instances. Originally she used to allow for an intensely dramatic finish to the fight with Metalia, it was almost as if her fight spilled into Act 13 which was meant to serve as denouement for the Dark Kingdom arc and set up what was to come. In Act 25 the caesura is used in a reversed order. There is a quiet and cool period for the first 12-13 minutes that pauses the action to help build up to a climactic confrontation. Pluto transgressing the third taboo allowed for the break which stopped the action and allowed for a resetting and restoration of elements to a condition where they are most effective for moving the story forward. The best thing about the resetting is that it took the form of heartbreak, internal struggle, bitter-sweet realizations and a dramatic assertion of resolve.
Sailor Moon Crystal Act 25 earns a 5 out of 5 for misting my eyes, while pumping me up for the grand finale.