Film Talk: Pretty Guardian Sailormoon, Act 38

Posted February 16, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Film & TV, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Pretty Guardian Sailormoon: Act 38 (PGSM 38)Plot Recap: Kunzite wants to destroy everything! Beryl just wants Endymion. Also she still hates Usagi/Serenity. Serenity is able to take over Usagi’s body and plays sad harp music. Metallia and siphon off Serenity’s powers, somehow, to create youma of her own.

Nephrite isn’t dead! He’s very pissed off, however. Makoto makes a terrible Usagi double, senshi!Luna still runs away in a fight, Minako has mentioned to Rei that she doesn’t actually know what destroyed the earth the first time around and/or whether the love between Serenity and Endymion was the cause of them to the point where she’s mentioned the cause was Metallia and Beryl.

Oh, and Serenity mentioned that she’d destroyed the planet and the episode ended on a note of What The Actual Fuck for everyone involved. (Except me. I remembered that and knew it was coming.)

This episode? Maybe more answers about the past life!

Instadeath from a sword cut to the back! Does that even happen if you cut someone like that? Also, he has a sword of his own, right? Endymion, why didn’t you draw your sword and face your opponent face-first? I know you’re trying to protect your helpless (*coughDestroyedThePlanetWithThePowerOfMagicalMcGuffincough*) lady love from death and all, but dying when you really do still have other options available to you probably isn’t the best way to do it.

Then again, for all that Mamoru is supposed to be studying medicine and be good at coming up with one-liners, he’s never really been the smartest of the bunch, I guess. I mean, he gets kidnapped and brainwashed at least once per new threat or something. PGSM’s just skipping the brainwashing thing.

Also, if the magical floaty sword was trying to kill Serenity, why isn’t it still trying to kill Serenity? Is that why Endymion sacrificed himself? Because it’s a magical floaty sword that can only be used once and guarantees a kill as long as the blade touches flesh? ’cause I’d like a little build-up to that idea if that’s the case.

See? See? See how helpless and defenceless Serenity is? She’s so helpless and defenceless that she eradicates all life on two planets. Possibly the entire solar system even if it doesn’t show us that, but if we’re going with the “There are people living on other planets” that the manga had (remember, all senshi were princesses of their respective planets) that would at least explain why all planets save Earth are uninhabited. Because Serenity’s magical McGuffin Restore Everything powers didn’t care about any planet other than Earth.

So Serenity’s powers and Metallia’s are the same? There’s a twist. Why can’t Beryl just take the ginzuishou if that’s the case? Why do we need a ginzuishou? Is it like a focus or something that purifies Metallia’s power and allows people to use it for good? What?

And a stand-off between Usagi and the Princess within her own mind. This Serenity is shaping up to be incredibly selfish, isn’t she? Also, the show missed a really nice opportunity where it could have toyed with our perceptions of good and evil and right and wrong. I mean it tries to do it with the whole “Metallia’s power and the Princess’ power is the same. The princess will destroy the world if you don’t do something” thing there and it’s kind of effectively, but it could’ve been a lot better if the show hadn’t conclusively cast the Dark Kingdom as the evilest of evil people from the beginning. From the senshi’s perspective, sure, but we’ve had so many examples from the Dark Kingdom and the way they all interact with one another that you can’t go “Oh, that’s just what the senshi see” because it’s not. It’s what the show consistently showed up.

And with the plot having gone in the direction it went, you could easily have cast Beryl as someone bound and determined to ‘save’ the Earth (and Endmyion) from the evil Moon Princess and doing whatever it takes to make it happen, up to and including using Metallia’s power and brainwashing and kidnapping the shitennou after learning they were not amenable to reason. Heck, she could’ve tried to reason with Mamoru/Endymion about this and only gone for the kidnapping as a last resort all mingled with her romantic interest in him. And that could’ve been completely amazing even if it means losing out on a bunch of what happened cliffhangers because you make up for it with scads of OMG WTF moments and a massive twist pay-off here when we learn that hey, this whole “The Moon Princess is evil” thing isn’t something Beryl made up, but something she genuinely has a good reason to be saying and trying to work against. Now the show just… kind of half-heartedly gives you that because the build-up to it isn’t all it could be.

ARGH! FLASHBACK TO MAMORU THE VERBALLY ABUSIVE JERK. SAVE ME.

MOTOKI! THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR COMING TO MY RESCUE FROM THE FLASHBACKS. I know they’re important to the episode and the show and everything and they’re a good reminder because it’s all about Usagi trying to teach Serenity some sense — Usagi, do remember your past life self watched her lover die in front of her eyes to protect her; that can mess people up — and I get all of those things, but THANK YOU MOTOKI I WILL EVEN FORGIVE YOU KAMEKICHI’S LIVING SPACE FOR THIS EPISODE.

Nephrite, don’t be a dick to Motoki. You walked into him on purpose. MOTOKI, I’M SO SORRY YOU’RE SAVING ME WITH BEING THE COMIC RELIEF. T_T Nephrite, you should do that because you were being an ass and it’s polite.

Motoki, the clutzy, naïve comic relief, having more sense than most everyone else in this show so far.

Also Nephrite has a little bit of trouble adjusting to the being-human thing. He seems to have forgotten he was always human, just one with special powers.

Oh, Beryl. Berylberylberyl. There is such an easy answer to all of your problems here. Just let your obsession with Endymion go. Let him be with the woman he loves and the woman he loves won’t be so unhappy her feelings are literally destroying the entire planet. AGAIN.

But that would mean applying common sense and ending up without a dramatic plot, wouldn’t it?

More flashbacks. T_T Oh, hey, speaking of those flashbacks. Notice how Usagi’s cover both Mamoru and his Tuxedo Kamen forms pretty extensively and his only cover her Sailormoon form until the very end? Because he doesn’t like Usagi all that much from what we’ve seen. He treats Usagi horribly half the time he’s on screen. So far the one time I’ve seen him do something I’d say shows that he actually cares for the whole of Usagi’s person was when she first became Princess Serenity and he specifically called out to Usagi.

And this whole “The Princess will destroy the planet (but Usagi won’t)” vibe that I get from this flashback sequence… doesn’t really do much to make me like Mamoru any more.

Jadeite not sure whom he should follow. Poor guy. Me, I’d go with the person who gave away his happiness and risked his life to save mine (even after I tried to murder him a few times) rather than the person who’s done nothing but treat me like garbage and/or a chew toy at best. I know (because I’ve seen the show once already) why Jadeite is struggling, but the show really hasn’t been setting it up all that well, so his struggle here just comes across like drama for the sake of drama rather than a true internal conflict he’s having.

Kunzite, if you’re going to help him make up his mind, I am going to be under this blanket, being very scared of what you’re planning to do. You wanted to destroy everything, remember? HE HEARD YOU SAY IT.

Serenity is a bit caught up on this whole “We died in the past” thing. Understandable, but I think Usagi kind of just wants to smack her up the head and tell her to snap out of it. Rei certainly would, except she’s get into fight with Venus over whether or not it is appropriate to use force against their ruler.

STOP WITH THE FLASHBACKS, SHOW. PLEASE. JUST STOP. Get to your point and move on. T_T I don’t like this relationship. Can we go back to whatever Motoki was doing with the food he’d bought? Please? Pretty please? I like Motoki.

Oh, hey, Mamoru and Usagi are sharing flashbacks now? We just went from her flashback to him recalling stuff he said, after all.

Hello, Kunzite. Are you here to do something dangerous? Again? And Mamoru manages to turn it to his advantage? (Yeah, we’re going to go with that. We all know that there’s no way the show is killing him off.)

Mamoru-Endymion doesn’t get a transformation sequence. I feel cheated. Also I don’t know how he thinks they’re evenly matched now. We haven’t actually seen him practice outside of the lessons Kunzite gave him.

Serenity, how about you learn to control your emotions in that case? I know you’re aware that you’re the one doing this. And how did your discussion with Usagi solve anything? It’s just poof cut off mid-discussion, mid-sentence even. And why isn’t this Serenity suicidal the way manga Serenity was? That would also solve all her problems if she’s dead before Endymion, so she can’t destroy the planet again. I mean, not that I want her to die or think it’s a particularly good solution, but she seems in that frame of mind where that would be a serious consideration and it’s not. I would like clearer in-story signs of why not.

Are these scenes all symbol for the way that Usagi and Mamoru are fighting themselves now? ’cause Kunzite taught Mamoru/Endymion everything he knows about sword-fighting and we know Usagi/Serenity’s power is what’s kind-of-sort-of summoning the youma.

Usagi, how are you holding that watch when a) you made a point of putting it around your neck when you transformed, b) it disappeared along with all your other clothes?

OMG! Another clifhanger? Show you are EVIL. EVIL I SAY! Also, I told you Mamoru was going to win, didn’t I? Seems like he even managed to hurt Kunzite badly enough for the guy to show it. Mamoru could at least have waited for him to get that seen to before deciding he was going to wave a sword at Usagi. Show’s got guts, though. There’s nothing particularly new about Mamoru versus Usagi, of course. The Dark Kingdom and Black Moon arc both did it in the manga, Crystal and Classic and when he’s not busy getting brainwashed into killing his beloved, he’s busy getting stuck in bed or dead.

But PGSM chooses a slightly different route. Yes, we all know he’s never really going to kill Usagi because the power of love and all that, but this episode did just cast his opposition as a deliberate and conscious choice on his part. Even if it changes its mind about this plot development in first scene of the next episode, he still wasn’t brainwashed when he decided to pull a sword on Usagi and scare her like that. Just consider that for a moment.

See you next time!

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