Film Talk: Pretty Guardian Sailormoon, Act 49 Final Act

Posted May 3, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Film & TV, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Pretty Guardian Sailormoon: Final Act (PGSM 49)Plot Recap: Usagi had to kill Endymion/Mamoru! :O No, backtrack. Mamoru faced off against Metallia and sealed her in his own body. Then he lost control and become Endymion Metallia or Metallia Endymion, I forget, and killed Mio and defeated all the senshi and he was about to kill them but then Usagi remembered what he’d told her and decided that she had to be strong enough to kill him to save her friends and the planet (but mostly her friends) and ran him through with a sword.

THE END.

No, not really. There’s one more act to come and one special to follow later. So for now the conclusion to Pretty Guardian Sailormoon! Brace yourself because from the preview last time it’s Inner Senshi versus Usagi.

Flashbacks and suddenly everyone is in a dark cave. Were they in the Dark Kingdom before and was it reality warping magic that Metallia was using to make it look like a wide-open field? I am confused otherwise because otherwise how did everyone end up in the Dark Kingdom again?

ENDYMION WAS NEVER YOURS, BERYL. He’s not a toy you can own. >> Also Usagi is completely wrecked as you might expect from someone who just killed the body of their beloved to save the world. (I know theytold her Mamoru was already gone, but she’s not exactly had the time to accept that or anything, so to her she’s just killed her beloved because she couldn’t save him.)

Oooooooor, Beryl, here’s a thought. You could have taken all that jealousy and resentment you feel towards Serenity and tried to do something constructive with it. If Queen Metallia is your source of power and/or it’s yours, you could have used that power to, I don’t know, heal the sick and become someone the people loved and adored and, sure, maybe you still wouldn’t have Endymion, but you’d have the wealth, power and adoration you say you also wanted, and three out of four isn’t bad, especially if we assume that three out of four might eventually have led to four out of four upon meeting someone new.

THERE ARE LOTS OF THINGS YOU COULD HAVE DONE TO NOT-BE MISERABLE, BERYL. But they all start with you admitting that, really, Serenity is not the cause of all your problems and/or misery.

Think back to all the times I’ve said this show would have been awesome if it hadn’t shown the Dark Kingdom to be evil from episode 1. Now look at Beryl accusing Usagi of being evil. Think of how much more impact this would have had if the show had gone for much stronger shades of grey and we could actually generally agree that Beryl has a point somewhere when she calls Usagi evil.

See, now? Now Serenity is going to destroy the planet on purpose because it’s failed her twice. This time it’s definitely going to be Serenity’s fault. (Whose idea was it to resurrect Beryl, anyway? None of this would have happened if no one had revived Beryl.)

The rocks are floating WHY ARE THE ROCKS FLOATING WHAT IS GOING ON?!

Beryl, I’m sure Usagi was a foolish little girl, but the princess? She was presumably raised to rule. Some of what they taught her probably stuck. Also, you cannot expect reason from someone whose emotions and mental reasoning are as fried as Usagi/Serenity’s are right now.

And so the senshi decide they must fight Usagi to honour her vow not to destroy the world. They all noticed the fact that she’s Princess Sailormoon aka Serenity with Sailor Moon powers right now, right? They all noticed that Usagi is kind of gone just as much as Endymion was? No? Well, I noticed, so I’m pointing it out just in case.

This is not how these shows are supposed to go, Pretty Guardian Sailormoon. WHERE IS MY HAPPY ENDING?!

Also, where is my title opening? We haven’t had one yet. Though, I have to say, I like that. It keeps up the pacing, much the way the previous episode’s “Let’s stuff episode content into the title song” did.

Princess youma! They are distinct from Metallia youma by virtue of being white. Maybe Metallia didn’t exist in the past life and she’s actually half of the ginzuishou, but the half that’s dark and angry rather than pure and what Serenity did then tore the ginzuishou in half? And now that Endymion is dead Serenity/the ginzuishou is treatening to become the new Metallia because it is consumed with grief and pain and anger?

Wow, those princess youma really don’t pull any punches, do they? They’re beating up Mercury without so much as touching her. SUDDENLY SWORD. Another one. No, I don’t know where the sudden magical sword comes from. Yes, I realise the show actually kind of explains it through implication, but it is still really really late to be introducing new weaponry.

Princess youma seem to think that they’re in a modern ballet mixed with martial arts? They are very, um, synchronised.

Rei has Minako’s tambourine McGuffin. I know it probably had to go to someone, but I just want to point out that that specific someone was Rei, who was most broken up about Venus’ death. Also it transforms into another short sword for her to use that’s identical to her own tambourine sword. I find that awfully convenient.

Hey, why does Makoto only get two princess youma to fight when Rei and Ami both got more? Makoto is one of the team’s heavy hitters whilst Ami is supposed to tackle support.

Usagi/Serenity has found herself a conveniently located window. Well, no. There’s no way up there, so it’s not conveniently located, but it’s a window all the same. Also we’ve seen Princess Sailormoon get onto some weird spots, so she’s probably got a way to get up there and be photogenic again.

The senshi caught up to her! :O

More princess youma. T_T And one last look at Beryl and Jadeite? Wherein Beryl lifts the spell on Jadeite and she learns it wasn’t even necessary to keep it on him in the first place. Oh, show, why couldn’t you let them hold hands? You had to drop rocks on them right before then, didn’t you? You’re such a mean show. T_T But it is a touching scene, seeing Jadeite decide that he’s staying with Beryl and the implications that he does so because he genuinely cares for her and likes her for who she is.

“We can’t give the girl about to destroy the world white wings, so we’ll fake it” flying up to the window shot. Notice how Rei and Makoto focus on the fight and Ami on the fact that Usagi has friends and family who care for her and love her.

And the world got destroyed. THIS IS NOT HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO GO SHOW. FIX THIS RIGHT NOW. Please?

Suddenly a desert. I suppose that’s what the destroyed world might look like. I was expecting something more along the lines of “BOOM”, I admit. This upcoming scene, by the by, is one of the two that made me scream argh and have vague plans to write a magical girl story of my own. So far it hasn’t happened yet.

Joy. Mamoru is back. Of all the people who died to not-stay-dead he’s probably the one lowest on my list. No, okay, Mio is somewhere below him. And Usagi is apologising for destroying the world and failing in not destroying it and… Yes, okay, she did deliberately destroy it this time. But it wouldn’t have been necessary and might’ve been entirely averted if Mamoru hadn’t come up with a ridiculously bad scheme to save the world and just let Usagi and the senshi do their thing.

He’s never going to acknowledge that, is he?

What do you mean, it’s not over yet? THE WORLD GOT DESTROYED, YOU DIED, IF YOU’RE TALKING TO USAGI THEN SHE’S DEAD TOO. EVERYONE IS DEAD. HOW IS IT NOT OVER? Oh, right. Magical girl show. We’re getting to the “We need a happy ending” hand-wavium.

If it’s going to drain her life to use the ginzuishou to save the planet she can’t be dead. Does that mean she’s just hallucination Mamoru or did she destroy the planet and revive him, just him?

HOW CAN YOU DO IT TOGETHER, MAMORU, YOU’RE DEAD SHE KILLED YOU AND SHE’S ALIVE.

HOW CAN YOU SAVE HER, SEE THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME WHY CAN’T I JUST GO WITH THE FLOW?!

Also, did he just apologise and did I get distracted because I was busy doing ranty snarls?

And then she was wearing her Serenity Princess dress. I kind of think that her Princess Sailormoon outfit would be a better fit for that sand, but hey.

Suddenly, the kiss of death/life, depending on how you look at it. Endymion/Mamoru seemingly proposed or at least made a promise to marry Usagi not that they’re alive at the moment.

Ami is alive! But no Usagi. Naru is also alive, though, and seems to have taken Usagi’s place as the person who is always late. Rei is also alive and playing games with children! Makoto is alive. And I notice that Usagi’s made some small changes to their lives. It’s not so visible with Rei there, but it’s really visible with Ami and Makoto since they both wanted friends and didn’t have any, but there’s a suggestion there that Ami and Naru are friends and that Makoto has found a bunch of guys who accept her tomboyishness and don’t try to bully her for who she is. That’s a stark difference from their first introductions.

MINAKO IS BACK. DID THE GINZUISHOU ALSO CURE WHAT SHE NEEDED SURGERY FOR TIME WILL TELL! O_O There are no Artemis or Luna in sight either. Where are they? T_T

And of course Ami is the first to remember Usagi. Well, I supposed technically they all remember at the same time, but the show made a choice to have Ami be the first one in the sequence of four.

We are now in Nowhereland. Population: Usagi and Mamoru’s souls. Also apparently Princess Sailormoon. Okay then. Going with the flow, but this. This is the bit that made me go ARGH. Be prepared.

NO! WHY WEREN’T THEY RESURRECTED TOO?! T_T That’s so unfair. I can see why Classic and manga Usagi wouldn’t want to revive them along with everyone else, but here she got to know them and knew — and we knew — that they were Endymion’s friends and guardians. Why wouldn’t she resurrect them along with Mamoru too? Don’t they deserve happy, peaceful lives? Although maybe they don’t want any. And what happened to Jadeite’s “Beryl is my true master. I heart Beryl. TEAM BERYL FOR THE WIN” that was his last appearance prior to this?

Aaaand Usagi and Mamoru run towards the light or away from it happily and hand in hand and all the heartache and suffering and sacrifice that has been the majority of the past two episodes became MEANINGLESS because the show practically retconned it before it had a chance to settle in as a distinct possibility.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH

(I did warn you I was going to do this.)

*throws pillows at the walls* WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY. (Don’t answer that.) Why can’t a tragic ending stay tragic? This is one of the reasons I love the ending of Classic season 1 so much. It’s the same kind of “Usagi sacrifices herself, but uses the power of McGuffin to restore everyone back to life” scenario, but everyone is back to the point they were at the beginning of the show and has no memory of anything that happened. It was happy because yay everyone lived, but it was also heart-breaking because no one remembered anything. And that didn’t make everything they’d gone through entirely pointless and frustrating as a narrative because it’s just such a McGuffin way of fixing everything by erasing all the damage and leaving all the good. Because it didn’t leave all the good. It broke things that we’d just spent a season getting mended.

PGSM? Not so much. The most tragic is that the shitennou disappear (and somehow Jadeite magically stopped caring about Beryl).

Suddenly Luna and Artemis! With Mamoru. So were they dead and not-resurrected until this point? How does that work?

Also for all my griping about the ending just undoing much of what made it such an impactful ending, I do love that the show as a whole ends on all five senshi getting back together with Mamoru relegated to the background. PGSM really hasn’t been much of a romance to start with, and it’s nice to see that the ending is just as focused on the friendship between the senshi as it’s been throughout its run.

YAY THEY’RE HAVING A GROUP HUG AND BEING REUNITED AND I SHOULD MAYBE HAVE LET THE CREDITS ROLL BEFORE TALKING ABOUT HOW IT ENDS. It ends with the four of them walking towards the camera and into their future.

And that was it, everyone. That was Pretty Guardian Sailormoon and my rewatch of it. I’ve got the special to go, but I want to take a moment to reflect on the experience.

I went into this show expecting to poke a lot (a lot) of fun at things and to caps-lock at large parts of the plot and certain decisions the writers made (*coughLunacough*) and to some extent I did and kept on doing that throughout the show’s run. But I was very pleasantly surprised by what I got. I remembered the show as far sillier and much worse than I actually found it on a rewatch. I discovered that I actually didn’t outright hate human!Luna this time around (even if I still think the Sailor Luna thing was silly and unnecessary) and that I wasn’t as annoyed with Kuroki Mio’s character, but also that the romance between Usagi and Mamoru didn’t work for me at all this time around.

I loved the subplots with Motoki and the fact that Usagi’s family and Naru were recurring characters throughout the show. I loved that the show gave us more of a glimpse of the Dark Kingdom and the shitennou’s lives both in the past and now. They made a ton of changes to those characters to the point where they really aren’t the same characters at all, but what they did with them was incredibly interesting and I liked the show’s attempts to explore free will and the way past actions influence our presence. I also really liked the subplot with Minako’s character growth and I wish they’d done a little more with things like, say, Dark Mercury’s plot and Mio’s character as a whole.

And… I think that about covers it? I really enjoyed rewatching the show. I never expected to get as swept up in it as I did and I may actually have forgotten what I was doing the rewatch for partway through the rewatch. Um. Oops?

I’ll see you again for the special episode, which is chronologically set four years later, but after that we’ll be done. I’m out of Pretty Guardian Sailormoon episodes.

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