Missed the previous reaction post? You can find it here!
Aaaaand we’re back and slightly delayed again due to life being busy. Also because my first response to the episode was very incoherently going one of three reactions: “OMG!”, “OMG! NO!” and “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” and also tears. So very many tears. So instead of giving you very incoherent flailing (with no pictures attached so there wasn’t even context for it) I decided to hold off for a time when I could rewatch it quietly and capture screenshots for you then. Well, now. Or at least soon after I post this, which is not now and at least an hour into the future. Oh, you know what I mean. I hope you’ll enjoy the rambling! (And I also hope you’ll find that it actually helps tide you over until the next episode is released because OMG!)
Um. Pictures for Act 34 and 35 are still incoming. I only had time to do this one today.
Let’s get to the episode!
Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36: Infinity 10, Infinite – Upper Atmosphere
I’m actually liking these little repeats at the beginning of the episodes. They’re so much more effective than recaps in setting up the mood and the feel of the anime. They’re short and familiar notes that ease you back into the action. I remember being a little less than sure of their effectiveness the first time Crystal did it. I think it stood out because I didn’t find it very effective and I just wanted to watch on. But here? Here they are amazing. This one… I actually don’t think it’s a complete repeat? It’s a tiny bit and then it continues the build-up of the moment.
And can I just point out the wonky way in which Mistress 9’s mouth is drawn here? Because it’s very creepy and I really like it because it’s such a clear indication that whatever is going with Mistress 9 and Hotaru’s body, Mistress 9 is very definitely the one in charge of that body at the moment and Mistress 9? Means bad, bad news because creepy smiles like that always mean bad news.
Fish fountain has arrived! And with it the Inner Senshi! And oh look they’ve been captured. Again. Which.. honestly, makes me sad because I’m so used to the 90s anime versions where they get to do so much more. It’s a lot easier to accept scenes like this one and to find it balanced out with the concept that they are powerful and capable on their own. Crystal doesn’t have the time to show us that aspect of strength very well. (Although by now I have heard numerous times that the Dream arc will have a lot more character development for the Inners, so… Fingers crossed!)
Anyway that’s not actually what I wanted to talk about, though it’s a mild annoyance, this time they were caught unawares and I’m willing to go with it. No, what I wanted to talk about was the part where every time something happens, Usagi has to call out everyone’s name individually. Or near enough everytime. I think she skipped it last episode. It’s something that I’m quite torn on. On the one hand, I really like the sense it gives that Usagi thinks of everyone as individuals and friends rather than as simply part of a unit. It’s a good, if visually heavyhanded, way to drive home that individual people matter and that friendship with these individual matters. Because Usagi does this for every important moment whether it’s realising people are captured or dead or whether it’s drawing strength on her friends. But it’s also stretching out the scene longer than it could and those seconds could also be used on animating something else. It’s not a lot of time, true, but it’s still time. Would it have made a difference? I don’t know. I won’t know because it’s not the route the show took.
Also, Usagi, since when do you turn into a rainbow when you shoot through the sky? Is this just visualisation to make it easier to follow what’s happening since otherwise we’d end up with a tiny dot that represents Usagi? Or is there more to it? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW, CRYSTAL.
Usagi has got with the program, everyone! She has finally realised what the Outers were trying to get her to understand. Huzzah? I mean, it’s quite heartbreaking to watch Usagi realise that sometimes you may not be able to save everyone. And, sure, she realised that last episode with Professor Tomoe, but he creeped Usagi out when she met him in human form and he made it pretty clear that he was evil in the previous episode. That was Usagi realising that you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. This is Usagi realising that she may be too late to save Hotaru. Also she doesn’t think Hotaru is evil, not even if she’s Sailor Saturn, and, you know, no person left behind. To see her shock at realising that Hotaru is dead and that her body is completely taken over by Mistress 9 instead and she won’t be able to save Hotaru (also, I’ll remind you, Usagi’s dead daughter’s BFF who could maybe have resurrected said daughter if she’d been rescued by Usagi in time because magical McGuffin is magical.) But no. Hotaru is dead. An inncodent girl died. And took with that death Usagi’s best chance of saving her daughter’s life/soul.
(Or at least so Usagi thinks.)
And I’m not screencapping this, but I just want to note: they changed the opening sequence again! That’s all I’m saying because it’s potentially a major spoiler if you’re entirely new to the show/storyline.
I… think this might be in contention for Creepiest Smiley Ever. Brrrr.
Awww, poor Usagi being left alone by the Outers because they’re busy building up a shield to protect the Earth. Well, the rest of it. I have to admit, though, that I’m not sure what their plan is supposed to accomplish except to buy time for Sailor Moon to do something effective. It’s either a very bad idea because, Outers, Usagi could use your help fighting Mistress 9 there and you can all undo the damage wrecked by Pharaoh 90 afterwards or a very good example just how much faith they all have in Usagi to fix this.
But, you know, since none of them think to remember that Usagi is not as attuned to them and their methods as they are and she’s just discovered her besties are held captive by Mistress 9, none of them think to tell Usagi this and she’s just going “Why are you abandoning me too?! T_T” for a bit. Outers, would it have hurt that much if one of you had taken five seconds or so to go “Sailor Moon, we believe in you” and bolster her confidence? Would it?
Hey. Hey. Hey, Outers. Hey. Outers. Hi. Wasn’t your mission to keep Saturn from being reborn? I recall you saying your mission was something very different to this at one point. I like the change! And OMG the music. JULY IS TOO LONG TO WAIT FOR THE SOUNDTRACK. T_T
Whaaaaaaaaat is thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? *hides under the covers* (Yes, I know. I know what that is. IT IS STILL CREEPY AS AND WHY AM I REWATCHING THIS AGAIN. *hides deeper under the covers*) Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. T_T
Also, I missed the bit I wanted to screenie, so I HAVE TO WATCH THE CREEPY A THIRD TIME. I hope you appreciate the screenie.
YOU GO, HOTARU! *waves pompoms* Go go go!
This Mistress 9 is so creepy. SO CREEPY.
Yeeeeeeaaaah, I don’t think Moon Spiral Heart Atack is going to do anything, Usagi. I’m so bemused by the way everyone is shocked that it didn’t do anything. It’s not like the last few daimon took Rainbow Moon Heart Ache to defeat or anything.
AWAKEN, SAILOR SATURN! GO GO GO HOTARU! Awaken as Sailor Saturn and save Chibi-Usa! This fight between Mistress 9 and Hotaru about who controls Hotaru’s body and who gets to use/protect the ginzuishou and the senshi’s souls is SO INTENSE. OMG!
Hotaruuuuuuuu. *tears up* YOU HAVE WORTH AS YOU, HOTARU. PEOPLE LOVE YOU. Also you are Sailor Saturn. You have SO MUCH strength inside you. <3 T_T And if that isn’t enough to want to protect the senshi and Chibi-Usa then it’s because you love Chibi-Usa and the senshi are Chibi-Usa’s friends. And her reminder of Chibi-Usa is of Chibi-Usa running full-tilt towards someone (presumably her) for glomping. <3
Okay, that is not what I was expecting would happen. But YOU GO, HOTARU! Go save everyone and be awesome! <3<3 And then become Sailor Saturn?
And Mistress 9, I know you’re going ‘Yay, freedom!’ but that is going to bite you. *waves Hotaru fan-pompoms*
It is so cute the way the Inners keep finishing each other’s sentences.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOTARU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! T_T *sobs*
And, this is where the tears no longer stopped flowing for the rest of the episode. This time, I’m faring better because I knew it was coming. And I’d like to take a moment to note that what Hotaru says is, as I understood what I was taught, a little more layered than the translation we’re given. So. What I was taught (and for expediency I am not using kanji and hiragana) is that there are three different ways to say “I love you” in Japanese and all have a slightly different kind of use. It’s kind of like “love” having a comparative and a superlative form. Ish. So let me show you what I was taught.
Suki – like
Daisuki – really like
aishiteru – love (romantically)
If you look up Eternal Sailor Moon’s poem from the 90s anime, you can actually hear Usagi using all of them to talk about her feelings for Mamoru. Have a translation of the poem. It’s the bit that goes “I like you. I really like you. I love you”. So technically this is not actually Hotaru saying she loves Chibi-Usa, right?
Well, no. Not necessarily. It’s contextual. We’ve seen from the way the subtitles treat Uranus/Haruka that they’re paying attention to which pronouns to use, so the translator(s) of this episode picked “I really love you” deliberately. We’ve seen Hotaru go “It may be weird because we’re girls, but… destined to meet” just moments before and… Let me just take a moment to ask a question: do you know who else are frequently destined to meet (and be torn apart because Fate and Destiny) in stories? Lovers. In this specific narrative case, let’s take Usagi and Mamoru aka Serenity and Endymion who kind of sort of managed to rewrite destiny twice to be able to be together as our prime example of who else gets to be destined to meet. Well, I say they rewrote it twice, but technically it was Queen Serenity the first time if I recall, but the point stands. Their destiny in the Silver Millennium was to meet, fall in love and die. So Queen Serenity sent them all into the future with the power of McGuffin to meet again and actually have a life together. This kind of failed to the point where Serenity killed herself (again) and the power of McGuffin resurrected her and Endymion and they rewrote their fates into having happy, mundane lives on Earth because that is the power of McGuffin.
My point is that we’ve seen the “destined to be together” thing before in Crystal and it was very definitely part of a romance narrative. (A WHOLE SEASON’S WORTH OF IT.) Then we’ve got Uranus and Neptune who are also kind of sort of fated to be together and they’re pretty happy to be together. So. You know. There’s another destiny romance. Do you know what destiny we have not heard of in a while? How Usagi and the Inners were destined to meet. ’cause they sort of weren’t in the “destined to meet” kind of way. Also I would like to point out that in the opening credits, Hotaru and Chibi-Usa are holding hands. Surrounded by red rose petals. While naked.
It’s being coy — and the translations still sound a bit off to me in places; why translate “henshin yo” with “it’s time for transformation” when “let’s transform” which if I recall is the more common translation anyway is a lot more active and fits a lot better in the action-packed flow of what’s going on? — but everything about this scene is set up to be “Lovers reunited only to have one of them die within moments for dramatic effect”. (Given the fact that Hotaru is Sailor Saturn and given the abysmal record of queer characters surviving TV shows even today, can I point out that Hotaru… is going to survive? Without it counting as too much of a spoiler? No? Too bad, I just did.)
MAMORU. I like you in this version so much better than any other version, but maybe consider the part where your daughter a) just recovered from being dead, b) watched her BFF/crush die in front of her moments after they both confess their feelings for one another? I know she needs to be strong as a senshi and yes Usagi and everyone desperately need every bit of power they can to fight Mistress 9 and she has another ginzuishou to throw into the battle, but COME ON, MAMORU. Let her grieve for more than a handful of seconds. (Also if you feel like you’re giving her away in marriage, I am very inclined to take it as another example of “Hotaru/Chibi-Usa’s relationship is intended to be romantic”. Otherwise I have no idea why you’d say something like that when you’re daughter is going to vanish off into a battle that might kill her moments after she’s just miraculously been saved.)
Though, it has to be said (again), that I adore Crystal‘s Chibi-Usa. She’s such a beautiful character. I love the mixture of mature and childish that she has going for her and the way she tries so, so hard to be just like Usagi/her mother.
WHAT IS THAT IT IS THE CREEPY. OMG MISTRESS 9 IS TERRIFYING. As if ripping Hotaru’s body apart wasn’t bad enough.
Um. What was I saying? Oh, yes. I love how strong this Chibi-Usa is and how mature she is and… just… She’s lovely. And wow the way she’s smiling in that transformation sequence is… actually very off-putting to me. I know it’s stock footage of her transformation, but the happy smile just… doesn’t suit the situation or the music at all. She just watched Hotaru die right in front of her and was visibly torn up about that! They could at least have taken that bit of the sequence out.
OMG! Mamoru transformation! LOL! They kept the 90s guitar riff.
Oh, turns out I was wrong. We’re getting the inner attacks at least one more time. I love how protective Jupiter is. (And remember all the way back in episode 3 when they had a discussion with Haruka about protecting loved ones? This scene reminded me of that with Jupiter being the first to show an attack.)
I love that Pink Sugar Heart Attack works. I mean, it doesn’t vanquish Mistress 9, but we’ve just seen the inners combine their four strongest attacks and it did nothing. And we’ve seen how effective Moon Spiral Heart Attack was on a Mistress 9 still constrained by Hotaru’s body. It did zip. And Pink Sugar Heart Attack actually manages to knock Mistress 9 backwards. It’s awesome. Especially since it’s failed to do anything useful every other time we’ve seen it. It’s cute and adorable, but ultimately pretty weak and powerless in a fight like this.
Except it’s not.
And I think this scene really drives home that Chibi-Usa and Usagi’s powers ultimately derive from love (and faith, but mostly love). We know it’s technically the moon and the ginzuishou, but the more they love the more powerful their accomplishments. And Chibi-Usa? Just discovered she loves and has lost and that daimon there is what took Hotaru from her. I mean, look at the way she’s shown after. There’s no face and it makes her look really menacing until she looks up and the animation shows us how she’s actually feeling towards the senshi. But until that moment happens, you’d be forgiven for thinking that she is an avenging angel (er, without wings) and seriously and royally pissed off and about to kick Mistress 9’s behind because how dare she do that to Hotaru? Hotaru will be saved.
CHIBI-USA IS BREAKING MY HEART WITH ADORABLE CUTENESS AND SO MUCH SADNESS. She’s so strong and brave and lovely. Look at her holding a speech like that moments after losing Hotaru by watching her die in front of her. Oh, Chibi-Usa. You are a beautiful, wonderful soul and I need more tissues.
Outers. Outers. I’m glad you’re so happy for Chibi-Usa and all being so strong and brave and thinking Hotaru lives on in everyone, but did you all forget the part where you wanted to kill Hotaru because she might awaken as a senshi? Or the part where admitting it is why Chibi-Usa ran off and had her ginzuishou and soul devoured by Mistress 9? No? Oh, good. For a moment there I was worried with seeing all of you so happy at the prospect of Hotaru surviving. I’m glad we’re all on the same page and you all may finally be coming around to Usagi and Chibi-Usa’s way of thinking about murdering Hotaru, who is innocent. (Seriously, if she’s guilty of anything, it’s of just happening to be the body Sailor Saturn’s soul is slumbering in. That’s hardly anything she can help.)
Uh-oh. That’s not good. And Tuxedo Kamen, Showing up at the last moment to… talk? Well, encourage the girls not to talk. I think they were aware of that, Mamoru? But yay for showing up! <3
What just happened? Why are there two Moon Chalices? OMG! CHIBI-MOON IS GOING TO TRANSFORM TOO. *SQUEEEEEEEEEAAAAALS* And yes, okay I know what just happened. Even if I didn’t, the show very kindly explains it for us in the next scene. But that’s pretty much what my first reaction was like. I thought Chibi-Moon didn’t power-up into Super Chibi-Moon until next season!
I AM STILL BLOWN AWAY BY THIS.
Awwww, Chibi-Moon looks so shocked. And is that foreshadowing I see? Am I the only one who looks at Usagi and sees wings in her background? And I’m kind of sitting here thinking that the pose looks somehow familiar. I’m terrible with art and have no visual memory, so I have no clue what it could remind me of, but there you are.
Aaaaand that’s it. The show ends on yet another cliffhanger. OMG. These cliffhangers are killing me. I’m now sort of wishing the season would do something like the US season sometimes does and airs finale episodes on the same day. The waiting. I hate the waiting. This was exactly the kind of spot the show would end on, so it’s not unexpected, but it’s still so very filled with “Noooooooooo!” because OMG what a horrible place to end it on. And I say this as someone who likes cliffhangers usually. APPARENTLY THERE IS SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH CLIFFHANGER. O_O
See you all next week!