Well, the final episode of the Dark Kingdom arc has arrived, and it’s…not bad? The musical score was particularly well-chosen and effective this time around, and the backgrounds are still lovely. The animation was stiff as usual, but I didn’t notice anything too horrible. And this time around, Usagi actually remembered that the other girls exist for a few brief moments.
Of course, the character that continue to receive the best treatment from the series is Luna the cat; I wasn’t joking when I said that „Crystal” was slowly turning into „The Luna show”. In her final battle with Queen Metallia, Usagi uses the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal, as well as the power of the other Sailor Senshi, but Metallia remains undefeated- until Luna decides to contribute as well with some magical prayers, and briefly turns into a human. Ta-da! Queen Metallia is no more. A very valuable lesson here from „Crystal”: it’s nice to have friends, a boyfriend and even a magical trinket, but the most important thing of all is the support of your pet cat.
Apparently, the triumph of Usagi+Luna has also revived the Silver Millennium kingdom on the Moon, only in the sense that its nice buildings rebuilt themselves out of the blue, otherwise the place stilll seems to be deserted. Even so, Luna and Artemis summon the victorious Usagi to the moon and invite her to take over the new Silver Millennium as its queen! Usagi refuses: „I have to love and laugh and be a normal girl on Earth and bla bla”, she says, but we all know the real reason is that nobody in their right mind would want to be queen in a place where the only other inhabitants are two cats and a hologram of your mother from a previous life. What would Queen Usagi do there all day, anyway?
Instead, our heroine receives a new transformation brooch, and she uses her newfound power to heal the world and make it a better place- for you and for me and for the other Sailor Senshi, who are revived and awaken on a bridge that seem to be particularly popular with seagulls. After an emotional reunion between the girls (a moment when, I have to say, the voice work from Usagi’s actress was not really up to the challenge), things are back to normal and everybody is happy again. Except for Rei maybe, who is brooding in her temple over a bad premonition. I’m glad that Rei is getting something to do again, even for just a few seconds, and the preview indicates that her psychic powers will be more prominent in episodes to be.
But the main event of this chapter is the introduction of Chibi-Usa, a pink-haired five year old that falls from the sky to ruin Usagi’s life and threaten her with a gun in the first two minutes of making acquaintance. Chibi-Usa signals the beginning of a new arc (corresponding to the „R” season of the old anime), for which fans of the show have a lot of high hopes. I can’t say I share those hopes: Chibi-Usa is not one of my favourite characters, and her rivalry with Usagi over the affections of Mamoru, which is obvious even in the very brief time she gets in this episode, is cringe-worthy, not to mention kind of gross. Still, Chibi-Usa’s introduction remains very good and effectively creepy: the shock of seeing a cute little girl point a pistol at Usagi’s head remains in all versions of the story, including „Crystal”.
Naoko Takeuchi was very young when she wrote the Sailor Moon manga, and her work improved as she grew and matured; I hope this will be the case for the manga-faithful „Sailor Moon Crystal” as well. As far as I am concerned, though, this is the point where I say goodbye to „Crystal”: it has never fullfilled the hopes I had for it and it just makes sense to drop it if I’m not enjoying myself. I remain, however, a fan of the „Sailor Moon” I grew up with!