This week’s episode is an improvement from the last one in terms of story as well as the characters. Yes, the animation is still stiff, and the good guys are still doing stupid things such as calling each other’s civilian names in front of the enemy, and yes, the bad guys are doing stupid things as well, such as hiding in plain sight in an evil rental shop called DARK, but there were a few developments that made me quite excited about what’s coming up.
We pick up where we last left off, with Usagi waking up in Mamoru’s room, who is not such a creeper now that he’s not wearing his mask. Usagi finally figures out that he is Tuxedo Mask, and Mamoru tells her his story and why he’s searching for the Legendary Silver Crystal (adult fans of this show should try a drinking game: drink every time someone says „The Legendary Silver Crystal”. You’ll be drunk five minutes in, though.) It turns out that Mamoru lost his memory in the car crash that made him an orphan at age 6 (we get some flashbacks of adorable Little Mamoru, which I appreciate), and all he’s got left now is occasional strange dreams featuring a princess and talk of Silver Crystals. Hoping that said Crystal will restore his memories once found, Mamoru-as-Tuxedo-Mask has been looking for it alone, for a long time.
This brings a nice bit of nuance to Mamoru’s character (the story may as well do it since the animators are still drawing and moving him as if he were a robot). Usagi’s strength at this point is almost entirely in her support network: Luna, the other Sailor Senshi, not to mention she has always had a loving family and she is surrounded by friends. Mamoru, on the other hand, is completely alone, and it makes perfect sense that he would obsess over the Silver Crystal and this girl who seems to have something to do with it: they are literally the only thing he’s got going on. Later on, during the big fight of the episode, Mamoru realizes for the first time that he cares about Usagi more than he cares about finding the Silver Crystal, which brings new meaning to his life.
Well, anyway, it’s pretty clear by this point that Mamoru and Usagi are falling in love with each other, and Usagi is torn between this new romance and the guilt at having to keep it a secret from the rest of the team. Mercury and Jupiter, in particular, are showering her with trust and declare themselves confident in her leadership and her powers, which is more than Usagi can say about herself. It’s not very clear why Usagi has to be a leader at this point in the first place, though, and I assume this will be challenged soon. Usagi ponders that she will probably have to stop seeing Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask- a wise thing for her to consider, especially since in the previous episode she was ready to defy everyone for the sake of this one dude.
We get to find out more about Queen Beryl, too- it turns out that she is not exactly all that thrilled about Queen Metallia, the evil thing she awakened, and which looks like a fart with eyes, frankly. Beryl doesn’t want Metallia to swallow the whole Earth, but now she can’t go back and she’s stuck feeding Metallia energy. What would Beryl do with the Silver Crystal? It seems like she’s into something more generic like „ruling the Earth”, rather than complete destruction. I am curious to see how the conflict between the two Queens will play out. I’m not sure that Metallia can even be considered a person, but Beryl has the potential to be a very interesting character.
This week’s evil adventures come courtesy of Zoisite again, who decides to brainwash people into looking for Sailor Moon through evil DVDs rented out by an evil rental shop. I’ve never managed to understand why the villains are always so convinced that Sailor Moon or the Silver Crystal or whatever they’re looking for is definitely going to be within the area of two blocks in Tokyo where they’re putting a new plan into action, but I guess they must know something, because they’re right again, Sailor Moon is right there, seemingly within walking distance of the evil shop. She manages to heal the horde of brainwashed zombies looking for her, but then Zoisite appears and utterly defeats Sailor Moon AND the other Senshi AND Tuxedo Mask (who makes a rare attempt at being useful). Thankfully, everyone is saved by… Sailor V!
And now I really can’t wait for the next episode.