Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 18: Invasion -Sailor Venus-

Review:

So, do you remember that prediction I made at the end of my last review? Of course you do. Well, that prediction was surprisingly wrong. Bravo Sailor Moon Crystal, bravo.

With three of the five Senshi now taken prisoner by the Black Moon, it is understandable that morale is pretty low—at least for Usagi. Minako, on the other hand, is out for vengeance. Sadly, this episode doesn’t really give the spotlight to Minako as it did to the other Senshi in the past weeks. While she does get some decent screen time throughout the episode, we don’t really find out anything about her that we don’t already know, which is a shame. Then again, I suppose Ami is the only one who truly got that treatment.

On the other hand, the episode does do a good job of giving screen time to a variety of characters, including the Dark Moon group. While nothing particularly substantial, the episod does throw into question the presence of “Wiseman”, and shows that there may not be complete unity among the Dark Moon in relation to Wiseman’s involvement. While this doesn’t do much to flesh out the Dark Moon’s agenda or the characters themselves, it does at least give a little more depth to their characterization beyond the “bad guys doing bad stuff” approach. Chibi-usa continues to be a bit of a mystery, although we find out that she is terrified of the black crystal the Dark Moon kingdom uses, and we also find out a little more about why she wants the Legendary Silver Crystal.

One plot element that was abruptly introduced in this episode was Mamoru’s ability to channel the spirits of the four knights through the stones that represent them. Occultic suggestions aside, this kind of comes out of nowhere, as we have never seen him do this before. On the other hand, Tuxedo Mask does get a cool new power in this episode, so that’s cool. It would just have been nice if his apparent ability to speak with his dead servants was something that had been previously explained, and not something conveniently introduced.

Another gripe that I have—which is with the show overall—is that, despite the Senshi all having new powers in this arc, they are still seemingly useless. Sure, they blow away the Droids with relative ease, but they are always bested by the Dark Moon enemies. Venus is no exception in this episode. It raises the question of why they’re even there, as they always need Sailor Moon to ultimately bail them out. It would be nice to see the Senshi actually hold their own for once.

Gripes aside, this is still a decent episode that continues in the darker, grittier vein of its predecessors. Christian viewers may feel a bit uneasy with the amount of channeling that is shown in this episode, though. This week’s Specter Sister is able to channel the spirits of her dead sisters, and as previously mentioned Mamoru is also shown doing the same with the four knights. There are no dark, occultic rituals involved, or really any explanation of how it works, but the existence of it may make some viewers squeamish. If that’s not a problem for you, and if you’ve enjoyed the current arc up until this point, then you will ultimately feel right at home with this episode.

A Christian Perspective:

Deuteronomy 18:10-13

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God.

In this episode, we see two characters who are capable of communing with the dead (or at least certain people who are dead), and in one case a person who can use the powers of the dead for her own purposes. The verses shared above make it clear that these practices are not acceptable in God’s eyes. That’s all and well in regards to one character—she’s a bad guy, so the fact that she is using forbidden powers just goes right along with the face that she’s evil and a force to be defeated. The problem is that the other person is Mamoru, AKA Tuxedo Mask, who is apparently able to speak to the four knights who were killed during the first half of the series. Does it make the practice excusable because Mamoru is a “good” guy in the show? The short answer is, no.

Now, before anyone goes getting all up in arms, let me say that yes, I realize this is a made up show with its own made of continuity and so forth, but the whole purpose of the Christian Perspective section is to draw applicable lessons from fictitious shows. While the universe of Sailor Moon may not have anything wrong with practices such as these, they are forbidden in the real world in which you and I live. Clearly, the verses from Deuteronomy do not give any exceptions to the rule. It does not say you cannot practice divination or consult spirits “unless”; it simply says do not do it. In fiction, we like to draw a line between good and evil practices: we might call “bad” magic “black” magic, and “good” magic “white” magic. Some series’ use these terms, but only to describe the difference between offensive and defensive/healing magic (see: Final Fantasy). Again, this is all fine and well in fiction—I am not a believe in the idea that doing something in a video game means you are guilty of it in real life*, but we have to realize that this is a thin line, because what is okay in the world these games and shows take place in is not okay in the real world.

Truth be told, I believe the concept of “white” and “black” magic does exist in the real world, but let me make it clear: there is NO “good” magic. God has made it clear that we are to practice no magic whatsoever, and that to do so is a sin. Again, I do not believe you are sinning by watching Sailor Moon or any other fantasy series, nor by playing Final Fantasy or any other video game in which your characters use “magic” as defined by the world in which the game takes place. That said, if watching these things or playing those games makes you curious about real magic, and you feel yourself wanting to look into it or even practice it yourself, you need to STOP watching/playing whatever it is, because you are being adversely affected. Mamoru may be a “good” guy within the Sailor Moon universe, and within that universe there may be nothing wrong with him channeling the spirits of his dead knights, but that should not inspire you to do the same with your dead relatives or anyone else—this is a sin against God. If it does, then you need to seriously assess a couple of things, such as your ability to discern between fiction and reality, as well as what affects the things you are absorbing are having on you.

*Jesus said that looking at a woman with lust means we have already committed adultery in our hearts. I think it would be unwise to only apply this to adultery, as it seems to suggest that if we look at something with sinful desires, then we have already sinned, so while I don’t believe simply watching fantasy shows or playing fantasy games to be inherently sinful, I do think it is possible to sin in our hearts if we find ourselves truly desiring to mimic the things we are seeing on screen.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d*mn”, 1 “j**z”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Calaveras wears a cleavage-revealing top; princess Serenity cleavage; Petz shows cleavage; Bertheir is in her leotard; Sailor Moon transforms

Violence: Artemis tackles a man; Venus is electrocuted by an enemy attack; Tuxedo Mask hits Reubeus in the face; Sailor Moon destroys an enemy

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Wiseman uses a crystal ball; Prince Demande’s third eye is shown in a flashback; the remaining Specter Sister is shown channeling the spirits of her dead sisters; Mamoru speaks to the spirits of the four dead knights; Calaveras brainwashes people; the other three Specter sisters show up as spirits; the Specter sisters use a magical-esque attack; Tuxedo Mask shoots energy from his hand

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