Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 26: Replay -Never Ending-

Review:

When we last left our heroes, they were facing off against Nemesis in some sort of dark dimension. This series finale picks up there, with Sailor Moon shortly delivering what seems to be a death blow to their foe. Shortly thereafter, the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Mask find themselves once again on the barren landscape of the future Earth, but just when they think it is all over they notice that Sailor Moon is missing. It doesn’t take long for Tuxedo Mask to be whisked away to wherever his beloved is. Meanwhile, the long sleep that had enveloped Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion begins to wear off, and the two exit their palace to meet the remaining Senshi in the flesh. Serenity discourages the Senshi from pursuing Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask while ultimately sending Sailor Chibi Moon to assist them. In space, Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask reaffirm their love for one another, which provides a catalyst for Chibi Moon to appear. Together, Sailors Moon and Chibi Moon face Nemesis to deliver what is truly the final blow to this battle. The aftermath of this finds Serenity bestowing new powers upon the Senshi and Sailor Moon before they head back to the past. Both Sailor Moon and Neo Queen Serenity surrender to their curiosity and briefly meet face-to-face before parting ways. Back in the present, Usagi must deal with the reality of Chibi-usa having to return to the future for good, but just when things appear to be back to normal a previous scene repeats itself.

If we needed further affirmation that this is ultimately Sailor Moon’s story, this episode certainly provides it by excluding the Senshi from the majority of the final battle. While the previous episode received praise for actually including them in the final battle, it is evident that they really weren’t part of the true final battle. Perhaps their powers helped get the fight to the point it is in with this episode, but it again feels like they were sort of just…there. Given that the earlier part of this arc had an episode focused on each of the Senshi (with some getting a deeper look than others), it would have been nice to see an ending that relied on some unique aspect of each girl to defeat the final boss. I realize that the goal in all of this is to be more faithful to the manga, but it feels like the Senshi ultimately get the short end of the stick when it comes to the big battle, while Sailor Chibi Moon gets to play a pivotal role in defeating the final enemy despite having only recently awoken.

That gripe aside, it really was a satisfying ending. True, there is not a lot of action this time around, but the climax of this arc has been a slow build over several episodes, and there has been significant action spread out across those episodes to make the final battle(s) actually feel like battles, instead of long-winded speeches that were just waiting for Sailor Moon to find some new power. Of course, new powers do seem to awaken (such as Tuxedo Mask’s ability to teleport to Sailor Moon), but Sailor Moon ultimately uses what she already has to defeat Nemesis. Granted, it could be argued that it still takes a new power to defeat him (it?), as Sailor Chibi Moon aids in Nemesis’ destruction, and her powers are newly granted. Either way, the ending doesn’t really seem to rely on any kind of deus ex machina, which is nice. My one question here is in regards to continuity, though. I may be wrong, but I had thought that it was previously determined that the two Legendary Silver Crystals could not be used in conjunction with each other—the past had no power in the future and vice versa—yet it would seem that both are in use for the destruction of Nemesis between Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon. Then again, there are some minor things that still stick out, such as the lack of weakness from the past characters being in the presence of their future selves (even though this was played up as a plot point earlier on) and the lack of consequence of Sailor Moon and Serenity meeting each other, despite it being said that this shouldn’t happen. Then again, maybe that’s the whole point of that second one: there really wasn’t anything wrong with it, despite their misgivings.

Whether my previous thought is right or not does, in my opinion, have some impact on the ending, because if the two crystals weren’t supposed to function in conjunction with each other, then the victory was only possible by overwriting a plot device. If I’m wrong (which I would prefer to be the case) then there is no concern. Either way, the episode does nicely tie up all of the threads that have been hanging loose thus far (Pluto even gets a “burial” of sorts), and it ends on a happy note, with Usagi and Mamoru seeming to finally have some time alone together. Prior to this, Usagi’s tears over Chibi-usa having to return to the future were a nice touch, as it truly showed that the two had grown to care for each other despite Usagi’s initial hostility and jealousy. And, of course, the ending is both touching and comedic at the same time.

Of course, we all know that this isn’t the end of Sailor Moon’s journey, so while the ending of Crystal could be accepted as a series finale, there is always the possibility that the rest of the story will be animated as well. If so, hopefully the writers will release episodes weekly instead of only releasing two a month because, honestly, that was one of my biggest grievances with this show. Still, it would be nice to see the other arcs covered with the new art style and manga-centric story lines. Only time will tell. If this was your first encounter with Sailor Moon, then I encourage you to see the rest of the story, although there are content concerns tied up with that. The biggest (and perhaps most well known) is the inclusion of Sailors Uranus and Neptune, who are a lesbian couple. If you want to check out more of the story, then I want you to know that going into it. If you plan to just leave it here, then you have at least been given a satisfying ending. And, of course, if you’re a Sailor Moon veteran, then you already know all of this. If Crystal does continue into the other story arcs, then you can certainly expect these reviews to continue.

A Christian Perspective:

1 Corinthians 13:8a – Love never fails.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to write as a perspective for this episode. Nothing particularly stuck out at me as a “lesson” this time around, but as I thought about some of the events that have transpired in the last couple of episodes I came to settle on the above verse, short as it may be. Truly, it was love that brought about the victories of this episode and the last. Love caused Pluto to violate the rules of her post. Love caused her to sacrifice her life for the Senshi and, more importantly, for Chibi-usa. Love is what transformed Dark Lady back into Small Lady and awoke her powers as Sailor Chibi Moon. Usagi and Mamoru’s love is what seemingly allowed Sailor Chibi Moon to appear with them in space, and it was the combined powers of Sailors Moon and Chibi Moon that defeated Nemesis. Finally, love—which had developed over time—is what caused Usagi to grieve over Chibi-usa leaving. In short, it was only because of love that the victories were won in these final episodes. Not only that, but it was love that changed and transformed both Usagi and Chibi-usa. While this may be a fictitious story, it still serves as a powerful example of what love can do, as well as an example of the verse above—love never fails.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: Chibi-usa is encouraged to pray (mentioned here because what or who she is praying to is not mentioned)

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Neo Queen Serenity’s dress shows cleavage

Violence: Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon cause Nemesis to explode

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Magical girl powers; Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon float inside of some kind of force field in space

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