After Sailor Moon’s unexpected encounter with Sailor Uranus, the Senshi meet to discuss the potential implications of the two mysterious figures. Meanwhile, Chibi-usa tracks down Hotaru in order to return her handkerchief, and the two begin to discuss Hotaru’s condition, at which point Hotaru begins to have an episode and asks Chibi-usa for her amulet. After retrieving the amulet, Chibi-usa produces her Silvery Crystal and provides healing to Hotaru, with the two forming a closer friendship as a result. Outside, Haruka and Michiru show up and offer Chibi-usa a helicopter ride home, while trying to press her for information on Hotaru. Usagi and her friends also have encounters with Haruka and Michiru, ultimately ending up with tickets to Michiru’s performance. Minako uses it as an excuse to see a performance by a prominent pop idol who is only performing at Mugen Academy. Unfortunately, the pop idol turns out to be a member of the Witches 5, who attempts to drain energy from the students. Minako transforms and interrupts the witch’s plan, to be ultimately joined by the other four Senshi. The witch summons three additional monsters, which are dispatched by the two mystery Senshi, with Usagi dealing with the witch.
Before I begin, I really do want to emphasize that I am actually a Sailor Moon fan, and that overall I am actually enjoying this arc in Crystal. That said, I keep finding myself noticing small annoyances. First up are the seeming abundance of lesbian undertones to the series. Usagi is quite obsessed with Haruka’s kiss, complete with blushing, and Chibi-usa also seems to blush quite a bit when it comes to Hotaru. It’s possible that I am just reading too much into this given the presence of Haruka and Michiru in this season, but it certainly feels like those are the undertones present in the series. Another criticism comes in the form of the dreams that the Senshi are sharing. Specifically, one scene shows the Senshi lying dead on the battleground; however, this loses its weight when we consider that the Senshi traveled to the future in the previous season. In other words, we’ve already seen that the Senshi are alive past this point, so the current threat to their lives means nothing. Sure there’s the possibility of the future changing, but since Chibi-usa hasn’t disappeared, that would be unlikely. Again, this is probably thinking too much about it, but from a story telling standpoint the threat death seems to diminish when you involve a future arc, especially when you consider all of the paradoxes that would exist. Finally, my previous criticism from the last episode concerning the simplicity of the fights against the Witches 5 still stands.
As for positive points, this season is taking its time to tell its story. I believe I complimented the second season for the same thing. Future paradoxes aside, the writers are taking the time to tease out the story, and although the fights themselves could stand to have a little more tension, the beginning of this season suggests that doing two-part episodes may not be the best approach. At the end of the day, Sailor Moon Crystal is a great entry in the Sailor Moon franchise.
A Christian Perspective:
1 Corinthians 8:4 – So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.”
Yes, I am taking a bit of a cheesy approach here by using the presence of a pop “idol” as a bridge to talk about actual idols; however, much like real idols—false gods that are set up as if they are real—the “idol” in this episode was also a fake, simply an enemy masquerading as a musical performer, rather than an actual performer. As we can see, this came with its own dangers: students were pulled in to hear her performance, which put them in a potentially deadly place. Even Minako, one of the heroines, was not safe from this deception, as she, too, ended up falling prey to the deception. This brings up a good point about how easy it is to fall prey to idols.
While our minds almost immediately conjure up images of crude statues made from wood, stone, gold, etc., the generally accepted principle among Christians is that an idol can literally be anything that takes the place of God in our lives….even anime and/or video games. We get caught up in these things and before we know it we have little interest in God, putting Him off to the side for more time with our favorite games or shows. Truly, these things are “nothing” in the grand scheme of things, whereas God is everything, but our finite human minds are easily distracted and lead astray. We don’t comprehend the concept of eternity and living with it in mind because we are trapped in the reality of living day-to-day, so we think of our immediate gratification more than our eternal souls. And don’t think I speak of any of this as someone who has mastered these things or ascended above these traps—I probably struggle with the concept more most.
That said, I don’t hold to the view that an idol is simply the thing you spend the most time with. I know that some will disagree with me, but we know that “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7c) It is completely possible to spend most of our time doing “God stuff”, yet have our hearts be far from Him; conversely, it is also possible to spend little time specifically doing “God stuff”, yet have that small bit of time impact the rest of our day and cause us to reflect on God throughout our various daily activities (perhaps by finding biblical lessons in the anime we watch?). Again, I don’t pretend to even come close to being perfect at this; however, I feel a lot of Christians focus too much on “how much” we do, and not enough about the quality of what we do. Even Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:7) That’s not to say that long prayers are inherently bad, but they can be if we are only praying long prayers because we believe we are “supposed” to. If Christianity is indeed a relationship with our Creator, then it stands to reason it would grow like any other relationship: we start out spending some time with someone, and as we get to know them we desire to spend more time with them.
Yes, it takes discipline to take time from our fleshly desires and focus on God, but that discipline should lead us into a relationship where we eventually want to spend more time with Him, rather than spending a certain amount of time with him for the arbitrary reasons such as “my pastor said I had to pray for at least an hour”. I speak as someone who has, for a long time, spent long amounts of time in prayer because I felt I “had” to. For instance, I once prayed for two hours, and had convinced myself for the longest time that I always had to pray for at least two hours from that point on, or I was telling God He wasn’t worth it. Only recently have I had the presence of mind to ask Him to help me develop a relationship with Him based not on ritualistic rule keeping (reading enough chapters a day, praying long enough, etc.) but rather on who He is and a desire to know Him better. I haven’t gotten there yet. I struggle with a lot of depression and doubt. But as I sit here typing this, I have a sense of hope that one day He will bring me to that place.
Spiritual Content: A “Deity of Destruction” is mentioned
Language: 1 “j**z”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Haruka shows cleavage; Mimi Hanyu’s outfit shows cleavage; multiple female episodes show cleavage
Violence: The Senshi fight monsters
Other: Haruka kisses Usagi at the beginning of the episode and in a dream; magical nature of Senshi’s attacks