Category Archives: Sailor Moon Crystal

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 22: Hidden Agenda -Nemesis-

Review:

Chibi-usa’s kidnapping at the end of the previous episode has kicked off some kind of dimensional storm in Sailor Pluto’s realm. Meanwhile, Usagi bravely begins to explore the Dark Moon castle where she is being held captive, in hopes of locating her friends. During her searching, she stumbles across a conversation not meant for her ears and later discovers Demande’s brother, who is kind enough to shed some light on more of the Dark Moon’s backstory. We find out that the Dark Moon’s current objective only came about because of Wiseman’s involvement, although that doesn’t mean that they had wholesome intentions to begin with. As Usagi finds herself in yet another battle aided by a new power, Tuxedo Mask journeys through the storm in hopes of finding Chibi-usa. Throughout all of this, a mysterious figure hovers behind Wiseman, a figure that looks somewhat familiar….

The previous episode’s plot holes continue in this episode. Despite prolonged exposure to his future self, Tuxedo Mask still shows no signs of the adverse effects he initially experienced. This may seem like a minor issue—or even a non-issue, if you forget about it—but it’s a simple point of continuity that shouldn’t be that hard to incorporate, not to mention the fact that it would add an extra layer of tension to the current plot line. I’m also curious as to whether different episodes have different directors, as this episode features the return of the “reaction box” (for lack of a better term) when Venus is left by herself. This feature isn’t bad in and of itself, although Venus’ reaction seemed out of character, at least to this reviewer.

Usagi’s situation on Nemesis is probably the more interesting of the two storylines, since it ultimately leads to a deeper understanding of the Dark Moon’s motivations and intentions. It also reinforces the darker tone that the Dark Moon’s presence has given to this arc of the show, with stories of how Demande was tempted away from their (equally as dubious) original goal, not to mention the obvious abduction of Chibi-usa. Add to this a literal attempt on Usagi’s life by Saphir, and you continue to have antagonists that actually feel evil. Oh, and lets not forget the fact that Wiseman kills one of the Dark Moon’s own number. That’s pretty sinister, too.

If you’re going to enjoy Sailor Moon Crystal, then the one thing you will need to get used to is a pretty regular use of Deus Ex Machina, and this episode is no exception. We already know that Usagi is trapped on Nemesis, unable to transform, with no seeming manner of escape. In addition, Sailors Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter are shown to pretty much be in a hopeless situation. Suddenly, Usagi develops a new power. It’s not the first time we’ve seen something like this happen, and it probably won’t be the last (at least, if they continue animating the series beyond this season).

With all that said, Sailor Moon Crystal’s latest installment will undoubtedly be a hit with fans, as they have likely made their peace with the shows weaknesses while embracing its strengths. Unfortunately, while the show is near its finale, it will take more than a month to actually reach that point thanks to the show’s release schedule. With other shows airing weekly episodes, it may not be easy for fans to maintain their anticipation for the upcoming conclusion.

A Christian Perspective:

1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

In this passage, Peter is warning his readers to beware of the devil. As we all know, the devil can and, if allowed, will lead us astray into sin. As our enemy, he will ultimately do whatever he possibly can to make us fall or deviate from the path that God has laid out for us, and as Peter tells us we must be alert so that we do not get lead astray.

We see a similar situation in today’s episode, when Saphir reveals that Demande’s current mission is no longer the original mission of the Dark Moon, and that the reason Demande deviated in the first place was because of Wiseman. It would seem that Wiseman managed to manipulate the Dark Moon into serving his purposes, much like the devil would like to manipulate Christians into going against God’s will. The obvious difference, of course, is that the Dark Moon was set on evil in the first place, while God’s will is good, and the devil would trick us into evil. What these situations have in common is that of a sinister force that wants to deviate its targets from their intended purpose. Let’s focus on doing God’s will while avoiding the “Wisemen” of the world.

John 1:5 – The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Yep, today is a two for one. This is a pretty quick point, but in this episode Usagi is overcome with a new power (remember the deus ex machina?), which shows her radiating a bright light that literally cuts through darkness and confusion (the confusion, namely, is the storm that Tuxedo Mask has walked into). This made me think of the verse in John 1:5, as Sailor Moon’s light cut through the darkness and could not be defeated, much like Jesus (the light described in the Scripture) cannot be defeated by the darkness, but is the ultimate Light that can lead us out of the darkness and into eternal life.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: Saphir is shown making droids, which look like two spirits; Wiseman is shown with his crystal ball; a series of events seems to allow Usagi to shine a light that penetrates space and time; in general, Usagi gains some kind of super power that allows her to locate her friends and call to them; Neo Queen Serenity seems to possess Sailor Moon; Demande has a third eye

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Both Usagi and Neo Queen Serenity’s dresses show cleavage; Sailors Moon, Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter are shown transforming; slight shot of Dark Lady’s cleavage in the preview

Violence: Demande tries to touch Usagi, and is almost hit with a bolt of lightning; Saphir’s droids hold Usagi down; Usagi is surrounded by a powerful light that destroys the droids; Usagi sends Saphir; flying back; Usagi cracks a floor; the Sailor Senshi attack with their powers; Wiseman kills a man; Sailor Moon hits Demande with her tiara

Blood/Gore: None

Other:The Senshi use their powers

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 21: Complication -Nemesis-

Review:

With Sailor Moon captured, leaving Sailor Venus as the only active member of the Senshi left, what can we expect from this episode? Well, lots of back story, for starters. We were previously filled in on some of the details by King Endymion, and this episode takes it even further to explain the motivations behind the Black Moon’s assault from Demande’s perspective. Apparently, they considered the idea of an unaging body to be unnatural, which was at least part of their desire to attack Earth. Elsewhere, Venus and Tuxedo Mask consult with the image of King Endymion, where they learn more about Chibi-usa, particularly a specific detail about her appearance. Elsewhere, we see some back story through Chibi-usa’s eyes, both in regards to her personal life as well as the day the Black Moon invaded the Earth.

Overall, it’s not a very eventful episode, although it is very informative. While there is effort put in to explain more of the Black Moon’s motivations, the main focal point has to be Chibi-usa, who seems to descend further into a state of depression and hopelessness as the episode carries on. Despite being a princess, her life has not been easy, and she certainly didn’t seem to receive the respect due one of such a rank. Thankfully, her story is not all doom-and-gloom, as we at least get to see how Chibi-usa and Sailor Pluto first came to be friends, with Sailor Pluto showing her some genuine affection. Thankfully, the episode manages to avoid being boring despite its lack of plot progression (save for what happens at the end), unless you’re really not a fan of Chibi-usa. Even so, some of the stuff shown in this episode will probably be important later on, so you should probably watch it regardless.

This episode did have one flaw: a plot hole in the form of Tuxedo Mask being near his future self. If you remember, the crew from the present time had to previously rush back to their own timeline because they were suffering adverse reactions from being near their former selves. In the current episode, Tuxedo Mask probably spends just as much time near his future self as he previously did, yet he shows no signs of the previous side effects. While this may not be a major hole in the plot (it certainly doesn’t affect the key events taking place), it does create an inconsistency for those who are paying attention, and it seems like something simple enough to keep in mind. Plus, continuing to play on that consequence of being in the future could have helped to spice up the plot as the series inevitably draws to a close.

A Christian Perspective:

In this episode, Demande kind of reminded me of those people who like to use God’s name when it’s convenient, yet their walk doesn’t match their talk. Specifically, he tells Usagi that an unaging body is blasphemy against God, and seems to use this as a form of justification for the Black Moon’s actions. Whether or not such a statement would be true in the world of Sailor Moon (there is already a bunch of stuff that wouldn’t go along with God in the real world), we can’t say, but we know that Demande’s actions do not match up in any way with a true fear of or desire to serve God. Jesus said that we would know a tree by its fruit (Matthew 7:16), and Demande’s fruit is clearly rotten to the core.

A real world application of this would probably be people like the Westboro Baptist Church. Despite claiming to be Christians and followers of Jesus, all we ever see from them is hate and anger. They may have some valid points (homosexuality truly is a sin, after all), but they don’t go about it in a godly manner—instead, they stand on the street corners with their angry signs and yell nasty things at people. They even attack people that have nothing to do with homosexuality (KIA soldiers, anyone?). There is a place where we have to call sin what it is, and I may not necessarily know where that is (after all, if you tell a homosexual they’re living in sin, they’re probably going to see it as hateful, no matter how lovingly you put it), but when the majority of people can look at something and agree that it’s just an angering display, then something’s probably wrong.

So, as Christians, let us be ready to identify things that don’t go along with God’s Word (the part that Demande and WBC at least got right), and then let us pray about and consider the best course of action to take in regards to that issue, instead of jumping to our feet and taking the most extreme course of action we can possibly think of.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: Wiseman is shown with his crystal ball; Demande mentions that an unaging body is blasphemy against God; Demande is shown with a third eye on his forehead

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Usagi is shown in a dress that shows cleavage; a hologram of Neo Queen Serenity shows her in a cleavage-revealing dress; NQS is also shown in a flashback wearing the same dress

Violence: A flashback shows a dome of dark energy destroying a city

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Demande forces a kiss on Usagi

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 20: Crystal Tokyo -King Endymion-

Review:

After Sailor Moon and company hop in their DeLorean and reach a speed of 88 MPH, they find themselves in the future and…. oh wait, wrong movie.

Anyway, picking up where the previous episode left off, Sailors Moon and Venus, along with Tuxedo Mask, Luna, and Artemis share a long dialogue with the spirit of King Endymion, who is revealed (more to the shock and surprise of the characters than to the viewers) to be Mamoru in the future. A good portion of the episode involves the characters learning about the future, what it’s like, and how they have all managed to live for some eight or nine centuries. The origin of the Black Moon is also explained, and their attack on planet Earth is detailed along with its destructive results. Eventually, the group has to return to the present, only to shortly again head into the future for the episode’s brief battle scene before we are left with a cliffhanger ending.

Much of the episode is devoted to the dissemination of information. This doesn’t mean it is a particularly boring episode, but don’t expect the actual plot to advance too much. Some of the revelations are things that we viewers have long figured out—such as the fact that Queen Serenity and King Endymion are Usagi and Mamoru, respectively. Those veterans of the series and, perhaps, most newcomers, also probably figured out that Chibi-usa was the daughter of Usagi and Mamoru. It was still humorous to see their reactions to finding out that they would have a daughter, though. Other characters are shown to have a daughter, as well, and their reactions are also amusing. While a lot of the background information is already known—the Black Moon invaded, attacked Crystal Tokyo, and destroyed it—more details are filled in, such as who the Black Moon is, and why the palace and its inhabitants are in their current state.

One thing I found myself wondering was if there was any consequence to the group being in the future and, as it turns out, there was. One oversight, though, seems to be the fact that only Mamoru and Usagi experienced the negative side effects of being in the future. This may be explained by the fact that they were closer to their future counterparts than the other characters were, it is still suspect since Mamoru was only close to an image of himself, and Usagi was the first to experience problems, despite King Endymion’s spirit being in the same room with Mamoru versus Usagi who was in a separate room from her future body. Obviously this is a minor thing that doesn’t really detract from the episode, but it is a thought that occurred while writing this review. Another questionable point is that, later in the episode, Chibi-usa and the rest of the group return to the future at separate times. From what happens in the episode, it would appear that they need a particular key from Pluto in order to time travel, so how they were able to time travel at different points without Chibi-usa first returning to the past creates a bit of a plot hole.

A high point for the episode was Usagi having a particularly childish outburt at one point, followed by a scene where she openly acknowledges that she made no sense. Her thoughts literally echoed what I was thinking as I watched the events unfold. It’s nice to see that she can be something akin to a self-reflective character, instead of a selfish character who tries to justify her inappropriate behavior. While it’s true that she doesn’t completely recant her bitterness, she at least realizes that it is nonsensical. Perhaps this is a testament to the growth that Usagi has undergone throughout the series. Whatever the case, the show quickly moves on, for better or for worse.

Honestly, the remainder of the show goes by pretty quickly once the group returns to the present time. Of course there is the ever-present episodic battle, which may be one of the shortest ones yet. If nothing else, it does at least set up a deficiency in the group’s ability to do battle in the future world, and it serves to create a particular point of conflict that will carry into the next episode. Overall, this was a decent episode, plot holes aside, as it managed to dump a lot of information on the viewer without being dull and boring in the process.

A Christian Perspective:

Once the group returns from the past, Mamoru states that he will keep Chibi-usa at his place so that Usagi can rest. This results in Usagi having an angry outburst before running away. She is then shown lying in her bed, questioning why she reacted that way, especially knowing that Usagi is her daughter. In the same way, we Christians sometimes do this with sin. We do something that we know we shouldn’t do, and then later find ourselves asking why we did it in the first place. Worst of all, we sometimes find ourselves stuck in this cycle—we do something we shouldn’t, regret it, repent, and then some time later make the same mistake again, repeating the previous parts. Like Usagi, it can depress us, and make us sad. Thankfully, there is forgiveness.

While there is no scene showing Usagi and Mamoru making up over the incident, we can almost be sure that they do. After all, their love is shown to be genuine, so it only stands to reason that Mamoru would forgive Usagi for her outburst. In the same way, we have a Father in heaven who loves us and is willing to forgive us for our trespasses if we are willing to confess them to Him and repent of them. Repentance is a key term there, as turning from the sin is kind of the proof that you are truly sorry for what you’ve done. If we slip up and make that mistake again, He still loves us, and will still forgive us, provided we still meet the previous criteria. Some people may argue that if you were truly repentant then you would never make the same mistake again, but let’s be real here: we’re humans. We say a lot of thing with the best of intentions, only to mess it up later on. We can say that we won’t ever do something again until we’re blue in the face, but we can’t guarantee that, at least not in our own power. Certainly God can give us the strength we need to resist temptation and stay away from sinning (1 Corinthians 10:13), but if we stupidly persist in our ways and ignore the way out God has provided, then chances are we’re going to make that mistake.

This doesn’t mean we should abuse God’s grace. Having the attitude of, “Oh well, who cares if I sin. God will forgive me anyway,” is an irresponsible one to take, and one that kind of puts God to the test, which we are told not to do (Deuteronomy 6:16). Besides, if we don’t care about sinning, then how can we truly be sorry when we do sin. The confidence we can have here is that, should we make a mistake while trying to honestly live for God, all hope is not lost. We still have access to His forgiveness through the atonement of Christ on the cross, which was done because of God’s love for us in the first place.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Neo Queen Serenity’s dress shows cleavage; Mamoru is shown with his shirt unbuttoned

Violence: Chibi-usa is choked by an enemy; Venus attacks an enemy with her chain; Sailor Venus, Sailor Moon, and Tuxed Mask are choked by an enemy; Tuxedo Mask destroys an enemy with La Smoking Bomber

Blood/Gore: None

Other: A character says to think of him as a spirit that has left its body; the Legendary Silver Crystal is said to grant long life to the Millenium family and to the whole Earth; there is mention of a god of time named Chronos; Sailor Moon is told to pray to a key; Wiseman is shown with his crystal ball; a character opens a third eye on his forehead

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 19: Time Warp -Sailor Pluto-

Review:

Well that was an interesting episode. I don’t know if they use different directors or something for each episode, but this one featured several visual elements that I don’t recall seeing in previous episodes. One such element was the use of what I’ll call “reaction boxes”, where the screen would be reduced to a small rectangle (with a decorative background on the rest of the screen) showcasing a particular character’s reaction. Another element was a particular look Luna gets on her face as she begins to fall through a hole. That’s not to say this is a bad thing—I actually quite enjoyed the reaction boxes, as they just “felt” like something that belonged in Sailor Moon.

Moving on, the plot for this episode was entertaining, although nothing particularly mind-blowing. Perhaps the most amusing part was seeing Usagi get jealous over Mamoru showing attention and affection towards Chibi-usa. Perhaps it’s nostalgia, as this is similar to the Usagi from the original anime. Regardless, it made for some humor amidst the current plot line, and brought a bit of comic relief prior to the dive into time travel that (briefly) brings Sailor Pluto into the picture. While the eventual arrival of Sailor Moon and Company into the 30th Century certainly presented a bleak picture, it didn’t really do anything different from previous episodes—the enemy of the week showed up, the Senshi were victorious, and we were left with just enough new plot to carry into the next episode. Honestly, what would have been a shocking revelation was ruined by the fact that it was given away from the very beginning, meaning the ending of the episode lacked the impact it otherwise could have been.

One particularly questionable part of this episode is that Mamoru and Usagi are shown to kiss at one point, with them eventually falling down together, Mamoru on top of Usagi. They are fully clothed, but then are shown to be still together the following morning when Chibi-usa wakes up. While nothing sexual is ever shown, there is a lot of blushing during that morning scene, and one can only wonder what the implications of all of this are meant to be. Perhaps it’s nothing, and I’m just reading too much into some vague things, or perhaps what I suspect happened actually happened. The fact is that we will probably never know for sure, and I prefer it that way. I’d prefer for there not to have even been the suggestion of it, but as the old song says, “You can’t always get what you want.”

A Christian Perspective:

This one is going to be similar, yet different, to the Perspective from the previous episode. We find out in this episode that time travel is a taboo, one that Chibi-usa has clearly broken (and which Sailor Moon and Co. ultimately break, as well). From the conversations that are had, it doesn’t appear that there are “exceptions” to the rule—time travel is bad, and people are to stay away from it. It’s a good parallel to the fact that God has ruled out certain things, and they are ruled out no matter the circumstances. The best example I can think of off-hand is that of King Saul when he stopped waiting for the prophet Samuel and instead made a sacrifice to God himself. When Samuel shows up, he rebukes Saul for this behavior, and Saul ends up facing severe repercussions. It could be argued that Saul had good intentions—his men were beginning to scatter, and he didn’t want the army to fall apart and lose the victory, but in the end he disobeyed God’s command and did what he wasn’t supposed to do. In the end, he failed to trust God (oh, how often that is the case for many of us!).

Now, here is the beauty in this Perspective, which was missing from last episode’s: when Sailor Pluto encounters Chibi-usa and discovers that Chibi had stolen the time key, she doesn’t get mad at her or threaten her. She could—she would certainly have every right to—but she doesn’t. Instead, she embraces Chibi-usa and is thankful that she is okay. Pluto even turns her wrath away from the Sailor Moon party, instead thanking them for caring for Chibi-usa before helping them on their journey. Though not entirely perfect, this is a good image of grace—Chibi-usa deserved punishment, but instead received love, and isn’t this what God offers us through Jesus? We have disobeyed God in countless ways, yet He offers to forgive us if we will repent of our sins and trust in Jesus. Another way to look at the Sailor Pluto/Chibi-usa interaction is through the lens of the Prodigal Son—Pluto had every right to be mad at Chibi-usa, just like the father had every right to be mad at the prodigal, yet in both scenarios the transgressor is instead embraced and forgiven.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “j**z”, 1 “h*ck”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Usagi wears a dress that shows cleavage; Usagi and Mamoru kiss and then fall down together, with Mamoru on top of Usagi; Usagi appears to have spent the night at Mamoru’s place

Violence: Sailor Pluto attacks Sailor Moon and Co.; two Black Moon enemies encase the Sailor team in crystal; Venus binds two enemies with her chain, and Tuxedo Mask blows them away with La Smoking Bomber

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Chibi-usa says an incantation where she calls upon the “god” Chronos; Wiseman is shown with his crystal ball

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

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 17: Secret – Sailor Jupiter –

Review:

On the one hand, the general plot of these newer episodes is completely predictable at this point—if you’ve seen episodes 15 and 16, you can sort of figure out what is going to happen this time around, and if you watched the preview (or paid attention to the episode’s title) then you can figure out who’s going to get kidnapped this time around. On the other hand, this predictability does little, if anything, to diminish the overall quality of the show at this point. Everything still runs together fairly well, as the deeper plotline continues to connect each of these individual episodes—and at this point, the Senshi are finally catching on to their enemy’s true motives.

As stated in a previous review, it is nice to see some other characters being implemented and focused on at this point. While Usagi may still grab the most attention overall, this episode still gave a decent amount of screen time and purpose to some other characters. Chibi-Usa, for instance, isn’t just a tacked on plot point; the viewers are actually allowed to see into her past and how she is being affected by the current events. On the other hand, the episode also uses a little-known character for a segment. The character in question is Asanuma, and underclassman to Makoto (I had to actually look this information up). While using a character who has ties to Makoto outside of the main cast is certainly a good way to broaden the scope of the story, it is kind of confusing when you see a character and cannot remember who he is.

One point of criticism that I must offer is that the information on the enemy’s attack kind of comes out of nowhere in this episode. We see early on that Makoto has a cold, but as far as we know she’s just sick. It isn’t until almost the end that we find out the enemy has actually spread a virus throughout the city with the intention of replacing sick people with droids. The problem is that there wasn’t much attention given to the virus. For something that seemed like a widespread thing, it was not really focused on or emphasized at all. In short, that particular detail felt tacked on. If the treatment the enemy gives Makoto is any indication of how they are dealing with the rest of the sick people, though, then their sinister nature certainly hasn’t changed.

Tacked on plot point aside, the current arc of Sailor Moon Crystal continues to be much more enjoyable than the first half. The stakes are higher, the enemies are fiercer, and the focus goes beyond Usagi and Mamoru. For the next episode, I predict that Sailor Venus will be kidnapped and another Specter Sister killed. Will I be right? I guess you’ll just have to watch and see.

A Christian Perspective:

Matthew 7:15 – “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

So this isn’t one of my better Christian Perspectives, but the above verse could easily be applied to the Dark Moon’s plan to incapacitate (or possibly kill) normal people and replace them with droids. As we’ve seen from previous episodes, the droids are able to make themselves completely indistinguishable from normal people until they choose to reveal themselves (usually for the purpose of battling the Senshi). This means that the droids could easily move amongst normal, every day people and never be detected.

In our Christian life, we will come across some people who are like these droids. On the outside, they may appear pious and holy, able to quote Scripture and make it sound like they know what they’re actually saying, but in truth they are frauds and phonies. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for them to reveal themselves to figure them out. With the help of the Bible, wise Christian friends, and even God Himself, we can determine if what someone is saying is true or if the are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d**n”, 3 “j**z”, 1 “s*ck”, 1 “h*ll”, 1 “da**it”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Petz wears an outfit that shows cleavage; Princess Serenityis shown wearing a dress that shows some cleavage; Sailor Jupiter’s transformation sequence; Sailor Moon and Venus transformation sequences

Violence: Mars and Mercury are shown engulfed in fire and water, respectively; an enemy begins to choke Makoto; Makoto kicks the enemy; Makoto throws a droid through a window; Jupiter uses her powers to destroy a numberof enemies; Petz and Jupiter’s powers clash; Jupiter is encased in a black ball of lightning; Sailor Moon’s power clashes with Petz’s; Sailor Moon destroys an enemy

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Chibi-Usa remembers a voice telling her if she wants to learn a spell; Chibi-Usa makes her Luna P-Ball turn into an umbrella, and pigeons fly out of it (she also yells out “Abracadabra”); Mamoru is able to see a vision by touching Chibi-Usa’s shoulder; a character is shown using a crystal ball

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 16: Abduction – Sailor Mercury –

Review:

Sailor Moon Crystal’s newly-found, darker tone continues in this episode, and it remains preferable in this reviewer’s opinion. Admittedly, the episode is a bit predictable when you consider a few things. The last episode, for instance, included Sailor Mars in its title, and it resulted in the enemy targeting and capturing Sailor Mars. The fact that Sailor Mercury’s name is featured in this episode’s title should give you a pretty good idea of where this episode is going. This is still a good episode despite that fact, though.

For starters, the focus on Sailor Mercury is a nice break away from having all of the attention focused on Usagi. That’s not to say that the whole episode is Mercury-centered, because there is plenty of screen time devoted to Chibi-usa’s plot, and somewhat on Usagi and Mamoru, as well, but either way other characters are getting some significant screen time. One thing that this episode does better than its predecessor is that it actually focuses on developing its titular character. While the previous episode certainly featured Sailor Mars, it didn’t really teach us much about her. On the other hand, this episode actually reveals a bit of Ami’s past, her hobbies, and her family life. The enemy who targets her actually uses the impact of past events as a weapon against Ami during the climax of the episode.

I have previously mentioned that Mercury was my favorite of the Senshi, so anyone who has actually paid attention may wonder if I am biased in lavishing so much praise on this episode. I assure you, it is not because Mercury gets the attention. The episode is just that well done, all things considered. The Dark Moon foes continue to present a more sinister threat than Queen Beryl and her lackeys ever did. While Queen Beryl’s servants would use some monster and then run when it is defeated, the Dark Moon denizens actually send out their own people, and even when their people die they don’t abandon their mission. In fact, they don’t even seem to care if their people die, as long as the mission is completed. It makes for a much more serious threat to our heroines, which in turn makes for a better story-telling experience.

As for the episode itself, one thing that I have often criticized is the formulaic set-up of Sailor Moon episodes. While this episode doesn’t technically escape that formula, it does use it fairly well. While there is still a “final battle” in the traditional sense, said battle actually starts well before any transformations are actually done. Ami and Berthier, the enemy of the week, engage in a chess match where Berthier tries to unnerve Ami by unearthing the negative experiences Ami has had in her life. It is a psychological battle that is well executed, and it really helps the episode to stand out. Hopefully the Dark Moon arc will continue with little creative flares that toy with the usual formula, because they work. While the first arc of Sailor Moon is necessary to understand the backstory and who all of the main characters are, the Dark Moon arc is already coming much more highly recommended from this reviewer.

A Christian Perspective:

1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Ami experiences a parallel to the above verse when she engages in a chess match with the Dark Moon’s Berthier. Using the power of a magic crystal, Berthier is seemingly able to read Ami’s mind, and she draws on some negative experiences from Ami’s past in an attempt to unnerve the girl genius and break her concentration. While it may or may not be explicitly stated in the Bible (I can’t think of any verses off the top of my head), it would seem that this is exactly what the devil would like to do to us: remind us of our past so that we are distracted from moving forward. It is certainly a concept most Christians would seem to agree on, at least. I’m sure we’ve all seen the Facebook posts/pictures that say, “The next time the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future”, so it certainly isn’t a new concept. While we may find that resisting these thoughts is easy at first, they have a tendency to wear on one over the course of time. In the same sense, Ami realized what Berthier was trying to do, but she clearly began to lose her nerve the more the attack went on. Whether in our battle with the devil or Ami’s battle with Berthier, it is clear that in our own power we will fail to fend of these attacks indefinitely, but thankfully…

“Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:8a

This is true for Ami, and this is true for us. As Berthier continues to wear away at Ami’s resolve, a voice calls out, cheering Ami on and encouraging her. That voice is Usagi, and while her conduct was certainly inappropriate for a chess match, it was exactly what Ami needed to break free of Berthier’s mind control. We see how, past this point, Ami begins to remember all of the positive things from her past, and how they still played a part in her life despite all of the pain she experienced. This ultimately renders Berthier’s mind games (and magical powers) ineffective. In our Christian walk we, too, have friends that love us and who will encourage us when we are feeling down or defeated. Even more importantly, though, is the fact that we have God Himself on our side. While it may not be possible to fend off the devil in our own power, it is certainly possible to do it in God’s power—after all, God created the devil, and the creation is never going to be better than the Creator. So, the next time the devil decides he’s going to attack us, let’s stop and listen to the voices of those who love us, and let’s also learn to lean on the One who loves us, remembering the price He paid to redeem us and remembering that against Him, the devil has no power.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “h*ck”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Berthier wears a cleavage-revealing leotard; Ami, Naru, and Usagi are all shown in swimsuits; Ami transforms

Violence: Mars is shown engulfed in flames; Sailor Mercury uses her powers to destroy some enemies; an enemy tries to drown Mercury; Sailor Venus attacks with her chain; Sailor Moon destroys an enemy

Blood/Gore: None

Other: A character is credited with using alchemy; another character has a third eye on his forehead; still another character is shown using a crystal ball; Berthier states that dowsing without a pendulum is heresy; Berthier uses a pendulum (magic crystal) to tell the future and/or read minds; the usual magical nature of the Senshi and Dark Moon’s attacks

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 15: Infiltration: Sailor Mars

Review:

Sailor Moon Crystal’s second arc does not waste any time in picking up where the first arc left off: Usagi is held at gun point by a pink-haired child who fell from the sky and demanded to know the location of the Legendary Silver Crystal. The girls may have just come out fresh from the defeat of Metalia, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to get a break! Chibi-Usa’s appearance (that’s the pink-haired girl, in case you don’t know) also signals the arrival of a new group of enemies who call themselves the “Black Moon”. The girls must engage this new foe using new powers, while the mystery of Chibi-Usa also remains.

In comparison to the previous arc, this one seems a bit darker. While there was some death in the first arc (the Four Dark Kings definitely die, and it would seem like the Senshi may have died and come back), it was only related to the principle cast. This episode, on the other hand, shows innocent bystanders being killed. On top of that, this new enemy comes out of the gate with a specific plan in place: kidnap Sailor Mars. This is their goal, and they seem willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it, as opposed to Queen Beryl’s weekly (or bi-weekly) ploy to draw out the Crystal.

The pacing of this episode also felt more fulfilling than some of the first arc’s content. While the general formula remains unchanged (we see the girls going about their normal lives, ultimately leading up to a final battle), it felt like there was more of a natural climax as the revelations and confrontations continued to intensify until the final battle was actually reached. The fact that the villains certainly seem to be more sinister and ruthless than their predecessors doesn’t hurt the situation, either. Overall, this new arc starts out with a greater feeling of maturity than what came before, and the enemy threat certainly seems to be greater. Hopefully this type of atmosphere will persist throughout the rest of the series.

A Christian Perspective:

2 Corinthians 11:14 – And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

During the school festival scene in this episode, we get a sense that Rei may attend some sort of Catholic school, based on the fact that there are nuns present. Now, why there are nuns at a school that also has occult clubs and fortune telling is confusing but hey, that’s anime for you! Well, putting aside the ill-placement of the nuns, the fact remains that the enemy in this episode took up the guise of a nun to hide herself in plain site. Regardless of your opinion of Catholicism, nuns generally have an atmosphere of holiness or purity associated with them, so I’m sure you can see the connection that I am making to this content with the highlighted verse: much like Satan masquerades as an angel of the light, so this servant of evil masqueraded as a servant of the light.

The same is true in real life. How many “pastors” out there preach a message that is not biblical at all? How many people distort the Word of God for their own purposes, not caring what kind of damage they do in the process? I am not talking about people who make ignorant mistakes in interpreting the Bible—while those can still be damaging, we are probably all guilty of making a mistake at some point or another. I am talking about people who deliberately misrepresent themselves as servants of God to serve some selfish purpose. They’re out there, and they can hurt you. Thankfully, we can spot them, just as Rei was able to spot the imposter. Through spending time in God’s Word and learning to hear His voice, we can begin to discern which teachings are true and which are false. While I realize these things are easier said than done, it is good news to know that we have been provided the tools to keep from being deceived.

Content Guide: (Note that this is not a complete guide—my original file was corrupted, so I am only able to compile what I can pull from memory and the few handwritten notes I had)

Language: ?

Alcohol/Drug Use: Dark Moon characters are shown drinking something that could be alcoholic (not specifically stated)

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Some cleavage from Dark Moon females; one Dark Moon female is shown in a cleavage-revealing leotard (also shown in the preview for the next episode); Senshi transformation sequences

Violence: The senshi and Dark Moon foes trade attacks; characters are set on fire; Sailor Moon destroys an enemy

Blood/Gore: None that I can remember

Other: The magical nature of the Senshi’s attacks; Mars uses an attack that involves her being surrounded by fireballs that have symbols behind them; Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask cause a new item to materialize out of nowhere

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 14: Conclusion and Commencement -Petite Etrangere-

Review:

Well, here we finally have it: the actual conclusion to the battle between Sailor Moon and Queen Metalia. Honestly, I still hold to my opinion about this being a fairly suspense-less final battle. Perhaps it’s just because I’m familiar with the Sailor Moon franchise, but it really doesn’t feel like Sailor Moon struggled very much for her victory. In other words, there wasn’t a whole lot of “battling” in this final battle as opposed to the amount of talking. Now, granted, it would have been interesting to see how our heroine would have combated a giant cloud of miasma, but I just think that some kind of struggle would have been better than what we ultimately received. I know my criticisms will probably come across as anti-Sailor Moon, and honestly that’s not me at all. I like Sailor Moon, but as a reviewer I need to look at it with unbiased eyes inasmuch as possible, and from a critical viewpoint I just see a final battle that was simply lackluster.

What’s worse, though, is that the episode actually does set up something of a potential plot point, but then fulfills it not long afterward. This is going to get into spoiler territory now. During the final “battle” with Metalia, Sailor Moon’s brooch shatters, which of course strips Usagi of her powers as Sailor Moon. Now, as the end of this episode suggests (and as anyone with a knowledge of the Sailor Moon franchise knows) there is more to come. It would have been a great plot point for future episodes if Sailor Moon was powerless as new enemies attacked and therefore had to find a way to regain her powers. Sadly, a short trip to the moon quickly provides her with a new brooch, restoring her powers in an instant.

With all of that said, do I have anything positive to say for the episode? Yes. If nothing else, the actual ending of this episode is done well. We get to see where each of the characters are at, including Usagi and Mamoru. While for the most part it appears to be your typical happy ending, we are given a brief foreshadowing of events to come via a vision that Rei has in the fire, and something completely unexpected happens while Usagi and Mamoru are having their moment. In a way, it actually shatters the “happily ever after” vibe, which is certainly unsuspected given the show’s usual track record. It also clearly sets the stage to show that the Sailor Moon saga is not over.

So, should you bother with Sailor Moon? Yes, you should. If nothing else, it is a genre-defining series and is worth viewing if for no other reason than that (unless, of course, you have no interest in the magical girl genre). My criticisms may not be your criticisms, and where I feel the show could have done better perhaps you will feel the show did exactly what it meant to do. For all of my griping about the final battle being lackluster, you can be sure that I will continue to watch whenever the next arc is introduced.

A Christian Perspective:

This episode has a lot to say about prayer. Granted, it is essentially pagan prayer (Sailor Moon is encouraged to pray to the legendary crystal, or the Crystal Tower, or both), but we see that the show doesn’t treat prayer as a superstition with no real effect—these prayers are pretty much the reason the episode goes the way it does. As believers in Jesus, we know that prayer has power, and that we can accomplish great things in prayer. For example, it was with through prayer that Joshua requested the sun to stand still. James 5:16 tells us that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Prayer is a powerful tool that God has given us, so let us use it effectively and appropriately to do God’s will here on Earth.

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Queen Serenity cleavage; Sailor Moon transformation sequence

Violence: Sailor Moon attacks Queen Metalia with a giant beam of light; a girl falls on Usagi’s head; a girl points a gun at Usagi

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Sailor Moon is encouraged to pray to the Crystal Tower on the moon; there is a bunch of backstory about how praying to the crystal tower will provide protection; Luna is shown praying to the aforementioned tower; the Sailor Senshi seem to provide Sailor Moon with their power despite being (presumably) dead; there is mention of a goddess of the moon; Sailor Moon prays to the Legendary Silver Crystal; the usual magical nature of attacks; characters appear to be resurrected from the dead; Rei is shown praying in front of fire, and she sees a vision in the fire

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 13: Final Battle -Reincarnation-

Review:

The beginning of this episode would probably be a bit more suspenseful if not for the preview at the end of the previous episode. If nothing else, though, there is still the opportunity to see how the events play out to get us to that point. Sadly, for en episode with “final battle” in its title, there seems to be very little “battling” outside of the Senshi’s feeble attempts to combat the now over-powered Metalia. Granted, Sailor Moon has never contained extended battle sequences, but if there was ever a time for an exception this would be it. Alas, this is not the case.

That’s not to say that the episode is boring, because it’s not. At least, I didn’t find myself looking at the clock, wondering when it would be over. I just don’t find it to be particularly exciting. I suppose it also doesn’t help that there’s little tension in the way of “will they survive”, and more of simply wondering how the characters will get out of this situation. I don’t have much else to say about this episode. I suppose it doesn’t help that I waited so long to write it after viewing it, but even then my thoughts are pretty well summed up in what I have written here. I am still enjoying Sailor Moon Crystal, if only on the basis of nostalgia factor. I just can’t help but look at what’s there and think about what else could be there.

Christian Perspective:

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (NIV)

The most obvious lesson in this episode is the Sailor Senshi’s sacrificing of their own lives in an attempt to rescue Sailor Moon from her imprisonment within Queen Metalia. It is a great example of how we, as Christians, should be ready to lay down our lives for other people or the greater good. Maybe this takes the form of simply sacrificing a Saturday afternoon to help a friend, family member, or neighbor with some task. Perhaps it goes further, to sacrificing your yearly vacation for a mission’s trip. Or giving up your comfortably American life to live in a third world country in order to bring the Gospel. It could even mean dying while standing up for your faith in Jesus. Whatever form it takes, the message is still the same: we should be ready to lay down our lives. Granted, while writing this paragraph, I lost track of the fact that this verse specifically mentions laying down our lives for our friends (which is why it connects so well to the Senshi laying down their lives for their friend, Sailor Moon), but any time we lay down our lives for Jesus we are ultimately laying down our lives for our Friend.

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Queen Serenity cleavage

Violence: A character is slashed with a sword, and another character impaled on the sword; the Senshi and Luna are struck by Metalia’s dark energy; a man attacks a person in the streets; another violent altercation seems to be shown

Blood/Gore: None

Other: There is a theme of reincarnation; Mercury refers to the Senshi’s guardian planets as “holy”