The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 22, Hidden Agenda – Nemesis, is now available to stream on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This week we get teased a bit more with Black Lady but we still don’t get a really good look at her. Instead we focus on more exposition and freeing Sailor Moon, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter who are trapped on Nemesis.
Why does it take us so long to finally get around to showing Black Lady? The flow of the past few episodes seems a bit weird but this is partly due to the fact that the manga was originally broken up differently. This was changed when the manga was reprinted around the time the live action Sailor Moon series was out. Originally the last episode, Act 21, and this episode were part of one manga chapter, Act 20 Complication – Nemesis. This happened once in the first arc and will happen once again with the final Act of the Black Moon story arc. All in all we will have 26 episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal for what was originally 23 chapters of the manga. The original story that covered these two episodes was very long, almost 100 pages, so it makes sense to break it up into two episodes but the pacing seems a bit odd as it takes us forever to tease out the appearance of Black Lady. Sailor Moon Crystal is a 23 minute show but a manga chapter had no such restriction which is why there were some very long stories some months.
Shirt gate continues! This show can’t seem to make up it’s mind on this thing. I know I’ve mentioned this time and time again but as long as they keep screwing it up I will keep harping on them for it. As you can see above, the next episode preview that played at the end of Act 21 showed Chibiusa with her long sleeved blue uniform which she should absolutely not be wearing at this point. This is the uniform she wore when she came from the future which she traded for a short sleeve white uniform when she started going to school. She wore this on her trip back to the future and did not bring a change of clothes. The animators consistently mess up the colour of Chibiusa’s shirt in next episode previews, fixing it before the next one comes out. We can clearly see in this how last minute this show is prepared. Another change that can be seen is that Chibiusa, pre transformation, is seen with the symbol of the Black Moon Clan on her forehead. This is new to Sailor Moon Crystal. In the manga and anime Chibiusa doesn’t get this symbol until she transforms into Black Lady.
A new location featured this week is the library which houses many books. Funny when you actually get a nice look at them it looks like there are just a bunch of copies of the same book. So many volume 19s of some kind of book all over these shelves! The original Sailor Moon manga was collected in 18 volumes. Perhaps the most precious thing collected in this library is more Sailor Moon manga! These books are so important that Venus is tasked with just watching them. Tuxedo Mask runs off to find Chibusa and she is stuck there to protect a bunch of books!
If you’ve ever wondered what Sailor Moon characters look like with lips we now have an answer! With another funny face frame this week we get to see Sailor Venus with lips and she looks a bit like a frog!
We get another look at the Death Phantom, the Earth criminal who became Wise Man. It’s mentioned that he has Beast Hand and Evil Eye, though there is no indication of what that is. He seems to have used some sort of supernatural power to kill a bunch of people, but he is said to be a human. Indeed Sailor Moon is full of these kinds of magical people but there really isn’t much in the way of detail about Death Phantom. It seems this could be a whole side story on it’s own which never really gets investigated.
Nemesis is such an odd planet. When we see it from space it’s surface seems volatile. It does not appear to have a solid surface but perhaps one of molten lava or some sort of gas or energy. It’s mentioned that the reactor is the only place which opens to the outside, yet we clearly see buildings with the reactor’s energy coming out of it. What exactly is going on here? Is this a building on the surface of Nemesis? Is this an underground cavern with buildings in it? This doesn’t seem all that efficient when a cavern isn’t really exposed to the elements. Perhaps this is the surface but above them is a thick cloud or energy layer that can’t be penetrated? This brings up a ton of questions. Who are the labourers of the Black Moon Clan who make these buildings? What is the size of their population? Where do they get their food? The manga never shows actual structures so some of this doesn’t really come up but an anime series like this needs to have proper backgrounds and a level of detail that isn’t shown in a manga series.
Finally Sailor Moon is able to transform. This isn’t really explained but the key is that the reactor connects to the outside. As another suggestion that they are underground, Sailor Moon’s powers are blocked where she is. Being close to the reactor allows her to get her power and in turn transfer that to her friends. How gross is the room Sailor Mercury, Mars and Jupiter are in? It’s just full of dead bodies.
As another change from the next episode preview once the Sailor Guardians show up the reactor’s energy is shown in the background more prominently and shining through a bit. This is a fairly minor change but yet another reminder that these episodes are tweaked right up to the last minute.
Yet another change is this shot of Black Lady’s eyes. Originally all we see are Black Lady’s eyes in the next episode preview but here in the episode proper they are using the sort of blurring effect to hide her identity instead. It seems that the method of obscuring Black Lady’s identity was still being worked out after a couple of weeks ago’s airing.
Black Lady is seen but not really seen throughout. In the manga she appears as a sort of ghostly whisp but here she’s just sort of blurry. Perhaps she has that same problem Bigfoot has where you can’t take a clear picture of him. We can see her clothes in Sailor Moon Crystal which is a first, this is something that normally wouldn’t show up until the next episode. She doesn’t do a ton but does manage to kill Rubeus which tells us she isn’t really on board with the Black Moon Clan but instead has some other agenda.
Wise Man has the most ridiculous eyes in this episode. Every time Black Lady does something amusing he gets these emoticon type eyes which look like something out of those letters that scroll across a Niconico feed. OMG! #kawaii ^_^; @_@;
Next in 3 weeks on June 6th is Act 23, Covert Maneuvers – Wiseman. This time we’ll get a proper look at Black Lady without any blurriness.
Keep reading to see more screenshots from Act 22 and the next episode preview for Act 23.