The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal aired on Japanese TV Monday May 16th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Afterwards it was streamed on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu starting at about 10:30am Eastern Time. This week we get Act 32, Infinity 6 – Three Guardians. The gang is mostly all together and we get a ton of back story about Sailor Pluto and Hotaru. We also face off against the last of the Witches 5. Things are advancing quite a bit now as we’re over half way done the Infinity story arc.
First things first. Sailor Pluto is back, and we get a bit of an explanation as to how. Pluto immediately recognizes Sailor Chibi Moon and knows her as both Small Lady and Sailor Chibi Moon. This means that the Sailor Pluto we see here has the same memories as the one we saw in 30th century Crystal Tokyo. She mentions that she was reincarnated by Neo Queen Serenity, the future version of Usagi, not Queen Serenity, the mother of Princess Serenity from Silver Millennium. This means that this is not the reincarnation of the Sailor Pluto that died in Silver Millennium, but the reincarnation of the Sailor Pluto which we saw die at the end of the Black Moon story arc. She reincarnated back in time, which may seem silly but in a series in which both reincarnation and time travel exist, it is not unreasonable to assume this to be possible. Later it is stated that Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were reincarnated in the present. But Sailor Uranus and Neptune did not die in the future. We will later learn the specifics but so much to say everyone died when Silver Millennium fell. So where did future Sailor Pluto who protects the Space-Time Door in Crystal Tokyo come from originally? She is not the future version of this character but rather the past version. Sailor Pluto in Silver Millennium can’t be the future version of this Sailor Pluto as we see her as a child talking to the original Queen Serenity. Is there a second Sailor Pluto kicking around somewhere right now which was the original reincarnation of the Sailor Pluto which died when Silver Millennium fell, who will live out her long life protecting the Space-Time Door? Sailor Pluto has died twice but as far as we have seen, has been reincarnated only once. She seems to exist outside of time but she is not beyond the causality of life and death. Something just doesn’t add up here. Does anyone have plausible theories as to what is going on?
As we’ve seen this new story arc is rich on stock footage but there’s even more recycled animation going on here. As you can see by the above screenshots, one from the first episode of the Infinity story arc, Act 27 Part 1, and the other from this week’s episode, there’s some reuse happening. While Chibiusa’s pose may not be identical in this exact frame look at Diana if you need proof that this is the same. The toast toping and clothes have changes but the rest of the shot is nearly identical right down to Chibiusa’s hands and the furniture. In addition to reused animation this story arc is full of flashbacks to earlier episodes. We even get flashbacks to scenes earlier in the same episode, sometimes only a few minutes apart. Every second of animation costs quite a bit of money. If this process can be tweaked to avoid a few minutes of animation per episode that is an immense cost savings. The animation this season has been terrific but you can’t get something from nothing. It seems that one cost saving measure that has been done is to try to reuse as much animation as possible in a number of ways. It’s important not to be too negative about this. The alternative is a show every second week or poorer quality animation.
You know all that drama where we can’t work together? Well everyone is friends now. Yay! The reason for the drama was not ignorance but it seems like Sailor Uranus and Neptune knew what was going on all along! Since they protect the solar system from outside invaders they consider it their job to protect against the Death Busters, a threat from another dimension. So everyone’s cool now? Not quite. The new guys still don’t want Sailor Moon and her friends to help, and it seems to boil down to not putting her in harm’s way. The drama must continue!
In one scene we see Usagi reading a comic with Sailor V on the cover. The title reads “Nakayoshi”. Codename: Sailor V mostly ran in RunRun but the first issue did appear in Nakayoshi, the magazine which would later run the Sailor Moon comic.
Tons of back story on Hotaru this week. Chibiusa is supposed to meet her for a movie but she can’t make it because she’s undergoing surgery. As excuses to miss a date go, having surgery is a pretty rock solid one. Hotaru is pretty much a cyborg, with all sorts of artificial parts inside her arms and legs. This goes back to an accident which occurred years ago in which Hotaru’s mother died and Hotaru was left at the brink of death, seeming to have been saved only thanks to this surgery. When Chibiusa wants to call Hotaru, she uses a phone number which goes right to her room. Once again we’re adapting something from the 90s which doesn’t fit the world today. I remember having a “kid’s line” which had a different ring at my house. Do people still do this in 2016? I think most people just have cell phones. The eternal struggle of faithful adaptation vs. adapting to fit with the times. Once again Sailor Moon Crystal goes for the faithful adaptation, which I respect, but it creates an inconsistent universe in which these characters live.
With four of the Witches 5 down that only leaves Cyprine … or does it? Cyprine of the Witches 5 somehow separates herself into Cyprine and Ptilol, which always makes me wonder why they aren’t called the Witches 6. They go on to say that they are one Witch, something which seems to be an attempt to have their name make some sort of sense.
The fight starts with Haruka and so she transforms into Sailor Uranus. Unfortunately we don’t see Sailor Neptune or Pluto transform, making it increasingly unlikely that we will see a Sailor Pluto transformation sequence in this story arc. We should not abandon all hope though! I’m still hoping to see a Sailor Saturn transformation sequence in my lifetime!
The Sailor Guardians get sort of brainwashed and start fighting each other. They’re not fully controlled but rather their existing negative feelings for each other are amplified and so it’s the Sailor Moon version of Civil War. Nothing like an excuse to have the good guys fight each other! Things get pretty intense in the ensuing fight as the two teams really dish it out against each other in a fairly impressive display.
Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon fail to stop the fighting on their own, which causes Sailor Moon, Sailor Chibi Moon and Tuxedo Mask to unite and create the Holy Grail. It looks a lot like the clay one which they made not long ago.
Next week is Act 33, Transformation – Super Sailor Moon, in which the Holy Grail is used to well… have Sailor Moon transform into Super Sailor Moon. More importantly, as seen from the clips in the preview, we will be getting our first look at Sailor Saturn. Don’t get too excited though. Sailor Saturn will not be appearing in the present. As we can see by the slightly grainy quality to the clips in which we see her bow and boots, this is actually a flashback. This scene is where Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto remember their fateful encounter with Sailor Saturn as Silver Millennium fell.
Keep reading for more screenshots from Act 32 and the next episode preview for Act 33.