Thursday, March 2, 2017

Jared Watches Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 11 - Reunion, Endymion

Episode 11! Yes, folks - we made it!

Note: Yes, this blogging project has been on a bit of a hiatus. There is a very good reason for that - one that I should have noted earlier than this and for that, I apologize. If you're friends with me on Facebook or listen to the podcast I co-host, The Five(ish) Fangirls, you may be aware that Jared and I are expecting a baby!

Yes, we're both very excited.

What we didn't anticipate (well, I didn't) was how very literally "sick and tired" I was going to be throughout the first trimester. These past couple of months have been some of the most exhausting and hit-you-with-a-brick-wall that I have ever experienced. I count my blessings that I have a job that allows me to work from my living room couch, because I highly doubt I could have handled leaving the apartment for a typical 9-5 day job. And even though it sounds easy, writing for a political blog is also mentally tiring. It was not uncommon for me to come to the end of my work day and have no energy for anything other than pulling up something mindless on Netflix or YouTube or watching Jared work his way through Fallout 4 (Nuka-World is awesome, by the way). Most of the time, I just slept (when I wasn't huddled over the toilet, that is. Sorry for the TMI - that's just the nature of pregnancy).

So, no extra-curricular blogging for me in the beginning of 2017. The good news is that the first trimester is over and I'm starting to feel MUCH better now. Not 100%, but better enough that I can do things other than work, sleep, and puke. I am determined to finish this project before Tiny makes his/her big debut later this summer (August 3 is our official due date). All of Jared's reactions to the episodes have been already recorded - I just have to turn them into blog posts (though he keeps asking me when Season 3 is going to be dubbed. And, frankly, I have no idea. What the hell, Viz??)

With that note of housekeeping out of the way - on with the show!

Ahem - Episode 11! We made it!

After the last episode's moon-sized truckload of FREAKING INFO DUMP, we return to the action, already in progress -

And by "action," we mean Usagi having a dream/nightmare/talking to herself -

Usagi (to herself): Where am I? Is this the Moon Castle?

Jared: Wasn't she just here a minute ago?

As is typical of these dreams, Something Ominous is approaching from the shadows.

Usagi: Wait! Tuxedo Mask!

Jared: Dutch angles everywhere!

Luna wakes Usagi from her dream right when Tuxedo Mask disappears. Something that Usagi characterizes as the dream "just getting good."

Sure, Usagi.

Luna reminds Usagi that she's always there to talk, if Usagi needs it. They've all been through a lot and it's important for them all to stick together. It's quite the sweet moment for the two of them.

Cue the opening theme, and we're off! Sort of...

Jared (heavy on the sarcasm): Wow. That is a really dynamic splash page. there. What a lovely drawing of his ear.

Sheesh. Must I do everything around here?
Yeah, I have no idea what they were thinking with this one. Literally ANYTHING would have been better. The image Hulu has as the thumbnail for this episode would have worked! 

Episode packaging critiques aside, the episode continues. Somewhat.

Jared: Did the budget run out or something?? No one in the background's moving!

I don't have giffing capabilities to show this, so it's not really worth trying to illustrate this with screencaps. But he's right. The only movement in these next few scenes is Usagi walking down the sidewalk. All the background people are frozen stiff. And I note that we watched the BluRay version of this episode, not the rushed job initially put out by Toei for digital distribution.

I'm not one of those butthurt idiots who screeches on Tumblr about how much Crystal sucks because of the lack of an animation budget and time and whatever. But I will admit where they could have done better. However, I still maintain that these first two seasons are much prettier than the washed-out and toned-down look of Season 3. But we'll get there - if Viz could ever be arsed to put out a dub of Season 3 on Hulu or something, that is.

Usagi muses to herself about the Silver Crystal and how it's lost its initial shine, resolving to herself to be a strong leader.

Luna: I'll be at the Command Center if you need me.

Jared: They've gotten a little less careful about her talking in public.

Me: Were they ever that careful?

A Super-Mysterious-Figure bumps into Usagi and she drops Mamoru's broken watch out of her pocket (Japanese schoolgirl uniforms have really crappy pockets). The watch starts moving again. Gee - I WONDER...

Mr. Super-Mysterious-Who-Isn't-That-Mysterious comes to Crown Arcade where Motoki is talking to his friend, Endo. Motoki recognizes Mr. Mysterious as "That High School Kid Who Was With Usagi The Other Day."

Yep. Totally mysterious.

Mr. Mysterious does some evil-magic-thing and makes both Motoki and Endo forget what's going on - and Mr. Mysterious takes the Endo's place at the arcade.


This is going to end in tears.


I think Jared just summed up every evil-doer in the Sailor Moon canon.

Motoki (under mind control): Yes, you are Endo...

Jared: That... makes no sense. But who cares? MAGIC!

Now you're getting it, dear.

A woman named Reika comes into the arcade to drop off a book for Motoki. 

Jared: Now we've never seen her before ever, right?

Me: Right.

Reika (sees "Endo"): Is that the guy you're training?

Motoki: What are you talking about? That's Endo. He's been my best friend for years!

Ah! Reika's going to see right through this... or not.

The book Reika brought is about, conveniently enough, about geology. And four minerals in particular.

"Endo": Jadeite. Nephrite. Kunzite. Zoicite.

Reika: Wow, you really know your minerals!

"Endo": Just those four. They're special to me.

Jared: *inelegant snort* Yes. It's good to see mind control keeps him creepy.

Elsewhere, the Sailor Guardians are heading over the Ami's apartment... while also carrying around the sacred Moon Sword. In the open. In broad daylight.

Jared: Hey! Why don't you bring the sword into town? That's just... yeah.

Usagi practically FLIPS OUT over how posh Ami's home is.

Usagi: There's even marble in the lobby!

Jared: *laughs*

Right after that, Minako wonders if she looks suspicious carrying the sword around like that. Jared doesn't say anything, but he does look appreciative that the episode did address that issue.

Up in Ami's room, the girls shatter a diamond with the sword. Ami further explains that the sword is made of elements not found on Earth and that they're even toxic.

Jared: And here I am handling it with my bare hands! After breaking a - I dunno - five thousand dollar diamond!

Side Note: "Toxic Sword" should be the name of a metal band.

Ami: Everything from the Moon Kingdom was turned into this toxic stone.


The girls are more concerned with mourning the Moon Kingdom, which used to be shining and beautiful, but is now a desolate rock.

Makoto: Ami, are you trying to tell us that the enemy turned our kingdom into a dead planet?

Jared: Dead planet?? No! Wherever would you get that idea?

And, wouldn't ya know it, Usagi is fast asleep on the couch through this whole thing. The girls decide to let her sleep.

Jared: Worst. Slumber party. Ever.

Usagi later leaves Ami's place and inexplicably heads to the arcade (even though she practically LIVES there normally). Motoki greets her like usual - and she recognizes someone quite familiar.


Usagi tries to figure out what's going on with this "Endo" character - and why he looks and sounds so much like Mamoru. It has been established that Usagi is not the brightest lightbulb in the bunch, admittedly. But seriously - come on girl!

Luna - ever the brains of the outfit - followed Usagi to the arcade and realizes that he's the same guy that bumped into Usagi that morning. But... that's it. 


Me: For the benefit of the recording, Jared is now waving his arms around incredulously. He has lost all capabilities of human speech.

Luna calls the other girls to get their short-skirted behinds down to the arcade. They make it and THEY'RE the ones who figure out what's most likely going on. TEAMWORK!

Jared: Now, admittedly, mind control isn't the first thing you think about. Except - LAST EPISODE! They mind-controlled the four... guys! They KNOW she has that power!

"Endo" is creepy as hell and Usagi gets the crap out of there. Smart girl.

The next day, Ami and Makoto ask Reika who the smeg this "Endo" guy is. Reika tells them that she knows of an Endo that Motoki's friends with, but it's not the same guy.

Reika: That guy supposedly goes to our college too. But I've never seen him there and my friends haven't either.

Jared: But he's perving on this fourteen-year-old girl, you know. That's a problem with changing the cover story.

After the arcade closes, Motoki and "Endo" stay late while "Endo" mutters about the Command Center (brainwashing, you know). Mako-chan gets bold and she walks in the arcade to confront "Endo." And it's a beautiful sight to behold. Finally! Some action!
Righteously-pissed-off-Mako is the best Mako.
"Endo" attacks her off-screen. Jared didn't say anything about it. I just like the scene, that's all.

The other girls rush to the scene of the crime and find Mako slumped over and weakened in the Command Center (dammit). And the alarms start going off.


Now-Obviously-Mind-Controlled-Mako tries to make a grab for the Silver Crystal, but not before Rei knocks her out.


Tuxedo Mask (what?? You mean it was him the WHOLE TIME??) reveals his evil scheme to get into the Command Center under the Sailor V game. Usagi can't believe it.

Drama ensues. As does Sailor Guardian transformations, at Minako's orders. Because Minako is clearly done with this BS. 

Jared: Once again proving, the sergeant is more intelligent than the officer.

Me: What?

Jared: The sergeant always knows what's going on more than the officer does.

Can I just say how much I adore that Jared's assigned military ranks to the Sailor Guardians like this? (Well, for Usagi and Minako, at least.) Of course, he's steeped in military sci-fi and other such background knowledge, so it makes sense that he would do that. I just take it to mean that he's enjoying this, even with all the sarcastic comments.

Everyone gets transformation sequences! Well, most everyone. Mako's still knocked out. She'll get her chance, though. And Usagi's still in BSOD Mode.

Jared: Oh, I guess there was time for it in this one. It's the full-blown sequence this time! No cutting corners!

I know it can get tedious to watch all of the henshin sequences, but they are so gorgeous in Crystal with the blend of CGI and hand-drawn animation. The colors are bold, the effects are beautiful, and the girls look amazing. And we haven't seen the full things for quite some time. If I remember right, this might be the last episode of this season that we see them.

I'm well aware that many fans' mileage may vary on these henshins, but I love them! And it's my blog. So, suck it.

Venus, Mercury, and Mars all do their intro speeches and it's time to kick ass!

Basically, Venus keeps the Silver Crystal from getting stolen from Mind-Control!Motoki, because Usagi is still in shock. And Ultimate Betrayal takes some time for her to shake off.

And then there's Evil!Tuxedo Mask. Somehow "he's too powerful" and ends up with the Silver Crystal anyway.

Jared: How is he too powerful?

Mercury and Mars try to get the Crystal from Tuxedo Mask, but to no avail. And Usagi just freaking stands there! And utters probably the most inane line of the entire series (but we forgive it because, Usagi. She kind of has a one-track mind on these things).

Usagi: Why? Why is everyone fighting Tuxedo Mask?

Jared: Okay, I get her not doing anything. But - do something!

Luna even tries to break Usagi out of her BSOD funk - to the point that the CAT jumps into the fray. The freaking CAT, you guys.

Though I do wonder - how the story would have gone if Usagi had gone to the Dark Kingdom with Tuxedo Mask. Evil!Sailor Moon - sure, it's been done to death in fanfic (with varying degrees of quality). But in canon? Would be interesting.

Luna goes after Tuxedo Mask because that is NOT the man Usagi loves and, dammit, Luna's going to prove it! 
"What does that make us?" "Big Damn Heroes." "Ain't we just."

Luna: I'm your partner, Usagi. I know who your true love is. That man is an imposter and I will not let him hurt you!


Neither of us said much during that scene, and for good reason. And major props to Luna's English voice actress - Michelle Ruff. 'Cause THAT was quite possibly the best scene we've had from her Luna in this entire series thus far. All of the new dub voice actors do a great job and this is one of the great shining moments.

But Luna's heroics are short lived because - well, cat versus human. Even without magical powers, the odds are not great. Tuxedo Mask tosses Luna aside like a rag doll and she's knocked out. And THAT'S what breaks through to Usagi. Tuxedo Mask would never do that to Luna.

Naturally, it's time to make up!

Jared: I thought there was a circlet that went with that.

Oh yeah - Sailor Moon's tiara isn't a tiara anymore. It's just a crescent moon mark on her forehead. Because, princess.

Sailor Moon's love for Luna and her friends activates the Silver Crystal and it's go time!

Everyone, please welcome Usagi Tsukino to the party!

This should work, right?

Usagi: You are an imposter. You are my enemy. You hurt Luna and you hurt my other friends too! I will never forgive you!

You know what they say about hell and a woman scorned.

Jared: Healing everyone doesn't include him, apparently.

Nah, that would be too easy.

Jared: OH!

And this is where Beryl decides to poke her nose into the proceedings. Bitch.

Sailor Moon is then informed that she really was fighting Mamoru the whole time - an evil, brainwashed version that deserved to get his ass handed to him. But yeah - it's him. And Beryl's going to make him kill Usagi.

Damn Beryl. Ruining all of Luna's hard work getting Usagi's head screwed on straight. Feh.

Jared: MIND CONTROL! I mean, seriously - it's been a thing for episodes now!

Cliffhangers suck, don't they?

Next Time: Episode 12 - Enemy, Queen Metalia

Previously: Episode 10 - Moon

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