Previously, “Act 9: Serenity, Princess”
Photo credits: Sailor Moon Crystal
The episode picks up immediately after the end of the last one where the girls make plans to go to the moon with the next full moon. We then get an expy from Ami about the moon, while Usagi watches Naru play the Sailor V arcade game. They notice that Usagi is much happier now, but she still has a lot of concern about Tuxedo Mask, as well as learning about her past. After the credits, we get a touching moment in the Tsukino household (I almost forgot they existed), with Kenji getting flustered at the fact that Usagi has a boyfriend. Father and mother also share a poignant moment where they realize Usagi is growing up. That night, the girls gather at the park and take a magical green bubble that Luna creates to travel to the moon. Once there, they land in the Sea of Serenity and find the ruins of the Moon Kingdom. They make it to the prayer room in the Crystal Tower and find a big stone sword; the Guardians pull out the sword, and the essence of Queen Serenity appears and tells the Guardians more about their past. Turns out, the responsibility of protecting the Earth and helping it grow and improve belonged to the Moon Kingdom; unfortunately, an evil presence brainwashed the citizens of Earth, and set forth to attack and take over the Kingdom. Prince Endymion resisted the brainwashing and fought to protect the Princess; unfortunately, he was struck down by one of his followers, and Princess Serenity committed suicide shortly thereafter. The Queen tells Usagi to be strong and remember that the power of the “Legendary Silver Crystal” depends on her. After her essence dissipates, they return to Earth and vow to find the true meaning of their rebirth.
Meanwhile, the Four Kings follow Queen Beryl when she goes to see Queen Metalia. They overhear Metalia talking about their past lives, and that awakens something in them that was dormant as well: turns out the Four Kings were the trusted advisors of Prince Endymion, and they were brainwashed by the Dark Kingdom. Beryl confronts them when their memories awaken, and immediately brainwashes them again. The Four Kings were reborn to protect Mamoru, but they were captured by Beryl and Metalia and turned to the Dark Kingdom. On Earth, the Guardians realize there is unusual thermal energy around the North Pole. They then see Tokyo has become completely frozen over. The newly brainwashed Four Kings confront the Guardians, telling them they froze over Tokyo so Metalia can come back whenever she wants. This leads to a very entertaining battle scene between the two…until Sailor Venus tells her fellow Guardians that they fell in love with them in their past lives. The Guardians try to plead with their former loves, but they unite and attack them. Unwilling to fight, the girls accept their fate until Sailor Moon saves them with a well placed tiara attack. This is enough to snap them out of their misery, and they use the Sailor Planet Attack to vanquish the Four Kings while Usagi uses her Moon Healing power to instantly defrost the city. Back at the Dark Kingdom, Beryl has awoken Mamoru and brainwashed him with one goal: to kill the Princess and regain the “Legendary Silver Crystal.”
Here are my five standout moments from the episode:
1. Thank you for bringing some much needed levity to the episode; most of them have been dreary and melancholic, but this one had at least a slight bit of relaxation time.
2. How the hell do they breathe on the moon?! Those ribbons and fuku must have some sort of magical powers to keep them from dying on the spot. They did manage to avert and subvert popular moon and space tropes at the same time, so…kudos on that.
3. This episode continues the trend of heavy exposition, with all sides getting into it. I’m glad for the storytelling aspect of it, but I do miss the action scenes. However…
4. Shout out to the writers to bring out one of the fan theories about the Guardians and the Four Kings! Based on a drawing from Naoko Takeuchi herself, they showed that the Guardians did have a relationship with the Kings in a past life. Keeping them alive makes a lot of sense now.
5. They just decided to say the hell with the whole intro to the opening title. The used to be the musical lead-in before the lyrics kicked off, but now…we get that heavy C chord (if memory serves) that goes straight into the lyrics. I get it, but I miss it, too.
I really liked this episode. Maybe a bit less than the one before it, but that’s not a knock on it at all. The big deal in this episode was the one that linked the Guardians with their beloved Four Kings, and that was pretty important from a fandom point of view. Seeing the Queen talk with her daughter one last time was heartwarming as well; it’s enough to make you wish you could talk to your loved ones one last time as well. This episode could’ve gone incredibly hokey, but it stayed as truthful to the original source material as you could get – although they kept the Four Kings alive. I’m really interested in this storyline going forward, because it could only lead to good things in the future.