I skipped last week - sorry about that! But it was because I really thought a double post would be good again, especially considering all the things that happen in these four episodes (or really, three episodes). We’re rapidly approaching the end of the series, so let’s get started and see how things begin to snowball towards the ending.
Chibi-Chibi’s Mystery: The Big Chase (S5E20/186)
So, remember when a new character was introduced a few episodes ago, who was very similar to Chibiusa? And then the characters observed this fact, which heavily implies the similarity is only superficial? You’d think that by now, they’d have actually done something with this character instead of using her as almost a cutesy mascot (a role normally reserved for small furry animals), but nope. That would be the next episode. We have to sit through one more filler slog before we get there, so buckle in!
Usagi is walking home from school when she walks past a restaurant and watches a delivery guy on a scooter drive past. She’s starving, and desperately wants snacks!! So as soon as she gets home, she bursts through the door and asks her mom for food. Unfortunately, uh, her mother is not home, and... Chibi Chibi is, sitting in the living room, eating a bunch of snacks.
What the fuck?! Her mom left a two year old at home by herself??! Sailor Moon, I can only suspend my disbelief so much!
Chibi Chibi shares her snacks with Usagi, but the whole thing raises the question of where she got those snacks in the first place. When she gets home, Usagi’s mom says she didn’t give her any of them, and on top of that, Chibi Chibi was holding a fancy-looking doll in her arms, too. We then learn that Chibi Chibi sometimes just..... goes out by herself, too. And no one knows where she goes. WHAT?
Usagi decides to follow her, but somehow, she loses sight of the girl around a corner. She runs into Rei and Makoto and explains the situation, but Rei notices the little girl walking along the top of a garden wall before she falls and catches herself with the umbrella she used to float down from the sky back in her debut episode. Despite this scene, they somehow lose her again, and run into Minako and Ami, and then the Three Lights. Who I guess are just walking around outside, undisguised.
Anyway, after numerous hijinks in which CC crosses a road full of traffic, befriends a vicious dog and brings a dropped 500 yen coin to a police station, the girls finally follow her all the way to a large mansion. It turns out that CC has been wandering out of the house to visit a rich, lonely old man who showers her with snacks and treats. You know, this episode is... really familiar. I think there was an almost identical filler episode in a previous season when Diana (Chibiusa’s kitten from the future), or perhaps one of the other cats, wandered off to spend time with a lonely old rich lady.
Anyway, the old man is unfazed by CC clumsily breaking super expensive dishes and toys, much to the group’s horror as they creepily watch through the windows. Finally they are noticed and invited inside, and the old man is surprisingly welcoming to them all. He even has no idea who the Three Lights are! Ah, refreshing.
The one really interesting thing about this episode is how the old man says Usagi and CC have “the exact same air about them,” as if they are more similar than just being sisters. If you know CC’s real identity in the manga - I haven’t spoiled who she is yet in either version - then you know that this comment by the old man makes waaaaay more sense for CC’s manga identity versus the identity she ultimately ends up having in the anime. I wonder if it was supposed to conform to the manga more but was changed later during production? Who can ever say when it comes to Toei.
Anyway, the group thanks him for his hospitality and prepares to leave when The Formula arrives. Aluminum Siren and Lead Crow show up, pull out the old man’s Star Seed, and are interrupted by Sailor Moon. The ensuing filler battle is made slightly more interesting by more CC hijinks: she runs in front of the bad guy and spills a bunch of candies on the floor for him to slip on, tickles him when he’s trying to attack Sailor Moon, throws a bunch of expensive stuff around that Sailor Moon rushes to catch, etc. We’re finally rescued from it all when Sailor Star Healer shows up (with a brand new attack animation!) and Sailor Moon finally heals the old man back to normal.
The episode ends with CC and Usagi walking home, and Usagi wonders about their similarity. It’s a pretty frivolous episode, with most of the runtime taken up by the girls following CC around while she does cutesy stuff, but it’s as harmles as it is bland. At least they finally remembered that this character is in the show, though.
The Shining Power of Star: Chibi-Chibi’s Transformation (S5E21/187)
So, yeah, they do more with CC in this episode. Not much more, but it does start setting up her plot relevance and teach us a bit more about her!
The sports festival is coming up at Juuban High, and the girls are trying to decide what events to enter. Naturally, Minako will be playing volleyball and Makoto will be doing basketball, but of course both have ulterior Three Lights-related reasons for both. Seiya shows up and proposes that he and Usagi both do softball, despite Usagi’s protestations. Pretty standard so far, until........ THE MEAN GIRL SHOWS UP!
All of these characters look suspiciously like they came out of Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Later, Rei chastises Usagi for agreeing to Seiya’s proposal and reminds her of Mamoru, but Usagi still doesn’t get the situation going on between them. The girls, CC, Taiki and Yaten watch the pair practice... or at least try to. Usagi is truly terrible at softball.
Then Mean Girl shows up again and reveals herself to be the president of the Three Lights club. She’s here to claim Usagi’s right to play softball with Seiya, but already that’s dumb. Seiya can play with whoever he wants and he doesn’t have to listen to some shitty superfans who are gonna worship the ground he walks on no matter what he does. But Seiya, being the confident hothead he is, agrees to a wager with Mean Girl: if they beat the pair at softball (...two players per team softball??) then Seiya has to cut all ties with Usagi. The stakes have been raised!
At Galaxia’s base, Aluminum Siren is getting chewed out for not having found the true star seed yet. Lead Crow tries to defend her, but Galaxia isn’t having any of it. Looks like Siren is about to walk the plank.
Seiya and Usagi practice softball into the night and take a break with CC. Usagi points out how beautiful the stars look, and Seiya starts to get existential with her, commenting wistfully that all lifeforms in the universe has “the light of a star” in them. Come on, Seiya - you’d wanted to tell her earlier that you were Star Fighter, right? Here’s your chance! But no.
Either way, Usagi just takes his attempts at opening up to her as more flirting and gets pouty about it. Seiya reminds her that they have to win the softball game or they won’t be friends anymore... but again, that’s nowhere near being true and who cares what Mean Girl thinks. Oh, whatev.
The next day, the teams have come together for the game. Oh, so there WERE more players? Why weren’t they all practicing together? Meanwhile, Siren and Crow have come to the school looking for true star seeds. Oh man, if only they knew there were, like, ten of them at Juuban and had the wrong target. (They’re going after Mean Girl, of course.)
The softball game goes all the way to the last inning with no runs on either side, but gets interrupted by rain. As they wait inside for it to stop, Usagi apologizes to Seiya for all the mistakes she’s making, and the girls encourage her. Usagi takes CC to the restroom and runs into Mean Girl, who announces that she’s gonna hit a ball directly at her to win the game, and the two talk about how the game isn’t about winning for Usagi - she’s just trying not to let Seiya down. Mean Girl gets a little less mean afterwards...
buuuuuut we alllllll know where this is goooooiiiing.
Or are we?
Usagi transforms into Sailor Moon just as Aluminum Siren is turning the corner, revealing her secret identity to her. OH SHIT! That makes her the second Animamate to find out who Sailor Moon is, but who wants to bet she won’t go telling everyone she can back at Galaxia’s base and will eventually die keeping the knowledge to herself.
Anyway, Lead Crow runs away from Sailor Moon and the Phage starts attacking her. As always, she spars with it for a while, but today it’s interrupted by Aluminum Siren, who knocks her magic stick out of her hand and tries to steal her brooch.
Out of nowhere, Chibi Chibi runs into the mix of the fight, deftly dodges the Phage, and grabs Sailor Moon’s rod. It glows as soon as she touches it, and elsewhere, the Inner Senshi and Starlights all sense a warm, strange light nearby. Even Galaxia feels it - she can’t believe that the light that can defeat her is on such a backwater planet as Earth.
Sailor Moon, floating in some kind of sparkly mindspace, sees Chibi Chibi before her, transformed into a Senshi. Named Sailor Chibi Chibi Moon, naturally. The two clasp hands, and a new attack is created for Sailor Moon, Silver Moon Crystal Power Kiss. Too bad... I liked Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss for its weirdass name and its much better animation and music.
Sailor Moon defeats the Phage, and the other Senshi show up, forcing Siren to run. Usagi doesn’t know how to explain what happened with Chibi Chibi to them. Anyway, with the weather clear the baseball game resumes, and Usagi manages to catch that big hit that Mean Girl announced to her ahead of time. Hooray! No need to cancel friendships over nothing!
Anyway, this episode is alright. They finally do something with Chibi Chibi, and unlike a lot of episodes where Senshi get new attacks, this one manages to be plot relevant instead of using the new attack as the basis for a filler episode. On top of that, we learn that Chibi Chibi is an extremely important character - not only do all of the Inner Senshi sense it when she transforms, but the Starlights recognize the power as being related to their princess, and Galaxia herself straight-up confirms that it’s the light she’s so afraid of, the one thing that can beat her. Not to mention that Siren found out about Sailor Moon’s identity and got away. How will this play out? THE PLOT THICKENS.
Invitation to Terror: Usagi’s Night (S5E22/188)
The girls are at Crown discussing what happened with Chibi Chibi at the sports festival. They wonder if CC came to Earth in order to give them extra power, but down at their studio, the Starlights are convinced it was their princess finally arriving after hearing their message.
And Galaxia, at her base, is starting to get worried. This translates into extra frustration with her underlings, but Siren brags that she found the true star seed. Lead Crow is shocked at her confidence and looks concerned for her friend’s future, while a new Animamate lurks in the background. Yeah, Siren’s totally getting axed today.
The next day, Usagi overhears Ami, Makoto and Minako talking about tickets to some kind of event. They all refuse to tell her what they’re talking about, until she starts sobbing uncontrollably. As it happens, members of the Seiya fanclub were given tickets to watch a new movie the Three Lights are starring in... on an airplane. So, like, they’re screening a movie on a plane? That’s really weird, but alright. Usagi, wanting to be included, runs to Seiya to beg for a ticket, but of course there aren’t any left. And nobody’s willing to bail her out by giving her their hard-earned ticket.
But! When Usagi returns home, CC presents her with a letter including both a ticket and a creepy letter. “To my beloved Sailor Moon... I saved you an extra seat, and I trust you’ll come,” it says. This can only be seen as a threat to all her friends on that plane, and must have come from Siren, who saw her transform a few days ago.
Usagi rushes out the door to get to the airport and stop it from taking off, but when she gets there, everyone has already boarded and she’s the last ticketholder they were waiting on. She’s swiftly ushered onto the plane despite stressing to the stewardess that the plane is in danger and shouldn’t take off. There’s something that wouldn’t happen nowadays. Before she can try to explain to Seiya, the plane is already on the runway and taking off. Usagi has come right into the trap, but had no choice - all these people would be in danger if she hadn’t.
Siren, with the help of three Phage created from the plane’s stewardesses, releases some kind of sleeping gas into the main cabin to put all the moviewatchers to sleep. The Three Lights and Usagi are on the top floor, conveniently. The Senshi decide to go see the Three Lights instead of watching their dumb movie, so they also conveniently escape the sleeping gas.
Upstairs, though, the three Phage attack, cementing the Three Lights in place. Siren looks Usagi dead in the eye and reveals to them all that she’s Sailor Moon. I don’t know why you’re so shocked, Seiya - you’ve known about this for weeks now, ever since that date episode.
The Senshi walk in on what’s going on and take on the three Phage, and with Usagi having no other backup as Siren readies her bracelets to steal her star seed, Seiya decides to bite the bullet too. He transforms into Star Fighter, and after an eyeroll, both Yaten and Taiki transform as well.
Everyone just stares for a long moment. The Inner Senshi can’t believe what they’re seeing, and Siren definitely wasn’t planning on going after Sailor Moon with a ton of other Senshi there with her. The Starlights tell the Inners to run, but they transform too.
Hooray! Identities revealed for everyone! You get a reveal, and you get a reveal, and you get a reveal!!
With the Starlights’ help, Sailor Moon turns the stewardesses back to normal. An overwhelmed Siren quickly runs away, leaving the eight Senshi alone, together, on the plane. They trade uneasy, insecure looks. The jig is up now, for all involved.
But they’ve all got it better than Siren. Galaxia is not happy that she’s returned without the true star seed that Siren bragged about earlier, and instead of groveling, the ditzy Siren blames her failure on the Senshi and insists she did nothing wrong. Galaxia’s patience is gone, though, and she takes Siren’s bracelets from her, killing her, as Lead Crown watches in horror. The other Animamate from earlier shows herself, Sailor Tin Nyanko, in order to get in a laugh at the expense of Siren’s death.
At the airport, the mood is grim. As people file off the plane, the Three Lights and the girls stare at each other from across the terminal, expressions somber, until the Three Lights turn and leave without saying a word.
So obviously this episode is a pretty strong turning point in the series, and with only 12 episodes of Sailor Moon left, it’s pretty much the beginning of the end. And all in all, it’s a pretty solid episode, delivering on a few different plot lines that have been going for a while. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Aluminum Siren, too - she was definitely the least meanspirited of the Animamates, and if you think about it, her plan was actually pretty good. There was no way for her to know a bunch of other Sailor Senshi would’ve been there, but had Usagi shown up on time and been alone, she would have either been asleep from the gas, or would have had a hard time defending herself against four opponents. I guess friendship really did save the day!
It’s kinda hard to believe we’re so close to being done, though! I wonder how the Starlights and Senshi will approach their newfound shared vulnerability? Will everyone finally agree to work together, like they probably should have for a while now? Well.
Duty or Friendship: Conflict Between the Sailor Guardians (S5E23/189)
Usagi sits quietly by herself at school, still torn about the events on the plane. None of the Three Lights went to school today, and despite being reassured by her friends, Usagi can’t cheer up. Why did they hide their identities and become pop stars? Why did they come to Earth from outside the solar system? Technically Luna already knows the answer to some of these questions (remember when she overheard them talking about their Princess in the car in that one episode a few weeks back, where Yaten borrowed her as his pet for a TV special?) but nobody has connected the dots. Usagi is stuck on the fact that they thought they were good friends, but at the same time, they knew nothing about each other.
Seiya, too, is lost in thought down at the studio, sitting in the dark and staring at the ceiling fan. Yaten tries to convince him to pull it together, but Taiki tells him to back off and reminds him of what they’re on Earth to do. There’s too many outsiders, they reason, and it’s drawing Galaxia’s attention. Taiki is about to suggest that they let Sailor Moon and Galaxia fight each other, but Seiya won’t be having any of that - this is their planet after all, and they have a right to protect it. Yaten fires back with an accusation of fraternization, and they both remind Seiya that Sailor Moon is not their Princess.
At Galaxia’s base, Sailor Tin Nyanko has announced her partnership with Lead Crow, who seems less than thrilled. Galaxia raises her finger and points at something - terrifying Tin Nyanko, who interprets it as readying an attack - but Galaxia is instead pointing to the Milky Way galaxy. The solar system and its third planet, Earth, have a huge power emanating from it, and Galaxia won’t allow anyone who opposes her to exist. She’ll even destroy the entire Earth to take care of whatever is threatening her.
But that’s easy for her to say. On Earth and in their human disguises, Nyanko and Crow are finding it hard to work together, especially with the extra pressure. Maybe you shouldn’t have mocked and disrespected the memory of Crow’s friend, Nyanko? At any rate, at least Crow is motivated by her desire to honor Siren’s memory and prove Nyanko wrong.
Having visited all three groups, we now get to the episode proper. Rei has taken a part time job as a fortune teller at a shopping mall, but she doesn’t seem to be getting any customers... until none other than Seiya shows up.
Seiya tells her he’s been thinking of a girl, who he’s been lying to for a while now. He says he wanted to tell her the truth, but she found out before he could. He knows this isn’t the time for him to be worrying about something like this, and he agrees when his friends tell him to focus on what’s imporant, and he’s aware that she might not forgive him for lying. But he still misses her.
When Rei says nothing, he admits how silly it is and tries to leave, but she stops him. Even so, she has no idea what to tell Seiya, especially when she knows the details behind what Seiya described. Instead, she tells him there is no answer: he just has to be sincere and apologize if that’s really what he wants to do, because he has to start somewhere if he wants to fix this.
No sooner does Rei manage to escape that confrontation than Usagi shows up, also looking for fortune-telling advice. When Usagi tells her she’s thinking about a boy, Rei’s first comment is that she already has a boyfriend, but Usagi stresses that she’s not in love with the boy she’s worried about. Sorry not sorry, Usagi/Seiya shippers.
Usagi tells Rei that “something awkward” happened and she wants to talk to him about it, but she can’t find him since he isn’t coming to school. Hilariously, Rei points out that she should just do whatever comes to mind first without thinking about it, because that’s what Usagi always does anyway... and Usagi agrees. Just go find him if he’s not coming to school, that’s just an excuse because she’s scared of Seiya rejecting her or refusing to talk. Rei reveals herself and scolds Usagi for not being like her usual self - these two really are best friends - and she gives her a hand-out announcing a live radio talk show appearance by the Three Lights. It could be her chance to see Seiya.
Fun fact: this is the first episode since Episode 3, way back in season one, involving a radio show! Seems like so long ago now.
Anyway, the radio show is being recorded in front of a live audience, of which most are women tonight thanks to the Three Lights. Usagi is in the audience, and Seiya quickly notices her there. Although they’re supposed to be reading love letters and giving advice, Seiya goes on a euphemistic monologue about “Mr. Starlight” to “Miss Moonlight.” Usagi gets it as she sits there, listening to Seiya apologize for lying to her and keeping the entire story from her. But he hopes that someday, they’ll be able to understand each other.
Usagi waits after the show to talk to him. She tells him that one day, they’ll be able to speak freely, even if they can’t now, but of course it’s interrupted by the killjoys, Forehead and Bitchboy. YOU GUYS! YOU’VE ALL WORKED TOGETHER BEFORE! THIS CAN BE MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL! But no, they get into bickering again about Seiya’s attitude and behavior. I know the Three Lights are very stressed out and traumatized by what they’ve been through, but Yaten and Taiki are really insufferable in this episode.
Thankfully, that gets interrupted by The Formula. Lead Crow has gone after the radio DJ’s star seed, but Taiki and Yaten stop Seiya from running after Usagi to help. Sailor Moon gets some backup from the Inner Senshi though, and successfully turns the DJ back to normal. Oh, I was super worried there for a second.
That leaves Crow to fight all five Senshi herself, but unbeknownst to them all, Tin Nyanko has been watching the whole time. She readies some kind of catzooka at Sailor Moon and fires, trying to shoot her in the back, but Seiya runs up at the last second to take the hit for her.
Nyanko and Lead Crow arr chased off by the other Starlights, but Seiya is injured from the blast. Naturally, the killjoys blame Sailor Moon for the injury (wtf? this show must want me to hate these characters, it’s the only explanation) and they reiterate that they want nothing to do with Sailor Moon’s battle to protect her planet. Which is bullshit, because it’s been mentioned before that this is the last planet left to stand up to Galaxia, so really they should be 150% invested in helping them, but whatever. Drama!
This episode was basically just a breather, helping us recover from the big events of the last one. It shows how the characters are dealing with all this, and gives us our first big dose of characterization in a while. I’m not really happy with how forced the drama continues to be - it would have been great if we were given a better reason for why they don’t want to work together. Like maybe there was a much bigger confrontation with the Outer Senshi, and they had a more constant presence since then that made the Starlights more wary, or something like that. So it is a little underdeveloped, but that’s more a flaw of Stars in general than this specific episode. (And, I’ll note that this drama doesn’t exist for nearly as long in the manga.)
Actually, speaking of the Outers, when will we see them again? Might it be....... next week? ^_^ I’ll see you next time as we slowly approach the finale!