It wouldn’t be the finale to a season of Sailor Moon without all the supporting characters dying or nearly dying. You know! For kids!

Countdown to Destruction: the Sailor Guardians’ Last Battle (S5E30/196)

Er, let’s ignore the fact that I’ve been using the Japanese word “senshi” instead of the new official translation of the word, “guardian,” seen in the title here...

Anyway, to quickly recap from last week, Galaxia showed up at the Three Lights’ final concert, where they were trying to summon the Light of Hope. Galaxia stole Princess Kakyuu’s star seed (while everyone else stood around and watched) and started to rain black lightning down on the Earth.

This episode picks up at basically the exact same spot. The lightning is starting to damage buildings throughout the city, sending rubble to the streets and terrifying its civilians. The Senshi can hear everyone screaming as they stare up at the sky anxiously, but Sailor Galaxia quickly takes control of the TVs and airwaves to help explain what’s going on. She’s started her standard assault on the planets she targets, where she slaughters its inhabitants, steals its Senshi’s star seeds, and turns it into an uninhabitable wasteland.

The Starlights have seen this before - it’s exactly what happened to their own planet. Sailor Mercury, using her mini-computer, pinpoints the location of Galaxia’s TV signal to Galaxy TV, the production company that the Sailor Animamates had been using as their cover on Earth. But upon hearing this, the Starlights nod to each other wordlessly and begin to leave, planning on attacking Galaxia even if it’s futile.

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When Sailor Moon protests, Star Healer explodes into a tearful outburst, accusing them of still not understanding their situation. Their only purpose in life was to protect Kakyuu, and having now failed to do that, they have no reason left to live. At the very least, they can end their lives trying to avenge their Princess. The three of them are so crushed that even Star Fighter agrees and follows her comrades off to their suicide mission.

As the Senshi watch them leave, the lightning suddenly becomes worse. As it crashes down towards Sailor Moon and Chibi Chibi Moon, the others jump to shield them from it. But there’s no need - the symbol of Saturn appears, and Sailor Saturn uses Silence Wall to stave off the lightning. Sailor Saturn and Pluto have finally joined us for the finale!

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Meanwhile, Galaxia has sensed that the Starlights are at Galaxy TV, looking for her. She opens the doors for them and lures them inside, only to whisk them off to her lair, backdropped by red-tinted stars and celestial clouds. At first they don’t know where they’ve been teleported to, but Galaxia soon appears so she can start gloating and taunting them about their impending deaths.

The Sailor Senshi regroup at Hikawa Shrine. They need to do something, but Setsuna and Hotaru point out that Galaxia is stronger than any enemy they’ve ever faced - she’s already managed to take over the rest of the galaxy and slay countless other Senshi after all. But is there nothing they can do? While they stand around, Galaxia is stealing the star seeds of everyone on Earth. As hopeless as it feels, all ten of them agree to come together and give it everything they’ve got.

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...except for, maybe, Haruka and Michiru. They begin to wander off alone, but when Michiru asks if Haruka is really alright with not saying goodbye first, Haruka just smiles and says that Michiru is the only person she needs beside her. As they walk through the city ruins towards Galaxy TV, Setsuna and Hotaru catch up with them. The four agree that one of the four of them must survive and defeat Galaxia.

Back at Hikawa Shrine, the girls can’t find Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna or Hotaru. (......Huh?? Did they not see, at least, Haruka and Michiru walking away in plain view?????) They figure they must have gone off to Galaxy TV alone to stop Galaxia. Chibi Chibi clings to Usagi, scared, but Usagi and the girls promise her that they’ll protect both her and this planet. Leaving CC in the cats’ care, they transform (the final filler montage of transformations in the series!) and rush off after the Outer Senshi and the Starlights.

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When they make it to Galaxy TV, they’re fortuitous enough to watch a bird get too close to the building - and get fried by lightning in the process. Some kind of barrier is around Galaxy TV, preventing anything from getting inside. But before they can think of what to do next, the TV monitors on the building start to broadcast what’s going on in Galaxia’s throne room. The Starlights are trying to launch attacks at Galaxia, but each one is repelled, and Galaxia easily throws them across the room like rag dolls - to the horror of Sailor Moon and the others.

Sailor Moon is starting to panic. Sailor Mercury reluctantly announces that there’s no way to get inside the building - and if there were it wouldn’t matter, because Galaxia is within some kind of warped area. Sailor Moon refuses to stand around and watch her friends die, but just as she’s starting to lose hope (...hmmmm...) a shining pink light appears. It’s Sailor Chibi Chibi Moon, and she slowly flies towards the girls.

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A minute later, in Galaxia’s throne room, Sailor Moon and the Inner Senshi appear, interrupting Galaxia before she launches a final attack against the bruised, defeated Starlights. They’re stunned to suddenly find themselves in the throne room, but when Sailor Moon asks Chibi Chibi Moon if this is her power, CC just stares up at her and gives the standard babytalk answer she’s given to every other question asked of her.

Galaxia isn’t particularly fazed to see more Senshi appear; she’s gonna kill the Starlights either way. But the Starlights are in no hurry to thank them for the back-up when they’re about to die, of course, as the writers stick to their guns on making them stupid assholes. On a related note, we get an out of place moment of sentimentality between Sailor Moon and Star Fighter before we finally get back to the point: Female Space Dictator wants some more star seeds.

Sailor Moon makes a valiant effort to talk to Galaxia first, asking her why she’s being so cruel and telling her to leave their planet. But, of course, Galaxia isn’t going to agree to that and prepares her attack against the Starlights. The Inner Senshi jump in front of them to protect them, with Mars staying to guard Sailor Moon, and they take the brunt of Galaxia’s blast instead, flying back and to the ground.

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But Sailor Moon has more to say, and Galaxia isn’t interested. Angry at being disrespected, she targets the Inner Senshi again, but now with her bracelets. They each take a hit, like being stabbed through with a spear, and a moment later, four colorful star seeds float through the air towards Galaxia.

Meanwhile, the Outer Senshi have come across the broadcast of Galaxia’s throne room as they wandered through Galaxy TV. Wait, how did they get in? Oh, whatever. They’ve been watching the Starlights get their ass beat, watched Sailor Moon and the Inners appear in the throne room, and have now watched them get their star seeds stolen. I guess this is supposed to show us what the Outers are doing right now, but it’s reeeeally prolonged. Saturn slowly names off each of the Inners, but there’s like, a 5 second gap between each name, and the shot is completely still and unmoving in the meantime. Jeez... Even in the finale, they’re still trying to pad the episodes. Dear 90's anime: I know you could have filled this time with something better.

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Horrified, the Starlights ask why they protected them. As they start to fade away, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter say they are just doing what they always do, protect the people who are important to them, and they beg the Starlights to keep protecting Usagi for as long as they can. As they fade away into dust and light, Sailor Moon rushes to Mars’ side to say one last goodbye.

When the reality of what’s happened has set in, Sailor Moon shifts into angry magical girl mode. She screams and jumps to her feet, demanding that Galaxia return her friends to her. But Galaxia doesn’t care - she shuts Sailor Moon up with another blast and decides to gloat some more by showing her the massive collection of true star seeds she’s collected during her slash-and-burn of the Milky Way.

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Almost as soon as she sees the collection, one star seed far off in the middle catches Sailor Moon’s attention. Her eyes widen and she’s speechless. As soon as she saw it, she knew exactly whose it was: Mamoru’s. Grinning, Galaxia confirms that its the star seed of the one who protects the Earth, a.k.a., Endymion/Tuxedo Mask.

Boom, cliffhanger!

So, uh, some stuff sure happened in this episode. The deaths of the Inner Senshi happen very quickly, and without much of a fight, which leaves me hungrier for a little more build-up. I think it also works in a way, because it shows just how overpowered Galaxia is. But at the same time, you have to wonder, if she’s that strong then why rely on inept underlings to do work for her...? What was keeping Galaxia from going ahead and getting rid of the people in her way herself...? Obviously she didn’t really have to worry about stopping Kakyuu first or something, because Kakyuu got iced almost instantly. But I guess it had to have been Kakyuu, even if we were never given a reason for why Kakyuu was such a threat in the first place...? Is it just because she was looking for the Light of Hope? It’s still out there, you know, but Galaxia is doing this anyway? It doesn’t really make sense. Oh, whatever. #SailorMoonLogic

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Ruler of the Galaxy: The Menace of Galaxia (S5E31/197)

MMMMMM, well, for once the title of the episode doesn’t spoil what happens, but that may not matter since the preview in the previous episode did. Well, anyway, onward we go.

Galaxia has called Mamoru’s star seed over to herself and marvels at how beautiful is. She explains that every living thing in the galaxy has a star seed, but only Sailor Senshi, who possess the power of planets and stars, have “true” star seeds that shine forever. At this point, we have an overly lengthy eulogy for the Inner Senshi, not unlike the slow drawn-out one from the last episode where Saturn was pausing for five seconds between each name. Padding in the finale episodes! Hooray!

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Galaxia, still bragging, declares that she’ll claim every star seed and rule over the galaxy. Sailor Moon demands to know what the point of such a thing could be, but Galaxia brushes off the question. In fact, the man with Earth’s star seed said the same thing - and we get a flashback to Galaxia’s attack on Mamoru’s plane to America from the beginning of the season.

While Mamoru transforms into Tuxedo Mask and tries to fight off Galaxia, he’s no match for her. Before he fades away after having his star seed stolen, he swears to Galaxia that the other Sailor Senshi on Earth will stop her. (So, in a way, he..... kind reveals their existence to her and maybe causes Galaxia to stay on the planet longer? But I can forgive him.)

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Sailor Moon has seen the replay of this memory, and realizing that Mamoru has been 100% dead this whole time, she breaks down in tears. Galaxia just smirks - as you can see, she says, there’s no such thing as love or justice. The only thing that matters is light, and how brilliantly one’s power can shine and overpower others.

While Sailor Moon is preoccupied with her sorrow, Galaxia attacks her with the intention of taking her star seed next. Star Fighter jumps in the way, but before anyone else can be killed, Chibi Chibi Moon’s power activates again and teleports them all back out of Galaxia’s throne room.

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When they come to, Sailor Moon and the Starlights are in a random room of Galaxy TV. Outside, millions of star seeds are being claimed from Earth’s people. The Outer Senshi have found Sailor Moon in the time it took her to wake up, but as soon as she realizes that what happened in the throne room wasn’t a dream, she breaks down into a trembling mess again.

Sailor Uranus, frustrated with the situation, tells Sailor Moon that crying will solve nothing. Star Fighter is quick to defend her, but Uranus responds with the same argumentative “this is our fight, not yours” crap that has only ever lead to disaster so far through the whole season. Her and Neptune walk off, intending to find Galaxia themselves.

The downtrodden Starlights realize that Princess Kakyuu was right - without the Light of Hope, Galaxia can’t be stopped. But Saturn tells them they’re wrong and straight-up confronts Star Fighter: does she love Sailor Moon? (Viz’s subtitles say “like,” not “love,” but this is Objectively Inaccurate.)

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A tense moment passes as Star Fighter seriously considers the question, with everyone else watching her for her answer. Finally, she says yes - she does love her. Saturn smiles and says that’s all they need. Just trust in their (Earth’s) Princess. Pluto tells Sailor Moon that they’ll go take care of Galaxia, and for once I actually believe it. Pluto has time-stopping powers and Saturn has the ability to completely nuke her enemy. Sure, using either power results in death, but both of them have demonstrated their open willingness to do this in the past; Pluto stopped time and sacrificed herself to save Uranus and Neptune, and the entire finale of season 3 was Sailor Moon trying to prevent Saturn’s self-sacrifice to stop Pharoah 90 because her life mattered as much as anyone else’s. So, Saturn and Pluto? They can definitely do this. Pluto stops time while Saturn casually walks up to Galaxia and blows herself up. It would be extremely easy to do.

Meanwhile, in Galaxia’s throne room, Neptune and Uranus are doing their best to take her down. Galaxia taunts them, saying she didn’t invite them into her throne room if they were going to be so boring. Uranus even attacks her with the Space Sword, but it doesn’t work. Galaxia attacks them both to steal their star seeds, but Saturn stops it with a Silent Wall.

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Back in Galaxy TV, Sailor Moon and the Starlights are sitting together in sullen silence. Chibi Chibi Moon, who has been laying in Usagi’s arms, finally wakes up after passing out from teleporting. Bitterly, Star Maker mutters that the girl should have stayed asleep so she wouldn’t have to see what a hopeless situation it is, and Star Healer agrees, saying they don’t even have something to protect anymore.

Hearing this, CC runs over to them, curious. Nothing left? she asks repeatedly in babytalk. The question makes Star Healer remember the Inner Senshi sacrificing themselves to protect them, even though they were weakened and unable to fight or contribute anymore. We get to re-watch almost that whole scene from the last episode. Padding!!!!

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But at least the flashback has re-energized the Starlights to try again and not give up. All three of them stand with renewed resolve, and even Sailor Moon gets up and agrees to go with them.

The Outer Senshi are throwing everything they have at Galaxia... well, everything except the totally OP abilities that would resolve all of this in literally less than a second... but nothing works. Sailor Saturn finally decides that, in that case, she’ll go ahead and take care of Galaxia herself, but then Galaxia drops a truthbomb: she is the one who awakened Saturn in the first place. She’s the one who unsealed Nehelenia waaaay back at the beginning of the season, all so that Saturn’s star seed could reach maturity again following her rebirth after season 3. Of course, this too gives us another excuse to re-use a large amount of old animation for flashbacks. PADDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Saturn is so stunned by this revelation that she never makes do on her threat to kill Galaxia. Instead, Galaxia attacks the Outers again, striking direct hits this time, and they crumple to the ground.

Exhausted, Uranus sits up and says that she can finally see how Galaxia took over the entire galaxy. Galaxia appreciates the stroking of her ego, but it’s too late because she’s already going to kill them. Unless......... they’re interested in other options. They could voluntarily give over their star seeds and choose to serve her, like the Sailor Animamates did. She’ll give them a pair of bracelets to wear, which would allow them to continue to survive even without star seeds.

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Much to my shock when I first saw Stars, and to Pluto’s and Saturn’s shock too, Uranus is actually interested in this proposal. She turns to Neptune and says that as long as they can stay together, she’ll happily sell her soul to the devil. Neptune looks surprised at first, but quickly smiles and agrees. Pluto and Saturn can’t believe it, but their protests fall on deaf ears. Galaxia takes their star seeds and gives them both bracelets before they can fade away, filling them with her power.

Uranus and Neptune’s first task in Galaxia’s service is to kill Pluto and Saturn and take their star seeds. They turn to their former friends with sinister grins. Pluto asks, “Why must we do this?!” Neptune replies, “I’m sure you already know.” “This is how we fight,” Uranus says. When they throw punches at Pluto and Saturn, the both realize that they really are serious about this.

Galaxia’s happy - she loves watching Senshi from the same planet try to kill each other. Friendship is an illusion; people can only rely on themselves; and other evil villain opinions.

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Uranus and Neptune fire their bracelets at Pluto and Saturn. But instead of dodging, or even looking shocked, they both close their eyes and accept the attacks, letting them have their star seeds. Doesn’t this feel a little... suspicious?

In Galaxy TV, Sailor Moon and the Starlights sense that more planets have been snuffed out. A door to Galaxia’s throne room appears, and they rush inside just in time to see Pluto and Saturn fade away.

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And Neptune and Uranus are standing at Galaxia’s side, their friends’ star seeds in hand. The Starlights can’t believe this betrayal, and they prepare to attack the group even as Sailor Moon begs them not to do this. And we get another cliffhanger!!

This is a pair of pretty good episodes, even if they’re reeeeally padded and could be better. I would’ve liked the Inners’ deaths to have had more meaning and build-up, but what happened to the Outers was really well done and definitely not what you expect on a first viewing. What will happen with Uranus and Neptune now that they’ve switched sides, and how will the anime classic Sailor Moon wrap up with its series finale?? We’ll find out in two weeks when the last three episodes are up on Hulu! :D

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ALSO! SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL IS RESTARTING ON MONDAY! And as it happens, yesterday they FINALLY announced that new episodes will be streaming the same day on Viz’s streaming service, Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu! I’m going to be posting discussion/reaction posts bi-weekly for every new episode, and the first one will be next week on Wednesday night, at 8:00 p.m.! See you then!

Vectored logo used in header image is by bleuette on deviantArt. Screencaps are from mooncaps, except where there are Hulu subtitles, which I took myself.