Here we are - the final three episodes of Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon Sailor Stars!! How will Sailor Moon stop Galaxia, with all of her friends either dead or turned against her?
* This article contains screenshots of mild children’s anime nudity, AKA nippleless female bodies. If you can’t handle what’s essentially a naked Barbie doll, please hit the back button.
This is the episode that finally got me to choke up. When I was younger, I’d always cry at some point during a Sailor Moon season finale, but not so much during this Stars rewatch. Until this episode.
Sailor Moon, having just witnessed Pluto and Saturn fall at the hands of her old comrades, Uranus and Neptune, demands to know why something so terrible is happening. Aren’t they friends? Didn’t they fight together before? But the two of them blow her off, wondering if they should steal her star seed quick in order to honor that old “friendship.” The Starlights, especially Star Fighter, are horrified and disgusted by the betrayal.
But as Uranus and Neptune are going to fight them and end this, Galaxia stops them so she can deliver some villainous monologue. How could Sailor Moon continue to believe in them after seeing them kill two of her other friends? Does she seriously still believe she can save her planet? To punish Sailor Moon’s naivety, Galaxia orders Uranus and Neptune to beat her up first and show her the “reality” of the situation.
They fire attacks at Sailor Moon, and Star Fighter jumps in the way to defend her, but before anything happens, a white light engulfs the room. When Usagi opens her eyes, she’s detransformed, holding CC, and surrounded by all her friends... including Haruka and Michiru. Is CC’s power stepping in again to provide a convenient interruption?
Her friends tell her that everything was an act. They’d pretended to die and betray her in order to defeat Galaxia, and now everything is over and solved. Usagi looks around at them, confused, but finally laughs and agrees that she was so silly to have believed their ruse. Hmmm........ yeah... there’s no way this scene is gonna end poorly. Nope.
Especially not when Mamoru and Chibiusa show up, too! Usagi turns around and can’t believe they’re there - her best friend and future daughter, and her dead boyfriend. Mamoru comforts her and Chibiusa teases her with comforting familiarity, as her friends watch on.
Until she looks up, and they’ve all disappeared. Awakening suddenly from what must have been a dream, Sailor Moon finds herself alone in a dark room, still holding Chibichibi Moon. She begins to cry, but then notices Uranus at the far end of the room, watching her in the dark.
She rushes to her friend and asks her, full of hope, if this is some kind of trick. They’ve got a plan or something, right? But Uranus BITCH-SLAPS HER. I wonder if there’s a running list of people who’ve slapped Usagi. I know Mercury, Mars and Mamoru are all on it.
Anyway, the Starlights find Sailor Moon just in time and Star Fighter launches herself at Uranus first with a flying kick that’s swiftly blocked. They know that Uranus and Neptune’s power is coming from Galaxia right now, and isn’t their own, but what difference does it make? Neptune points out that they can’t beat her if they can’t even defeat the two of them, using borrowed power.
Uranus crosses a line when she brigs up the dead Princess Kakyuu, and Star Fighter throws herself at her again, starting an all-out fist fight. Fighter manages to land a solid punch to Uranus’ gut, but it barely makes her wince, and Uranus responds with an even harder blow.
Sailor Moon tries, again, to beg everyone to stop fighting. Uranus and Neptune “agree” and and prepare a World Shaking and Deep Submerge, but, like..... uh... the energy sends them to the roof of Galaxy TV, somehow? Like, it turns into a light and suddenly everyone is on the roof. Maybe it’s Deus Ex Chibi Chibi again. I have no idea.
The Starlights and Sailor Moon are blown upward by the attacks and land weakly on the roof. Galaxia joins everyone, standing up and behind her two new underlings, so she can say some more evil stuff: namely, pointing out to Sailor Moon that they can see from the roof how fucked Tokyo and the Earth is right now. The Starlights say nothing - this is all too familiar to them. Galaxia pretty much owns the whole galaxy, what can they do at this point?
Galaxia orders Uranus and Neptune to steal their star seeds and end this. They stare at Sailor Moon and the Starlights with glossed-over eyes, and raise their bracelets into the air...
...and turn around, looking directly at Galaxia, as they fire them at HER instead. YEAH!!!!!!! It WAS a trick all along!
Galaxia gets hit by four bracelet attacks, and a light starts to glow from her chest as her star seed begins to emerge. Except... it doesn’t. Nothing comes out of her chest. Uranus and Neptune are shocked. That was their one chance, their one opportunity to use Galaxia’s power against her. How could this be possible?? Does this mean... she doesn’t have a star seed?
Galaxia just looks down at them, impressed. She didn’t know that it was possible for anyone to resist the mind-control effects of her bracelets, which makes Uranus and Neptune unique out of all the other Senshi she’s come across. To willingly give away their star seeds, kill their friends, and become her servants just to defeat her, while knowing they would inevitably die regardless of how ti played out... she laughs at how she’d completely fallen for it. Earth’s Senshi are amusing!
Uranus is slowly realizing that everything they’d done was for nothing. They basically sold their souls to the devil to do this, but came up short. Neptune falls to her knees and Uranus stares at the ground, ashamed of the blood on their hands.
Galaxia holds out her hand and takes their bracelets as she’s done for the Animamates previously. As Uranus and Neptune begin to fade, they collapse, and Neptune rolls down to a lower platform. Sailor Moon is shocked at what she’s seeing - not only didn’t they tell her they had any kind of plan like this, but... she’d fallen for it, too. She’d actually doubted her friends. She had stopped believing in them.
Even Star Fighter is angry about this. As Uranus is dying, she reminds her that it’s Sailor Moon she has to protect from now on. She’s such a crybaby.
I really can’t explain how affecting this scene is without transcribing all of Uranus and Neptune’s dialogue into this post. I’m getting teared up just trying to explain it. It’s because Uranus and Neptune are characters we’re so invested in and love so much. Their relationship is the most trusting and respectful in the entire series. If you think back to the last episode, they shifting into this betrayal plan without even talking about it first. Neptune understood and played along, just by looking at Uranus. They willingly sacrificed themselves for the chance to take down Galaxia using power far greater than what they had themselves.
So, to watch the two of them whisper to each other about whether they’re afraid of dying, and how they’ll be together in Hell, and slowly trying desperately to reach out and hold hands before they fade away, is just..... soul-destroying. It’s hard to watch.
Seeing two more friends die, Sailor Moon sobs and clutches CC. In the end, she couldn’t protect a single one of the people she cares about. But there’s little time to mourn, as Galaxia announces that her and the Starlights’ star seeds are the only ones left for her to steal and sends a volley of black lightning at them.
The group manages to dodge it, and (somehow) Galaxia has temporarily lost them in the convenient nooks and crannies-like hallways built on the roof of this building. Calling out to wherever they’re hiding, she says she’ll give them a few minutes for Sailor Moon to give herself up and die like a real Princess.
Sailor Moon, staring at the ground, wonders if she’ll be able to see all her friends again if she hands herself over. She’s seriously considering the benefits of dying at this point. Star Fighter asks her if she understands why Uranus and Neptune did what they did, but Sailor Moon doesn’t understand it at all. But the reason, Star Fighter explains, is that they believed in her. They believed in Sailor Moon to not attack them, even if fooled by their fake betrayal, before they got their chance to go after Galaxia.
Star Fighter wants to believe in Sailor Moon, too. But Sailor Moon can’t accept that - so, the reason all her friends are dying is because of faith they’d misplaced in her? But, they’re not dead. Fighter, Maker and Healer all agree that they aren’t gone yet, and they can still beat Galaxia. When asked if she really wants to give up, Sailor Moon confesses that she doesn’t.
Hearing this, the Starlights agree that they’ll finally believe in her and trust her. This seems to reinvigorate Sailor Moon, as she realizes that even now, she still isn’t completely alone and has people relying on and supporting her.
Galaxia, meanwhile, is still waiting for Sailor Moon to show herself. Finally, the group emerges from the rubble to face her, but they’re not doing so to surrender. That “Light of Hope” left by the Legendary Sailor Senshi that can defeat Galaxia... Star Healer wonders if, maybe, Sailor Moon herself is the Light of Hope.
Oh, but y’all should not have brought that up. Because Galaxia’s the biggest expert in that topic. You see, the Sailor Wars have been raging since ancient times; the Legendary Sailor Senshi sealed the malevolent being Chaos, the source of all evil in the galaxy, inside herself in order to restore peace, but... Sailor Galaxia herself is the Legendary Sailor Senshi. The sword used to seal Chaos is her sword. And the Sailor Wars were not ended by her sealing away Chaos, but were started by it.
Sailor Moon and the Starlights stare at her, stunned, and Chibichibi Moon peeks out from behind a rock as Sailor Galaxia summons her sword, which has been tarnished black.
This episode starts by replaying a large chunk of Uranus and Neptune’s death scene. Actually, all of these finale episodes have done this. I’m sure it was useful back when they were being broadcast weekly, but now...... it’s padding. Plus, HOW DARE YOU SHOW THIS SCENE TO ME AGAIN.
Right after that, we get a refresher on the Sailor Wars/Legendary Sailor Senshi backstory, too. With reused animation. Padding! But I can understand this replay a little bit more, because it leads into a tease - after we see that tarnished sword again, there’s an image of a woman standing at the edge of a cliff, her inhumanly long wavy hair billowing around her. The colors in these flashbacks are beautiful.
It then cuts back to Galaxia. Was that a flashback? Galaxia explains that the mightiest Sailor Senshi - herself - sealed Chaos away inside of her own body, feeling that it was her only option. With Chaos gone, peace finally returned to the galaxy, but Galaxia became a bitter and resentful person. She realized there was no one she could truly rely on except for herself. As the strongest Senshi, it was her responsibility to “create a new future” for the Milky Way. And of course, villain logic dictates that creating a new future means killing everyone and stealing the galaxy’s Senshi’s star seeds.
The Starlights are dumbfounded. How could the Light of Hope they’ve been searching for in order to stop Galaxia be Galaxia herself? If this is true, there really isn’t any hope left. But just as Galaxia’s raising her sword and preparing to strike Sailor Moon down, we see that image of the elegant long-haired woman again, standing at the edge of a cliff with a starscape around her.
A voice asks, was that really Galaxia’s only option for stopping Chaos? And when Galaxia recovers from what appears to have been a vision, she sees Sailor Moon before her asking the same question. Why did she try to stop Chaos by herself? If Sailor Galaxia is really a Sailor Senshi, then they should be able to work together and come to an understanding, without the need for sacrificing anyone.
Galaxia’s not particularly interested in Sailor Moon’s positivity though, and she attacks Sailor Moon, although Star Fighter swiftly pulls her out of the way. I guess she’s feeling better after that beating earlier. Which is good, because Galaxia seems intent on crushing their spirits now. She reminds them all that when people are in a crisis, they become cowards and sell each other out, and that the Starlights themselves are a perfect example of this. She strikes towards the group, and the force of her blast turns the building they’re on into rubble.
They all land safely on the ground, though, a second earlier... and Galaxxia goes back to talking again. Uh oh... padding. More padding. So much talking.
Honestly, it goes back and forth like this for the next ten minutes. It’s so padded. The Starlights try to fight back against Galaxia, which somehow works this time (wow, all it took was three mid-power Senshi combining their attacks? The Solar Senshi could have had this down pat three episodes ago! There’s ten of them!) but then Galaxia recovers and strikes back at them, but then the Sailor Moon steps between them and tries to stop the fighting, but Galaxia cuts her rod in half, and there are some more cut-ins of the long-haired woman on the cliff, and Galaxia bitch-slaps Sailor Moon (add it to the list!), and the Starlights dive in the way one more time to stop her from attacking, and try again to combine their powers against her, and again the show is trying to lead us into believing it’s going to work, but... it doesn’t.
We’re going in circles here. This episode is nothing but talking and back-and-forth. When is something going to happen?! Let me guess: Sailor Moon is gonna jump in between Galaxia and the Starlights again.
...Aaaand that’s exactly what happens. God damn it.
Well, her brooch is glowing, so I guess she’s planning on unleashing the Silver Crystal now. But of course, it doesn’t work! Again! Galaxia breaks her brooch, forcing her to lose her transformation and collapse. At this point, the Starlights are frustrated with how hopeless the situation is. It’s okay, guys... I’m frustrated too. With this episode.
But hey, if you listen closely you can hear for the first time one of my favorite songs from the whole series:
As the Starlights look over Usagi’s body, naked and barely covered by the ribbon remains of her transformation, a flurry of pink lights descend around them. The same voice from before tells them don’t stop believing (hold on to that feeeeling)... and we cut to Chibichibi Moon, again. HMMM. Whose voice is that? It couldn’t be Princess Kakyuu’s, could it? (no)
Galaxia blurts out that it doesn’t matter, and she snatches Sailor Moon’s star seed from the air. But this seems to trigger another vision, and we cut to a very different Sailor Galaxia, who’s standing on the same cliff asthat the long-haired woman who keeps appearing.
She collapses to her knees, leaning on her sword, and laments aloud that “this” is what she got for defeating Chaos. Something inside her throbs, and black energy lightning begins to fizzle around her body; she grasps the blade of her sword without thinking and cuts her hand. Galaxia knows that Chaos’ power, even though it’s sealed inside of her, could easily break out by destroying her body. She has to do something to stop it, but who is going to protect the galaxy, if not her?
Her star seed blooms in front of her chest... and at the same time, hundreds if not thousands more blossom around her. Talking to her star seed as her “Light of Hope,” she tells it to fly to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, where Chaos can never find it. Basically, the implication here is that Sailor Galaxia was the original Sailor Senshi, the one and only Sailor Senshi at the time, and that by sealing Chaos inside of her, all the other Sailor Senshi were born out of necessity.
Thank goodness for this scene - where Usagi’s brooch is broken and we get this extra backstory - because otherwise this would have been a filler episode. I’m serious. The second to last episode is 75% filler. 90's anime, why are you like this.
Anyway, back in the present, Sailor Galaxia swears that she’ll snuff out the Light of Hope before it awakens and defeats her. There’s yet another suspicious cut to Chibichibi Moon. HMM. Just as Galaxia is preparing (another) fatal blow, Chibichibi Moon begins to glow. Pink waves ripple out from where she’s standing, and the Silver Crystal reappears above Usagi and returns to her body, giving her the strength to open her eyes.
That’s right. CC is the Light of Hope, the only force that can stop Galaxia. And as the episode implies, she is Galaxia’s missing star seed, which she sent away when she felt Chaos taking control of her.
For the most part, this episode sucks. The first 2/3 of it are useless. The last five minutes are its only redemption, but wow are those last five minutes good. The colors, the music and the voice performances are fantastic. But now that it’s over... there’s only one episode left.
We’ve finally made it... the very last episode of Sailor Moon. Let’s do this shit.
Chibichibi Moon, deep in prayer, is emanating warm light. The Light of Hope has awakened. The ripples that have been flowing outwards reverse direction and head back, and she’s encased in pink light, which quickly engulfs the fallen rooftop.
Usagi finds herself suspended in a warm void. When she opens her eyes, there’s a silhouette of a winged, caped Senshi. The woman explains herself as the light that once resided within Galaxia. Galaxia’s star seed appears and transforms Usagi into Princess Serenity, before transforming itself into a sword identical to the one Galaxia used to wield before she became corrupted - the Sealing Sword. It must be used to seal Galaxia away... but Galaxia interrupts and attacks Usagi with her black blade, intent on not being defeated. A villain who doesn’t let the protagonist stand around and monologue or get help is a smart villain.
Usagi is plummeting to the ground now, while the Sealing Sword begs her to use it to strike Galaxia down. When she grabs it, wings sprout from her back and she’s able to dodge Galaxia’s pursuit of her.
Galaxia crashes to the ground. When the dust clears, she’s standing at the center of the crater... very angry. Eyes-glowing-red-and-flashing levels of angry. Her bracelets around her wrists shatter, her voice is warped, her armor turns black, and she gets her own pair of devil wings. SYMBOLISM!
Galaxia attacks Usagi, even as Usagi is still trying to get her to stop her assault. But she refuses, as she sees herself as stopping the Sailor Wars by claiming all the true star seeds and eliminating the Sailor Senshi to begin with. The voice of the Light of Hope speaks up again and explains that this Galaxia is no longer the true Galaxia; she’s been completely consumed by Chaos now.
As Usagi is relentlessly attacked, and the Light begs her to strike down “Galaxia” and finally save the galaxy... but Usagi just can’t give up on a person, no matter how far gone they seem to be. Usagi protests during the sword fight, until inadvertantly she pierces one of Galaxia’s wings with the Sealing Sword. This does not please her, suffice to say, and she retaliates by striking the Sealing Sword and shattering it. Its shards rain down towards the Starlights, who are watching the battle helplessly.
The broken sword glows and turns back into Chibichibi Moon, limp and beaten up. Usagi clutches the girl and believes more than ever that they shouldn’t be fighting, because nothing comes out of it. (Sailor Senshi have been fighting evil for the past 199 episodes before this, of course, but... semantics.) Chibichibi Moon fades and disperses into a million glittering lights, like all the others.
Gloating, Galaxia concludes that this is irrefutable proof that Usagi never had what it took to be a Sailor Senshi who fights others to protect what’s important to her. But this seems to have finally given Usagi the power she needs to bring an end to all of this, because she’s always believed, for the entire time she’s been Sailor Moon, that fighting is not the only way to resolve conflicts. Her Princess Serenity dress turns back into ribbons and then fades away completely, leaving her nude and angelic - vulnerable, but exposing herself in her purest form. The Starlights have taught her that as long as she doesn’t give up, the people who she loves, who have given their lives to protect her and the Earth, are always with her.
Then, the OP begins to play, and we know we’ve finally entered the true, final resolution, ‘cause playing the OP during the episode proper means awesome shit is about to go down. The Silver Crystal appears from Usagi’s chest and she flies towards Galaxia, who tries to drive her away with her power. Usagi endures her attacks, and she can see the long-haired woman from Galaxia’s visions standing in the center of a sunny field full of star seed blossoms. The woman reaches out to her, and as Usagi extends her hand to Galaxia, hundreds of star seeds appear around them. Galaxia’s sword shatters, and finally she remembers how much she loves the world and how much she fought to protect it.
When Usagi finally takes the long-haired woman’s hand - Galaxia’s hand - cracks appear over her tainted demon-like form, and Chaos as destroyed from inside of her.
This whole sequence is just wonderful. That’s all I can say about it, just like Uranus and Neptune’s death scene.
The clouds part, and Usagi and the purified Galaxia are suspended among the star seeds. She thanks her for saving her and bringing light back to the galaxy. But where did Chaos go? Is it gone for good? Usagi knows that it hasn’t disappeared completely, but has only returned to where it belongs - “in the hearts of people.” But they can’t give up believing in the world and people they protect, because the Light of Hope has returned to everyone’s hearts as well.
Even Galaxia can start over, after everything she’s done. Usagi asks her to lead the star seeds back to their homes. With one more “thank you,” Galaxia disappears, along with the souls of the galaxy’s Senshi.
Usagi, alone, remembers her own friends who fell during the battle. Just as she’s realizing that she is alone now, they reappear around her, revived, and Mamoru follows soon after. Usagi’s so happy to see him, she dives into his arms. Down below, the Starlights are watching the Solar Senshi’s return, and sure enough, Princess Kakyuu reappears as well. I... may have got a little misty-eyed.
Sometime later, the Inner Senshi have assembled on the roof of Juuban High School. The Three Lights are about to leave Earth to return to their home planet. Seiya tells Usagi he’s happy she’s been reunited with her boyfriend, and Usagi says it’s all thanks to his help. Seiya says he’ll never forget her... and obliviously, Usagi agrees that they’ll always be friends, which makes everyone laugh. Oh Usagi... you didn’t get it right up until the end. (Except for all those episodes where she did get it and was telling Seiya to leave her alone/feeling conflicted. But let’s forget about that for the sake of one more stupid friend zone joke, I guess.)
The Three Lights transform, and after saying goodbye, they fly off into the sky. Elsewhere, the Outer Senshi are watching shooting stars - probably the Starlights as they leave the Earth- and enjoying their own happy ending together.
We end on a scene of Usagi and Mamoru professing their love for one another, and Usagi giving her classic monologue about being a regular teenage girl, who’s a klutz and a crybaby, but who fights as the Sailor Senshi of truth and justice. As the curtain closes, Moonlight Densetsu plays for the first time in this season and over the final credits.
And that’s Sailor Moon. This episode was the end of an era, the end of the revitalization of the magical girl genre. I’d first started rewatching the 90's anime last fall, and having finished it, I feel like I can finally close the book on this show. I’ve relived my love for it as a child, while being able to evaluate it from an adult’s perspective. Overall, it’s still solid, even if the writing is simplistic and dumbed down for the sake of its target audience. While it’s become outdated after 20 years, you could probably sit a 10 year old in front of a TV with Sailor Moon and keep her thoroughly entertained.
As for Sailor Stars itself? Well. I’ve already written and complained extensively through my rewatch posts about where it succeeds and fails. There are some things I truly love about it. The Starlights’ arc is fascinating, even if their conflict with the Outer Senshi outlasted its welcome. The villains are amazing, especially Sailor Galaxia. The filler episodes tend to focus largely on the main characters, instead of trying to make us care about the daily one-shot victim character. And it’s got its flashes of brilliance, such as the Pizza Tiara episode, the episode with Seiya’s nun-in-disguise dancing instructor, the death of Iron Mouse, the deaths of Uranus and Neptune, and this entire final episode.
But it has its problems, too. Everything, generally, feels flimsy. Plot points are stretched out so long that they snap and break. The Starlights are incredibly unsympathetic. The show forgets about Mamoru’s absence, and how it’s affecting Usagi, during its entire middle part. They bring back the Outer Senshi early on, only to barely use them during the season itself. The romance between Seiya and Usagi is not credible because we know Usagi would never abandon Mamoru - and we don’t root for it anyway because Seiya acts like a selfish shitheel. Finding Princess Kakyuu is the focus of almost the whole season and they kill her off within two episodes of her finally appearing.
And then there’s the issue of how different this season is from the manga. I’ve already mentioned some of the ways the show expanded on the manga’s original story, and some of the ways it did the opposite. I could say even more on that topic as far as this finale goes; one of the biggest wastes of potential was Chibi Chibi, whose identity is completely different in the manga. The anime’s reveal of her as the Light of Hope feels pretty anti-climatic and doesn’t really justify her otherwise pointless inclusion. But even if CC had worked perfectly in the anime, I doubt I’d prefer her to what she could have been: Sailor Cosmos, a... [MANGA SPOILER WARNING..... MANGA SPOILER WARNING..... MANGA SPOILER WARNING] version of Sailor Moon from the very distant future, who went back in time to convince modern-day Sailor Moon to go against her credo of non-violence for the sake of preventing a future battle against an unbeatable foe. [end spoilers]
There are a few shots in the final episode of Stars where the Light of Hope is represented by a winged, caped, Sailor Moon-like figure, as seen in one of the screenshots above, which was probably intended as a nod to Sailor Cosmos when she didn’t make it into the anime. But to me, it’s more like a tease of what could have been.
And that’s a bit of my problem with Stars in general. It’s watchable and enjoyable, but it’s seriously flawed. And as each underdeveloped character decision or hamfisted turn of events passed, my preference for the manga story sat on my shoulder and grumbled in my ear, like an IV of haterade. Hopefully I didn’t complain too much, but, well... I’ve never claimed to be unbiased when it comes to something as important to me as Sailor Moon. But I hope that these rewatch posts have been interesting to even those people who love everything about Sailor Stars, and I hope that my criticisms have not turned off any newbies to the show or fandom!
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed revisiting Sailor Stars with me! For anyone not aware, I’m writing impressions posts every week for the new episodes of Crystal, so check AniTAY for those on Wednesdays at 8:00 PM.
The moonlight is a messenger of love! 🌙⭐️
You can follow the author on Twitter at @sub_judice!