Review: Sailor Moon Crystal
Act 5: Makoto – Sailor Jupiter
After several somewhat lackluster episodes, I am finally happy to announce that episode 5 of Sailor Moon Crystal was a rousing success. The only reason why I took so long in writing this review is that I have had some technical difficulties going on with my site and didn’t get around to getting everything sorted out until recently. Anyway, without further ado: here’s my long delayed review! (Oh, that even rhymes.)
So, much like the previous episodes that were right before the introduction of a new Guardian, the end of episode 4 teased the viewers about the newest addition to the team, Sailor Jupiter. I was nervous about this, only due to the low production value of episodes 2 and 3, which were the other Guardian introduction episodes. However, I assumed (probably naively) that the three week gap between episodes 4 and 5 would allow for the production team to tidy up any loose strands, so to speak. I was pleasantly surprised to see how nice the episode looked as a whole.
Brief plot summary is as follows:
Usagi is saved from death; specifically, saved from being hit by a car by a stranger with rose earrings. Nephrite is seen telling Beryl that he plans on using love to fight the humans, and immediately after, the scene changes to Naru showing off her relative’s wedding dress. Usagi is in awe, and daydreams about wearing a wedding dress of her own someday. While this happens, the stranger from earlier walks by and she gets flashbacks from the near death experience she had earlier. Rumors have already begun about the stranger and how she’s not the nicest person; she has supposedly gotten kicked out of her old school for fighting someone. Since she saved Usagi earlier, Usagi wonders if the rumors are even true. The stranger goes and sits down in the classroom, and receives odd stares from everyone else, much like Ami did in episode 2, but she simply says, “well, whatever,” and moves on.
Lunchtime rolls around and she sits alone, in viewing range of a baseball game. Usagi is excitedly walking toward her and notices how extravagant her lunchbox looks. She then proceeds to sneak behind the bench, but this endeavor doesn’t last long, since as soon as the stranger opens her lunchbox, Usagi jumps up and exclaims how delicious it looks; this makes her vulnerable, and since she has the worst luck imaginable in this episode, a stray baseball heads directly for her face. The stranger’s amazing reflexes allow for her to catch it right in time, and she and Usagi develop a bond; they become friends, and she introduces herself as Makoto Kino.
Makoto goes to the arcade with Usagi and Ami notices how good she is at the Sailor V game. Mako introduces herself to Ami, and vice versa, and after they spend some more time at the arcade (and Mako gets ex-boyfriend vibes from Motoki) they take a walk and pass the bridal shop. Usagi says Mako would look great in a wedding dress and Ami agrees, causing Mako to blush. Passersby mention that the bridal shop is haunted, and that there have been reports of a ghost using the mannequins to seduce men. They then go and meet up with Rei, who immediately recognizes Mako as someone important, and tell her about the bridal shop. Mako goes home and Rei comments that they’ll all be gathering soon, meaning that she believes all of the Guardians will be together again, and Luna agrees.
The scene then changes to Motoki closing up the arcade and getting seduced by the mannequin at the shop, which is clearly possessed by something or someone. Mako, who is heading home at this time, catches up with Motoki, who is now being controlled by the mannequin, and he grabs her and tells her he loves her. Mamoru is at the right place at the right time and notices that something is off with Motoki, and wakes up Usagi; Luna uses the communicator bracelet to get Ami and Rei to wake up and meet Usagi. They all go to the bridal shop and see that the mannequins have possessed and drained the energy of nearly every man in the city. Usagi knows that the mannequins were youma, and all three Guardians transform. Mars uses her scrolls and her fire to attack the mannequin trying to hit them, but the explosion allows it to run away; Mercury notices that it went and grabbed Mako, making her a hostage of some sort. The mannequin taunts the Guardians, and Nephrite shows up – he was the one behind all of this. He uses his powers to trap the Guardians, making them rely on Mako for help. She snaps out of being knocked out by the mannequin by Nephrite’s speech about human love and she remembers how her crush suddenly got a girlfriend when she thought he cared for her. This causes her to get the strength to break free from the mannequin, but not the strength to fight. She feels hopeless, but Moon is able to convince her otherwise and Luna delivers the transformation pen Mako needs. She transforms into Sailor Jupiter and destroys the mannequins with Jupiter Thunderbolt, and Nephrite stares in awe before he teleports away.
Luna then delivers the Moon Stick to Sailor Moon, and the episode ends.
This episode was great! The small detail about Rei not trusting men being in this episode made me happy, since I was worried that they’d forget all about that aspect of her personality. Makoto’s flashback about her ‘senpai’ or her crush, was not in the manga, but I figured it was a good addition since it added to the theme of the episode. Sailor Moon’s speech to her right before she transforms was a tad bit too cheesy for my tastes, but that’s such a minor complaint that it’s really not a complaint at all. Jupiter’s transformation sequence was great, save for the same issues the previous ones had with awkward, rubbery CGI clothing/bows. Jupiter’s powers looked awesome, and I am excited to see more. Hopefully Toei can keep this up!
Also, her VA is great, as she voiced Ryuko from Kill la Kill as well.
RATING: 5 out of 5 lightning rods