Everyone wants something on Sailor Moon Crystal. The Black Moon want power. Usagi wants to go home with her friends. Tuxedo Mask wants to protect Chibi Usa. I want to move on from the endless exposition and get to the action. But as hard as Sailor Moon Crystal tries this week, not everyone gets what they wanted.

Despite Act 23 carrying on SMC’s “let’s do as little as we can to advance the plot” streak for much of its run time, everything that does happen is through a character being pushed into a life threatening scenario either inadvertently, or of their own doing. We first see Tuxedo Mask, committing what is possibly the most Tuxedo-Mask-ian thing he’s done so far (as far as “noble intentions lead to stupid ideas” is Tuxedo Mask’s raison d’être) by willingly charging out into the seas of Time in an attempt to save Chibi Usa, putting himself in grave danger. We’re constantly teased throughout by the presence of... well, whatever has happened to Chibi Usa having made her pact with Wiseman, seemingly getting her final wish to grow up and transform, but at the cost of succumbing to Wiseman’s dark powers.

But the biggest near-death experience of the episode is naturally given over to Usagi, who finds herself with free reign to wander the Black Moon’s castle in a vain attempt to locate her friends (said wandering leads to an exposition-laden tour of the two rooms anyone ever actually bothers to use in the castle — on the left, the secret room of meeting together and bitching about how you don’t like Wiseman, on the right, the room with a giant fire-y beam of pure evil power blazing through it’s centre, which is probably a safety hazard). Attempts to wander further lead to Usagi passing out, and yet she still tries to find her friends, clinging on to the hope that they’re still alive.

This leads her of course to the aforementioned Giant Fire-y Beam room, where Saphir, who has barely had any characterisation — and that’s saying something, given the relative one-note vibe the Black Moon Clan has given off — decides to take matters into his own hands. Sick of Demande’s dawdling and dealing with Wiseman, Saphir wants to murder Usagi, robbing the Legendary Silver Plot Device of its most powerful user. But Usagi is saved from death, and in turn, is rewarded with what she’s wanted since her abduction: The power to save her friends.

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Seemingly possessed by the spirit of the dormant Neo Queen Serenity all the way back in Crystal Tokyo, Usagi is wrapped in light, allowing her to break free from Saphir’s minions and transform, essentially going into the Senshi equivalent of a Super Saiyan (right down to the sticking-up hair!). Incapacitating Saphir, she uses her newfound strength to locate Rei, Makoto and Ami, and even help them transform.

Yes, the Sailor Senshi are back! A thousand Toei animators weep with joy when they discover they can go back to using up airtime by repeating several transformation animations instead of creating new material.

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As ever with Sailor Moon Crystal however, just as the girls are ready to kick ass, they’re pretty much instantly incapacitated themselves by Wiseman and Demande showing up. Both sides argue with each other — something that devolves pretty much just into that “Anakin, Chancellor Palaptine is Evil!” “From my point of view the Jedi are Evil!” exchange from Revenge of the Sith, but yet somehow manages to come off as even more petty. Before Usagi decides to do the pretty sensible thing and use her power to cheese it on out of Nemesis and back to the safety of Crystal Tokyo.

But although the Senshi are reunited, and ready to take on the Black Moon once and for all, they almost immediately hit a snag when Sailor Pluto informs them that both Tuxedo Mask and Chibi Usa are lost in Time. Meanwhile, Tuxedo Mask learns that actually getting what you want can lead to some pretty nasty surprises, as he finally comes across Chibi Usa’s terrible new fate:

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Yes, it seems like our long national nightmare may have ended. Is it finally time for people to stop pontificating and for things to actually happen on Sailor Moon Crystal? Find out in... *checks schedule*

Three weeks!? Oh for the love of God, Toei.


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