It might be heartbreak for Usagi, but when the Sailor Senshi get to face off against an evil Tuxedo Mask, we all win - this was a pretty great episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, and it's nice to see the show finally hitting its stride.
It's ironic that, as a villain, Tuxedo Mask is most effective as a character instead of the inactive participant that he is when he's a hero (this is just part of why he sucks), but with Mamoru batting for Team Dark Kingdom this episode, we got a legitimately exciting episode - and one that was largely thankfully light on flashbacks and plotdump recaps. A little bit of silliness, a lot of action, and some good conflict, Act 11 gives us a tease of what Sailor Moon Crystal can be like when it's firing on all cylinders - it's just a matter of whether it can sustain that quality as we head into the end of the Manga's first arc.
The episode begins (as a lot of them have), with Usagi dreaming about Mamoru again, only to be awakened by Luna. It's nice to see the show showing them actually having a relationship instead of it always being Luna bossing Usagi around, and it's lovely little moment between the two of them as Usagi gets ready for School, on the way, Usagi bumps into someone, knocking Mamoru's watch out of her pocket. Someone who looks rather familiar...
Could it be Tuxedo Mask? Who knows! Well, we do, when we find out a moment later that it is Mamoru - and he's being all sinister and evil, using mind control to wipe Motoki's best friend Endo's memories, and then hypnotise Motoki into believing that Mamoru is really Endo, so he can infiltrate the Game arcade. In literally about 30 seconds, Mamoru has done more than he has in the rest of the series so far. That's the power of evil, right there. It works, and even though one of Motoki's friends is a bit weirded out by the fact that Endo seems to look like a completely different person now, Mamoru's infiltration succeeds.
Meanwhile the girls meet up at Ami's apartment complex (which they are surprisingly amazed by, despite it looking like your average block of apartments) for a Girls' Night In/Senshi Meeting. Usagi has brought snacks, Minako's brought the giant Moon sword they picked up from their lunar escapades - you know, as you do. It turns out the Sword is capable of destroying anything it touches, after it shatters a diamond ring with a mere tap, and Ami theorises that it, along with the rest of the Moon Kindgom ruins, has been transformed into a poisonous material after the Dark Kingdom attack. No one is seemingly concerned about the fact that they're waving around a big poisonous sword though, no big deal. Usagi dozes off during the meeting, and the girls leave her to rest, but she wakes up later and finds herself suddenly drawn to the Arcade.
She of course finds 'Endo' there, and promptly freaks the hell out - and of course, despite having turned Evil, apparently the one thing you can't take out of Mamoru is some of his creepiness. He starts touching Usagi's hair buns and remarking how much like Sailor Moon she looks, while she just stands there sort of half-broken and dumbstruck. Luckily Luna is creeping on the both of them, and contacts the rest of the team to come check and confirm that it really is Mamoru - but Rei detects that something is wrong (as she is wont to do) and they resolve to try and keep Usagi away from him. Alas Usagi visits the Arcade again, and Mamoru gets all creepy again, trying to hypnotise her into revealing that she's Sailor Moon, but the attempt fails and she flees the arcade. Ami and Makoto were apparently watching outside, and you know, didn't intervene. Nice one girls! Instead, Makoto makes the dumb decision of waiting for the Arcade to close to confront Mamoru and Motoki alone... which of course, doesn't end well.
Hypnotised, Makoto brings the Senshi and Luna to the command center and tries to swipe the Legendary Silver Crystal - but Rei foils her attempt (with a surprisingly mighty backhand). It's too late though, as Mamoru and Motoki have also infiltrated the Center - and Usagi is paralysed by indecision while Rei, Ami and Minako transform. Hang on a second, we're 16 minutes in and the Senshi are transforming already. Are we... are we actually getting a decent amount of action for once? Hooray! And Venus finally gets to use her weird Prayer Bead Whip thing! Double Hooray! The Senshi fight Motoki and Mamoru, but alas, it's not enough, and Mamoru gets his hands on the Legendary Silver Crystal. Usagi is in still in shock though, and powerless to help - until Luna spurs her on, and Mamoru reveals just how much of an evil douche he is:
NOT COOL TUXEDO MASK. But like I said, he's totally better as a villain, right? Do nothing at all or hurt Cats, these are the two extremes of Mamoru Chiba. Also, badly animated derpy faces, apparently.
No one hurts Luna - as Usagi snaps and transforms, ready to not just heal the rest of the team and revive Luna (oh and apparently Artemis is there too, despite not having been in any of the rest of the episode. Huh!), but also to fight Mamoru and beat him back into his senses. Unfortunately we don't get to see Sailor Moon go to town on him, because Mamoru deflects the attack, revealing that, dun dun duuuuuuuun, Queen Beryl is there too, ready to finish the Senshi off once and for all. Cliffhanger!
Next time it looks like we get a showdown between Sailor Moon and the evil Queen herself, and more villainous Tuxedo Mask. If it's as good as this week's episode, then sign me up, SMC.
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