It may have taken him 6 episodes, but finally, Tuxedo Mask barely manages to be an active participant in this week's episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, as the search for the Legendary Silver Crystal continues. Moon Prism Power, Re-Cap!
Act 6 - Tuxedo Mask - is an enjoyable return to form for the series so far - now that the team of Sailor Senshi is largely assembled, we got to hunker down for an actual adventure instead of a character's origin for the first time since Episode 4, and thankfully very few of the contrivances that reared their head last time showed up today.
The episode opens with both Mamoru and Usagi revealing they've been having the same bad dream recently - giving us even more moon flashbacks - before they accidentally bump into each other on the way to school. He calls her bun head, she gets flustered, same old same old when it comes to Mamoru and Usagi interacting so far. Makoto, like everyone else who's been watching, instantly pegs that Usagi fancies him and starts teasing her about it, but as they do, Ami draws their attention to a news broadcast about Tuxedo Mask.
Because in a STUNNING TWIST, Tuxedo Mask has decided to actively participate in a plot point that isn't a) Run off into the night or b) Say 'Do it now, Sailor Moon!' (never fear, Tuxedo fans, he gets to do both of those things later). He's released a statement to the media announcing his search for the Legendary Crystal, and suddenly both he and the crystal itself become the talk of the town - what better way to gather information about where it could possibly be? Clever Tuxedo Mask.
He's also taken to standing on rooftops being all ominous and whatnot, so I guess he's basically Japanese Batman for now (without the awesome trike-thing).
Look, I get that Tuxedo Mask being about as useful as a chocolate fireguard is from the early parts of the Manga, but I'm genuinely glad we're getting to see him actively doing things now, albeit quite minor, instead of just being a catalyst to get Usagi from A to B. Although I'm not gonna lie and say I do miss him flinging roses around like the first anime, because nothing quite beats a hero who's active weapon is a very sharp flower stem.
Meanwhile, talk of the Legendary Silver Crystal has it the Dark Kingdom as well, where Nephrite is still smarting over his defeat by Sailor Jupiter last week. Chin up, Nephrite, you could've been dead like you were meant to be! It's interesting that this anime, just like the original, is seemingly keeping the Shitennou around for a little longer than the manga did - hopefully their characters will get some development if that's the case. Because Nephrite has managed to cock up twice in a row, this time it's Zoisite's turn to concoct an evil scheme. I'm positive it will turn out well.
The Senshi get together at the local arcade so Luna can info-dump them on what they're meant to be doing and just what the Legendary Silver Crystal actually is - basically, it's the Death Star, so the youma should never get their hands on it. Good to know, Luna!
But Zoisite is setting his plan into motion already with his fabulous disguise as Doctor Izuno, who is basically... Zoisite with lipstick and a scarf on. What is it with people in this series and terrible disguises? That said, I wonder if his feminine disguise is perhaps a nod to the fact that several versions of the first anime changed the character into a woman. Zoisite uses the TV broadcast to broadcast a mind control signal to the people watching, including Usagi's mom, getting them to slavishly search for the Silver Crystal. When they discover what's happening, the Senshi return to the Arcade to plan their next move.
Luna reveals her secret base to the Senshi, where she's been tracking any potential leads, as well as Tuxedo Mask, who she still doesn't trust. Usagi jumps to his defence, arguing that as he always saves her he couldn't be evil, but Luna still asks her to be cautious around him - causing her to run off in a huff. Without her, Luna and the rest of the gang go to confront Zoisite at the TV station, having apparently stopped the mind control broadcast (when did that happen!?) - but wait, what's this?
An actual fight scene in Sailor Moon Crystal? With more than one attack? And it's... pretty good? Hooray!
Whilst the Sailors battle Zoisite, a collapsing Usagi is found by Tuxedo Mask, who apologises for basically causing this who mess. You do one thing for once, Tuxedo Mask, and it goes wrong! Usagi expresses her doubts that she can lead the Senshi to Tuxedo Mask, only to see them get incapacitated by Zoisite and have Queen Beryl show up to finish them off. Tuxedo Mask reminds her that whilst she doesn't have the elemental powers the other Senshi does, she has the power to make them smile, to get them to open up and discover their strength as Sailor Senshi - which makes her a great candidate for leadership. It's nice to see Usagi getting to show off more to her character in little moments like this, as well as pointing out her actual positive elements, instead of constantly reminding us what a Klutz she is sometimes.
Usagi, bolstered by this, then worries about transforming into Sailor Moon in front of Tuxedo Mask - despite the fact that she literally just told him that she's Sailor Moon. And that he knew that she already was Sailor Moon after last week, considering he went to Usagi's house to bring her to Nephrite. So what the hell, Usagi? Despite the moment of plot stupidity, she transforms and heads off to save the others - getting a new attack in the process!
Yes, after gaining the Moon Stick at the end of the last episode, Sailor Moon Crystal gives us the series' first Moon Healing Escalation, which conveniently doubles up as an attack to defeat Zoisite (who at least looks mortally wounded as Beryl carries her back to the Dark Kingdom, but considering Jadeite and Nephrite survived, I don't see why he wouldn't!) and heal all the people affected by his mind controlling energy drain.
The day saved, Usagi finally konks out having spent all of her energy to use the Stick - so Tuxedo Mask whisks her away back to his apartment (why not her own place, considering he knows where she lives?) to recover. As she wakes up the following morning, she discovers that...
Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask! Dun-dun-duuuuun. Try to act surprised.
It looks like next week will be spent digging even deeper into Mamoru and Tuxedo Mask's background judging by the preview (Which calls the episode Act 7 - Tuxedo Mask -, which seems kinda silly to have two episodes with the same title back to back, but there we go). Hopefully the show delivers another enjoyable episode, like it did this week!
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