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Title: Sailor Moon Crystal
Episode: 4 [Masquerade]
Watched: Saturday August 16th, 2014

August 16th, 2014

Hello people!
How are you all doing?
I’m writing this when I should be preparing for the anime convention here in Montreal, called Otakuthon. I really cannot wait to take part of the event once more!! When you receive this though, it’ll already be over and we’ll be kicked into school and/or work… let us do our very best, as usual!

**August 11th, 2014 EDIT: I’m really sorry for the lateness of this episode and of these episode reviews all throughout the week. I’ve been trying to get my stuff back together since… I felt pretty down since school started [balancing out my school workload, my review workload as well as my teaching workload which has recently increased drastically], but I’ve started to feel a bit better now (since Eevee‘s keeping me company now, resting on my lap and making sure that I eat everything, or else he’ll eat it for me). To compensate, I’ll try and make it so that next episode reviews will be on time… (keyword: TRY).

Anyways, as usual, let me warn you that there are spoilers and that I have separated the post into multiple (and I do mean MULTIPLE) sections in hopes to somewhat ease the reading.

Let’s start off this review by mentioning the introduction to the episode, which is when Luna stares at Mamoru’s picture and wonders whether or not he’s an enemy. Don’t you find it notable that she doesn’t have the picture of TUXEDO MASK but of Chiba Mamoru? Does this mean that she knows he’s Tuxedo Mask, but knows little else about him? Seeing as she already knows that she has to beware of him being an ally or a foe, I’m considering she already knows. Is she going to share this piece of information with Usagi? I mean… Usagi has this… hate-slowly-turning-into-almost-admiration-which-will-eventually-turn-into-love for Mamoru and she is infatuated with Tuxedo Mask… Let’s see how this plays out…
I don’t rule out the fact that perhaps Luna hasn’t made the connection yet either, and that she’s just wondering whether or not she should trust Mamoru, who has on several occasions heard her (Luna) speak to Usagi. Perhaps there’s also another, separate character card with Tuxedo Mask [if I recall, there is a Tuxedo Mask card which is shown in the previous episode (Episode 2), where you can see TUXEDO MASK underneath Ami’s name card].

Sailor Moon Crystal

I loved that there was a reason why, throughout the episode, Usagi was shown to be so tired [she stayed up late (reading manga)]. It was also used as the reason why she fell asleep after the battle, which I’ll probably mention again later on in this review.

I like that you can see Usagi ask Luna if she can use the transformation pen (and Luna would refuse). Luna serves as Usagi’s conscience and guide, as almost every Magical Girl needs. This scene serves to remind you that, after all, Usagi isn’t a mature girl who knows when it’s appropriate to use her powers, she still wants to use them for trivial purposes, as any child would if she/he would receive superpowers (a running theme in many superhero storylines). Luna also serves to remind her that: “With great power comes great responsibility” (Uncle Ben, Spiderman), which is important for any hero!!

I was a little surprised when Rei mentioned that she was already sick of fighting Youma. She’s only, to our knowledge at this point, fought one once. Was it really necessary for her to say such a line? After all, wouldn’t she be thankful that fighting Youma has gotten her two new besties (and more to come)? Wouldn’t it be more Usagi’s job to be done with her Scouting days? After all, of all the scouts, she’s the one who “awakens” her sense of responsibilities as a Scout a little later than the others [do you realize that during Luna’s exposition as to who the Princess they protect is and why they must protect her, Usagi just disappeared and decided that it wasn’t important enough for her to miss an opportunity to play the Sailor V game?! I mean… this example speaks of itself], despite being the ‘first’ to officially be a Scout. You will remember of course that Sailor Moon stays a klutz who needs a lot of motivation (in the form of Tuxedo Mask) and to be thrown directly into the situation in order for her to formally make a statement and act as a Sailor Scout.

Seeing as, as I mention later on, the Four Dark Kings never quite appeared in the same scene (due to Jadeite dying), it’s quite interesting and is a feature that only Sailor Moon Crystal has compared to the manga and the 90s anime. I think I may have mentioned this before, but I can simply not wait until we find out what the authors have in store for these characters.

I’ll also just point out the similarities between her dresses. Do you ever wonder why, when Usagi says: “Transform me into a Princess”, she wasn’t transformed into the Princess Serenity that she used to be in another life, but as a regular princess? I believe that it is because she hasn’t fully awakened as a princess yet. As I recall in episode 45-46 (Japanese 90s anime) and episode 40 (English 90s anime), Queen Beryl even says that Sailor Moon can’t even use the Crystal to heal Tuxedo Mask because he was filled with Dark Energy and she can’t use the Crystal to its fullest strength BECAUSE she hasn’t fully become a true princess yet.
[I’d also like to point out that I love Ami and Rei’s dresses and that I like the addition of the matching crowns to their attires; in the previous anime, neither Ami nor Rei were allowed in the premises of the masquerade (perhaps it’s because they weren’t wearing the crowns and didn’t come alongside Usagi?) Perhaps it’s because their dresses were, arguably not as nice as the ones they were allowed to wear in this anime?].

Can we take a moment to talk about her dad?Her father was portrayed well in my opinion and had a pretty good dialogue and thoughts that came right out from the manga well. The only thing that’s different is that in the anime, she doesn’t notice that her father is in that crowd who is being energy drained by Princess D., whereas in the manga, she does [Paternal love is also important, guys, not just Friendship!!!!]. In the Japanese version, the father mentions how he’s a magazine reporter, which is why he was given an invitation to Diamond Kingdom’s embassy, however, in the English version, there was no such mention. I find it a bit lacking in this episode that her father didn’t appear as much as in the 90s anime.

The fact that Usagi thought that it was lonely without a partner or her friends, despite being prettily dressed and despite being a princess [also her dialogue with Tuxedo Mask afterwards] was shown in the manga as well as here, but was omitted almost completely during the 90s anime (she did sort of hint towards it). I really liked this scene, because it sort of shows how lonely you would be despite looking like a princess. Of course this is thwarted by the fact that she meets with Tuxedo Mask (who doesn’t even give her handkerchief back).

About the iconic scene where they fall [here’s a comparison between the 90s anime, the manga and this version]. Do you know that in the 90s, Luna is the one who drops the umbrella into Usagi’s hands as Tuxedo Mask and she fall? Interesting, considering that the present anime has Usagi take it from her breast pocket (ugh, Bayleef tells me that it’s actually normal to hide stuff there… but… why… it just… I don’t know, it really shocked me… I wouldn’t think of hiding anything in my bra… I mean that’s probably why I always have a bag with me… wouldn’t your boob look asymmetrical compared to the other with a pen in your bra anyway?). The iconic scene wasn’t even used in the English version of the 90s anime [which is a SHAM, a SHAM, I say, because this scene‘s quite iconic and that would actually explain why Bayleef was surprised when she saw this scene unfold], they reused some image to handle the scene, making the two characters use the stairs to join the others.
If you look closely at his face, it sort of looks like he can’t believe that it actually worked [or maybe it’s just me?]. Hahaha. Or maybe he, like me, can’t believe that she could hide a freaking pen in her bra. I liked that he thanked her for saving him this time (when he actually got himself in danger for saving her). He ran after this scene (presumably to get his hat to complete his costume) but in the 90s anime, he immediately went after Nephrite, only to get stopped and questioned by Mercury. [I’d also like to point out that I enjoyed that Sailor Moon wasn’t as ‘whiny’ about being thrown overboard here as she was in the 90s anime… that was seriously annoying].

Did you all notice (or was it only just me, perhaps?) that after each and every episode, the monsters just keep getting stronger and stronger?
After the first episode, Jadeite made his monsters immune to Sailor Moon’s supersonic attacks. During the third episode, it was more Jadeite himself, who was able to counter Mercury’s attack but was injured by Mars’ attack. Then, in this episode, Nephrite’s monster [I mean shadow, I meant shadow] was immune to Mars’ fire attack, but he was defeated by Sailor Moon’s new attack (courtesy of the warmth she received when she danced with Tuxedo Mask).
These episodes just make the “monsters” stronger and stronger, so I can’t wait to see what it will amount to in the end. Do you notice though that they don’t seem to be gathering people’s energy, like they did in the 90s anime (in order to revive their ruler).
While it wasn’t mentioned in the anime, Sailor Moon’s new attack [due to her new Moon Tiara] was named: Moon Twilight Flash in the manga. I really liked that they mentioned how Sailor Moon had lost her previous tiara (because this coincides with the manga), whereas I believe that it hadn’t even been mentioned in the 90s anime [the tiara also looks the same as it does in the manga, which is another bonus points].

I was very impressed with the 2 000-karat diamond that is Princess D’s special treasure. I think it looks prettier than the previous anime’s. It would also have been funny if Luna had attempted to speak to the princess and, since the princess would freak out, this would prove that Princess D is not the lunar princess Luna was looking for (which is a scene in the previous anime), but seeing as it didn’t really appear in the manga, I wouldn’t have minded either.

Now finally, the juicy part which even Bayleef knows about!! I’m talking, of course, about the iconic kiss scene [x]; in the 90s English version, it’s not remotely hinted that Usagi gets drunk, whereas it is in the Japanese version. English-Tuxedo Mask promises her that they’ll be together soon, whereas the Japanese-Tuxedo Mask mentions something like how his proximity to Usagi makes him feel like he remembers more than before. I want to point out that something did bother me at this scene, and it’s the fact that Usagi’s in her Sailor Scout uniform [Munchlax also felt iffy about this, so I’m not the only one]. In all previous incarnations of Sailor Moon, this scene was given to us with Usagi in her dress!!!! It would’ve been prettier too, but I guess this is one of the few things SMC decided to differ from all its predecessors!

I’m really glad that Tuxedo Mask was there when the Four Dark Kings revealed themselves, because seeing as they also revealed their quest for the Crystal, which pits them, of course, against the Sailor Senshis, Tuxedo Mask realized that, seeing as he also is in search of the same crystal, he might as well be their enemy, which he also tells Luna when she confronts him about it [Chapter 06 of the manga is called Tuxedo Mask, so I am willing to bet we’ll learn more about it then]).

Friendship is the Magical Girl’s best friend rant #3

Let me just use this part here to talk about the relationship between Rei Hino and Ami Mizuno explored in this episode [I talk about the importance of friendship so much that I’ve already decided to make a different section for it].

It has not been shown as of the fourth chapter of the manga, however, Rei and Ami were able to showcase their budding friendship during this episode [Ami showing her how to solve a difficult problem, playing at the arcades (GOING to the arcade for the first time, even), looking for Princess D. together and actually being SEEN together (whereas the manga shows little interactions at this point in the timeline)].

Whereas, in the manga, Rei shows off a little bit her “busy” side (which was what Ami used to do in the previous episodes and chapters (being too busy with cram school)), in this anime, she’s not opposed to trying new things with Ami, and even freaking adorably blushes when she is taught some amazing moves by Ami.

You’ve got to remember that unlike the 90s’ anime, Rei has no friends due to people ostracizing her or being intimidated by her ‘abnormal’ psychic abilities. For Rei, to be treated as normal and friendly by Ami (and Usagi in the previous episode), as well as doing normal girl activities with her friends made her feel super happy (in the same way that Ami felt happy when Usagi complimented her gaming skills and showered her with friendship love in previous episodes). [here are people’s blog posts about this scene]

Usagi basically abandoned her friends outside of the gates in the 90s anime, whereas she didn’t in this anime episode (until of course her appetite gets the better of her). I would have wanted for Usagi to spend more time with her friends, BUT she is the one who unified them at first and she does have an important scene with Tuxedo Mask, so I’ll go ahead and forgive her for that.

I think it’s pretty symbolic that, while waiting for Usagi to show up, Ami shows Rei the game of Sailor V. It’s symbolic in the sense that Ami is the one who shows Rei around this time (not Usagi). She’s even closed a study book in order to offer Rei to play the game, thus prioritizing her time with her friend to studying, which she already sort of does at cram school, at school, and probably at home (as is shown in the previous incarnation of this anime).

I’m sort of anticipating the next episode (or so), and I’d really like it if Ami and Rei were the ones who introduced Makoto (Jupiter) to other things about the Sailor Scout life. That would be mightily swell!

Comparison between Manga (chapter 4 []), Current Anime (Episode 4 [Masquerade] )and 90s Anime (English: Episode 18 [Worth A Princess’ Ransom]; Japanese: 22[Romance Under the Moon! Usagi’s First Kiss])

As usual (and this will be a major redundant thing that I will say each time I do a review, I think), this episode really followed closely to the manga, except, of course, some minor changes, SOME of which I will enumerate here:

  • In the manga, Usagi does not notice the cars creating a huge traffic as she comes to school, because there’s none [so she doesn’t ask about using the pen to transform for ‘unorthodox’ reasons]. In the 90’s anime, she does, however.
  • Luna stays home in the manga, whereas she follows Usagi even to class.
  • I have mentioned this, but the relationship between Ami Mizuno (Mercury) and Rei Hino (Mars) was not as developed in the manga, whereas the present anime did a good job in showing these things [see my Friendship rant].
  • The dialogue where Luna explained to the Senshis who they are the Guardians of and the reason why the princess hasn’t been found yet are similar in both the manga and the present anime. There is one small difference; in this anime, Luna mentions that the key to becoming full-fledged senshis is enclosed in their memories, whereas the anime disregards this.
  • Of course, Jadeite is not present in this chapter, however, he was present in the anime. In the manga, you see Nephrite (the next Dark King to face the Scouts), promising the carcass of Jadeite that he will avenge him and bring him back to life (they do care for each other!!), whereas in this episode, they just teased Jadeite on doing a poor job.
  • The fact that the butler stopped the girls as they entered the premises of the masquerade, only to take Luna away from them and promising to look after her (only to lose her afterwards) only appeared in the anime (but it was a great addition, because fun timez).
    • In the 90s anime, the butler stops her and asks for her invitation, but Usagi promptly tells him she’s the Princess of the Ivanovich Kingdom, confusing him.
  • The Four Dark Kings each presented themselves to the Three Scouts (Kunzite, Zoisite, Nephrite and Jadeite) in this episode. They could never have done so in the same chapter (because of Jadeite’s death). I would have liked to see something like this happen during the episode, just because you learn later on in the manga that these Four Dark Kings used to be Tuxedo Mask’s best friends (and if you recall as I do, he doesn’t have many (surviving) ones). Here’s a song for their comeback also.
    • In the English version of the anime, Zoisite and Nephrite bicker a lot more than in the Japanese version. In the Japanese anime, Kunzite shows Zoisite about being patient; about how Nephrite will soon show how far his skills extent to, whereas in the English version, they both doubt his skills very much.
    • In both versions of the 90s, Nephrite hates Tuxedo Mask, which is tragic, considering that they were once best friends.
  • Naru doesn’t get a lot of screen time in the manga, whereas in the anime, she does (she goes through the whole drama with Nephrite, too!!). She also goes to the Princess D banquet, whereas she scarcely appear at all in the manga [so far anyway]!! In the manga, she’s the one who introduces the whole Diamond Kingdom banquet to Usagi, where as in the anime, it’s Umino who’s relegated to the job.
    • In this episode, of course, due to the subplot between her and Nephrite, both of them appear and even share a dance (and a flirt) together. In the Japanese version, they don’t flirt as much, but Sanjoin/Nephrite does say that she made his day by coming to the banquet (so he could dance with her). In this same scene, the English-Usagi doesn’t even see Naru whereas she does in the Japanese version and quickly, both version wonder where their father is. 
    • Of course, Nephrite uses Naru to find Princess D and
  • We are shown Tuxedo Mask‘s dream in the 90s anime, explaining his motivations to dress up and find the Legendary Crystal, whereas in the manga, it wasn’t explained. [in the Japanese version, he questions the princess to ask her what the Crystal is, whereas he merely agrees and promises they will be together again in the English version]
    • This motivation is furthered in the later scene, when, Japanese-Tuxedo Mask mentions in his thoughts that if he finds the crystal, he’ll find out who he is exactly, whereas in the English version, he plays detective, figuring out the reason behind the fact that there are guards posted at the door of a certain room.
  • To further show how Usagi’s sense of justice is different from the rest in the 90s anime, when Luna advises her not to use the transformation pen for petty purposes, Usagi has a different response in both versions; in the Japanese version, she says it’s for the mission and stays by it (although we later see she strays a little bit), whereas in the English version, she openly admits that the mission is lowest priorities.
  • When Mars and Mercury come to help Usagi by handling Nephrite, English-Mars taunts Nephrite, whereas Japanese-Mars actually says something like: “My Tuxedo Mask will live”.
    • In both versions, the moment Tuxedo Mask and Usagi are safe, Mercury stops the former and demands questions and explanations about who he is [Japanese version] and why he’s after the crystal [English Version] before he can even jump into action.
      • He responds to her that he would also like to know who he is and the importance of the crystal to him in the Japanese version, to which she asks him whether or not he’s their enemy/ally (something that Luna does in the manga, after he kisses Sailor Moon). To this, he answers that he may as well be their enemy, seeing as they’re both looking for the same thing [which corresponds to the manga]. In the English version, he answers with a “that key is the key to the whole universe (how does he know this though?)” and he also reveals to them how he doesn’t know exactly who he is, to which Mercury reminds him that he’s an ally to the Scouts, but he interrupts her, and promptly tells her to remember that he doesn’t know WHO he is.

Sailor Jupiter is extremely interesting to look at, her scene is, as usual, the exact same one as in the manga. I remember that Growlithe asked me during the Otakuthon convention whether or not I liked how she sounded like. We only got a couple of seconds, but I really liked the sound of her voice. She sounds as fierce as Jupiter should sound like? I am not sure and I couldn’t judge completely, but let’s hope that we’re going to get a great episode 5! Growlithe also mentioned how Ami Koshimizu (the voice actress) also voiced Cure Melody, in Suite Precure! in the Pretty Cure Franchise.

Let me leave you with this parody of the three girls, preparing for battle [click on the image for higher resolution and for, as usual, the link of where I’ve found it].
I completely forgot to mention the obsession that Tuxedo Mask has with cats in the previous episode’s blog post, so here goes. I love this person’s assumption that Tuxedo Mask wasn’t shocked because of the hat but because cat actually rejected him. I love how she also even made a post to show just how deeply rooted he’s shown his love for cats in both the manga and in the previous anime. I thought it was worth a mention!!

Another person’s post, where you’ll find trivia and other gifs of the episode!!
Also, that week, Sawyer7mage didn’t produce a video about Act 4: Masquerade, due to personal reasons, if I recall correctly, but he was back for episode 5, which I’ll link in the right blog post. And, before I forget, here’s the link to Chikorita‘s post! I’ll remind you that she posts in French!!

imageThen I shall take my leave,
and hope that next episode will come soon [it already did]!!
Ponyta’s out!