Warning: Spoilers

Be sure to check out the Sailor Moon Crystal Page for reviews of Acts I through VIII in case you missed them!

Pretty sure I have the Japanese theme song 90% memorized now. There is nothing more annoying that a song half memorized, because when you get it stuck in your head you sort of sing the same section over and over again on a loop. And when it’s in a foreign language you start making up words to fill in the gaps….

“Shiney! Makeup! ah-ah-ah-ooh-YO hoshi sora oh ah~tsumete!

But you aren’t here to learn about my karaoke skills. Let’s talk Act IX.

The episode opens right were Act VIII ended. Tuxedo Mask sacrificed himself to shield Sailor Moon from a strong attack from Kunzite. Now we see Sailor Moon’s reaction. With a burst of intense emotion Sailor Moon taps into her past life as Princess Serenity and begins to remember Silver Millennium.

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I was surprised how fast this happened. They weren’t kidding when they named the episode “Serenity”. But did anyone else get tired of seeing Tuxedo Mask’s head on Usagi’s lap before she transformed into Princess Serenity regalia? It looked risque for some reason. Trust me, I’m no prude, but it distracted me from getting into the story.

Or should I say, into the flashbacks?

Unlike the previous anime, we get a more in depth look at the events that lead up to the destruction of Silver Millennium. I knew all of it already, but the way it was told really hit home for me the sheer tragedy of it all. Serenity and Endymion are as star crossed as Romeo and Juliet. I particularly liked how the broken pocket watch began winding backwards as Usagi began experiencing her reincarnated memories.

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As I’ve said multiple times, I have never gotten into the manga, so all my comparisons are purely from an anime point of view. In my last post I speculated if Sailor Venus actually thinks she is Princess Serenity. Artemis reveals to us in this episode that Sailor Venus was pretending to be the princess in order to protect her. Sailor Venus then introduces herself as the true leader of the Sailor Senshi. This does almost make me want to like Sailor Venus, but I still can’t; she’s too perfect, and a bit of a snob. Rei is almost the same way, but her temper and loner style give her enough viewer empathy to make her likable.

Most of Act IX involves seeing Usagi weep at the loss of Tuxedo Mask. Queen Beryl has whisked him away to the Dark Kingdom to  extract the power of the Silver Crystal from his body. Interestingly, Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite all hover near his body and discuss with one another the strange nostalgia they feel as they look at him. Kunzite has a moment of clarity, remembering the name Endymion being cried out, but he still declares he has no memory of Tuxedo Mask. This makes me wonder if Kunzite has a trick up his sleeve. Is he as loyal to Queen Beryl as he is pretending? Will he help Endymion, his former friend?

Which brings me to my favorite part of the episode, where Usagi has cloistered herself in her bedroom. The Sailor Scouts pay her a visit out of concern, and are startled at the rate at which Usagi’s hair has grown. Usagi expresses her fears:

“It’s like I’m losing my own identity”

And who wouldn’t feel that way? She has lost her current romantic interest, and that has been compounded by the memory of past loss. She is in effect experiencing PTSD from the past and the present. I can see how some might ridicule her meltdown as over-the-top, but I think it is completely warranted after experiencing as many shocks as she has. Fortunately, her friends recognize her pain, and remind her of her strength. To which Usagi replies in disbelief:

“I’m…strong?”

This moment is beautiful. It is a fantastic representation of their friendship, and shows us all the importance of reminding each other that we are strong in the face of great pain. The episode ends with a swell of climatic music, and of increased resolve of the Sailor Senshi, when Luna declares they should go to the moon and find the answers.

Best lines of the episode:

“I never want anyone to take that happiness again.”

“I will never be a tragic princess again.”

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Amen to that, Serenity! Now we must wait until November 15th to see Act X: Moon. Do you have any thoughts on the episode? Please share them in the comments below!

 

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