Sailor Moon Crystal: "Act 19 - Time Warp, Sailor Pluto" Review
On the one hand, there were some exciting twists, including a drastic change of venue, a new Sailor Guardian, and two new enemies. On the other, the episode was badly marred by poor art direction and a bizarre opening.
Being such an important episode, you’d think Toei would pull out all the stops and make “Time Warp" look as good as humanely possible. Instead, it felt like the studio cut corners everywhere: characters were often presented as little more than eerie silhouettes, eyes were shadowed out, and the animation for spells looked downright cheap. The worst was the cringe-inducing scene where Luna fell into an abyss; every shot looked like it was drawn by a kindergartener.
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Speaking of cringe-inducing, it was extremely uncomfortable watching the love triangle between Usagi, Chibiusa, and Mamoru at the beginning. Usagi\'s jealousy towards Chibiusa was creepy, as was her willingness to toss her virginity out the window just so Mamoru would paid attention to her. Chibiusa’s obsessive behavior towards Mamoru was equally weird, especially since we learn later that he looks an EXACTLY like her dad.
Luckily, the episode lost its icky Oedipus vibe once the Guardians and Tuxedo Mask decided to escort Chibiusa back to the 30th century, a feat made possible by the magic key around Chibiusa\'s neck. Of course, not just anyone can go skipping through the 4th dimension, which is how Sailor Moon and company ended up on the wrong side of Sailor Pluto.
Watching Pluto attack her fellow Guardians was harrowing stuff. This is a woman who takes her duties VERY seriously. So seriously she\'s willing to kill her own allies just to protect the Door of Space-Time.
I got chills when she cast Dead Scream on Sailor Moon, then rushed at Usagi and her friends to deliver the killing blow. It was legit scary, and I\'m glad Chibiusa stopped the fight when she did, otherwise things would have ended badly. (Saying that, I liked Chibiusa\'s scene with Pluto immediately after the battle, as it was surprisingly heartwarming and showed a more likable side to both of them.)
I can\'t say the battle between the Guardians, Esmeralda, and the Boule Brothers was as exciting, but it was still pretty suspenseful. Esmeralda\'s threat to kill Chibiusa was shocking, as was her cold-blooded ability to use her own minions as human shields. It\'s not yet clear how Esmeralda fits into the larger scheme of things, but what is clear is that she\'s a formidable opponent.
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You know who else is a formidable opponent? Tuxedo Mask. His teaming up with Venus to take down the Boule Brothers proved he can act like a leader, and I loved how he managed to break free of the enemies\' spell, though I\'m still not exactly sure how he did it. Something to do with praying for laser eyes? The terrible art direction made it hard to tell what was going on.
We only saw a little bit of Prince Diamond in Act 19, but thanks to Esmeralda\'s big mouth, we now know that he\'s in love with Neo Queen Serenity. A woman who looks exactly like Sailor Moon, and happens to be married to a man who looks exactly like Tuxedo Mask and bears the name Endymion. Oh. And this mysterious King Endymion? He\'s Chibiusa\'s father. Yes, the last five minutes of Time Warp were utterly bonkers, and raised more questions than answers. Who are all these people? Guess we\'ll have to wait until next week to find out.
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Act 19 was both good and bad, with a solid storyline that was nearly ruined by a weird love triangle and terrible art direction. Hopefully Act 20 won\'t be nearly as strange, or as poorly animated.
Sailor Moon travels through time and fights a fellow Guardian. RT