Be sure to check out the Sailor Moon Crystal Page for reviews of Acts I through IV in case you missed them!
As my post title suggests I am of the strong opinion that Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 is the best episode so far. But before I jump into that, let’s all take a moment and acknowledge how fabulously evil Queen Beryls sounds. Her voice is so full of anger, malice, and impatience that I sometimes rewind a bit and watch Queen Beryl’s scenes again. I salute you Misa Watanabe!
In Act 5 Makoto Kino, or Mako-chan, has much more personality and presence than I can ever remember her having in the old anime. We get a better understanding of Makoto in one episode where the old anime took two seasons to really have her character come across. She is tough, strong, tall, and will react with aggression when provoked. Yet at the same time she enjoys cooking, sewing, fashion, and romance. In both American and Japanese culture these two sets of traits are almost never found in the same character. That is what makes Mako-chan so darn refreshing, and a definite feminist icon in my book.
In the first few minutes of Act 5 I was delighted when Makoto rescued Usagi from being hit by a car. In fact, it reminded me of a scene in the original Sailor Moon anime’s Episode 15: Usagi Panics! Rei’s First Date where Mamoru saves Luna from being hit by a bus.
She goes on to move Usagi out of the way from being knocked over by people in a hallway at school and also catches a baseball that is about to smack Usagi in the face. The boys playing baseball run in fear when she throws the baseball back at them. Makoto is the perfect, alert, all-systems-g0 counterpart to Usagi’s lackadaisical, day-dreaming personality. In true Usagi style, Usagi persuades Makoto to share her lunch with her and soon worms her way into Makoto’s heart with her care-free charm.
One of my favorite moments in the episode is when we hear Ami-chan’s inner thoughts of jealousy as she watches Makoto play the Sailor-V arcade game with as much skill as Ami herself. This adds another aspect of realism and character depth to the show. I was similarly surprised at Rei’s attitude later on at the temple when she says she doesn’t trust men. This is a stark contrast to the old anime rivalry between Usagi and Rei over Mamo-chan!
The one odd moment in the show is when Makoto, Usagi, and Ami are gazing at a shop window filled with mannequins wearing wedding dresses. Usagi wants a white, western style wedding dress, and Ami (unsurprisingly) declares she would wear the more traditional kimono. When Makoto is asked her preference she says: “I’d wear whichever one my husband likes best.”
I think the intent is for this to be a sweet sentiment, but it reveals that Mako-chan may have a problem with sacrificing herself too much for those that she loves. The statement that she would defer to her husband’s preferences goes above and beyond merely taking his opinion into account. Given her somewhat debilitating unrequited love, which is partially what compelled her to change schools, I’m a bit worried that Makoto hasn’t learned how to listen to her own needs first. However, the episode ended on a positive note when Makoto, now Sailor Jupiter, internalizes her new mission as a Sailor Senshi and redefines her school transfer as being due to her being compelled by a higher, mysterious power. As Sailor Mars said “We don’t have time to cry over guys!”
In Act 6 it looks like we will probably all cry a little bit though…