Film Talk: Pretty Guardian Sailormoon, Special Act

Welcome to the Pretty Guardian Sailormoon Special Act, everyone! The special act is an hour-long, self-contained narrative set four years after Usagi destroyed the ginzuishou to save the world.

And, this is not a spoiler, Usagi is getting married!

The senshi all went on to live normal, teenage girl lives and now they're all adult students and we get to see how they've been getting on since the end of PGSM had them walking off into bright new futures. Did the senshi remain good friends? Did Usagi dump Mamoru? (Not-a-Spoiler: Probably not.) Are Motoki and Makoto dating? Have the shitennou been resurrected as normal humans the way Nephrite was at the end? Will there be more youma and how will the senshi fight them when their transformation powers may no longer work?

Let's dive into the special act and find out! But a word of caution here and a note: I recall absolutely nothing of the special act except the six minutes I watched to capture that title screen and the show is twice as long as a regular episode, so my commentary will likely be twice as long as well.


:O Usagi has become a housewife?! Or at least someone who helps with the cooking. Luna can apparently still transform into a girl. :O Does she still have a tail? That would be awkward once she's old enough to date. But then Luna doesn't look all that much older since the last time we saw her, so maybe she'll be stuck being a child-shape forever.

Whyyyyyyy are they wearing hazmat suits? WHAT ARE THEY UP TO HOW ARE THEY WHAT WHAT WHAT -- I should press play and watch on, shouldn't I? If I press play it will slowly start making sense. BUT JUST WHY ARE THEY WEARING HAZMAT SUITS DID THEY BECOME A CHEMICAL SPILL CLEAN-UP SQUAD?

Oh, it's just Ami doing something at some hospital somewhere. Way to be vague about what she's doing, show, but it sets the imaginaton firing. Thaaaaat's not an American accent. Oh well, there is such a thing as going to work in another country, after all. (For the record: I think the actress playing Ami did a fantastic job pronouncing that sentence. It can be really hard to wrap your mouth around pronunciation that's radically different from what you grew up hearing. It's one of the reasons bilingualism is so awesome, actually. It makes other languages easier to pick up.)

Rei now controls all the candles in the building and Minako is still alive! And has lost touch with the friends she'd just made because Pop Star life. That makes me sad. They all liked one another.

Wow. That is, um, weird looking at that award ceremony when all the newspapers are filled with the financial trouble Greece is in.


Also I love how bright and airy her house is and that she's going to school and, really, look at how happy all the senshi look now. <3

And Usagi is still Usagi, being late all the time. It zooms in on her failed food, but it actually doesn't look that bad to me. Just a little cut up. It's really nice to see Usagi treated as a person who is competent at this and to see her get more competent at things once she decides to put some effort into doing them. That's always been Usagi's main issue in this show when it comes to her regular life: she was a pretty lazy teenager, more interested in sleeping and having fun than studying and being helpful.

Oh, joy. My favourite character in the show.

Told you they were getting married! And Mamoru looks totally bored in the toy stores and the clothing stores.

Nope. No. Still not feeling the romance vibe between these two.

Usagi is probably the most easily-distracted happy-about-her-wedding girl in the world. I gripe a lot about Mamoru, but with this scene I can't really fault him for looking more than a little fed up with shopping. Usagi seems to be nattering and bouncing around worse than I do in a museum, which may well be terrifiying for those of my friends who were hoping to show me a museum they love sometime. (Pro-tip: if you go through museums slowly, please don't invite me along. I bounce around the exhibits and will have seen the entire museum thrice before you're even out of the first room. And yet somehow I still aced all the excursion questions we ever got when we went on school trips.)

Mamoru, are you even listening to Usagi? I don't think you're listenig, you're studying the dirt underneath your nails. This is your wedding and your wife-to-be is superexcited about organising it. The very least you can do is pretend to listen.

Usagi is wondering the same thing I was. *takes a deep breath* I will not scream six minutes into the show. I will not scream I will not scream I will not -- *SCREAMS* MAAAAAMOOOOORUUUUU!!!!!

He's speaking for less than a minute and he's already scolding Usagi for being excited about parties. And yes sure he does have a point. They're not getting married to have an excuse to throw a party, but even so Usagi also has a point. It's their wedding and their reception and she wants to involve him so he can get some things that matter to him on his day. Sure, she's rattling on and making decisions and it's hard to get a word in edgewise because of how excited she is, but, Mamoru, she's at least trying to plan something that you'll enjoy too. And there you are telling her off for wanting to plan a perfect wedding. Usagi, one of those girls who's probably dreamed of her wedding since she was four. (And yes I realise Mamoru is probably paying for the bulk of it, BUT STILL. He's being rude. We're in the special, four years after the show ended, and I have yet to see him treat Usagi as an equal and with respect for who she is as a person.)

MOTOKI <3<3<3

Awww, I think Motoki is considering proposing to Makoto even though she's Usagi's age and is trying to feel out the waters. I think he and Makoto have a much better chance at being happy with one another. Why can't they be getting married in this act? Imagine Motoki treating Makoto the way Mamoru just treated Usagi. You can't because Motoki is way too sweet and actually respects Makoto for who she is.

And Usagi's called off the wedding? Or Mamoru did, I'm not sure. I expect Usagi since she looked really pissed. And, of course, Makoto doesn't understand why they're fighting and I'm just sat here going "You're going to try and fix this, aren't you? Don't try and fix this, please, those two make a horrible couple and Usagi deserves better". RUN, USAGI. RUN FAR AWAY.

Ah the famous wedding dieting. I get why brides-to-be diet to stay at a certain size/weight because wedding dresses are so often tailored to very specific sizes, but still. Way to set an example, show. >> (It could be worse, I suppose. Classic had some truly atrocious scenes about body image and fat shaming, if I recall.)

Makoto, what is the point in talking to Mamoru? He doesn't listen to Usagi. Everything I've seen of his behaviour towards her so far says "I am indulging my pet" not "I love and respect this person".

Remember the "thingie and thingie happened" bit Mamoru's introduction started with? And the baby doll scene in the opening song montage? Now we have Usagi rushing to the toilet and it looks like she's doing it because she needs to throw up. Does that imply she's pregnant? Are they getting married because she's pregnant?

You go and tell that Mamoru the truth, Motoki! Ugh. Mamoru, if you hate being involved that much, why don't you just sit down and have a conversation with her? You know, like two mature adults who care about one another and respect one another would do in a situation like this.

Still not getting the "I love Usagi" vibe. I hope this act ends with them realising they're no good for one another and breaking up. I am probably more likely to win the lottery than be correct about this.

And we've had two minutes of Mamoru on-screen and he's already calling Usagi stupid over calling off the wedding entirely because she overheard him saying that he didn't care about the wedding at all. And not in an "I love her forever and we don't need a ceremony to prove it" way, but a dismissive "Who gives a damn?" way. But no, no of course Usagi is totally overreacting and this is funny-haha because Usagi is such a ditz and child and I AM NOT LAUGHING, SHOW. You're supposed to be about girls rescuing themselves and not needing a guy and about us not being all hysterical over 'small' things. Don't go off and enforce the idea that Usagi is upset over nothing special. I'd say being upset over discovering the guy you're about to marry doesn't maybe care as much about you as you thought is a REALLY BIG THING, if nothing else.

Wasn't that stone blue originally?

Luna, I swear if you're praying to the moon to fix Usagi and Mamoru's relationship so they'll get married, I will throw a pillow at you.

Hey, did Usagi fix the Moon Kingdom when she fixed the Earth? I am confused. It's supposed to be rubble and ruin, but that doesn't look like rubble and ruin. And why is Queen Serenity suddenly a thing when she wasn't in the original show at all at any point? How the heck did she get resurrected she was dead millennia before Usagi was even born.

Also, I feel the need to point out that I am 8 minutes into an hour long special and I'm already over 1,500 words. Oh dear.

Where the hell were you all the past show, Queen Serenity? And Luna I think Usagi calling off the wedding is probably the best thing that's happened since the end of the last show. QUEEN SERENITY, YOU ARE THE WORST MOTHER EVER. I can't even sit here and be all "OMG! Queen Serenity! This is awesome!" because I'm too busy going "No! Don't go and try to get Usagi together with Mamoru!"

"Oh, by the way, Luna? Now that I'm talking to you anyway. The Dark Kingdom is being revived and since your powers come from the now-broken ginzuishou you're all just ordinary people and there's no one to defend the earth from them."

Yes, let's end the conversation with that as an afterthought because it is TOTALLY NOT AS IMPORTANT AS DISCUSSING USAGI'S ROMANTIC TROUBLES. DEFINITELY NOT.

Scary pink flashy lights and scary music. Something is definitely happening. Terrified Luna is terrified. This is probably just to be some game she's playing rather than her investigating anything to throw us off, isn't it?

Oh, no. No, she's actually investigating. Good on you, show! Let's investigate!

Rei! Rei, you were wearing heels and a tight suit. How did you just turn that into robes and sandals (and loose hair) by taking off your coat? I what. Look at what you're wearing. There's no way removing one coat (which doesn't even cover your legs to hide the robes) is going to alter your appearance that much.

Well, since the sudden appearance of an enemy has black hair and is wearing black I bet this is Mio rather than Beryl. Also way to go, Rei, getting yourself injured before the story's even begun!

Awwwww, it looks like the amusement park they frequented in the show has been closed down. T_T

Yep. That's Mio. I recognise the voice. And she wants to create a new Dark Kingdom. What's wrong with the world she's in at the moment? And how does she have magical powers and get resurrected when Metallia and the ginzuishou have both been destroyed?

This episode is the worst nightmare or someone afraid of clowns. They're everywhere in this dance sequence. Which we could easily have cut out entirely, I think. I'm not sure what it adds except lots of clowns dancing. I'M NOT EVEN AFRAID OF CLOWNS AND THIS IS GETTING TO ME.

Mio, what the hell are you wearing? I liked what Beryl was wearing better and that was decorated with spikes of making-it-hard-to-move on its shoulders!

And Rei is in hospital because of the blast. Curious how those injuries only stick around when plot demands it.

Mio is hacking the tv-billboards now. Well, that's one way to make a comeback and it explains the outfit. Also she's going to drain everyone's energy and she's suddenly adopted a plushie dog. I wasn't going to say anything, but if she's going to keep bringing up the dog, I'm going to do it too. She has a plushie dog kind of like Usagi has Luna, only this dog isn't sentient. It's just a plushie. I think.

Aaaand the clowns are back. Being weird and lulling people into a sense of WTF and then BOOM energy-stealing. Pretty Guardian Sailormoon, now also a potential source of clown-phobia.

Usagi helps one child run away and the clowns immediately draw a sword on her. They were doing pretty well at draining everyone's energy before this point without swords. Maybe Mio's imprinted Usagi's face in the clowns' brains with a "Kill" instruction. I wouldn't put it past Mio.

Mamoru to the rescue. Oh, boy. *bangs her head against the wall* It's not like you had/have any special powers as Tuxedo Mask, Mamoru. If you can fight the clowns with no power whatsoever, Usagi can certainly join in whether she can transform or not. She's still had to learn how to fight without powers and she wasn't doing too shabby a job of it. (Within the parameters of the kind of fighting skills that work within the show.) But no. Nope. She's an ordinary girl and thus fighting is entirely out as an accepted activity according to Mamoru. Thankfully, Usagi seems to be having none of that and has found herself a stick as weapon. Please, show, when I unpause don't make her useless with it.


And Zoisite! I bet that means Nephrite and Jadeite are somewhere too. Reunite the whole gang. Except for Mars because Mars is in hospital. I also distinctly remember them having gone back to serving Endymion at the end of PGSM. Trying to kill him is not what I call serving him.

Everyone has lost their transformation powers except for Luna. How does this work? Her powers come from the ginzuishou even more clearly than everyone else's.

*snrk* "This is the way to Japan". I heart that line. <3

Mio is a good example of why you don't give toddlers unlimited power if you can possibly help it.

Oh, Mio, I don't much rate Mamoru in this version of the story at all, but I don't think he's being thick on purpose. He's being the same jackass to you as he is to every other girl we've seen except with you it looks more like "Hero trying to be snarky at the villain".

Um... Usagi? You do know that he wasn't having that hard time when you dumped him for being a jackass to you, right? (Yes, now I'm questioning her intelligence, but to be fair it's more about the plot suddenly setting this up as "Usagi understands Mamoru was under a lot of pressure and didn't mean the things he said and forgives him and all is well" and I feel it is important to remind the show -- or at least the people reading along with the commentary and maybe watching the show along with these posts -- that "Mamoru's friends from a past life have been brainwashed and turned against him again" was not part of the problems he faced when he was grousing at Motoki about Usagi wearing him down and not wanting a wedding and all that.)

Ugh, Mamoru. You really should have just sat Usagi down and told her you hate wedding planning and could she do the whole planning on her own? Now you're grousing about how "all women are the same". I have no words. NO WORDS.

*jaw drops* He was nicer four years ago? You mean to tell me that off-screen Mamoru got even worse than on-screen Mamoru suggested in the show? I think they're so hung up on their "This was my true love in a past life" that they're completely blind to how incompatible they are in the present. I -- NO WORDS.

Magical moon queen mcguffin appearance. Apparently Makoto didn't need to stay calm at all. And the queen can apparently restore their transformative powers because hand-wavium. I expect hand-wavium. There's no explanation why any of them lost the power to transform into a senshi. Well, beyond "The ginzuishou was destroyed" and, um, if their powers are dependent on the ginzuishou and the queen can fix it... No, no I'm not going to go there. I'll just move on and let the plot unfold.

She's going to lend them a legendary sword. A dead queen from a kingdom that should be lying in ruins. I get the feeling that this Queen Serenity isn't actually dead.

And so Usagi and Mamoru have both had the same idea to save the other. They can't even agree on who should save who.

Ami gets attacked by clowns and her cabbie ditches her (understandable) and instead of attacking her car, the clowns just off and let her come up with a plan, switch seats and start driving. This makes perfect sense.

Also, youma. Remember those youma Mio summoned? One of them is getting ready to attack Ami.

Meanwhile Minako is surrounded by clowns on bikes. Her bodyguards are useless and one well-aimed kick from I-can-take-care-of-myself Minako has all the clowns terrified of her.

And Queen Serenity has refused to leave the sword out of the rock it got stuck in and Makoto can't pull it out because Magic. Well, guess who won't be Queen of England. (Sorry. I had to get an Arthur reference in there somehow. IT'S A SWORD IN A STONE.)

That's... going to be really hard if you need all the senshi and Rei is in hospital and Usagi is in the not-actually-the-Dark-Kingdom Kingom. There is a flaw in these instructions of Queen Serenity.

And he gets mindcontrolled again. Seriously, you'd think the guy would consider it a good idea to practice how not to get brainwashed.

Awww, he gave her her engagement ring back. And we're getting a flashback to when he gave it to her and... He can't even ask her to marry him. It's just "Imma stuff this ring in your hand and walk away". I get that the show said he has trouble showing his emotions and all, but I just. I really just cannot buy into the idea that Mamoru loves Usagi. Also, no Usagi. No you're not misremembering of forgetting how your relationship used to be. It has always been this way from the very first time you met Mamoru. And I don't know. Endymion may have seen the person that Serenity truly was beneath all the princess training and royalty acting and loved that woman, but I have yet to see anything indicating that Mamoru is seeing Usagi for the person she truly is and loving her for it.

Ami has dressed up as a clown to fool everyone! I would have liked to have seen her do that, show!

Minako, how do you know Rei's heart is there with you all? Ami, how do you know Usagi's heart is there with you all? It seemed pretty firmly with Mamoru and remembering their relationship and trying to fit her memories of his behaviour into something less... "I have no respect for you, Usagi" like.

Here's a question as well: if people don't need to be there in person, but in spirit, why didn't the sword-pulling work the first time around? Does the sword just magically know when all parties able to gather at the sword are gathered there? Would it have been pulled free if the youma had suddenly murdered Ami and Minako before they regained the power to transform?

How did Usagi get those shackles off? Did I just miss that in my rant about how she isn't imagining things? (A note, by the by: if you're facing questions like Usagi about whether a relationship is healthy or not, it can be helpful to get a second opinion from someone who isn't the person you're in a relationship with. If this has been going on for several years, chances are you are not imagining things.)

See? Usagi's thoughts aren't with the other senshi at all. They're with Mamoru.

Oh, look. Mamoru is going try and kill Usagi. Again. Look, show, you've done this plot line already. Why are your recycling it? T_T Of course he's not going to kill her. And look the shitennou are standing around ineffectually as a sheet falls onto their heads and incapacitates them. Sheets are horrid to have thrown over you suddenly, true, but still. I dislike it when the show's narrative makes it almost impossible for me to accept things as possible even when I know they're possible because so little of the rest makes any sense.

And, of course, the very first thing non-brainwashed Mamoru says to her are "Why didn't you try to duck?" To be fair, that is a good and valid question because he threw a sword at her a SWORD. But, once again, his words to Usagi are ones of disapproval and negativity.

See? See, now they're throwing light-hearted banter around. Of the kind that's silly and slightly negative but it's done affectionately by two people who really care about the other and who know each other well enough for that affection to show. If the whole show had been like these two little lines of banter, I'd have been doing a lot less yelling at this relationship.

It's a really good thing that that dog isn't a real sentient plushie like Luna and Artemis. That would've been cruel.

*snrk* Look at Zoisite casually tapping his sword against his neck like it's nothing. This is a very different Zoisite from the one we saw in PGSM. He's a lot more insolent and a lot less, um, polite-seeming. I liked that Zoisite. He played the piano too.

I kind of wish Zoisite was carrying a rose in his mouth. Is he? *goes back to watch that bit full-screen* HA No he actually is carrying a rose in his mouth. *ded of laughter* How to make your villain incredibly scary: put him in white, make him put a rose in his mouth and have him pose threateningly.


That explains why they all just stood there when the sheet fell on their heads. Translation: a) that is an offensive translation and b) Mamoru, being a jerk to all his friends and not just Usagi.

Suddenly youma and look Kunzite still has that little arrogant smirk to his smile. Shitennous posing dramatically to hide Endymion's transformation. (Why does he get to transform when Usagi and the others need help? I mean, aside from the whole "Prince of the Earth" thing and everything.)

Now it makes sense to tell Usagi to stay out of the fight, Mamoru. Now you've got four people with magical powers on your side and you can transform into Endymion yourself. Now you don't conceivably need every hand you can get to deal with the threat.

ZOISITE POWER! It's actually really nice to see the shitennou fighting full out with their own powers and of their own volition and just, generally, being the people they once were for just one episode. It's such a massive difference from the way they acted when Beryl had put a spell on them.

Also I notice that the guys, unlike the girls, get to be shown to be using lethal force. I mean, sure, that's what it is when you attack a youma, but even when Ami, Rei and Makoto got magical weapons in the very last episode we didn't get to see them stab the minions with them the way we just saw Endymion do and the way it was heavily implied Kunzite has done.

Also in all this fighting wherein the two youma were entirely forgotten no one has bothered to go after Usagi. Because not grabbing the civilian (your queen and creator wants dead) to try and force Endymion to surrender or else is a terrific idea. Instead, let's draw the guy Mio doesn't want dead away from his allies and friends and try to murder his face. THIS IS A PERFECT PLAN. NOTHING CAN GO WRONG WITH THIS PLAN.

Also for a Sailormoon episode there is a distinct lack of senshi fighting youma. I love how much of this episode is apparently about Endymion and the shitennou teaming up to be awesome and all, but IT'S A SAILORMOON STORY. I kind of want my girls rescuing themselves and saving the world narrative that's supposed to be integral to a Sailormoon story now. We've only got fifteen minutes to go and that time includes the end credits and the scene wherein Usagi and Mamoru get married and the one in which they make up and decide they do want to get married.


BLOOD. The show is giving us actual, honest-to-goodness blood! On Endymion's cheek! :O

Why are you telling them to stay out of this, Endymion. You're in a one-on-two fight and you just got injured. Don't be a stubborn, prideful git. Just accept the help and even the odds. Look, those youma are toying with you. They're not even trying.

And he just up and vanished and one of the youma ran the other through with a claw. Where did he go? How did he do that? WHAT JUST HAPPENED, SHOW?!

Okay, fine. I guess you didn't need the help after all and you were right about that. I still don't know how you got free just in time for the youma's momentum to make it impossible for either of them to avoid disaster.

*snrks* Lookit Jadeite being all excited and starting a fight with Nephrite.

Oh, hi, Mio. Have you finally decided not to let something else do your dirty work? I STILL DON'T LIKE YOU.

Aaaaand suddenly she became a giant flower-crab-monster thing. The hell? Of course it defeats everyone easily and goes to kidnap Endymion again. Look, her tentacle thing matches the lining of his cape.

Oh, wow. She's actually angry enough to kill him over prefering Usagi. I was not expecting that. Usagi to the rescue! She's got about fifteen minutes to transform into Sailormoon and destroy the Mio-youma!

Minako saves Usagi from Mio by cutting off the bitey things and YAY the senshi have gathered! Except for Rei. For Plot reasons we don't get to see Rei in action, so this isn't a complete senshi reunion. Make it happen, show!

Oh, look! Transformation sequences! Without Mars'. I AM STILL MISSING A TEAM MEMBER, SHOW. T_T I'd guess there's some outside reason why Mars isn't showing up as a senshi in this special episode? I hope so. I wish I knew what it was.

Look, Venus now has Mars' sword along with her own.


Wait, what happened to the weapons they were holding? Did they just drop them?

This is not what that attack looked like in the show. It had a ribbon! In lots of colours! Well, that was certainly a quick fight. We're going to get another one, right? One in which Mars needs to join in?

No. No, apparently not.

Well, at least Mio's magical room-transformation stuck? Also, suddenly it's night time again. That energy dispersal took ALL DAY.

GAH. Makoto, you startled me!

Also, I am not entirely sure how defeating Mio fixed the problems they were having over the wedding to begin with. I mean, I get that the show's been setting up for "I blew it out of proportion when compared to the life-threatening situation we were just in and I love you and want to die being married to you" and everything, but... Those problems don't just go away because of a youma attack.


It's a wedding bell. She did not change her mind again. *wail*

I bet Makoto is going to catch that bouquet. No, Motoki caught it. I HEART MOTOKI HE IS THE ADORABLEST. HE PROPOSED TO MAKOTO OMG BE STILL MY HEART THAT IS THE CUTEST.


*ahem* Sorry.

:O We're getting flashbacks now? :O Neat! And kind of making me go "Not necessary, just focus on the here and now of the show", but neat. It's a nice bit of closure to go back all the way to the beginning.

MAMORU DID SOMETHING NICE FOR USAGI. He hugged her because she's upset and crying and he's not even saying anything about it. Just going "I'm here, lean on me if you need to I love you". I WAITED ALMOST FIFTY EPISODE FOR HIM TO BEHAVE THIS WAY.

And again with the changing timing. It's daytime when she rides off and full on night when everyone rushes after her and Mamoru to wave her goodbye. And the whole cast is waving at the camera. This is one heck of a well-thought out goodbye in terms of visuals because the show is saying goodbye to its fans and viewers just as much as the characters are saying goodbye to Usagi.

And once more with all the girls going their own way and the end credits and... what happens to the shitennou? Like, do they fade back into nothingness? Do they get their old human lives back? What?

Clips of the senshi's lives as they go on. :O :O :O And Usagi waving goodbye as the show fades out.

That's it then. The end. With a special act that calls for more questions than it answers, a plot that you really have to go with, and a problem that really wasn't resolved at all. But it is one of the best closure sequences in any Sailormoon story that I've seen because it offers such a strong look at the senshi's lives now that they can be just normal people. It doesn't give us much and it comes with the bittersweetness of knowing that people's paths don't always stay the way we'd like no matter how hard we try, but it gives us so much in the glimpses we get. What it gives is happy young women who are strong and leading lives that they enjoy.

And if you remember the introduction of pretty much every senshi save Usagi, every single one of their storyarcs has been about embracing who they are and making their dreams come true. All their narratives have been about accepting themselves and being happy in the lives that they're living (or making themselves happy when they weren't) and I love that this looks different for them all and that it only couples two of the senshi definitely.

I don't quite like the narrative of this episode. I think it repeats gendered ideas that annoy me and I repeatedly wanted to facepalm or headdesk at Mamoru's treatment of Usagi, but I'm glad I rewatched this episode too. It provides a sense of closure that the PGSM finale didn't have and as much as I like an open and ambiguous ending... Sometimes having something clearer and more definitive isn't a bad thing. With the ending of this episode it's all about embracing life and happiness.

I will hopefully see you next time for another commentary project, but for now... I shall say "Goodbye". Goodbye!

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