「劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンEternal」 (Gekijouban Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Eternal)
“Pretty Guardians Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie”
Zirconia (Watanabe Naomi) takes advantage of a solar eclipse to roll the Dead Moon Circus into town with skirmishes and squalor in its wake. Zirconia gazes into the mirror to find the purest hearts in the land and send the Amazonness Quartet and their underlings Hawks Eye (Toyonaga Toshiyuki), Fish Eye (Aoi Shouta), and Tiger’s Eye (Hino Satoshi) after them.
Having a track record of being brainwashed and kidnapped, Mamo-chan (Nojima Kenji) is out of commission yet again- this time with chest pain, which is connected to a black rose blossoming in his heart. This condition is also shared by a Pegasus boy, Helios (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu), who is connected with Mamo-chan as a fellow protector of earth. A Pegasus would be at the top of most children’s wish lists and Chibi-Usa (Fukuen Misato) is no different-except that her Pegasus is not only real, but also in love with her. This Pegasus gives Chibi-Usa and Usagi (Mitsuishi Kotono) the magical Moon Gorgeous Meditation power up-when you have to fight villains, you should always do it in style!
What stood out most to me in this film was the theme of families and growing up, as seen through the eyes of Chibi-Usa and to some extent, the other senshi (Sailor Guardians). It makes sense that this would be a focus, since this movie picks up where previous seasons left off, with Usagi and Mamo-chan establishing their future family with their future daughter, Chibi-Usa.
Adults tend to idealize childhood as the time when they could play and “just be kids”, forgetting that even children agonize over who they should be as adults. Early on, children are faced with the question “what do you want to be” and spend their time addressing that through playing house and observing their parents as models. Chibi-Usa also goes through this, wanting to quickly grow up to become beautiful and capable like her mother-someone worthy of Helios’ affections.
What children don’t realize is that while being an adult comes with freedoms, it also has many less than glamorous responsibilities. Usagi lives in Chibi-Usa’s idealized “grown-up” world of high school and dates with Mamo-chan. However, Usagi doesn’t want the responsibility, wishing to be a younger age where irresponsibility is permitted. When the Gyaku Tama (“Reverse Orb”) causes her and Usagi to switch places, they find the grass only looks greener on the other side (or in their case, the sailor fuku only looks sparklier on the other senshi).
Mamo-chan’s inability to help Usagi in his weakened state raises the question of how suited they are for each other if he cannot fulfill his duty as the re-incarnated Endymion in protecting her. It was refreshing to hear Usagi’s response that she will save him and protect everyone rather than relying on Mamo-chan alone for protection. It’s not often I see a female character in charge of defending the male characters. It is nice to see an example of a strong female character who can hold her own in saving the day, rather than being reduced to a damsel in distress.
The traumas or treasures adults give children have a lasting impact on who they become. Each senshi is influenced by their parents. Chibi-Usa wishes to be a capable Princess like her mother. Ami (Kanemoto Hisako) dreams to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a doctor. Rei (Satou Rina) desires to become head of her grandfather’s shrine. Makoto (Koshimizu Ami) longs to start a family of her own to take the place of the one she lost.
The experience of growing up is finding your role in life, which is often a trial and error of finding out strengths and weaknesses. When in balance, weaknesses can refine strengths, but when the relationship between the two is imbalanced, insecurities arise. The Dead Moon Circus preys upon the weaknesses that underly each of the senshi’s strengths. Under attack from Fish Eye, Ami’s loneliness is amplified by memories of her separated parents who are rarely around for her. Rei almost succumbs to insecurities when the Tama Yuru (“Swaying Orb”) reflects the sense of loneliness from her distant father and deceased mother.
The human need to be loved is at the base of the Sailor Senshi’s insecurities-it is why Chibi-Usa desires her own “Mamo-chan” and why Usagi is jealous of Mamo-chan’s attentions towards Chibi-Usa. How we see ourselves loved and affirmed by others can in turn influence our love (or lack of it) for ourselves. Fish-Eye and Tiger’s Eye know this full well, using this to try to tempt Ami and Rei to give up their dreams for the sake of drowning out their insecurities in easy romance.
The Musubi Orb (“Knotted Orb”) ties Makoto’s heart into knots by crippling her not with loneliness, but anxiety that she is incapable of fulfilling her dreams. Ami, Rei, and Makoto need prodding from their inner fighting spirit to remember that their power is not dependent on other people, that they each have their own powers that can fulfill their dream of protecting the people they love.
Ami, Rei, Usagi, and Makoto who are further ahead on the path of self-discovery become measuring sticks for Mina (Itou Shizuka) and Chibi-Usa of what they should become and how far short they fall from that. Chibi-Usa, seeing she doesn’t yet have Usagi’s looks or senshi abilities rejects Helios’ declaration that she is the maiden who will rescue him with the Golden Crystal. Mina, seeing she can no longer transform, rejects her reputation as a leader and runs into the enemies’ talent contest trap to prove herself. For Chibi-Usa, it takes a kiss and reassurance from Helios that she is indeed his sought after princess. For Mina, she is restored by support from her cat, Artemis. They realize our strength is our connections to those around us, rather than how much we look like those around us.
All in all, the movie crammed a lot into an hour and a half. The positive side of that was that it didn’t have to resort to filler material that can make the plot drag on unnecessarily (which was a pitfall of this part of the original series). The negative side was that sometimes it felt a bit rushed. The battles definitely weren’t very substantial, passing in the blink of an eye. It would have been interesting to see a prolonged battle between Ami and Fish-Eye since they both are associated with water elements. I was hoping to see character development with the Eye trio, especially in relation to their dreams. Maybe we will see that in the next film.
At the end of the movie, I loved they included the song Watashi-tachi ni Naritakute, as this was one of the theme songs used in the original anime series’ Dead Moon Circus Ark. Now on to Part 2 to see how our senshi use their new power-ups to find the golden crystal and rescue the world (see the next post)!