「劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンEternal」 (Gekijouban Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Eternal 2)
“Pretty Guardians Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie 2”
The theme of family and growing up is continued with Haruka (Minagawa Junko), Michiru (Ohara Sayaka), and third wheel Setsuna (Maeda Ai) raising Hotaru (Fujii Yukiyo). The family dynamic with Haruka worrying about diapers and milk and Michiru dressing Hotaru was adorable, though short-lived. Many parents and grandparents talk about kids growing up too quickly, but Hotaru took that to the extreme, growing rapidly within a short time of the eclipse. Hotaru is able to return the care she received from her outer senshi parents when she gives them their new power ups.
The full senshi (“Sailor Guardian”) team re-unites again and successfully wards off the Amazoness Quartet’s Tama Arare (“Orb Hail”), Tama Hagane (“Steel Orb”), Tama Gusuri (“Medicine orb”), and Tama Sudere (“Orb Blinds”) attacks. The senshi blocked the Quartet’s attacks so quickly we didn’t see all the attacks’ abilities. While that exemplifies the sailor team’s prowess, it would have been interesting to see more of the Quartet’s powers. However, the focus of this series is the character development and storyline more so than battles, so it’s not surprising the fights are short-lived.
The battle is not without some casualties, as Zirconia reverses Usagi and Mamo-chan’s ages. Little Usagi and Mamo-chan in Usagi’s dream were incredibly cute! The dream Mamo-chan who babies her is a manifestation of Usagi’s inner child that desires carefreeness. This is the childlike nature she has shown previously when trying to avoid responsibilities. The real Mamo-chan loves her while challenging her, holding her responsible for being the best version of herself. In her dream, her relationship with Mamo-chan is not that of genuine lovers because it consists only of serving Usagi. In their real lives, Mamo-chan and Usagi have that give and take needed for an authentic relationship. This is manifested in how Mamo-chan supports Usagi in becoming her best self, while Usagi takes that support in combination with her own skills to protect and strengthen him.
Helios rescues Usagi and Mamo-chan, taking them to Elysion. In Greek mythology, Helios is a flying-chariot riding sun god. Elysion may be based off of Elysium, which in certain Greek myths is a sort of Heaven. The Maenads they meet are named after often drunk companions of the Greek god of wine and orgies. I’m not sure why the Maenads were chosen as namesakes since it doesn’t fit with the purity of maidens tasked with caring for the shrine. Maybe they have an off-screen after work life that takes after their hard-partying namesakes.
The pairings of Helios with Chibi-Usa and Usagi with Mamo-chan have striking parallels. Like Mamo-chan, Helios is tasked with protecting the earth. While Mamo-chan does this through fighting on the planet’s surface, Helios accomplishes this through praying at the shrine. Similar to how Usagi appeared in princess form to Mamo-chan in a vision, Chibi-Usa appeared in princess form to Helios, telling him of his mission. These parallels combined with Chibi-Usa’s true love’s kiss sends strong hints that Helios and Chibi-Usa may end up together in the distant future.
Thanks to Nehellennia, Elysion is a thing of the past. As an interesting translation note- in the cast list, her name is written the way it is pronounced in Japanese- Nehellennia. In the subtitles, it is spelled Nehallennia, in reference to an ancient German or Celtic goddess of trading named Nehallennia. Sleeping Beauty-like vibes are channeled in the flashback showing Nehellennia, like the evil faery in the faery-tale, party-crashing a royal birthday celebration and bringing a curse as a “gift”. This curse is broken by Usagi and Mamo-chan’s love alongside help from the other senshi. I am impressed how the Mangaka, Takeuchi Naoko, gave a lot of thought to naming the senshis’ castles- naming them after moons, satellites, or spacecraft missions belonging to each sailor’s respective planet.
Upon breaking the curse, we discover that Nehellennia was Zirconia all along and Nehellennia was a projection of her younger self. Unlike the senshis’ pure hearted dreams of love and protecting dear ones, Nehellennia’s self-centered dream is focused on destroying dear ones in order to become the prettiest, strongest queen of them all. Her pride isolates her from others, with the end result being that she has no-one to rely upon for encouragement and strength. Consequently, when challenged by the sailor team, she crumbles.
The defeat of the evil queen is accompanied by a standard faery tail ending, with Chibi-Usa awakening Helios with a true love’s kiss. It was refreshing to see the princess being the one with the power to rescue the prince. This is one of the strong points of Sailor Moon that I love, in how the series shatters the damsel in distress stereotype-emphasizing that girls have the power to protect the ones they care about and don’t have to sit complacently waiting for the prince.
Throughout both movies, Chibi-Usa has been questioning how she can grow to become a strong leader like her mother. The revelation of the Amazonness Quartet (who are all named after asteroids, by the way!) as her own sailor team, just like what Usagi has, confirms that one day, Chibi-Usa will accomplish this dream. The ending piece of the movie, with talk of everyone’s hearts shining like stars leads nicely into the Sailor Stars arc, if they are planning on adapting that portion of the series.
My overall impression of this pair of movies is mixed. I liked that the movies placed more of a focus on Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask and the other Inner Senshi, instead of what the original series did in focusing mainly on Chibi-Usa, which for me personally became boring. However, by remaining entirely faithful to the manga, they fell into the manga’s pitfall of not developing the villains’ characters and motivations into something deeper than “they just exist as plot-drivers”. The backstory behind Nehellennia’s power hunger and the experience of the Eye-trio transitioning from animals to humans have potential for development that could tie back to the arc’s themes of dreams, insecurities, and the power of friendships. The original anime arc did better with this in writing additional storylines that added more character dimension (even if that filler did sometimes drag on).
If it’s a boring Friday night and I’m in a Sailor Moon mood but don’t want to spend the next few months re-watching the original series- then the Sailor Moon Eternal movies (and by extension, the Crystal series) would be my go-to. However, the original anime series will always hold first place in my heart (and on my tv, when I have the time to re-watch) for the more in-depth character developments and cute slice of life moments, which for me are Sailor Moon at its best.