The Animation Art of Sailor Moon: Ikuko Itoh – Episode 111

Episode 111The Grail’s Divine Power! Moon’s Double Transformation

       

Observations:

  • Why, hello, gorgeous episode! This is the kind of animation Itoh should be known for. Beautiful, full of details, full of emotion, full of colour. This is what an episode with a high budget should look like. Also, I took almost 200 screenshots, which is saying something. With the filler episodes I sometimes have to go back and add a few.
  • Hello again, Setsuna. I missed you.
  • I’ve always wondered what the significance was of the colours of the jewels on the Space Sword were. I guess it’s just a design choice.
  • It’s kind of interesting that the Good Messiah is initially depicted as being nude, with butterfly wings, as if they don’t expect her to be human.
  • The Messiah of Silence, on the other hand, has some nice foreshadowing in that sickle she’s holding.
  • I wish I could fully convey the amazing scene when Usagi thinks Haruka has died. The animation is fluid, fast, and shows so much of Usagi’s anguished emotions. And oh god, Kotono Mitsuishi’s acting. She really, really sells it here.
  • Nice use of the Victoria’s Secret Compartment there, Eudial. Admittedly, I wouldn’t think of sticking a priceless artefact in my bra, but I’m conservative that way.
  • Also, that “No Smoking” sign on the Fire Buster II kills me. What a great absurd sight gag.
  • The animation for Eudial attacking with the Fire Buster II is reused twice. I guess because she moves so quickly they thought no one would notice. But hey, not the first time an attack sequence’s animation has been reused!
  • Rei, honey. “Fight fire with fire” is just an expression.
  • While we’re here: Does Tuxedo Mask Do Anything In This Episode? Not really. He’s pretty much just here to embrace his inner Batman, and as a Chibi-Moon delivery system.
  • The girls make grateful/surprised sounds at Tux & Chibi-Moon’s appearances for a touch too long.
  • I love the scene where Sailor Moon vows to an unconscious Uranus and Neptune that she’ll recover the Talismans and save them. It’s a sign that she really, really means business and is not to be messed with today.
  • This is a mostly dramatic episode, but the scene with the glue on the floor is so damned funny. Venus’s expression as she falls over is amazing. And yes, I kind of enjoyed Chibi-Moon’s torture here.
  • You can tell “Moon Spiral Heart Attack” isn’t going to work this time because they’re not playing the triumphant music.
  • Marine Cathedral has to be one of the most beautiful set designs the series has ever used. I had to cut a bunch of screenshots showing it off, which kind of broke my heart a little.
  • Pluto’s appearance at just the right moment has always been so intriguing to me, which is what I’m exploring in my fanfic. Did she always know what was going to happen? Did she know what was going to happen because she’s lived through it before? How did she know how to remove the Heart Crystals from the Talismans? And when and how did she get the Garnet Orb? She hasn’t always had it, so…is the answer just “It’s Pluto?”
  • Neptune’s relieved and knowing little smile at Uranus after finding out that sacrificing the Talisman owners wasn’t necessary is so great. It’s “Oh, thank God” and “I told you so” all at once.
  • I love that odd little tinkling sound effect when the Holy Grail is forming.
  • Why was there ever any doubt that the Holy Grail was meant for Sailor Moon? It’s covered with moons, hearts and wings for pete’s sake. (Also, a few episodes ago Chibiusa made reference to it being one of Neo-Queen Serenity’s possessions in the Crystal Palace.)
  • Moon jumping out of the flames is such a great scene. It’s the kind of thing that Mars or Jupiter might do, but it’s Usagi this time because she promised Uranus and Neptune. She will never break a promise.
  • The use of colour in this scene is so great too. The red adds tension and war to the scene, and the pink brings to mind images of love and peace.
  • And yes, the “Crisis, Make-Up” animation sequence was also done by Ikuko Itoh.
  • I’ve also found the bit where Chibi-Moon gains those little wing pins interesting too. It’s never really explained, but I believe that she gained them because something in the future changed. Sailor Moon is more powerful now, and by extension, Chibi-Moon is too. She got the pins because she was there to witness the creation of the Holy Grail.
  • Pluto’s expression after Sailor Moon does her double transformation seems inscrutable, but I see relief and confidence in her eyes. “This is how things are supposed to go.”
  • Eudial is one of my all-time favourite villains (and this is a show with some GREAT villains) so I always found her death scene so awful. And it’s kind of awkward because her expressions are pretty funny. But seriously, Mimete, you screwed over the Death Busters by bumping her off. Eudial was, by far, one of the most competent villains the show has ever had. She actually found the Talisman holders! The Death Busters would have won if she wasn’t replaced by one of the most incompetent villains.
  • Also, while it is symbolically significant that the fire warrior is felled by falling into water, I like to think that she survived the crash, went underground, and now is a programmer-inventor for a major Japanese company and sleeps on enormous piles of money.
  • Uranus seems so doubtful of Sailor Moon’s potential as a Messiah just because she faints after using an enormous amount of power. She claims it is because the Holy Grail grants infinite power, but so does the Silver Crystal, and she can’t use its power without fainting/dying either. And if its wielder is human, the power might be infinite, but the body is not. Also, Uranus’ dreams/premonitions have already shown to be inaccurate (e.g. needing to sacrifice the Talisman holders) so why is she trusting them so strongly? (I know the answer is “Plot” but bear with me here)
  • Now notice Pluto’s expression. She’s not smiling anymore. Cause she knows Uranus just screwed things up.
  • Prof. Tomoe seems certain that the Senshi have not yet found the Messiah because his lab wasn’t destroyed. Well, what if the Messiah didn’t know about the lab? I wouldn’t be so sure if I were him.
  • Also, hello, Hotaru. Welcome to being one of the best parts of the best season.
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