Sailor Moon Crystal is a remake of the original Sailor Moon television anime series that began airing in Japan in 1992. Unlike the original anime series, Sailor Moon Crystal aims to remain as faithful to the original manga source material as much as possible. While this new series utilizes more modern animation techniques, the character designs try to retain as much of the early 1990s look as it possibly can.
Episode 21 starts off Usagi awakening on Planet Nemesis and meeting Prince Demande. This section contains a substantial amount of exposition as he explains about meeting Wiseman, why Black Moon attacked Crystal Tokyo, as well as the obsession he developed with Neo Queen Serenity. Demande steals a kiss from Usagi, but she pushes him away. Later, we see Usagi upset about Demande kissing her, as well as how she’s racked with guilt over the things she said to Mamoru the last time she spoke with him. At first, it comes across as Usagi being a whiny crybaby again, but by the end of this scene, she realizes that she needs to trust in her own power so she can save the three Sailor Scouts who were kidnapped by Black Moon. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a challenge, since Usagi is unable to transform into Sailor Moon due to the power of the Malefic Black Crystal absorbing the power of her Legendary Silver Crystal.
This episode finally allows us a brief scene with Sailor Mars, Sailor Mercury, and Sailor Jupiter as they awaken. They find their transformations have broken, and when they try to transform, they have the same problem that Usagi has. But Prince Demande uses his power to make them fall unconscious again. It’d been long enough since I saw these three characters that it almost felt like I had started to forget they were even part of the series. While it was nice to finally see them, it just felt so brief. But this is basically how the original manga portrayed this part of the story, so I can’t blame this on the anime adaptation.
About half of Episode 21 focuses on Chibi-Usa. It’s revealed that she’s actually 900 years old, but that she suddenly stopped growing and hasn’t had any power awaken. Through flashbacks, we see the teasing that she endured because her power hadn’t awakened yet, how she and Sailor Pluto became friends, her father telling her stories about Sailor Moon, and what happened right before Black Moon attacked Neo Tokyo. This included some very much-needed character development for Chibi-Usa, but it’s a little frustrating that it ended up having to be conveyed in flashbacks that served as an “info dump.” I wish there had been some way to spread some of this out a little more. And right at the very end of the episode, something major happens to Chibi-Usa that could have a major impact on how the story in this arc will move forward.
Unfortunately, Episode 21 ended up being bookended with “info dumps,” and that any real progression to the story only takes place for a short time in between the two exposition sections and right near the end of the episode. While the information imparted in the exposition scenes was important, having two major exposition scenes in one episode did bog it down a little. Hopefully, Episode 22 will see more actual story progression so the audience can feel like they’re actually getting somewhere in this story arc.