After a three-week break, Sailor Moon Crystal returns with the introduction of Sailor Jupiter.
This week’s edition of Sailor Moon Crystal introduces us to Makoto Kino, a tough-as-nails student who just transferred to Usagi and Ami’s school. Makoto’s tomboyish ways intimidates the other students, but Usagi becomes infatuated with the girl almost instantly. Despite her hard shell, Makoto has a soft side and is adept at cooking and handcrafts. Makoto may not be here to make friends, but that doesn’t stop Usagi. The girls head to the arcade where Makoto rocks the Sailor V video game. The arcade manager Motoki (aka Furu-chan) instantly reminds Makoto of a previous crush and she instantly becomes a smitten kitten.
Ami meets up with Usagi and Makoto, then they all head over to the temple to meet Rei. While there, they see two women praying for the return of a lost husband. Rumors have been circulating about a cursed bridal shop in town, where a ghost bride seduces men and spirits them away. Rei is uneasy, both about the rumors and the sudden appearance of this new girl. Luna has also picked up weird vibes. Makoto leaves the girls and heads home.
Night falls, and Furu-chan closes up the arcade. The ghost bride—an agent of Nephrite—transfixes him and he starts to wander the streets. Makoto sees him and once again is reminded of her unrequited crush for a young man named Senpai. Zombie Furu-chan exploits this heartbreak to steal Makoto’s energy. Fortunately, Mamoru spots this and hops into action. He heads to Usagi’s house (dressed as Tuxedo Kamen) and wakes her from a dream to lead her to the danger. Luna awakens to find Usagi missing and summons Ami and Rei.
The girls transform into Sailors Moon, Mercury, and Mars. However, Nephrite is prepared for this and uses other cursed bridal mannequins to trap their energy. Makoto announces she no longer believes in love, but Sailor Moon convinces her that heartbreak doesn’t mean love is impossible. Emboldened by this, Sailor Jupiter awakens within Makoto. Luna tosses her a henshin pen and we get to see the lightning show. With her allies incapacitated, Sailor Jupiter first casts Flower Hurricane to disrupt Nephrite’s and the mannequins’ energy flows. A blast of Jupiter Thunderbolt dispatches the main mannequin and frees all those captive by the curse. Nephrite leaves.
Now with four Sailor Soldiers awakened, Luna announces that Sailor Moon is to be the leader of the group. Luna has a new wand with a crescent moon ornament, but we have to wait until the next episode to find out what it does.
At this point, Sailor Moon Crystal has diverged enough from the original Sailor Moon series that trying to match up sequences doesn’t work anymore. Though this episode borrowed several elements from original series episodes, the actual mythology has changed. Although there is still a sense of Monster of the Week with SMC, it hasn’t been used as full-on filler just yet. There are still 21 episodes to go, but with the way this has been paced I’m curious to see if this series will expand into the Sailor Moon R arc.
I do hope future episodes will develop the relationships between the characters. Rei seemed to be shoehorned into this episode and there is no dynamic between her and Usagi, positive or negative. The only source of conflict comes from the Four Kings, which means the main characters outside of their Sailor uniforms do not have much going on in terms of depth. This might not be as noticeable if the episodes weren’t spaced out in two-to-three week intervals, but it is a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.