Strength from within.
What They Say:
Episode 37: Act.36 Infinity 10 Infinite – Upper Atmosphere
The Three Outer Guardians risk their lives to contain Master Pharaoh 90 within the Sankakusu Delta, halting his attempt to become one with the Earth. Meanwhile, Hotaru is fighting a lone battle to protect Chibi-Usa’s soul from Mistress 9.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Hotaru is reaching the limits of holding herself together locked away inside her own body. Mistress 9 starts to attack herself in one of the craziest body horror things to ever grace a true magical girl series. (No, you-know-what doesn’t count.) Hotaru tries to fight back, but all she can do is protect the silver crystal and Chibi-usa’s soul with her own. When Mistress 9 makes a play for the inner guardians souls Hotaru snatches those away as well.
Hotaru truly is the strongest of them all. Eventually, she realizes that her body is a lost cause, and once realizing she is nothing more than a soul herself escapes with the ones she is protecting and uses the last of her life force to return them to their owners. When she reaches Chibi-usa she tells her she loves her, before dissolving into motes of light. It’s then that Chibi-usa has to step up and join Sailor Moon in the battle.
Sailor Moon is powerless while all this happens. With most of her forces unconscious and the other three trying to contain the explosion of dark energy threatening the city all she can do is wring her hands.
The animation in this episode is all sorts of strange and goofily awesome at the same time. It includes one of the dumbest looking shots I think we’ve seen in the series thus far, but it also has some of the best body horror in the series bar none. Faces contort in strange ways with lips quivering in the same scenes as incredibly off model looking long shots. In the climatic transformation scene, we can’t see anyone’s eyes for stylistic reasons that make no sense. Foreshortening runs rampant. It’s just a weird mishmash of the good with the bad. I’ll still take anything here over anything in the first two seasons, though.
With Super Sailor Moon and Super Chibi-Moon powered up, and the rest of the guardians back in the fight, it’s time to take down Mistress 9 once and for all. Except it doesn’t quite work like that. Things are still spiraling out of control, and the evil is still growing and hungry for more power.
Faulty animation aside, there’s some good emotional payoff in this episode. Hotaru may not realize she too is a guardian, but she was the spirit of one for sure. Meanwhile, the inner guardians are proving to be more of a liability than a help, and if not for their glorious leader’s magical inheritance the planet would certainly be doomed. Chibi-usa proves herself MVP and continues her arc of growth and redemption.
Episode Grade: B
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