Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 16 – “Act.16 ABDUCTION -SAILOR MERCURY-“

Sailor Moon Crystal is a remake of the original Sailor Moon 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 1990’s look as it possibly can.

The first part of the episode focuses on Chibi-Usa. When Sailor Moon sees her hiding when Sailor Mars is kidnapped, she accuses the little girl of being affiliated with Black Moon. As Chibi-Usa runs off, she notices something that looks like the Legendary Silver Crystal hanging around her neck. Later, Luna finds Chibi-Usa alone in the park and leads Mamoru to her. During this part of the episode, we get to see Mamoru’s interactions with Chibi-Usa. Mamoru seems to be a natural when it comes to children, and he comes across as being the kind of guy who will make a great father someday. I have to say that the scene of Mamoru interacting with Chibi-Usa was my favorite part of Episode 16. After Mamoru learns that Chibi-Usa wants Sailor Moon to help her mother, he comes to feel for her. He tries to convey this to Usagi later, but she feels conflicted. She loves Mamoru, but she doesn’t seem to entirely trust Chibi-Usa at this point.

Episode 16 also introduces Berthier, the third eldest of the Spectre Sisters. She decides that she will take on Sailor Mercury since the two of them have abilities that both rely on water. Berthier has a dowsing crystal made from the Malefic Black Crystal, which she uses to predict just about everything. Berthier challenges Ami to a chess match, and the winner gets whatever they want. Berthier claims that if Ami wins, she’ll give Sailor Mars back.

During the chess match, we get to see a little bit of backstory for Ami, which explains why she fears losing people. While some of this backstory was told by Ami a little earlier in the episode, I also enjoyed getting to see a brief glimpse of it in the animation during the match. Berthier is able to read Ami’s mind with the dowsing crystal and starts using what she learns to try to get Ami to lose her confidence and give up. But some encouraging words from Usagi gives Ami her determination back, and she wins. But Berthier doesn’t stay true to her word, and after a battle with the Sailor Guardians, she is defeated. Unfortunately, Sailor Mercury is kidnapped in the process.

As we saw in this episode, Usagi took it hard enough after Sailor Mars was kidnapped. Now that Sailor Mercury has also been kidnapped by Black Moon, I imagine Usagi’s going to have an even rougher time of it. When you factor in Usagi’s issues with Chibi-Usa, it makes things even worse for her. And some of the Sailor Guardians believe that Black Moon is after Chibi-Usa, so Usagi’s going to find that she’s going to have to deal with Chibi-Usa, whether she wants to or not.

While Episode 16 spends time establishing some characters and concepts, it wasn’t as bogged down with this as some of the early episodes in the first arc were. Since most of the characters are already established from the first arc, time only needs to be spent on establishing the new characters who are introduced in this arc, as well as fleshing out some of the already existing characters. So far, the Black Moon Arc has felt more story-driven than the early episodes of the first arc were, since the early episodes of the first arc were working at getting the Sailor Guardians established.

So now I have to wait two weeks to see where the story of the Black Moon arc will progress to next.

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