With 200 episodes under its belt, the classic anime adaptation of Naoko Takeuchi’s Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is bound to have some misses. Now, a loyal fan would like to think every episode is amazing and special. If you love Sailor Moon, surely the series can do no wrong.
Peeking past rose-tinted glasses, fans can admit there are some clinkers in the show’s five seasons. But how does one narrow them down? Luckily, we have IMDb to do the work for us. Thanks to users’ voting, we now have an idea of what episodes the fandom thinks are the worst.
10 43 — Usagi Abandoned: The Falling-Out of the Sailor Guardians (6.8)
Sailor Moon fakes a mutiny with her fellow Guardians so she can fool the enemy into giving her access to the Dark Kingdom. Thus, she can save Mamoru, who has since been taken and brainwashed.
It’s unclear why this episode ranks so lowly, but it might have to do with a change made in DiC’s English dub. In the original, Moon entrusted Mars with the Silver Crystal, whereas, in the DiC version, Moon forgot the wand under Mars’ bed. Some fans perceive Mars was also gunning for Moon’s role as the group’s leader. Many fans didn’t like this change as it undermined their friendship’s development.
9 54 — The School Festival Is for Me?! Queen Rei’s Song (6.7)
Ail and An send a Cardian to gather energy at Rei’s school’s culture festival. When her friends are rendered unconscious, Sailor Mars must face the enemy alone.
Rei’s behavior in the episode is nothing short of diva-like. It’s no secret the fandom is split about Rei’s ’90s anime adaptation. But here, Rei is a bit much. Even for her. On the other hand, Sailor Mars unveiled one of her coolest techniques in the series — Fire Soul Bird. Another con about this episode could be Masahiro Andō’s “cherub” art, which admittedly, doesn’t look as bad as some of his future work in the series.
8 63 — Women Must Be Strong and Beautiful: Rei’s New Special Technique (6.7)
Much to Rei’s chagrin, her grandfather starts up a women’s self-defense course at the shrine. She believes he’s only doing this to ogle the clients. Meanwhile, Kōan infiltrates the class, hoping to corrupt a Crystal Point so that the future ceases to exist.
Another Rei episode? We’re noticing a pattern. It’s safe to say Rei isn’t at fault here. Rei acts as a foil to her grandfather, but people can see her side of the argument. After all, he’s a lecherous old man. One would think the debut of Mars’ Burning Mandala maneuver would make this one more favorable, though.
7 76 — Magic of Darkness: Esmeraude’s Invasion (6.6)
After Rubeus’ defeat, Esmeraude is put in charge of the Black Moon’s mission to destroy the past. Her first assignment is taking over a pastry shop.
Esmeraude was a formidable foe in the manga, but she’s reduced to a source of comic relief in Sailor Moon R. Sure, it’s funny. At first. However, that haughty, boisterous laugh grates on your ears. In addition, this is a weak first outing for Esmeraude. The droid she employs is absolutely one of the worst in the series, too. To add insult to injury, the artwork — directed by Taichi Nakamura — is flat and unbecoming.
6 80 — The Terrifying Illusion: Ami All Alone (6.5)
When Esmeraude targets a cram school, Ami investigates. A droid then hexes Ami, causing her to hallucinate. Now, she’s paranoid and thinks everyone — including her friends — are out to get her.
According to past surveys in Japan, Ami/Sailor Mercury was the most popular Sailor Guardian. It’s quite the opposite in the west, as Mercury often places low in fan-favorite polls. So, it’s no surprise that – sooner or later – an Ami episode would appear on this list. This particular one taps into Ami’s insecurities, a subplot that emerges from time to time in the series.
5 155 —Overcome Your Fear: the Jump to Freedom (6.5)
Chibiusa can’t master the box horse at school. Elsewhere, her classmate Kyūsuke is having a similar problem. The acrobatic JunJun then swoops in to train him. She seems helpful, but all she wants is his Dream Mirror.
The lowest-rated SuperS episode is another slice-of-life piece. Although Mars and the others are in the episode, they hardly battle with JunJun and her lemures. If you can even call that a battle. One of the biggest flaws with the fourth season was the lack of fighting. It was more antics than action; the overall threat was comparatively smaller than in previous seasons.
4 127 — A Guardian’s Realization: Strength Lies Within a Pure Heart (6.4)
The Death Busters have been defeated, and Haruka and Michiru have left now that their mission has been fulfilled. Chibiusa is on her way back to the future when a stray Daimon emerges and overwhelms the other Sailor Guardians.
Many a fan will say the third season is the best produced during the ’90s. Of course, that evaluation likely doesn’t include the last episode. In the finale, Chibiusa makes a decision to return to Crystal Tokyo. Viewers are momentarily relieved until the pink-haired brat comes back. Curses! Aside from Chibiusa’s storyline, the art is painfully sloppy and unappealing.
3 79 — Artemis’ Adventure: The Monster Animal Kingdom (6.1)
When Esmeraude’s droid sets her sights on an animal shelter, she incidentally turns the residents into her willing servants. It’s now up to Artemis to save these creatures.
Of all the Black Moon filler, this one somehow fares poorly. It’s a peculiar choice as the episode has a lot going in its favor. In a rare moment, Artemis is the focal character. The art is better than average, and the battle with the enemy is exciting. So what gives? The cats do get smacked around so perhaps that is the cause.
2 67 — The Beach, the Island and a Vacation: The Guardians’ Break (6.0)
Rei’s private spiritual training on a deserted island is interrupted when Usagi and the others join her. Meanwhile, Chibiusa encounters a baby plesiosaur who needs help rescuing its mother.
When the now-defunct ADV Films issued “uncut” sets for seasons one and two, they omitted this episode. That could explain why it has a “6.0” rating — not enough people have seen it. For those who have, they should understand why it’s despised. The episode contributes nothing to the overarching plot, and the art looks almost bootleg. The characters don’t ever mention again the fact that prehistoric marine reptiles still exist in Japan.
1 89 — Usagi and the Girls’ Resolve: Prelude to a New Battle (4.9)
Following the defeat of Wiseman and the Black Moon Clan, the Sailor Guardians take a breather and recap everything that’s happened so far in the series. They also give audiences a preview of the new season.
For all intents and purposes, this is a clips episode. Anyone who tuned in to see a brand-new story was sorely disappointed. We do get a glimpse of the Death Busters and Sailors Uranus and Neptune, but this episode feels unnecessary. Surely they could have just shown a rerun or bumped up the third season’s premiere.
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