After having ZERO scenes during the preview last episode, a lot of people feared the worst. I'm happy to say that we have an improvement over episode three!!
This chapter is one of my favorite from the manga. We get to see the Senshi use their other powers (the Transformation pen and Rei's sixth sense). There's also an air of whimsical fun that other chapters are missing (as the manga goes on it, it tends to be more serious). This episode does a good job of keeping that feeling and even expanding on it. The girls' relationship, especially that of Ami and Rei, is strengthened.
Usagi and Mamoru's relationship is somewhat taken to the next level. When he kisses her while she's asleep, that caused a lot of ruckus when it originally came out, but it's something I think people just need to take a chill-pill and stop over-thinking things (it's a cartoon people!). If it wasn't clear before that both of them like either, it's crystal-clear now (ohgeez, unintentional pun there).
Near the end, we get start to stray from the manga again. All Four Kings appear and reveal more about the Youma ("Evil" is a really awkward word to use in the translation, it doesn't flow well at all). I'm curious as to how much more important their roles will be. One thing I didn't like in the manga is how the main enemies tend to be introduced and killed off in a single chapter (zero character development).
Animation-wise, while we have an improvement over the last episode, the quality overall is still sub-par. There were less extreme wonky moments, let body anatomy was still an issue and many faces looked flat. The ball room scene uses copy-and-paste characters. Also, I don't think a single person on the staff has ever seen a live cat (poor Luna). Yet, Usagi's transformation using the Pen looks great; why can't the Senshi transformations be like that?
I wish the entire series looked like this.
When I watch a show and the quality of the entire episode is low but not complete garbage, I tend to call them "in-between episodes," which suggests that the key animators were working on "more important" episodes and let the in-betweeners do more. This tends to led to lesser quality and that perfectly describes this episode.
One complain I keep hearing from new viewers (people who never saw the original series) is how annoying they find Usagi to be, especially her voice. I think I'm just "used to it" myself, but I can certainly see how it would throw someone off.
To be perfectly honest, I was going to say that this episode would be the last I covered, but seeing the improvements, I'll keep going, though updates may come late due to some real life stuff coming up. If you'd like to keep up with updates, please follow me on Facebook!
What am I going to do when Melvin stops appearing? D:
You can watch all the episodes streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, NeonAlley, or NicoNico. Or if the original 90's is more your thing, you can watch it at Hulu (with two more episodes every Monday).