The real question this week is if the series will continue with the level of quality in episode five or not.
Sadly, the answer is no. The animation is NOT as bad as episodes two and three, but there's a clear drop from five. Thankfully the story itself was strong enough to keep this episode alive.
To begin with, the opening animation has been replaced with the upcoming blu-ray version. The biggest and best difference is that they finally got Queen Serenity's hair and eyes the right color.
Not sure why she was blonde originally....
To be honest, the animation looked pretty decent up until the battle, where it took a visible drop. I'm guessing that ran out of time and rushed out the ending.
A digest video for the first blu-ray release was put online (covering episodes one and two) and it does appear that Toei will be making major changes in the animation. On one hand, that's a good thing because DAMN it needed yet, but on the other it makes Toei look extremely lazy about their streaming versions. I know that some changes will always be made for the home video release, but when you have to reanimate the majority of the episode because it looked that bad then you have a real problem.
Sailor V is not pleased with your performance.
Anyway, enough of that. :P
This one is all about Mamoru, aka Tuxedo Mask. There's a lot of eye candy of him (if that's your thing). He puts out a message to the media about the Legendary Silver Crystal, which the Dark Kingdom then uses to brainwash the city to search for it and drain their energy. The episode concludes with Sailor Moon coming in and saving the day, then her and Tuxedo Mask revealing their real identities to each other.
Sadly, the pacing was really bad, feeling extremely rushed and would have been better if spread out over another episode. I really want to see more character development, and that's apparent during this episode's climax, where Tuxedo Mask tells Moon that her power is to bring smiles and people together. Yes, we get that, but we get very little of the girls really interacting with each other and strengthening their bonds (the manga suffered from this as well).
Just because this is a nice shot.
This episode does help give Tuxedo Mask more personality and purpose. Him helping give Moon strength to fight on is a huge part of the series so cudos to keeping their relationship strong.
The battle was done the way I wished all the battles were, nice and epic. Collateral damage was an actual thing this time! And dammmn, Queen Beryl is awesome. C'mon, give us more of the Dark Kingdom!! Moon Healing Escalation looked awesome (thank you for no CG). Also, points for Sailor V's brief appearance.
So overall, not bad. Not as good as the previous episode, but decent.
Queen Beryl-sama~! ♥
Here's another exciting thing: we got real footage from then next episode! *legasp* It will focus again on Tuxedo Mask, so I hope the pace will be better.
He's totally looking at her boobs.
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).