Since the Special Act is based four years in the future from the events after Act 49, the characters themselves have definitely matured and the growth and development between them. Well, Usagi is somewhat the same -- example after her voiceover explains what the rest of the gang had been up to, she had to rush out like she had done in the beginning of the series. Typical silly Usagi. I did like the fact the Luna is still there living with her and can interact both as a stuffed plushie and as a human girl. Mamma Tsukino doesn't seem to mind, nor does she question it (but I think Usagi had come up with a pretty reliable excuse for Luna to be staying with them, if anything convincing that is).
Basically, the entire Act is centered around Usagi and Mamoru's wedding. And, of course, typical hyperactive and excited Usagi has to go on and on about the wedding planning, the arrangements, the invitations, and so forth. I found it very hysterical when she kept going on and on with Mamoru standing there, saying nothing might I add, with a very bored and the 'what-is-she-going-on-about' expression on his face. Very Mamoru-ish, and the typical male response when a girl rambles away. But what kind of episode would this be without the same-old Usagi/Mamoru fighting and pouting and getting on each other's nerves? Case at hand: Mamoru doesn't understand Usagi's obsession with the wedding, Usagi wants Mamoru to help out with the planning, Mamoru and Usagi are in a disagreement over that. The wedding is called off.
But trouble starts a stirring that questions both their commitment to each other. Two words: Kuroki Mio.
Before I go any further, I'd like to comment on each of the character's development and maturity, and the actors/actresses performance. Because what kind of review would this be without individual reviews?
Sawai Miyuu/Tsukino Usagi: She's still the same adorable enthusiastic Usagi as before, but with a small touch of growth from all she'd been through. Of course, she still wears her hair in two high pigtails; symbolism really, because in Japanese Usagi means 'Rabbit', and it was sort of a running joke throughout the series -- her bedroom had stuffed bunnies and a bunny pillow, she even wore a shirt that had a bunny on it. 'Twas very humorous (since I have the DVD with subtitles, above the screen they sometimes have descriptions of a specific phrase of word that the viewer might not understand). Miyuu does a fantastic job, once again, at playing Usagi -- she is almost like Megan Mullally in a way. Usagi's over-the-top excitement somewhat high-pitched voice isn't really her natural voice. And I finally understood that after watching the 'Making Of...' not too long ago.
I thought Miyuu's performance was nicely done.
Hama Chisaki/Mizuno Ami: Definitely an improvement from the shy and meek little Hermione-esque Ami-chan from their schoolgirl years. I absolutely loved Chisaki/Ami's hair! Not that I didn't like it before, but it was always up in the other Acts -- now it was down and it framed her face perfectly. Of course, the taxi-driver scene proved the character growth and responsibility of Ami. I'm not quite sure about the glasses (they looked different from before), but otherwise Chisaki was wonderful, as per usual of course.
Kitagawa Keiko/Hino Rei: Admitting that I do have a girlcrush on Keiko, there is nothing I can say that was horrible about her performance (with the expection with a small rant that's soon to be revealed). I've always liked Rei and Keiko's version of her was beyond superb and excellence. Character growth was definitely there; Rei had gone from angsty-girl to full-blown beautiful woman. Maturity in both the character and the actress. Lovely, simply lovely. The beginning scene with her in the Kyoto temple practicing her spiritual priestess powers, that was perfect.
Azama Mew/Kino Makoto: The fact that the character is supposed to be a tomboy hides the fact that Azama-san is just too damn goregous to pull that off again in the Special Act. I liked that they had made Makoto have a profession that's more feminine than her usual status of being "boyish". Mew very much portrays Makoto/Sailor Jupiter very nicely -- example in the Final Act when she transforms her weapons to save the world from Princess Serenity. That was awesome. I very much liked Mew's performance here, as well as her dress-sense; still slightly feminine, but her tough-chick moves aren't to be toyed with.
Komatsu Ayaka/Aino Minako: Despite the fact that I was saddened over "that scene" in Act 47, I was glad to see Minako still tough and still actively into the role of who she was as a Sailor Senshi. Ayaka is undoubtfully a beautiful girl and her portrayal of the singer/star/senshi Aino Minako/Sailor Venus is wonderful. The only character change is that she isn't as stubborn or as pig-headed as before when Minako was worried about living her life to fulfill the mission of being a senshi. Minako's disease seems to have never existed (brain tumor, as we think it was). Her involvement in the Special Act was great, though a certain nonexistent character should've been part of the Big Fight.
Shibue Jyoji/Chiba Mamoru: Same old Mamoru, only I feel that he doesn't give Usagi very much love and affection as he should if they truly love each other. It's quite obvious that Usagi does, however Mamoru's reations seem more like....bland. Though there are moments where you sense his protection of Usagi. But we all love Shibby -- quite a dish, he is.
Koike Rina/Luna: Remember Luna the Cat? The young actress who plays Human!Luna senshi also appears in the Special Act, as said before she still lives with Usagi even though their Sailor Senshi days are over. Yes, Luna has blue hair and the colorful-outfit when human, but nobody seems to take notice. And that's just how we all like Human!Luna. Still spunky and crazy, and still adorable. Rina is great playing Luna (and looks like she has fun doing it, too).
Alisa/Kuroki Mio: Ah, the greatest villian of the series. This character is the least kind of villian you would suspect, and that's why she's the greatest. Alisa's character of the show was the eyes and ears for Queen Beryl on Earth, and was absolutely fabulous in the role of Mio. In the Special Act, she's more evil, sadistic, and hyper-crazy. And yes, I like her hair too in this Act.
And speaking of Mio....
After the dramatic entrance she had gave -- causing Rei to wind up in the hospital because of it, which I am still trying to get over -- that smile she gave was a mixture of teh evilness and seduction. Mio's very girlie-girl, not to mention slightly whiny and obnoxious, but that's what creates her sadistic evilness. She's not as intimidating as Queen Beryl, but at least Mio wanders about and gets out once and a while. The Kingdom of Hearts imitation of the carnival palace and her costume (with the finishing touch of clown!youma servants and such), that was classic. Mio's character gives us the straightforward 411: she's going to suck everyone's energy and rule the world. And, because she knows that Usagi cannot transform anymore, she plans on taking Mamoru and make him her King.
Queen Serenity makes an appearance too -- a hologram version of her, anyway. The size of stuffed plushie Luna, but at least she'd appeared. Her voice was deep, and very Majesty-like. And Queen Serenity, knowing the turmoil both Usagi and Mamoru are going through (known as Serenity and Endymion to her), feels the great evil that has arrived, and has issued a plan to defeat it.
The former Sailor Senshi's now join together to fight once more against Evil. Because Mamoru is still fighting as both Tuxedo Mask and Prince Endymion, he has his comrades (Kunzite, Zoicite, Nephrite, and Jadeite) the former Shintennou, he has called them to help. Personally, the scenes with them and Mamoru interacting like they were during their past lives was really sweet. The fight final of the Sailor Senshi to destroy Mio wasn't the best battle, but it was nice to see them remember their powers they used to have even though some of the had gone off and done something more with their lives. Four years had passed, and it really connects them as one when they continued to fight side-by-side with each other.
The Things That I Didn't Pretty Much Like:
- The nonexistence of Rei. How could this have been something with the senshi's if Rei-chan hadn't been there? I had been anticipating her partake in the final fight because this was her last chance at using her powers, and doing the infamous Fire Dance she does so well. Disappointed at the lack of her, I was glad to see that she was well during the last scene near the end. However, that blow in the beginning when she was knocked out could've been that powerful, could it? If that were true, then Luna would've gotten full blast of it too, or at least a little injured. And I was hoping for more Minako/Rei moments of interaction -- there was one at the wedding, and that was enough for some squee. But not there wasn't much during the rest of the Act.
- Flashback to Mamoru's proposal. That was probably the worst proposal ever. He just handed her the engagement ring and walked off, waiting for Usagi to join him after she had figured out what the ring was. Goodness, is Mamoru dense or something?
- No Nephrite/Ami. I guess it wasn't really meant to be, because that would be going against the manga/anime, but then why would they deeply imply their relationship in the last few Acts if it wasn't going to be? There were cute Nephrite/Ami moments during the last several Acts that it was obvious that the creators of the series wanted something to happen between them. It would've been the greatest opportunity to introduce some sort of relationship growth once Nephrite had returned in the Special Act -- but nothing. I guess their cuteness lives on only in my imagination, wishes, and fics.
In the end of the Special Act, Usagi and Mamoru had made up and the wedding was going to take place. Usagi's wedding gown looked nice, and the headdress she wore was cute too. I loved Minako and Rei's reaction to each other (OTP moment), which begs to question if either of them remembered their closely engaged companionship they had made before the events years ago. Anywho, everything turned out perfectly for the two lovebirds -- quarreling aside, they went with their hearts. They loved each other, and they were going to live happily together.
There was little indication that Usagi might've been pregnant, but it's not quite certain. Or perhaps that was just my imagination.
So that was the Special Act. Interested? Hopefully you are. Because sometime this week Act 0 is going to be airing in Japan, which will explain the birth of Sailor V (and Sailor Venus) and Minako's journey onto deciding on the mission of the past life, hopefully with more explanation of her obsession with it too.
Stay tuned for more PGSM reviews....