The new enemy, the Dead Moon Circus, have switched Usagi’s and Chibi-Usa’s body sizes! Will they be able to return to normal? Also; Mamoru has been feeling poorly lately, coughing up strange black blood but refuses to tell Usagi as he fears he’ll be dragging her down. If that’s not enough, the enemy seems to be attacking the Inner Senshi individually, going after their dreams and hopes then turning them into nightmares.
Most of the volume is taken up by the Inner Senshi and their battles with various members of the Dead Moon Circus; unlike their solo battles in the previous arc, their fights aren’t purely just to eliminate the numbers of their enemy (although that certainly is a big point of the battles.) The acts also allow for some much needed and overdue character development. It’s been a while since we’ve had the Inner Senshi step into the spotlight so it’s nice we get to know a little bit more about them outside of their Senshi uniforms, while also receiving new abilities. The acts also have some surprising character introductions and transformations; for example we finally meet Ami’s mother and see Artemis’s human form for the first time.
Sailor Chibi-Moon gets some panels to herself as well; although her relationship with Helios can be considered a bit unusual, it’s also sweet and innocent enough to not think too much about it beyond the ‘fantasy romance’ aspect of it. Usagi and Mamoru’s relationship takes a back seat for the most of the book but the small plot development in the latter half of the volume makes up for it by revealing more about Mamoru’s role as Prince Endymion and the enemy they must face shortly.
The strongest chapter, however, is the final act of the volume where the Outer Senshi finally return. Although they’re hinted at for most of the book, it’s great to see them together in Act 44 when we find out where they’ve been since the Death Busters story concluded. The final pages also reveal the enemy’s core 4 in full, the Amazoness Quartet, opening up the path to the grand battle that’ll most likely happen in the next book.
Without the character development of the Inner Senshi and the Outer Senshi returning, this volume could have been considered as filler-only, however it’s the little details here and there that expand the charming world of Sailor Moon just enough to make this volume worthwhile. It may still be dragged down by recycling plot devices and predictable enemy behaviour, but it’s still forever loveable and delightful Sailor Moon.