"Usagi's Awakening: A Message From the Distant Past" is the 44th episode of 1st season of Sailor Moon anime and the 44th of the overall series. It aired in Japan on February 13, 1993. The DiC English dub title for this episode is "The Past Returns" and it aired in North America on November 2, 1995.
A blast of energy sends the Sailor Guardians to the ruined Moon Kingdom, where they meet a hologram of Queen Serenity and learn about their past. Luna and Artemis manage to find the entrance to the Dark Kingdom and Kunzite attacks them.
In the middle of the night, Luna is frantically running home. She finds Usagi in the middle of another Tuxedo Mask nightmare (which ends with an "I love you, Tuxedo Mask!" ). Luna wakes up Usagi with the news that Minako and Artemis have found the entrance to the Dark Kingdom
Beneath the Game Center Crown, a tunnel is opened up. Luna and Artemis lead the way while the Sailor Guardians cautiously followed. They continue to move down the long tunnel until a glob of energy forms in front of them. Kunzite appears to block their way. Kunzite says that they cannot proceed to the Dark Kingdom. He also demands the Silver Crystal from Sailor Moon again. Sailor Jupiter wasn't going to stand for this and she attacks with Supreme Thunder. Kunzite dodged the lightning attack and blasted the Sailor Guardians. The attack knocked all of the Sailor Guardians off their feet and in panic, Sailor Moon saw that she had lost hold of the Moon Stick, and it was flying at Kunzite. Kunzite grabbed at the Moon Stick and missed as well, but when he touched it, the Silver Crystal erupted in energy. When the glare faded, the Sailor Guardians and the Moon Stick were gone. Falling through a vortex, the Sailor Guardians fall screaming to their destination.
Sailor Moon is the first to wake up. She finds herself among ruins. She notices a glowing sphere coming down in front of her. The sphere forms into the miniature figure of a woman who introduces herself as the spirit of Queen Serenity. Gaping, the other Sailor Guardians can only watch as Queen Serenity tells and shows her story to the Princess.
The ruins are all that's left of the Silver Millennium. Once, it was a beautiful place where a peaceful people lived. One night, there was a celebration for the Moon Princess. Princess Serenity is standing on the balcony when she notices Prince Endymion. He warns her that a great invasion force is coming...led by the sorceress Beryl and the evil Metalia. Endymion has to leave before he can say more when he's spotted by guards because Earth people are forbidden on the palace grounds.
Luna and Artemis have reached the end of the tunnel to find snow and storms. Princess Serenity has come down to rejoin the ball. Her hand is taken by a masked stranger in a tuxedo. He asks her to dance. The couple is the center of attention as they regally move around the dance floor.
Plodding through the snow, Luna and Artemis wonder if they're going in the right direction.
Invading hordes of soldiers have come from Earth, driven and lead by the presence of Queen Metalia. The commanding general is Beryl and the armies are lead by four men. Luna and Artemis sound the alarm, and the four Sailor Guardians attack with all of their power. This has no effect on Metalia and with her attack, she kills the Sailor Guardians.
Beryl wants Endymion for herself, and she sees the Moon Princess as an unwanted rival. She breaks the two apart and Metalia takes Endymion away. The Princess leaps forward and gets caught in the same windstorm. Metalia kills Princess Serenity, and Beryl gloats in the death of her rival.
Luna and Artemis have found the entrance to the Dark Kingdom. They turn back to report when Kunzite appears before them.
Queen Serenity has witnessed the death of her daughter and of her kingdom with horror. Against the advice of Luna and Artemis, she pulls out the Silver Crystal and installs it in the Moon Stick. With all her strength, she calls out Moon Healing Escalation, and the invading hordes are destroyed. With her final strength, the Silver Crystal is sent to Earth along with the spirits of Princess Serenity, the Sailor Guardians, and everyone else. Luna and Artemis are put into cold sleep and sent also. Only the body of Queen Serenity remains in the Moon Kingdom.
The Moon Stick reappears in the tunnel and with a flash, the Sailor Guardians appear. Their roles are now defined Sailor Moon is the Princess and the other Sailor Guardians are her protectors. There is a scream for help in the tunnel.
Artemis is vainly trying to protect Luna when the Sailor Senshi comes up. Kunzite can't believe his eyes, as he thought that the Senshi were destroyed. He recovers and forms two energy knives which he throws at Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon tries to block, but the knives slice her. Reacting quickly, the Sailor Senshi invoke their powers and form a barrier to protect Sailor Moon. They can't hold against the knives which come again and again.
Sailor Moon looks at Kunzite with new determination in her eyes. She calls out Moon Healing Escalation and the power of the Silver Crystal falls on Kunzite. He resists against the power of the Silver Crystal, the power so strong that she sparkles with it. He sends an energy knife at her. She hits it away with the Moon Stick and it hits him instead. With a call to Zoisite, saying that he's coming to the world where his soul is in limbo, Kunzite dies.
International Dub Titles
- Brazilian Portuguese: Serena Desperta – Uma Mensagem do Grandioso Passado ("Serena Awakens - A Message from the Great Past.")
- European Portuguese: A Bunny Acorda Com uma Mensagem do Passado! ("Bunny Wakes Up With a Message from the Past!")
- Croatian: OŽIvlJavanje Uspomena Usagi I Mamoru - 2.Dio ("Reviving Usagi And Mamoru Memories - Part 2")
- German: Am Nordpol ("At the North Pole")
- TV: Voyage dans le chaos multidimensionnel ("Journey into Multidimensional Chaos")
- DVD: L’éveil d’Usagi ! Message d’un passé lointain. ("Usagi's Awakening! Message from the Distant Past.")
- Hungarian: Utazás egy másik dimenzióba ("Traveling to Another Dimension.")
- Italian: Un viaggio nel tempo ("A Journey Through Time.")
- Korean: 우사기의 각성! 과거를 뛰어넘은 메시지 (usagiui gagseong! gwageoleul ttwieoneom-eun mesiji) ("Usagi's Awakening! Message Beyond the Past.)
- Mandarin Chinese: 小兔的觉醒 (Xiǎo tù de juéxǐng) (Bunny's Awakening.")
- Polish: Przebudzenie Usagi ("Usagi's Awakening")
- Russian: Банни пробуждается. Послание из далёкого прошлого (Banni probuzhdayetsya. Poslaniye iz dalokogo proshlogo) (Bunny Awakens. Message from the Distant Past.")
- Taiwanese Mandarin Chinese: 小兔覺醒！過去的訊息 (Xiǎo tù juéxǐng! Guòqù de xùnxí) ("Bunny Awakens! Past message.")
Changes from the Manga
- The Inner Sailor Guardians killed Kunzite with their Sailor Planet Attack technique.
- After Kunzite's death, a gem came out of his body. It returned to Queen Beryl.
- Queen Beryl gave the four Shittenou stones to Endymion.
- The Sailor Senshi went to the ruins of the Moon Kingdom on their own will.
- In the manga, Queen Serenity said the people of Earth knew her as Selene, the Moon Goddess, but in the anime, Queen Serenity refers to herself as the incarnation of Selene.
- In the English dub, the scene where Queen Serenity died on a cross-shaped fallen pillar was cut out.
- In the French dub, the scene where Queen Serenity cleansed the Dark Kingdom was completely removed.
- This episode was skipped from the Hungarian dub.
- This is the 1st episode with Kae Araki as the voice of Usagi/Sailor Moon. She will continue in this role until episode 50 of Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R.
- This episode marks the final appearance of the Shitennou.
- This episode shared similarities to Act 10 of the manga.
- This episode featured the last use of Moon Healing Escalation's stock footage.
- Movement Three of Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto No. 2 in G minor ("Summer" of The Four Seasons) is used as background music when Prince Endymion protects Princess Serenity from Beryl.