OSMSSR: Episode 134 – Makoto’s Friendship! A Girl Who Adores a Pegasus

It’s dead week, meaning I have to study! Not that I’m going to…134-titleThe episode begins with all the Sailor Senshi at the fruit parlor. Yeah, the Inner Senshi are actually hanging out together again. How long has it been? They are discussing the book “Pegasus of the Moonlit Night”, about unrequited love between a Pegasus and a human woman. It sounds sappy to me, but in-universe the story is really acclaimed, and I believe that any subject can be done well, so why don’t I give it the benefit of the doubt? It turns out that Rei is the only one of the group who hasn’t actually read the story, and seeing that even Ami has been moved to tears by the book, she decides that she’s falling behind on the times. Obviously, Chibiusa is engaged as well, because she happens to actually know a Pegasus herself. “Know” is used loosely here, because that would once again imply Pegasus possessing a personality. At this point, the two have barely even interacted beyond, “Hey, you have new powers now. Use ’em.”

That moment when you don't the answer in Final Jeopardy.

That moment when you don’t the answer in Final Jeopardy.

So as it turns out, the author of the story, Tomoko Takase, used to be Makoto’s classmate before she moved to Jubaan. Usagi and Chibiusa’s reactions go exactly as expected: with the two overreacting to this “major secret” and Chibiusa and Luna using this as an opportunity to compare Usagi unfavorably with someone else. In fact, Mako was the one who originally convinced Tomoko to submit her story to a magazine. In a still image flashback sequence, Mako tells of how she used to read Tomoko’s stories, and tell her what she thought. This prompted her to submit, and the rest is history. So basically, Mako is the reason the novel even came out to begin with. Nice. Mako laments that she was never able to properly congratulate Tomoko on her success, what with switching schools and whatnot. And so Usagi suggests that they go get their books signed at an autograph session, so that Mako can get her chance to see Tomoko again. Of course, being Usagi, she really just wants an autograph for herself above anything else, but it was still considerate of her to invite Mako along, relatively speaking.

Sailor Moon, so cheap we recycle water droplets, too!

Sailor Moon, so cheap we recycle water droplets, too!

Meanwhile, the Amazon Trio are being chewed out by Zirconia, as usual. For once, Zirconia just outright assigns which person to go after, and doesn’t leave the choice to her idiotic employees. Obviously, the target in question is Tomoko, who the Trio all know because of her book. Hey, when you’re an evil villain, you take all the free time you can get. Amusingly, they describe sappy parts of the book, like the pegasus sacrificing his life for the woman he loves, and corny and stupid, which is exactly what I’d be doing to real life works of romance. But I’m totally not evil, I swear! Anyway, the obvious reason for Tomoko being chosen is that her story is about a Pegasus, so she might know a thing or two about the “real” Pegasus. It’s time for Tiger’s Eye to bust out his flawless technique again, complete with 0% success rate.

Gah! Do the artists know that this is for kids?

Gah! Do the artists know that this is for kids?

So after a scene of walking, and, get this, THE SAILOR SENSHI ACTUALLY INTERACTING, Mako runs up ahead to see Tomoko again, only to find a bajillion guys crowding her. Tiger’s Eye is nearby, thinking that this job will be easy, because literary types typically have a lot of admirers of the same gender. And this testimony is based on? You know, never mind, with your typical outfit, I’d imagine most of your admirers are a little X-chromosomally challenged. Seeing all the guys there, Tiger’s Eye gets the wrong idea and beats everyone up in a big comedic violence ball. Not sure why that’s there, it just feels out of place. Actually, all these guys are reporters, and they’re there to investigate Tomoko’s recent disappearance, as well as her apparent writer’s block. Mako takes it pretty hard, and runs off, insisting that Tomoko wouldn’t abandon her work.

Point being, you should never go to work without eating breakfast first.

Point being, artists should never go to work without eating breakfast first.

At a nearby tree in a park, Mako finds Tomoko, who recognizes her instantly and whose attitudes toward her don’t appear to have changed at all. Makoto rather bluntly calls Tomoko out for running away from her dream, but Tomoko says that it is because she “can’t write”. She talks about sitting and staring at her manuscript paper, with no words coming to mind. In tears, and continuing to state that she has no dreams anymore, Tomoko runs away. This is the first of Tomoko that we actually see, and in a few short seconds we are already introduced to her dilemma which is relatable and sympathetic. Also wonderful is the timelessness of the friendship between Mako and Tomoko, which has remained intact after all these years. The scene is never in your face about it, either. It simply plays out like it really would after seeing an old friend down in the dumps. Tiger’s Eye has been watching this scene unfold from the bushes again, effectively making him a male stalker at this point.

Whoah! Ever hear of private space, man?

Whoah! Ever hear of personal space, man?

Back at the fruit parlor, Mako is sitting, contemplating what could have happened to make someone like Tomoko, who loved writing novels, stop. Cut to another flashback sequence. It begins with a bunch of guys playing keep away with Tomoko’s manuscript, because in Sailor Moon, if you have a penis, you have no soul. Which raises questions about Mamoru Chiba’s privates. Mako shows up to scare them off, and reads the manuscript she just saved. Amusingly, this is more or less how Mako met Usagi, which just adds to the charm. Obviously, Mako likes the story, and encourages Tomoko to continue.

A demonstration of just how much the writing of this season is worth.

A demonstration of just how much the writing of this season is worth.


One commercial break later, still in the flashback, Tomoko is watching some random nameless jock playing soccer. Yup, it’s another romance story, though a little less over-the-top than usual. Mako notices this, and seeing that Tomoko doesn’t believe that a guy like… Nameless Soccer Guy would notice her, convinces her to submit her story to a magazine, and if it becomes a hit, then NSG is bound to take note of her then. Yup, Tomoko’s writing career was started because of a boy. Because what plot isn’t because of guys in this show?
Behold the glory of the soccer player so great he must not ever be named!

Behold the glory of the soccer player so great he must not ever be named!


So the flashback is over, and Chibiusa is missing. Who cares? Back at Tomoko’s place, the young writer is surrounded by crumpled up pieces of paper, crying her eyes out. Cut to yet another flashback, this time at an autograph session for “Pegasus of the Moonlit Night”. And who should show up at this session but Nameless Soccer Guy, with another girl at his arm! Back in the present, Tomoko is lamenting that no matter how many stories she writes, no one will ever truly understand her. Damn. That’s just sad. No other comment required.
Not that that'll stop this chatterbox from doing so.

Not that that’ll stop this chatterbox from doing so.


So Chibiusa was at Tomoko’s house the whole time. How did she know where Tomoko lives? Did Mako tell her? ‘Cause that’s kind of a dick move for a close friend. Anyway, Chibiusa tells Tomoko of how her story has touched her, because she knows that someone had the same dream as she did about a Pegasus. Rather confused, Tomoko continues to sulk, insisting that she can’t write. However, Mako has made it to the scene, too, and she confronts Tomoko, saying that even if only one person reads her stories, she should continue to write just for that one person, because that was her dream that got her started writing stories to begin with. After that applause-worthy speech, it seems that Tomoko is coming around, but of course, who should ruin it but goddamn Tiger’s Eye, whose only purpose is still to interrupt far more interesting plotlines.
The glare on the glasses is not getting you any "totally not a stalker" points, if that's what you're wondering.

The glare on the glasses is not getting you any “totally not a stalker” points, if that’s what you’re wondering.


Tiger’s Eye introduces himself as Taiga, an editor of Dead Publishing, the most innocent and least suspicious name for any organization, even one that’s not trying to take over the world. Obviously Tomoko has never heard of the fictional (in-universe) Dead Publishing, so the name is quite meaningful. Tiger’s Eye thinks to himself that authors who are cooped up in their rooms all day tend to fall in love with their editors, hence the disguise. Every episode, I feel more and more that Tiger’s Eye entered the villain business solely as compensation.
Wouldn't that just give her heartburn rather than charm her?

Wouldn’t that just give her heartburn rather than charm her?


So Tiger’s Eye pretty much immediately ditches the whole “charming Tomoko” thing and reveals himself, and his outfit is so flashy that the conservative Tomoko can’t take it and screams. Cue Sailor Jupiter and Moon and Chibi Moon’s henshin sequences. As Tiger’s Eye prepares to look inside Tomoko’s dream mirror, he nearly gets hit with Jupiter’s Sparkling Wide Pressure, who foregoes the pretentious speeches and flat out tells Tiger’s Eye that she won’t let him lay a finger on Tomoko. Which, needless to say, is badass. Of course, the pretentious speeches are left to Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon, who climbed a nearby house just to look cooler while spewing out “in the name of the moon!” Which is significantly less badass, unfortunately.
I see no one next door was awake to see two Sailor Senshi on their roof, loudly proclaiming their heroic intent.

I see no one next door was awake to see two Sailor Senshi on their roof, loudly proclaiming their heroic intent.


This time the Lemure is Tenko, a monster with a time bomb on her head. Just because. Her first action is to tie all three Senshi up with chains. Sailor Jupiter rather stupidly tries to retaliate with Supreme Thunder, which of course only serves to electrocute the three girls. Tiger’s Eye looks at Tomoko’s dreams (meaning Jupiter completely failed at what she said she would do), but finds no Pegasus. So Tenko finally puts her head-bomb to use, by setting the timer and throwing the bomb down at the trapped Senshi. So, when the Senshi are trapped in a seemingly hopeless situation, with no way to get out, who else should come but walking deus-ex-machina Tuxedo Kamen, who hasn’t been in this episode at all until now? Speaking of pretentious speeches… Anyway, Sailor Jupiter throws the time bomb back at Tenko right when it explodes, which blasts her to the ground, creating a very Tenko-shaped hole. Time for the final blow once again!
They've been shocked into Adult Swim character designs!

They’ve been shocked into Adult Swim character designs!


While Chibiusa calls upon Pegasus, Tomoko briefly regains consciousness, and sees the winged horse flying through the air. After the attack concludes like ten minutes later, Tenko is defeated and Tiger’s Eye leaves, apparently “not caring anymore”. Great, does that mean we can get someone with a less annoying voice to be the villain next time? After the fight, Tomoko tells Mako that she has seen a real Pegasus, and this inspires her to write stories again, this time for the sake of everyone who loves reading them. Before Mako leaves, Tomoko asks her to be the first to read her next story when it’s finished, which Mako gladly agrees to. Tomoko’s next story is called “Pegasus Fantasy” (probably a better one than this season has been giving us), and it is “dedicated to my dear friend Mako, and everyone who has a dream”. D’awwwwwwww…

This episode is absolutely fantastic. I can’t even begin to praise it enough. In a season that has so far been filled with throwaway characters and dull plots, here we finally have a character in Tomoko Takase who feels really fleshed out as an individual, with a complete character arc. This isn’t just some petty love dispute going on, here; Tomoko has identifiable problems that the viewer wants to see her overcome. Everyone has has at least one phase when it feels like nothing ever goes right, and the inspiration just doesn’t hit, and the essence of these feelings are captured perfectly in this character. Makoto is phenomenal here as well, not hesitating to step in and help her friend through a crisis. The enduring friendship between the two girls is a joy to witness, and the satisfaction of seeing Tomoko overcome her inner demons is matched only by her regained sense of loyalty and trust in Mako. For a season that preaches “dreams are awesome” more than it actually shows it, here is an episode that truly celebrates dreamers and all that they stand for. The only real drawback is that once again, the Amazon Trio seem to get in the way more than anything else, but the rest of the episode is so well-done that I can easily forgive this. This episode is at least in my top 20 of the entire series, if not my top 10. Episodes like this make me proud to be a fan, and make slogging through the swamp of episodes before it more than worth it.
Next week is finals week for me, meaning no post. But I shall return. With weapons.

OSMSSR: Episode 133 – Artemis’ Affair? A Mysterious Kitten Appears

Spoiler alert: this “mysterious kitten” has no bearing on the plot whatsoever! Are you surprised by this point?133-titleThe episode begins with Mamoru helping Usagi and Chibiusa with their studies. Naturally, this evolves into a fight between the two girls. Mamoru, of course, quickly gets fed up and tells the girls he will leave if they don’t take studying seriously. Chibiusa goes on an amusing tirade about how if Mamoru “neglects” here like this, she will end up not finding a husband in the future and living a lonely life. I am definitely reminded of Calvin and Hobbes here, in a good way. Of course, it doesn’t take long for the fight to resume.

Toei reacting to Super S's ratings.

Toei reacting to Super S’s ratings.

Luna and Artemis come in, with Luna informing the three of Artemis apparently having fallen in love with a beautiful nun at the Juban Church, though Artemis insists that that is a misunderstanding. As Mamoru leaves with Artemis in tow, Usagi and Chibiusa start talking about how they feel sorry for Artemis after having been caught looking at someone other than his one true love, Luna. Luna, being an unfeeling bitch, starts to feel rather awkward. Meanwhile, Artemis continues to insist that the whole nun thing was a misunderstanding, when a kitten appears yelling, “Father!” at him. She introduces herself as Diana, and has a crescent shaped symbol on her head, just like Artemis. Basically, this is a REALLY bad time for this to happen…

And in addition to gawking at women, he set Luna on fire!

And in addition to gawking at women, he set Luna on fire!

So of course, the classic misunderstanding occurs, and Artemis gets his ass kicked, just like in every other episode. In addition, Diana now has fond memories of witnessing domestic abuse to reflect on when she gets older. Meanwhile, at the Zirconian Circus, the Amazon Trio partakes in random filler actions that are completely unnecessary and don’t affect anything plotwise. So, basically, it’s business as usual. All that really happens in this scene is the Trio gets chewed out, which happens every other episode anyway. So basically, this scene is pure filler. Excellent.

In the next bar scene, the Trio continue to talk about how much their lives suck or whatever, and ultimately decide that Tiger’s Eye’s next target should be that nun Artemis was supposedly gawking at earlier, as she would have to be pure and just and everything. Speaking of the nun, Usagi and Chibiusa watch her pray in the next scene. Purpose? Logic? There is none to be found here.

Apparently, monochrome eyes are a thing in this universe.

Apparently, monochrome eyes are a thing in this universe.

In the next scene, Artemis returns home to Minako, who seems somewhat less cheery than usual. As Mina hints about Artemis hiding something from her, Artemis tries to guess what it is, apologizing for things like eating a cake that she had been saving, breaking her favorite glass, and muddying up her favorite ribbon, all of which she hilariously didn’t even realize Artemis had done anyway. So do Mina’s parents routinely break her stuff, too? Because Artemis would otherwise be the only possible culprit for all of those. Of course, she’s actually talking about the call she just got from Usagi, saying that Artemis had a child without anyone else knowing. Resulting is Minako hamming it up to the extreme to make Artemis feel like a piece of shit. And it is glorious. Artemis, you make the world a happier place the more you suffer.

Hey, I thought Makoto was the one who summoned lightning!

She’s so mad, she stole Sailor Jupiter’s powers!

So the Senshi are holding a big party thing for Luna, because the best thing to do when you’re depressed is overeat. It certainly explains why everyone in this show is thin enough to be a model. While the other girls try to cheer Luna up, Usagi mostly asks Luna if she can some food with her. Typical. And then she wonders if something is up between Artemis and Luna. Leading to more denial from Luna. Man, Luna sure doesn’t like romance. Moving on.

Whoah. Thought-provoking stuff here!

Whoah. Thought-provoking stuff here!

Meanwhile, the nun is out praying or something, and Tiger’s Eye pays her a visit. She’s putting up a wreath of flowers, which she says is “the work of our Lord”. I’m sure whoever made those flowers is pretty annoyed right now. After some more pretentious speeches about how the Lord loves everyone and stuff, Tiger’s Eye pretends to hear words from God about how you should “love thy neighbor” and to love even sinners. Tiger’s Eye finally reveals himself with, “I have every right to be loved, because I am… A SINNER!!!” Okay, it’s not that dramatic, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. Too bad he kinda ruins it by pouncing on her in a suggestive position, shouting, “Now love me!”

Clearly what Tiger's Eye is doing is so horrible it had to be censored by shadow! "Love me" indeed...

Clearly what Tiger’s Eye is doing is so horrible it had to be censored by shadow! “Love me” indeed…

Artemis is the one to notice the catastrophe this time, as he is out to prove his innocence in the whole father thing. Like the good Samaritan that he is, he tries to help out the nun first. The nun tries fending off Tiger’s Eye with a cross, and it seems like it’s working, but Tiger’s Eye then says, “Just kidding. You watch too many movies!” Wow. Tiger’s Eye, you just went way up in my book. So the usual dream looking stuff happens. I wonder what the nun’s beautiful dream is supposed to be. To love everyone? That’s good, I guess. Around here is when Artemis shows up. Tiger’s Eye reacts by getting mad that Artemis almost scratched his face. That’s how fearsome Artemis is: make him mad, and he’ll scratch your face!

And so the cross fell into the black void of nothingness that all forgotten objects in anime fall into, never to be seen again.

And so the cross fell into the black void of nothingness that all forgotten objects in anime fall into, never to be seen again.

Sailor Venus is there, too, and she makes another “in the name of the moon” speech, except bashing Artemis as well as Tiger’s Eye. Poor cat can never catch a break. Tiger’s Eye’s Lemure this time is Kigurumiko, a giant plush. Kigurumiko’s move is turning into… a kangaroo boxer. Now that’s just fantastic. If only I actually knew anything about Tekken, then I could have made a disposable, lame reference to that franchise! Now I must wallow in guilt for all eternity!

Male character attempts to be useful in Sailor Moon. Result is pictured above.

Male character attempts to be useful in Sailor Moon. Result is pictured above.

So the first move that kangaroo boxer Kigurumiko attempts is… Kangaroo Kick? Is that allowed in boxing? I don’t remember being able to kick in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!! But that’s only a game, so what do I know? Anyway, after Tiger’s Eye looks at the (still unnamed) nun’s dream, to find that Pegasus is of course not there, Artemis once again tries to pull a Mamoru Chiba by scratching Tiger’s Eye’s hand, an attack that would be a little more effective if Artemis had poisoned claws or something, but no; aside from being able to talk, Artemis is more or less a normal cat. So he follows through on the pulling a Mamoru Chiba thing by getting captured by Kigurumiko. So now Artemis is Kigurumiko’s partner. Because didn’t you know, kangaroo boxers need those to be more powerful!

Man, Ralphie Parker sure had some weird dreams involving that bunny suit he got that one Christmas.

Man, Ralphie Parker sure had some weird dreams involving that bunny suit he got that one Christmas.

So after Sailor Venus attacks Kigurumiko with Venus Love-Me Chain, it’s revealed that Artemis is now the same body as Kigurumiko, so any injury that Kigurumiko takes will also be inflicted on Artemis. This makes attacking Kigurumiko a little less of a priority, and Venus gets punched square in the jaw. But fortunately for her, backup comes in the form of the rest of the Inner Senshi, only two of whose transformations are shown (can you guess which two?). And those two Senshi are the only ones who say, “We’ll punish you!” Once again, the Inner Senshi are treated with as much dignity as possible. After Kigurumiko still image attacks the Senshi, Luna is the only one who actually bothers to attack the kangaroo, resulting in…

In case you thought Kung Fu Panda did it first.

In case you thought Kung Fu Panda did it first.

As Kigurumiko is trying to Double-Triple-Whatever-Kick Luna, Artemis finally regains some control of himself and bites her pouch, causing her to miss Luna and instinctively throw Artemis out of her pouch. Because they no longer have to worry about harming Artemis… Tuxedo Kamen shows up for no reason and throws a rose at Kigurumiko. Yay. Actually, he is here for a reason: to transport Diana to the scene to clear things up. Since Diana really has no reason to exist anyway, we’ll just say that Tuxedo Kamen’s intervention is, as usual, completely pointless. Moving on to the attack that can actually do lasting impact, Moon Gorgeous Meditation.

Hey! That theme won't be used until like 20 episodes later (in other words, an eternity).

Hey! That theme won’t be used until like 15 episodes later (in other words, an eternity).

Meanwhile, the nun sees through a wedding ceremony, a plot point that you totally should have cared about. Man, not even a character arc or anything resembling a personality. This nun definitely got screwed in the one-shot character department. So all the Inner Senshi are coming to terms with the fact that Diana is Artemis and Luna’s child from the future. She’s also good friends with Chibiusa, which is never a good sign for any character. As Minako puts it, “You two are going to end up in ‘that’ kind of relationship,” which is kids’ show speak for “You two are going to bang each other!” Luna continues to deny having feelings for Artemis, even at the possible expense of Diana’s very existence, because Artemis was checking the nun out earlier. Artemis finally decides to grow a spine for once and tells Luna that he was actually admiring the church, not the nun. And so everything is tied up, and Mamoru gets to joke about how much more deep shit Artemis is going to get into (even though Diana is generally a lot more demure than Chibiusa). And everyone laughs. The end.

What else needs to be said? This is the very definition of a guilty pleasure episode. Nothing about it renders it as necessary viewing, but who cares? It’s twenty minutes of Artemis getting his butt kicked, by Luna, by Minako, and he even gets his soul fused with a boxing kangaroo! Given all of that, is there any point in analyzing the nonexistent characters and plot? This one gets a thumbs up from me!

Next time: A more traditionally “good” episode in Episode 134: Makoto’s Friendship! A Girl Who Adores a Pegasus

OSMSSR: Episode 132 – A Couple Made for Each Other! Usagi and Mamoru’s Love

Aw, who cares, you’ll all be out scrambling for deals on video games and stuff anyway.132-title
This episode begins with two… pals (yeah, pals) Kobayashi and Saori walking together to Mamoru’s place. They’re old college buddies of his, and are visiting because then this episode wouldn’t have a one-shot character for the Amazon Trio to incompetently target. The two banter about how guys’ rooms are always messy. Of course, Mamoru’s apartment is clean, so Kobayashi has “lost faith in him”. Whatever that means. The two know that Mamoru has a steady girlfriend, so they’re looking forward to that, too. If only they knew…

Too bad they forgot to bring the Tea Tea.

Too bad they forgot to bring the Tea Tea.

As Mamoru and Saori strike up some casual friendly conversation, Kobayashi pries around for pictures of Mamoru and his girlfriend. Because college buddies are like that. But he doesn’t have to wait long to meet this mysterious girl, because Usagi is right at the front door, spamming the doorbell. Apparently, this was all because Kobayashi has noticed that Saori’s lipstick is a different color every time she sees Mamoru. That was basically a lot of words for, “Love triangle. Hilarity ensues.” And now it’s time for the big reveal:

Nope. There is no way anyone would misunderstand.

Nope. There is no way anyone would misunderstand.

Saori and Kobayashi are a little… disoriented to see who Mamoru is dating, especially since their first scene in this episode is them fighting over Mamoru, as usual. Upon seeing how immature they are, Saori takes this to mean that they are friends who have precocious crushes on Mamoru, and he simply plays along for the heck of it.

The bare minimum requirements for a human face. Check.

The bare minimum requirements for a human face? Check.

So, Kobayashi converses with Usagi and gets to know her a little better, specifically that she likes cake and is kind of a ditz. Chibiusa inquires exactly what relationship Saori has with Mamoru. She simply says that they are friends from high school and college, and that’s it. Mamoru uses this as a means to segue into Saori’s dreams of becoming a female police commissioner. Was such a thing still unheard of at this time? Chibiusa suspects that Mamoru knows a little too much about Saori for being just college buddies. Yeah, because this series is all about how friends never tell their dreams to each other.

Chibiusa just went full Chibiusa. Never let Chibiusa go full Chibiusa.

Chibiusa just went full Chibiusa. Never let Chibiusa go full Chibiusa.

And now we go back to our incompetent villains, who (shocker!) are thinking of targeting Saori next. They reason out that she is the type who prepares for class and reviews what she learned after class. Was this supposed to be subliminal messaging to try and improve kids’ study habits? That description just seems awkward and phoned in. Since Saori should be fairly out of her element when it comes to romance, Tiger’s Eye decides that she is his type. At this point we have to wonder who isn’t his type. This whole “evil villain” thing is starting to sound more like compensation than anything else.

I finally realized that this is the most successful that any of the Trio have ever been at getting girls. Now that's pathetic.

And with that, he’s been kissed more times than I have.

Meanwhile, Usagi is at a store, doing important Sailor Senshi things like trying to choose which stuffed animal to buy. Chibiusa is still going full Chibiusa, and is pretty pissed at Usagi for being a walking first world problem. Chibiusa asks Usagi if she ever worries about stuff like her happiness. Usagi responds that she does; for instance, right now she’s worried whether the stuffed hippo or stuffed horse will make her more happy. That response… is brilliant. I have to use that kind of reasoning whenever someone asks me about my happiness.

In addition, Usagi has gone full... Charile from Mr. Magoo?

In addition, Usagi has gone full Charile from Mr. Magoo.

Meanwhile, Saori is hanging out alone, a perfectly convenient time for Tiger’s Eye to disguise himself as an English-speaking foreigner who is obviously not a foreigner because of his Japanese accent. Which raises further questions about how Zirconia’s circus knows Japanese and speaks it like natives anyway. He pretends that his guide is late, and that he can’t do anything in Japan without his guide (despite him speaking perfect Japanese). He basically forgets his foreign disguise (“foreign” here meaning with large round glasses) and straight up asks Saori out. She mentions that she’s already waiting for someone, resulting in another epic Tiger’s Eye ham attack. Turns out Saori was waiting for Mamoru, so now Tiger’s Eye is out for blood! And by blood, I mean dreams!

I haven't read Tolkien in almost a week!

I haven’t read Tolkien in almost a week!

Once again, Hawk’s Eye and Fisheye are right around the corner (in full villain getup in broad daylight, no less), laughing at Tiger’s Eye again. Tiger’s Eye decides that since she already has a guy, rather than pick her up the old fashioned way, just use force. I’d make a a joke here, but I couldn’t think of any that wouldn’t sound completely wrong.

Next, a scene is shown of Mamoru breaking up with Usagi, and leaving with his true love, Saori. Devastated, Usagi begs Mamoru to come back, but he can’t deny his true feelings. And So Chibiusa disappears, having never existed. The end. No, of course not, it’s a dream sequence that Chibiusa has thought up with her overactive imagination. As luck would have it, as she’s running back to Usagi, she sees Mamoru and Saori walking together, and a misunderstanding is born. Chibiusa’s not the only one, however. Kobayashi is watching, too! How will this incredibly interesting and not at all predictable plot play out in the end? Find out after these messages!

So that's the meaning of the universe!

Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!

After the commercial break, it is revealed that Mamoru is actually assisting Saori with some shopping that she’s doing for some guy (I sure wonder who that is). Meanwhile, Chibiusa and Kobayashi are walking behind them, still spying on them. Kobayashi mentions that the two were voted “best couple” in college, and laments that he might still have had a chance with Saori if Mamoru’s girlfriend wasn’t, well, you know, friggin’ Usagi Tsukino. Chibiusa tells Kobayashi not to give up, and cheers him on. Loudly. Of course, if it’s for one’s continued existence, anyone would go crazy.

You just don't make that face when describing children, guy!

You just don’t make that face when describing children, guy!

Meanwhile, we return to the even more riveting plot of Usagi choosing between the stuffed hippo and the stuffed horse. Chibiusa is there to bring Usagi back to reality by telling her that if she continues to be like that, Saori will win over Mamoru for sure. And more importantly, Chibiusa won’t be born, and we all know that her not being born would be such a big loss to everyone. In a really awesome bait and switch scene, Usagi pretends to cry about this, and then abruptly says, “Just kidding!” and says that Mamoru will always love her no matter what. Hilarious and adorable. But mostly adorable.

Chibiusa's birth is definitely a first world problem in my book.

She looks so happy knowing Chibiusa will disappear.

Meanwhile, Mamoru and Saori have bought a tie, and Mamoru is inquiring who she will give the tie to. But in the middle of this banter, Tiger’s Eye the strangely Japanese-accented foreigner is back. And he says, “You are my target” in English. I don’t know what it is, but that just sounds so badass that way. Anyway, the usual targeting stuff occurs, and Mamoru tries to run and help Saori, which goes as well as anything ever goes for Mamoru (as in, he gets his ass handed to him). Tiger’s Eye also throws a bunch of knives at him, which serve to pin him to some stone steps. And what was stopping you from killing Mamoru outright? Whatever, kids’ show, moving on.

Boss, I dozed off before the deadline. Will you still accept this frame?

Sorry, boss, I dozed off before the deadline. Will you still accept this frame?

So Chibiusa and Usagi are finally back, and seeing Tiger’s Eye peeking at Saori’s… dreams, they transform. Tiger’s Eye’s Lemure this time around is the “balloon girl”, Puko. “Balloon girl” in this case could either mean an inflatable girl, or a really fat girl. This is Sailor Moon, so of course it’s the former. Not that there’s anything wrong with being the latter, mind you! This may seem like another jokey slapstick Super S monster, but Puko attacks people by smothering them and suffocating them. That’s… that’s terrifying! It would be even more so if Puko really was a fat girl!

Sailor Moon catering to every possible fetish.

Sailor Moon catering to every possible fetish.

However, Puko decides to ditch Chibi Moon and go after Saori instead because Saori is “beautiful”. Great, now even the freakin’ Lemures are attacking only people they find attractive? How could the villains of this season find ways to sink even lower? And unfortunately for poor Mamoru, Puko is apprently a bisexual, because she suddenly goes after him midway through. Damn, being dashingly handsome really is more a curse than a gift. Thank goodness I was spared.

And you DON'T wanna know where balloon girl hit.

And you DON’T wanna know where balloon girl hit.

However, before Puko can make it to Mamoru, Sailor Moon swoops down to act as a meat shield. Now that’s quite a role reversal, because normally a meat shield is the only capacity in which Mamoru Chiba has ever been remotely useful. Puko keeps on suffocating Sailor Moon because of how beautiful she finds this scene. Okay, balloon girl’s scare factor goes well beyond how she kill people now. And after Mamoru begs her to stop, she says, “It’s all right. Right after I kill her, I will kill you, too.” Ahhhhhhh! Puko has tobe one of the most psychotic Lemures of this season! She’s horrifically insane! And this is only made more eerie with the slow melancholic piano rendition of “Moonlight Densetsu” that plays over this.

Only Usagi Tsukino could kill herself with a stick of bubble gum.

Only Usagi Tsukino could kill herself with a stick of bubble gum.

And it doesn’t even end there! They actually show Usagi falling unconscious due to lack of air! I know there’s way worse stuff on TV, but for a season as slapsticky as Sailor Moon Super S, this is heavy shit. Mamoru shouts, “USAKO!!!” which Saori overhears. So Saori knows who Sailor Moon’s true identity is. Not that she’ll ever appear again, so this won’t affect anything in the long run, like everything else in this season. Mamoru gets out of his knife bind, ripping his precious pink shirt of manliness, and uses a knife to stab Puko, deflating her. Yeah, in hindsight, Tiger’s Eye really should have just killed him.

The day may have been saved, but at the tragic sacrifice of the noble pink shirt.

The day may have been saved, but at the tragic sacrifice of the noble pink shirt.

So finally, Puko is defeated with a good dose of Moon Gorgeous Meditation. As Saori comes to, she sees Sailor Moon running to Mamoru. The next day, at 10 AM apparently, Saori is standing on the bridge of contemplation that is in every fictional town out there. Kobayashi talk to her and asks if she told Mamoru how she feels about him, but Saori shakes her head and gives Kobayashi the tie she bought instead. Ultimately, she has decided that there is no way she can compete with a girl who saves Japan on a regular basis. Hey, points for accepting a loss gracefully. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of points in other areas.

This was a really boring episode to come back to. As the first true filler episode of the season, it offers very little in the way of story, and more importantly, very little character development. The episode is just… there. It doesn’t change Usagi or Mamoru in any way, the subject of Mamoru and Usagi’s relationship has already been done to death in the previous seasons (and much, much better), and Saori fails to come across as anything more than just another one-shot female love interest only there to confirm what the viewers already know, that Mamoru and Usagi love each other and everything. And this episode didn’t do any favors for Chibiusa, either, who just spends the episode whining and shouting, and it doesn’t even lead to a resolution this time. There are certainly worse episodes out there, but I can’t think of any reason not to skip this one entirely.

Next week: We break away from the humans for a bit in Episode 133: Artemis’ Affair? A Mysterious Kitten Appears.

OSMSSR: Episode 131 – Capture the Pegasus! The Amazons’ Trap

So Interstellar and Big Hero 6 being released went completely under my radar. I have been out of it for sure. Heck, if not for John Li, I’d still be in the dust.
131-title
This episode begins in Zirconia’s circus, where a lot of monsters seems to like juggling sharp objects. As usual, Zirconia tells everyone to quiet down, in what I’m pretty sure is the exact same footage as episode 128. Zirconia calls upon the Amazon Trio to chew them out for not being able to locate Pegasus. Except they kinda have, they just always run like sissies when he appears because their precious Lemures just got axed. Zirconia declares that she has lost faith in the Trio, but Hawk’s Eye tells her that if the three actually work together for a change, they can capture Pegasus. They’re not going to make a habit out of it, of course.
In the next bar scene, Tiger’s Eye decides that his next target will be Naru Osaka, Usagi’s initial best friend before meeting the other Inner Sailor Senshi. During this exchange, Hawk’s Eye claims to have one “final tactic” that will ensure that they capture Pegasus this time around, but will only reveal it when the time comes. Yeah, a “final tactic” four episodes in. I can see this going so well. Tiger’s Eye leaves to put the moves on a middle school girl. Japan, everyone!

My heterosexuality just got murdered.

My heterosexuality just got murdered.

So cut to the Frozen Beach ice cream parlor, where Naru is waiting for a date with her boyfriend Gurio Umino, a really nerdy guy who was also friends with Usagi before she met the other Inner Senshi. The two started dating in the middle of season 1, and since then some of the most adorable moments in the entire series have come from these two. Here is where Tiger’s Eye decides to step in, and flatter the hell out of Naru. And then he asks her out. It’s a lot more direct than the harihari pickles story from last episode, I must say.

Jacket: $650 Shoes: $2.50

Jacket: $650
Shoes: $2.50

However, right about then Umino comes by, and Naru goes and grabs his arm. Tiger’s Eye’s reaction is the most epic thing imaginable. As Naru and Umino walk by, Tiger’s Eye just explodes, yelling about how beautiful he is and that Naru choosing that nerdy boy in the freakishly huge glasses is just about the worst thing to happen since the Crusades. The ham in this scenario could feed a room full of bull dogs.

Rejection makes me constipated!

Rejection makes me constipated!

So we go back to the bar where time stands still, where Hawk’s Eye and Fisheye are laughing their asses off at Tiger’s Eye losing a girl to freakin’ Umino. And, you know, for not checking to see if Pegasus is in her dream. But the day these guys actually focus on their work is the day that James Cameron starts handing out sweets to everyone. Of course, Tiger’s Eye makes the excuse that if Naru can’t understand how beautiful he is, then she can’t have a beautiful dream. Wow. If Zirconia heard that, these losers would have had their asses fired on the spot, and we could have been saved a lot of pain.
Hawk’s Eye decides that this is a good time to show off the “final tactic” that he mentioned earlier. Turns out it’s a cage with some lights in it. But it’s no ordinary cage. Apparently, because Pegasus doesn’t exist as a material being in the real world, by running dark energy through stuff, somehow Pegasus can get captured. It makes as much sense as anything Levar Burton has ever said. The plan is to use Naru as bait so that when Pegasus appears, they bust out the cage and capture Pegasus.

In case hunky guys and dark energy balls turn you on.

In case hunky guys and dark energy balls turn you on.

Cut to Naru in a bookstore, where she finds a textbook about nursing. Tiger’s Eye sees this, and decides that the best approach is to pretend to be a meek and mild-mannered guy with not much time left to live, appealing to her nursing sensibilities.

And exactly what does pouring honey on flowers have to with cherries? Or boys?

And exactly what does pouring honey on flowers have to with cherries? Or boys?

As Naru is walking outside, Tiger’s Eye meets up with her and says he is glad to have met her again. Naru’s response is, “Have I met you somewhere before?” ICE BURN!!! Tiger’s Eye continues to ham it up flattering Naru, and finally ends with him saying that he has three months left to live. Now that’s a little more in line with the harihari pickles story. So Tiger’s Eye gets all melodramatic again and asks Naru to be his girlfriend for a bit. To which I would probably run to the police, but it’s Japan, who how often this happens. Commercial break time!

Unfortunately for Tiger's Eye, the Body Snatchers got her before he did.

Unfortunately for Tiger’s Eye, the Body Snatchers got her before he did.

The next scene takes place at Hikawa Shrine, after Naru has told everyone about her situation. The girls wonder what Naru will do considering that she already has a boyfriend, with Rei pointing out that sympathy and love are different things. Naturally, this once again develops into an fight between Usagi and Chibiusa, promting Naru to just leave. A fat lot of good the Inner Senshi were this time around!

Artemis looking as invested as usual.

Artemis looking as invested as usual.

Later, on a street bridge, Naru is contemplating what to say to Umino. When Umino actually does show up, the actual words she says to him are offscreen. Umino leaves crying his ultra exaggerated nerd tears, so I assume she put as delicately as possible. The other girls are there to “comfort” her, I guess. It’s not like they really do much in this episode anyway. Meanwhile, Chibiusa walks by Mog Mog Burger (selling fast food made from moogles) doing… plot things, and she eyes Umino drowning himself in fifteen milkshakes. She’s pretty disgusted.

And just what is this "SMSS" that airs at 7:00 PM every night?

And just what is this “SMSS” that airs at 7:00 PM every night?

The next scene, Tiger’s Eye starts by materializing out of thin air… right where Naru can presumably see him. Of course, nothing comes of this, but damn. Tiger’s Eye sucks at his job worse than I ever remembered. Naru tells him that Umino really means a lot to her, and so she can’t bring herself to keep hurting him. But of course, Tiger’s Eye only really wants her to “have a fleeting moment of fun with me.” Okay, that’s it! Show, you have gone way too far this time! I don’t care about cultural differences, that was just wrong!

It turns out Germatoid survived last season and has possessed Umino! (I wish..)

It turns out Germatoid survived last season and has possessed Umino! (I wish..)

And in what can only be described as a Crowning Moment of Awesome, as Tiger’s Eye prepares to kiss her, Naru instinctively shoves him HARD out of the way, and he lands flat on his ass. Way to go, Naru Osaka! Show the creepy guy who’s cool! Of course, right after that is when Tiger’s Eye decides that it’s time to reveal himself. You know what I mean by that. Oh, and Luna’s been watching. Yeah.

The background is really starting to pick up on his style.

The background is really starting to pick up on his style.

As Chibiusa and Usagi are walking together, continuing to do important plot things, Luna arrives, telling them that Naru is being attacked. Usagi just shrugs and says, “Big deal, this is like the 50th time this happened,” and transforms. No, not really, she reacts with the same sense of urgency she always does, and transforms. Meanwhile, Tiger’s Eye is… well, doing what he always does. No description is really needed.

Tiger's Eye is not raising my opinion of professional wrestling.

Um, did no one think that drawing at this angle would set some people off?

Apparently, Naru’s dreams are so beautiful that Tiger’s Eye is actually jealous. This is actually a subtle hint at the Amazon Trio’s future character development. It doesn’t have too satisfying a payoff. So after the usual “In the name of the moon” speech, Tiger’s Eye sends out his latest Lemure, Otedamanko. She is a juggler who juggles objects that explode when they touch the ground. Her attack basically consists of her throwing stuff for people to attempt to juggle. Of course, it’s Usagi and Chibiusa that she’s throwing said stuff to, so Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon are screwed.

The basic reception of the Sailor Moon musicals.

The basic reception of the Sailor Moon musicals.

So because the Sailor Senshi have no hope of defeating Otedamanko on their own, Chibi Moon once again resorts to calling upon Pegasus. This time, however, as Pegasus is coming down, Tiger’s Eye sets down Hawk’s Eye’s dark energy cage, and Pegasus goes right in. But of course, Hawk’s Eye’s technobabble earlier was for naught, because Pegasus just waltzes right through the dark energy field and the bars of the cage, laughing his ass off along the way (in a metaphorical sense, because a literal sense would imply Pegasus displaying a personality). Tiger’s Eye is infuriated that he believed something that Hawk’s Eye said, and leaves the rest to Otedamanko. So the “final tactic” that was built up in the beginning of the episode has a payoff that doesn’t raise the stakes at all, doesn’t change any of the characters in any way, and doesn’t affect anything in the long run. Wonderful.

Something is wrong with this beef jerky!

Something is wrong with this beef jerky!

As Otedamanko is about to throw knives at the Senshi, guess who finally shows up after not appearing in this episode at all? Why, Tucedo Kamen, of course! With no buildup or anything! As usual, he’s just there to make speeches and throw roses. So finally, it’s time for the last stock footage attack. As Naru is saved, Naru looks up to see Pegasus flying off into the metaphorical distance. The mystery of what Pegasus is continues to be sorta kinda built up.

He may not forgive bad guys, but shoes will not forgive him for burning their soles off.

He may not forgive bad guys, but those shoes will not forgive him for burning their soles off.

The last scene is at Umino’s house, where Umino has got an upset stomach for obvious reasons. Naru assures Umino that she likes all the things about him, even his neuroticism. She then shows him what she brought along: a milkshake. Umino doesn’t take it too well… Wow, a badass, and a troll. Naru Osaka’s awesomeness transcends the bounds of Sailor Moon Super S mediocrity and becomes something else altogether! And that’s what this episode is. Mediocrity.

The truth behind the German expressionist masterpiece: it was a milkshake.

The truth behind the German expressionist masterpiece: it was a milkshake.

Once again, the main issue that plagues the majority of this season is present. The series is building up something happening, only for very little to actually happen. You’d think with a title like Capture the Pegasus! The Amazons’ Trap, something would occur to make things more difficult for the Sailor Senshi, give the audience more reason to believe that the villains should be taken more seriously. But no. By the end, it’s business as usual, and nothing substantial comes from it. If there was one word to describe these early episodes of Sailor Moon Super S, “stagnant” comes to mind.

As for the filler subplot, well, it’s okay, I guess. I could have used a lot more Naru and Umino interacting, because the adorableness of their relationship reached cosmic levels in previous seasons. Here, Tiger’s Eye hitting on Naru almost seems like a hollow throwback to the Nephrite arc back in season 1, and as a filler plot it of course isn’t nearly as emotionally poignant. In the end, it feels like another example of the villains getting in the way of things more than being menacing as villains. Not helping things is the fact that this is the last appearance of Naru and Umino outside of a brief scene in Sailor Moon Super S the Movie, and it doesn’t really feel like a proper sendoff for these two.

Next week: We take a break from Sailor Moon for something nerdier. Yes, even nerdier than a grown-ass man bitching about 90’s magical girl anime on the internet. See you then!

OSMSSR: Episode 130 – Protect a Mother’s Dream! The New Attack for Double Moon

Once again, this is the third episode of Sailor Moon that I’m recapping. The first two episode recaps can be found at http://yanrecapsstuff.blogspot.com/2014/10/osmssr-episode-128-meeting-of-fate.html and http://yanrecapsstuff.blogspot.com/2014/10/osmssr-episode-129-super.html. I was just about done with this recap too before Blogger decided to ditch me. Moving on.130-title

So the episode begins once again with Chibiusa seeing stock footage of flying Pegasus, who tells her to hurry up and save the Crystal Forest from being turned black by the “darkness in the sky”. This being Super S, “hurry” is the last thing that anyone will do. Also, this Crystal Forest referred to by Pegasus will only be seen once in the entire season, as a brief vehicle for more exposition. Rewatching this season is not making me like Pegasus any more than I ever did! At least the music is nice…

Ah! Sailor Moon's been bought by Tri-Star Pictures!

Ah! Sailor Moon’s been bought by Tri-Star Pictures!

After the episode title screen, Usagi comes home from… some plot-mandated place that dictates that she be away from home in order to open the door and scream, “I’m home!” She excitedly runs into the kitchen after sniffing out her mother Ikuko’s lemon pie. However, by the time she gets there, all the pie is gone. If only Usagi wasn’t hanging out at the plot-mandated place that dictates she be out of the house so that she could open the door and yell, “I’m home!” Narrative convention can be a bitch.

Lemon pie: how lunatic killers are born.

Lemon pie: how lunatic killers are born.

Chibiusa claims that the pie was a reward for her and Usagi’s brother Shingo getting perfect scores on their most recent exams. Usagi tries to play the “you guys have easier work” card, but Ikuko shoves her test that she thought she had hid under her bed into her face. Again, how awfully convenient for these three kids to have tests at almost the exact same time for such drama to unfold. Unless the Japanese education is really like that, in which case I apologize for my ignorance.

Truly this is conflict worthy of Shakespeare.

Truly this is conflict worthy of Shakespeare.

As it turns out, Ikuko didn’t bake the pie as a reward for the tests, and actually did divide it for everyone, Usagi included. Naturally, Usagi throws a fit, and Chibiusa continues to taunt her. This eventually transfers into an argument with Ikuko, who tells Usagi that she should be more mature over such petty matter as the elder child. Of course, asking Usagi to be mature about anything is like asking a snake to a handstand, and she takes this to mean that Chibiusa is more precious to Ikuko than she is. Deeply hurt, Usagi rushes out of the house in tears, yelling “Mom, you’re an idiot!” And then immediately comes back in because she forgot her umbrella. Nice. Despite the over-the-top nature of Usagi’s facial expressions, much of the conflict found in this scene feels genuine and relatable, and the frustrations on both ends of the argument and understandable and sympathetic. If only the rest of the season was written this well.

I never realized just how much nightmare fuel is really in this show.

I never realized just how much nightmare fuel is really in this show.

The next scene is in the fruit parlor, where Usagi continues to vent her frustrations. Her friends assure her that Ikuko really does cherish all of her children, and point out that Chibiusa is living away from her parents (technically, that’s not true, but whatever), so she naturally would want attention. The scene ends with Usagi simply looking down, thinking about what her friends have just said. While this show is pretty notorious for being flashy and overblown at times, it is the silent, subtle moments like this that really make it all worthwhile.

Meanwhile, at the Circus Tent, our boring Miniboss squad interrupts the subplot that’s actually quite interesting to continue to talk about finding people with beautiful dreams under the assumption that only attractive people have them. Since Hawk’s Eye likes older women, naturally he decides to go after Ikuko, saying that “Older women are more accepting, and therefore are better to fool around with!” What, did Gary Brodsky write these guys’ dialogue?

The animators were really in a tongue drawing mood, weren't they?

The animators were really in a tongue drawing mood, weren’t they?

Back to the plot that’s actually engaging, Chibiusa is wondering if Usagi is still mad. She goes to talk to Ikuko, so is organizing old family photos (“family photos” here meaning photos of Usagi). Although amused at first, Chibiusa becomes distraught there aren’t any pictures of her. Ikuko label the pictures as records of her dream that all three of her kids grow up to be strong and healthy. Not that that’s not a beautiful dream or anything, because it absolutely is, but wouldn’t it logically make sense for the Amazon Trio to scout out all the mothers in the world to search for beautiful dreams? Of course, expecting logic out of those guys is a pretty unrealistically high expectation.

Anyway, Ikuko shows Chibiusa her favorite of the photos, which is one of all the Tsukino family members, Chibiusa included. Did Chibiusa forget that she took this picture or something? Because otherwise she wouldn’t have to worry about not being in one. Upon seeing this, Chibiusa apologizes for eating all of the pie earlier, and says that Usagi might not come back. Ikuko assures her that Usagi will return when she’s hungry, and tells Chibiusa to apologize to her then. Yet another amazing scene in an episode that is full of them (so far). And none of them involve the Amazon Trio. As it should be.

Hi, I'm Usagi! Wanna play? I'm your friend till the end!

Hi, I’m Usagi! Wanna play? I’m your friend till the end!

Cut to Usagi continuing to ponder her friends’ words before deciding to head home. Short, but sweet. Meanwhile, Chibiusa and Ikuko have bought a truckload of lemons to bake more lemon pies with, ostensibly to entice Usagi home with the smell. You know, because lemons are all that are needed for pie. Who needs milk, flour, and sugar anyway? Unless Ikuko already has those lying around, what do I know? Hawk’s Eye is watching from the bushes (I’ll just leave it at that, okay?), and uses his magic to make the lemons rip through the bottom of the shopping bag. Hawk’s Eye then, in the guise of a civilian, pretends to try to help with the lemons, before “mistaking” Ikuko for his long lost mother from who he was separated at birth.

Um... are you sure that's not your great grandmother?

Um… are you sure that’s not your great grandmother?

Hawk’s Eye then pretends to faint from hunger due to not having eaten in a while. He claims to want harihari pickles because that was what his “mother” often made him earlier, prompting Chibiusa to leave to go buy some. Yes. This entire ruse was to get rid of Chibiusa. There is absolutely no way that could have backfired at all. It’s commercial break time!

After the break, Chibiusa meets up with Usagi, and explains the situation. This happens off screen, so that we can divert our attention away from the two girls who have actual drama going on to focus on the incredibly interesting sight of Hawk’s Eye continuing to put the moves on Ikuko. Of course, it turns into Hawk’s Eye revealing himself. No, that’s not what I meant by “revealing himself”!

For male Sailor Moon villains, this is what passes as a shirt. Let it burn into your skull.

For male Sailor Moon villains, this is what passes as a shirt. Let it burn into your skull.

One henshin sequence and “in the name of the moon” speech later (with the latter occurring with some really conveniently showy shadow effects), Hawk’s Eye calls out his first Lemure of the season, Dokanko, to attack Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon. Dokanko is basically a monster version of those “human cannon balls” you see at the circus. Or at least in Japanese animation’s version of a circus. Do actual circuses do that kind of thing? I may have to check that out.

Our regular art director is out sick today, so his accountant brother will replace him.

Our regular art director is out sick today, so his accountant brother will replace him.

As Dokanko launches herself the first time, Sailor Venus pulls the two out of the way with Venus Love-Me Chain. Turns out all the other Sailor Senshi (plus some other guy in a suit) got here too sometime. Yay. To this, Hawk’s Eye angrily mutters, “Dammit, one after another!” Um, the other Senshi all came at once. Do you not know what one after another means? Anyway, Dokanko launches herself again through the power of reused footage. Sailor Jupiter tries to use Sparkling Wide Pressure, but as usual, it’s completely obsolete. Super S, you continue to astound me with how respectfully you treat the other Inner Senshi.

What satisfied customers look like after purchasing their Sailor Moon merchandise.

What satisfied customers look like after purchasing their Sailor Moon merchandise.

After another pointless scene in which Chibi Moon tries to charge up and save Ikuko by herself, only to be mildly scratched by a launch from Dokanko, she uses Pink Sugar Heart Attack on Hawk’s Eye, which mildly scratches him, too. Chibi Moon declares that she will protect her second mother. Hawk’s Eye is about to backhand her when, in one of the most awesome moments of this episode, Sailor Moon just runs up and slugs him in the face!

This show really never wastes an opportunity to show off, does it?

This show really never wastes an opportunity to show off, does it?

Sailor Moon tries to finish off Hawk’s Eye using Moon Spiral Heart Attack, but oh my god, that attack is like, SO last season, so of course it doesn’t work. Hawk’s Eye shoots fire back at Moon and Chibi Moon, and Dokanko continues to blast herself at the other Inner Senshi, who are basically just sitting back and watching. So Hawk’s Eye finally sees that Pegasus is not in Ikuko’s dream, and he leaves the rest to Dokanko, who is about to fire herself at Ikuko. This finally prompts Chibi Moon to once again call upon the power of Deux ex Pegasus, who is happy to oblige. He gives the two the new ability to transform using the phrase, “Moon Crisis Make Up!”, and a new stock henshin sequence.

Oh my god! The Sailor Senshi have no irises!

Oh my god! The Sailor Senshi have no irises!

And it doesn’t end there, either! They each get new items, too, namely the Kaleidomoon Scope and the Crystal Carillon. With these two items, the Sailor Senshi can now… call upon Pegasus’ name and have him appear on screen for a bit to do Pegasusy things while Sailor Moon uses her stock footage attack. In other words, EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID IN THE FIRST TWO EPISODES! God damn it, even when something “happens” in the Pegasus plotline, nothing happens! At least the attack has a name now, Moon Gorgeous Meditation. So Sailor Moon shouts some words randomly picked from the English dictionary, and Dokanko falls to a cracked TV screen.

Oh don't mind me. Just another winged unicorn going about his daily business.

Oh don’t mind me. Just another winged unicorn going about his daily business.

So now that the boring, uninteresting “plot” stuff has gotten out of the way, the last scene is reserved for more lemon pie antics. Ikuko has baked another lemon pie for everyone, because the other Inner Senshi (plus a college student dating a middle schooler) truly earned it by being oh so useful in the battle that just transpired. After noticing that Chibiusa’s slice is bigger than hers, Usagi tries to trade, which goes as well as you’d expect. After Usagi tries playing the “I’m in the middle of a growth spurt” card…

Chibiusa, you are the best kind of asshole!

Chibiusa, you are the best kind of asshole!

Pretty soon, this develops into an incoherent shouting match between all the girls, finally interrupted by Ikuko, who just tells them shut up and eat the damn pie. This leads to a bizarre scene in which everyone tells Ikuko that her pie is delicious in unison. This is bizarre because “everyone” includes Mamoru… except that there was no audible male voice her in the collective shout of “Delicious!” So Mamoru either has a damn good girl’s voice, or he just got kicked really hard in the balls. Either way, it’s eerie.

All of this insanity is followed by Usagi asking the episode-justifying question, which mother does Chibiusa like more, Ikuko or her actual mother? Chibiusa’s response is obvious, both. Chibiusa asks for seconds, to which Usagi says that the rest is for Ikuko, Shingo, and the not seen since Season 1 father Kenji. Chibiusa’s response…

This has to be something she got from her father.

This has to be something she got from her father.

And everyone laughs. The end.

Due to the various interludes peppered throughout the recap, it should be clear that I think that this episode is a vast improvement over the first two. But it still has issues. In fact, those issues are pretty much the same exact problems that the first two episodes suffered from. The basic problem is that the ongoing plot of the season is just not interesting. At all. To the point where it feels that the villains are just getting in the way more than they are acting as a legitimate threat. And with a filler plot that’s this good, the gimmicky second half of this episode just feels more hollow. Let’s not forget, of course, Pegasus supposedly giving Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon new powers, when all he has really done is give them a new stock attack that is exactly what they did before anyway. Again, what was accomplished by putting this off to the third episode rather than just giving them the new attack in the premiere? Dividing out things like that isn’t good pacing, it’s just spreading a small amount of butter over a ginormous slice of bread.

But with all that said, the filler plot of this episode is damn good. After two episodes of fairly standard romance plots that are common in this show anyway, here we have a surprisingly touching and genuine conflict between a daughter and a mother. Usagi and Ikuko’s relationship was often played for laughs in earlier seasons, but here, Ikuko’s caring and gentle nature is treated with the respect and awe that such a person deserves. This is probably the only focus episode Ikuko has in the series, and it’s wonderful to get to know her better as more than that purple-haired woman who flashes Usagi’s crappy test grades to the screen. Chibiusa is a lot more likable and sympathetic here, something she hasn’t really consistently been since Sailor Moon R. Whereas the last episode took on the pretense of an important followup episode to the premiere, when it really wasn’t anything special, this episode feels more like knows that it is a filler episode, and so it works better.
Now why the hell did Kenji never get a focus episode? Did Naoko Takeuchi not talk to her father a whole lot?
Next week: Episode 131 – Capture the Pegasus! The Amazons’ Trap