So when do Zoisite and his boyfriend get to take over as the Bad Guys, exactly?
While there have been a few high points this arc, I noticed that I’ve enjoyed the last nine episodes quite a bit less than the first thirteen. There are some (pretty glaring) issues with the growing romance between Moonsagi and Tuxedo Mamoru that play into this, but I think the main problem here is that Nephertiti Nephrite is just so…
Well, if you’ve been reading my recaps (or if you read the ones in this post), you have a pretty good idea how I feel about him. I know Jadeite didn’t have much in the way of a personality, but his schemes were so elaborate (pet shops! amusement parks! buses to Hell!) that it made the story a lot more fun and the plots seem much less formulaic. I’d give Beryl’s right arm for a good old fashioned Love Boat of Death right about now.
The good news is that Zoisite should be up next, and he should be MUCH better. The bad news is I’ll probably have to wait until the third cour (episode 26-ish) in order to get to him. H’oh boy. Take my hand, dear reader. We’ll survive this boring old bastard together.
Episode 21 – Anime That WON’T Ruin Children’s Dreams!
Sailor V, the other teenage vigilante (who must have a great PR rep, seeing as how we’re 21 episodes in and haven’t seen her fight crime once), is getting her own anime series! Usagi is thrilled and jealous, badly wishing someone would make an anime series about HER. Luna would love to meet the schmuck who would ever greenlight THAT trainwreck of a project.
(And I hope you like self-referential humor, ‘cause there’s more where that came from, kiddies.)
Flash to Hiromi and Kazuko, a pair of animators working on the new Sailor V series. Hiromi’s boss is a papoose-wearing papa who needs Sailor V to be sexier (curvier hips! thinner legs! more butt poses!), and Hiromi is struggling to draw her properly. She’s so downtrodden that she doesn’t notice when she drops some of her work. Fortunately Ami comes across it and spots the address on the wrapper. She’s debating whether she should return it now or wait until after cram school, when –FWOOSH! An asshole in a red sports car drives by.
And while I’d love to watch Ami chase down Nephy’s speeding car, instead we’re taken to the animation studio, where Hiromi still can’t capture Sailor V’s ESSENCE.
In desperation, she resorts to her Magic Pencil Set, imbued with the Power of Friendship. Turns out she and Kazuko bought one set and split it between them, vowing they would only use it “for the ultimate anime that won’t ruin people’s dreams” (so, NOT Madoka Magica). Thing is, they promised that they’d ask the other’s permission before they used them, and Hiromi has been cheatin’ all over the place. She’s down to her last pencil nub, in fact.
It’s cool, though. I’m sure nothing bad is going to happen to that pencil nub. And a servant of darkness DEFINITELY isn’t going to place a curse on it.
Speak of the dull devil and Nephy appears! He saunters into the studio (seriously, Juuban, invest in security guards) and turns the pencil nub into an eeevil pencil nub. As he’s heading out, Ami–already transformed into Sailor Mercury–poses on his car, ready to confront him! This is both a bad idea and a completely understandable one, because even though all of Ami’s magic is support-based (she’s the Bard of the group!), her teammates haven’t exactly been on top of things as of late. Her odds are pretty even with or without them at this point.
But instead of fighting with magic, Nephy uses actual physical violence, which startles Mercury into a quick loss. Poor Ami. But at least she dinged up the hood of his car with her ass-kickin’ boots. So, you know… take that, Forces of Darkness.
Ami reports back to Usagi and they agree to investigate the animation studio, mostly because Usa wants to fangirl all over the animators. Rei does too. Ami thinks they’re a little old for this sort of thing, which is the first and only stupid thing she has ever said. You are never too old to fangirl, Ami-chan. Never.
Onwards to the animation studio! Hiromi waltzes in halfway through Ami’s sleuthing session, yells at Usa and Rei for fangirling too loudly (as if there’s any other way to fangirl), and takes a Very Important Phone Call from the director. Hiromi is in charge of drawing the final scene, and she just wanted him to know that, script be damned, she’s going to kill off Sailor V, k thx bai.
This is normally the part where the director would say, “Okay, then you’re fired,” but Hiromi hangs up before he has the chance. Kazuko gives a passionate speech about children’s dreams and teamwork, to which Hiromi responds: “Who cares? It’s just anime.”
Nephy, your reign of ineffective mischief has gone on long enough! Suit up, Sailor Scouts!
The Moonies chase Hiromi to the rooftop just as her energy levels peak and dual monsters appear out of her pencil. They are bound by friendship and choreographed poses, making them the strongest monsters in Nephy’s arsenal (it’s weird that the Dark Kingdom values friendship given how much they all seem to hate each other). The monsters mimic Mercury and Mars’s powers for a one-two punch. But then when it’s time to finish the girls off, the monsters get into a big fight because they both want to be the one to deal the killing blow, and UGH, FRIENDSHIP OVER. (I wish that were an exaggeration. It is not.)
Once the monsters are ex-BFFs, the scouts use their superior friendship and choreographed poses to win the day. “We should have cherished our friendship more!” the monsters cry as they disappear into the void. I want all villains to wail this as they die from now on.
So hey… does this mean Nephy is out of monsters? Pleeeease let this mean Nephy is out of monsters.
Back at the anime studio, Hiromi and Kazuko make up (turns out Kazuko’s been using her pencil set too). They decide it’s all right to use their pencil sets without permission, because “After all, we should ALWAYS be creating anime that won’t ruin children’s dreams.”
All in all, this was by far the most self-aware (and self-congratulatory) Sailor Moon to date. I enjoy a show winking at itself, but they patted themselves on the back so much, I’m surprised they weren’t bruised by the end of it. I think I was, a little.
Episode 22 – Crystals Are a Boy’s Best Friend
Oh look, Naru is STILL moping about “Coach Sanjoin.” Turns out she remembers Nephy suiting up and yelling at her, but doesn’t remember him, you know, trying to kill her. So she’s still all twitterpated. This can only lead to good things.
In other news, the Princess Diamond from the Kingdom of Diamonds will be visiting and showing off her country’s “Legendary Secret Treasure” (Is it a diamond? I bet it’s a diamond). Sad Naru is going to the event since her family runs a jewelry store, and after Luna reads about it in the paper, she decides the Moonies should go, too. After all, the secret treasure could be the Legendary Silver Crystal! (Or, y’know. It could be a diamond. Just throwing that out there.)
Beryl also gets the Sunday Times, so she knows about the treasure, too. She and her minions have a little business meeting that goes something like:
Beryl: Zoisite, I order you to—
Nephy: *poof* Nope. I got this.
Zoisite: But finding the Silver Crystal is my—
Nephy: Don’t care. Got this.
Beryl: Do you have a plan?
Nephy: Bitch quit hasslin’ me. I. GOT. THIS. *un-poof*
Zoisite: Okay. Srsly. Dude is an insubordinate little shit who sucks at his job. Also, he’s boring. WHY is he still working for you again?
Beryl: ‘Cause he’s desperate. And I’m into that.
Zoisite flees the room and buries his head in the lap of New Bad Guy, Kunzite, lamenting the fact that Nephy is The Worst.
Kunzite consoles Zoisite with his words. And then probably later with his penis. They’re a couple, is what I’m saying Gotta be.
And speaking of couples, Mamoru is having a weird dream where a bunhead asks Tuxedo Mask to find “the Legendary Silver Crystal” for her. He awakens in a cold sweat and seems to have no idea what any of it means, but don’t worry, neither does anyone else. I’m not even sure Luna knows what the Crystal is, to be honest.
Which I guess is why they’re all headed to the Diamond Princess’s gala! Usagi shows up first, disguised as the surprisingly well-endowed “Princess of Ivanovich,” and crashes the party (Ami and Rei never got Transformation Pens, so they have to wait outside).
Naru is already there, still sighing morosely, until a masked man comes up to her and is all:
Oh for the love of… We KNOW, Nephy, we KNOW it’s you, masks are not THAT good of a disguise, people can totally recognize you from your voice or your Glam Metal Hairstyle, and hey remember how Jadeite would dress in FULL COSTUMES, like as a priest’s assistant or a ship’s captain, I mean dude didn’t have depth but at least he had STYLE, why did Beryl freeze him and leave us with you, you boring, boring, BORING old bastard?!
Tuxedo Mask appears in hopes that the Silver Crystal will tell him who he is (24601?). He spots Princess Usagi and is pretty sure they’ve met before (yeah, you’re kind of her head cheerleader, dude). He follows her to the dance floor and they get to have their “So This Is Love” Moment, proving once again how inept they both are as crime fighters, because while they’re doing that Nephy has used his “doppelganger” to possess Naru (Side Note: pretty sure Nephy doesn’t know what a doppelganger is) and have her trick her way into Princess Diamond’s room, possess the Princess, snag the Secret Treasure, and run off down the hallway.
By the time Usagi notices all this, the Princess is already standing on a balcony ready to throw the treasure down to Nephy. Usa arrives in time to stop her from tossing the treasure, but during the ensuing struggle Usagi falls off the balcony. The Tux snatches up her hand, and–oh, goodness, they’re dangling again. So, uh… what were we talking about last time?
Things look bad, but thankfully Usagi never leaves home without her Lucky Cat! Luna facehugs the Princess into submission, then tosses the falling Usagi a parasol, which carries both her AND Tuxedo Mask (hugging his girlfriend for dear life) safely to the ground. This is how parasols work, kids. You should totally jump off your garage roof with one.
As Mercury and Mars round the corner, the outnumbered Nephy flees the scene. The Tux tries to go after him but Mercury steps in his way and demands to know exactly who he is. Problem is, he doesn’t know either, so Mercury moves on to her second question: Is he their friend or their enemy? I really wanted him to reply with a “lol wut?” because after a certain number of thrown roses and daring rescues you shouldn’t even have to answer that, but his actual reply is more cryptic: “If you’re after the crystal as well, then we might be enemies.”
Then he’s all “Tuxedo OUT!” (it gets lost in translation) and disappears into the night. With nothing better to do, the Moonies exorcise the possessed princess and defeat the “doppelganger.” Princess Diamond faints at the sight (sound?) of a talking cat, so it looks like the Moon Princess is in another castle after all. Princess Diamond’s Secret Treasure of the Diamond Kingdom is a bust, too. Turns out it was a big diamond. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
With evil vanquished, Usagi goes back to being a Princess and enjoying the party. She gets accidentally drunk on what she thinks is “juice” and stumbles into Tuxedo Mask. He then proceeds to sit her down, get her some water, call her a cab, make sure she gets home safe, and HAHA NO YOU GUYS I’M TOTALLY KIDDING, HE TAKES HER OUTSIDE AND PROPS HER AGAINST A PILLAR AND KISSES HER WHILE SHE’S WASTED.
Our Romantic Hero, ladies and gentleman!
Can we go back to watching Ami help lonely little girls reconcile with their fathers, please?
This, That, and the Other
- Ironically, the animation in the episode about animators may have been the clunkiest to date. Hiromi’s eyes did NOT know where they were supposed to sit on her face.
- And speaking of animation, how ’bout those doppeldancers at the gala? I like to imagine they were two sets of octuplets who made it work.
- One problem with filler is it creates these weird distortions in the story’s timeline. So when Usagi notices Naru moping, it feels as if Naru must have been sad off-camera for the last two weeks, and Usagi is only just NOW noticing. Which is, you know, pretty funny, but doesn’t reflect well on Usagi… or on Naru, come to think of it…
- For the record, this screenshot of Luna facehugging the Princess is the greatest screenshot I have ever taken:And why yes–that IS Tuxedo Mask’s ass at stage left. Somewhere, Tina Belcher is smiling.
- Recent terrible kisses aside, I do sorta think Tuxedo Mask should get to keep the Legendary Silver Crystal when/if they actually find it. He has a much better reason for wanting it, by virtue of actually HAVING a reason for wanting it.
- Hark! A plot point! Mamoru is having Slayer Tuxedo dreams about a regal-looking bunhead asking him to find a crystal. Meanwhile, the Tux is constantly running into a bunhead LOOKING for a crystal. If Mamoru and Tuxedo Mask ever sync up and share memories, I feel like they’re going to be able to solve a lot of mysteries in a big hurry….Also, Usagi is totally the Moon Princess, right?