The creators have been doing a great impression of Oprah as of late. YOU get an episode, and YOU get an episode…!
…Ev-ery-bo-dy gets an episode!
I said during the last cour that Sailor Moon works better as an ensemble show, and this past (very, very good) stretch of episodes just keeps proving it. While Usagi isn’t always the most riveting main character, she’s a fabulous supporting actor, playing the roles of Cupid and Best Friend with a loveable blend of warmth and silliness. Plus, giving us time with the rest of the cast (Moonies and Muggles alike) expands the Mooniverse, opens the door for future story lines, and will make us care a whole lot more if/when Shit Gets Real with the Dark Kingdom.
Of course, SM’s episodes are only as good as the characters they follow, and so there’s bound to be some peaks and valleys. This week sees a little bit of both, although I didn’t DISlike either of them. I just happened to super-adore one and only kinda-like the other. Somehow I suspect you already know which is which, but just in case there was any doubt, the details are below. Brace yourselves for cuteness, and enjoy!
Episode 31 – The Purrfect Gentleman
Trying to recap this episode feels like a lost cause, because there is simply no way I can capture in text the sheer, childlike glee I experienced while watching it. This was straight Saturday Morning Cartoon stuff here, full of capers, slapstick, and adorably silly animation. I didn’t even watch Sailor Moon as a kid and this episode made me feel nostalgic.
But let’s see if I can at least TRY to do it justice…
We begin with Luna fleeing from a gang of cats, including a tiny one latched on to her tail. They corner her against a wall, grinning their smug kitty grins, and you just know if they had thumbs they’d be snapping menacingly.
At this point I’ve decided it’s cat mating season and things are about to get rull NSFW, when—hark! Doth I hear the Tuxedo Mask theme music? Right on cue, something comes flying from the sky. But instead of a rose, it’s…
…And I know this episode is going to be GLORIOUS.
Boss Fat Cat appears and chases the other cats away with a glare, including the chibi that made mincemeat out of Luna’s tail. Then (like a gentleman) he sidles up to Luna and sees to her wounds.
Before Luna can digest this sudden turn of events, a little girl comes along and scoops up the fuzzy tubbo, referring to him as “Rhett Butler.” This is officially the greatest name anyone has ever given their cat. Luna doesn’t think he looks very Butler-esque yet. That’s okay. Rhett doesn’t need your approval.
We zoom out of the Snuggle Shot to find Zoisite creepin’. His Dark Crystal beeps and he assumes it’s beeping for Rhett’s owner, but I’m not fooled. Don’t you know, Zoi? Everybody wants to be a cat! Even Rainbow Monsters.
Luna rendezvous with the team (turns out she was getting chased because she somehow got involved in a cat turf war, which is not nearly as cute as it sounds), although Rei skips out so she can go on a date. Ami uses some sweet sciency magic to pinpoint the location of the Rainbow Crystal, and the Moonies head on over to the house in question. Luna spots Rhett in the window and pawses halfway to the door. She opts to wait outside while the gals go sleuthing.
The little girl answers for Ami, cat in tow, and I REALLY wish we could have heard Ami’s explanation for why they were there (“We think there might be a demon living inside of you, but we can cure you if you’ll just let us yank a crystal out of your chest” probably wouldn’t go over too well with the average suburbanite), but we don’t have the time, because Rhett senses Luna and takes off, with his owner AND the Moonies in hot pursuit.
The little girl chases Rhett down an alley, and then makes the fatal mistake of looking up. Don’t you watch Winnie-the-Pooh, kid?! That’s how the jagulars get you!!
Zoisite tries to drag the crystal out of the girl, but of course nothing happens. He realizes the monster must be “that ugly cat.”
THAT? UGLY? CAT?
The Sailors arrive to vanquish this terrible judge of cat cuteness, but Zoisite doesn’t have time for the show (not even the part where Makoto cannot stop looking at Ami’s butt), and takes off after Rhett and Luna. Our Sailors, convinced they’ve scared him away with their Fearsome Clown Car Routine, take the little girl back to her home to keep an eye on her. Nobody notices that the Moon Stick has stopped beeping.
Oh, also, Rei tried to call her “boyfriend” but he “wasn’t home,” and then she played hard-to-get with Teddy and he decided it wasn’t worth the chase. So he left.
Back to the cats! Luna’s been cornered again by the Gangs of Mew York, when who should come jiggling to her rescue but Rhett! The rescue goes a bit awry, though, when the two land on a manhole cover and their combined weight sends the cover tipping, toppling them into the sewers.
Zoisite tracks them into the sewers, where everything is smelly and gross and he hate, hate, HATES IT, you guys, it’s the WORST. This provokes a lot of shrill screams and general shenanigans. Especially once the rat parade shows up.
Meanwhile Luna and Rhett search for a way out. As they’re walking, Luna realizes that Rhett wounded his paw when he helped her escape. Touched, she asks him if he helped her because he likes her, to which Rhett responds with a heart-melting kitty blush.
Luna seems about to turn him down (or you could GIVE IN AND RUB HIS BELLY, LUNA, COME ON, JUST LOOK AT THAT PUNIM) when Zoisite appears out of a tunnel, smug and chortling—until the rat parade catches up to him, anyway. So! Who’s up for a madcap chase scene down a sewer?
Meanwhile, the Moonies finally figure out that the Moon Stick isn’t beeping, and Rei hangs out in front of a building with her name on it.
As Rei gazes morosely across the waterway, she spots Luna and Rhett. They’d look like they were on an adorable cat date if it weren’t for the rat parade oozing after them. Rei don’t even need her miko powers to know something’s wrong with that.
Zoisite, having finally come to an understanding with the Ratmy Puffs, catches up to Luna and Rhett just as Sailor Mars arrives to make a long speech about how Zoisite shouldn’t get in the way of love, even kitty love, because kitty love is ALSO pure and mewtiful, and by the way, Mars, while you were making that speech Zoisite totally sucked the Rainbow Crystal out of Rhett.
Rhett’s monster form doesn’t get a name, so I will call him Catboy Slim. Zoisite is halfway through ordering Catboy Slim to attack the Moonies, when—ROSEPEDO! Tuxedo Mask strolls up nonchalant as you please, picks up the Rainbow Crystal, is all like, “Peace,” and strolls off again. Zoisite dashes after him, sounding for all the world like a lovestruck teenager chasing his crush.
Like any proper feline, Catboy Slim ignores Zoisite’s orders and wanders off. Rei decides he’s heading towards town to cause a reign of terror, but it’s just as possible he’s looking for a good patch of sunlight where he can sit, stare, and contemplate the meaning of his strange new existence. Or, you know. Maybe he saw a bird.
Luna steps in front of him to passionately appeal for him to stay put until Sailor Moon shows up to heal him. But Luna apparently can’t passionately appeal and maintain her balance at the same time, because she tumbles down the wall, only to be saved by…
That’s right—Catboy Slim seems to have retained his fuzzy heart! He saves Luna and then waits like a good kitty long enough for the other Sailors to show up and “Meowfresh” him back to his normal tubby self. Luna and the scouts are moved to tears. Rhett is moved to a nap.
As the sun sinks, the Moonies return Rhett to his home. He watches Luna at the bottom of the steps, and the girls all tease Luna about how she’s got a booooyfriend. Luna denies it, but we know she’ll be yowling for him all night.
Okay, that’s my last cat pun. We can move on to the next tail.
No, seriously. I’m done now. I pawmise.
…I have a purroblem, don’t I?
Episode 32 – Love, Chunibyou, and Other Delusions
This one starts with Luna and the Arcade Boss and some relevant story details, to which the rest of the episode says PLOT? PSSSSH. Who needs plot when you can spend an ENTIRE episode focused on the show’s two most irrelevant characters?
And speaking of—Umino and Naru are having lunch at school! They’re sharing, by which I mean Naru is trading all her crappy green things for Umino’s delicious fried things. He’s cool with this because, as you may remember, he’s mega-crushing on her this cour. Usagi pops up and gives them grief for acting like a couple. Naru replies that they’re just friends, and Umino stumbles off under a Tamaki-esque Doom Cloud.
Girl Talk ensues. Naru basically says that she likes Umino because she can use him (“he’s smart so he helps me with my homework” are her exact words), but he just doesn’t have that extra something to “light her fire” (also her words). You know, I’m starting to realize why she and Nephy were perfect for each other: They’re both SUPER into using the people who like them for their own selfish reasons.
Completely ignoring her friend, Usagi later encourages Umino to “act cooler, like Tuxedo Mask” in order to attract Naru. Umino hears “act cooler, BE Tuxedo Mask” (Spanish guitars not included), and things spiral down the Painfully Awkward Cosplay Vortex in a hurry. It’s sometimes hard to watch the scenes with Umino, because he’s basically all of the awkward, spastic habits of junior high schoolers bundled into one human being. So even though he’s kind of annoying, you can’t help but sympathize with him, because you can’t help but see some piece of your own adolescent self (or your friends’ selves, or that Kid Who Kept Sitting Across From You At Lunch Even Though You Didn’t Want Them To’s self) in him.
All of which is to say that even though Umino makes me facepalm an awful lot, I also hate the way the other characters tend to treat him, and the first part of this episode had a lot of that in it.
So let’s move on to the part where Usagi talks Naru into taking Umino to see the live-action “Redman” show (think Power Rangers after the band broke up so Jason could pursue a solo career), since the two of them are CLEARLY hitting it off. Naru agrees. I don’t know why. Maybe she’s secretly a Redman fangirl.
Meanwhile, now that all the Rainbow Crystals are floating around, Zoisite has upgraded the Dark Crystal so he can use it to turn regular humans into monsters. He intends to work its magic on Naru, using her to draw out Sailor Moon and steal her only Rainbow Crystal. So Naru gets to be the damsel again. WELL. Thank goodness THAT’S not a story we’ve seen before.
Zoisite goes to Naru’s house that night, but he spots Umino in his cosplay and thinks he’s the real Tuxedo Mask. Zoisite withdraws in a cloud of hearts.
With the night saved thanks to Tuxedumino, the day is freed up for their trip to the Redman show. Umino is smart enough NOT to wear the costume this time, although he assures us it’s in his backpack if he needs it. And props to Umino for understanding that dating Naru is like rolling the Jumanji dice: You’re not GUARANTEED to have something bad happen to you, but the odds are high enough that you should probably come prepared, just in case.
Usagi stalks them to make sure the date is going well. Luna comes with her, which is fortunate, because Zoisite shows up to monsterfy Naru, and Luna’s the only one who notices. She distracts Naru with the foolproof “LOOK, A KITTY!” tactic, and Zoisite’s shot hits the Redman actor instead. Fuzzy green chaos ensues.
Fear not, citizens! For who should appear but TUXEDUMINO! With the power of… TOSSED SHRIMP! Maybe he should change his name to Hibachi Chef Mask.
Everyone and their mom tells Umino to run, but he promises that he’ll “fight to protect Naru even if it costs him his life.” And as we all know, nothing gets Naru all hot and bothered quite like dudes dying to protect her.
Sailor Moon finally arrives after Umino gets owned and Naru starts molding. Zoisite gives Moon an ultimatum: Give me your Rainbow Crystal, or watch these people die. Moon hands over the Crystal, because FOR SOME REASON everyone thought it would be GREAT IDEA for Usagi to just WANDER AROUND with the Rainbow Crystal in her pocket. President Ami, why didn’t you veto this decision?
Right about then, the real Tuxedo Mask stands up and knocks the crystal away using his EXPANDO!CANE. Then he and Zoisite fight for a while, and by “fight” I mean Zoisite turns into flowers and The Tux whacks at them for a hilariously long amount of time.
Sailor Moon finally remembers that she too can kick ass and first Tiaras, then Moon Sticks, Redman back to normal. But don’t get too proud, because Zoisite snatches the Rainbow Crystal and makes off with it. The Tux promises to get it back—but he ain’t sharin’, so nuts to you, Sailor Moon. Usagi is sad and confused.
On the lighter side(?), Naru has decided that Umino’s bravery means he deserves some hawt shoulder-on-shoulder action. He asks her to call him “Tuxedo Umino Mask” and she’s into it. If these two stay together, they are going to have some very imaginative foreplay in 4-5 years. It’s… sweet? Sure. We’ll go with that.
This, That, and the Other
- I feel like it’s a testament to this show’s increasing quality that Ami was barely in these two episodes and they were STILL pretty great. Not that I want this to become a trend, mind you…
- Rei’s excitement for tiramisu almost matches my own. Almost.
- Man, there were a lot of Tuxedo Mask impersonators this week. Forget cats—everybody wants to be The Mask.
- My final comment about Naru and Umino in my notes: “They’re both weird. I’m glad they can be weird together.” So I think that means I ship it.
- Hark! A plot point! Luna is from the moon! And so is the princess! And here I thought they just called her the Moon Princess ‘cause she was really into sticking her butt out car windows.
- Crystal Count: Zoisite continues to destroy the competition, 5-2-0. The Sailors are in desperate need of a win if they wanna make the play-offs.