Sailor Moon: Encouraging you to quit your crappy job since 1993!
No week with an Ami episode can ever be a bad week. Throw in some villain redemption and a climax revolving (literally) around a black muthafuggin hole, and we got ourselves a recipe for a good old-fashioned Sailor Moon Romp.
So let’s get right to it.
Episode 71 – By Hook or By Rook
We begin this week with one of my favorite Sailor Moon Things: The gals just hanging out doing friend stuff. This time they’re playing chess, and absolutely no one is surprised to learn that Ami is a rock star at it. She even holds the title of Junior Chess Champ (“I was just lucky,” she says, fooling nobody). She and Chibiusa proceed to wipe the floor (board?) with Usagi, once again surprising no one.
Meanwhile the Spectre Sisters are spying on their recently refreshed “traitor” sister, Koan. Second-youngest Berthier can’t help but wonder what would make Koan want to become a human, but Cal and Petz don’t give two shits—she’s a traitorous traitor, and that’s that. Then Rubeus shows up all like “PSSH, who knows why she betrayed us, definitely didn’t have anything to do with me telling her to blow herself up, she’s probably just on her period or something, I mean, WOMEN, AMIRITE?” He promises that they’ll “dispose of” Koan later, but for now they need to focus on their latest Crystal Point: The newly built Chess Tower.
Berthier immediately volunteers to take care of it, and Rubeus immediately promises to take the credit for it. Rubeus, you dick.
Oh, and BT-dubs, The Chess Tower is holding a World Chess Tournament to celebrate its grand opening, and Ami will be entering. Usagi and Mako come with her to check out the building while she signs herself up for the tournament. Ami assures us that she’s just playing for fun, not to win (although, you know, as long as she’s here…), to which a Mysterious Stranger (psst, it’s Berthier in disguise) replies, “Oh, you are just adorable” and goes on a politely condescending tirade about how Winning is All and anyone who thinks otherwise is probably a Loser. She heads into the Tower, presumably to enter the contest, too.
Berthier is gone by the time Ami makes it to the front desk, but she’s met instead by The Eccentric Old Man Who Built This Tower. (No, seriously. This is how he will introduce himself later in this episode. So as far as I know, that is his actual name.) Mr. Tower is a friend of Ami’s grandfather, and the two catch up over a game of chess. He remarks that she seems different, although not in a bad way. “The Ami I know played chess to keep from feeling lonely,” he says, “but you don’t seem that way anymore.” “Nope!” says Ami. “I have wonderful friends, now.”
You guyyyys! Sailor Moon is giving me Ami Feels again!
As their match ends (Ami wins, obviously), Ami spots a different Mysterious Stranger (psst, it’s Berthier out of disguise) darting past a doorway. Under the pretense of checking out the cool new Chess Tower, Ami tracks Berthier down, cornering her at the center of the Crystal Point.
Berthier, proving herself to be the most creepily polite villain in existence, asks Ami if she will please kindly go to hell, and then proceeds to bludgeon her with Dark Water Magic. This lasts exactly as long as it takes Ami to go “Eff this Noise,” whereupon she transforms into Sailor Mercury right in front of Berthier. “You gave up your secret identity!” Berthier cries, to which Ami replies:
They throw down for a bit until Sailors Moon and Jupiter arrive, then Berthier sneaks away. Ami’s a bit nervous about that old secret identity thing, but the others aren’t concerned, ‘cause it’s not like their enemies actually know how to use a phone book or anything. (No, I seriously don’t think they do.)
Nursing her wounds, Berthier vows to settle the score by defeating Ami… AT CHESS. So she enters the tournament, where she and Ami are the clear favorites to win. Of course, only one of them has the Most Supportive Friend Ever.
Even Koan has come to cheer on Ami! Well, that, and to serve as the ONLY PERSON who recognizes Berthier. Ami doesn’t make the connection when the two face off against each other in the championship match, either. The battle rages on until Ami calls “Check,” which is when Berthier goes all SCREW THE RULES I HAVE MAGIC on everyone. She kills the cameras, Ami transforms, the other scouts BURST through the doors to help, and… Berthier immediately traps them all in a Dark Bubble?
Like a regular Bond villain, Berthier comes up with an overly complicated and unnecessarily time-consuming scheme to destroy Ami: She has them play a game of chess, which Ami has to finish in order to save her friends. Oh—except that Ami only gets like five pieces. Oh—and every time she loses one, more of her body gets covered in ice. MWAHAHAHA!
Ami plays on despite the pain, prepared to die to protect her friends if she must. Just as it looks like Berthier is about to win, two things happen: First, her sisters arrive to share the credit for her success, and two, Tuxedo Mask finally gets his ass to the crime scene and shatters some evil magic chess sets.
See, villains, this is why you don’t drag things out. Sooner or later, the Tux WILL find a cool entrance pose, and then your asses will be grass…es.
With the girls freed from their various icy prisons, the Tux peaces out, and Berthier’s sisters follow suit. “Now die and atone for your failure like a true member of the family!” they say, and Berthier wonders if she’s too old to have another, better family adopt her. She projects her betrayal onto the world—“there’s no such thing as love” and “you don’t need love” and such—and starts flipping icy tables. Which is when Koan arrives on the scene, ready to take an ice block to the head in order to give her sister what she really needs.
Sailor Moon turns Berthier into a human, and the two youngest Spectre Sisters retire from the bad guy game together. Innit that nice? Now, if only we could do something about those big sisters, too…
Episode 72 – We! Are! Fa-mi-ly! Got all my Spectre Sisters with me!
Lest we forget that, like, Rubeus is under a lot of pressure toooo, you guys!, Wiseman reminds him that he has only two paths: Cake Glory or death. And the road to glory is a turnpike, and the toll is a dead Rabbit. (…That metaphor might have gotten away from me a little bit.) Point being, do your damn job!
Meanwhile Spectre Sisters 3-4 are having a baked potato party with the scouts (yay new friends!), and Sisters 1-2 are starting to get mighty paranoid. I mean, if you can’t trust your own sisters to stick with you and your abusive boss, then who CAN you trust? Rubeus interrupts their quandary to order them to hunt down Rabbit, the Sailors, AND their sisters. Because only hunting down one of those has been so easy for them up till now. He gives them a Dark Staff to help with the task.
Cal and Petz interrupt the potato party to swoop down on Rabbit, but when Koan and Berty jump to protect her, our baddies settle on sister-napping instead. Usagi shoves Chibi into a hidey-hole (there weren’t any crates around this time) and the girls transform, but—Sailor SHOCK! Chibiusa sneaks around from the side and SEES THEM TRANSFORM.
The Moonies are pickin’ up bad vibrations and follow them to a Nearby And Conveniently Deserted Bridge, which is fortunate given that the gang is going to spend the next 10 minutes blowing craters into it. There’s some brief pre-battle conversation:
Koan and Berty: No, you don’t understand! Rubeus is a dick and the Black Moon Clan is super evil!
Cal and Petz: YUP. Don’t care. BAD GUYS!
Scouts: WE HAVE ARRIVED.
Cal and Petz: Lulz you walked right into your trap.
Scouts: YUP. Don’t care. FRIENDSHIP!
And then they proceed to perform some heavy remodeling on the bridge. The scouts can’t believe how OP Petz suddenly is (she’s totes hogging the Doomstick, much to Cal’s annoyance), until Ami finally checks to see what her scouter says about Petz’s power level. And guess what?
But Ami DOES realize that the power is coming from the Doomstick, so the girls start targeting that instead, with pretty much zero success. And meanwhile Koan and Berty are still trying to get through to Cal, who’s sick of hearing them tell her stuff she already kinda knows, so she asks Petz if they can do a little sorocide up in here already. Petz is super on-board with this plan… although, maybe not QUITE in the way Cal had in mind.
Sailor Moon wins Cal over with her powers of Basic Human Decency, and Cal begs her to help Petz, who’s surely been possessed by the evil Doomstick. The scouts finally get around to working together and take Petz out pretty easily, knocking the staff from her hand.
Which is, of course, when Rubeus decides to show his smug mug. Petz is all “I’m sorry, sir!” and Rubeus is all, “Meh, I figured you’d screw up anyway, I just needed you to get everyone all in one place so I could kill 2…3…4… a lot of freaking birds with one stone!” And how is he going to do that? Well, let’s just say the Doomstick has a reverse suction mode.
Basically he’s going to create a black hole and destroy the planet, which I guess WOULD prevent Crystal Tokyo from ever being built, so mission accomplished? (And all together now: Rubeus, you dick!)
Rubeus vanishes, and everything goes bonkers. First Petz tries to pour all her power into destroying the Doomstick, which would shut down the Black Holification process, and she almost gets sucked into the black hole in the process. But THEN her sisters save her and they all bond over their impending destruction.
THEN Tuxedo Mask shows up to give them a vague pep talk (because they paid for his voice actor and by God they’re gonna use him!), and THEN, thanks to said pep talk, Luna realizes that the scouts could totally jump into the baby black hole and combine their powers to destroy the Doomstick and prevent it from growing up into an adult black hole, and this all seems legit, so the girls are all:
And it works! Huzzah!
Then all that’s left is to turn Petz and Cal into humans as well, and let the Spectre Sisters live out their human lives as squabbling cosmetics salesladies. I confess that I was sort of hoping some of the sisters would end up just being straight-up evil and we’d get some drama out of that, but, you know, this way is pretty nice, too. And they all bickered happily ever after!
This, That, and the Other
- Meanwhile, in the writer’s room… “And then, just when all hope seems lost, we have Ami stage a DARING comeback, pushing through freezing pain and dwindling chess pieces to brilliantly turn the tides, winning the game and SHATTERING Berthier’s spell—”
“We have five more minutes left in the episode, sir.”
“DEUS EX MASKINA IT IS, THEN!”
- Headcanon: Ami and Ryo going on chess dates together. Adorbs.
- Why yes, That One SNL Cheerleader Skit WAS stuck in my head for the entire flippin’ chess episode! “Bobby Fischer! Where is he?! I don’t know, I don’t know!”
- I hope the next episode is nothing but Rubeus realizing how much he sucks at doing anything on his own. And not even just the mission—like he tries to make coffee and it’s full of grounds, or the copier jams and he can’t fix it, or some of the LSD light bulbs in the PCPavilion go out and he doesn’t know where they keep the new ones. That’ll teach him to take his minions for granted!
- Hark! A plot point! Oh noes! Chibiusa and Rubeus saw Sailor Moon use the Silver Crystal to “refresh” Cal and Petz! This can only lead to good decisions from both of them.