Moonlight and love shrimp, never out of date…
Love is in the air again this week on Sailor Moon, as our gals consider what makes a kiss “special” and one young couple tries to clumsily convey how they feel about each other. These episodes do a nice job of portraying many elements of early relationships, such as the amount of importance placed on a first kiss, the feeling that you need to PROVE your love (not just to your partner, but to the general public as well), and the insecurities and anxieties you feel when you reeeeally like someone and worry that they might not feel the same (or worse, that you might not be “good enough” for them). Sailor Moon captures the worries, the awkwardness, and the excitement of first love, and it’s good fun watching it play out (though you sure couldn’t pay to relive it).
And speaking of love, the dynamic duo is getting ‘shippier by the minute. It makes me half-curious to watch the ‘90s dub just so I can see how the heck they managed (or failed) to pull off this “cousins” thing. Yeah, kissin’ cousins, maybe.
Episode 94 – Sealed with a Kiss
Lounging in the park, enjoying nature and youth and hiding from Ami and her textbooks, Usagi spots Mamoru giving a ride to another woman?! You cad! But fear not, Usa—it’s just his favorite hitchhiker, Motoki’s sister, Unazuki. With that cleared up, the girls can ditch that bike-riding square and dish at the local cafe. Mainly, Zuki wants to know if Usagi and Mamoru have ever kissed.
She assumes they haven’t (even though they totally do, like, aaaaaall the time), largely because Zuki herself hasn’t kissed anyone—she has a steady boyfriend, but she’s waiting for just the right time and place. HaruMi at the next table over (hidin’ behind the shrubbery all ninja-like) offer some mature “fun facts” about kissing, then leave in a flurry of flower petals, lamenting that they don’t have time to fall in love right now. Surrre ya don’t.
Meanwhile Professor Petty (who thinks kissing is just the funniest thing since cream-pies-to-the-face) sends another of his Heartbreakers out to find a talisman, and it plants itself inside Zuki’s super-cute elephant-shaped vacuum. While she’s distracted making out with a photo of her BF, it attacks and turns her into a Heartless. Oh, but don’t worry, I know how to fix this—we just need a talking mouse, a keyblade, and FIFTEEN YEARS TO FINISH A DAMN TRILOGY.
Anyway, the Daimon escapes all of about five feet before Sailor Duo show up. During the ensuing kerfuffle, the talisman ends up on the back of a moving truck, and the chase is on to find it first!
Meanwhile, Usa and the gals go over to Zuki’s place where it turns out if you leave a Heartless lying out long enough, it wakes up and starts trying to make out with everyone.
“Her pure heart was stolen, so now she’s impure, and that’s why she wants to kiss everybody!” Ami deduces (oh, 14-year-olds). Rei seals Zuki’s lips with a sutra and holds down the fort while the rest of the scouts go out searching for the talisman.
They also split up for some silly reason, but thankfully Ami’s tracker has a wide range, and she alerts Usagi to some activity in her region. She and Mamoru (who used his Moondar to find her, I guess?) eventually track down the talisman, the Daimon, AND Sailor Duo dukin’ it out at the local dump. And look what someone tossed out with the leftovers!
Usagi suits up and gets banged around until Mamoru finally squeezes into his Tux and appears to give her a power-up pep talk. She takes out the Daimon easily enough, but Zuki’s heart is still bouncing around in the garbage, and Sailor Duo won’t give it up without a fight.
Sorry. I meant “a fight.” Sailor Duo doesn’t have a hard time snagging the heart—but, since (to their relief) it isn’t a talisman, they let Usagi snatch it back and vanish into the sunset. The rest of the scouts (who are not even TRYING to be on time anymore) show up to help Usagi return the heart to Zuki. Now she can go back to making out with a photo of her boyfriend, just like a normal girl should!
Episode 95 – Public Displays of Aggression
The Daimon are becoming less and less relevant in this fun little superhero slice-of-life, but I guess Sailor Moon needs to fight something or we’d have to change the title to Bunny Tracks or something, so Professor Petty lays another egg. He’s getting pretty cheesed at Kaolinite for wasting all his impressive SCIENCE (pssh, like you have anything better to do with your recycled animation), so she promises to deal with the next pure heart personally.
But we’ll get to that later. First, the important stuff: Junior high romance! Umino’s worried because Naru’s been acting distant recently. And after all those shrimp lunches he made her, too! When he confides in Usagi, she offers to check with Naru. Which she does, only to discover that Naru thinks UMINO is the one hiding something.
Usagi tries to assuage her fears by assuring her that it’s practically a miracle Umino found ONE girl who’d like him, never mind TWO, which doesn’t earn her any brownie points with, you know, the girl currently dating Ol’ Funny-Face. (Doesn’t earn her any brownie points with me, either, but she’ll kinda make up for it as the episode continues.)
Determined to fix the young couple’s relationship woes, Usagi goes to Advice Columnist Rei for help. She suggests entering the pair in an upcoming PDA Contest, where the winning couple gets to light a heart-shaped lamp monument in the local park. ‘Cause you may not be able to put a price tag on love, but you can sure as shootin’ grade it on an objective scale and attach a grand prize to it!
Usagi goes to enter Narumino in the contest, only to discover that they BOTH already registered—and that’s the secret they were keeping from each other! Oh, you kids, you.
Nobody will be surprised to learn that the Daimon planted itself in this heart lamp, and when HaruMi sense a disturbance in the force, they opt to enter the PDA Contest as well. But that’s CRAZY! Two GIRLS, as a COUPLE? PSSH. No one will ever buy that.
Another thing that will not surprise you: HaruMi own the competition. Just absolutely kill it. They know each other incredibly well, are perfectly in sync with one another, and it doesn’t hurt that Haruka is Unreasonably Cool about it, too. The scouts (who came to cheer on Narumino) even start to wonder if maybe they really are a couple.
And meanwhile poor Umino is a total klutz, tripping all over himself in his attempts to prove his love to Naru, and feeling progressively worse about it, too. It finally gets to the point where HaruMi—who admire his sincerity—withdraw from the competition, admitting that they were only doing this for fun and that “victory should go to true love.” And you two aren’t in love, hmm?
Which brings us to the final round of the contest, where the dude has to DECLARE his love and the lady has to accept it. Or something. This whole competition seems pretty stupid and arbitrary to me. Regardless, Umino stops trying to win and just speaks from the heart, telling Naru how much he cares about her and how happy she makes him, and how she’s SO great that he’s pretty darn sure she’s too good for him and someday she’ll realize that, too, but even if he’s kind of an awkward turtle, he cares about her so much that he’d DIE for her.
And yeah, I think the contest is absurd, and yeah, the whole “die for you” thing is melodramatic and probably causing Naru to have some serious Nephrite flashbacks.
But shucks, you guys, our sweet little insecure Awkward Turtle just likes her so darn much! How can I NOT say “aww” to that?
After a masterful display like that, there’s no way Narumino CAN’T win, so they head up the platform to light their heart lamp. Which, of course, is when the Daimon “Die-Heart” crashes their perfect date and tries to suck out Umino’s heart. And Sailor Moon will forgive a lot of things, but third wheeling somebody’s date is not one of them! Transformation time, ladies!
True to her word, Kaolinite shows up to back up her Daimon, and things get weird when the monster creates illusory Dancing Gents who distract the scouts with… well, dancing. While they’re preoccupied, Die-Heart finishes the job on Umino—but here comes Sailor Duo!
Outnumbered, Kaolinite beats a retreat, Usagi takes out the Daimon and another talisman-free heart gets returned to its rightful owner. Narumino resume their date (because at this point getting attacked by a monster is pretty much built into the itinerary) and let the light of their love shine across the park. Umino is so happy, he’s making lobster for lunch tomorrow! You hear that, team? LOBSTER. For LUNCH. You’ve got a keeper there, Naru. Don’t let that awkward turtle swim away.
This, That, and the Other
- Mamoru can’t remember his and Usagi’s first kiss. In his defense, though, he was still Split Personality Man back then. Also in his defense, he’s had a LOT of people screw around with his brain since then, too.
- And speaking of that balcony scene, Mamoru looked about thirty in some of those shots. Holy QUALITY animation, Batman.
- Aaaand speaking of QUALITY animation, this guy has no business being in a PDA Contest, because he is missing the entire back of his head and should probably see a
doctor about that.
- This week’s vacuum monster did not literally say “eat my dust,” but epic long-distance fist-bump to the translator for having it happen anyway.
- Ami betrays her naivety all over the place this week, from her kiss deduction to her confusion about two girls being a couple and on to her adorable foot-in-mouth moment when she says she wants to “learn something” from the PDA Contest. But by the end of it, she’s nearly admitted that she’d maybe like a relationship as well. You know, hun, Ryo is just a short phone call away (and Mako is even closer than that).
- Hark! A Plot Point? Did… did we know Umino’s first name was “Gurio” before now? I feel like there’s no way it took them 95 episodes to tell us that, but I honestly can’t remember ever hearing it before. And thus—plot point!