The wheels are spinning in more ways than one this week.
Okay, team. It’s no secret that I’ve been having a lot of fun watching Sailor Moon S. It’s no secret that I think it’s gone back to handling its characters and its adolescent themes with that same blend of silliness and insight that initially charmed me when I started this crazy blogging adventure. I am enjoying this show an awful, awful lot.
But. We’re ten episodes in and I gotta say, I’m getting a little antsy for some plot development. There was some solid movement this week in terms of Sailor Duo getting closer to accepting Usagi’s friend request, but Reused Animation Scientists are a broken record at this point, and I kinda need them to, like… do something soon. Or at least give us more information about this oncoming Silence so I can make my Doctor Who references properly. Protagonist and filler fun is through the roof, but we’re sadly lacking on the antagonist front right now (the scientist doesn’t even have a name, for heaven’s sake), and I’d like to see that addressed soon.
Not this week, though. This week, we have tire monsters and love songs. And for all my grumbles, I am mostly okay with that.
Episode 98 – Poppin’ a Third Wheelie
Thanks to some strategically placed invisible cameras, Professor Petty has lots of intel on those meddling scouts, and decides to use that data to set a trap for Sailor Duo. As if the two didn’t have enough to deal with, what with Haruka owning a bunch of dudebros at Motocross and getting threatened for it. Cuz, like, she’s totally cheating since women shouldn’t be racing anyway, RIGHT DUDES, OUR LOGIC IS FLAWLESS.
Said dudebros come at Haru with wrenches, but fellow racer and decent human being Yamada breaks up the fight. “Prove yourself on the track, dudes,” he says, and the others reluctantly disperse. Thank goodness! Mamoru was about to get bludgeoned SO HARD.
Everybody heads home, but Usagi gets distracted by some cute plushies (hey, that’s my kryptonite, too!) and misses the bus. Good thing Haru’s around to give a gal a lift! Also to get a gal attacked by angry racers who have somehow hijacked a semi, drive a gal off the road, snuggle a gal so close she can smell your cologne, and let a gal watch you beat said bullies into submission. Usagi and Haruka take awesome road trips, is what I’m saying.
The trip home gets canceled, though, when Haru’s bike breaks down and Michiru phones in. (“Hey, fancy that! My superhero friends and I have those EXACT SAME COMMUNICATORS even though Apple watches won’t be invented for another 20 years, that sure seems suspicious!” Usagi doesn’t think.) Michiru’s been tailing Yamada on the off-chance his pure heart gets targeted, and sure enough, his bike has turned into Tiren, another magnificent creation to add to the Moonsterpedia.
So Haru ditches Usagi to go help Michiru deal with the stolen heart. And falls RIGHT INTO KAOLINITE’S TRAP, MWAHAH—wait hold on Sailor Moon followed you here?! That wasn’t in the Dastardly Itinerary!
Not that it matters, because Neptune’s tied up and Uranus and Moon haven’t really done this teamwork thing before. When Tiren locks them together, they bounce around all uncoordinated and awkward until Neptune orders Uranus to flee. So Uranus does, just as Kaolinite’s prehensile hair (gross) grabs Neptune and tosses her over a conveniently placed waterfall.
Despite Moon’s protests, Uranus drags them into a nearby cave to hide from the Daimon. Usagi’s all “You’re the worst friend ever!” and Uranus is all “You don’t know me!” See, she and Neptune made a promise to sacrifice anything, even each other, for the greater good.
“We’re trying to save the world and stuff!” Uranus cries. “You got a better idea of how to do that?!” Usagi’s not sure she does, although if she gave it some thought she’d probably realize the answer is definitely Friendship. Usagi tends to Uranus’ injury with her usual Super Niceness, and gets Uranus to scratch her back in payment. The two are kinda starting to understand each other, which should come in handy now that Tiren has found them. Surprise!
So the pair dash back towards where Neptune fell down a waterfall roughly half an hour ago to—I guess fish her body out of the water?—and deal with Kaolinite. And they can coordinate their movements now, suckas! The pair snap the cuffs between them and give Tiren the ol’ one-two punch. Kaolinite flees, a bedraggled Neptune climbs from the water, and Haru’s very glad to see it.
Sailor Uranus SUPPOSES that Moon is kinda cool, I GUESS, but she’d better not interfere with their mission. And Neptune looks on, wondering (as always) if there might not be another way to handle this after all.
Episode 99 – Kumada SHOCK!
Any new development on the Sailor Duo or Grail front will have to wait, ‘cause we’ve got side characters and glacially paced romances to check up on. That’s right, it’s time for another filler episode with my favorite shaggy-headed goofball, Kumada Yuuichirou, a.k.a. Teddy the Shrinekeeper!
We find him hovering around the shrine late at night, worried about Rei. Turns out that while all those happy sailor fun times were going on these last ten episodes, she’s been running herself ragged trying to divine some information about her Spooky Prophecy Dream. So far all she’s managed to do is nearly catch her hair on fire, which is why it’s a good thing Teddy’s around to give her a tasuki.
No, not THAT Tasuki. That Tasuki sucks at keeping things from catching on fire.
Teddy spends the next day following Rei around, I guess worried that her sleep-deprivation will cause her wander into traffic or something. Somehow Sailor Moon manages to make this kinda cute instead of creepy, I guess because we know he doesn’t do this on a daily basis, and Rei is clearly burned out (almost literally) at this point. Also, we’ve established by now that Teddy is a big, cuddly sheepdog who’s pretty much incapable of creeping on anything, let alone his lady-love.
His super-secret tailing efforts hit a snag when Usagi catches him in the act and teases him mercilessly for it. B-b-but it’s not like that, he swears! He’s just WORRIED about her, that’s all! He tells Usa about Rei’s late nights, to which Usagi goes to her default deduction and figures it means Rei’s been pining over her Teddy Bear!
Teddy is on-board with this interpretation… at least until he spies Rei chatting it up and getting motorcycle rides with everyone’s favorite heartthrob, Haruka (sorry, Mamoru), whom Teddy immediately assumes is Rei’s boyfrend. Kumada SHOCK! Heartbroken, he wanders around in a daze well into the evening, when suddenly he spies a fiddler on a roof.
No, not THAT fiddler on the roof.
Too far away to hear them but plenty close to see all them mad cuddles, Teddy dive-bombs into another conclusion: This no-good Haruka fellow is two-timing Rei! You SCOUNDREL!
So he challenges Haru to a duel. It’s… about as effective as you’d expect.
The VERY confused Haruka dodges around until Rei happens to walk by and puts a stop to it. Teddy’s convinced Rei has taken Haru’s side, and he can accept that—but dammit, Haru, you’re VERY MUCH a man, so you’d better do right by Rei and break up with that other girl this minute!
Then he runs off in a big angst ball while Rei looks on, mortified. Clearly there’s only one way for Teddy to handle all these emotions: By running off and joining the circus! Rei returns to the shrine just in time to see Teddy go DASHING past her as pretty much the best song ever plays SOULFULLY in the background.
I have a feeling we’re not supposed to take any of this seriously, given the amount of warbling EMOTION Teddy belts into his farewell song, but the characters sure don’t agree with me, as they urge Rei to stop him. She’s pissed because she feels like Teddy didn’t trust her, and Usagi encourages her to do that thing her own boyfriend kinda sucks at: Communicate, and tell Teddy all that!
So Rei chases after Teddy just in time for him to touch the train and have it transform into a Daimon. There’s a battle full of some awesome conductor-based dialog (really hope the English dub finds a way to work in a “mind the gap” joke), Mars knocks it around with some exorcisms and mandalas, and Moon takes care of the rest.
Teddy awakens to find himself pillowed in Rei’s lap, being told once again that he trippin’, there’s no monsters around here. The poor guy hesitates, seriously considering the value of a psychologist at this point, but Rei distracts him by using the tasuki to bind the cut on his arm. Oh and BT-dubs, Haru is a girl, ya big galoot. Teddy looks about ready to run off again, but Rei just smiles and rolls her eyes and helps him get home. Our not-a-couple returns to their shrine, and their not-a-romance continues.
…It’s kinda cute.
This, That, and the Other
- Haruka explains the approaching doom by telling Usagi that “Something terrifying will happen soon!” Well, that clears up everything, then, thanks for the specifics!
- Professor Petty just keeps screaming at Kaolinite and she just keeps talking him down without batting an eye. Does anyone else get the feeling she’s really the one in charge, here?
- TeddyVision has more roses than an Utena character introduction. The world as seen through that mop-top must be a mighty enchanting place.
- The Sensei Next Door (Moon Cosmic Edition): Teddy’s Goodbye is a cover of “Azusa No. 2,” a 1970s song originally performed by pop duo Karyudo. I’m guessing the version in the show is sung by Teddy because it sure sounds like him, but the track was apparently never released on an actual album, so it’s hard to know for sure.
- Hark! A plot point! Usagi recognizes Uranus’s cologne as the same one Haruka wears, and begins to have herself some suspicions. So apparently transforming completely alters you face and voice and general body type, but your manly scents are fair game? I… eh. Sure. I buy it.