Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 102-103

Huh. You know, the “S” may just stand for “Slapstick.”

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These episodes were kinda tough to write about, because while they were full of plot points and tension and big battle sequences, what really stood out was how darn funny they were. I mean, Sailor Moon has always had its giggle-worthy moments (intentional or otherwise), but these two were peppered with laugh-out-loud sight gags (I couldn’t stop taking screenshots) and broad physical comedy in a way I don’t remember seeing to this extent before.

Watching the hilariously strange and slapsticky Episode 103, I thought it had Ikuhara’s fingerprints all over it, and sure enough he’s credited as the episode director. It’s a little spooky how good I’m getting at recognizing his style—and across 20 years, no less! We give the guy a lot of credit for thematic complexity, narrative control, and striking imagery, and rightly so, but lest we forget, the man has a signature sense of weird, goofy humor, too, and it really shines this week.

That said, comedy has a “you had to be there” quality to it, so there’s not much I can do to recap all that. Suffice to say I had a lot of fun this week, and I hope you did, too.

Now, about that plot and action stuff…

The Recaps

Episode 102 – Kicking Glass and Faking Names

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The timely arrival of the scouts saves Usagi from becoming a Heartless, but Kaolinite knows when she’s outnumbered, so she beats a retreat to Tokyo Tower, taking Tuxedo Glassk with her. Perfect! She’s given the scouts time to concoct a brilliant strategy in order to oh wait, nope, no, Usagi’s just gonna hitch a ride from HaruMi and head into the tower completely defenseless.

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Along the way, Haruka waxes cynical about how sacrifices are inevitable, because “everyone survives by trampling on someone else.” Usagi was already pretty sure she knew Sailor Duo’s identities, but this conversation seals it, as Haru’s stance sounds a whole lot like Sailor Uranus’s “needs of the many” speech. (Or a defense of unregulated capitalism. Either/or, really.)

But Usagi can’t ignore the people who’re “being trampled,” and would rather fight to save everyone rather than just a select few or herself. ‘Cause she is the one named Sailor M—I mean, of course she isn’t, HAHAHA, never mind, just drop her off in front of this tower in the middle of the night, k thx bai.

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“She got me good, Michiru. Right in the morals.”

While the Duo muses on the upcoming glassacre, Usagi ascends to the top floor and the scouts arrive outside. Luna’s got a plan up her sleeve, but before she can put it into action, Usagi’s gonna let the bad guys rip out her heart, ‘cause for some reason she thinks Kaolinite will actually free her Glass MANagerie if she does. Have you learned NOTHING from the last 100 episodes, Usa-chan?!

Sailor Duo’s here to keep the heart from traveling too far—and lo and behold, it actually  doesn’t contain a talisman! It was just extra-shiny ‘cause of how pure it was! Usagi, you trickster, you! But Kaolinite still wants her dead since she’s obvs Sailor Moon, I mean, this here brooch proves i—

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“In the name of the Morning Star, I’ll punish you!”

Yes, Luna’s master plan involved having Venus dress up as Moon, and it works like a charm! With Usagi safe and definitely NOT Sailor Moon, the Duo (who are being willfully dense about it at this point) peace out—but not so fast, you two! Kaolinite chases after them and leaves Cenicienta to take on the scouts.

In the ensuing chaos, Usagi gets back her brooch and joins the fray, taking out the Gladiamonator, rescuing The Tux, and forcing Venus back into her regular clothes. Then it’s off to help the Duo vanquish Kaolinite once and for all!

Easier said than done, though, as Kaolinite uses a special Daimon potion to merge herself with the remaining glass slipper, which allows her to glassquerade as Cenicienta. She even knicks Uranus’s arm! Awwww, snap, it’s on now!

The scouts fight the good fight and urge the “injured” (I guess Haru has a really low pain tolerance?) Duo to escape, but ultimately Uranus takes Usagi’s words to heart and decides to help save the day. Good for the scouts, too, ‘cause even their Sailor Planet Attack barely left a tear in Kaolinite’s defenses… but it’s a tear just big enough that Uranus can slam a World Shaking through and turn Kaolinite’s powers back on herself.

Honestly, I don’t really understand how or why this works, but point is, TEAMWORK! And Kaolinite turns to glass and falls and shatters into a thousand pieces. INDIRECT MURDER! Superheroin’. Yer doin’ it right, Haruka.

And so the day is saved thanks to Sailor Moon, the Four Guardians, and a little glassistance (I regret nothing!) from the Duo. You know, gang, I think this could be the beginning of a bee-yoo-tiful friendship.

Episode 103 – Drumming Up Support

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With Kaolinite glassassinated, Professor Petty has to call in another Heartbreaker to take her place. Enter Eudial, a tactician with a more hands-on approach than her predecessor. She’s also tweaked the Prof’s Daimon-making process, so it’s out with the Petri dish and in with the, uh… microwave from Steins;Gate, I think?

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Gelnanas sold separately.

Unaware of the change on the minion roster, the Moonies (sans Rei) are getting ready for the Juuban Festival (heyyy, it’s the Summer Festival Episode! Everyone mark your Anime Bingo Cards!). Ami’s even letting them take time off from studying! It’s gonna be the best night ever and definitely no monsters are going to attack anyone!

As the gals plan their evening, Rei comes crashing in (literally) and dashes into the nearby cafe. The rest of the scouts follow to spy on her meeting with a young woman (they’re bummed it’s not a date), and shenanigans ensue involving one unlucky waitress.

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Usa, Mako, and Mina are all “I AM NINJA” and meanwhile Ami’s all “So this is my life now, I guess…”

Once the madness subsides, they learn that the woman is Tohno Maya, a talented taiko drummer whom Rei wants to have play at the Juuban Festival. Rei’s on the Liven Up Committee because “her grandpa’s friend asked her,” but really Rei’s just a natural-born event planner and livens up everything she touches. It is known.

Usagi wants to play the taiko, too, so Rei lassos her into banging a fish-drum at the goldfish-catching booth (the rest of the Moonies run the booth itself, to varying degrees of profitability). HaruMi even show up to try their hand at the game! They of course make it look Unreasonably Cool and Sexy.

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In all fairness, if I had a flower petal entourage, I’d probably make everything look cool and sexy, too.

Usagi decides to give the game a go, until she spies a Luna-P-ish device hovering over her shoulder. She goes to investigate and instead finds Rei spying on Maya, who’s hard at work practicing for the show. Rei is inspired to work harder, too! This will come in handy when a monster definitely doesn’t attack anyone tonight.

Cue Eudial, who has zero time for this low profile undercover villain nonsense. She busts onto the scene and uses her Black ✩ Star P.A. Hatchback to call Maya out. It is hilariously effective, and allows Eudial to get right to business: Shooting Maya’s heart out of her chest with a bigass SCIENCE! rifle. And you just KNOW she’s humming Bon Jovi while she does it.

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♪ “SHOT THROUGH THE HEART! AND I’M TO BLAME!”

The usual suspects all come running, but there’s no talisman in this heart either, so Eudial lets her Daimon play with Sailors Moon and Mars while she heads back to HQ. The Duo skip out as well, figuring the two scouts can handle this one.

Instead, they mostly just get stuck in drums and argue about which of them should get beat up first. Which isn’t the most dashing display of heroism, but it DOES give a certain familiar someone the perfect opportunity to make an entrance. That’s right team, our favorite supporting character is back!

No, not Luna and Artemis. Or Tuxedo Mask. Or Narumino. Or Sailor Pluto. Or Teddy. Or Motoki. Or Ryo. Or Rhett Butler. Or Zoisite (ZOISIIIIITE!). Like, I’m not sure why you’d even guess that last one.

It’s Chibiusa, you guys. The answer is Chibiusa.

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Sorry, did I say “favorite”? I meant “tolerated.” I always get those two confused.

Yes, the Chibs has returned, but she’s no mere Rabbit anymore: She’s Chibi Moon, the Pretty Guardian-in-Training. She uses her own Mini Rod (which is so perfectly designed to be a kid’s toy you can practically see Toei’s marketing department drooling all over it) to cast “Pink Sugar Heart Attack,” which chucks heart-shaped pellets at the Daimon until Usagi can take it out.

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DAMMIT, CHIBIUSah my bad, sorry, force of habit. I mean, good job, kiddo!

So we’ve got a new minion, a new guardian(ish), and a new dedication to seeing how many times the show can make me roffle in 22 minutes. Yeah. I reckon I can get behind this next round of episodes.

This, That, and the Other

  • You know why the Sailor Planet Attack didn’t work? ‘Cause Luna STILL hasn’t upgraded the rest of the Moonies from “Star Power” to “Cosmic Power,” dammit! Come ON, magic cats, I wanna see what kind of sweet new Lovely Items everyone else gets!
  • I like how Uranus and Neptune are gradually adopting their own heroic catchphrases. This week they added “with brilliance” and “with elegance” to their names, respectively. I can’t wait to find out what happens to people “in the name of” Uranus and Neptune.
  • Professor Petty is literally phoning it in at this point. By the end of the Sailor Moon Season he’ll just be sipping rum runners on a beach somewhere while his minions make all the decisions for him.
  • Hark! A plot point! Why has Chibiusa come back in time to train? ‘Cause Mommy said so, that’s why! Either Neo Queen Serenity knows something we don’t, or we are caught in one impressive time loop.
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