Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 108-109

The truth shall set you… up for some awkward conversations, that’s for sure…

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You can always tell when we’re on the verge of some Sailor Moon Serious Business, ‘cause secret identities go flying right out the window. It’s a lot easier to care about the vigilantes around you when you know the person behind the mask (or pleated skirt, as the case may be). And besides, how’s a creative team supposed to milk maximum Feels out of their characters if they don’t create an emotional connection between them? Point being, the Moonies learning that those sailor antiheroes are their real-life friends? Prob’ly gonna end in some major Emotions! for scouts and audience alike.

But first, we have to see the reveals actually happen, and that’s what this week’s eps are all about. Well, that, and FANCY parties. ‘Cause it just wouldn’t be Sailor Moon without the occasional FANCY party, doncha know.

The Recaps

Episode 108 – The Belle of the Brawl

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The Moonies have shifted study sites to Mamoru’s place under the guise of seeking wisdom from an elder student, but let’s not kid ourselves: They’re really just here for the air conditioning. While the gals backhand a series of compliments Mamoru’s way, Ami does what any self-respecting nerd does upon entering another’s home: Judges him based on his library. It’s full of high-concept nonfiction with no consistent themes. Mamoru calls that bein’ a Renaissance Man. Makoto calls that having no special skills.

Study fun(?) times are interrupted by a knock on the door, as an English gent by the name of Edwards comes to call. Mamoru knows him from university, and he’s stopped by to invite Mamoru to a FANCY party at his FANCY mansion. And, because he is ever-so-polite and FANCY, he even encourages Mamoru to bring the five underage girls hanging out in his apartment.

“And I’ve read enough manga to know how much you Japanese lads love your harems, eh wot!”

“And I’ve read enough manga to know how much you Japanese lads love your harems, eh wot!”

Usagi’s thrilled to spend time at a FANCY party with her boyfriend until then she finds out the party will be full of international students mostly speaking English, (one of) her worst subject(s), and her brain breaks from trying to decide if she’s excited or anxious.

By the night of the party, Usagi’s so nervous she flees as soon as the exchange students come over to say hello. Turns out they all speak fluent Japanese, but she’s too busy freaking out on the balcony and “accidentally” chugging liquor (twice is a pattern, Usa!) to realize it. She then does what any self-respecting drunkard would do: Cheerfully mangles a foreign language and waxes philosophical about science.

She then began to sing “Don’t Stop Believing” and was quickly escorted from the room.

She then began to sing “Don’t Stop Believing” and was quickly escorted from the room.

Usagi sobers up fast, though (and Mamoru doesn’t kiss her this time, so progress all around, really), and comes back just in time for the evening’s entertainment: Michiru on the violin and Haruka on the piano! (Because when I’m scheduling performers for my liquor-soaked college party, I always book random high school freshmen, too.) Then it’s time for dancing and theoretical debates! This party IS fancy.

While Haru takes Usagi for a spin around the ballroom, Mamoru lays down Edwards’ backstory for Michiru: He was a ruthless businessman who one day woke up and realized he had no friends, so he started throwing glorified keggers for college kids supporting local universities to help build a “rosy future.” The point of all this being that the stuff we do now doesn’t matter if there’s no one in the future to enjoy it, so why doncha try protecting the future by protecting the people of today instead, U.S. CONGRE—I mean, MICHIRU.

“Now let me tell you my opinions on pot legalization and student loan forgiveness...”

“Now lemme tell you my opinions on pot legalization and student loan forgiveness…”

Before this debate can get any fiercer, Eudial crashes the party with some knockout gas (what, no hatchback slamming through walls this time?) and swipes Edwards’ heart. All the scouts come running from hither and yon, ready to protect Edwards and/or collect a talisman, so Eudial calls in the literal backup.

Now THERE’S the wanton property destruction I’ve come to expect from Eu!

Now THERE’S the wanton property destruction I’ve come to expect from Eu!

Out comes Chikuon, the FANCIEST of the Daimon, to battle with heavy dresses and blue roses. I was reeeeeally hoping Tuxedo Mask would show up and I’d get to shout “ROSE FIIIIGHT!” but alas, the scouts rip up Chikuon’s dress before The Tux can arrive, which allows Chikuon to unveil her Final Form as The Phonograph Monster. It’s not quite as much fun as shouting “ROSE FIIIIGHT!” but it does involve attacks with the names “Waltz OF HELL” and “Yodel OF THE DEVIL,” so I’ll take it.

Eventually The Tux does show up to break Chikuon’s vinyls, which were COLLECTIBLES, you ass, and she’s so pissed she chucks her whole phonograph at him. And it… was kind of her last weapon, meaning it’s a snap for Sailor Moon to save the day, the English Gent’s life, and most importantly: The Fancy Party. Everybody waltz!

Episode 109 – Pure as the Driven Minako

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Minako’s doing that foolish thing many teens (ah, who’m I kidding—human beings of all ages) do where something unpleasant has happened to a bunch of their friends, but instead of feeling relieved that this unpleasant thing hasn’t happened to them, they’re worried it means there’s something wrong it them—and then they start to want that unpleasant thing to happen to them, too.

Real World Example: Being the only server on staff who’s never been uncomfortably ogled. No one who gets uncomfortably ogled likes it, and the one person who doesn’t knows, deep down, that they’re lucky. But on the other hand… why isn’t anyone ogling that person? Is there something wrong with them? Man, it’d be such a relief if someone would just freaking ogle them already! Wait—why would they want that again?

So yeah, that’s the issue Sailor Moon is working with this week, except here, the problem is that Minako’s the only scout who hasn’t been targeted for her “pure” heart, and she’s worried maybe her heart isn’t so pure after all. Well, there’s only one way to solve this: Research purity and fake it ‘till you make it!

I first read the characters on the book as “Pew Heart” instead of “Pyua (pure) Heart

I first read the characters on the book as “Pew Heart” instead of “Pyua (pure) Heart” and was VERY confused.

A lot of theories get tossed around—particularly the one that “pure” means “devoted wholeheartedly to something,” and Mina’s continued concerns that she’s maybe not as focused or driven as the other scouts—but eventually HaruMi give us our easiest answer: Pure-hearted people? Why, they help others, of course!

So Mina chases down a blood drive van and starts a-donating. Every. Single. Day. Her heart may not be pure, but it’s sure as shit pumpin’ a lotta blood through those punctured, shriveled-up veins. (And no, don’t ask why the blood drive workers don’t demand to see her I.D. Or why they aren’t keeping track of who came in on what days. Or, really, how any of this story line’s logic works. It’s not about logic. It’s about grand metaphors. GRAND METAPHORS, PEOPLE. So don’t think too hard about it.)

One day, as Usagi rushes after Mina, frantically shoving juice bottles at her to keep her from dying in the street, Mina’s hard work bears fruit (hooray?) as Eudial sweeps in to snag her heart. Newly-Heartless Mina is… rather happy about this, and dashes off so giddily you can practically hear her woop-woop-wooping as she goes.

woop woop woop -zoidberg

Eudial, Usagi, and the nearby HaruMi give chase until they all find Minako collapsed in a parking garage. (See? The uncomfortable ogling is uncomfortable after all, innit, Mina?) Nobody thought to duck behind a tree and transform BEFORE coming down here, so pretty soon they’re all stuck out in the open, facing down Eudial and her sword-and-board(-ish) Daimon, Doorknobder, with nothing but some pocket lint and rose petals to defend themselves.

And they certainly can’t transform NOW, ‘cause their identities be like:

secret - hush-longer

At least, that’s true until it looks like Minako might lose her heart for realsies. Then Usagi’s damn-giving drops to zero and she sailor suits up right in front of HaruMi and Eudial. Le GASP! And now it’s time for Sailor Moon to… get sat on by a Daimon. Well, this IS Usagi we’re talking about. So naturally HaruMi join the fray and transform in public, too. Le DOUBLE GASP!

They do take out the Daimon, and Minako even recovers fast enough to transform and bust up Eudial’s nifty new flamethrower. Yeahhhh, Venus! The baddy beats a retreat, and everyone stands around awkwardly, trying real hard to pretend they’re surprised about the whole identity thing. (Actually, they don’t even try that hard—the rest of the scouts just give Usagi this half-assed “Huh?” when she users the Duo’s real names on them. ‘Cause, c’mon. This is NOT that shocking.)

In the end, though, the real quandary has nothing to do with who’s who, but whether they’re all friends or are gonna have to throw down at some point. Next episode preview makes me think we might be answering that question real soon. Le Gulp?

This, That, and the Other

  • I would like everyone to take a moment to admire this gorgeous shot, because it is gorgeous. Sailor Moon isn’t the most stylized anime out there, but it knows how to work facial expressions and camera angles to great emotional effect.
  • Oh, snap! Eudial can deduct Professor Petty’s pay! So he really IS just a minion after all!
  • HaruMi don’t have the luxury of worrying about the future because The Silence is coming, you guys! Given that they’ve been saying that for the last 20 episodes, I’m gonna go ahead and say The Silence took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and got themselves waylaid somethin’ fierce.
  • The joke about the ugly UFO dolls was only kinda funny at first, and then it bore glorious fruit when Minako used them to fight evil. And that, friends, is how you run a gag!
  • Hark! A Plot Point! Eudial’s magicomputers spot a shadow blocking the Holy Grail, which the Prof says belongs to “the only person who can use the grail.” He then seems to immediately contradict himself by explaining that the Grail can do two things: Shroud the world in darkness or turn into a disco ball, depending on who wields it. But if only one person can wield it, then…? At any rate, the whole thing sounds like Silver Crystal 2.0, so just assume Usagi’s The Chosen One and roll with it.
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8 thoughts on “Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 108-109

  1. The Minako episode is the one I have the clearest memory of out of the entire S series (well besides…well) – even now I can picture her running down the street in perfect clarity, and I haven’t seen that episode in over a decade. Must’ve struck a real chord with tiny Vrai

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    • Hah, you and everyone else, apparently! It is a pretty fantastically animated scene, weird and hilarious and exactly NOT what I was expecting. “S” has done some great things with Sailor Moon so far (making Mamoru likable, adding Sailor Duo, ramping up the sight gags to 11), but the work they’ve done on Minako might just be my favorite.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. (Just FYI, this is PaganPoet from Disqus, just following you over to the new website; very nice!)

    Yes, finally, we are approaching the second half of the S season!

    Anyway, I’m wondering how Viz is going to treat episode 108 when they dub it. Cloverway had everybody speaking French at the party instead of English, but since the Viz dub has been almost an exact translation so far, it makes me wonder.

    And the scene of heartless Minako giggling and dashing off with her heart crystal is both hilarious and creepy!

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    • Welcome to the new blog! You have a human avatar here, but in my heart you’ll always be a sleepy puppycat.

      I was thinking about the dub options while watching this one, too. I haven’t seen anything of the new dub outside of a few clips, but my understanding is that Viz isn’t being *quite* as loyal to the original as they are with the subs (which is smart, since dubs are intended to reach audiences outside of just hardcore anime nerds, so localizing the dialogue and especially the humor is a good way to draw in outside – and younger – audiences), so I wouldn’t be surprised if they change up the foreign language here in some way. French would make sense and could lead to some fun localized jokes. Good call on Cloverway with that change.

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  3. mrsaverna says:

    This Minako Episode is one of my favorites. I smile every time she runs away with her heart crystal tucked to her chest. I also enjoyed how Artemis points out, “If she’s doing all this for a pure heart, does that make the action pure?”

    On a more serious note; I also love that episode because it does so many things. It tackles an issue a lot of people can identify with and moves the plot along nicely. Don’t you love it when episodes are both enjoyable and plot-progressive? :)

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    • I think Artemis’s question is one that haunted me throughout high school – i.e., the question of whether it’s actually possible to be truly selfless – which is maybe why I avoided mentioning it in my recap ’cause I’d have ended up yammering on about it for far too long. ^^;

      But I love that Sailor Moon is the kind of show that will ask that question of its audience and provoke them to think about it, too. I think the show’s ability to be silly and fun and about fighting ridiculous-looking monsters while ALSO having all these really smart undercurrents about the joys, fears, and growing responsibilities that come with adolescence is why it’s managed to hold up so well, and why even an upper-20-something like me can still enjoy the heck out of it.

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