The truth shall set you… up for some awkward conversations, that’s for sure…
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.
Episode 108 – The Belle of the Brawl
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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:
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.