Cirque du Ombre: It’s fun for the whole family!
SuperS feels strangely like a throwback to the most entertaining episodes of the first season, and while I suppose that could be considered jarring or even a step back in terms of plot/maturity level, I’m apparently having a lot of fun with it given the sheer amount of words I’ve written, snickered, and snarked about it below. So in the interest of keeping everyone’s eyes from glazing over, I’ll skip out on any in-depth opening chatter and let the recaps do the talking this week.
Episode 130 – Curing Pegward’s Fever
Usagi comes home to find that her brother and Chibiusa have eaten all the lemon pie! And her mom has remembered her grades for the first time in a year! AND her mom won’t punish Chibiusa for always eating Usagi’s food! Okay, that last complaint is legit. I don’t blame Usagi for running away from home for that.
She makes it as far as a local cafe where she vents to her gal pals, and they all suggest she cut Chibs some slack since she’s just a kid who’s far from her parents. This excuse was weak during R and it’s even weaker now since The Future is FINE now and Chibs could go home literally whenever she wants, it’s not like she’s being held in Time Prison like Doctor Puu… but I digress, because it’s Happy Hour at Leers!, the bar where everybody knows your name.
Tiger hasn’t been getting the job done, so Hawk figures he’ll give it a shot, and he thinks Usa’s mom has got it going on. So he launches a scheme that’s sure to tug on her motherly heartstrings.
But first Mama Ikuko and Chibiusa have to look through a photo album and talk about how much she loves ALL her kids, Chibs included, and how it’s her greatest dream to see both Usagi and Chibs in wedding dresses—and meanwhile I’m swallowing my initial gag reflex and reminding myself that Ami’s mom is a doctor so it’s not like the show doesn’t present alternate lifestyles for its characters outside of traditional feminine ones, and also that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a housewife or a mother or a bride as long as you make that choice based on personal desire rather than societal pressures, even though none of those lifestyles appeal to me personally at the moment, but hey, that’s cool, Ikuko, you do you—and once that’s over the two go out to get pie ingredients.
While they’re coming home, Hawk pounces! By which I mean, Hawk collapses in front of them! He spouts off a sob story about how Ikuko looks just like his long-lost mother, then moans about how badly he needs to eat radishes RIGHT THE EFF NOW. Chibs runs off to get them while Ikuko tries to console the pour lost soul, only to have him reveal his inner Oedipal complex when he starts hitting on her instead.
Ikuko is NOT into this, but she’s lowered her guard enough that Hawk can bust out the Examining Table and dig into her dreams. Chibs returns with Usagi to fight both Hawk and his Lemures, Do Kanko the Human Cannon, whose attacks are exactly what you’d expect.
The Moonies + Tux show up, but everyone is too polite to attack Do Kanko while she’s loading, so things get messy and Chibs gets herself in trouble. Which, naturally, is when Pegward swoops onto the scene to sparkle up the joint and be all, “Okay, look, I know I said to call me whenever you’re in trouble, but, like, I’m missing Friends for this and they haven’t invented TiVo yet, so take these new Lovely Items and gimme some damn space. Pegward OUT.”
So he soups up their brooches and presents Usagi with a new Kaleido Moon Scope rod and Chibiusa with a… Cowbell.
The Moons use a one-two punch of “Twinkle Yell” and “Moon Gorgeous Meditation” to take out the Lemures. Gotta say, while the sparkling cowbell is… well, a sparkling cowbell… I dig the animation for Usagi’s new spell. It’s got style and focus and actually looks like an attack (with some martial arts-inspired motions/positioning to boot), which makes it a lot more formidable than last season’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl. So thumbs-up on that one, Pegward.
Monster defeated, the Moonies take Ikuko home so she can literally get back in the kitchen and make them some pie. But hey, Ikuko loves feeding people, and I can definitely relate to that, so as long as she’s happy then I s’pose that’s all that matters. Plus, you know, it gives Ami an excuse to remind us of the important practical applications of mathematics, such as figuring out the formula for dividing 10 equal slices. So everyone wins, really.
Episode 131 – Me and a Ploy and the Dying Boy
YAY, more Cirque du Ombre animation! Aww, now it’s gone again. :( Zirconia clears the rings so she can yell at her henchmen in private. Hawk makes the foolish mistake of assuring her they’ll get you Gadget Pegasus next time, and Zirconia’s ready to hold him to that. Tiger is officially flipping out and Fish ain’t too happy either, but Hawk has a plan if they’d just hear him out.
Annoyed, Tiger decides to take matters into his own hands, so he heads off after the next Dream Target, everyone’s favorite minion-magnet, Naru. (Really, it’s impressive that they waited three whole people before targeting her.) Tiger’s all “Hot DAMN I look good, this plain Jane’s gonna be on me like white on rice in a glass of milk on a paper plate in a snowstorm!” and immediately cozies up to her, too full of himself to notice MAXIMUM SIDE-EYE:
But he DOES notice when Umino shows up and Naru ditches him for her boyfriend, vanishing quickly into the crowd. Tiger SHOCK! He goes back to the bar to drown his sorrows and wail about the NERVE of that girl to ditch HIM for some four-eyed NOBODY! I mean REALLY! The NERVE! I adore the way Sailor Moon plays him this week, stripping away his confident playboy exterior to reveal the insecure buffoon underneath. He spends most of this episode totally pathetic, and it is glorious.
With Tiger deep in his cups, Hawk steps up and unveils his own plan: To use a cage full of negative energy to capture Pegward when he shows up to help the Moonies. And they’ll use Naru as bait! Now, Tiger, can you handle that part, or do we need to call the WAAAHmbulance and have them take you to St. WAAAHncis’s Hospital to get a WAAAHccination?
So Tiger gets Naru to throw him a pity party by telling her he only has three months left to live and wants to “experience love” before then. She doesn’t remember him from before (which, by the way, ALL the high-fives to Naru this week), but she does feel bad for him, so she tells him she’ll at least think about it.
Naru heads to the shrine to get advice from her gal pals. Chibiusa reveals her immaturity by getting swept up in the romance of it, but the others are more reluctant, and Rei even points out that “pity and love aren’t the same” and suggests it’s unfair to both of them to pretend otherwise. Still in turmoil, Naru wanders off and runs into Umino, who’s so MOVED by her story and kindness that he gives her his blessing and dashes off in tears.
In the end, though, Naru just can’t do it, so she turns Tiger down, by which I mean she pushes him off a bench. (ALL the high-fives!) But Tiger’s still gotten close enough to check out her dreams, and he launches his plan into effect. It works exactly how you’d expect—the Moons show up, a Lemures Juggler shows up, Pegward shows up, the Moons go to help Naru, Tiger catches them all in his cage, Pegward dashes forward to help them, and…
…phases straight through the cage’s bars.
Tuxedo Mask joins the fracas, and he and Tiger have every bad Internet argument ever (and yes, the following is 100% Real Dialogue, because at this point my paraphrasing would make it less ridiculous):
Tux: I, Tuxedo Mask, will not forgive anyone who taints an innocent young girl’s pure heart!
Tiger: No one’s ASKING your forgiveness! MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.
Tux: I don’t have time to argue with a guy who has a comeback for everything.
Then I’m pretty sure Tiger busted a blood vessel off-screen right before the Moons took out the Juggler and forced him to beat a retreat. Pegward also vanishes, as is custom. (“What is he?” The Tux wonders. “Um… an Alicorn, bro,” Armchair Critic Josei retorts.)
Which means we’ve got just enough episode time left for Naru to patch things up with Umino, who’s made himself sick after drowning his sorrows in 15 milkshakes. And so our little side character ‘ship sails merrily on!
This, That, and the Other
- This week might have been light on story, but it was Packed. With. Great. Faces. And really, when push comes to shove, that’s all I ask of my anime.
- I could watch an entire episode of the Amazon Trio just fucking around at that bar.
- Another thing I could spend an entire episode watching: The Tux and Tiger sniping at each other.
- Tiger is apparently into BL comics about “cherry boys,” which you may have surmised is Japanese slang for a male virgin. (Also, apparently Ikuhara’s penchant for honey and flowers has been A Thing for a lot longer than I ever realized.)
- I love how the Moonies always wait to let the Lemures’ perform before fighting back. Sure, they might have to work this part-time gig as evil monsters, but they’re entertainers first, dammit, and the Moonies respect that.
- Hark! A plot point! Pegward says Chibi’s “heart that protects beautiful dreams” is the only one that can summon him. I’m not entirely sure if this means HE’S the “beautiful dream” she’s protecting by letting him camp out in her heart, but if so, then wow. This guy is FULL of himself.
6 thoughts on “Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 130-131”
Thanks to a recent staycation I was able to catch up on Sailor Moon S and Super S, so now I have the pleasure of reading these recaps as soon as you post them. Thanks for doing these!
Other random comments: I was curious about “S. Hasegawa”, author of “Cherry Boys”; turns out that’s the animation director for that episode. Fisheye’s costume reminds me of the Michelin Man–not an easy look to pull off. I really miss Hotaru; her friendship with Chibiusa humanized the latter and made her character much more bearable. Speaking of Chibiusa, her Sailor Chibi Moon costume reminds me of “Toddlers and Tiaras”, and not in a good way; sexualizing 14-year-olds is bad enough, but an (apparent) 7-year-old?
Moon Gorgeous Meditation is my favorite Sailor Moon attack! Not only is it animated well, but it also looks painful as shit! Like being blasted in the face with shards of glass.
*Insert Joke here about needing more cowbell*
And the Amazon Trio definitely is the stronger (and more fleshed out) villain group of this season, which is saying something because they were essentially villains-of-the-week in the manga and the rest of the villains were rather important (and more fleshed out) in the manga. Though I wonder if someone has ever written an analysis of their “looking into people’s dreams” method. For a season focusing on dreams and childhood (especially with Chibiusa as the defacto protagonist this year) it is really jarring to see what can easily be read as a metaphor for sexual assault in every episode.
And on that note, has anyone ever done a tally of how many times Naru’s been attacked by the monster of the week?
(I feel like I should also warn you that it might be a while before the show provides you with fresh carnival aesthetic. The shows likes milking the stock footage as much as they can.)
Minor Spoilers below I guess?
Also, I’m interested to see what you’ll think of the later Amazon Trio episodes. For now they run pretty smoothly because the targets are recurring characters who’ve already been fleshed out. When they start getting to characters of the week its often a mixed bag, and some of them, despite being described as having ‘beautiful dreams’ are all together unpleasant people which makes the concept lose a bit of traction – especially the ones Fisheye goes after.
Something that also should be mentioned is that how much someone likes this season is often dependent on how much you like Chibiusa as a character, since the show essentially becomes a dual act of her and Usagi and the rest of the characters fall into the background a lot more, which is unfortunate because S and Stars are such strong ensemble seasons.
Whoo that turned into an essay. Sorry bout that.
I confess I skimmed the bottom part of this because I kind of want to be surprised from here on out, but re: the Amazon Trio, I’ve seen a lot of people saying the manga version of this arc is dramatically different from the manga. I had a tough time getting into the manga (art style, rapid-fire pacing, and heavy focus on Usagi and Mamoru didn’t really click for me), but maybe I’ll have to read this arc once I’ve finished the anime version, just to see how different they are.
Really enjoying reading these recaps – thanks for continuing to post them!
Thanks, glad you’re enjoying them! They’re a lot of fun to write, too. :)