Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 134-135

Home is where the art is.

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Given the rumored kerfuffle going on behind the scenes during this season (the studio pushing for one kind of show, Ikuhara for another), a part of me wonders if these two episodes didn’t have their basis in some real-life frustrations. It’s artists’ week here on SuperS, and it’s all about finding the courage to create and share those works with others—and to do what feels right to you, The Artist, regardless of what The Authority says you “can” or “can’t” do with your landscape paintings.

So suck on that, Toei Animation.

Our other central topic this week is, of course, Friendship, and what defines it. For Makoto and Tomoko, it’s honesty, whether that comes in the form of much-needed encouragement (a writer’s ego is a delicate, fragile creature) or an equally needed scolding/pep talk. For Chibiusa, it’s about respect and agency—about giving your friend the right to say “no,” and not using them for your own gain. Good stuff all around, really, and the artsy themes… well, they speak to me, for obvious reasons. So despite some weird tonal hiccups (as expected of SuperS at this point), I had a pretty fun time this week.

The Recaps

Episode 134 – Write in the Feels

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Moon Night Pegasus is the hot new novel everyone (except Rei) is reading, a passionate! tale of the forbidden! love between a Pegasus and a human woman. (Because nothing says romance like beastiality?) The author is Takase Tomoko, an old friend of Makoto’s, and Mako had the good fortune of being both her Beta Reader and the person who encouraged her to submit her novel for publication. So you could say Tomoko owes all her success to Mako, but like, whatevs, NBD.

Mako hasn’t seen her old friend since she transferred to Juuban Junior High, and since she’s dying to know why Tomoko forgot to mention her in the Acknowledgments catch up on life, Usagi suggests an autograph outing.

I’m definitely doing this for you, Mako! Definitely not for my raging inner fangirl, no, ma’am.

“I’m definitely doing this for you, Mako! Definitely not for my raging inner fangirl, no, ma’am.”

Meanwhile Zirconia is ripping into the Amazon Trio for randomly picking hawt girls instead of, like, researching said hawt girls’ dreams, so she sends them after the Beautiful Dream Candidate who’s been writing novels about Pegasus. That’s… actually super smart. +10 Bad Guy Points, Madame Zirc.

Tiger sets off to woo another his first target, and winds up at Tomoko’s house at the same time as… a horde of fanboys? Or reporters? At any rate, DUDE FIGHT! Mako and the Moonies come ‘round the corner, VERY confused, only to discover that Tomoko has fled her house because this happened to her:

deadlines - monty python

Yep, she’s a writer, all right.

Mako finds her down by the river under her favorite thinkin’ tree, right where the two of them met after Mako saved Tomoko from a bunch of literature-hating bullies (by FAR the most dastardly of the bullies). Modern-day Tomoko confesses she hasn’t been able to come up with any new stories, and flees, declaring that she has “nothing left to dream.”

Actually, she’s upset over a boy. See, while Makoto encouraged Tomoko from Day One to publish her book, she didn’t convince her until she saw Tomoko staring longingly at some rando soccer player so inconsequential he doesn’t even get a name. But Tomoko liked him, and Mako got it in her head that if she published her book this guy would TOTES notice her and DEF understand that the Pegasus was a metaphor for him even though they’d never spoken before and she didn’t use his name.

But dude had no appreciation for allegory, got himself a different girlfriend, and it’s been:

writer's block

ever since.

Cue Chibiusa, breaking her promise to Pegward by screaming outside Tomoko’s window about how she, too, has hung out with a Pegasus and totally shares Tomoko’s dream. Then Mako and Usagi come along and Makoto continues the shout-lecture, reminding Tomoko that she has FANS and a RESPONSIBILITY to them and her dreams aren’t just hers anymore, they also belong to READERS who are DYING for the next volume in her EPIC FANTASY, like it’s been FOUR YEARS AND THE TV SHOW IS ABOUT TO PASS YOU, GEORGE.

nerd rage

…So anyway.

I’m actually not sure I agree with Makoto here, but I do like the part where she reminds Tomoko of her old philosophy: “If only one person reads a story, finish it for that one person.” Tomoko is inspired!… just as Tiger swoops in pretending to be her new editor. She is 100% chill about the random dude appearing in her bedroom—until he transforms into a circus performer, that is. THE HORROR! Mako and the Moons get their transformation on, and with a little help from our good friend Deus Ex Maskina they’re able to take out the Time Bomb Escape Magician Lemures (could not possibly make this stuff up) and keep Tomoko safe. Go team!

As they’re battling, the half-conscious Tomoko sees Pegward fly around all sparkly-like, and it inspires her to write again. Onwards to the sequel, Pegasus Fantasy! And it’s dedicated to her rockstar Beta Reader, as all second novels should be.

Episode 135 – The (he)Art of the Matter

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Chibs begins this one being like “Yo Pegward tell me more about you, after all I’m letting you camp out in my chest and I’m totally keeping your secret for you” even though we JUST SAW HER tell Tomoko about it, but Pegs says he can’t do that and blips out again.

Down in Cirque du Ombre, Madame Zirconia talks world-building with the Trio (more on that later) and they discuss Pegward’s currently unlisted, rent-controlled heart full of Beautiful Dreams. This gets Tiger a-ponderin’, so he hatches a scheme with Shadow Ninja Hebihanabiko who specializes in stealing hearts, and orders her to invade Peg’s home and steal it while he’s still inside. Which… sounds like a legit plan, too. Much better than wandering around Juuban spirit-groping people. +10 Bad Guy Points to you too, Tiger.

Meanwhile, Chibiusa is being adorable in art class.

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She’s full of creativity, dressing up like an artist to feel “more artistic” and adding bright colors and a Pegasus to her landscape painting because it just feels right. To which her teacher gasps: “IMAGINATION?! And in ART CLASS, of all places?! F-MINUS.”

(Okay, so Chibs didn’t do the assignment the way she was told and following instructions is, like, important and stuff, I GUESS. But I, too, was the kid who added gnomes to the still life sketches and cowboys to the perspective exercises, so forgive me if I’m a little mean to Ms. Morino this week. And MY teachers still gave me an A, so suck on that, Toei Animation.)

Morino’s a bit of an awkward turtle who struggles to connect with her students, despite her lifelong dream of being a teacher. And yes, I did just use the word “dream,” which means Tiger needs to show up dressed as a fortuneteller to draw her in and continue his trend of being a paragon of casual sexism.

‘Scuse me while I find a table to throw.

I’m glad he’s sitting at a table. Makes it a lot easier to find one to throw at him.

In the meantime, Usagi and Chibs are struggling to take a load of groceries home, when who should drive up but OH DAMMIT, MAMORU, NOT AGAIN.

You know what? +10 Bad Guy Points to you, too.

It’s possible my computer has a hand print on it from where I instinctively tried to slap those sunglasses off his face.

The trio hear Ms. Morino’s screams from down the street and rush to help her. Well, the Moons rush to help her. Tux has to get his costume out of the trunk, dust off his hat, find his spare holster of roses, and iron out a few wrinkles in his suit coat. But he’ll be RIGHT behind you, he swears!

For now, the Moons get to play with Hebihanabiko, The Lady Who Walks Through Walls. (Man, they’re really stretching with these circus-themed monsters, ain’t they?) Chibs calls for Pegward, and Hebi puts her and Tiger’s plan into motion, using Pegward, who exists in this world as a “shadow,” as a conduit between him and the heart where he resides. And for once I don’t have to struggle to explain this, because:

magic! - jon

Chibs goes all dead-eyed and collapses, turned inwards to deal with the new interloper. Hebi tries to tempt Chibiusa with Phenomenal Cosmic Power—all she has to do is take Pegward’s reins and wield him as her weapon. But Hebi underestimated something vital: Chibs doesn’t give two cowbells about world domination. Her dream… is FRIENDSHIP!

She boots Hebi out of her heart and wakes up in time to remind Usagi that, um, maybe she should be fighting or something. She stages Hebi out and peace arrives in Juuban once more. Now let’s go have a heart-to-heart with Miss Teacher. Oh, no, not you, Mamoru. You go bring the car around.

There’s a good lad.

There’s a good lad.

Ms. Morino asks Chibiusa why she kept the Pegasus in her painting even though she knew she’d get a poor grade on it, and Chibs says she doesn’t care about grades: She liked the painting better this way, and she likes herself better this way, too. I suppose there’s some part of me that should be like “following directions is a vital life skill, too!” but nope. No, I love this moral, and I love that Ms. Morino admits to loving it, too.

… She’s still not gonna grade on a curve, though. So thanks for paying lip-service to creativity but not actually, you know, rewarding it. Jerk.

That night, THINGS GET WEIRD, as Pegward presents Chibiusa with a new Lovely Item: Some kind of rod that he can hang out in and watch her ALL THE TIME. He also gets embarrassed about a shirtless human child (because nothing says romance like beastiality?), and promises to chat with Chibs privately and often from now on. And all I can think is:

This, That, and the Other

  • Advice from Rei: Take three copies of a novel to all signings, one to read, one to store, and one to show off to people. Advice from me: Do not do this. Your favorite writer is already traveling a road that takes them straight through the Carpal Tunnel. No need to put your foot on the gas and get them there faster.
  • “Only criminals and vicious dogs should be chained!” Tuxedo Mask, don’t you and your stupid catchphrases ever change.
  • Oh good another female teacher who is mocked because she is single, that is not a tired joke at all. -_-
  • Chibiusa’s imaginary friend refuses to tell her his name. GOOD. I spent a long time coming up with Pegward Cullen and I intend to get some damn mileage out of it.
  • Hark! A plot point! Hawk and Zirconia insist it’s impossible for Pegward’s Heart Home to wield his power as their own, since the very act of doing so would make their dreams no longer beautiful, forcing Pegward to find a new apartment. But Tiger seems skeptical, and I sort of do, too, seeing as how I’m preeeeetty sure Chibs is currently wielding Peg’s power like it ain’t no thang.
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5 thoughts on “Sailor Moon Newbie Reviews: Episodes 134-135

  1. I, personally, feel a little bad for Morino-sensei. As much of a stick in the mud as she is, I can totally relate to getting stuck in a rut with your adult life, and feeling like your dream career isn’t all you imagined it would be.

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  2. “But Tiger seems skeptical, and I sort of do, too, seeing as how I’m preeeeetty sure Chibs is currently wielding Peg’s power like it ain’t no thang.” But Chibiusa isn’t “wielding Peg’s power”, she’s *requesting* that he help: “Please Pegasus! Protect everyone’s dream!” (I’m assuming here that the translation is accurate, but Chibiausa’s posture alone marks this more as a prayer than as a command.) Plus she’s asking for selfless reasons, to help others not herself. So I think Tiger’s (and your) skepticism is unwarranted.

    All in all this is pretty mature of Chibiusa–and that ties into one of the things I find “off” about “SuperS”: While Chibiusa has advanced in her emotional development, Usagi seems to have regressed almost to her state as of the beginning of the series. (She also seems to be present more for comic relief at this point than for anything she does to advance the plot. It’s not just a case of Usagi sharing the limelight with Chibiusa, it’s almost as if Usagi has become a supporting character in her own series.) Maybe this has to do with the (presumed) need for a long-running childrens series to appeal to a new crop of kids each year: You can’t have much significant character development in the course of the series, and if any does creep in you have to periodically reset things so you don’t leave the audience behind and lessen the show’s appeal to new viewers.

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    • Oh, agreed, for sure. I did not explain myself well in that bullet point. What I find interesting is that the Circus assumes a person can’t use Peg’s power at all, because they’d never consider actually working with him. Yet Chibiusa is clearly getting a power-boost from Pegasus. She’s just borrowing it instead of taking it outright. But then, it ties in with the Trio’s messed-up ideas about romance, too: How it’s a power game, all about “conquering” or seducing the other person rather meeting as equals.

      And yes, Usagi’s backsliding is… unfortunate, especially with this week’s episodes. :/ More on that in a couple days, though.

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    • Cool! I’ve got a small stack of these I need to respond to, actually. Things have been pretty hectic on my end but I’ll try to tackle this on my Tumblr in the next couple weeks! Thanks for the nomination!

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