Well, those sure were a pair of episodes.
I puttered around for a while to avoid writing this, partly because I’m still coming off the high of Wednesday’s exquisite My Love Story, but mostly because I… er… see, for the first time in a while, Sailor Moon was just plain Not Good. One episode was all right, but the other was… well, my comments are ranty, and I don’t enjoy writing like that. I suspect most people don’t enjoy reading it. But here we are with Usagi behaving like a brat and Grandpa catcalling and Rei dropping some truly awful dialogue and I… I just…
But! I solemnly swore to Newbie Recap my way through each and every episode, and so Newbie Recap I shall.
I’m keeping multiple tables nearby for ease of flipping, though.
Episode 136 – There’ll Be A Hot Time in the Old Shrine Tonight
This one starts with Ami and Mamoru’s deepening brOTP, and it is a delight, and then it all goes downhill from there because for SOME DAMN REASON Usagi’s got a case of the irrational jealousies. These are relationships that have survived death, reincarnation, memory wipes, brainwashings, multiple stabbings, three apocalypses… and yet somehow Usagi can’t trust one of her best friends and her extremely long-term boyfriend?
It’d be puzzling and annoying no matter the circumstances. But given that a couple short weeks ago Usagi demonstrated remarkable growth in how trusting she was with Mamoru and that high school “friend” Chibiusa was so worried about, at this point it’s downright bad character writing.
And it will continue. For. The entire episode.
That’s because, thanks to some miscommunication, the girls fire extinguish Mamoru’s apartment and he has to crash elsewhere while it gets cleaned. He also has a paper to write that’s due in the morning (he’s a college kid, all right), so he needs peace and quiet. Despite Usagi’s protests, he agrees to stay at Rei’s shrine, with Adorable Li’l Diana cheering him on to his last citation.
Shenanigans ensue. And by shenanigans, I mean bad annoying cliches that take all of our characters right back to their Season One maturity levels. Ninja Usagi wanders around shrieking at Rei. Meanwhile, Rei thinks everyone’s gone nuts, and I’m very much on her side… at least until a bathroom mix-up has her opening the door on Mamoru in nothing but his birthday suit, OH GOOD THAT IS AN ORIGINAL PLOT POINT. When Usagi finds out, it leads to what might be the worst line ever uttered in Sailor Moon history:
And I’m pretty much in (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ Mode from there to the end.
About the only semi-bright spot is sweet, stupid Teddy, who’s freaking out about this new potential romantic rival. In a fit of jealousy, he tries to boil Mamoru in the bath, then realizes he’s being petty (making him the only person who does) and spends the rest of the night meditating in the shrine, desperate to cut out his “worldly desires.” But then Grandpa ruins it when he tries to “cure” him by taking him out to hit on OTHER girls and the two end up catcalling people and it’s creepy and awful. But at least Teddy seems to regret this episode as much as I do.
Along the way, Tiger decides to make Rei his next beautiful dream target, so he invades the shrine and gets all up in her heart-mirror. Usagi and Chibiusa suit up, and—ohhh, right! Chibiusa is the OTHER bright spot, the one person looking on from the sidelines and going: “Hey, Future Mom, maybe you should, like, TRUST the people you love?” But Usagi just ignores her so it’s not like there’s any actual development from that.
They fight the Lemures. The Tux does not help because he’s still working on his paper (and I like to think because he’s miffed at Usagi, too). The Moons win with some help from the other scouts, and Tiger flees back to Leers! to drink the memory of this episode away. I’m going to join him.
And that’s… pretty much it. No valuable lessons. No character development. Just Season One levels of immaturity and an unfunny, unoriginal jealousy plot. About the only good thing that can be said here is that Ikuhara did not personally direct this one, so I don’t have to lower my opinion of him. Yuji Endo on the other hand gets all my side-eyes. Every last one of ‘em.
Episode 137 – Fish Heads or Fairy Tails
This one’s better than the last one as long as I approach it from a careful angle. Otherwise it’s a bit troubling. But we’ll get to that in a second. First, Chibiusa has to find a lovely book of fairies and flower illustrations, and then conveniently run into the artist, Kitakata. According to Pegward, the flowers Kitakata draws exist in Peg’s original world, which I’m going to call “Slumberland” since Kitakata saw them in a dream.
In other news, Kitakata has a thing for fairies, and Fish’s Eye has a thing for Kitakata. Tiger and Hawk are a little freaked by Fish’s romantic preferences, but considering this was made in 1995 they actually accept it and take it in stride pretty quickly, which is cool.
Fish sets out to play Beautiful Dreamcatcher for the first time, dressing up as a fairy-like woman to entice Kitakata. My first reaction to this was an uncomfortable: “Cross-dressing to seduce someone? Boy howdy that’s a harmful stereotype,” but the more I thought about it, the less sure I was. True, Hawk says they’re “all men,” but Fish never personally identifies as such and behaves with the same traditionally feminine mannerisms in and out disguise. So I think it may be that Fish just isn’t concerned with gender binaries. For the time being, I’m giving this story beat the benefit of the doubt, and switching to calling Fish “they” unless the series gives me a reason to do otherwise. If I’m mucking this up please let me know and I’ll adjust accordingly, but for now I’m gonna roll with it.
So! Fish goes out into the woods, Kitakata stumbles across them, and it’s love at first sight. The two frolic! They giggle! They flirt! It’s… kinda cute, actually. Like to the point where I can’t tell if Fish is just really good at this game or if they have genuine feelings for Kitakata. So, either they’re the worst Dreamcatcher, or the absolute best. Your call.
Chibiusa’s worried because Kitakata won’t leave the woods, Diana’s worried because Kitakata’s new bae smells like a sushi bar, and the scouts are… not worried at all, but Kitakata is SUPER hot so they figure they should check on him anyway. One thing leads to another and the supporting scouts get lost in the woods while the Bunnies wind up at Fish’s lake, where love is in the air…
At least, until Fish sits on a flower and gets more upset about their dress than the damaged plant. And no fairy could EVER care more about clothing than nature! We’re THROUGH, Mysterious Woodland Person Whom I Arbitrarily Decided Was a Fairy! THROUGH!
And y’all know what that means: Time for transformations, Dreamcatching, and Lemures. This one’s a tightrope walker who’s far more interested in performing than actually fighting, which makes it easy for Tuxedo Mask to knock it from its perch and give the Moons time to take it out. Fish escapes to find love the Pegasus elsewhere, and Kitakata decides that the Moons are the REAL fairies around here.
Elsewhere, the Inner Guardians are lost, and Ami is VERY annoyed by all these juvenile shenanigans. Saaaaame, Ami-chan. Same.
This, That, and the Other
- Aww, Diana treats Mamoru like a king. Somehow I suspect she’s the ONLY one who does that, regardless of the timeline.
- It’s weird to me that Kitakata doesn’t recognize Sailor Moon. Doesn’t she have her own UFO doll at this point?
- Yo, any Welcome to Night Vale fans out there should check out this delightful little crossover fic where the Amazon Trio decide to go dream hunting in the most scientifically interesting community in the U.S. It features disembodied hands, Fish finding the (ah-hem) Perfect dream candidate, obsidian nightmare mirrors, and is 100% BETTER than the episodes this week. (And many thanks to Vrai for not only linking the fic, but getting me hooked on this whole crazy Night Vale thing in the first place.)
- The Sensei Next Door (MotW Edition): Episode 36’s Lemures fought with a Rainbow Bridge that spat out what looked like little Kleenex Halloween ghosties. These are called teru teru bouzu, and they’re used as a charm to prevent rain. Clearly in this case they were not doing their job.
- Hark! A plot point! Maybe “plot” is a little strong, but judging by Fish’s scent and general terror of cats, it seems our band of minions aren’t just dressed as various animals—they actually ARE them, at least to some extent. I look forward to Diana trying to take a bite out of Hawk at some point, too.