Show biz has got nothin’ on high school.
I’m fighting a week-long cold that’s been sitting on my chest like a fat cat before breakfast, so I hope you can forgive me for both the belated and short-ish post. These were fun episodes (Minako-centric stories usually are, these days) that helped establish our new trio, shed some light on our new villains, and forward Sailor Moon‘s ever-present coming-of-age narrative. They also featured some of the oddest attacks to date, including one that I just… boy howdy, do I just.
Episode 174 – Sailor Starry-Eyed
While Usagi writes some kind of old-timey paper-based text to her boyfriend, the rest of the scouts dive into their high school lives. Makoto’s in the
cooking track club! Mina’s playing volleyball again! And Ami is trolling the computer club by printing out the lyrics to “Danger Zone” and pretending it’s astronautics data!
But fun ‘n’ games will have to take a backseat to, uh… more fun ‘n’ games, actually, ’cause pop sensation Three Lights just transferred to Juuban High! The gals are all a-flutter, except Usagi, who’s SO not down with the ‘ship Seiya keeps trying to build. Minako matches his ruthless flirting with her own, working as the trio’s tour guide as they try out clubs and/or snub their noses at everyone.
Mina drags Taiki to the culture club, leaving Usagi to play reluctant host to Seiya, who gets his school uniform all sweaty by showing off his five-foot(?!) vertical to the basketball team and getting hammered by local football star Kayama Yuji.
Usagi rightfully scolds Kayama for trying to put the pop star in a coma, but Seiya’s into people who have no regard for human life, so the two become friends. Kayama’s chutzpah soon comes back to bite him in the padded girdle, though, because it’s made him Sailor Iron Mouse’s next star seed target.
Mouse gets to him a half-second before Sailor Moon, snagging his star seed and phaging him up. Removing star seeds seems to turn people into versions of themselves who’re all id and no ego, which gives these MotW story lines a little extra depth and makes me actually hope our recurring cast get targeted as well, as there’s only so much development you can do with a one-off character. For Koyama, this means he becomes Sailor GUTS!, a bodybuilder who takes “no pain, no gain” way too literally. Also, he fights with Youthful Sweat. Bless you, Sailor Moon.
Not to be outdone by the baddies, our SNAPPING ALLIES arrive to make a snazzy entrance and lend a hand. Star Maker Taiki gets in on the action with their STAR GENTLE UTERUS attack (could. not. make. this. shit. up.), and proceeds to defeat the phage with what seems to be… uh… how do I put this delicately…?
It is also acidic. So Sailor Guts is just having himself a MAGICAL afternoon.
The trio throw some shade on the scouts until Usagi Moons up and cures Kayama, then everyone quick-changes and wipes off all those Youthful Bodily Fluids (gross) so they can return to their extracurriculars all casual-like. Later, Usagi decides to join the Manga Club, and her friends prove they don’t know what a cartoon cat looks like. I mean, c’mon, gang. This ain’t great, but it’s still clearly Luna.
Episode 175 – Hitch Your Wagon to a Sailor Star
Minako’s dead-set on using Three Lights to punch her own ticket to pop stardom, or to fill out her personal harem, or both, whichever comes first. The girl’s got DREAMS, dangit! She begins the episode with a seriously shady plan to get the gossip mags to spread rumors about her (nonexistent) romantic entanglements with the trio, but she thankfully drops this scheme in favor of one that’s somewhat less likely to end in restraining orders. Instead, she’s going to be their personal assistant!
This is a smart idea, actually, as it gets Mina’s foot in the door and gives her an up-close look at the world of show business. Usagi’s bored and curious (“Go to Manga Club and make other friends!” comes a voice from the couch), so she tags along. So too does up-and-coming photographer Itabachi Saki and her zoom lens so massive it can look up your nose and straight at your brain.
Mina and Saki keep butting heads because Saki can tell Mina still has an idealized image of stardom, and Saki doesn’t have time for someone who just wants to play around. The entire episode is basically about the difference between professionals and amateurs, and the amount of time, sacrifice, and tedium that are a part of any job, even dream jobs. Working as an idol is still work, and Saki helps Mina come to understand that.
She also (naturally) gets attacked by Sailor Mouse, who turns her into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Phage—and UGH, I just got that joke, it’s a play on kame (turtle) and kamera (camera), DAMMIT SAILOR MOON—before hopping into her telephone booth TARDIS and BAMFing away again. Our trio arrive, and this time Star Healer Yaten busts out their attack, “Star Sensitive Inferno,” which is neither healing, nor sensitive, NOR an inferno.
With the phage weakened, Usagi returns Saki’s star seed back to her cleavage, and continues to puzzle over whether the people who have been helping her fight monsters and have never tried to attack her are “on her side.” You know, Usa, for someone who’s so quick to forgive the folks who try to kill you, you sure do take your sweet time trusting the people who don’t.
In other happy news, Minako’s reality check has only strengthened her resolve and made her determined to achieve her pop star dreams without riding on anyone’s coattails. She quits working for Three Lights and begins pursuing auditions in hopes of finding her own path to fame.
Mina sometimes struggles to learn from her experiences, so this was a great conclusion, and a promising sign for her future both as a “pro” and an adult. Showrunners may change, but when it comes to coming-of-age stories, Sailor Moon‘s still got it.
This, That, and the Other
- …Okay, so upon further analysis, I think Taiki’s “gentle uterus” attack worked like a mirror and reflected Guts’s spit back at him, but I had to share my initial reaction because, good heavens, I could not stop laughing.
- Aw, poor neglected Rei, just transfer schools already.
- Three Lights became pop stars so the person they’re searching for would have an easier time finding them. I’ve heard of playing the long game, but this is ridiculous.
- “I am the Pretty Guardian who ate a rice ball and is now at full power!” Sometimes Usagi makes me so happy.
- Hark! A plot point! Our Big Bad Lady Galaxia has set up shop at Ginga TV, and Sailor Mouse is working as the station’s producer, “Nezu.” Ginga means “galaxy” and nezumi means “mouse,” so, yes, like most villains, they spent all of five minutes on their alter-egos.