Usagi’s Rolodex grows ever thicker.
When one minion falls, two shall rise up to take her place! Not too unexpected for Sailor Moon, and mostly a welcome change. Somewhat less expected is the arrival of another protagonist(?) in the wake of those minions, and just one more name to add to our already stuffed Stars cast. I am… less than thrilled about this new development, although taken as a whole these are still fun, solid episodes. Hit the jump to get acquainted.
Episode 182 – Sailor Starship Troopers
Galaxia may have 80% of the Milky Way under her control, but she ain’t satisfied with no B-. No, it’s an A+ or nothin’ for her! So she sends her next “Anima Mate” (heh), Sailor Aluminum Siren, to take over Iron Mouse’s duties on Earth. Sailor Lead Crow swiftly follows on the pretense of watching her “rival” struggle, but her relationship with the perpetually peckish Siren is more of the #NoticeMeSenpai variety. I look forward to ‘shipping them.
On the Sailor side of the story, Usagi’s sharing intel with the other scouts, who are also wary of aliens, even the ones who’ve helped them on multiple occasions and explicitly said they’re fighting the same enemy. I sort of get it given Juuban’s track record with outsider invaders, but I also don’t, especially when Luna says they’re just worried because “Usagi is so trusting.” You know, that “weakness” of Usagi’s that has SAVED THE WORLD, like, three times. At least.
Now would have been a swell time for Hotaru (or Ail and An or, like, any of the many former villains currently chilling in Japan), to show up and be all “Yo, person Usagi trusted over here, what’s shakin’?” but instead Doctor Puu crashes the party to agree with everyone but Usagi. Then she eats a Popsicle all cool-like and I kinda forgive her.
Another thing that’s happening during this rather busy episode: A bunhead toddler with the anatomic proportions of a starving Nendoroid shows up, follows Usagi around, then proceeds to mind-wipe the Tsukino family like a certain other bunhead we know, taking up residence in Usagi’s home as her “little sister.” Because if there’s one thing Sailor Moon‘s final season needed 18 episodes from the end, it’s more new characters!
The kid’s name is Chibi-Chibi, but I’m going to call her C.C. because her full name is a mouthful and we already have a “Chibs.” Also, have I mentioned that her proportions creep me the eff out? Because. They creep me. The eff out.
No one (including Doctor Puu) knows who she is, but that’s fine, because other than getting lost and leading Usagi to first Seiya (serving as “Police Chief for the Day”) and then the police station, where we’ll meet this week’s star seed target, C.C. serves zero purpose to the story this week. But at least that means I don’t have to think about her creepy dead eyes as much!
As for that star seed, it belongs to the police chief, who gets attacked and turned into Sailor (Robo)Cop. Usagi officially meets her new enemies (Siren is so polite), then she, Pluto, and the Star Lights cure the phage. Usagi’s feeling a bit overwhelmed (yeah, same), but she figures C.C. is all right because “she’s adorable.” You know, maybe the other Moonies do have a point about how quickly Usagi trusts people…
Episode 183 – Sailor Stella Cotta
Changing up our weekly pattern, Siren spends the first few minutes yanking the star seed out of a bearded cabin-dweller who’s really into smashing clay jars. He’s a dud, and Siren won’t appear again, but this sets us up to have a phage running around in the wilderness.
Reckon that means it’s time for the seasonal Summer Vacation episode! The Moonies (and C.C., who does nothing this episode except prove the animators still aren’t sure how to draw her) head to a mountain lake to hang out with Rei’s cousin, Ibuki Kengo, a perfectionist ceramics artist with a violent streak.
Rei remembers him fondly because he didn’t smash the pendant she begged him to spare (and has never worn until this episode!), and looks forward to seeing him again. But the situation starts to turn grim when a postal worker cheerfully tells them about “someone terrorizing campers.” It gets even grimmer when Rei goes to Kengo’s cabin and finds it deserted. I think we all know where this is going.
Not that the rest of the Moonies are even slightly worried, because SWIMMIN’ TIME! They run into the Three Lights, who’re there filming a Power Rangers-esque superhero show. When the Lights hear about the “threat” in the woods, they decide to swipe their set’s monster costume and mess with the Moonies a bit.
And they would’ve been, except that the real monster (read: Kengo the Phage) shows up halfway through their joke and attacks the Moonies. While the Three Lights puzzle out where their prank went awry, Usagi and Rei lure the phage away and transform. Rei recognizes Kengo’s rage-filled “FAILURE” cries and he recognizes the pendant. He hesitates, and, much like the first season’s Seven Youma arc, it’s both surprising and oddly moving to see a monster show a flicker of its former humanity.
It also gives Rei an opening to shoot him in the gut (hoo-wah!), blocking his clay-flinging powers long enough for Usagi to save him. The Star Lights look on with nothing to do, so they wander back to camp in time to meet up with the girls and join Kengo in his cabin for a pottery lesson. Also, MOAR shenanigans!
Overused anime trope endings aside, this episode did a nice job showing that the Lights are settling into their lives on earth and feeling comfortable enough to goof around, which goes a long way in distinguishing them from Haruka and Mamoru (a critique I made a couple weeks back) and endearing them to me as individuals. Plus poor Rei finally got some meaningful screen time, showcasing the way her compassion combines with her obstinacy to make her one of the team’s most dependable guardians. (Also, the slightly sloppy art style led to some super-cute expressions.)
This might be “filler,” but it’s the kind that gives a little extra depth to our characters, and that goes a long way. If it can get me to have fun with the Star Lights some more, I definitely wouldn’t say no to a few more shenanigans episodes.
This, That, and the Other
- …Okay, the new opening theme is growing on me.
- Usagi has sent Mamoru 30 letters. Given that it’s summer break (late July-ish) and Mamoru left shortly after she entered high school (early April), that’s roughly two letters a week. So imagine sending several texts a day to someone and NEVER HEARING BACK, and that’s about where Usagi is right now.
- Usagi and Seiya talk all casual-like about the “one or two secrets” they’re keeping from each other, because Stars is determined to play up how obvious their alter-egos are at every opportunity.
- “Usa” or “U.S.A.”? The world may never know.
- Hark! A plot point! Doctor Puu warns us that “evil energy” is “sucking light from the stars.” Galaxia, you rascal, you.