Sailor Moon and Mars reacting to Sailor Chibi-Moon’s debut. Pretty fitting.
Welcome back! When last we left off, we learned that The Silence is coming- a potential… Armageddon, basically. The Sailors are all still after the Talismans, along with the villains known as the Death Busters. Kaolinite and the shadowy “Professor” are still engaging in their mad scheme.
EPISODES #101 & 102:
It’s Usagi’s birthday! Except her friends don’t appear to care, and Mamoru has forgotten completely (earning the first full-on SLAP from our heroine!). Haruka then BLATANTLY hits on Usagi (“Maybe *I* might have a chance with you now?… I quite adore Bun-Head”), but an annoyed Michiru just tells her to knock it off. The Sailors soon point out to Usagi that she never TOLD Mamo when her birthday was, and the two quickly make up. However, it turns out that SHE is the new target, leading to a crisis of faith in Sailors Uranus & Neptune, who debate whether or not they can allow their new friend to die in order for their mission to succeed- Neptune openly questions things, while Uranus (who had previously denied that it was even POSSIBLE for Usagi to be the holder of a Talisman) puts up her “aloof” act, but we shouldn’t be buying it.
Tuxedo Mask debuts a new power all of a sudden, popping out a series of Roses that surrounds the Daimon on the ground, then creates an area-attack storm that harms it! But Usagi loses her Transformation Brooch and is thus powerless, leaving her & T.M. to flee! Then he engages in a sword/cane battle with the daimon (who shows a LOT of different powers here), but he’s soon frozen solid, leaving Usagi helpless as the episode ends! To be continued!
Part Two… and this one takes a MAJOR animation upgrade, as you can tell they put real effort into the end of one part of the story-arc- there’s even SHADING on the girls this time! Kaolinite and the Daimon run off to the Tokyo Tower with Tuxedo Mask’s frozen body, forcing the Sailors to meet them there.
Usagi leaves the others to get to the Tower, hopping in a car driven by Haruka & Michiru, who were of course spying on everything. But their dialogue, all about how you can’t have happiness without trampling on others, and how someone always has to suffer and sacrifice, reminds Usagi WAY too much of her conversations with Sailors Uranus & Neptune (“there are always sacrifices!”), and she immediately figures out their secret identities! They lead her to the Tower, with Neptune asking one final time if this is the right move (“Are you sure you’re okay with this, Haruka? She’s… going to die…” “It can’t be helped. In order to get the Holy Grail in order to save the world from The Silence… Bun-Head needs to be sacrificed!”). They TRY to act heartless about it, but Uranus pounds her windshield, furious over having to make this choice- it’s these glimpses of conflict that humanize both characters, even though their actions are quite dark.
But actually, it turns out this ISN’T a talisman after all- the shining light that made everyone think it was? Just an indication of purity, I guess. And to protect Usagi’s secret identity, VENUS disguises herself as Sailor Moon, though her shorter hair (and mention of “You’ve got a problem with my perfect disguise?”) kind of wrecks the illusion. But Kaolinite is so fooled that she throws down the Transformation Brooch in disgust, then runs off to fight Uranus & Neptune solo. The Sailors fight the Daimon, with Venus doing “Sailor Moon” attacks that are either just “Sailor Moon KICK!” or her own attacks renamed, which reels the “OMG we have to sacrifice the nicest girl in the world” episode over to comedy so quickly you get whiplash. But Usagi’s annoyance with Venus copying her is classic.
And then it’s Kaolinite (vs) Sailors, as she hurts Uranus, while the other Sailors decide to sacrifice THEMSELVES so that the other two can escape! But Kaolinite copies her Daimon’s powers and puts up a shield they can’t break through. This leads to Tuxedo Mask taking on Kaolinite alone so the Sailors can build up the SAILOR PLANET ATTACK, as this episode just keeps getting crazier. Ultimately, Kaolinite SURVIVES this attack, and plans to wipe out the exhausted Sailors… but Uranus pulls out the final Last Minute Save, resulting in a reversed attack and Kaolinite freezing herself and falling off of Tokyo Tower to her doom.
Sailor Neptune teases Uranus about being “so fickle”, while the Professor names a woman in shadow named Eudial as replacement of Kaolinite. Pretty kick-ass episode, with a lot of twists and turns, crazy villainy and big-time action. And thus we end the “Kaolinite Series” of Sailor Moon S… though even as a young fan, I’d have it spoiled that she returns later. Next up… the Witches Five!
(First Appearance: Eudial)
Yes… there’s no getting around it. The little spore is back.
WELP that was a good run- Twelve episodes after she left at the end of Sailor Moon R, Chibi-Usa returns. This time, she wants TRAINING! Because you send a little girl into the past with her teenager-aged parents so they can fight dangerous super-villains. For training. The Witches 5 also make their debut, sitting in their lab doing “science stuff” with their labcoats on. New “General” Eudial alters their “standard action plan” to get targets ahead of time, then “pre-make” Daimon Egg-infused Objects for them to touch.
We get some funny pratfalls with Rei trying to convince a woman to play the “taiko” drums at a festival, while the others spy on her and get on her nerves (naturally, it ends up with her getting hot coffee on her head). The festival goes well (the girls help kids catch goldfish, and Minako gets a funny bit when three rough-looking kids go “hey, old lady!” at her), but of course this girl’s Heart Crystal gets checked out via Eudial’s giant “Needle Gun” thing that blasts the Heart Crystal out like a bolt from a shotgun! The silly monster just makes Moon & Mars dance amidst fireworks, and Uranus & Neptune just bail to let them sort it out themselves in a funny bit (“we can’t always be here to help them…”). At which point SAILOR CHIBI-MOON shows up , whips out a pathetic (but annoyingly painful) “Pink Sugar Heart Attack” on the Daimon, and this lets the heroes win.
Hilariously, this is a “Shaggy Dog Story”, as we actually end the episode BEFORE THE DRUMMING STARTS.
(First Appearance: Sailor Chibi-Moon, Pink Sugar Heart Attack)
Makoto is wearing a tight white minidress with thigh-high blue boots. I feel the need to mention that. Chibi-Usa gives the gang a letter from her mom, which is hilariously badly-written (I still remember reading someone referring to the “No Kanji” nature of Neo-Queen Serenity’s script, all these years later). Chibi-Usa is also there to make friends and build character, but the first boy she meets is super-beautiful, and she’s smitten… until he starts hitting on her, openly mimics Crayon Shin-chan, and then WHIPS OUT HIS PENIS until his mom smacks him in the head and drags him off. Okay, this episode is hilarious.
The kid doesn’t show up again, but some young boy who’s apparently… a tea master and head of a famous tea-master household?… is our new Heart Crystal Target of the week. They’re really making these people into minor characters while the majors do all of the heavy-lifting- I don’t mind that change, honestly. Chibi-Usa tries to rescue him, but there’s a bunch of funny bits where she falls while transforming and gets interrupted by Eudial during her “I’ll punish you!” rant, avoiding the “Stock Footage” and instead just being gags on how that doesn’t always work. Then the Pink Sugar Heart Attack not only spritzes out at twenty feet, but Chibi-Usa then WALKS IT into the villain, annoying her greatly. Okay, Chibi-Usa’s a lot more tolerable when she’s embarrassing herself in battle.
Oh, and the kid’s either a girl, or simply a Sailor Cosplayer in the end, embarrassing everybody. This one’s… not a very serious episode.
Yay- another MAKOTO-focused episode! Here, she’s experiencing great self-doubt owing to a loss against some Daimon in an off-screen battle. And she’s training with a Buddhist monk way up in the mountains… and naturally Mamoru is working in a resort hotel nearby, which means all the girls have to come, too. And of course HARUKA & MICHIRU are here too, in a moment that really defies even the coincidental nature inherent to this series, until you realize they have the specific ability to “sense” when bad stuff is coming. Though a group of guys ogling the main girls, then IMMEDIATELY getting distracted by the “hotter chicks” Haruka & Michiru, and the girls’ reactions, are pretty hilarious.
Mako’s quest for self-perfection is a mere backdrop to the girls’ antics most of the time, but the monk seems interesting, in that he cops to a lot of self-doubt and acts a bit sillier than his serious persona would imply. He says that relaxation is important, and not to try too hard, which of course Jupiter ignores when she tries to fight the inevitable Daimon by herself, nearly getting the entire team killed after shooing away Uranus & Neptune’s help. The girls all combine their powers to break a snare, leading to Jupiter finally heeding the advice and centering herself calmly, then firing out a Sparkling Wide Pressure. And unlike last time, where the villain deflected it back… it KILLS THE DAIMON?!?? A Sailor SOLOS A FREAKING MONSTER??? What madness is THIS???! Her cheerful, almost crying face at the joy of this is priceless.
And that’s it for another set! The big two-parter was important in driving the plot forward, but we’re still no closer to figuring out what’s going on. And now… we have Sailor CHIBI-MOON to contend with. As fans of the series note, this is when things finally shift from “The Usagi Show” to “The Usagi & Chibi-Usa Show”, as Chibi-Moon’s arrival knocks every other character (including the main girls!) down a peg, as she gets more than her fair share of episodes. It’s a controversial change to most adult fans of the show, but was a huge boon to the series in Japan, owing to its target audience being… well, girls Chibi-Usa’s age.
So basically this is like the Batman comics adding Robin, throwing in a child the audience’s age who is ALSO a super-hero, allowing the juvenile fanbase an opportunity to live vicariously through the character.