Back for more Sailor Moon reviews! SuperS finally shook things up a bit, as the Amazon Trio sacrificed themselves and were rewarded with human bodies (and being written out of the series)! The Amazoness Quartet- a band of underage nudists- are our new “Generals!” And we’ve finally been introduced to the tall, freaky, glamorous Queen Nehalennia!
And now we finally start getting to see new attacks for our Sailors!
And finally… FINALLY… after the girls were upgraded to Super Sailors, they begin to get their new attacks- the ones that would carry them all the way to the Series Finale in fifty episodes. This is a big deal, actually, as they only ever got three (four, if you count the Sailor Moon R Attacks they never used again). This one deals with Ami, Sailor Mercury, as she gets caught daydreaming and writing words to a mystery music composition, which the girls mistake for love letters, because of course they do. Wow, this one is REALLY well-animated- you can tell a good director is working, because suddenly everyone has really gorgeously-shiny hair and well-detailed strands of it are everywhere, along with better shading on their outfits. You can always tell it’s a “Good Art” episode because Ami doesn’t just have a big dorky mushroom-cut or a round-hair thing going on- this one has big bangs on one side, multiple visible “bunches” of hair, a few loose bits on the back, and numerous strands in front of her forehead. Her hair is normally where the weakest directors make cuts.
The Quartet (in their own “hangout”, which is under a giant palm tree and looks like a day spa) are charged with going after the mystery musician who wrote the composition Ami likes (a… brutally generic piano medley). And OH MY GOD IT’S A MENTION OF AMI’S FATHER!!! 151 episodes in and we FINALLY learn that important tidbit of information that he’s a traveling artist who’s basically left his family following a divorce, and sends Ami his sketches of where he’s been.
And then the girls find a club where this mystery guy is playing music, and Ami’s BLUSHING, which is so cute, except HAVE YOU FORGOT ABOUT URAWA, YOU WENCH??? Sure, just because he’s a Season One guy, and you never mentioned him again because Naoko didn’t create him, doesn’t mean you can just pretend he never existed! The girls of course tease her relentlessly, forcing her to confront the guy, and he’s super-excited to meet the mystery girl from his forum, which only gets her MORE embarrassed. They end up at his studio, where they meet his writing partner, Kyoko, setting off more embarrassment from Ami, and of course the others’ teasing. In a neat bit, she’s actually more shamed by his passion for music, and how her “written just for fun” lyrics are probably way too humble and insincere compared to such a dream. Kate Higgins does a REALLY good job with the line reading here, by the way, her voice cracking with “I’m no ARTIST!”.
So of course the guy is attacked by VesVes (her again? Was she the first one to attack in the manga?), and the Sailors attack. But they’re easily thrown into a computer by a single attack from VesVes- a horrified Ami is… inside her own mind, and you see her completely nude? Yup, that’s a butt. And her nipple-less breasts. Jesus- I’m betting THIS was edited for international release. Like, this is just a naked lady with no naughty bits visible. “Sailor Mercury” talks to Ami, convincing herself to accept her true power, and let the spirit of feelings she held in her heard when she first heard that song (and when she saw her father’s sketches)… and unleashes her final Sailor Attack- Mercury Aqua Rhapsody. A beautifully-animated harp appears, shooting out a ton of blue energy. All it does is free them from the computer (it’s weakness is music?). Sailor Moon immediately kills the Frog Lemures (that’s two monsters in a row that do nothing).
Of course the musician likes Ami’s lyrics, all “only someone who truly loved the music would come up with such a perfect match” and stuff. I really liked this one- some great character stuff from Ami, whose lack of confidence and self-determination is often an issue. The smartest Sailor having issues letting her artistic side out, and revealing herself to people, is a pretty great contrast.
(Fist Appearance: Mercury Aqua Rhapsody)
And now it’s Sailor Mars’s turn to get a power upgrade! In this episode, she’s featured in a teen magazine as a beautiful Shrine Maiden (and her age is officially given as fifteen years old), and gets a big head about it, full of false modesty (though it’s clear the writer exaggerated). She even gets her own follower, in a little girl who idolizes her because of the magazine! And SHE EVEN SEES REI WITH THE “HARUKA AND MICHIRU” MUSIC!! Naturally, this is the new target of the Quartet.
Rei uses the magazine to hype her shrine’s Love Amulets, and the increasingly-annoyed other Sailors crack wise that “if those worked… then Rei SHOULD HAVE HAD A BOYFRIEND AGES AGO, HAHAHAHAHA!”. And soon the girl, Nanako, hero-worships Rei to the point where even she’s all “now, hold on a minute” when Nanako figures that Rei has her entire life planned out (Rei’s ACTUAL dream is to live all these outstanding careers and be an international success; not just be a shrine maiden her whole life), and is someone she wants to mimic entirely. But then ego takes over, and Rei’s all “she sees me as a big sister- yay”. Usagi digs a little deeper, because nosiness is in her nature, and it turns out that Nanako has a lot of abandoned dreams, and has simply latched onto Rei as a role model to mimic hers. Even though Usagi knows for a fact that Rei’s dream is NOT to be a shrine maiden forever (because Rei wants to marry someday).
When they confront Rei with this information, Rei’s all “Yeah, I’m going to get married someday!”, and when she finds out the rationale behind Nanako’s joining… she actually gets way too harsh, saying “it’s an insult!” to be a Shrine Maiden if you have no dreams of your own, and “I don’t want her around!”. And OF COURSE Nanako overheard this, and is heartbroken, running away. So now Rei feels like the High Queen of Douche Mountain. VesVes chooses this moment to attack, after needling Nanako to reveal that she has SOME dream left (this kind of gets goofy, removing the pathos of the last scene), and they’ve spent so much time on the story that we don’t even have time for STOCK ANIMATION, as the Transformation Sequences are off-screen!
The Lemures this week is VERY strange- a red monkey girl with huge breasts with eyeball-nipples printed on her green shirt. And she mimics everyone, including VesVes, throwing Venus’s Love-Me Chain back at her! When she imitates Nanako, we finally see what her dream REALLY is- identical to Rei’s- a “life of international success”. But she didn’t have the courage to pursue that dream, and, full of self-hatred (“I hate so many things about myself!”), simply followed someone else’s dreams. Nanako HEARS THIS, and cries with shame, which pisses off Rei, who transforms and gets her epic new attack- “Mars Flame Sniper!”, a wicked arrow shot that simply stuns the monster (does it just… overpower her mimicry?). Mars tells Nanako that to pursue one’s dreams, you must risk failure, and be yourself.
And so the Shrine is now empty and quiet again (now that all the girls are helping), with Nanako now the “star attraction” of some burger stand, where she’s happy and being featured in that same magazine (she’s… also fifteen?). So an important lesson is learned- don’t idolize/follow others in deference to your own desires. Not a bad episode, though not quite as in depth as Sailor Mercury’s- the Victim of the Week played a bigger role, to the point where neither character was able to really be delved into (what DID Nanako hate about herself? Did Rei apologize for saying those hurtful things?).
Fun Sad Fact: This is the final use of Burning Mandalah in the series.
(First Appearance: Mars Flame Sniper)
Hooray! Two new attacks learned! That’s a big change in the series going forward, as we’ll never see Rei’s other two attacks again! I can’t wait to see Sailor Venus & Sailor Jupiter get their own special episodes, since of course a season with this much filler wouldn’t have to make them sha– what? Oh, GOD DAMN IT!