Sailor Moon Crystal Recap, Act 2: “Ami — Sailor Mercury”
Douse your head in water and get pumped.
Well, it looks like that expensive first episode budget isn’t going to transfer over to the rest of Sailor Moon Crystal—but actually, that might be a good thing! Rather than follow the anime’s example and give Usagi a few episodes to figure out how to fight crime alone, we’re jumping right into it with our first inner senshi, Sailor Mercury.
Just as the last episode started, so we now begin: with Ami Mizuno. We see her first solving equations on a chalkboard and receiving full marks on an English exam (but isn’t Haruna the English teacher? Is Ami in an advanced class, maybe?), then follow her outside as she studies during her break with an adorably color-coordinated blue mechanical pencil. A bunch of faceless dudes gossip about her as they walk by, but abruptly stop when they realize she can hear them. Too late, you’re already the worst. Thanks for playing.
But there’s hope! As she walks back into the classroom, she spots Usagi talking with Naru and… um, other two manga characters about their poor grades.
Aw jeez, I really hope they don’t model this after the PGSM storyline where . Not because I didn’t love it wholeheartedly, but because PGSM did it so well and it was utterly gut-wrenching and I really don’t think I can handle more than that dose of Ami sadness. I just want to hug her and squeeze her and give her nice math puzzles to solve, guys.
Anyway, after the credits we finally get confirmation that Jadeite is acting on orders from Queen Beryl. They don’t show us her face, which is a bit silly when you consider that everyone knows who she is at this point and we literally just saw her in the credits, but it’s a good effect in the moment nonetheless. She snarls at Jadeite to deliver her the Legendary Silver Crystal, and then he goes and gets some lackey to do it for him instead. Typical Jadeite.
Meanwhile, Usagi makes it home at the end of the day and collapses on her bed, when she notices Luna staring at her. This is par for the course with cats, but it’s a bit weirder when your cat can talk and also grant you magical powers, I guess. While waving her front paws around in a way that I’m pretty sure is anatomically impossible, she tries to remind Usagi that there’s terrible evil afoot that only they can defeat. Usagi reacts to this pretty much how you’d expect.
But she immediately cheers up when Luna tells her that she will have a princess to protect and other allies to help her. “Tuxedo Mask and Sailor V?” she asks excitedly. But Luna’s actually got her eye on someone else: Ami, who she discovered while… using a weird magic nonsense spaceship computer in the sky. Perhaps a relic from the Silver Milennium? Either way, she’s typing on a computer with her tiny kitty paws, which we here at The Mary Sue appreciate.
Over the course of the episode it seems pretty clear that the animators have no idea how to draw cats—her proportions are always pretty mangled, as in the above picture (how the heck is her nose so small and her eyes so big?). This might be a negative aspect of relying too much on Naoko Takeuchi’s original drawings, as she was never that good at drawing cats either.
The next day everyone is standing around the board and marveling at Ami’s test scores. Umino pops up out of nowhere to tell Usagi and her friends that their classmate’s success is probably due to the Crystal Seminar, which is a big after-school tutoring service that just mysteriously popped up out of nowhere and is looking to scout Ami. Wait, but how would the Crystal Seminar be contributing to her grades if they haven’t even landed her as a student yet? See, this is why you get 95s and Ami’s getting 100s. Anyway, they all conclude that Ami’s a terrible snob for being rich and smart and cooler than them and just the best at everything, but half of them don’t even have names, so we can ignore them.
After school Usagi is once again lamenting over her exam scores when she sees Luna jump out of a tree and attack Ami with friendship. “Hey that’s MY thing,” Usagi thinks, and runs over to the two of them to introduce herself and get in good with Ami so she’ll help her study. Ami tells her that she thought Luna was an angel from the way she jumped out of the sky, and I swear to god no matter how many times I hear that line it gets me every time Ami you are so precious. They also spend a lot of time blushing at each other, and Ami gets a sudden Silver Milennium flashback when she touches Usagi, which made me excited.
Usagi invites Ami to the arcade with her. Naturally Ami is the best at video games, and Usagi stands there excitedly cheering her on as all the (mostly male) patrons stand around to gawk at her. That’s right, girl, you make ’em jealous.
Then a very familiar looking blue pen that will definitely have no significance on Ami’s later awakening as a senshi pops out of the arcade machine as a prize. Usagi wants one, so she starts shaking the machine as hard as she can until it craps out a pink crystal-topped pen for her, too. Then she asks Motoki if she can have it. Good lesson for young girls: if you want something, only ask permission after you are already holding it. Also, be really cute the whole time because it confuses everyone to your advantage.
Ami can’t stay, however—she has to go to her after school tutoring. “All I’m good at is studying,” she says sadly before heading off to the Crystal Seminar, where the Youma-of-the-Week stops by Ami’s cubicle to give her a totally-not-brainwashing disk to study with and tell her that she has to keep studying in order to be a role model. The second she inserts it into the computer, her eyes go all green and completely lose their highlights. Cool, that’s not ominous or anything.
The next day Usagi and her friends are planning on getting ice cream, but the short haired girl (whose name we now know is Kuri) refuses to even acknowledge them in the hallway as she walks by muttering equations to herself. Fortunately Ami isn’t so far gone as Kuri, as she’s also been supplementing her Crystal brainwashing study sessions by writing down material with her nifty new pen. But when Usagi invites her to ice cream, her eyes glaze over and she excuses herself. After conferring with Luna, she realizes that Ami left her disk behind, so they take it home to perform experiments on it.
You know, after Usagi is handed a flyer for the Crystal Seminar in the streets (that has Ami’s face on it, creepily) and tosses it right into Mamoru’s face again. He’s still wearing a tuxedo, by the way. I hope it becomes his new “black turtleneck, olive jacket and purple slacks.” But he’s also much more observant in this reboot and points out that Usagi has a talking cat. You know, a cat. That talks.
At home, Usagi and Luna throw the disk into Usagi’s adorable bunny-adorned laptop, which begins to ominously chant messages about obtaining the Silver Crystal for their Great Ruler when Usagi presses random keys. She resolves to sneak in and save her new friend, with the help of her new pen that’s actually a magic tool to transform her into different disguises. Gee, who’d have thought? She dresses up as a doctor (and true to the original manga drawing, she still keeps the odangos) and runs inside past the guards to the room in which Ami is working. The youma tells her that they’ve designed a special disk just for her so that
they can use her to take over all of Japan she can be the best student ever but makes the mistake of trying to take away Ami’s pen, distracting her from the disk.
That’s when Usagi bursts in and tries to keep up the doctor ruse until the youma transforms, and she’s forced to transform herself. Contrary to fan speculation it seems like they’re doing the whole henshin sequence every episode, but I’m okay with that; it’s still new enough that I’m not bored by how long it is yet, and the changing perspectives give you something different to look at every time.
Sailor Moon takes the youma to task for hurting her friend (to which brainwashed Ami responds, “friieeeend?”). Of course she immediately freaks out once the battle begins and tries her supersonic crying attack again, but it doesn’t affect the youma at all. I really appreciated this moment, because I never quite understood why that power never re-aappeared in the original series. The youma beats her up pretty brutally and traps her against the wall with paper to deliver her final blow, but Ami recovers and yells at the youma to stop, distracting with her newly awakened Mercury-forehead powers.
After the obligatory “holy crap the cat can talk” moment, Luna tells Ami to transform. Like Moon’s sequence, Mercury’s is also in CGI, although much shorter. It’s also very heavily inspired by the original anime’s water ribbons, and features a bouncier, happier Mercury than I expected. She then immediately launches into a speech that very much reminded me of the one she gives in the “Ami’s First Love” SuperS special, which I appreciated a lot. Then she takes a second to go “oh my god wait I’m a sailor senshi” before launching into her “Mercury Aqua Mist” attack, during which Tuxedo Mask slices Sailor Moon free with what had to be some pretty sharp roses and carries her to safety, allowing her to boomerang the youma to death.
When the mist clears, Tuxedo Mask is gone and Jadeite isn’t happy, but who cares because SAILOR MERCURY FRIENDSHIP HOORAY. Ami figures out that Luna was somehow responsible for their pens and then promply takes Usagi home for a strategy meeting because she is taking this hella seriously. And you know who else is real serious on the other side of town?
EEEEE SAILOR MARS YAY
While there was a huge dip in animation quality at times (like, really, a huge one), I was much, much more willing to forgive them because of how much I love Ami’s awakening story. Also, I found overall that the faces were much more expressive and felt more like the characters I know and love, so if that means that sometimes Luna has to walk like a weirdo then I suppose I can deal with it. In fact, I barely noticed on first watch because I was so emotionally overwhelmed. I just love senshi friendship so much, you guys. I’m gonna be a mess by the time we get to Venus, for sure.
- Why Yes, We Would Like To Watch A Sailor Moon Crystal Music Video
- Sailor Moon Crystal Recap Act 1, “Usagi – Sailor Moon”
- How to Make Sailor Moon Crystal Cookies!