Sailor Moon Newbie Recap: “Jupiter, the Powerful Girl in Love” and “Restore Naru’s Smile: Usagi’s Friendship”
Jupiter Power... Make Up!
*snffff* Ahhhh. Do you smell that? Smells like a brand new arc.
Jupiter, the Powerful Girl in Love
Even Queen Beryl is excited to meet a new Sailor Senshi after so long! Well, no; actually, she’s excited about finding out a new way to find the Legendary Silver Crystal, from none other than the Great Ruler of the Dark Kingdom. The energy that Nephrite and Jadeite collected is just enough for the Great Ruler to roll over, yawn, and dispense some vital plot exposition before returning to his (Editor’s note: shhhhhh I don’t think Susana knows about yet don’t tell her) slumber.All Queen Beryl and her henchmen have to do is reveal the Seven Great Monsters and recover the Rainbow Crystals, and the Legendary Silver Crystal will make itself known.
The Seven Great Monsters are powerful youma who were sealed away long ago using fragments of the Legendary Silver Crystal, and then reincarnated as humans who remember nothing of their youma origins. However, each of them still contains one of those seven crystal fragments within them: the Rainbow Crystals. Finding and removing the Rainbow Crystals from their hosts will allow the Dark Kingdom to find the Legendary Silver Crystal, and it’ll awaken the youma within each host. Queen Beryl alters the Dark Crystal (not that The Dark Crystal) so that it detects the Rainbow Crystals and Zoisite is off to the races. It’s cool, I got this, I watched a TON of The Jackie Chan Adventures.
NO TIME FOR DARK KINGDOM DRAMA WE HAVE EXPOSITION TO DELIVER. Also who cares about crummy old Zoisite (I do) when we have a new Senshi to meet? Rushing to school, Usagi turns a corner and slams into a bunch of guys from a completely different anime who try to scam her into making up for their buddy’s (fake) Usagi-caused injuries because they are burly grown men and all they can do with their lives is manage to intimidate fourteen year old school girls. Usagi is rescued by a tall and forceful teenage girl, who shames the men for taking advantage of a young girl and then BEATS THE EVERLOVING SHIT OUT OF THEM.
Before she leaves, Usagi notices that the girl has rose earrings (BECAUSE SHE TRANSFERRED FROM OHTORI ACADEMY, my brain screams, furiously writing crossover fic in crabbed handwriting), which allows her to recognize her savior eating alone during her school lunch break that afternoon, because, say it with me now, everyone in Sailor Moon is faceblind. Umino arrives on schedule with his book of gossip notes (LITERALLY, I love this dude) to explain that she is Makoto Kino, a new transfer student (honestly, haven’t we been overdue for a transfer student on this show?) who is rumored to have been kicked out of her last school for fighting. Naturally, Usagi goes right over to make a new friend, even if all the other kids are too scared.
After school, Usagi takes Makoto to the game center and introduces her to the other senshi and Luna. Luna’s a little worried about Makoto, but luckily this isn’t turning into the old “mistaking a new Sailor Senshi for that week’s youma” subplot. Speaking of youma…
Meet “Joe the Crane Game Troll,” some kind of tiny headed teenage wastrel who comes to the game center every now and then to clean out their claw machine with his amazing skills. Makoto gets all starry eyed because she thinks he looks like her “love” who broke her heart or something. When he leaves with his sack of spoils, she follows him. On the street, Zoisite finds him and attempts to rip the Rainbow Crystal from his still living body. This is both painful and confusing for Joe. Fortunately for him, Makoto is there, and, even though she is crushing on this boy, opens with the line “It’s not nice to bully the weak!” THAT’S MY GIRL, SAILOR MOON, YOU FLIP THOSE GENDER TROPES. Then Makoto goes nuts on Zoisite, she even takes her earrings off so you know it’s serious and it looks like Zoisite’s superhuman reflexes are going to keep him out of harms way until BAM SHE SOCKS HIM RIGHT IN THE KISSER. Usagi and Luna see the whole thing.
He scurries off back to the Dark Kingdom to get his booboo kissed by Kunzite (I assume), and Joe, confused and masculinity bruised, shrugs off the help of Usagi and Makoto. Makoto follows him anyway because she wants to get her flirt on, mysteriously disappearing floating men be damned.
Usagi follows because Luna senses Zoisite’s evil aura and she wants to protect her new friend. Makoto follows Joe, flirting, until he ditches her to duck inside a coffee shop. But she and Usagi just wait outside staring at him hella awkwardly until he motions for Makoto to come in. He reveals that he’s kind of an enormous douche: he cheats at the crane game using the minor telekinetic power that he’s had since he was a kid. When Makoto points out that this is a little underhanded, he says:
I’m sorry, you think a “good use” of your ability is gathering shoddily made plush toys? Don’t have the charisma to become a street magician? Did you not get the necessary SAT score for Xavier’s School for the Gifted? DROP THIS BUTTHEAD LIKE A HOT ROCK, MAKOTO.
I’ll stop ranting because this is when Zoisite, who is now ready to face the scary mortal plane again, comes back to trash the cafe. Usagi berates Joe for cutting and running from the scary floating man instead of protecting the girl he was with, and his answer seems to affect Makoto deeply. “She’s not my concern! Giant girls like that aren’t my type!” IT’S OKAY MAKOTO, HE’S A DOUCHE ANYWAY.
Smashing through the shop window majestically, Zoisite follows Joe to a nearby park, where he successfully manages to extract the red Rainbow Crystal and awaken the youma Gamecen. But since Sailor Moon shows up just after, he sticks around long enough to introduce himself as her third-arc foe before doing his usual rose petal thing. Gamecen, a video-game themed youma, levels its sights on Sailor Moon, only to be hoisted bodily into the air and thrown by Makoto, who still hasn’t even started using her super powers yet.
However, this feat of bravery and strength reveals to Luna that she’s the fourth Sailor Senshi, and we get our very first Sailor Jupiter transformation sequence. *sniff* Our very first Sailor Senshi who was a fan of the Senshi before becoming one. But Makoto isn’t the only one getting a special item this episode. Luna explains that since this youma used to be human, they can’t just kill it. It must be healed with Usagi’s brand new Moon Wand. One Moon Healing Escalation later, and Joe the Schmoe is sparkled back to normal.
That Usagi can wield the Moon Wand proves that she is the true leader of the Sailor Senshi, despite her personal misgivings about responsibility. And meeting Motoki for the first time proves that Makoto may be projecting a little about this mysterious lover in her past: she thinks Motoki looks like him too.
Restore Naru’s Smile: Usagi’s Friendship
Hey remember when we ended the last arc on Naru’s traumatizing emotional pain? Let’s tie up that loose end with a very strange youma. Usagi and Umino are worried that Naru hasn’t come to school in over a week, so they go to visit her, hoping to cheer her up.
And despite Umino’s ham-fisted accidental insults to Naru’s situation, Naru agrees to go out with them to Chinatown to eat lots of delicious food. At Rei’s shrine, all the other Sailor Senshi are having a meeting without Usagi to cover vital Third Act exposition. Rei has a cute moment where she realizes that her spot as Team Badass is threatened by the cool confidence of Makoto. Luna explains that the Legendary Silver Crystal is powerful enough to destroy a planet (but is insignificant compared to the power of the Force) and rehashes the legend of the Rainbow Crystals. Honestly, I was hoping that Luna’s version would have some key differences from the Dark Kingdom one, coming, as it does, from the other side of the conflict. F
urthermore, Luna tells them that the Moon Wand has the ability to detect Rainbow Crystals, and that she gave it to Usagi in the hopes that it will motivate her to step up and take some responsibility. Rei is very much against the idea of Usagi having such an important artifact and acting as the leader of the Senshi. (Maybe she’s is just pissed that between the supercomputer and the Moon Wand, she’s the only one of the original Senshi who doesn’t have a special item?) It’s hard to argue the point over footage of Usagi using the Wand as a hammer to bust open her piggy bank. “It’s true that Usagi has almost no sense of duty and is unreliable,” answers Luna, “but, like, c’mooooonnnnnn guyyyyyyyys.” Makoto doesn’t know Usagi well enough to judge, and Rei runs roughshod over Ami’s good natured passivity to get her to disapprove of Usagi having the Wand as well. (Of course Ami sees nothing wrong with this: she’s spent her teen-hood lonely and without friends, now that she’s got them she believes the world of them.)
Usagi doesn’t help matters by responding to a message that she should come by to discuss important matters with her team by saying “Oh, no thanks, I’m going to go stuff myself in Chinatown with my friends.” But before our school chums can make it to their destination, Naru gets distracted by a nearby cemetery, which triggers thoughts of grief about Nephrite’s death and the lack of closure she has regarding their relationship. Umino shoves his foot in his mouth again, and while Usagi is distracted arguing with him, Naru slips off into the cemetery and approaches a pastor there about her problem. This is, of course, none other than the pastor that Queen Beryl and Zoisite identified as the host of a Rainbow Crystal in the beginning of the episode. He tells her that if she really loved someone that much, he must have been saved (ok but you didn’t know this guy, pastor), and that when she least expects it she’ll turn around and find love next to her.
So she turns around.
Naru, reigning queen of Basic Recognition Skills, remembers Zoisite immediately from the night Nephrite died, and even notices that he has Nephrite’s Dark Crystal. Where’s Sailor Moon when you need her? She’s looking for Naru, actually, but is interrupted by a furious signal from her Moon Wand, which senses a nearby Rainbow Crystal. Also Luna shows up to tell her what to do with her Moon Wand, something something menstruation joke. She also tells Usagi to call Makoto, but not the other Sailor Senshi and urges her to wait to engage until she gets there, demonstrating some considerable political acumen.
But, of course, Naru’s in danger, so Usagi won’t wait one moment more. Despite the appearance of Sailor Moon, Zoisite manages to get the Rainbow Crystal out of the pastor, but to his annoyance it just flings off somewhere else in the cemetery instead of somewhere useful like his hand. But there’s no time for that: get ready for the craziest youma ever.
Yes, his belt is a full sized, working boxing bell. He shouts “I’m a champion,” and “I’m the king of kings,” in English, and is special move is firing his boxing gloves at opponents while shouting “Lovely Punch!” also in English.
I’m really, really not sure whether I hate this guy or love this guy. His reincarnation was as a Christian pastor and this whole scene takes place near Tokyo’s Chinatown… is Boxii a reference to the Boxer Rebellion? Anyway, he attacks Sailor Moon and then Naru, who are saved by Tuxedo Mask and Umino respectively. While Tuxedo Mask and Boxii spar, Usagi notices a star-shaped locket in the cemetery grass and picks it up. Cemeteries: great places to lose your valuables.
It’s about then that Sailor Jupiter shows up, giving Usagi the opening to cast Moon Healing Escalation, and return Boxii to his human form:
Tuxedo Mask finds the Rainbow Crystal before Zoisite can, and let’s just say he knows a good thing when he sees it.
Zoisite leaves in a huff, and Usagi stares dreamily after the retreating Tuxedo Mask as Luna yells at her to go get that crystal it’s super important this is why you should come to the meetings Usagi omg. Naru and Umino sit on a park bench as she bandages his hurt arm with the same torn strip she used to take care of Nephrite (DON’T REUSE BANDAGES, KIDS), and Naru assures everyong calmly that she’ll be coming to school tomorrow. Is the show setting up Naru/Umino? I’m cool with this.
Usagi opens the clockwork locket, which begins to play her theme song, as Luna laments that Makoto still hasn’t had a chance to see Usagi’s good qualities. But of course, Makoto has: she’s seen Usagi’s abiding love for her friends. And somewhere else Mamoru contemplates the orange Rainbow Crystal and resolves that he does know who he is: he’s the goddamn Tuxedo Mask.
Moon Prism Power… Wrap Up!
New arc! New Senshi! I have lots of small thoughts that do not make a coherent whole:
- Makoto is embarrassed to admit that she made her own delicious and beautiful bento lunch herself. From what I know about bento culture in Japan, this may be a hint that she doesn’t have a mom? (MAYBE SHE TRANSFERRED FROM NEON GENESIS EVANGELION be quiet, brain.)
- Does she have a past history of being overlooked by boys for being too masculine?
- Was this our first identifiably male youma? I’d put Gamecen squarely in the category of androgynous.
- Were all seven Great Monsters reincarnated as men? If so, this is an interesting shift from the show’s fantastic cast of female henchmen.
I look forward to finding all these things out. To avoid spoilers, comments on this post are locked. If you have something to say, say it on our Facebook. Or talk to Susana on Twitter! Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, &Google +?