Sailor Moon Newbie Recap: “Sailor Venus’ Past: Minako’s Tragic Love”
The one about Sailor Venus.
The Senshi are mystified by a new influx of youma into Tokyo: they simply can’t figure out which suspicious contest, suspicious new business, or suspicious celebrity they’re associated with, and they’ve checked all the bath houses and dumpling shops in town! But forget about that, it doesn’t really come up anywhere in the rest of the episode. Luna’s secret computer in the arcade gives them a dire deadline: large sunspots are beginning to appear on the surface of the sun, just like they did ages ago when the Moon Kingdom was destroyed. This has not passed the notice of the Dark Kingdom either: when the sun goes dark, Queen Metalia will awaken from her slumber, at least according to Queen Metalia, who’s, like, real good at talking in her sleep. With Queen Metalia and the Silver Crystal, the Dark Kingdom will be able to conquer Earth. Also something about passing on her energy to Endymion, who’s still unconscious after being Moon Healed last episode.
But forget about that, because it doesn’t really come up anywhere in the rest of the episode. Here’s what does: Kunzite has tracked down somebody who knows Sailor V’s secret identity, a British Interpol agent. Next thing the Senshi know, Minako has disappeared. Without telling anyone, our Sailor V has gone to visit the interpol agent Katarina, who is in town because she’d presumed that Minako was dead up until recently (intriguing!). Also she’s clearly been possessed by a youma to some degree, and that’s what’s motivating her to urge Minako to introduce her to the other Sailor Senshi. Minako refuses because she doesn’t want to put Katarina in danger, and leaves abruptly for the same reason. Or do her real feelings have more to do with Katarina’s mysterious locket and someone they both know named Allan? (They do.)
Immediately after she leaves Kunzite levitates in and commands the youma in Katarina to go to monster form and just attack her instead of asking nicely.
But here’s where things get confusing for me. Once Papillon attacks Minako, she transforms into Sailor Venus, and the youma’s reaction is “What?! Minako is Sailor Venus?!” Okay… so Kunzite and this youma know that Katarina knows Sailor Venus, and Katarina knows Minako is Sailor Venus. AND they know that as soon as she hit Tokyo, Katarina contacted Minako. AND they know that Katarina knows Minako can get her in contact with the Sailor Senshi. But they STILL couldn’t put it together that Minako and Sailor Venus were the same person?
Honestly, how has the Dark Kingdom lasted this long. Papillon subdues Sailor Venus, but she’s rescued by Usagi, Luna, and Artemis, who employ my two favorite Sailor Moon strategies: the disguise wand and CATS TO THE FACE. In this case the disguise wand is being used by Usagi to learn how to pilot a speedboat boat immediately, so SUCK IT, The Matrix.
Artemis knew she got a call from someone named Katarina before she left, so Usagi and the cats looked for any Katarinas who had checked into Tokyo hotels, I guess by the magic of hacking? it’s not explained, but I’m assuming they didn’t make approximately 1 million suspicious phone calls in order to find Minako. Since Papillon can fly with the use of the two giant butterfly wings attached to her head, Luna instructs Usagi to take them to a nearby luxury liner they can hide on, which is conveniently empty, perfect for the use of exposition scenes.
“Hey, Minako,” says Luna, “it seemed like you knew that youma?” “Yes,” replies Minako, “Lets do the exposition.” Six months ago Minako went on an extended sojourn of youma hunting in England, and I guess she did it without Artemis, because he didn’t know any of this. That’s where she met Katarina, and where the latter became an older sister figure to her. But Minako also met Allan, an older man that she fell in love with. But on a night when Minako was caught in a warehouse blast (and really what superhero hasn’t?), she allowed Allan and Katarina to believe that she had truly died, and went back to Japan, all because she had realized that night that Allan was in love with Katarina, not her. “I thought playing dead would be best for their happiness,” she concludes.
“That’s not right,” says Usagi! YEAH, I think. “That’s cruel!” she continues. RIGHT, I think, taking a friendship timeout because of a love triangle situation is one thing, but you can’t just let some folks think that their friend is DEAD and drop out of their lives forever! You’re a teenager! They’re adults! What if they don’t even work out? “No, I mean Katarina is cruel for stealing Allan from Minako,” Usagi clarifies. I hum angrily.
Papillon shows up, and a pissed-off Usagi transforms to battle her, but when Minako finds that Katarina still wears a locket with a picture of her, Allan, and Minako in it, she begs Usagi to heal Papillon instead of destroying her. Usagi doesn’t understand how she can want that, but does it anyway. Unlike every other victim of youma possession, Katarina remembers everything that happened while she was possessed, and she apologizes to Minako for not realizing the depths of her feelings for Allan, and therefore being unable to shelter her from the shock of their relationship.
Minako tells her that that’s okay, and when all the senshi next get together, Usagi tells them not to pry into why Minako seems so sad, saying “Minako is more grown-up than any of us,” I guess because she’s grown up enough not to resent someone for being a person somebody fell in love with instead of her.
…which Rei also did like a couple episodes ago? Eh, at least we got some background on Minako.
Moon Prism Power… Wrap Up!
Well, we’re certainly running into the home stretch of episodes aren’t we? I’m going to level with you, Sailor Moon Newbie Recap fans, for months, I’ve misread the name in the title of this episode as Makoto, not Minako. Up until last week I was expecting the show to eventually actually pay out and explain Makoto’s obsession with her ex-boyfriend/true love. I was disappointed! But I’ve tried not to hold it against this episode, because I know that complete objectivity is what you demand from your recaps of ’90s kids anime from a relatively uninformed, adult perspective.
And seriously, it’s about time we got some background on Minako. She’s definitely suffered as the final Senshi to be introduced from a lack of dedicated screentime. Even Makoto got a string of episodes directly involving her, to the exclusion of Ami and Rei, for a bit after her intro. At this point, the clearest distinct quality Minako’s been given is that she’s prone to misquotes.
That said, I’m kind of disappointed that the episode didn’t spell out the fact that Minako’s behavior towards Katarina and Allan was SUPER shitty. Okay, fair, faking your own death isn’t really something that most teenage girls are going to be pulling on their friends. But suddenly dropping all contact and breaking the relationship because somebody started dating somebody else… that’s not really great either. We learn that it’s good to forgive and recreate ties in the ep, but we don’t really get an explicit slant on Minako’s disappearing act and how she let her friends mourn her for six freakin’ months.
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