Sailor Moon Newbie Recap: “The Boy Who Can See The Future” and “Usagi and Mamoru Get Closer”
NEW TITLE SEQUENCE?
Honestly, you guys are lucky I even noticed this, I’ve been skipping the title sequence lately.
Crushing on Ami: The Boy Who Can See the Future
I wouldn’t normally cover this episode’s Dark Kingdom opener because it doesn’t say much that’s new, but I couldn’t let a scene go where Queen Beryl rehashes all the exposition about the Great Monsters and the Rainbow Crystals and then caps off her speech with:
“Why, then,” she asks, “Do I have only one Rainbow Crystal.” Kunzite isn’t the least bit bovvered about Tuxedo Mask making off with the last RC: they can just catch him when he comes after the next five and take it back. It’s just this kind of passive, stay-getting, lack of initiative that’s put Kunzite where he is today. Never go to anything when you can get it to come to you.
Speaking of segues, meet another new transfer student: Ryo Urawa. He’s shy, places higher on tests than Ami, and seems like he’s got some kinda secret precognition thing going on. Also: he totally has a crush on Ami. Usagi observes this after she and Makoto both commiserate over their poor grades. I like that Makoto’s character incorporates aspects of both Usagi and Rei. Their predictable rivalry is starting to wear on me, maybe her presence can balance it out a bit. They chat with Ami about her unexpected 2nd place score, Ami excitedly says hi to Urawa, he stammers and then just RUNS AWAY. Usagi’s fo-real reaction:
She finds Urawa on the school roof, gazing longingly at a newspaper clipping about Ami placing first in a nationwide academic competition during which they briefly met, a moment when she, because she is Ami, was charmingly kind to him. At first he is reluctant to admit it, saying that he simply respects her intellect and perseverance and that he studies hard in order to be like her, and anyway they could never be together anyway because MYSTERIOUS ANGST. Usagi vows to get them together because… because she’s Usagi and she believes in true love and doing nice things for her friends.
After school, she mets with him in a cafe to discuss strategy, and to give him a goofy candid photo of Ami to serve as a lover’s token. While they’re chatting Luna notices that the Moon Wand in Usagi’s purse is going kinda crazy, but before she can do anything about it Usagi dashes off to meet Ami at her cram school and bring her to Urawa so he can confess his feelings. Also she stiffs Urawa on the bill… because she’s Usagi.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: Mamoru wanders around the city at night mooning over how he doesn’t know who he is and he’ll have to keep being Tuxedo Mask if he wants to know blah blah the same problems he’s had for like half an arc now with no change. None of this would be a problem if you were better with pets, Mamoru. Nobody’s gonna trust you with an animal guide. “You’re acting strange lately, Mamoru,” Rei tells him.
Right, also Rei is there I guess they’re still dating or whatever since he stepped on her head and dumped her into a lake.
Then we get our requisite Zoisite figuring out the location of the Rainbow Crystal of the Week, in which he’s just, like, stroking the Dark Crystal like it’s a flat hamster. Then this happens.
He confronts Urawa on the streets of Tokyo, and is confused and alarmed when the kid knows his name. Urawa reveals that thanks to his precognitive powers, he knows that he’s a reincarnated youma, and he wants nothing to do with Zoisite and his evil plans. Still, Zoisite probably would have sucked out his gem right there if Usagi and Ami hadn’t shown up. Sailor Mercury escorts Urawa from the scene, while Sailor Moon attempts to distract Zoisite. But, of course, now that even the smallest wrench has been thrown in Zoisite’s plans, he disappears in a huff.
Which leaves us the requisite quiet scene between our two love birds, Urawa and Sailor Mercury. Well, right after Ami realizes that he has a picture of her (and oh my god her reaction is so cute) and Urawa wakes up from a nightmare quite common to lovesick teenage boys: dreaming that he’s become some kind of scissors monster who violently cuts all the clothes off the girl he’s attracted to.
Upon waking, Urawa confesses that he only got that perfect score by using his precognition powers (I’m not sure how precognition allows you to ace a written test, but okay Sailor Moon), and he only did that because he wanted to be like Ami, but he’s terrified that he’ll be forced to fight her. “First of all,” says Ami, “I’m not Ami Mizuno, I’m Sailor Mercury, get it right,” and I think he believes her???? Over his own eyes/precognition???? I don’t understand how disguises work in Sailor Moon and I find it eternally confusing. “Second of all, destiny is what you make it.”
And on that bit of wisdom, Zoisite catches up with them, seizes the yellow Rainbow Crystal, and transforms Urawa in to Bunboo, the silliest name for a giant armored monster with Swiss army knives for hands. But, because love conquers all in Sailor Moon, Urawa is able to assert his own nature even as Bunboo, and he attacks Zoisite, causing the King of Heaven to drop the Crystal right into Ami’s waiting hands. Now normally this kind of hitch in the works would spell immediate teleportation escape for Zoisite, but I guess his cooldown was up because instead he pours his Dark Crystal mind control into Bunboo, increasing his size and reversing his alignment.
Sailor Moon shows up but is unable to get Moon Healing Escalation to work on this strengthened youma until his energy is reduced somehow. So it’s a good thing that Mars and Jupiter are right on her heels: between all of their special abilities, they manage to shrink Bunboo back to normal size and refresh him back into Urawa. Zoisite blips out, and we didn’t even have to call up ol’ Tux—
Listen up, Tuxedo Mask, I’m only gonna say this once.
Because romance never works out for the Sailor Senshi or their friends, even though they’ve saved the day Urawa’s dad is transferred and so he too must move to a new school. Despite this they appear to put him on a train alone? Is Urawa secretly Shinji Ikari? He attempts to return Ami’s photo…
…but she gives him a better one right back and tells him that he can visit any time. What can I say: a nice guy who would subvert his own evil identity for you is a bit of an attractive proposition.
The Painting of Love: Usagi and Mamoru Get Closer
Usagi’s still conflicted about Tuxedo Mask and Zoisite is starting to learn that being the person Queen Beryl is actually paying to isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But that’s old news—what’s new is that Naru’s brought Usagi and Umino to a gallery showing of Yumemi Yumeno, who’s basically Lisa Frank for a high school audience. She paints colorful but chaste pop art of lovers and is a social recluse. Her self portrait is beautiful, but nobody’s ever seen her in real life. One of her paintings, of a masked man in a cape and a young blond woman, seems curiously familiar to Usagi. A wandering Mamoru sees it in the gallery window and immediately recognizes images from his recurring dreams. Meanwhile, Yumemi herself secretly wanders around the gallery, fruitlessly trying to find folks to model her newest inspiration and get out of her artistic slump.
It turns out that Yumemi is actually a plain, freckled brunette, in contrast with her self-portrait. While leaving the gallery, she bumps into Mamoru and insists that he come sit for her as a model: he looks just like the man in her new idea. Usagi, seeing the interaction through the window, thinks Mamoru is skipping out on Rei and dashes out to confront him, only to be similarly accosted by Yumemi for the same reasons. Usagi and Mamoru are both swept off to model for the artist in her own home. This leaves Umino alone with Naru.
Once at Yumemi’s house, Mamoru is hilariously grumpy about the whole thing, while Usagi figures out the twist: this plain Jane artist is actually Yumemi Yumemo. Yumemi explains that people assume that beautiful paintings were painted by a beautiful person, and she believes that if her true appearance was known her career would falter, so she hides her self from the world and paints self portraits that don’t bear her any resemblence. It means that she has no friends, but she’s satisfied with a lonely life if it means she can pursue her art. Over Mamoru’s objections and Usagi’s horror at finding out that Yumemi wants them to be in a picture together, the three get down to art. And, since this episode is partially titled “Usagi and Mamoru Get Closer,” Usagi admits to herself that Mamoru is handsome, and Mamoru… appears to find Usagi’s embarrassment cute?
We interrupt this sketch session for an important cat-related interlude: Usagi dropped her Moon Wand earlier because she’s a dummy, and Luna is trying to find her so she can give it back. Now back to art.
Usagi discovers a sketch in Yumemi’s house that features a young blonde woman giving her Mamoru-look-alike lover a gift of a star locket, on a crescent moon background, and Mamoru flips his shit, recognizing his own locket.
We interrupt this sketch session for an important Dark Kingdom interlude:
After the art is over, Yumemi walks Usagi home, and Usagi tells her firmly that she’s underestimating her audience. She’s a very wonderful person and she shouldn’t be afraid to show it. After Yumemi has gone home Usagi runs into Luna, who gives her her Moon Stick and an incredibly patronizing lecture about how the upside to Usagi’s tendency to become over-preoccupied by silly things all the time is that she forgets about them almost instantly. Usagi throws a rightful temper tantrum and dashes off, leaving Luna to wonder if she said too much (YES).
Wandering around angry with her Moon Wand, Usagi notices that it’s reacting to a youma signal from Yumemi’s house (yes, Yumemi is this episode’s youma, if you couldn’t guess just from her paintings that coincidentally look like Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon). Zoisite has arrived, sucks the green Rainbow Crystal out of her, and calls upon the youma Veena to emerge. Usagi watches all this quietly from the window and springs into action, calling the rest of the senshi on her communicator for backup and transforming. Having actually managed to get the crystal and the youma without a single Sailor Senshi showing up, Zoisite takes Veena back to that construction site, I guess to show her how fun it is to laugh while standing on top of it.
Veena’s got this pretty sweet power where she plucks feathers from her angel wings and uses them as quills to draw objects in the air that become real and lethal, so the fact that she uses this only to drop rocks on Sailor Moon really makes it seem like she’s not applying herself. Still, the rocks are working pretty good until Tuxedo Mask shows up, but he drops Sailor Moon as soon as she’s been taken five inches out of harm’s way and goes straight for Zoisite, ’cause that boy knows where his Rainbow Crystal is. The timely arrival of the rest of the Sailor Senshi to deal with Veena allow Sailor Moon to follow as well.
Tuxedo Mask and Zoisite fight, and Zoisite pretty much hands him his ass, necessitating rescue from Sailor Moon just before the King of Heaven teleports out. Sailor Moon tries to return Tuxedo Mask’s star locket, but he tells her that if the Senshi are looking for the princess, she should keep it. She asks him if he could also maybe return the orange Rainbow Crystal, and he’s like “Ha ha ha NO.” He’s got just as much a right to be looking for the Rainbow Crystals as them, and if he has the opportunity to steal the yellow one from them, he’ll totally do it, man. He might not be their enemy completely, but where the Legendary Silver Crystal is concerned, they are at cross-purposes. He leaves Usagi so shocked and sad that she nearly forgets that Veena is still at large and the episode isn’t over yet. Fortunately, the other Senshi have softened her up but good, and a quick Moon Healing Escalation later everything’s back to normal.
Well, almost. The next day at her gallery, Yumemi shows Mamoru and Usagi her new self-portrait: a realistic one, saying that Usagi convinced her to bravely open up to the public. Also she had this crazy supernatural near-death experience last night. Life is short, you know?
Moon Prism Power… Wrap Up!
See Sailor Moon, this is how you do romance that doesn’t make me vaugely uncomfortable: age appropriate partners. Seriously, Ami and Urawa, triple decker cute. Of course, if romance actually worked out for the main characters, what would we ever write about again? Naru and Nephrite fell apart, Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask can’t figure out whether they’re on the same side, Makoto’s got some kind of whole deal with an old boyfriend, and as soon as it looks like Ami and Urawa are gonna be just fine, he has to conveniently transfer to another school.
I’m glad that this past episode finally gave us an identifiably female member of the Great Monsters. It still seems notable to me that as soon as we hit an apparently elite level of youma, we’re shown our first non-female youma in the entirety of the show. Not only because that’s a little weird from a gender roles standpoint but because one of the things I really like about watching Sailor Moon is seeing this enormous cast of fabulously designed female monsters parade by. It’s of course possible that this was more motivated by avoiding the weirdness of having a female monster emerge from a male character, but… /shrug.
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