Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Jared Watches Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 4 - Masquerade Dance Party

Ah, yes. The famous/infamous Masquerade. I personally love this one. Not everyone does. We'll see how this goes...

If you're going to make Usagi a princess, this is how you'd do it.
The episode opens with Luna cataloging the three Guardians, plus one mysterious figure in the Awesome Shiny Command Center. 

Jared: Suspicious Character!

Opening credits roll, 'cause we got shit to deal with.

Morning at the Tsukino residence finds Luna coaxing Usagi awake.

Jared: Heh - she fell asleep reading manga! She even slept on it!

Me: At least she was in her pajamas.

Usagi: Why didn't you wake me up earlier, Luna?

Luna: That's what you get for staying up late reading manga...

Jared: Even the cat's scolding her.

Have we mentioned lately that Luna is Jared's favorite?

While Usagi is rushing out the door, her mom is reading a newspaper report that Sailor Moon has saved the day again.

Ikuko: Too bad Usagi can't be more like [Sailor Moon].

Jared: Dramatic irony! And exposition! Two-for!

Already late, Usagi is stuck at a crosswalk, but she has an idea.

Usagi (indicating the disguise pen in her pocket): I know! I'll just transform into a marathon runner!

Luna: Usagi, you can't do that!

Usagi: Why not?

Jared: But... would that actually help, though?

Me: I'm not sure...

Luna (narrating): This pouty-faced girl is Usagi Tsukino, also known as the Guardian of Love and Justice, Sailor Moon.

Jared: Why are we getting more exposition? We know who they are.

Me: Just in case you forgot. Oh, and if she wanted to get there in a hurry, she'd want to transform into a sprinter.

Jared: Well, yes.

Usagi runs into Naru, who provides the Necessary Drive-By Info Dump for this episode.

Naru: Did you pass that police road block on your way?

Usagi: Yeah, what's going on?

Naru: You've heard of the Kingdom of D, right? Where all the gems come from?

Jared (laughing): "The Kingdom of D"?? It's called "D." One letter! Whooo!

Me: It's supposed to be generic.

Later, Ami and Rei are at the arcade waiting for Usagi and Luna meet up with them. Luna comes before Usagi, on account of Usagi getting detention for falling asleep in class. In the meantime, Luna also provides audience exposition for them as well.

Luna: Rei's a shrine maiden who goes to T.A. Girls Academy. She has spiritual powers. Rei is Sailor Mars.

Jared: Are these spiritual powers ever defined?

Me: Not really. They're probably some kind of psychic powers.

Rei plays the Sailor V game and Ami coaches her through it. Rei beats the game and she and Ami high-five.

Rei: I'm sorry...

Jared: But why is she sorry?

Ami: For what?

Yeah, we never figure out why.

Usagi makes it to the meeting and the girls and Luna discuss their mission to beat evil monsters, find the princess, and the Legendary Silver Crystal.

Luna: The Legendary Silver Crystal is a sacred stone that is supposed to be a source of unlimited power.

Ami: If that's the case, then I think it's safe to assume that the monsters want it too.

Jared: Did they say they wanted it?

While Ami, Rei, and Luna determine that finding the princess and the LSC is important, Usagi is otherwise occupied.

Usagi (playing a video game): Ha! Take that! And that!

Jared: *inelegant snort* Of course, she wasn't paying any attention at all!

Luna berates Usagi for not taking this more seriously. While this is going on, Motoki and Umino walk in to provide even MORE drive-by exposition for this episode. Kingdom of D, Princess D... etc.

Jared: You know, it's a good thing there's no one else there to hear LUNA TALKING!

Usagi talks dreamily about the concept of a real-life princess and wonders if Princess D is a beautiful girl.

Umino: I got a picture of [Princess D] even though it's nearly impossible to get one! Wanna see?

Jared: But, the internet exists!

Is it just me, or does Umino sound like a creepy stalker weirdo all the time?

Jared: Yeah, those glasses on someone with that much money... it's kind of sad.

In other news, the Dark Kingdom is doing... Dark Kingdom things.

Kunzite: Failed again, Jadeite? Shame on you!

Jared: Well, he did manage not to die.

Zoicite: I heard those Sailor Guardians are also looking for the Crystal.

Jared: From where?

Me: Maybe Umino told them. He tells everybody else everything.

Queen Beryl: My Four Kings of Heaven!

Beryl's Boys: Queen Beryl!

Jared: I love how their titles are so inconsistent. Kings of Heaven... what was the other one?

Me: Generals of the Dark Kingdom...

Back in the Real World, Usagi comes home to find her dad getting dressed up for something important and fancy.

Jared: Is this the first time we've seen him? Or have we seen him once before?

Me: This is the first time.

Jared: (pause) He doesn't look old enough to have a fourteen-year-old daughter.

Usagi: What are you all dressed up for, Dad? You look great!

Kenji: I'm going to the ball at the Kingdom of D's embassy!

Jared: Now, why is he going?

Me: He works for a magazine.

Jared: So he's a journalist.

Me: Basically.

Usagi is heartbroken that she doesn't get to go, but she decides to take matters into her own hands and uses the Moon Disguise Pen to transform into a princess. And - like I mentioned at the beginning - THIS is how you make Usagi Tsukino into a princess. Not... that other thing. And it's not a spoiler for me to mention that.

Jared: You know, if she really wants to be in disguise, she needs to change the hair buns.

Me: Well - the hair color too.

Jared: True. I mean, how many blonde-haired, blue-eyed Japanese girls are there?

Me: Not many. Even in this version - the "mundanes" all have some shade of brown or black hair. Only the main characters have the multi-colored hair thing going. And even then, it's not all of them.

Somehow, Usagi gets Ami and Rei to go along with this and the three of them are outside the embassy trying to get into the ball.

Luna: Usagi, are you sure we're going to be able to get into this thing?

Ami: Yeah, we weren't invited.

Usagi: Don't worry about that, Ami. Just leave it to me.

Jared (laughs): What is her plan?? How is she going to get in?

Gate Guard: Excuse me ladies (The girls freeze) I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but we don't allow pets inside. He picks up Luna. You'll have to leave your cat with us.

Ami: Oh. Well, thanks for taking care of her.

Luna (internal monologue between yowling): Don't leave me!

Jared: Poor Luna! But... HOW DID THAT WORK?? Was he just so focused on the cat that he didn't even think to ask for their invitations?

Me: Maybe the "Magic Change Power" did something...

The girls make it inside. Ami and Rei discussing how best to keep Princess D from danger, while Usagi realizes - with joy - that it's a Masquerade!

Jared: You don't have masks!

Usagi takes off to the dance floor, leaving Ami and Rei to deal with the more pressing issues of why they're there in the first place.

Jared: And already she's shirking her duties.

Usagi heads into the ballroom, passing her dad (who doesn't really recognize her, but kind of does). And then she sees the dancing -

Jared: How does she see over everybody? She's not that tall.

Me: Canonically, she's not even five-foot.

A random person bumps into Usagi, spilling champagne on Usagi's dress. Usagi frantically searches for her handkerchief to dry off with.

Jared: She's not having a very good day...

Elsewhere, Ami and Rei see Princess D being escorted by advisers getting ready for the ball's main event - the unveiling of the Kingdom of D's treasure.

Adviser 1: Princess, it's also time to unveil the treasure.

Jared: With no actual security... Well, one security. Who looks like of wormy...

Rei agrees. Sort of.
If Rei Hino ever makes this face at you, run far away.
Outside, Usagi sulks because her dress is ruined and she can't find her friends and she's not having as good a time as she thought she would.

Jared: Okay, but your dress is magic. Just un-transform and redo it. Good as new! How hard could it be?

Usagi sees a couple coming out of the ballroom onto the balcony - sort of flirting with each other?

Woman: You're a very good dancer.

Man: That's only because I was dancing with you.

Woman: Oh stop!

Man: No, really...

Jared: What a smarmy voice.

Usagi (inner monologue): I'm wearing a beautiful dress. I can dance as well as anybody.

Me: Can you?

Jared: Yeah - I mean, you're a self-proclaimed klutz.

Someone approaches Usagi from out of the shadows and offers her his hand.

Tuxedo Mask: Beautiful princess, may I have this dance?

Usagi: Tuxedo Mask? What are you doing here?

Jared: Well, what are you doing here? Think about it. Actually, no - what are Jupiter and Mars doing here?

Me: Mercury.

Jared: Mercury. What did I say?

Me: Jupiter.

Jared: Oh. Well, you knew what I meant.

Usagi goes onto the dance floor with Tuxedo Mask and they dance together. It's damn adorable. 

Jared: That's okay - this is basically a fun little episode with romance.

Me: Does that bother you?

Jared: Well, no. That's the whole point of the show!

Usagi (inner monologue): I wish - I could dance with him forever!

Me: In those shoes?

From the balcony windows, Luna looks in and sees Usagi dancing. 

Luna: What is she doing now??

Tuxedo Mask stops and takes off.

Jared: Why did he run away? Did he hear Luna? Of course, how did she get in?

Luna goes up to Usagi and berates her for trusting Tuxedo Mask - since Luna doesn't seem to trust him much, neither should Usagi. I guess?

Luna: Usagi? Are you blushing?

Usagi: Never mind that! How did you get in here?

Luna: I snuck in from the balcony.

Jared: Oh.

Luna: What happened to Rei and Ami?

Jared: They're working!

Meanwhile, Princess D is bemoaning the fact that the people are only here to see the treasure and not her. The "female adviser" turns out to be Nephrite in disguise.

Nephrite: True! I don't care about you at all! Now give me that secret treasure! 

Princess D: Oh! An intruder!

Jared: A cross-dressing intruder! That's kind of creepy, really.

Ami and Rei bust into the room just as Nephrite summons magic to possess Princess D.

Ami and Rei: Princess D!

Jared: Wait - she's Princess D, the Princess of D?

Me: Yep.

Jared: That's... that's brilliant, that it.

Under Nephrite's control, Princess D runs past Ami and Rei out into the ballroom.

Jared: That's pretty fast for a princess. 

Me: She's been possessed by a magical evil... thing.

Jared: Well, yes. The point stands.

Ami and Rei transform and go after her.

Princess D tears off across the ballroom while security guards (oh, sure - NOW they show up!) try to stop her.

Jared: Okay, they're acting a little weird there.
Princess D knocks everyone in the ballroom out with her magic.

Jared: That is pretty impressive power. 

Usagi goes after Princess D onto the balcony. Princess D knocks her off over the edge. Tuxedo Mask grabs Usagi at the last possible moment.

Jared: You know, gripping anything with gloves like that is not easy.

Even so, they're both slipping and it doesn't look good for Our Intrepid Heroes.

Luna: Usagi! Use your pen!

Usagi: My pen?

Jared: How did Luna know it was going to do that?

Luna: *sighs*

Jared: *snort* Ear-emoting... 

What? Your ears don't droop like that?

Tuxedo Mask: This time it was you who saved me. Are you hurt?

Usagi (dazed as all get out):

Jared: It's a good thing that's a magical umbrella, 'cause with a normal umbrella that's just stupid. But, you know - magic.

Luna: Usagi! Hurry up and transform!

Jared: I guess she's given up trying to pretend she doesn't speak when she's around him.

Me: He's long gone.

Jared: No, I mean the "Usagi, use your pen!" He had to hear that! And *ahem* her name. So, yeah... I guess even Luna isn't perfect. 

He sounds disappointed in saying that.

Jared: Admittedly if she hadn't said anything, Usagi wouldn't have known how to use the pen to do the magic-umbrella-Mary-Poppins-thing...

Usagi: Oh no! My tiara! When I used it in the last battle, it got destroyed!

Jared: You just now thought of that?

But even as she realizes she has no tiara, her encounter with Tuxedo Mask has somehow given her a brand new tiara!

Usagi: What's happening? I feel so warm inside! Like when Tuxedo Mask took my hand - it's his warmth! I can feel it making me stronger!

Jared: It's the power of flirting!

Me (laughing): That maybe the title of this post! Or at least the Facebook tease...

And the transformation sequence can be completed. Thank goodness.

Sailor Moon shows up to give her schpiel to the bad guys and pose prettily.
Jared: Were those flowers always there?

Me: I think so...

Jared: Oh - I hadn't noticed.

Customary panicking ensues when Sailor Mars's power - so effective last time - doesn't do diddly-squat in this predicament. Of course.

Tuxedo Mask: Sailor Moon! The only way to banish the darkness is with a stronger light!

Luna (translating from Tux's cheesy-ese): Usagi! Quick! Use the new tiara to reflect the moonlight onto [Nephrite]!

Jared: How did he [Tuxedo Mask] know that?

Me: That's he superpower.

Sailor Moon: Moon Twilight Flash!

Jared: And she'll never use that again!

Sadly, he's probably right. The Sailor Guardians' powers seem to have a one-time use clause.

Nephrite dissipates, but he shows up on a nearby rooftop, joined by the other Generals/Four Kings/Beryl's Boy Band.

Jared: Introduction time!

The Bros introduce themselves so we know their names, and then take off for... reasons. Princess D starts to come to, so the Sailor Guardians take off - Ami and Rei joking about Princess D's glasses and how Umino might look handsome without his glasses as well. Usagi is still tired from her lack of sleep the previous night.

Luna: Seriously? Talk about being lazy...

Jared: But she didn't get any sleep last night!

Inside the embassy, Princess D unveils the legendary treasure, which is a diamond statue of the first Princess D. Not the Legendary Silver Crystal. Which means this was all for nothing. On both sides.

And then they realize Usagi isn't there...

Luna: Where did Usagi go?

Jared: She fell asleep. Of course she fell asleep. She read too much manga last night.

That can't be a comfortable bench to fall asleep on.

Me: And she's still transformed.

Jared: Yeah - she's not even awake enough to un-transform.

Tuxedo Mask approaches her and bends down to give her a kiss. And I think it's romantic and fairy-tale-like and cute, so suck it.

Jared: How does the joke go? I need an adult! I need an adult! I know it's all romantic and that, but - she is still, you know, asleep.

I resist the urge to punch him.

Luna: Get away from Usagi right now! Who are you, really?


I'm still resisting the urge to punch.

Luna stares down Tuxedo Mask and - for some reason - we're supposed to believe that he's actually a bad guy. Pfffffft...

Jared: Okay, she had to save him earlier with the umbrella, now he just jumps off the balcony. He has to have some kind of... travel powers.

Me: Earlier, he was trying to pull her back over the side.

Jared: But normal humans can't do that! Although, you'd think Luna would have called him out more - sure, you're calling him out because you're not sure if he's a good guy or a bad guy. Not KISSING HER WHILE SHE'S ASLEEP.

Resisting's over. I don't punch him, but I do bop him on the head with a throw pillow.


Monday, September 26, 2016

We Now Join Season Six, Already In Progress...

Recap/Review of Once Upon a Time Episode 6.01 - "The Savior"  SPOILERS!!

Hiatus does a soul good.

After the utter flustercluck that was Season 5's finale, I took some time away from OUAT fandom. Found some new projects to do and new things to enjoy. I don't even think I paid much attention to the Once team's yearly pilgrimage to SDCC. The season premiere actually kind of snuck up on, to be truthful.

I needed a break. Also, fandom as a whole can be a bit wearing on a person. Especially when that fandom is through Tumblr (I have a love-hate relationship with that site. As a blogging tool, it's great for a wide variety of things. In terms of some of the absolutely repulsive population that it inexplicably attracts, it needs to be burned to the ground. And not just because of the Once fandom. Figuratively speaking.)

I'm finding out more and more that I don't care for fandom's opinions on a lot of things. I suppose this comes from my day job where I give my opinions about various topics - popular and unpopular alike. I've learned to trust my own instincts and values. If someone expresses something I don't agree with, I can write my own opinion about said topic. Or podcast about it. I have too many avenues for expression to simply sit and fume about some so-and-so's ignorant stupidity.

So, what does this have to do with the season premiere of Once Upon a Time?

Nothing much. Only that during this break, I've learned not to get too attached to something that I want to have happen (or not happen, depending on what you're talking about). I'm not going to get political here, but I will point to the example of the current presidential election. In my opinion, we're borked no matter what. I would rather skip the entire messy business and simply not have a president for four years. Obviously, I'm not going to get my wish, so I'm resigned to at least four years of an utter political shitstorm, regardless of who wins. Now, I can either give into despair and despondency and wallow in my misery. Or, I can look for the few good things that might come of this and be pleasantly surprised when/if they happen.

That's what this season premiere was for me.

I have no expectations for this year, other than a slow progression around the bowl. Hopefully, there will be some nice moments here and there to enjoy, but I'm not expecting too much here.

For starters - I feel like this episode is dealing with events that should have been in the third or fourth episode. This season feels like it already started and I skipped a few parts along the way. Something big happened and I missed it. And, unlike previous seasons, there's not even a promise of flashbacks to know what that something was. It's just... fast forward an undefined amount of time, Hook and Emma are making out on the couch (which, I won't say no to) and SURPRISE AIRSHIP!

Um... all right?

Also - didn't we already have Emma freaking out about her Savior magic? Season 4? Double episode? She panicked so much that she almost let Gold suck her into a magic hat, but Elsa saved her from herself? Guys - a word of advice? This does NOTHING for my theory that y'all are running out of ideas.

THAT BEING SAID - Can I get a "PRAISE, HALLELUJAH!" for Belle? Because - against all odds and even while I was facepalming that we had another stupid Rumple-Gets-Redeemed-But-Not-Really B-Plot... that part actually felt new and exciting to me! Like, we're not going to spend a half-season with Rumple running after Belle in the dream world. In fact, Morpheus may be one of my new favorites (goodness knows I don't give a fig for Jekyll and Hyde right now). Because of the Actual Twist that he is Rumple and Belle's unborn son and HE gives Belle True Love's Kiss. And she can have an Actual Storyline that doesn't involve begging Rumple to "be a better man," which he has PROVEN he is incapable of doing.

I'm all for stories of forgiveness and redemption. But HOW MANY TIMES has Rumple proved that he cannot handle second chances? Or third chances? Or fourth chances? Or Infinity and Beyond chances?

So when I speak of being pleasantly surprised in this premiere, I'm talking about Rumple and Belle. Actually, I'm just talking about Belle. Belle surprised me. This Morpheus storyline might actually be worth following this year. And I am genuinely impressed. That's not saying that All Is Forgiven - that's saying that I'm willing to see where this goes.

And the less said about Amoeba!Regina, the better.

Next Time -

Programming Note: Yes, my joint-blogging project "Jared Watches Sailor Moon Crystal" will run concurrently with my regular reviews of Once Upon a Time. I am also kind of inclined to go back and review episodes of Once that I did NOT review last season, since I missed a whole bunch. While this means I will be BEYOND busy, this also means that I will be giving this blog some much-needed attention and it feels nice to be doing that again. Watch this space!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jared Watched Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 3 - Rei, Sailor Mars

We watched this episode right on the heels of the last episode, at Jared's insistence. Which is kind of amazing, because whenever I've tried to show him other magical girl/shojo anime, he's begged off that he can only stand so much crazy-squealy-sweet-goofiness in one go.

Folks, we are making progress.

Jared: Snark is very powerful. The Mystery Science Theater method really works.

Me: And it's not mean or malicious snark, either!

Nope - it's done all in love.

So, this review/recap begins with the "Next Time" trailer at the end of Episode 2, wherein Usagi and Luna are talking about seeing a really pretty girl if you catch the 6:00 bus on line 66...

Jared: What they're saying is really weird. And they spoiled her ENTIRE transformation sequence in the preview! Good job, everyone! I mean, you're almost into "Putting the Statue of Liberty on the cover" territory here!

Yeah... they kinda did. Who runs these stupid things, anyway?

Jared: We need to do another Magical Girl Campaign in D&D at some point.

Apparently, that's a thing the group once did. It was before my time, so I've only heard about it. It's probably going to happen.

Me: And this is study material!

The episode has begun while we've been talking. Queen Beryl is NOT happy with her minions and their failures. Someone new comes out of the shadows to cockily take over the post of Head Minion In Charge.

Nephrite: Queen Beryl, allow me, Nephrite, your loyal general, to succeed where Jadeite has failed.

Jared: But if you're a general, where are your troops? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Luna? Luna?

Did I mention Jared's a military fiction nut as well?

Jadeite: What is the Legendary Silver Crystal? Why is it so important?

Jared: How are they going to find it, if they don't know what it is?

We get a short glimpse of a young woman muttering about something evil coming... and cue opening credits!

But what would one of these be without lyrics commentary?

Jared: Her eyes are purple, not scarlet.

I glare at him a bit.

Jared: I know, I know. But saying "scarlet eyes" when even purple eyes don't happen in nature...

Me: They were forcing the translation to fit everyone's theme!

Jared: And it's still way better than the majority of anime theme songs.

I am not looking forward to the Season 3 theme song. Bleagh...

Jared: Even the ones in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood weren't as good as the ones for the original Fullmetal Alchemist.

This prompts a side-trip so he can show me the original FMA theme song on his phone. I still have no opinion. I've only seen Brotherhood, though. And only once. We also theoretically discuss cosplaying Van Hohenheim and Trisha Elric for a future Comic Con.

And with THAT tangent out of that way - back to Sailor Moon!

After a VERY brief moment with a little girl named Mii and the mysterious shrine maiden that we have NO CLUE who she is (excuse me while I giggle), we're back with Usagi's Gang at school and the traditional "Gossipy Info-Dump," courtesy of Umino -

Jared: What's with the whole...? He can't finish his sentence. Umino does that to people, I'm finding out.

Meanwhile, Usagi is curled up next her desk and Luna peeks out from on her lap.

Luna: Wow, kids really do love to gossip, don't they?


Luna jumps up and tries to wake up Usagi...

Luna: Usagi! We have to go meet Ami after school!

Jared: She's a little too free talking in class.

Usagi insists she's too tired, but then Luna mentions that they're meeting at the arcade and that gets Usagi's attention.

Jared: Oh boy... Poor Luna.

Later at the arcade, Ami muses about the sudden change her life has taken. Luna assures her that she'll get used to it and it'll be fine. Usagi's more interested in beating the Sailor V game.

After the meeting, Ami goes to her cram school. Ami tells Usagi that there's a "really pretty girl" on the bus route. Conveniently enough, that's the same route as the so-called "Demon Bus."

Jared: Okay, Luna is currently kitten-size. Just saying...

The girls get on the bus. As advertised, they see the famous "really pretty girl."

Jared: Oh hey, the flowers are back! I hadn't seen them in a couple of episodes.

Me: No, they were there.

Jared: Really?

Me: Yeah, when she saw Luna with Ami.

Indeed, the flowers are there.

Jared: Huh... I guess I was blanking them out.

Meanwhile, Usagi got off at the bus stop after the "really pretty girl" an Luna is kind of annoyed with her charge.

Luna: Did you get off here just to chase after that girl?

Usagi: She sooo beautiful! And I've got nothing else to do!

Jared: Except STUDY!

Rei's Inner Monologue: I sense an evil aura - is it a ghost? No demon or specter will haunt this sacred shrine! Not while I'm here!


Rei: Evil spirit, be gone!

You knew it was coming -

Rei: Huh? The girl from the bus?

Me: The one that was stalking and spying on me?

Seriously - it's amazing how well Rei took all that.

Rei: Still, it's strange. Phobos and Deimos usually don't usually attack regular people unless they've been provoked.

Jared: Ha! That is... sigh... of course the birds are named after the moons of Mars. Although, without the context, it's kind of creepy. A shrine maiden names her birds "Fear" and "Despair"?

Some women have come to the shrine looking for Mii, the little girl from the beginning of the episode. One of them is Mii's mother and asks Rei if she's seen her daughter lately. The other women eye Rei suspiciously.

Jared: You know, if this were an American show, those women would be rednecks.


Jared: Oh, not "Despair" - "Dread."

That doesn't make it better!

Me: Ehhhh... close enough.

Rei tells everyone about the urban legend of the Sixth Hill of Sendaizakaue and the people who supposedly disappear near there.

Jared: So how is there an urban legend about the sixth hill, if people only recently started disappearing?

Me: The bad guys probably taking already-existing legends and using them in their plans.

The next day, Usagi overhears MORE gossip at school about people who've disappeared on the Demon Bus.

Jared: The Exposition Friends strike again!

Me: How else is she supposed to find things out? Other than, you know, actually talking to people.

Luna wonders if Rei could be their missing princess - since Rei is so beautiful and mysterious and has spiritual powers. Or, she could be something more sinister.

Jared: Why does she think that? I mean, they're not hiding who the princess is! At all!

Me: But Luna hasn't seen the opening titles.

Also, Ami and Usagi have their communicator watch-thingies from the arcade. SELL ALL THE TOYS!

Usagi and Luna talk on the bus ride to Hikawa Shrine. And Luna is VERY careless about who she lets hear her speak.

Luna: *meowing VERY unconvincingly*

Usagi: Luna? What's the matter?

Yes, she's THAT oblivious.

The camera pans up to reveal that same guy that Usagi keeps running into. No fancy flower-vision, sadly (though this guy's significance is BEYOND flower-vision).

Jared: *inelegantly snorts*

Mamoru: We seem to be running into each other a lot. There's no need to scream.

Jared: *LOL's*

The guy is introduced as Mamoru Chiba, a first-year high school student. Which is MUCH better than him being a college students and Usagi a middle-schooler. Yep.

Still kind of awkward. Because, Usagi.

Jared: Love at first... avoidance.

Usagi gets up the courage to ask Mamoru about the Demon Bus, which he says it's this bus. Usagi has no answer to that, but to hold Luna over her head like she's trying to hide under her cat. This girl sure knows how to make an impression on a guy. 

Jared: Stare at Luna's butt now.

Indeed, Luna keeps making protesting "Meowing" noises at the indignity of it all.

Jared: Poor Luna...

Me: I think that should be the title of the show: "Poor Luna."

Back from "commercial" -

Rei is confronted by the same angry women from earlier. She insists that she can't help them find Mii and that her mother would be better off calling the police.

Angry Woman 1: Her child is missing! You're supposed to be psychic! Why don't you help her?

Jared: Oh yeah - TOTAL redneck. Is there a Japanese equivalent?

I have no clue, so Jared consults Google...

Me: I thought they were more like high-class society ladies.

Jared: It's the tone and the complete lack of grace...

Meanwhile, Rei talks about her tough childhood and how difficult it's been for her to have psychic/spiritual powers all her life.

Usagi: Oh Rei... everything will be okay! I'll help you find Mii!

Rei: Thank you, Usagi. But you should stay away from me.

Me: Rei's a LOT nicer to Usagi in this version. In the original anime, she can be a high-class beyotch.

Jared: mumble, mumble... something... intelligible... potatoes...

Me (genuinely confused): What?

Jared: Instead of being called "rednecks" for getting sunburned on the neck, they're called "Smells Like Potatoes."

Rei suddenly senses that Usagi's in trouble, so she goes after her. But rather than find Usagi, Rei instead gets captured by Jadeite, who is driving the Demon Bus.

Jared: Sleeeeeeeep...

Usagi sees Rei unconscious in the bus.

Luna: Do you think that could be the Demon Bus?

As the bus disappears into a wall...

Jared: That seems to be a pretty good indication!

Usagi uses the Moon Disguise Pen to transform and go after her. She transforms into a flight attendant.

Luna: Why did you change into a flight attendant?

Jared: Yes, WHY did you?

Usagi: It's my duty to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers no matter what!

Jared: *throws in hands in the air* Still makes no sense!

Usagi lets go of her bag and jumps to grab onto the bus at the last minute. She leaves behind her travel bad and flight attendant hat, as well as Luna, who is caught by Tuxedo Mask.

Jared: So what happens to the travel bag?

Me: It just gets left there, I guess. I don't know.

And we may never know.

Luna (calling Ami on the communicator): Ami! Ami! Can you hear me? Usagi is in trouble!

Me: Yes, Ami can hear you. And so can the entire cram school!

Jared: They wouldn't know it was the cat!

Luna just sucks at secrecy - let's be real here.

The bus travels to some shadowy and dark dimension where we see that Jadeite has been collecting unconscious humans for... reasons. Nephrite calls him out on this.

Nephrite: You should have just killed them, Jadeite.

Jadeite: There's a good reason to keep them alive.


Jadeite: Living hostages are better for luring out the Sailor Guardians.

Jared: I'm TOTALLY not a pansy Magical Girl villain! Nope, not at all. I'm not saying he should have killed them. It's not that kind of show.

I mock-punch him on the shoulder.

Elsewhere, Usagi frets about getting lost in this dark place and doesn't know how she's ever going to get out. Her progress is suddenly stopped.

Jared: And she just walks straight into a column.

The communicator goes off and Luna's voice comes through. She's with Ami back in the real world - and the cat is tying on Ami's laptop, trying to find Usagi.

Ami: Luna, can you track her location?

Luna: I need a stronger signal. This one's too weak.

Jared (laughing): Tap, tap, tap.

Me: I'm so glad you find this amusing.

Ami and Luna suggest Usagi transforms so they can get a stronger signal to find her. Which... she probably should have been transformed into Sailor Moon when she first got there - dangerous place and all that...

Jared: It's the different stuff, you know. They add the fingernail polish - and then they add gloves.

Me: It's double-girly.

Jared: Can normal people bend that far backwards?

Me: Gymnasts, maybe.

Jared: 'Cuz, I certainly can't! But maybe I'm not the best example...

Jadeite looms over Rei's unconscious form.

Jadeite: So beautiful. I'm strangely attracted to her, like we've met somewhere before.


I say nothing. I shouldn't even be mentioning it on the blog, since Jared reads it. But, he kind of figured it out, so whatever...

Then again, it wasn't THAT difficult. I was curious if he'd pick up on it, though.

Sailor Moon: I am the Pretty Guardian who fights for love and for justice! I am Sailor Moon! In the name of the Moon, I'll punish you!

Jared: Okay, so love and justice...

Sailor Mercury: I am the Pretty Guardian who fights for love and for intelligence! I am Sailor Mercury! Douse yourself in water and repent!

Jared: Love and intelligence, okay. So what's Venus going to be over? Love and love?

Me: Love and beauty.

Jared: So, love and love, then.

Me: Beauty doesn't necessarily mean love. I mean, look at the Kardashians.

Jared: OH GOSH NO! Do NOT bring that up! Do NOT mention them ever! I'd rather talk to a Cardassian and they're pretty nasty themselves.

We just referenced Star Trek and reality TV inside of a minute with this post. Make of that what you will.

The fight begins - and it's a knock-down drag-out clash.

Sailor Moon: When did it get so cold?

Jared: Well, when you wear skirts that short, it is a risk you run.

Jadeite starts to gain the upper hand in the battle.

Sailor Moon: Was this all a trap to get us here and take up prisoner?

Jared: Yes.

Rei starts to come-to and recognizes Sailor Moon's voice.

Rei: Usagi? Is that you? What's going on here?

Sailor Moon: No, Rei! It's not me! I'm not Usagi!

Luna: *facepalms*

Jared: *laughs* I like Luna's reaction. "Why are you even trying?"

Rei: Why are you fighting him?

Sailor Moon: Well, I kinda have to because I'm a Sailor Guardian. And normal people can't exactly fight evil like this! Ya know, 'cause power and, like, responsibility...

Jared: And now she's quoting Spider-Man. BUT - is it the cool Japanese Spider-Man with the mecha? Because that is totally a thing that exists.

Rei takes Usagi's semi-plagiarized explanation to heart and realizes that she has her powers for a reason. She grabs Jadeite's arm and stops him from attacking Sailors Moon and Mercury.

Jadeite: I wouldn't do that if I were you. You're only human.

Jared: I've heard this guy's voice before!

Me: It's Todd Haberkorn. Spock from Star Trek Continues.

Jared: It is? Wow. That's hilarious.

Me: I've told you that before.

Jared: That's the guy?? Okay.

The Mars symbol appears on Rei's forehead and Luna has a moment of clarity.

Luna: No doubt about it now! Rei! Catch!

She throws a red pen very similar Ami's blue one and Rei catches it.

Jared: Where did THAT come from?

Me: Luna has hammerspace. Or she just has kitty-pockets.

Jared: Hee - kitty-pockets. But that's not fair! I guarantee you they [meaning the Guardians] don't have pockets! So the cat has pockets, but the Sailors don't.

Me: It's like you said - if Luna had thumbs, she could take over the world.

Rei begins her transformation...

Jared: Techincolor! I always wonder why they do that with the outlines.

Me: You mean the silhouettes? I dunno... so something different?

Jared: I suppose. Oh, she gets heels huh?

Me: They all have "heels" - she just has pumps.

Jared: Oh, like I know what a "pump" is!

Sailor Mars: I am the Pretty Guardian who fights for love and for passion! I am Sailor Mars! In the name of Mars, I'll chastise you!

Jared: Love and passion, check!

Luna: I knew it, Rei! You had to be! You are one of the Sailor Guardians! You're Sailor Mars!

Jared: Thanks Captain Obvious!

Sailor Mars (inner monologue): Is that why I was born this way? With these powers? Was it all so I could help Usagi? As a Sailor Guardian?

Jared: Yep! You win!

Sailor Moon throws her Tiara Boomerang, and Sailor Mars finishes Jadeite off - just not permanently.

Sailor Mars: Evil spirit, begone!

Jared: I don't think he's actually a spirit, though.

Me: It's a translation thing again. The attack is actually [and I butcher it out loud] Akyrou Taisan. Basically, it just means "banishing evil."

With Jadeite defeated, the Guardians get the hostages back to the real world, including Mii. The little girl wakes up with her friend, Rei, there to greet her. And Mii's mother comes to find her.

Jared: Is this the first time we've actually seen police in this show? They've gone so far beyond useless that they're just not present!

Luna: Another Guardian found! Now, let's do the same for our princess!

Jared: And keep on talking in public, Luna!

She can't help it. Talking cats never can...

Another day, another bad guy defeated. Go get lunch, girls! Or dinner, by now.
Next Time: Episode 4 - Masquerade Dance Party

Previously: Episode 2 - Ami, Sailor Mercury