Sunday, September 18, 2016

Jared Watches Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 2 - Ami, Sailor Mercury

Confession: Sailor Mercury is my FAVORITE. Sailor Jupiter's great too, but Mercury has always been my all-time best awesome favorite character in Sailor Moon. So, yes - I'm more than a little in love with this episode.

To his credit, Jared is anticipating it as well.

Me: Are you going to watch or read?

Jared (looking up from his Kindle app on his phone): Huh?

Well, sort of. Good thing he's cute.

The episode opens in a classroom and the students are gaping at a blue-haired girl at the chalkboard working out a complex math equation. She sets the chalk down as she finishes and her teacher hands her a graded assignment, which shows she received a 100% perfect score.

Jared: Wait, was she doing math on the board?

Me: Yes.

Jared: So why was there math on the board, but the homework was English?

We may have to consult Leigh-Ann again...

Cut to later, outside the school - random boys are gossiping about the girl - Ami Mizuno - and how much she studies and keeps to herself. I always wondered why boys who cared to gossip gave a crap about a quiet, studious girl who never bugged anybody else.

Boy 1: She never talks to anyone.

Boy 2 (sees Ami): That's her! They both run for it.

Jared: How nice of them to be properly ashamed that she overheard.

Across the way, Ami sees Usagi with Naru and her other friends talking and laughing about how Usagi failed yet another test.

Me: So you know she's thinking "If I'm a screw-up like that girl, I will probably have friends."

Jared: She's thinking it.

Opening Credits Roll with "Moon Pride"

Jared: You know, "Love Lightning" aside, at least the song makes sense. A lot of them [meaning anime theme songs] don't.

Me: Nope.

Jared (illustrating how much of a goofball he is): Love Lightning! Love Lightning!

He pokes me every time he says that. I'm tempted to make the audio of him saying it into a ringtone.

Me: The theme song of Season 3 makes no sense either. It's probably my least favorite of all the songs they've done for Crystal.

Jared: Darn...

We'll get to Season 3, I'm sure. I will have PLENTY to say then.

End opening credits, and the splash image of Usagi and Luna -

Jared: Luna's size is inconsistent! She changes sizes! I'm not wrong!

Me: You're not wrong. To be fair, anime artists have a really hard time drawing animals. When we watch Fushigi Yugi and they draw horses - it's terrible. They tried.

Jared: I prefer the Sanderson approach [meaning Brandon]. Just don't include horses. He has riding insects of some kind. I forget.

Int: Dark Kingdom. Jadeite is summoning his "Earth Golems."

Jared: That looked like a punk elf.

Back in Tokyo, Usagi gets home from school and Luna tells her to take her responsibilities as Sailor Moon more seriously. Usagi whines that she doesn't want to fight anything that scary again.

Jared: Cat fight!

Me: *glaring*

Jared: It was!

Luna continues persuading Usagi to be better at being a Sailor Guardian. In the process, she provides one of many info-dumps.

Luna: You need to find the other Guardians. You'll need their help to find our Princess and protect her!

Usag (dreamy eyed): More Guardians and a princess, huh?

Flashback to Tuxedo Mask.

Usagi: You mean like Tuxedo Mask?

Jared: Yes. He's TOTALLY a princess.

Usagi: And like Sailor V?

Jared: Closer.

Later, Luna is in their secret base typing away at a database. 

Jared: Luna at the keyboard is just the most hilarious thing ever. She has no thumbs! No thumbs!

The next morning, the students at school gather around the posted scores of a recent test. Everyone is exclaiming at the "genius girl" Ami Mizuno and her perfect scores. Usagi bemoans her awful academic performance.

Naru: No one expects you to get scores like that!

Usagi: I know, but did you really have to say it?

Jared: Yes.

Umino pops out to deliver his info-dump setup for this episode, which involves the Crystal Seminar cram school.

Everything you need to know about Umino in one screengrab.
Umino: I heard they recruited Mizuno pretty aggressively and even let her come extra hours to study more!

Jared: You'd think he'd be upset. His whole bag seems to be "obnoxious smart person."

Ami's mom - the rich and famous doctor - is mentioned.

Jared: Do we ever see her mom?

Me: Maybe in one of the later seasons? Season 4, perhaps?

Jared: We haven't seen her (Usagi's) dad yet, either..

Later, Usagi is walking home, bemoaning her grades.

Usagi: These are horrible! Mom's going to kill me for sure this time!

Jared: Those are FAILING!

Usagi also notices Luna meeting up with Ami.

Usagi: Luna? What is she doing with the genius girl from Class 5?


Me: Popular fan theory is that Luna sometimes wishes she could be Ami's cat.

Usagi and Ami meet for the first time and it's damn adorable.

Usagi (to herself): If I become friends with her, she can teach me how to study so I do better on tests. Then I can be a genius too!

Jared: It's not the worst plan ever...

Me: No. I mean, Usagi becoming a genius might be a bit of a stretch. But doing better on tests, yes. That is doable.

Jared: Or her studying at all. What was the line last time? "I tried my best! I'm going to bed. No homework tonight!"

Usagi takes her new bestie, Ami, to the arcade. She introduces her to the Sailor V game and Motoki (the order of importance between those two is debatable).

Jared: So where did Luna go? I mean, Usagi knows she's fine, but you don't want to let cats wander around all over the city.

Ami tries her hand at the Sailor V game and finds out she's pretty good at it. She begins to draw a crowd, who marvels at her skill at the game.

Jared: So, it looks like the animation budget was a little tight here. Consider it was, what, five or ten seconds of her playing and just her mouth moving slightly?

Me: Yeah... they kind of cheapied-up on some of the budget.

Jared: You'd think they could afford... I mean, they know it's going to do well! It's Sailor Moon!

Note: I seriously don't want to get into the animation/budget/corporate decision woes at Toei that made fans bitch about these first two season relentlessly. I really, really, really don't. If you're thinking of making such comments here, go find some impotent Tumblr page to rage and vent. This isn't the place for it.

Back to the episode - a fancy blue pen falls out of the coin return on the game, which Ami claims. Motoki wonders where it came from, since the game isn't supposed to give prizes. Usagi wants one too, and she shakes the machine until she gets a pink one with a gem on top.


 I say nothing.

Jared: Where did THOSE come from??

I still say nothing.

Usagi: Oh, I just called you "Ami"! Since I used your first name, you can call me "Usagi!"

Jared: I assume there's a "-chan" after that in the Japanese?

Me: Yep. They dropped all the honorifics in the dub. Which, I can understand why. It's probably better to drop it entirely than get it horribly wrong. But they do kind of lose something without a few of them.

The girls take their prizes and their newfound friendship and leave the arcade. Luna watches them both from across the street as they go.

Jared: Wait, wait, wait - I assume Luna was behind that [the pens]. But she's across the street, up a story or two.

Me: She's not the only one running the thing...

Ami heads to her cram school, Crystal Seminar, where the teacher in charge guilt-trips her into using the freaky-deaky study disk.

Jared: That purple - no, not even purple. Lavender. That lavender suit is atrocious.

Jared: And why's it called "Crystal Disk"? These bad guys are very bad at naming things. Gratuitous English. Thank you, Japan.

The next day at school, at least one of the girls Usagi hangs out with is acting weird. She's been going to Crystal Seminar.

Jared: But did that place just open? Thank you exposition friends!

Ami is in the library studying. She decides to take notes with her new blue pen from the arcade.

Jared: So it actually works as a real pen, huh?

Me: Yep. Gotta sell ALL the toys!

Usagi finds Ami and exclaims over their new pens. She also invites Ami to come get ice cream with her and her friends. Ami clearly wants to, but she remembers that guilt-trip-scary-Crystal-lady needs her to study and do her best. There's also some weird glowy-green-eyes thing going on.

Ami: Sorry, I need to study.

Jared: Okay, her eyes just changed color. You'd think she'd notice.

Me: This is Usagi we're talking about.

Jared: Yeah, but they're frickin' HUGE! I mean, her eyeballs alone must take up a third of her head! Each! HUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE!

Me: You're thinking that anime actually follows physics or biology!

Jared: Some physics have to work!

Me: Not with those leg-lengths.


Usagi ends up outside Crystal Seminar (so much for ice cream). Someone is handing out fliers to advertise for the Seminar. Ami is featured in the advert.

Jared: Aaaaaand... toss for the head...

Luna: Hey, Usagi! Don't litter!

Me: Three... two... one...

"Mysterious" Male Voice: Hey!

Me: There it is.

Usagi hits someone with the crumpled flier. It's the same guy from the first episode - tuxedo and all.

Mamoru: Hey! Bun-head! I am not a garbage can.

Jared: Okay, that was a pretty funny line! And hey - sunglasses!

Mamoru: That cat was talking just now, wasn't it?

Jared: HA HA HA HA HA!

Usagi: Cats can't talk to people! Don't be ridiculous!

Luna: Meow!

Jared (still laughing): That's a really bad meow! And he's still wearing a tux in public. "I'm not a trash can..." that was pretty good.

Usagi and Luna go back home and try out the Crystal Disk that Ami left behind on Usagi's computer.

Jared: Is that a bunny on the laptop?

The computer starts acting weird and a strange voice starts speaking. The screen flickers and sputters. Luna and Usagi keep staring at it.

Jared: Maybe don't stare at the brainwashing device?

Luna: It's a brainwashing program!

Jared: So stop looking at it! Maybe? No? Maybe?

Usagi and Luna go back to Crystal Seminar, but no one is being allowed inside. Two guards are posted at the door. Luna explains that Usagi can use the pen she got at the arcade to disguise herself and get inside without anyone giving her a hard time.

Usagi: Moon Power! Change me into a doctor! 

Jared: Except, it's a cram school. Okay - yeah. Disguises. Great! Lovely. Useful power. It's a cram school. For students. Why change into a doctor?

Me: She begged "Emergency!" It worked!

Jared: No, the plan isn't the problem. The plan's actually fine. They didn't need a plan. She could have just walked right in. It's a cram school.... Well, it is after hours, so I guess it's fine. That was a ridiculous doctor outfit, though. The skirt was almost as short as the Sailor Moon one.


Inside, scary guilt-trip lady is towered over Ami, who is brainwashed and working feverishly to do her "master's" bidding. Guilt-trip lady berates Ami for having the new blue pen, which reminds Ami of Usagi and the brainwashing starts to break. 

At that moment, Usagi busts into the room.

Usagi: I'm here Ami!

Luna rushes at Guilt-trip lady and smacks her in the face, forcing her to let go of Ami.

Jared: *laughs* Okay was pretty cool from Luna. BAM! to the face!

It's obvious who Jared's favorite character is so far.

Guilt-trip lady demands to know who Usagi is.

Usagi: Well... you see... I'm... I'm a doctor!

Jared (still laughing): Yeah... (in a girly voice, which is funny hearing from him) "I'm a doctor!"

Usagi announces that she knows the secret of the brainwashing disk. Which Guilt-trip lady doesn't take kindly to, since she turns into a monster. Usagi transforms into Sailor Moon - yes, in front of Ami.

And here, Jared notices a key detail of the transformation sequence.

Jared: Does this mean she doesn't have any fingernail polish? 

Me: ...she wears gloves.

Jared: No, but it just put it on!

Me: It did! And then she gets gloves!

Jared: But, the point is she didn't have polish on before. You'd think a girl like this would have fingernail polish most of the time.

Me: Usagi probably bites her nails.

Jared: *thinks for a moment* I am willing to accept that explanation.

Transformation things happen here... it's hard to come up with new and exciting ways to describe it each time. Just think lots of ~*~glitter~*~...

Jared: Okay, I noticed something that time. Her eyebrows. Reminds me of a line from "Epic Rap Battles of History" - the Eastern Philosophers vs. Western Philosophers: "You need to make your eyebrows fit better on your face."

Of all the things he notices... Eyebrows.

Jared: 'Cause her eyebrows just kind of wandered off the edges a bit.

Sailor Moon does her pre-fight speech, while also throwing in awesome things about being Ami's friend. And the monster starts just kicking Sailor Moon's butt. She tries the supersonic crying thing again, but it doesn't work.

Me: Give the bad guys credit. Whatever moves work against them one time, they got back and make sure it doesn't happen again.

Jared: At this point, I kind of blame Luna. It should have been clear that they needed a tactical planner. At least, temporarily.

Sailor Moon is in big-time trouble. And that's what breaks Ami out of the brainwashing. Luna tells Ami to use her pen to transform.


Me: Look at her little fist!

Yes, do look at Luna's little kitty-fist -

Favorite things :)

Jared: I don't think cat's fingers move that way. But it was pretty impressive, though.

Me: Luna types on a keyboard!

Jared: Fair enough.

Putting aside the fact that a cat is talking to her, Ami does as instructed.

Jared: And, of course, her transformation sequence is not as long.

Me: Nope. Her name isn't in the title, after all.

Jared: Wait a second - I thought she had sleeves.

Me: Mercury doesn't, no.

Jared: Oh.

Sailor Mercury: I am the Pretty Guardian who fights for love and intelligence! I am Sailor Mercury!

Jared: Seriously - how does she know to say that?

Me: Muscle memory?

Luna: You're the second Guardian we've been searching for! You're Sailor Mercury! Our team strategist!

Me: That's a MUCH better translation in the dub than what's in the Japanese. In the Japanese, she's the team's "brain."

Jared: Yeah, that's quite a bit better.

Monster: What the hell?

Jared: Heh - yeah. She's still here too.

Back to the topic of the post-transformation speech thing -

Jared: It must be instinctive or something.

I don't say anything.

Meanwhile, Sailor Moon is still pinned to the wall. Then, something slashes her out of her bonds and Tuxedo Mask is suddenly there.

Jared: Wait - how did he get her out?

Me: Some questions, we just don't know the answers to.

Jared: Something sharp was involved!

Sailor Moon beats the monster, everyone gathers to regroup.

Sailor Moon: Where did Tuxedo Mask go?

Me: I know my priorities...

Meanwhile, on a nearby roof, Jadeite grumbles about his most recent loss.

Jadeite: Now there are two Sailor Guardians to deal with.

Jared: THREE! Three, sir, three!

Me: Three?

Jared: Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, and Sailor V.

Later, Ami marvels at her newfound powers and wonders where the pen that she used to transform came from.

Ami: I can't believe I transformed with that pen. Did I win it by chance?

Luna: I have no idea.

Jared: Luna is the ultimate schemer!

Me: I'm glad you like Luna.

Jared: I mean, sure she doesn't have thumbs. Imagine if she did! She could rule the world!

Ami: Let's go home and have a meeting! There's so much I want to ask you about.

Usagi: A meeting? Right now?

Ami: I have so much to learn! I can't wait another second! Hurry! Hurry!

Jared: Yes! This is where you learn to study!

Usagi: But I'm tiiiiiiiired...

Me: That plan didn't work out so well, did it?

Jared: Eh... eventually it might. Then again, I can't really imagine her going to high school. With those grades? Uh-uh...

Me: Should I tell you? It's not that big of a spoiler.

Jared: Sure...

Me: She does go to high school.

Jared: Oh, so it DOES pay off eventually!

Sure, we'll go with that.

I have no reason to put this here. I just like her face.

Next Time: Episode 3 - Rei, Sailor Mars

Previously: Episode 1 - Usagi, Sailor Moon


  1. If this format works for you, maybe the four of us could get together to do an MST3K-style roast of a series. Something we haven't seen, or something we could all agree upon in advance. ;)


    1. I'd be cool with that. Just have to make sure we're consistent with it :D

  2. See how you like this, and maybe after a few weeks we can try something. It might be fun to do some cross-blog stuff too. Maybe get Jared writing some more. ;)