Monday, October 10, 2016

Jared Watches Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 5 - Makoto, Sailor Jupiter

For this installment, we are joined by our own world-dominating kitty - Plushie Luna!

One day I may show Jared the live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. The laughs shall be many.

The episode begins with a young woman in a school uniform walking in the rain, wondering when it will end.

Jared: Never! It will never stop raining! The world will drown!

Usagi is walking to school as well, and not paying attention to where she is going.

Luna: Usagi, you've got to be more alert! You don't pay any attention to your surroundings whatsoever!

Jared: Luna's not doing much better right now.

He has high standards for Luna.

Usagi walks out in to the road as a car is coming through. At the last minute, she is tackled out of the way by a stranger.

Jared: So, did she hear Luna talking?

He's also amused by Usagi's bunny umbrella.

The girl tells Usagi to be more careful and walks off. Usagi watches after her.

Usagi: Her perfume... smelled really nice.

Jared: Anything to distract from the near-death experience!

Me: She's in shock.

Jared: Coping mechanisms! WHEEEE!

And the opening titles roll...

Jared: Love Lightning! That's never gonna get old.

It certainly has become something of a tradition...

Jared: Oh hey - that's the goal! We do a magical girl campaign in D&D and one of them is a sorcerer. She casts lightning spells and she has to say "Love Lightning!" every time!

Me: Okay, that can be yours. She can be Akordia the Second.

Jared: Nah, Akordia's the anti-magical girl. She may be the right age, but other than that, she's dark and depressing...

These are the things we discuss during the opening credits.

Jared: Okay, her... I'm not even sure how to say this...

Me: Who?

Jared: Beryl. Her boob cups look like cat heads!

Me: What?

Jared: It's like... little horns! The purple parts!

Now I'm always going to see two Lunas looking at one another. What has been seen, cannot be unseen.

Jared: Oh sure, that'll be a great role model for little girls. A fourteen-year-old gets married to a high schooler.

Me: Better than in the 90s anime, when he was a college student.

The episode opens with Beryl berating her Boys about screwing up the last mission. Nephrite promises he'll do better next time.

Jared: Because you had such a great plan last time.

Nephrite plans to exploit that universal human weakness: Love. I chuckle knowingly. Remind me to say why in... about eight or nine episodes.

Back in the real world, Naru talks about her cousin's upcoming wedding and how she (Naru) had to try the dress on because her cousin was unavailable for the fitting. Now, granted, I don't know how things are in Japan - but usually if a bride can't make her own dress fitting, there is no dress fitting. She reschedules it for another time.

Minor quibble.

Umino comes in for his customary drive-by info dump about a demon ghost bride in a haunted dress shop. But Jared notices something else.

Jared: The shirts on the school uniforms are so unrealistic. They end right at the top of the skirt. If the raise their hands, that thing is going to ride up.

Which is why I could never be a Japanese schoolgirl.

Usagi and her friends daydream about being brides (which is where the splash image comes from), clearly not hearing the part about a "ghost bride". In her excitement, Usagi accidentally bumps into the girl who saved her from being an Usagi-pancake in the crosswalk that morning.

The new girl - who towers over everyone else - has to explain that she's wearing a different uniform because none of this school's sizes fit.

Jared: And it goes with color-theming too!

Me: In the manga, they also get after her for having naturally curly hair because they think it's a perm.

Jared: Sadly, I believe that. I mean, within a few miles of here, we've had people get in trouble for their naturally red hair.

Schools can be stupid sometimes.

Me: But she's so tall, she just towers over the guy and tells him what's what, so he leaves her alone.

Jared: It's not really that curly. It's more wavy.

A couple of boys go by whispering about the new girl and how she's some kind of "Amazon."

Jared: You know, the guys in this school are terrible gossips!

Usagi skips across the schoolyard singing about lunchtime. Jared laughs. It's quite gratifying.

Jared: Of course she has a lunchtime song.

Usagi exclaims at the new girl's lunch bag and matching box and that's enough to want to make friends.

Jared: Heh - her hair buns.


Usagi strikes up a conversation about the new girl's lunch when a loud metallic CLANK echoes across the nearby baseball field. Usagi looks up in time to see a baseball hurtling toward her face.

Usagi: Hah?

A split-second later, the new girl catches the ball one-handed.

Jared: That was just perfect! Just - "Hah?" OBLIVIOUS!

New Girl (throwing the ball back with great force): Be a little more careful next time!

Jared: Darn, missed seeing the impact.

Me: Missed opportunity...

The new girl remembers how the boys were whispering behind her back and calling her names.

New Girl (in a monotone): You shouldn't zone out like that. You could get hurt.

Me: Yeah, not having the girls gossip about her is kind of weird. I mean, guys don't typically care about that stuff, but girls will be BRUTAL with other girls.

Jared: Guys don't gossip like that, really.

Me: Especially not within earshot of the person you're talking about.

Usagi squees over the new girl's lunch and compliments her on her lunch bag and box. The new girl seems to open up more with Usagi because of it. Even though Usagi snitches a few bites of her lunch.

Jared: That is a good way to make friends, at least. Well, maybe not so much the mooching part. The complimentary part, yes.

New Girl: I just found this lunchbox at my old house, so I made a bag to go with it.


Me: She is easily impressed.

Jared: But doesn't she have a parent who cooks?

Me: It's amazing that she's met someone her own age who can cook.

Oh, and here I made the comment that the English voice actress they got for Makoto is my favorite casting choice. I know very little about Amanda Miller's past work or background, but her performance as Makoto is Spot-On-Pitch-Perfect-In-Every-Way. All the voice work in the dub is great, but Mako has an extra level of "special."  And it makes me happy because Makoto is one of my favorites - along with Ami. It's similar to how Ami is my favorite, but in a different way. It's hard to describe exactly. Regardless - it tickles me to no end just how great Miller is as Mako. I hold out a hope that Salt Lake Comic Con can get her to come at some point, just so I can meet her.

And I will probably gush over her the way Usagi gushes over Mako in this scene.

Oh, by the way - the girls finally learn each other's names.

Makoto tells Usagi that she hasn't made many friends because no one will talk to her. It's like they're all scared or something. Usagi laughs.

Usagi: Scared of a pretty girl with earrings and perfume? That's ridiculous!

Jared: She has a point.

Makoto asks if Usagi can show her around town.

Jared: Aren't they in Tokyo?

Me: A district of it, yes.

Jared: Bit big for that.

Me: It's just one local area - she wants her to show her around the neighborhood.

He accepts that answer.

Usagi's first tour stop is - what else - the arcade. Makoto plays the Sailor V game, and says it's just like fighting in real life. Usagi's amazed at Makoto's "Ultimate Attack." In fact, Makoto does awesome, until Motoki comes in and reminds her of "someone else." Also, Ami is there to meet with Usagi. 

Jared doesn't say much here, so that's why I'm just describing what's going on. I assume this means he's engrossed in the story. At least, I hope that's what's going on.

After a while - and giving their new friend a nickname - Usagi, Mako, and Ami go check out the bridal shop that's causing all these rumors - rumors so prevalent, that even Motoki heard about it (you'd think by now the girls would learn that anything that has crazy rumors surrounding it would be a place that they should be concerned with). When they get there, they spend some time looking at the wedding dresses in the window.

Jared: To be fair, this wouldn't be something that junior high kids would necessarily know about [explaining why Motoki told them about the bridal store rumors].

A couple of random women are also looking the bridal shop and talking about the rumors of missing grooms kidnapped by a ghost bride.

Jared: You know, the rumor mill around here is REALLY good! Yet no one believes it until it's too late!

Now it's Rei's turn to meet Mako. Rei almost instantly gets a... vibe... of some sort from Mako.

The conversation, of course, turns to the ghost bride rumors

Ami: Stop worrying Usagi. There's no scientific proof that ghosts are real.

Jared: You've fought monsters before!

Rei: If a weak man allows himself to be seduced, it's his own fault. I think all men are fools. I don't trust them.

Me (heavy on the sarcasm): She's a peach.

Jared: Yeeeeeeaaaaaaah...

It's not that I hate Rei - she's just never been my all-time favorite. And her snotty elitist attitude is a big reason why. I know that fandom thinks she's the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel, but I honestly don't see it.

Jared: Well, she is a shrine maiden. It's not quite a nun. I'm vaguely recalling that shrine maidens are supposed to be "pure" and all that.

Me: I suppose we could look it up. But then, there's a difference between taking vows of chastity and "All Men Are Pigs."

Jared: Well, yes. But one can lead to the other.

Me: This is true.

Back at the bridal shop, a mannequin is coming to life. Quite grotesquely.

Jared: Yes, because ugly contortions is great for seducing random dudes.

Me: She's probably trying to get off her display-post-thing.

The mannequin's eyes glow red and she hypnotizes Motoki, who's just randomly passing by...

Jared: So how is she targeting the fiance's if she's just wandering the streets like that? And who is he engaged to?

Yeah... some of the details of this episode kind of fall apart...

Possessed!Motoki tries to brainwash Makoto, and Mamoru *just happens* to see it going down from across the street.

Jared: No tux this time, huh?

Me: He didn't wear it in the episode with the Demon Bus. He was just in his school uniform then.

Jared: Yeah... it's just that the tux is so unusual. It's like - why ever wear that?

Usagi is having a dream where a mysterious voice is telling her to follow him. It's obvious who this "mystery man" is to everyone but her. Twenty-year old spoilers, you know.

She wakes up to see Tuxedo Mask in her window.

Jared: Aaaaaand... now he's Edward. From Twilight.

Me: Not really. There's a purpose behind this. He's not just staring at her while she's asleep. And he did wake her up.

Jared: Yeah, this time. He didn't last episode.

No pillows fly. This time.

Usagi follows Tuxedo Mask and wonders where he's taking her. Inner monologues are TOTALLY a thing in Crystal.

Jared: You know, on the one hand - he just took her out of her bed in her pajamas. On the other hand, having her change would be more awkward. And take time. Though I wonder if she has her brooch to transform with.

Rei and Ami show up just as Usagi finds the demon-ghost-bride.

Me: I can't decide if what Ami's wearing is pajamas or not. They look comfortable, either way.

Jared: I guess it depends on if those are leggings or pants underneath. If it's leggings, that totally could be pajamas!

I'm going with leggings. I like Ami's comfy style.

The girls do their transformation thing, which means that Usagi did indeed have her brooch.

Jared: I haven't commented on how the pens just float there. If they let go, it'd go *fwoop* [makes falling motion with his hands]

Jared: And they're in a hurry, so the transformation sequence gets done quicker.

Me: There's three of them now, so they have to save time.

Jared: How do they decide who gets boots and who gets... heels... whatever that is.

Me: I have a theory on how this works, but it takes time. So I will wait until the end to explain. Remind me.

Jared: Okay. Yeah - 'cause you've got the over-the-knee boots with Moon and Mercury. And Mars has normal heels.

Me: And you'll see what Jupiter has here in a minute.

Mars attacks with her ofuda/fire move.

Jared: Those were cool pyrotechnics.

Mars's attack misses (her intro episode is over, after all) and the Ghost Bride gloats, while also threatening to kill Mako.

Ghost Bride: No one move, or I kill the girl!

Jared: And of course she gets a black dress.

Nephrite appears and gloats some more. Mako realizes her mistake in trusting Possessed!Motoki. Guilt Trip ensues.

Jared: I was wondering why she'd gotten mind-controlled. They normally seem to be resistant to that. Then again, she didn't get it completely...

Me: She broke out of it.

Jared: And it's her episode too.

Me: Yes. And Ami got brainwashed in her episode for a while.

Mako remembers the day her senpai broke her heart with a really mousy-looking chick. Like, really - you give up the tall and gorgeous Makoto Kino for some random nobody?

It irritates me, okay? Boys are stupid.

Mako (inner despairing monologue): Love isn't real. I don't believe in anything anymore!

Sailor Moon: Don't say that, Mako!

Jared: Wait - now she can read minds?

Me: Inner monologues are loud.

Sailor Moon: I believe that each of us has a soulmate that we're destined to be with. Someday, I'll find my soulmate.

Jared: Well, you kinda already did.

Sailor Moon: There's someone out there for you too, Mako. I know there is!

Jared: Somehow, I imagine that being Guardians doesn't leave a lot of time for finding guys.

Me: That's kind of the tragedy of it.

Nephrite's had it with this lovey-dovey talk and he and the Ghost Bride start attacking the Guardians.

Jared: You all need someone with a shield! SHIELDS! Very useful things.

Mako's done taking everyone's crap. Luna shows up with a green pen for Mako.

Jared: I'm just going to stop asking where she's keeping these things. She must have pockets SOMEWHERE!

Me: Hammerspace.

Mako begins to transform into Sailor Jupiter, without any coaching from Luna. Make of that what you will.

Me: I love her transformation, where she brings her hand back and grabs the pen. It's so cool!

Jared: Oh yeah, the others don't do that.

Screengrabs don't do it justice -

I just freaking love Sailor Jupiter, okay?

Jared: The lightning is pretty cool.

Jared: Okay, so her shoes are halfway inbetween with laces - OH the laces! They're just like on her school uniform!

Me: I never made that connection. That's not my theory, but I like it!

Jared: The rest of it's pretty close.

Sailor Jupiter: I'll fill you with regret, it'll leave you numb!

Jared: Okay, that line didn't work so well.

Me: Translation issues...

Sailor Jupiter: No one can defeat the power of love! Flower Hurricane! 

Jared: I thought her power was lightning?

Me: There's a reason for it. Japan's name for the planet Jupiter is actually forest-related. So, Sailor Jupiter gets flower and plant-themed attacks as well as lightning ones.

Speaking of...

Sailor Jupiter: Jupiter, my Guardian Planet. Bring forth a storm. And bring down your thunder!

Jared: Oh, hey - she does do the whole thing with the antenna.

Sailor Jupiter is a freaking badass. That is all.

Jared: I find it hilarious that the mannequin loses her dress, then her skin, and then finally blows up.

The monster destroyed, Nephrite disappears, and a bunch of guys in formal outfits wake up in the basement of the bridal shop, clutching mannequins in wedding dresses.

Jared: The cops here must be completely useless. All the missing guys were in the store!

Sailor Jupiter realizes that the reason she moves schools wasn't because of the guy who broke her heart. It's because of her mission as a Sailor Guardian.

Sailor Moon: Now we get to have you as one of us!

Jared: One of us! One of us!

Luna chooses now to drop the bomb that Sailor Moon is the leader of the Sailor Guardians, because all four of them have now been gathered.

Jared: But... there's five. Sailor V's out there!

Seriously. Doesn't Luna watch the opening credits?

And here we've reached the Sailor Uniform Theory part of the program -

Jared: Okay, so the uniforms are basically the same. I mean, besides the color palette. Sailor Moon's is the standard design. Mercury's is the same, except she doesn't have the sleeves. Mars has heels instead of boots. And... I guess the same as Jupiter, except she has different boots?

Here is my theory that I've had for quite some time. First, a visual aid will be useful -

Click to embiggen
My theory is that all of the Guardians' designs have something that in common with Sailor Moon's final design -

Mercury: Blue skirt and collar
Mars: Red back bow, red glove cuffs, red choker
Jupiter: Green and pink are secondary colors based off of blue and red (blue -> green, red -> pink). The placement of Jupiter's secondary colors in her uniform (minus the color of her shoes) correlate to the placement of Moon's primary colors.
Venus: Blonde hair and blue eyes - physical characteristics she shares with Sailor Moon.

Sure, it's a long shot, but I like it. And I've held onto it for several years. And SM fandom can suck it. That is also an opinion I've held onto for several years.

Next Time: Episode 6: Tuxedo Mask

Previously: Episode 4: Masquerade Dance Party

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