Monday, November 21, 2016

Jared Watches Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 8 - Minako, Sailor V

Jared's still on some housekeeping from the last episode, namely Zoicite's weapon of choice against Sailor Moon right at the end.

Jared: You know, that crystal-weapon-thing he was throwing was really stupid. It's like - waaaaay too wide. If you want to throw a spear at someone, you want it like *that* (here, he mimes something skinny and stick-like). He was throwing something like *that* (here, he mimes something big and wide). You do not throw a garbage-can-size spear at someone! That's overkill!

Especially with the noodley-arms!

He may have a point.

Regardless, it's time for All To Be Revealed! Kind of...

Jared: *spits* I've got hair in my mouth!

Me: What?

Jared: Not me - her!

Sort of takes the punch out of the reveal...

Jared: Do they not have scrunchies in this universe?

Me: They have those little bead-hair-tie-thingies. Jupiter wears one in her ponytail. You've probably never seen one in real life.

Like I mentioned before, Jared didn't grow up with sisters. Whenever I realize he doesn't know about some basic female beauty implement, I have to remind myself of this fact so I'm not completely shocked by these revelations.

Sailor Mars: Is she really the same Sailor V from the news and video game? Her costume seems different.

Jared: Slightly. No, 'cause there's totally a sixth Sailor Guardian running around. And why is Luna surprised?

Sailor V: I assure you, it's me. I've just never taken off my red mask before.

Jared: So why do it now?

Artemis: How rude! Show some respect! While it is true she is Sailor V, there is more. My mistress is of the Moon Kingdom, Silver Millennium. She is heiress to the sacred Legendary Silver Crystal. She is Princess Serenity!

Jared: Should you be saying all of this in front 
of the bad guys?

Me: Oh right - he's still there. I thought that he took off.

Jared: Nope. He just got stopped momentarily. At least he's being nice and letting them finish talking. I guess that falls under - how did Napoleon put it? - "Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake." Free intelligence!

That's the extent of the snark through the opening theme. At least, until the eyecatch image between the theme and the beginning of the episode - which is the image at the top of this post.

Jared: Shoulder pads were not a good idea. Do they actually explain why the outfit is different?

Me: Not in-universe. (Note: I have shown him the original designs for the Sailor Guardians.) 
Naoko Takeuchi's original designs for the girls' Sailor fukus.
I remain partial to Mercury's, personally. It's classy!

Jared: I mean, I know there's an explanation out-of-universe, but... eh.

Sailor Moon gets a new tiara (oh boy) and a lot of sparkly-magical stuff happens.

Zoicite's still there, unfortunately.

Jared: Yep! There he is! Sitting there this whole time, doing squat.

Me: He could even have been doing squats.

Oh, and Tuxedo Mask is all kinds of confused. 'Cause he dream about a mysterious princess that he thought was Usagi (I think). But then this other blonde chick shows up, calling herself Princess Serenity - and it's just a mess, y'all.

Tuxedo Mask: Princess Serenity? That name, it sounds so familiar... 

Jared: And now he's just having a bad time...

Really, if they wanted to stretch this subplot out a bit, there is definitely something to explore here. My own personal headcanon has a LOT to say about Sailor V, Tuxedo Mask, and the princess. But I'm sure fanfic has done it somewhere. Recommendations are welcome, just FYI.

Tuxedo Mask: Usako... I couldn't protect her...


Jared: Yeah...

Me: Just run away from your obligations there, dude.

I might just write that fanfic on my own. Adding it to the ever-growing list of things I've decided to do... Maybe for next year's NaNoWriMo...

Remember Sailor Moon's new tiara?

Jared: That is a really weird-looking tiara.

No kidding. It looks like a tiara for a longhorned cow. And I'm not the only one to make that joke.

Jared: This part's a little weird. I mean, we all know that she's not the princess. And I imagine she [Sailor V] knows that, so... why?

The Sailor Team also finds out that Sailor V and Artemis were watching them through the Sailor V game, and even talking to them through it.

Sailor Moon: Oh wow! So it was you talking to me through that video game! I thought I was going crazy!

Jared: Embrace the power of "and"!

Usagi: That it was Sailor V talking and Usagi was going crazy?

Jared: Yes!

The group goes to the arcade and meet up with Luna at the Command Center. 

Jared: I swear that console seems to get bigger in each episode. It's like - that thing's supposed to be built for cats, but it's massive! It's a little silly.

Artemis jumps up on the console, but doesn't participate in the conversation.

Jared: He [Artemis] doesn't talk much, does he?

Yeah, he kind of doesn't. Not in this season, anyway.

The silent partner.

Minako relates the story of how she became Sailor V and hers and Artemis's adventures in solving the mysterious crimes plaguing Tokyo.

Jared: Except for the ones Tuxedo Mask did, because you never saw him. He admitted to them!

Me: I should show you the first little bit of the live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.

Jared: With the puppet?

Me: Yeah.

Jared: The puppet's kind of creepy.

Me: This part doesn't involve the puppet.

Because I can interrupt a blog, I'm going to put this here for you, Dear Readers. You only need to watch until the 1:04 mark. I couldn't find a video with just the one clip -

There. Sailor V confronting Tuxedo Mask for his crimes of jewel thievery. And now you have the first part of the first episode of the series, which is all on YouTube, if you'd like to enjoy all the cornball-and-cheese-nonsensical-sparkly goodness You're welcome.

(EDIT 11/30/2016 - Well, this is embarrassing. After YEARS of PGSM being a steadfast staple on YouTube, it's been taken down for over copyright claims. Never mind that live-action Sailor Moon has NEVER been available for sale or official distribution in North America. I'm kind of miffed, actually. Unless this means we're getting a DVD/BluRay release from Viz or something... still looking for reasons why this has happened. But that's just sad, really. Especially since all I wanted was a two-minute clip of the damn thing. Oh well...)

Back to the task at hand -

Minako continues on her schpiel about the Dark Kingdom, enemies, troubling days ahead, destruction of the Moon Kingdom, Silver Millennium, yadda, yadda...

Jared: So, she pretty much remembers everything, then? And, yet she's still going through the whole charade.

Minako: This time, we have to seal it away permanently. We can't let history repeat itself. We must stop this thing once and for all!

Jared: Then, don't seal it away. Destroy it.

Usagi: Whatever you say, Sailor V... I mean, Princess.

Me: Okay, that whole "Sailor V, I mean, Princess" thing gets really old, really fast. She TOLD you her civilian name, for crying out loud! USE IT!

I have Opinions about such things.

Jared: Okay, you'd think they'd make her school uniform slightly different.

Me: Whose? Minako's?

Jared: Yeah.

Me: Hm....

Usagi: Good night, Princess!

Me: They keep calling her "Princess" in public!

Jared: Well, the cats are talking in public.

Minako: Time is running out. Soon, they'll remember everything.

Jared: Then why don't you just tell them?

Artemis: Minako, stop. You've been fighting on your own for so long. Let the others help you.

Minako: Artemis, I can't.

Jared: Why?

Minako: I have a mission. A very important mission. One that only I can carry out.

Jared: Is it just me, or is the shirt under her sailor-thing kind of oddly shaped?

He's talking about that white inverted-triangle-thing in the middle of her collar.

Me: There's this little... I don't know if it's quite a shirt, but it's this little piece that pokes up over her collar and that's part of it.

Jared: It's like a little... cone-looking thing.

Me: I think it's just part of the uniform.

After the "commercial" break. We are treated to a dream-like scene of a fierce battle taking place in a kingdom somewhere.

Me: The rivers ran red with blood.

Jared: I guess they didn't learn Rule #1: Pillage, then burn.

Not-So-Mysterious Shadow 1: Endymion!

Not-So-Mysterious Shadow 2: Princess Serenity!

Not-So-Mysterious Shadow 1: Endymion!

Jared: What did she call him??

Here, I burst out laughing. I don't know why. I suppose it wasn't the reaction I was expecting from Jared at this point. And I find myself ill-equipped to give an explanation between my hearty laughter.

Me: It's a *laugh* name from Greek *wheeze* mythology! *cough, cough, cough, laugh some more*

Jared: I've never heard... Indiman? Is that was it was??

To the Googles! I have to help him spell it.

We end up on Wikipedia. Same thing, really.

In Greek mythologyEndymion, was variously a handsome Aeolian shepherd, hunter, or king who was said to rule and live at Olympia in Elis,[2] and he was also venerated and said to reside on Mount Latmus in Caria, on the west coast of Asia Minor.[3]
There is confusion over the correct location of Endymion, as some sources suppose that one was, or was related to, the prince of Elis, and the other was a shepherd from Caria— or, a later suggestion, an astronomer: Pliny the Elder[4] mentions Endymion as the first human to observe the movements of the moon, which (according to Pliny) accounts for Endymion's love. As such, there have been two attributed sites of Endymion's burial: the citizens of Heracleia ad Latmo claimed that Endymion's tomb was on Mount Latmus, while the Eleans declared that it was at Olympia.[5]
However, the role of lover of Selene, the moon, is attributed primarily to Endymion who was either a shepherd or an astronomer, either profession providing justification for him to spend time beneath the moon
Jared is intensely interested in this portion of Greek mythology that he has - up until now - never heard of (bear in mind, he probably knows more about classical literature than I do. And that takes some doing). He's going to be a while.

Jared: But... the moon goddess was chaste! How does this even work?

Me: Wrong moon goddess, dear. You're thinking of Artemis/Diana. There was more than one.

Jared: He doesn't even look Greek. More like Middle Ages - with the armor and the sword...

Me: The author just borrowed the name. It really doesn't have any meaning beyond that.

He's less confused now. But I can tell he wants to look more into this. Who knew that magical girl anime could be educational, as well as fun?

Usagi wakes up suddenly from her nightmare. She's starting to realize that these are more like memories, than mere dreams. Maybe.

Usagi: I guess I dreamed that because I actually met the Princess the other day.

Me: But... why would you dream that you were the Princess? Think, kid.

Jared: Not really her strong suit. She kind of more, emotes.

Usagi: What does it all mean?

Jared: So, here's an interesting question: Could she Google "Endymion"?

Me: Possibly.

Jared: Do the Greek myths exist in this universe?

Me: They should. There's no indication that they wouldn't. She may just not put two-and-two together. She may not realize it's a Greek myth. I mean, it was pretty obscure for you.

Jared: Well, yes. But the question then becomes - if she's Serenity from before-times, and he's Endymion (Note: Yes, he's figured it out. It wasn't difficult.), what inspired the myth in Greece? I mean, Luna and Artemis and Endymion... not so much Serenity, I suppose...

He's caught a thread, y'all. He's theorizing! This is exciting!

While Jared's been caught up in theorizing, Usagi and Mamoru have met up in the park and Mamoru's kind of awkwardly apologizing for not being able to protect Usagi the night before. As with most anything with these two, it's damn adorable.
"My 'density' has bought me to you."
I'll let you decide which one's George here.

Mamoru: I'm sorry, Usako. I wasn't able to protect you. I'm ashamed to look you in the eye.

Jared: They really need to hear the quote - "God created men and Sam Colt made them equal."

Now we're imagining Tuxedo Mask with a giant Uzi showering bullets on Dark Kingdom minions.

Nearby, Luna is fretting that the fourteen-year-old girl that she's in charge of is actually interested in boys (OH NOES!), but Artemis comes to allay her fears about the future. Or the past. Or something.

Artemis: Before the Moon Kingdom fell, you had a place in the Royal Household. You used to look after the Princess.

Luna: What are you talking about?

Artemis: You still don't remember, do you?

Jared: Okay, so it's not Luna's fault!

Me: No. But - once Sailor V and Artemis show up, it's like tell them everything! Poor communication kills!

Jared: Yep.

In the Dark Kingdom, Queen Beryl is freaking out because the Moon Princess has shown up. But that doesn't make any difference to Queen Metallia because, crazy.

Metallia: This time, I will be victorious! And will reign over this world once more!

Jared: With no one to reign over! It's... kind of a flaw in your plan. Just saying.

Me: Villains really don't think these things through.

Also - Kitty Boob.

Me: Now that you've pointed it out, I can't unsee it!

Jared: You're welcome!

Kunzite goes to take down the "Princess." He finds Minako walking around town, isolates her, and give a "Menacing Voice-Over" so she can hear his demands.

Jared: Do the regular people just have selective amnesia? They keep falling over and passing out and searching their sock drawers for Crystals...

Me: It's just a normal Tuesday for them.

The girls run up to Minako, as if on cue, and invite them to dinner with them.

Minako: I'm sorry. I can't. I've got some errands to run!

Jared: Okay, that's just silly. She should have told them!

Me: That's what they're there for! You're a team! And the stupic thing is that she keeps insisting that she's the Princess, so they have to protect her, when in reality...

Jared: Yep.

Kunzite is tired of waiting (all twenty seconds of it) and cuts the power to the whole city. Luna, however, is Ultimate Kitty Prepper and probably has a monster power generator still running the underground computer console at the Command Center.

Luna (over the communicator): Can you all hear me? The electricity just went out all over Tokyo! And it wasn't an accident!

Jared: Which means that not only does she have a kitty computer, she has a kitty power source.

The girls find people passed out on the sidewalks and in the road (normal Tuesday, y'all) and realize that whatever caused the blackout also drained the energy from these people. The girls are okay, though Usagi worries about Mamoru (since, you know, he admitted he didn't have powers like she did and might not be okay).

Cut to: A pretty princess with blonde buns and pigtails in her hair (that don't look ANYTHING like anyone in particular that we would recognize AT ALL) floats in midair, screaming in terror.

You're fooling NO ONE, lady.
Mysterious Princess That We Don't Have Any Clue As To Who She Is AT ALL: Endymion! 

I'm at a complete loss, aren't you?

Me: Speaking of not being a team player...

Mamoru bolts out of bed from a dream, wide awake and full of energy. But he realizes that it was more than a dream. And this blackout isn't a normal blackout, either.

Jared: More indication that he has powers! He's immune to the weird effects.

Jared: And that's a weird light switch.

Mamoru looks out the window at the pitch-black-except-for-Kunzite's-green-power-bubble-floating-in-the-sky city.

Jared: You can see the green sphere just hanging up there! The next day, there'll be headlines saying "UFO Sighted Next To The Tower! Grainy Footage To Prove It!"

Minako looks up at the tower and begins to transform.

Jared: Eh, Jupiter's is better.

Maybe. We all have out favorites.

Jared: Although... her not saying anything there [Minako not shouting out her transformation phrase] - even if you hadn't ever seen this or knew the story, you'd would have to know that something's up.

Me: Well, yes! Because you're seen the dreams!

Sailor Venus confronts Kunzite one-on-one.

Sailor V: You got what you wanted, Kunzite! I'm here!

Jared: That's the problem with having your hair longer than your skirt.

Me: You look naked?

Jared: From behind, yes.

He kind of has a point.

It's Kunzite vs. Sailor V in a battle to the... something!

Jared: Okay, so she's been fighting these idiots for a while now. You'd think she'd be able to at least hold her own a little better.

Sailor V: Listen to me, Kunzite. Please don't do this! Remember who you are!

Kunzite: *has the good grace to look genuinely confused at her words*

Queen Beryl (over the Dark Kingdom telepathic pager thingy): Why are you hesitating, Kunzite?

Jared: Because she's spouting nonsense! What doesn't that mean?

Me: It's like watching an armadillo swim through a canal. That was a bad analogy... but it's like, you see something stupid, you just HAVE to stop and look!

Just in the nick of time, the other Sailor Guardians fly up in their team bubble and Sailor Moon does her thing. Her new tiara hasn't gotten any better.

Me: She looks like she has horns!

Jared: That tiara is really unfortunate.

Sailor V is determined to carry out her suicide mission, it seems.

Sailor V: Don't! Please! This is my fight!

Jared: WHY? Why?

See, if Sailor V is going to let the other Sailor Guardians believe the fiction that she's the Princess, and they've been told that their mission is to find and protect her, that's what they're going to do! 


The girls all proclaim their friendship as a group and it's sweet and cute - Sailor V accepts that this is a team effort and it's time to kick ass!

Unfortunately, no one told the scriptwriters and production team. When the girls all send out their attacks now, they might as well be pissing into the wind for all the good that it does.

Me: I would love for one of their attacks to DO SOMETHING! They all worked the first time they did 'em! Make a dent, faze them - anything!

Might get it...
...nope. Not a scratch.
Jared: He could at least dodge.

Me: That's one thing that kind of annoys me about this. The first time they use their attacks in each of their intro episodes - no problem! They take out the bad guys - even kills them. Every time afterward? It's pointless.

Sailor Moon winds up her Moon Healing Escalation - and it does about as good as the others did.

The windup...
...he does flinch, so that's something...
...and nope.
Me: See? Prime example!

Kunzite hits Sailor Moon and she goes flying. He also attacks the other Guardians. Sailor Jupiter grabs Sailor V - I mean, Princess - but Sailor Moon is SOL. 

Me: Look at that! They let her [Sailor Moon] fall, but they rescued the "Princess" who isn't really the Princess!
Boy, are they gonna feel dumb later.
But it's almost forgivable, since it Tuxedo Mask jumps in out of nowhere and saves Sailor Moon from the fall.

Jared: Wow! He actually get to have some heroics!

Me: He's doing your job for you! You're welcome!

Jared: And Luna still doesn't trust him. It's sad.

Me: Yes...

Sailor Moon tells Tuxedo Mask to get out of there because it's too dangerous and that he should leave the rest to her. Because, powers. And stuff.

Oh, and there's the small matter of the Big Damn Kiss.

Jared: And his brain just turned off. You can see it in his eye! Just... off! No one's home! I'm surprised he can manage to turn around!

Me: It's probably not a good time to lose brain function, at the top of a tower like that.

Tuxedo Mask - still processing what just happened - contemplates his and Usagi's future romance.

Tuxedo Mask (inner monologue): Who are you really? I want to know to everything. Who are you, Sailor Moon?

Jared: A constant crybaby. It's been established.

Me: He wasn't there for that.

Sailor Moon does the whole Donkey Kong jump up the tower to where the Sailor Guardians are in trouble and - like a freaking GENIUS - puts herself right in Kunzite's line of fire. Because she didn't have ANYTHING ELSE that could have stopped or at least distracted him.

I guess her Longhorn Tiara doesn't do the boomerang thing anymore. Why does she have that damn thing, anyway?

You could have prevented this, cupcake.
I just want you to know that.
Sailor V: Sailor Moon! Don't do it!

Oh NOW she wants to talk?

Jared: They had a shield up. Her plan was terrible.

Tuxedo Mask - flush with heroics and kissing and totally in love with Sailor Moon - does the only rational thing at this point and follows his lady love's lead. Though... given the tight spot these dumb girls have gotten themselves into, he really doesn't have much of a choice at this point.

Tuxedo Mask (inner monologue): Usako, I will protect you! And this time - I won't fail!

Well... damn.

Jared: His plan, at least, he didn't have time for anything else.

Sailor Moon: Tuxedo Mask!

Jared: And now... the wangst...

How little does he know. Though given his understanding of storytelling and tropes, he probably has it all figured out by now.

Fear not, loyal readers! For the project shall continue!

Next Time: Episode 9 - Serenity, Princess

Previously: Episode 7 - Mamoru Chiba, Tuxedo Mask

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