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1:4 – Usagi Will Teach You How To Lose Weight!

Alternative Title: Body Issues? LOSE WEIGHT, SAILOR FATTY

First aired: 28th March 1992

Episode4b

Usagi is suffering from severe body dysmorphic disorder. Despite being obviously perfect (physically at least – her brain is another issue), she’s become obsessed her weight. Like most women, she is subject to the unrealistic and harmful expectations of feminine beauty in society. Usagi’s family attempt to help her overcome her imagined weight issues by calling her fat. Upon the advice of her classmates, she visits a brand new totally-not-evil gym. Little does she know Jadeite is now trying to sell his brand new not-evil P90X workout, which is TOTALLY EVIL. How dare you take advantage of women’s image problems, Jadeite!?

The episode opens well enough – Usagi in a bath towel. This is probably the most overtly sexualised Usagi has been up to this point in the series and you know what? It’s a little more awkward now that I’m older and wiser and in my mid-20s. It becomes even more awkward when Usagi has to be given a “talk” in the dining room after she’s worried that she’s fat.

You know what her family says to her? “You’re chubby, but that’s OK” – what a lovely sentiment! Things quickly turn sour when they discuss why she’s so fat – all the eating, they suggest – and poor Usagi is left feeling like a goddamn hippo. It’s not nice.

Great parenting, guys. Really top-notch work here. This is totally normal behaviour

Great parenting, guys. Really top-notch work here. This is totally normal behaviour

Luna doesn’t help the 14-year-old’s image problems. Although she normally takes the role of guiding-mother, in this episode she frequently reduces Usagi to tears by commenting on how fat she is..

Wow. This episode is a little messed up. Body image problems were becoming a major issue for the health of women, and this episode was obviously trying to discuss the issue. Unfortunately they do this by making everyone fucking crazy, even for Japanese people. It must be an early 90s thing. It’s just not that fun.

Not pictured: a balanced psyche

Not pictured: a balanced psyche

Aside from the uncomfortable subject matter, the episode was written and drawn by the crappy studio. I’ve decided to give the 3 distinct studios involved in the making of Sailor Moon names, just for parsimony.

1) A-Grade Studio: These guys do the important stories with the best writing, and their episodes are just gorgeous.

2) B-Grade Studio: These episodes are well written on the whole, but the drawing style is obviously different. Not totally bad, but characters tend to look a lot more hastily drawn and a little squished.

3) Ass-Grade Studio: Some animations are only 2 or 3 frames, faces look flat and sharp and the writing BLOWS. This episode is the archetype for this.

"Hey, Yoshi, your shitty 4-year-old slipped a drawing into the episode again!"

“Hey, Yoshi, your shitty 4-year-old slipped a drawing into the episode again”

ANYWAY. Back to the episode. Usagi and Naru are discussing their non-existent weight issues with 2 classmates I don’t think we’ll ever see again. Let’s call them Kermit and Miss Piggy. I think this scene attempts to vocalise the self-conscious worries of teenage girls, but things quickly become sidetracked as Miss Piggy goes on about pineapple and Kermit rambles on about how nice it would be if love made you lose weight.

Yeah, keep dreaming Froggy. Maybe you’ll burn some calories off your brain.

Hey guys, guess what? Miss Sakurada has totally gotten thin by going to this new gym, and Umino has pervert pics to prove it. The eeriest thing about these pictures is not that Umino took them, or that Sakurada clearly didn’t need to lose weight, but that she’s clearly looking into the camera and smiling in one of the photos. Maybe 14-year-old losers with behavioral issues gets her off. Oop, just made myself barf in my mouth a little.

"OK Umino, hand over the roofies and no one has to die"

“OK Umino, hand over the roofies and no one has to die”

The girls decide to visit the same gym, in which Jadeite is posing as a fitness instructor called Jed (BRILLIANT!). After a poorly-drawn work out featuring large beefy men instructing little girls in tight bloomers how to sweat more, Usagi decides to get the hell away from Jed’s evil workout regime, opting instead for a nice jacuzzi. Clever girl! It’s this laziness that saves her from the fate that awaits her friends – energy sucking pods in the basement!

"Don't worry, these ominous penis-pods definitely won't kill you"

“Don’t worry, these ominous condom-pods definitely won’t kill you”

Quite frankly these pods are amazing. Apparently the pre-cursor state of the “Energy” that Queen Beryl loves so much is human fat. If she’s willing to give me a free liposuction, then I really don’t see the problem of donating a few pounds to the Dark Kingdom.

Unfortunately the pods are killing Ms Sakurada and Usagi’s classmates – they’re too thin! Ahh the evils of self-improvement! The real shame is that if Jadeite took only a bit of energy and kept his shit on the down-low, he’d be a billionaire.

"Billionaire? Do you know how many purple-tinted glasses for that!?"

“Billionaire? Do you know how many purple-tinted glasses for that!?”

Usagi, meanwhile, hits rock bottom after drooling after a small child’s dumpling, scaring him so that he runs off crying. She’s so hungry that stupid-lame Motoki has to revive her after she faints. Motoki reveals himself as a perverted feeder who gets off on fat chicks, and Usagi is happy to eat again!

"I find childhood obesity hilariously attractive. Eat this dumpling"

“I find childhood obesity hilariously attractive. Eat this dumpling.”

…Until the mysterious handsome awesome stranger calls her fat. And then Luna calls her fat. And she goes all diet-crazy AGAIN. This episode is all over the place. Actually this whole middle section is rather fun.

Usagi goes exercise-mad in the evil gym, freaking people out with her zeal. She only comes to her senses after Luna threatens to slice her face to shit – her one weakness! – and finally transforms into Sailor Moon.

"Bitch I will cut yo face unless you Moon Prism Power"

“Bitch I will cut yo’ face unless you Moon Prism Power right now.”

The final fight is noteworthy for one reason – the big beefy gym instructors have been brainwashed and attack Sailor Moon when she tries to destroy the miracle thinning pods in the basement, and our heroine must kick the living snot out of them with her bare fists, all the while counting how many calories she’s losing. It’s really rather cool, or at least it would be if the animation wasn’t so crappy. Cheers, Ass-Grade Studio!

The episode ends with Usagi’s little brother Shingo playing a trick on her, leading her to believe she’s gained 300 pounds, and she succumbs to a self-destructive eating disorder. That’s a pretty good joke, Shingo.

Episode Score: 2/5 (It’s pretty bad, you guys.)

Monster Freakishness Level: 0/5 (Eating disorders are the real monsters)

Naru-chan Attack Count: (That girl needs to start carrying a gun or something)

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