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1:9 – Usagi’s Misfortune! Watch Out for the Rushing Clocks

Alternative Title: Our Misfortune! Watch Out for the Rushed Episode

First Aired: 9th May 1992

Episode9i

Jadeite notices that people who are rushing about tend to use up a lot of “energy”, and his latest plot takes advantage of this deep metaphysical law of the universe via an evil clock store. Nearly everyone in town buys one of the cheap demon-clocks, including Usagi’s mother. Now under the influence of the Monster-Of-The-Week (and, apparently, cocaine), Usagi must leave the thinking to Ami and her new miniature supercomputer. 

I normally watch an episode 2 or 3 times for these reviews. Alas, I could only bring myself to rewatch this episode the one time. It’s just awful. You can probably blame the team that produced it, naturally it’s the Ass-Grade Studio once again.

Usagi and Ami are having the time of their lives. Taking advantage of their youth and all that Tokyo has to offer, they run about a bit and try on sunglasses in a poorly animated sequence, one of many I’m afraid. The notion of Usagi and Ami getting to know each other is actually rather sweet – Ami up to now has been friendless, shunned aside for being the clever freak that she is.

Espying a brand new (evil) clock store, Usagi and Ami are taken aback by the low, low, crazy low prices. I have no idea how Jadeite is able to fund these malevolent business enterprises every week, perhaps he plays the stock market on the off days from the Dark Kingdom. Usagi would very much like to purchase a clock that greatly resembles Luna, but, alas, she’s broke from playing video games down at the arcade. Once again, a woman after my own heart.

I sort of love it

I sort of love it

To her great delight (and subsequent regret,) Usagi’s mother surprises her with the exact same cat-clock from the store. Luna is not particularly flattered by the comparison to the clock, and complains that she doesn’t look nearly as sneaky. I have to agree with her. In an episode that is poorly written and animated, watching Luna complain in her long-suffering voice is like an oasis in a desert of utter crap.

The next morning, Ami comes-a-knocking at Usagi’s door, only to find out from Usagi’s mum that the noisy girl has already set off for school. Mother expresses some very suspect behavior in this exchange. One might almost suggest that she’s suffering from delirium tremors from being away from her crack pipe for too long.

Artist's rendition of what Sailor Moon would look like on crack

Artist’s rendition of what Sailor Moon would look like on crack

School proves no more sane for Ami. People are rushing about, complaining that there’s no time to do everything they need to. The class teacher Haruna runs off for her 4 arranged dates that day, Umino is late for his snail-racing club (he’s the only member, a loneliness he really should be getting used to by now) and even Usagi seems incapable for staying in one spot for long.

Luna decides that Ami should have a new tool – a miniature supercomputer. Considering the power of this iPhone (remember, it’s 1992), it is bestowed on Sailor Mercury rather casually. Ami asks if Usagi shouldn’t be the one to use the computer, but Luna points out that Usagi is a fucking idiot.

Steve Jobs, eat your heart out. After you, ya know, rise from the dead

Steve Jobs, eat your heart out. After you, ya know, rise from the dead

Clearly this episode is Sailor Moon’s attempt to comment on the rat-race that is life in the city, especially in Japan. Kids go to school 5 days a week, sometimes 6 or 7, are expected to go to clubs most days, then there’s cram schools and private tuition and the study study study that they have to endure to get into high school and college. That’s only education, of course.

Most end up as salary-men and women (although it’s still mostly men, sadly), commuting vast distances into the city just to be able to pay rent. Hours are long, and although this is usually taken as sign of the industrious nature of the Japanese, from my own experience it is due to the inability of anyone in a company to make any decision whatsoever without running it by the boss. Such is the Japanese deference to authority that a great deal of inaction makes up the working day, and as a result they must spend more time working to make up for the indecisiveness. Don’t take my world for it – Japan’s GDP per capita is 23rd in the world, coming behind the UK and only marginally ahead of Italy.

That’s the detour of the day, folks, come back!

Actually, you may as well stay away, this episode just gets worse from here.

More sexualised imagery

More sexualised imagery

Luna realises that the cause of Usagi’s time-madness is the cat-clock, and delivers the thing to Ami. How in holy hell this cat, talking or not, was able to tie a clock to her back is beyond me. I would have loved to been in the story-board meeting for this one.

"We need to get the clock to Ami for this scene" "Just, uh, just strap it to Luna or something" "BRILLIANT" "No I was jo-" "I said, BRILLIANT"

“We need to get the clock to Ami for this scene”
“Just, uh, just strap it to Luna or something”
“BRILLIANT”
“No I was jo-“
“I said, BRILLIANT”

Upon opening the clock mechanism, Luna and Ami are surprised to find it empty, save for a poorly animated ball of light. Ami locates the source of the evil-time-manipulating-thing as the clock shop (of course it’s the bloody clock shop) and then a whole mess of crap happens.

"You called?"

“You called?”

Sailor Moon and Mercury suit up (as much as you can call it ‘suiting-up’ considering the small amount of cloth they actually wear) and bust into the store. There’s an alternate dimension, Sailor Moon gets really young for a second, the monster tries to stab her with a spear, and Ami’s computer loses its shit:

This helps you solve the monster's time-maze? THIS!? And you EXPECTED THIS!?

This helps you solve the monster’s time-maze? THIS!? And you “EXPECTED” THIS!?

It’s all boring, ugly and unimaginatively resolved when Tuxedo Mask breaks into the clock store himself, breaks the clock that is the source of the monster’s powers and leaves.

Everyone’s happy, yes? Except for the viewers, of course.

"You'll RUE they day you gave me a bad review, Vincent"

“You’ll RUE they day you gave me a bad review, Vincent”

All that can be said for this episode is that there’s a couple of great lines from Usagi’s classmates and Luna. Also, there’s only one episode that vexes me more than this one in the series, and it’s not for a while.

Next time: Sailor Mars. OH YES. BACK ON TRACK.

Episode Score: 1/5

Monster Freakishness Level: 1/5 (She had Sailor Moon pinned to the ground and couldn’t run her through with a spear. Pathetic)

Naru-chan Attack Count: (Oh yeah forgot to mention)

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