1:16 – Dream of a White Dress! Usagi Becomes a Bride
Alternative Title: Learn To Settle, Because You’re Only A Real Woman When You Get Married
First Aired: 27th June 1992
Usagi’s home economics teacher Ms Akiyama has become incredibly boring ever since she got engaged, but there’s no time to worry about her perplexing mood swings (she’s being manipulated by Nephrite’s monster) because there’s a homemade wedding dress competition being held! Usagi and Rei become furious rivals, but unfortunately the competition is disrupted by a giant horrid spider erupting out of Ms Akiyama’s wedding dress. Lovely.
This isn’t the best filler episode, but neither is it the worst. Although the comedy is great throughout (as are most of the B-Team episodes), there’s not much else to hold your attention. Also, Nephrite looks really freaky.
Usagi is sleeping in class. It’s actually understandable this time, the class is super boring. For one thing, it’s home economics (only exciting when the sewing machine gets away from you and there a re a lively few seconds of wondering how many times your finger has been punctured) and for another the teacher is out to lunch.
Sighing, blushing, looking wistfully into the distance, we all know what these symptoms are.
Outside, over ice-cream, Naru-chan and Usagi are complaining about the lesson. Umino appears as if from nowhere (he seems to have been hiding underneath Naru’s skirt, which would make that the second time this series so far) and informs Usagi that Ms Akiyama has lost her mind because she’s gotten engaged at the apparently advanced age of 34.
In one breath, Umino has revealed a number of backwards social assumptions about women and marriage in 1992 Japan.
Suffice it to say that Usagi is horrified at the thought of being unmarried at 34, and announces loudly to her friends that she intends to be married by 25 to a super-hot guy. Umino is distraught (being the inverse of super-hot) and Naru looks as though she doesn’t give a crap.
I imagine that there’s a lot of “not giving a crap” when Usagi starts talking.
Meanwhile, Haruna (she’s Usagi’s homeroom teacher, if you’d forgotten) bumps into Ms Akiyama outside of a dressmakers. This entire conversation reeks of desperation, with Haruna making jokes about how sad and lonely she is, and how she plans to find someone to marry at Ms Akiyama’s wedding. It’s really awkward. Ms Akiyama reveals that she plans to make her own dress, and the camera pulls away to reveal…
…Baby Face Nephrite stalking her in a car. ARHHH! KILL IT. Where’s my beautiful lithe billionaire, and why does this man have the face of a baby?
So it should be obvious now that Ms Akiyama is Nephrite-Baby’s next target.
What plot contrivance could possibly bring together marriage-crazed Usagi and wedding-dress-making Ms Akiyama? Why, a “handmade wedding dress contest”, with the winner getting a free wedding reception! That’s convenient.
Usagi goes momentarily insane, picturing herself in a beautiful (?) wedding dress standing beside Tuxedo Kamen. Aww how romanti-OH. Motoki is there too. So is he the best man or someth- oh he’s the, uh, other groom? That seems perfectly reasonable.
Rei is also bananas for the wedding dress competition (come on ladies, we live in a world where not every woman has to be marriage nuts, right?) but suddenly shows a keen interest in visiting Usagi’s housewife mother. Usagi is understandably suspicious.
What ensues is a great scene of Rei trying to schmooze up to Usagi’s mother without Usagi being able to figure out quite what Rei wants. As it turns out, she wants Usagi’s mother to teach her how to sew a wedding dress, a request which sends Usagi and her mother into gales of laughing. Apparently Usagi’s mother is no better than her daughter at sewing. Rei leaves in a huff. Considering she got tea and cake, she’s awfully ungrateful.
I’ll forgive her though, because that’s what you do when you’re in love with a fictional Japanese girl who can transform into a superhero.
You’ll notice at this point in the episode that very little plot has occurred. I don’t mind that so much, so long as the climax is worth it.
Usagi goes to bother Ami, who is perplexed by her wish to become a bride (YES THAT’S MY AMI-CHAN!), and tells Usagi to hit the books if she wants to learn how to sew. If her plan was to shut Usagi up and make her go away, then well done Ami, it worked.
Fabric store: interior. A retail riot is taking place, probably from the homemade wedding dress contest. Ms Akiyama is approached by Baby Face Nephrite, who prances about in purple silk for a bit (seriously, he’s fucking creepy here), then hands it to the star-struck teacher. Poor Ms Akiyama is now infected with monsterism, bless her heart.
Once again I’m left wishing we had more Nephrite time. My heart is breaking from these far-too-brief encounters.
Usagi and Naru are discussing the competition when they espy a short chubby man (ok so this sounds like me) holding a bouquet of flowers. Usagi remarks accurately, if cruelly, that he looks like a loser. Who’s door should he knock on but Ms Akiyama’s!
Yes! This is who Ms Akiyama settled for at 34. It’s sad to think that the show is implying that he isn’t good enough for her because he’s short, unattractive, poor and terribly dressed (…maybe they have a point) but hey, 1992, what can you do but shrug?
Akiyama has undergone something of a transformation, being dressed provocatively, wearing heavy mascara. Also her eye colour keeps changing from blue to green, and she’s SO MEAN to poor ugly short man. Evidently the monster power has made her go nuts to ramp up her energy levels.
After some more hi-jinks with Rei (who tries to steal her shrine’s wedding komono) and Usagi (who tries to steal the drapes to make a dress with, as if that makes any sense) we cut to the competition. Luna is now aware that Ms Akiyama has gone all freaky, and sends Usagi in to compete to keep an eye on her.
Usagi is incredibly happy for the excuse to use the Transformation Pen, but is sharply reminded that she’s not allowed to win because that would be cheating. Ami and Luna are such buzzkills.
In the contest, there’s no sign of Akiyama, until the lights go down and reveal the terrifying image of the Evil Queen from Snow White (is that what she’s called?) descending onto the stage. What an entrance…
It seems that Ms Akiyama is no longer concerned with winning the contest since she now has the magic power to make anyone, men and women, infatuated with her. Her horrendous laugh conveniently knocks out every single person in the room except for Usagi before the monster comes out.
It’s horrible, but sort of weirdly attractive.
The Sailor Senshi attack the thing, dodging its Spider-Man web attack (well Mars and Mercury are, Sailor Moon just keeps running into the goop attack, as is her wont.) Mercury’s Bubble Spray makes it misty (oh for the love of… that attack blows), Mars frees Sailor Moon with a Fire Soul, who finishes it off with a Moon Tiara Action. It’s quick, it’s predictable, it’s boring.
So much for the climax.
We do get a great scene at the end of Ms Akiyama’s wedding with the squat little bald man. Just like in the closing scene of Clueless (where DO I get these references from?), Akiyama tosses the bouquet. Haruna, Rei and Usagi are all fighting furiously for the flowers, but, alas, it falls into Ami’s hands instead.
Usagi is devastated.
All in all, not one of the better episodes, but sometimes its nice just to watch the characters scream and shout at each other nonsensically for half an hour.
Episode Score: 3/5 (Straight down the middle)
Evil Plot Score: 2/5 (Wedding dresses. Not my thing)
Things Usagi Is Terrible At: Sewing, Thievery, Dancing, Singing, Talking, Walking without kicking her shoes off, Computer games, Cooking, Running, Lying, Telling the truth, Tennis, Flirting, English, Math, Science, Anything academic, Figuring out when people are trying to kill her… (You know what, it would be quicker to list the things she’s good at)