1:20 – It’s Summer! The Ocean! Our Youth! And a Ghost, Too
Alternative Title: Overbearing Parental Figures Can GO TO HELL
First Aired: 1st August 1992
Usagi, Rei, Ami and Luna have gone on a beach holiday! It’s all fun and games right? WRONG. The pension that Rei booked is creepy as hell, with freaky staff and curious apparitions. Is the strange lonely little girl Sakiko the cause of all the strange events? Can Usagi overcome her paralyzing terror and save the day from a ghost?
This episode is the most filler-ish of all episodes across all television shows in all genres, but my word is it enjoyable. You’d think an episode that featured 30 minutes of Usagi screaming in terror would get tiresome, but it never does. Great humour, great writing, great characters, great episode.
Usagi and the gang (a menacing name for an organisation if I’ve ever heard one) have taken the train right out into the sticks. The train station literally just says “countryside”, that’s how hick this place is. Usagi is super excited (when is she not) and dreams of white sand, hot guys, and more hot guys doing hot guy shit.
What could top a mostly naked Motoki delivering cocktails right to your beach towel?
Luna reminds them all that they’re supposed to be on a Sailor Senshi training mission, but we all know that ain’t happening.
The hotel Rei booked seems to take the girls through a… haunted forest. Huh, that’s weird, I could’ve sworn it was a really nice day just a second ago… With thunder and lightning overhead, Usagi freaks out, revealing that thunder is her greatest fear. So childish, but it fits her ridiculous character so well, and won’t be the last time we see her exhibiting her Astraphobia either.
And then this scary little girl appears holding flowers. THE HORROR.
Running through the rain, the group, led by Scary Little Flower Girl, arrive at the hotel. It’s obviously dark and evil-looking, and Usagi is not pleased. The name of the place, incidentally, is the Adams Pension, which I thought was a nice touch!
Already scared, Usagi continues to scream solidly as the door opens, revealing the staff to be A BUNCH OF WEIRDOS. I love these guys.
It’s worth pointing out that Rei and Ami remain unaffected by anything scary in this episode, making Usagi, and even once or twice Luna, even more comic in their terror. Their constant disdain for Usagi’s cowardice cracks me up every time.
Can Usagi scream a little more? I think she can scream a little more. Let’s throw in this Vincent Price-looking mother fucker, just to be sure. He’s irrationally angry at the little girl who led them to the hotel, who turns out to be named Sakiko.
This isn’t at all suspicious
At dinner, weird crying can be heard echoing through the house, and the three weirdo staff members are especially scared. The source? A freaking GHOST.
…which is shown in actuality to be the little girl Sakiko’s psychic power. Evil old Vincent Price is hypnotising her to make her into a “great psychic” to “take revenge” for something or other. This is definitely, definitely not creepy.
There’s no explanation as to who these jokers are. Fork Face isn’t the owner, that’s the Ghost-Neck Lady, he and Sakiko just seem to live in this hotel. It’s weird, but hey, it doesn’t need explaining.
The next morning, it’s BEACH TIME, who cares about ghosts! And it’s the return of Usagi’s moth-eaten pink swimsuit from a few episodes ago! I have to say, Rei’s swimsuit is… lovely, just lovely. Ahem.
Usagi is running around having fun, but it strikes her and Rei that there are NO HOT GUYS HERE. Too much of a private beach, apparently. This naturally sends Usagi into parallaxes of grief – my favourite bit is where she screams out to sea “Who cares about the ocean? WHO CARES ABOUT THE OCEAN!?”
Get’s me every single time. What a great episode.
Incidentally, the Japanese have a thing about ‘living their youth to its fullest while they can’, and this is generally taken to mean going on trips with your friends, at least as far as I can tell. Most of the rest of the time, they’re studying, which certainly isn’t living youth to its fullest in my opinion.
Watching the girls play on the beach is great – it’s essentially an opportunity for Rei and Ami to physically abuse Usagi under the guise of a game. Poor little Sakikio has been forbidden to talk to the girls, however, and must watch moodily from the cliffs.
That night, Usagi is back to being scared. Rei places a bunch of anti-monster talismans, but is skeptical of how much use they’ll be against a force which she doesn’t think is a monster. She overhears a conversation between the Three Freaks at this point – they seem to be plotting something that “those girls must never find out about”. How very exciting!
Ami, meanwhile, every playing the good-two-shoes roll, goes out to talk to Sakiko on the cliff. This is actually quite a revealing moment for Ami, as she reveals that she was introverted, lonely freak like Sakiko is just a short time ago, but that it was Usagi that brought her out of her shell. We haven’t seen this vulnerable, brittle side of her personality since her introduction episode.
Needless to say her self-centred soliloquy is cut short by FuckFace McGee, who grabs poor Sakiko by the arm and marches her off. She even yells “you’re hurting me!” – not cool, old dude.
Sakiko is hypnotised once again to unleash her psychic powers. The Old Fart is going on about the “Psychic Community” – all these vague references to weird things we never see is actually rather amusing.
Usagi is running through the house looking for Rei and Ami – she can’t be left alone for two minutes, remember – and comes across Frankenstein and Warewolf in the midst of some kind of EVIL CEREMONY. This is the best bit of the episode, where Ghost Lady surprises Usagi, who screams and surprises the other two freaks, who screams and surprises Usagi even more, who is interrupted suddenly by the Ghost Lady, which sets everyone screaming, and then Rei jumps in the room and there’s even more screaming.
Now THAT’S comedy.
The psychic powers are starting up again, sending tables and chairs flying. Old Shithead is telling Sakiko to scare everyone, but he loses control and the ghost begins attacking him! It’s actually rather gratifying to see his robes fly over his head.
Usagi is almost completely unable to function at this point, but transforming into Sailor Moon gives her (a small amount) of courage. Ami, as Sailor Mercury, gets the shit role of the day (as ever) and gets to try and wake up Sakiko from her hypnosis.
At this she succeeds, but Sakiko’s powers are out of her control and about to kill her father. He finally comes to realise that you can’t psychologically traumatise your own children for some obscure personal vendetta, which is something I really thought they would teach on your first day as a parent. It’s at this point that Sakiko goes all Akira and is able to dispel her own powers with, you know, magic or whatever.
At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that the three freaks were just “normal humans” trying to excorcise what they thought was a ghost, and all the girls, Sakiko included, are able to play on the beach.
Creepy old pervert man is watching with a smile on his face, and promises, in a really rather sinister tone, that he’ll never force Sakiko’s powers ever again.
EVERYONE’S HAPPY. Save for the hotel owner, who will never be able to recover her business now that Sakiko has given the place an awful reputation. BUT WHO CARES?
I love this episode! Pointlessly wonderful.
Episode Score: 4/5
Number of Times Usagi Screams: 37
Best Swimsuit of the Day: Hino Rei (naturally)