1:21 – Protect the Children’s Dreams! Friendship Linked by Anime
Alternative Title: The Revenge of Sailor Mercury
First Aired: 8th August 1992
Hiromi and Kazuko have been friends since they were kids, and now they’re working together on the Sailor V anime soon to hit TV! Sadly, Nephrite has decided that he doesn’t like anime much and targets Hiromi with one of his strongest monsters in the hope that Sailor Moon et al. will finally be defeated. With Hiromi going schizo in the animation studio, can Usagi, Rei and Ami use their unrivaled teamwork to get the Sailor V anime back on track?
This is one of the crowning achievements of the first half Sailor Moon season 1. It’s funny, lovable and beautifully drawn, and although its climax is a little wonky, it remains one of those episodes that stays with you.
Plus, Ami totally rocks this entire episode. Weird, huh?
The Sailor V anime is coming! Usagi is obviously excited (she hasn’t really thought much about how Sailor V might possibly be related to her in any way yet), which gives us one of the most self-satirical and meta lines ever written:
Luna’s response is even better: “If there’s someone willing to make such a silly anime I’d have to see it to believe it.”
Such a great opening!
Cut to these two rather plain looking girls walking down the street. I say plain because that’s how they’ve been drawn in comparison to, say, Usagi, Ami or Rei. I’m sure they’d look just lovely if they were, you know, real and that.
Anyway, these two, Hiromi and Kazuko, are our focus of the episode. It’s essential that they establish the relationship between these two straight off because the episode hinges on it. Which they, in fact, do.
They’re animators for the Sailor V anime, frustrated that the director can’t see the “love and passion” in their drawings. Clearly taking the piss out of the real-life process of making an anime, the director seems to want to make Sailor V more sexy, then vehemently denies any such thing.
Hiromi and Kazuko aren’t too confident at the moment, but they run down the street in some strange attempt to motivate themselves. Whatever, I’m not questioning it. What’s important is that Hiromi drops some of her work, and it’s picked up, fortuitously, by Ami-chan. WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
That night, Nephrite’s none too happy. He’s selected Hiromi as his next target (what are the odds?) and drives like a loon through the night in his loud expensive Ferrari (actually it’s probably just a crappy Nissan) towards the animation studio.
He just so happens to speed past Ami as she too is on her way to the animation studio (what are the odds?), and she realises that it’s Masato Sanjoin driving the car. Then, in the greatest leap of logic I have ever seen…
“Masato Sanjoin? THAT WAS NEPHRITE!”
How the hell Ami made that connection I’ll never know. Magic, I guess.
In the studio, Hiromi is drawing sketches of Sailor V, but can’t seem to depict her “love or passion”. She sneaks a peek at Kazuko’s drawings and shock, horror! They’re really good, apparently! I can’t actually tell the difference between the two hands, but that’s why I’m a bum and she’s a fictitious animator.
Hiromi decides to use one of her secret pencils. There’s a whole flashback of how Hiromi and Kazuko bought them together in high school and promised only to use them together, blah blah blah, it’s rather dull.
The point of this is that Hiromi has been using her pencils without Kazuko knowing, just to keep up. Enter Nephrite, who just doesn’t give a shit anymore. He just walks up to Hiromi, grabs her pencil, infects it with a monster and walks off. Come on, where’s the passion?
Outside, however, Nephrite is confronted by an irate Sailor Mercury. You GET ‘IM, MERC.
Sadly she doesn’t even get off a single useless Bubble Spray, but that’s OK because the sight of Nephrite sweeping her off the roof of his car is fantastic. Great little action sequence from a character that hasn’t had much to do in the series thus far!
Nephrite warns Sailor Mercury to train up if they have any hope of defeating his latest monster, then speeds off. What a badass.
Ami explains the situation to the others. Usagi is, of course, only interested in visiting the studio because she might get free Sailor V shit. Again, she’s really… quite admirable in her dishonesty.
Rei, on the other hand, doesn’t seem interested in the mission.
However, she meets up with Usagi, Rei and Luna in ADORABLE pink dungarees, acting all haughty, when her bag slips open and a bunch of velum for autographs slips out. It turns out that Rei is as eager as Usagi.
Ami, with all the sad sternness in the world, reminds Rei that they’re going to be in the 9th grade next year. “So!?” Rei responds. “Nothing, that’s all I wanted to say” Ami replies. SICK BURN!
Serious, Ami is amazing in this episode. She’s investigating, she’s witty, she’s moving, she’s grooving, she even puts Rei in her place. Love it.
At the studio, rather predictably, Rei and Usagi are screaming in fanboy delight over the shoulders of animators while Ami chats like an adult to Kazuko. Hiromi, who’s gone all emo, shouts at poor Usagi and Rei.
The director calls at this point, when the entire office is watching the argument between Hiromi and Kazuko break out, and he asks for the emo. He praises her work, and she responds by announcing that Sailor V WILL DIE in the show. It’s about this point you realise that every animator in the studio is female. Just thought I’d point that out.
This is all rather awkward. I dislike public scenes of airing dirty underwear, so to speak, and this all seems a little unwieldy, especially when Hiromi runs up to the roof for a dramatic standoff.
The Sailor Senshi run up after her with Kazuko, who promptly faints (what are the odds?), allowing the girls to transform. It’s ass kicking time, right!? …Right?
Wrong. This is Nephrite’s strongest monster, or should I say monsters – it’s the twins Castor and Pollux! They claim to be bound by trust, which the Sailor Senshi cannot beat. Spinning around and around they fire off attacks rather similar to Mars’ Fire Soul and Mercury’s Bubble Spray. Quite why the Sailor Senshi must run from bubbles is beyond me.
The girls seem defeated. Wow, this is a pretty good monster after all!
Well, until they start arguing who will finish the Senshi off. They break their friendship-bonded-tails (that’s a weird term), which gives the team plenty of time to start an original song (Moon Power Maaaaake UP!) and combine all three of their attacks to kill the monsters.
That really didn’t take much.
It’s made dramatic by the rocking original music in the background, but all in all this is a disappointing end to the episode.
Nephrite has a hissy fit in front of Jadeite back at his castle, Hiromi and Kazuko make up and promise to make the Sailor V anime really awesome and all is good in the world. Anime is proven to be the greatest art form and uniting force behind all friendship, and the Sailor Moon animation team all get a pay rise! Right?
Great episode, climax falters a little with the fainting and the friendship-talk and all that, but still up there as one of the best episodes so far.
Episode Score: 4/5
Evil Plot Score: 2/5 (For all his grandstanding, Castor and Pollux were naff)
Special Music Score: 67% (It rocked, but there were some weird lyrics about pretty boys in there which I found confusing)