1:32 – Umino’s Resolve! I’ll Protect Naru
Alternative Title: Naru-chan, You Can Do Better
First Aired: 14th November 1992
Umino has fallen head-over-heels in love with Naru, but, alas, she’s not so keen. Usagi, keen as ever to play cupid for people who wished she wouldn’t, accidentally convinces Umino to dress and act like Tuxedo Kamen. Miraculously, this earns him a date. A date which Zoisite decides to ruin with giant balls of seaweed in an attempt to recover the Rainbow Crystal lost to Sailor Moon.
The humour misses in a couple of places in the episode, but it’s still very much enjoyable. It’s well animated and, even better, Sailor Moon actually is fairly competent for once. This is the last episode before the main story arc of the series really gets going.
The episode starts off with Luna, who has sneaked into the arcade once again to consult with the disembodied voice coming from the gaming cabinet. These times are few and far between in the series, and I’ve always appreciated them for the moody colour palette and mysterious atmosphere.
Today the voice informs Luna that it will soon be time for “all five of the Sailor Senshi to meet”, which is rather exciting. It’s fairly obvious who the last Sailor Senshi will be, but we’ll play along for now as if we’re a stupid 6 year old. The voice also tells Luna that it’s time to inform the Senshi about THE TRUTH.
What could it be? It couldn’t be that surprising, could it?
It’s night at the Hikawa Shrine, which has become the de facto base of operations for the Sailor Senshi. The girls are waiting for Luna, in the same moody atmosphere as the arcade scene. The colours, the design, the animation, it’s all lovely to look at, even if there isn’t much going on.
When Luna arrives, she gives a loooong pause, then suddenly…
I love this bit.
So what’s Luna’s big revelation? It’s that she was sent here from the Moon. That’s right, she’s a goddamn alien.
There was, a thousand years ago, a kingdom on the Moon, creatively named The Moon Kingdom, and the Princess that the Sailor Senshi have been supposed to be looking for (they’re not really trying very hard) is a “descendant” of the Moon Kingdom.
Suffice it to say the girls are a little shocked at first, but they pretty much buy Luna’s story within 10 seconds – well Luna is a talking cat after all.
Over at the Dark Kingdom, we get a creepy scene between Zoisite and Kunzite. I’m not saying it’s creepy because they’re gay, I’m saying this is a gay scene and it’s also fucking creepy. May I present Exhibit A:
Inside this muffed-up castle, Kunzite is admiring the collection of Rainbow Crystals that Zoisite has thus far established, but insists that they gather the rest so that they can recreate the Ginzuishou (Silver Crystal) – and make Queen Beryl smile with delight.
Zoisite does not take this well, which was perhaps Kunzite’s goal all along.
At school, Umino and Naru are having lunch together. It’s rather sweet actually, Naru loves fried shrimp and offers Umino a green pepper in exchange. This is nowhere near an equivalent trade, but such is Umino’s grovelling obsequiousness that he agrees.
Now that’s love.
This touching food haggling is interrupted by nosy loud Usagi, who asks if they’re lovers yet. Honestly, Usagi, she lost the love of her life only a couple of months ago, some decorum please!
Naru naturally denies being in a relationship with Umino (who wouldn’t, I mean, Jesus) which sends him into a pit of despair. Usagi’s Interfering Sense is tingling.
And ohhhh how does she screw this up. Her advice to Umino is that he needs to “transform into a cool guy, like Tuxedo Kamen”, and proceeds to describe him in loving detail.
Umino misses the bit about “learning from his example” and announces that this is the birth of Tuxedo Umino Kamen.
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.
Usagi and Naru are walking home (I don’t know how Usagi can remain calm after creating a monster just a second ago) when they’re accosted by a small yapping poodle. Enter: Tuxedo Umino Kamen.
I have to admit it, he has the costume down. Also the douchebaggery.
He tries to smash the little dog with a plastic mallet but thankfully the dog’s owner steps in.
Next up on the “I can’t believe this is actually happening” list is the Crown Arcade, where Tuxedo Umino Kamen tries to warn Naru and Usagi away from the evils of playing computer games. If they really insist on going in, he declares, they have to step over him prostrate body.
So they girls step on him instead. That’s more like it.
Naru doesn’t seem overly bothered by all this. I would be fetching the bear mace myself. Usagi’s frequent looks of guilt about all this are great.
In the arcade, Motoki offers the girls two tickets to the “Red Man show” (a live-action demonstration of a popular kid’s show, a piss-take of Ultra-Man or Mega-Man or whatever the hell that show was), and Usagi suggests/coerces/forces Naru to take Umino.
Usagi, please please please stop trying to get these two together. I don’t mind Umino, I find him likable enough, but in this episode he’s just a complete loon and should not be encouraged – it only exacerbates the psychotic break I assume he’s having.
So what’s Zoisite up to? Arbitrarily adding a new power to the Black Crystal I see. You’re going to be able to turn ordinary humans into monsters you say. Aiyaiya.
The Rainbow Crystal monsters were fine enough, but this tacked-on power reeks of needing to keep the battle formula the same without the need to Rainbow Crystals. You know what, I don’t care really, I’m just nitpicking. You go ahead and take all the powers you need, Zoisite.
And then this bit happens.
OK back up. Who took this photo? When? Why? Who chose the lurid pink backdrop? Why has Zoisite adopted a slavish, lascivious pose? Did he cut the photo out in that weird pentagon shape?
And who the fuck developed that photo?
Ignoring all that, Zoisite heads to Naru’s jewelry store for the purpose of transforming Naru into a monster and demanding that Sailor Moon hand over her single Rainbow Crystal. This is a terrible plan, as Sailor Moon can easily Refresh her back into a human, but whatever, we’re here now.
Zoisite is shocked to find that Tuxedo Kamen has already figure out his plan to attack Naru, and runs away like the coward he is.
Of course it’s actually just Tuxedo Umino Kamen (GOD I HATE HIM) knocking on Naru’s door past midnight because they haven’t set a time to meet in the morning for the Red Man show. What a stalker.
It’s rather unfortunate that Umino doesn’t tell Naru that an effeminate weirdo just teleported in and out of her building in a cloud of petals, because Naru could probably have identified it as Zoisite, having been attacked twice by the bastard. This makes Umino about as effective as the real Tuxedo Kamen.
The Red Man show is taking place in the theme park featured waaaay back in the days of Jadeite and that creepy doll monster. It’s nice to see it again. Usagi is sneaking around, wanting to spy on Naru and Umino’s “date”.
So what is Red Man?
Seems like quite a lot of fun, actually.
Naru seems to be enjoying herself, especially because Umino is dressed normally for once. Her pleasure is shortlived, however, because Umino reveals that he has his outfit in his rucksack in case of emergency.
Oh yeah, and then Zoisite turns up on a carousel and tries to turn Naru into a monster, which is also pretty bad.
Happily, he misses Naru. Sadly, he hits Red Man on stage, who turns into, like, a crab guy.
This monster is completely off his trolley. His main attack is throwing giant seaweed balls called Marimo, a famous delicacy from a town in Hokkaido, Northern Japan, which then engulf and eventually suffocate their targets. Which is nuts, but fun to watch.
Naru is next up to be Marimo’d right in the face when Tuxedo Umino Kamen turns up (oh lord) to defend her. This doesn’t go well for him.
Despite the fact he’s on his last legs, Umino declares that he’ll sacrifce his life for Naru, and she seems taken aback. You can see where this is going AGAIN can’t you? Naru has a type, a fetish if you will, for guys who try to save her life.
Sailor Moon turns up just in time to see Tuxedo Umino Kamen getting completely and utterly minced by the Monster Akan, before Naru is stuck in a growing gooey ball of seaweed.
Sailor Moon’s entrance, far from expressing concern over her friend’s wellbeing, chastises the monster for using Marimo balls as his attack since her probably didn’t clear it with the Hokkaido Tourism Board, which is amazing.
God I love this show.
Zoisite steps in to demand that Zoisite hand over the crystal lest Naru die from suffocating on Marimo. If there’s a worse death than this, I don’t know it.
Cornered, Sailor Moon hands over the crystal.
At which point the real Tuxedo Kamen turns up to fight for the crystal, not once stopping to help Sailor Moon nor free the suffocating public from their seaweed prisons. What a knob.
A pretty good 4-way fight ensues, culminating in Tuxedo Kamen trying to whack petals with his stick for, like, 5 minutes. Zoisite’s not even anywhere near him. It’s odd to say the least.
Inside her ball, Naru can hear the fighting, and weirdly thinks that it’s Umino. No, honey. No.
Sailor Moon takes down the monster Akan by bopping him lightly on the head with a Moon Tiara Action then Refreshing him back into Red Man.
With the monster gone, the Marimo balls disappears and the public is free, but their complacency allows Zoisite to grab the Rainbow Crystal.
Tuxedo Kamen, all in a huff, stomps off, promising to get the crystal back not for Sailor Moon, but for himself, leaving her once again sad and confused over his allegiance.
Naru thanks Umino for “saving” her, and says he was rather cool (he wasn’t), but instead of being gracious Umino insists on her calling him “Tuxedo Umino Kamen”.
I would’ve smushed his glasses into his face, but she actually does it. Ohhhhh Naru…
At home, Luna tells Usagi off for letting the Rainbow Crystal slip out of their hands, which is rich because it was totally Luna’s fault, but Usagi doesn’t seem interesting. She’s more concerned about Tuxedo Kamen as usual, and the episode ends on a rather somber note.
Is Tuxedo Kamen a bad guy!? Find out next episode! (Spoiler: he’s not.)
All in all a good episode. Solid, if not overly memorable for anything other than Marimo Balls (I’ve tried them, they’re disgusting beyond all belief). The next couple of episodes, however, are fantastic, and I urge you to tune it!
Shit’s about to go down.
Episode Score: 3/5
Monster Score: 4/5 (His silly attack and vacant expression were lovable)
Umino Hunk-O-Meter Level: Moist Turd