1:38 – The Snow! The Mountains! Our Friendship! And, of Course, a Monster Too
Alternative Title: Hobos are Attractive When They’re Secretly Rich
First Aired: 26th December 1992
Kunzite’s latest “plan-already-in-motion” is a skiing competition a few hours travel away from Tokyo. Miraculously, the Sailor Senshi fall for this when on a skiing holiday at Yuichiro’s cabin. Although she can barely ski, Usagi enters the contest, and is doing surprisingly well, when a monster turns up and traps her and Rei. Left alone with time to talk, the girls chew the fat and get out all their emotional baggage, which sounds a lot less exciting than it turns out to be.
Another good episode! A lot of fun, some good character moments, beautiful art and a bizarre monster. Also, one of the best titles in the series, harking back to an early episode at the beach, and delightfully tongue-in-cheek.
The episode starts out in the Hikawa Shrine, we has become the de facto hangout for the Senshi, which is rather nice really. Usagi is trying to convince the girls to join her in a skiing competition, where the winner will be named the “Moon Princess” for that year.
It seems a little weird that the actual Moon Princess would need to win a competition to justify to herself that she is so, but that’s precisely what Usagi’s psyche is: brittle and crazy.
Rei seems most keen on the contest, for “romantic” reasons (although her brief daydream shows her motivation to be purely for the attention the title would garner. Rei, if you hadn’t noticed, is a narcissist).
At this point, Yuichiro pops up and offers to lend them his mountain cabin. If a homeless man offered you a Cabin in the Woods to stay in, you’d probably say no, right?
Usagi obviously says yes. This girl will get herself murdered before she’s 17.
Rei really doesn’t seem too keen on Yuichiro coming, despite the fact he’s just offered his parent’s place to stay. I’m not going to straight-up call her a bitch, but she’s a total bitch.
So we’ve all guessed that this Moon Princess competition thing is a front for the Dark Kingdom, right? Good.
Kunzite’s reasoning for hijacking a contest several hours travel away from Tokyo, where he knows the Senshi live, is because “they are a girly bunch. They are certain to buy into this event” which is true, but also sexist. Kunzite you astute pig.
Such a pig he is that even Endymion, a Grade A Porker of a man, thinks he’s being arrogant.
Kunzite has a brief emotional moment where he vows to kill Sailor Moon this time (doesn’t happen, I’ll just spoil that for you now), then holds up that ridiculous framed photo of himself and Zoisite in a lascivious pose. This is more emotion than Kunzite ever showed when bastarding Zoisite was alive.
Up in the snowy mountains (if I had to guess where it was, it would probably be in Nagano, since that’s the premier location for the denizens of Tokyo to go for their skiing), the girls are feeling a little bad for having left Luna and Artemis behind, but the truth is they’re completely happy back in Usagi’s room on top of a Komatsu, or an electric blanket designed for tables.
I love this little scene. This is all we see of the cats for the entire episode. I guess they couldn’t be bothered to draw the cats trying to get around in the snow.
This next scene is fantastic too. As it turns out, Yuichiro’s parents are LOADED. Their mountain cabin is completely kitted out.
Rei is rather taken aback by this reveal, even settling on treating Yuichiro with some respectful language for once, but still has to ask:
“Why is a spoiled rich kid… I mean, the son of a good family like you, training at our shrine?” His answer, “Why else? To become a better person of course” is pretty kick ass. If only all rich people were like this.
Out on the slopes, Rei and Yuichiro are ripping up the piste like a pro. As it happens they are the only two who are any good at skiing. It’s like a match made in heaven. I should point out that all the fashion here looks like the 90s threw up on the 80s. Ski fashion has never been particularly aesthetic, has it?
Usagi doesn’t seem keen on trying anything too rough, but Yuichiro reveals to our poor suffering heroine that the Moon Princess contest will begin from the very top of the mountain. Usagi is totally screwed. This should be amusing if she doesn’t get Sonny Bono’d (too soon?)
The event coordinator is the very first winner of the Moon Princess competition a few years back, one Yamamoto Saeko. She also happens to be a puppet of Kunzite, which is rather unfortunate.
Before this race begins, I’m going to postulate that, had Kunzite not interfered in the competition and simple let it go ahead unmolested, Usagi would probably have just broken her neck anyway. Too many cooks, Kunzite…
The rules of the contest are completely cracked, by the way. The winner will be the woman who gets to the bottom of the mountain first (ok well that’s not so weird) while looking the most graceful (…what? That makes absolutely no sense.)
As the race begins, Rei easily takes the lead, and looks bloody fantastic while she does it. There’s something about this episode, the whites of the snow mellowing into a strange purple at night, with Rei’s bright jacket and those enormous eyes, just just pops out at you. Not to mention the fantastic work the animators did with the high-speed shots.
All with hand-drawn cels I might add.
Usagi is still at the top after everyone else has started, refusing to move. Thankfully, the lovely and friendly Yuichiro does something not-at-all dangerous or mildly-psychotic and pushes Usagi, a girl who can barely ski, off a fucking mountain.
Unexpectedly, Usagi is extremely quick, mainly because she doesn’t know how to break. Remember: pizza, french fries, pizza, french fries.
She is soon followed by Saeko, the monster in disguise…
Rei is having a rather wonderful time out front, but Saeko decides to separate the grass from the cud (is that a saying? That sounds like a saying) by fucking up the course. Or, as she puts it a little more eloquently, “This course is going straight to hell.”
The course magically becomes bumpy, knocking out a great many of the contestants, but leaving Rei unharmed. She’s sensed the evil presence though, and is on her guard…
…when a completely out-of-control Usagi hurtles past her to take the lead. Who’d have thunk it?
Rei seems rather impressed for once.
Usagi and Rei appear to be the last two left standing (high speed standing) when Saeko-Monster comes up behind. She reasons that one of these last two must be Sailor Moon, for reasons I cannot adequately explain.
Oh well, onwards and downwards.
I thought I was doing really well in cutting my word count for this episode, then I realised that this was only half-way through the episode. Christ.
Saeko decides to step her game up a notch to catch Rei and Usagi, and transforms into this week’s monster, Blizzar.
Can i just say upfront how stupid this monster is? Also how much I sort of love her? She’s so incredibly weird, and indicative of the level of lunatic monster design that the 3rd and 4th Sailor Moon series reached, that she’s up there with the legendary monster Boxsy for me.
Her final trap involves creating a chasm of ice around Rei and Usagi, then closing it in front and behind them, trapping them in an ice pit.
I should also mention at this point that Yuichiro, concerned about Rei, tries to jump in front of a giant snowball to save his beloved, but his heroism achieves absolutely nothing, as usual.
As a final insult, Rei didn’t even see his pointless sacrifice. Poor bastard.
Rei and Usagi are pretty well trapped. Rei repeatedly tries to claw her way out, but only falls back into a heap of snow for her efforts.
Usagi doesn’t seem overly bothered about getting out, especially when compared to Rei’s frantic screaming. She sits down and pulls out her usual comforter, the star pendant that… oh boy it’s sort of hard to describe when I think about it.
It’s a symbol of love or junk. Listening to the song, Usagi thinks about Tuxedo Kamen again, when Rei gives up on trying to escape and sits down next to her. Usagi shows actual sensitivity for once and appologises if she made Rei feel bad – she has sort of stolen her boyfriend after all.
In a rather touching scene, Rei tells Usagi that she’s already given up on Mamoru. It’s rather sad, and makes me like Rei all the more. It’s not that they had a real relationship, but Rei shows incredible maturity and support for Usagi here.
I’m getting sentimental in my old age.
It’s at this point that Usagi suddenly remembers who she’s talking to – Sailor Mars, you know, the Senshi of FIRE? Usagi suggests that Sailor Mars use her Fire Soul to melt them a way out.
If I were Rei I would straight-up refuse – those Sailor Senshi outfits are not kitted out for the cold, and she’s liable to get frostbite in some very sensitive areas.
Rei loves the idea, however, and actually scolds Usagi for not reminding her sooner (ha!). She reaches for her pen to transform, but…
Yuichiro pops up! Now Rei cannot transform and they’re all stuck. Good going, hippy.
It’s at this point that the monster Blizzar turns up.
Good old frozen-ass Blizzar accuses Rei of being Sailor Moon – “Good looks, athletic ability and gracefulness” – compliments which Rei cannot deny. She’s actually completely fine with this.
Blizzar blows a blizzard (…who saw that coming?) at Rei, but predictable Yuichiro just has to step in one more time to take the blow…
…and this time it works great! He’s frozen solid which, as Rei cheerfully notes, lets them transform. Usagi comments that Rei is colder than the snow. I lol’d heartily.
Sailor Moon is especially pissed off today, launching with “A girl’s not supposed to let her hips get cold, you know!?” Can I just ask, is that true? This is one of those crazy Japanese myths, right? Like, the cold is supposed to kill all your eggs or something…?
Whatever. You’d think that with Sailor Mars a snow-monster would be little trouble, but her Fire Soul misses. She’s about to get an icicle to the face when Endymion turns up and handily takes the spear out of the monster’s hand.
This is the most overt saving of the Sailor Senshi by Supposedly Evil Kamen yet. Come on, dude, try and act a little evil…? Please?
He throws a couple of lame Black Roses at the girls, but they miss by a mile, which gives time for Mars to give a soppy speech about how he used to love Sailor Moon. As unlikely as it is, this bullshit actually seems to get through to Endymion, and his black rose briefly flashes red once more.
This touching little exchange is broken by Blizzar, who has taken the opportunity to work her way around the Sailor Senshi. This is an excellent move! Good on you, Blizzar, nothing can stop you now!
Except for Tuxedo Kamen, of course.
He throws a fully-red rose to stun Blizzar (POOR SPORT OLD CHAP) and Sailor Moon follows up with a Moon Healing Escalation.
You’d think at this point that Tuxedo Mask would be fully converted back to normal, but he decides to run off as usual. His escape is especially pathetic today.
Sailor Mars gets all hot under the collar for Yuichiro (he’s so lucky) and rewards his bravery (stupidity) with a kiss on the cheek.
The episode ends with Rei and Usagi waking Yuichiro up at a fire (he must’ve been out for hours, and would definitely be dead.) The rest of the girls turn up worried, and Rei takes the opportunity to restart her usual bickering with Usagi, who takes the bait as usual.
OH YOU GIRLS.
All in all, a great episode! Good danger, good drama, good action, good monster, good grief! It’s hard to criticise, except for Tuxedo Mask, who was neither unconvincingly bad nor unconvincingly good. He was just sort of a confused douche.
Episode Score: 4/5 (That’s three ‘4’s in a row, can they make it four next episode?)
Monster Score: 4/5 (“BLI! BLI! BLI!”)
Evil Plot Score: 1/5 (As I said, leave Sailor Moon be and she’ll eventually be the cause of her own death. It’s inevitable.)