1:40 – The Legendary Lake Monster! Usagi’s Family Ties
Alternative Title: Everyone Dies Alone, and gets Two Fingers For The Trip Home to Boot
First Aired: 16th January 1993
Usagi and her family have absconded to a hot spring by a lake for a night. Little do they know how great the regard the writers of Sailor Moon have for incredible coincidences, because Endymion has been sent to the same lake to investigate “energy”. With complete abandon, Endymion awakens a great pissed-off spirit, who attacks Usagi and her family. Can Usagi defend her family while maintaining her secret identity as Sailor Moon?
This episode is first episode of 1993, after a few weeks’ break for the Japanese New Year celebrations. Although one would hope that this episode kept up the same standard as the previous 4 episodes (it’s been a great run), this one is slightly clunky. It’s not awful by any means – a solid episode – but has more of an aura of “filler episode” than usual.
Bright an early, Luna wakes up and goes straight into lecturing mode, suggesting that Usagi use her holiday as time she can use “studying to be a Princess.” This is one of those bullshit lines that Artemis might give.
Luckily, Usagi seems to have already vacated her room. This is unusual, her being so helplessly addicted to sleep (aren’t we all?) and Luna is momentarily impressed!
…Until she goes down into the kitchen and finds the house vacant. Usagi has left an insufferably cheery note next to Luna’s cat food, telling her that the Tsukino family have gone on a family trip to a hot-spring over night.
Luna seems crushed by the fact that Usagi would dare to spend a few precious hours with her family.
In the car, we get rather lovely vistas of the Japanese lakes in the winter. It views almost like a tourism advert, and in a sense I suppose it is – the Japanese are rather proud of their staggering natural beauty (when they aren’t destroying it with urban sprawl).
In the car, Little Shite Shingo (to use his full name) is mocking his older sister Usagi for having forced the family to sneak out early in the morning so as not to wake the cat. This is actually rather amusing, especially her sly response of “I have my reasons…”
After Usagi snatches Shingo’s Gameboy (because he blows), a scuffle breaks out, and the sodding music box slips from her inside pocket. Such is its importance, despite it looking as though it came free with a 12 pack of doughnuts at a 7-11, that Usagi looks overwhelmingly relieved that it didn’t break.
This gets Usagi’s father to asking if it’s so important because a guy gave it to her. Not reading the mood, because she’s incredibly dense, Usagi mutters that is sort of the case, and Papa flips out.
Worried that his stupid and wayward daughter is being groomed by some guy, he tries to commit suicide by release the car wheel and turning around to grill his daughter. It’s actually a lot of fun, with everyone screaming their heads off.
Usagi, catching up with the idea that you should never tell you parents anything ever, denies that she’s dating, and Papa seems placated.
Arriving at the lake, Usagi begins to get all wistful again, mainly thanks to the locket-pendant-music box monstrosity beginning to play spontaneously. It looks as though the fun of the last three episodes have all been a bit of a front – this extra depth of Usagi keeping her feelings bottled up for the sake of others is an interesting development.
As Usagi and her family head to the inn, we head deep inside the lake… and the sediment farts, just to let you know something evil’s down there. Classy.
This lake is, surprise surprise, the current target of Queen Beryl. Apparently Kunzite has detected some energy reading there (always with the vague “energy”) and Beryl wants to know more, so she sends her brainwashed puppy sexslave Endymion.
As Endymion leaves, Kunzite brings up the fact that Endymion has completely lost his mind in the last few episodes by tactfully saying that “he’s been acting suspicious.”
So attacking your own side, repeatedly saving Sailor Moon and failing to capture the Silver Crystal is “acting suspicious” is it? Unsurprisingly, mainly because Kunzite hasn’t told her all this, Beryl dismisses the idea that he’s regaining some memory, insisting he’s under her control.
The hot springs look lovely. The place being so remote, they have mixed family hot springs in the inn, so the Tsukinos are all relaxing… Except for Shingo, who really doesn’t want to be sharing a bath with his family.
The fact he hides his nipples is hilarious.
Usagi pushes him in and, she was asking for it, Shingo steals her towel. I have to say, that’s not at all creepy and incestuous. Not. At. All.
Shingo half-heatedly runs around for a bit with the towel, but stops when he sees something down the cliff next to the lake. Usagi joins him and sees…
Mamoru? What are the odds? No, I’m seriously asking. Someone get a statistician in here pronto.
Usagi is overcome with emotion again (it’s one of those days) and runs down to the lake to check if it really was him. She’s wearing a yukata, the first in the series I believe, and looks a wee bit adorable.
Usagi finds a lame statue (statues are SO lame. Gawd) and a creepy stalker Mamoru. She’s understandably undergoing a series of complex emoptions at this point, and it’s interesting to note that the audience can completely understand her shock, her confusion, her joy and her fear, all simultaneously. Such is Usagi’s character at this point in the series that internal machinations such as in this scene are available and interesting to the viewer.
“Oh there he goes again, talking about ‘machinations’ and junk. Why am I even on this stupid blog?”
Usagi’s pendant begins to play spontaneously once again (I suspect she’s gotten it wet and a couple of the wires are messed up), which causes Mamoru to get all weird and confused.
I’m not trying to be shocking, or funny, or to make light over the topic, but Mamoru wearing all black, with that expression, in a forest, talking to a 14 year old girl, looks like a total fucking rapist.
After Mamoru doesn’t respond to Usagi’s pleas, he runs off again, just in time to avoid being spotted by Usagi’s mother. Spotting the statue, Mama gives Usagi a curiously-relevant-to-the-episode lesson on the “Legendary Lovers”.
It goes a little something like this:
Eons ago, a Moon Maiden (which sounds like a Moomin) came down from the heavens to Earth. A youth of the land fell in love with her, and the two became happy.
Alas, bitches be crazy (or so rappers keep insisting), and an Earth girl who adored the Youth got super jealous and transformed into a Jealousy Monster or something, and began attacking people, because it’s everyone else’s fault that a guy doesn’t love you.
The Moon Maiden and the Youth attacked the crazy monster with “the power of their love” (which sounds an awful lot like making a sex tape and sending it to her just to rile her up more), sealed the monster in the lake, and the two ascended into the heavens.
Except that it totally isn’t.
Usagi gets rather affectionate for her mum (it’s really rather sweet), and the two return to the hot springs. Mum tells Usagi that if she ever finds a man she loves, bring him home to meet the parents. Again, a sweet moment. We see so little of Usagi’s relationship with her family that when they’re around we really have to make the most of it.
During all this, we can clearly see a pervert lurking in the woods behind them. Oh no wait it’s just Creepy Endymion is all.
Apparently, even though he’s a mighty general for the Dark Kingdom, Endymion still gets his intelligence from eavesdropping on people in the woods. He complete accepts this legend as legit, and with absolutely not forethought or consideration for consequence, wakes up the Lake Monster.
The sequence of the monster emerging from the lake is actually rather nice. What isn’t is this thing’s face. Endymion takes one look at it and completely regrets his decision.
Nice going, Jackass.
The monster seems about to attack Endymion when it pauses, its face getting less monstrous, its eyes dilating, and it flies away making a very peculiar sound.
The monster then spots the Tsukinos on the other side of the woods and sets off to attack them instead, specifically Usagi! What could this mean!? (It’s obvious what this means.)
Usagi is set upon by the Jealous Monster, but can’t do much as she’s with her family. The whole lot of them are running and screaming. It’s rather odd to watch these characters in such palpable danger.
Usagi’s father attempts to… I dunno, jab it in the eye with a stick or something, and the monster grabs him by the neck. Usagi, pushed to the edge, is ready to transform in front of her family (WOW THIS COULD BE BIG)…
But Evil Tuxedo Mask turns up and saves them, naturally. Oh well.
Not for a moment did I think that Usagi would actually reveal herself to her family, but the fact that she was willing to in order to save her family says a lot, I think. It’s happened once before, you may recall.
Tuxedo Mask’s flopping around gives the Tsukinos time to escape (he’s being very chivalrous, telling them to run while they can. He bloody well should be, he let the monster loose for no particular reason). The monster gets a pretty good blow on Tuxedo Kamen, and I’m going to post the photo of it just because I find it hilarious.
Sadly, he too is saved, this time by the other Sailor Senshi thus far absent in the episode.
Completely contrived. Would probably have enjoyed the episode more without their presence, but I suppose you have to please the fans.
Sailor Mercury’s Bubble Spray, useless as it is, gives the Tsukinos cover to escape, but more importantly, cover for Usagi to get away from her family to transform.
After Sailor Moon joins them, Jupiter and Venus launch a combo attack on the monster, which seems to destroy it, but it just reforms and continues attacking.
Even a Moon Tiara Action cannot defeat it permanently! What the hell, eh?
Sailor Mars, with her psychic powers and stuff, realises that it’s not a monster after all, but rather a vengeful spirit, which as she says is sort of her area of expertise. I personally don’t see the difference.
A purifying tab freezes the spirit, then a Fire Soul encases it in a ring of fire, which is completely unnecessary since it’s already frozen in place. Oh well, this is like a little recap of all the powers the Sailor Senshi have for some reason.
Sailor Moon takes the chance to use Moon Healing Escalation, as she could probably have just done from the start, and the spirit is purged of all the vengeful hate!
If only everything were that simple.
The spirit begins flying up towards the heavens (remember, this was a girl who became so poisoned by jealousy that she murdered a village for shits and giggles), when she notices Endymion staring like a creeper.
She seems to recognise him (hopefully you’ve put it all together by now and realised that it was Endymion in his past life that this spirit was enamored over), and waves goodbye sadly.
And Tuxedo Kamen raises two fingers. He can’t even be bothered to use all his fingers. Aiyaaa.
Let me get this straight. Woman is besotted, murders folk, becomes a monster, lives in a lake for a thousand years, is absolved of all her sins by Sailor Moon’s attack, and the guy she loved gives her a two-fingered salute as if to say “Welcome to Cub Scouts, snake-lady.”
This is a little messed up. Oh well, it’s Sailor Moon, so it gets a pass. It’s not nearly as fucked up as other things in this series.
Usagi rejoins her frantic family, who all think she’s been eaten, and we get a final loving reunion. This is pretty much the pinnicle of involvement from these guys – we see them a bit in the second series, and then almost not at all from then out. Bit of a shame, I like their dynamic and what they added to Usagi as a character.
Original music has started playing in the background, giving this ending an extra oomph of togetherness and family and all that crap. I sort of like it. Lots of “Wooooahhhooo Wooooaahoooo”s. It adds well to the ambiance.
The final scene is of the 5 girls using the hot spring together. I suppose that’s why they came all the way up to the lake – to mooch off Usagi’s family.
Usagi is still bummed over Tuxedo Kamen, but the presence of her friends bolsters her mood, as it always does. It’s sappy, it’s sickly sweet, it’s been done before but, you know what, it puts a smile on your face. Sailor Moon does ‘heartfelt’ well.
The episode ends with the other girls all trying to drown Usagi in the heated sulfuric water because they fucking hate her.
Not amazing, lots of angst, but it all worked well. Straight down the middle of the road for me.
Episode Score: 3/5
Monster Score: 3/5 (Good threat, interesting design, amusing noises)
Evil Plot Score: 1/5 (Even Kunzite’s shitty plans are more coherent than Endymion bouncing off the place waking stuff up for no reason.)