2:4 – Usagi’s Crisis! The Tiara Doesn’t Work
Alternative Title: I Am a Hologram LOVELY PUNCH!
First Aired: 10th April 1993
A Virtual Reality arcade has opened up in town, and Luna, for some reason, thinks that Usagi could benefit from some training there. Usagi manages to skip the massive queue thanks to the hypnotic abilities of Seijuro and Natsumi, aka Ali and En. The aliens use the VR game to woo their crushes in front of each other, and when that fails, set an ant-woman monster upon the punters to steal energy. With Sailor Moon’s tiara failing to work as a weapon, can she defend her father and brother?
Spoiler: No, not really.
This episode is one of those where you sit patiently through it, enjoying the jokes and the story, but rather keen for the main plot thread of the series to move on a bit. It feels like the series is building to something in these first few episodes, so while the first half is brilliant, the second half has me checking my watch every few minutes.
Also, this episode features Usagi’s little brother Shingo AND Moonlight Knight, so you really get a piss-awful sandwich of pain there.
The episode opens with Usagi’s mother dragging her out of bed. Despite it being a day off school, mother is determined that Usagi shall not spend it asleep, and steals her bed covers. This is child cruelty, right here. Usagi should have yelled “You’re not my REAL MOTHER. She’s DEAD and lives on the MOON.”
Also determined to make the most of the day is galactic lovers/shameless cheaters Ali and En, who are concerned that the Doom Tree is not getting nearly enough energy. Ali helpfully exposits that the tree is the source of their life: if it dies, so will they.
Not sure what they’re basing that on. Go ahead and see what happens if you don’t water it for a few days, I’m sure it couldn’t be THAT bad.
Their concern for the tree, and their lives, is setting up the idea that they’re really not motivated by evil intentions. In fact, they’re just trying to survive. I like the cloudy distinction between right and wrong, but they haven’t yet convinced me that the aliens are interesting enough to pull this off.
En sees a flyer for a VR arcade in town, and the pair decide to go shopping for human energy. Fun!.
Usagi strolls by the VR arcade and proclaims, “Ah! That’s the Vertical Reel Something-Something!” as if she’s an expert. It’s very endearingly silly. Luna is less impressed.
Usagi can’t really be bothered to line up behind the ma-hu-sive queue that’s formed outside the arcade, especially when she realises that most in the queue are couples. Usagi grabs Luna roughly and interrogates her, “I bet you actually know how to restore Mamoru’s memory don’t you!?” – another lol-worthy moment.
It’s something I wonder about too.
As if formed from her thoughts (or from a lazy writer’s hand), Mamoru turns up in time to warn her not to bully a cat just because she’s alone. He’s straight into dick mode – although I agree that bullying Luna is a little mean.
The pair begin fighting just as fiercely as back in the start of season 1. It’s a little sad to see the two go so far backwards.
Meanwhile, Natsumi is being hit upon by… um… some white guy? He sort of looks like John Travolta in Grease, or John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, or John Travolta as that rapist in Carrie. Honestly, I think this creep could do better. Natsumi grates.
Although she could easily kill this dude, Mamoru, ever a stalwart condescending prig, comes to her rescue. Just as we think there’s going to be a throw-down… the guy makes a stupid face and runs away.
It’s all rather awkward here. Natsumi hits on Mamoru, Usagi gets jealous, Seijuro gets pissed off, Saijuro hits on Usagi… In the end they decide to all go into the VR arcade together. That’s pretty neat, isn’t it?
Inside the arcade, the punters are in stationary vehicles shooting at… Godzilla, apparently. Usagi’s dad and brother are in the seats in front of her, but they only notice each other after Usagi makes a lot of noise while clinging on to a clearly uncomfortable Mamoru.
I’ll just mention that I sort of hate seeing Mamoru so fawned over, right after he acts a bit of a bully to Usagi.
The motion of the vehicles knock Usagi over into Seijuro’s arms at this point (UGH.) and everyone’s rather shocked by this, even Mamoru, who doesn’t look too happy. Interesting development…
Usagi’s dad finally steps in after seeing his daughter caressing one man and being embraced by another, and loudly whispers, “PAPA TRUSTS YOU. REMEMBER, PAPA TRUSTS YOU.” – which is hilarious.
All this time, I should mention, Rei, Ami, Makoto and Minako are all outside the VR centre queuing. Fun episode for these guys.
The next section of the VR game is an on-foot laser blaster game. Looks very fun, actually, like Quasar, but with holograms. Shingo gives an introduction, aping Sailor Moon’s classic “In the name of the Moon, I’ll punish you!”, but the way he does it is super gay. Intentionally so, I imagine.
Natsumi is in her element in this game, strolling along with Mamoru and Seijuro arm in arm and singing. It’s quite funny actually.
Usagi’s dad also keeps poking his head around the corner to check on Usagi, which shows you how much trust he really has in his daughter. I’m not surprised, this is the kind of girl that becomes a statistic, if you catch my drift.
An aggressive competition breaks out between Mamoru and Seijuro in the shooting here. It takes no speech whatsoever, these two have never even exchanged a single word. They simply stare at each other and know: it’s on like Donkey Kong.
I love this bit. Clever bit of work really.
You’ll notice that one of the holograms they shoot at looks RATHER FAMILIAR WHAT THE FUCK IT’S BOXSY FROM EPISODE 26!? I burst out laughing every time I see his stupid face. Forever will the words “I AM A CHAMPION LOVELY PUNCH!” echo in the darkest recesses of my soul.
Usagi finally attempts to shoot something, and… misses. Badly. She’s so crap, it’s a distinction.
Natsumi finally pushes it too far with Mamoru, it seems. She’s pretty full on with her grabbing (Seijuro watching moodily all the while), until he roughly forces her away with a “You can’t win someone’s heart by being so pushy.” Condescending again, but we’ll let him have this one. It was a pretty sweet take down.
Even better is Usagi’s response of patting Mamoru on the back with a, “I agree completely! Mamoru, you’re the man!” – gosh I love her.
Usagi gets freaked out by a hologram at this point and runs off, with Mamoru running after her in concern. It’s rather silly and sweet. I dislike Mamoru, but I’ll always root for this crazy couple.
I love this next bit: Natsumi shoots a hologram rather coolly with her finger (because aliens can do that, apparently), and announces to Seijuro, “Love is something you take by force, right?” – before remembering she’s talking to her boyfriend. He’s not so happy, so Natsumi pretends she’s out of energy again to smooth things over. Really enjoyed this writing.
So now the aliens are ready to attack people, considering their attempts to cheat on one another has failed miserably.
The Cardian chosen for the attack. Mother fucking Hell-Ant. She says “ANT” 5 times in a row as her entrance. Blow me, Hell Ant.
Hell Ant is busy attacking people with her head tentacles. This is gross, and also I couldn’t imagine anything that looks less like an ant, let alone a hellish one. Usagi’s Dad and Shingo both stumble across it. UH OH.
Usagi, meanwhile, is being led along by the hand by Mamoru, and she’s falling into one of those weird threesome-fantasies again with her, Tuxedo Kamen and Moonlight Knight, the third of which relates in real life to Shingo tugging on her arm.
Which is sort of gross now that I pause and think about it.
Usagi’s dad is in trouble, and he comes looking for help. Mamoru obviously offers to help, but Shingo tells Usagi to stay behind because she’s a girl. Little sexist shit.
Oh, also, the rest of the gang is STILL QUEUING.
Hell-Ant has a rather comical fight with Usagi’s dad before Mamoru turns up and throws his laser pack at the monster, but she eventually grabs all three of the guys
and fucks them with her tentacles before Sailor Moon finally arrives.
Aaaaand she’s shit.
She tries to use Moon Tiara Action, but it falls to the ground, impotent. What is going on!? She literally has nothing else in her bag of tricks, something Mamoru is swift to point out is rather pathetic considering she’s a superhero.
The two are, naturally, saved by the white rose of Moonlight Knight (PISS OFF), who gives a speech about “love blooming” and “beautiful flowers” (seriously, piss off.)
Sailor Moon is naturally confused as hell by this – she’s standing next to Mamoru, whom she thought was obviously Moonlight Knight (mainly because they have the exact same face).
Mamoru’s reaction to this is priceless: “Another weird one has shown up…”
Moonlight Knight goes up against Hell-Ant and slashes her tentacles off, which seems pretty slick.
Until she grows more and tries to crush the idiot to death. Turns out he’s really rather rubbish.
The rest of the Sailor Senshi finally turn up, cue a scene of Sailor Moon crying about her tiara and the other Senshi lovingly consoling her. A bit out of place, but hey, not so bad. I just wish she wasn’t so pathetic these past few episodes.
A combination of Crescent Beam and Supreme Thunder is enough to kill Hell-Ant (good riddance), and Moonlight Knight runs away having accomplished nothing.
Only Mamoru is left now – he asks who the hell these Sailor people are, but they run away looking rather sad before he can get an answer.
The episode ends at Usagi’s house with Shingo and Papa getting all their cuts and bruises treated by Mama. Next to this silly sight is an emotional Usagi, hugging Luna very tight, upset that she can’t use her tiara, and that Moonlight Knight isn’t Mamoru after all.
Something definitely needs to happen to kickstart her character again, and the next episode will do just that.
Episode Score: 3/5 (Brilliant comedic writing, second half was anaemic.)
Monster Score: 2/5 (Hell-Ant? Really)
Number of Times Hell-Ant said “Ant”: I lost count at 30