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2:8 – The Culture Festival is for Me!? Queen Rei Sings With Passion

Alternative Title: Jesus, Rei. Learn To Micromanage

First Aired: 8th May 1993

17

Rei has been extremely busy as the chairwoman of the TA Girls School culture festival. Not only is she directing the event, she’s also starring as the main attraction, singing music and lyrics written… by her. Shameless self-promoting, she’s less than happy when Ali and En crash her performance with a monster, and Sailor Mars must harness hitherto unforeseen powers to save the day, and her show.

Did you see that synopsis? Totally nailed yet. Oh yes.

Very much like the last episode, this one feels like complete filler, but yet again the slice-of-life writing, the friendship-building and the rather brilliant comedic moments are, on the whole, better than an episode that amounts to not-much-happening.

Also, I hate idols and dislike this musical ability they shoved on Rei that we’ve never heard of nor will ever see ever again… but I love Rei, so that balances out nicely too.

The episode starts at the Hikawa Shrine. Rather unexpectedly, Makotois dressed up in full shrine maiden-regalia, giving a sales pitch for love charms to an appreciative audience.

She could be selling packets of sick baboon blood, I'd buy anything from her

She could be selling packets of sick baboon blood, I’d buy anything from her

I’ve been to hundreds of shrines. Never have I met a shrine maiden to match Makoto’s ability to sell random crap.

Her pitch – “No matter how many times my heart was broken, I found a new boyfriend every single time!” – gets many oohs and aahs from the crowd, but Rei’s Grandpa seems rather irritated by this, since the amulets are meant to prevent you breaking up in the first place.

This is the moment it begins to dawn on him that emplying teenage girls has a downside

This is the moment it begins to dawn on him that emplying teenage girls has a downside

I like this joke a lot.

Usagi and Ami turn up, giving Grandpa to helpfully explain (exposition 101) that Makoto and Minako are working at the shrine to cover Rei, who has been busy managing her school’s culture festival.

At the TA Girl’s School, Rei is in her element. She’s having to direct every last thing, from lighting to exhibitions. Such is the hero-worship her fellow students have for her that she’s required to be everywhere to tell people what to do.

"But Rei-sama, are we meant to flush before or after, you have to tell us!"

“But Rei-sama, are we meant to flush before or after, you have to tell us!”

I must say that this is indicative of Japanese hierarchy – no one can get anything done without deferring to their senior. It makes working a tiresome and long affair, for obvious reasons. It’s why they work so many hours – no one can get shit done.

Rei seems exasperated by the inadequacies of her adoring contemporaries, and is glad when Usagi provides a welcome distraction.

Usagi offers Luna and Artemis over to Rei to help her out as a bit of a joke, but the poor cats don’t seem to find being swung around by their feet particularly funny.

Luna's concern is hilarious and yet at the same time I feel like I should be calling the Humane Society

Luna’s concern is hilarious and yet at the same time I feel like I should be calling the Humane Society

I’m laughing my ass off, mainly because of Usagi’s supreme ability to not give a shit.

Rei’s singing rehearsal starts, and should give you some idea of the quality of music that will be on offer in this episode. The singing’s not… terrible. The music is… skimming unpleasant. It’s a bit eye-rolling to be honest, but we should make allowances for the fact that it’s Japan in 1993.

She stops singing abruptly when the lights shift to a sickly pink colour, yelling at the lighting crew about not making the show look like a caberet. She gets a dewy response of “Rei-sama, what do the spotlights of a cabaret look like?”

I've never seen Rei speechless before

I’ve never seen Rei speechless before

Again, really funny stuff. Rei’s just about had it.

Usagi compliments Rei on the song (she has no taste, remember), and Rei cheerfully reveals that the composition and lyrics are all hers.

Never have we heard in one moment that Rei has the ability to read or write concert-grade musical notation. It takes years of study. Oh well, Pulp Fiction had the Golden Briefcase, The Avengers had the Tesseract, Rei has sudden musical talent.

"I call it The McGuffin! It's awful."

“I call it The McGuffin! It’s awful.”

Everyone is a little intimidated by this, and Ami points out that it’s like the entire festival exists just to promote Rei, to which Rei replies HELL YES THAT’S THE POINT.

Gosh I love her.

Outside, we see a glimpse of Seijuro and Natsumi up in a tree, making plans to attack the festival for its youthful energy. I guess attacking babies got tiresome.

On the night before the festival, everyone’s stroking Rei’s ego even further by commenting how difficult it must have been to compose her own music.

Everyone loves an over-achiever!

Everyone loves an over-achiever!

Rei, showing her typical oblique self-promotion, denies this, claiming it was easy and took no time whatsoever, but we see clips of the apparently excruciating creative process. The point being, she’s not just a heartless bitch savant after all. She cares or something.

Let's jack in some emotional conflict riiiiiiiiight here

Let’s jack in some emotional conflict riiiiiiiiight here

On the day of the festival, Grandpa couldn’t be happier. Rei’s school is an all-girls school after all, and he wastes no time hitting on his grand-daughter’s contemporaries by asking them if they’d like to work as a shrine maiden.

Kinky old bastard. Too bad he gets complete shot down.

We get shots of the girls enjoying the culture festival and it looks like a hell of a lot of fun. Usagi’s more concerned about the food than anything else, but shots of a kimono dress-up, a cake competition, even a golfing society, make the festival feel crowded, busy and rather real.

This is my favourite bit. Rei appears to have the hots for cold, damp Ami

This is my favourite bit. Rei appears to have the hots for cold, damp Ami

I’m rather envious, I never got to attend a culture festival while I was working in a Junior High. The closest I got was a sports day, or maybe the confusing afternoon where the entire school went out into a field and planted new potatoes.

Seriously, I had no fucking clue what was going on that day.

Seijuro and Natsumi are much less interested in the festivities, preparing for energy-sucking (they great at sucking) but they’re waylaid by a group of enthusiastic girls who begin measuring them.

"Now start flapping. I SAID FLAP, BITCH."

“Now start flapping. I SAID FLAP, BITCH.”

It’s quite funny, the one measuring Seijuro is tiny compared to him.

As it turns out, this is the fashion designing club, and they’ve waiting till almost-literally the last minute to find their models (??? WHY ???).

The theme? “ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE.”

The aliens are deeply concerned that they’ve been discovered, and Seijuro wonders whether the leader of the fashion designers has some amazing abilities.

The tension is broken when the girl asks if they still believe in stupid things like aliens.

Natsumi's face is great. She seems insulted that the idea of her existence is idiotic

Natsumi’s face is great. She seems insulted that the idea of her existence is idiotic

I really liked this silly little exchange. Ali and En are sort of crappy enemies, but they’re good for a bit of comedy – they have a lot of dignity and melodramatic poise, so any loss of that dignity ends up being hilarious.

The school speakers announce the commencement of the stage shows – Rei is referred to as TA School’s Queen Rei, which is… I dunno… almost a little obscene? No girl is this universally liked by her peers, surely.

Seijuro and Natsumi are all set for the fashion show aaaaaaand holy shit.

"We're so hot right now."

“We’re so hot right now.”

This is the “opening” of Rei’s concert. Dear God. Oh well, the crowd love how stupid they look, there’s much wolf-whistling.

The best bit is when Seijuro and Natsumi think they’re being genuinely cheered for, instead of being laughed at, and crack evil grins as they prepare to suck energy. More of that loss of dignity.

Seriously, look at this stuff.

"Fare thee well, dignity!"

“Fare thee well, dignity!”

Rei’s show starts. She’s dressed to the nines and has that horrible “idol attitude” to go along with it. She even asks to be called “Rei-chan” and talks about herself in 3rd person.

"If I disappoint my fans and my slave-driving managers by having a relationship with a man, I'll shave my head in penance!"

“If I disappoint my fans and my slave-driving managers by having a relationship with a man, I’ll shave my head in penance!”

And then that awful song starts again.

Thank fuck that Ali and En throw the Cardian Seiren (it’s a Siren, but, you know, sounds a bit different) to shut Rei the fuck up.

"No, this isn't lipstick, I just eat candles."

“No, this isn’t lipstick, I just eat candles.”

Instantly, the horrid fishy woman squirts out some gold flakes that starts knocking everyone out. That’s rather convenient. The last one to fall is Rei’s Grandpa, still hitting on the monster and asking if she wants to be a shrine maiden. I chuckled.

"Hey baby, it doesn't matter to Grandpa if you don't have working drainpipes, you've still got a chimney, know what I'm saying?"

“Hey baby, it doesn’t matter to Grandpa if you don’t have working drainpipes, you’ve still got a chimney, know what I’m saying?”

Usagi, Ami, Makoto and Minako avoid getting knocked out, not with their Sailor Senshi powers, but by the simple expediency of hiding beneath the seats. Even Makoto, who I’m fairly sure wouldn’t fit.

Rei gets knocked to the ground, and the other Sailor Senshi transform for a fight. Thank GOD it knocked out everyone else first, eh?

The Sailor Senshi… don’t do great. They’re almost immediately put on the ropes.

"Oh GOD she smells like a fish market at the end of a working day"

“Oh GOD she smells like a fish market at the end of a working day”

Despite the fact that she’s injured, Rei is pissed off about the interruption to her show to transform anyway.

Sailor Mars manages to burn off the Cardian’s hair (seriously this thing looks gross), freeing her comrades, but the monster simply puts out the fire with its horrible wet fishy breath.

She essentially vomited sea-water on herself

She essentially vomited sea-water on herself

Seriously, this thing is fucking gross. Look at its mouth.

Moonlight Knight appears to distract the monster, speaks some bullshit about music (as if he knows a goddamn thing), then is promptly attacked.

"Music is... uh, like the galaxy. Yeah., that works."

“Music is… uh, like the galaxy. Yeah., that works.”

The Cardian’s rush knocks Rei’s music sheets to the ground. Oh noooo! Now she’ll have to use one of the other copies she made. Oh she spent dozens of hours hand-writing out a score then didn’t even photocopy it? There’s only one fucking copy?

Musical genius she may be, but she ain't smart

Musical genius she may be, but she ain’t smart enough to use a photocopier

OK, so it’s completely Sailor Mars’ fault here, she has no reason to get angry or anything. Plus it was sort of Moonlight Knight’s fault, so…

Oh well, may as well set something alight if it makes you feel better.

Mars combines her Fire Soul with a anti-monster talisman she’s always flipping out to create the Fire Soul Bird, a new attack which looks fantastic.

I think I prefer Fire Soul. Sorry bird-thing

I think I prefer Fire Soul. Sorry bird-thing

The bird flies around the Cardian’s answering horrid moist fishy breath and smacks the thing about, giving Sailor Moon the chance to Moon Princess Halation its gross ass out of here.

Bye Seiren, you made me feel ill just looking at you.

Afterwards, the show goes on for some inecplicable reason. Weren’t you all just unconcious from a fucking monster just a few minutes ago? You want to sit down and listen to a slow ballad instead of, I dunno, calling the cops? Or the goddamn newspaper? No?

"Monster? What monster!? My song was just so hypnotic you started hallucinating."

“Monster? What monster!? My song was just so hypnotic you started hallucinating.”

Rei’s second song is much nicer than her first – it’s a gooey ballad that I can tolerate, even if you won’t find it on my iPod like Heart Moving or La Soldier (more of that song at the end of the series, it’s amazing).

The episode ends outside in the quad, with the school gathered around a bonfire. Usagi congratulates Rei on being wonderful, which Rei really blushes at. I like these rare moments between these normally-abrasive friends.

That's actually rather sweet!

That’s actually rather sweet!

D'AWWW

D’AWWW

Naturally, Rei pushes away at any moment of closeness with those around her (you gotta tear down them walls, guuurl) and decides to tease Usagi witha “You want me to teach you a thing or two?”, which is coincidently also the name of my Sailor Moon erotic fan-fiction.

The episode ends with the girls fighting against the end of a wonderful evening. Also, Tokyo Tower is there, so down your drink if you’re playing the Sailor Moon drinking game.

A real pretty way to end the episode. Alongside the sound of bickering

A real pretty way to end the episode. Alongside the sound of bickering

Joking aside. I really should make one of those sometime…

 

Episode Score: 3/5

Monster Score: 3/5 (Gross, but not much of a personality)

Moonlight Knight Prick-O-Meter: 94% Prick (At least he was mostly brief today)

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