2:12 – The Lovers’ Heats Disagree! The Angry Doom Tree
Alternative Title: Hey, Maybe Don’t Open That Door
First Aired: 12th June 1992
Since the unusual behaviour of one of their Cardians, Ali and En have remained at home from school, concerned about the Doom Tree. They send out another Cardian to gather human energy, but it just seems to wither the tree even further. Usagi, worried about her schoolmates, visits the aliens-in-disguise and, being nosy, stumbles upon the Doom Tree in a cupboard. After the Doom Tree responds favourably to Usagi’s energy, En begins to conceive of a plan…
The is the first of the two final episodes in the Ali & En mini-saga. As such, it’s meaty with plot development, something that Sailor Moon always does well.
I like this episode a lot. Considering how dull some points in the Ali & En story has been thus far, relying solely on the strength of the characters they’ve made as opposed to actual scenarios, this one really does get you amped for the conclusion. Good drama, good art, good action and, for the first time in the Ali & En saga, good threat.
First things first, Usagi is walking down the street in the bitching outfit from Episode 6 of the first series! Glad to see the blue and white combo back. I know it’s odd to focus on the fashion of animated characters, but hey, this girl’s rocking that look.
She’s glad to have the day off school, but seems a little perturbed that she isn’t being asked out by guys. This is pretty darn vain and arrogant, but as ever, I can’t help but love Usagi’s character that little bit more.
Her wish seems to be answered, not in the way she would prefer I think. Seijuro appears to be stalking Usagi and makes his move on her heart the only way he knows how – through her stomach.
Meanwhile Natsumi is also stalking someone (these guys are freaky how similar they are. Goes back to my vague incest theory of Ali & En). She makes a move on Mamoru in a book store, and very loudly, and boldly, jumps on him arm. He looks worried.
So, these two pseudo-dates bump into each other (Tokyo is a small town, right? Only 33 million people?), with Usagi being treated to a crepe (she’s ridiculously easy to charm). It gets pretty awkward.
Seijuro and Natsumi (who are, let’s not forget, posing as brother and sister when they’re humans) begin fighting like spurned lovers in the street. Usagi and Mamoru are wtf-ing out, of course.
This fight continues all the way home for the aliens, who return to the Doom Tree, the source of their powers and, more importantly, their lives, to find it withering.
I’ll be honest, I always thought it looked dead to begin with.
Ali decides that the only thing to do is to gather a shit-ton of energy, because this has always worked so well in the past.
On a completely different day (Usagi is not in her btichin’ outfit anymore. SAD) Usagi goes to see a “Sailor Moon Stage Show” on the roof of a department store. I guess this is her “Beatles” moment. Usagi is excited, but Luna glumly points out that it’s probably a comedy show.
It’s worse. It’s a kid’s show. Complete with giant bobble-headed actors and call-and-answers of “In the name of the Moon…!” “I will punish you!”, which is weird when you consider that kids are yelling that line.
Naru and Umino are in the audience (SHIT EVERYONE GET DOWN WE’RE GONNA GET ATTACKED), both of whom are “proud” of Sailor Moon becoming so famous.
I think this is because they had both seen her first, before she was generally known. OR they both totally know that Usagi is Sailor Moon and are politely not telling her since it’s so flipping obvious.
So yeah, EVERYONE GET’S ATTACKED by this floating 4-faced many-armed thing that appears to be a Buddhist deity Asura, which is nice and sensitive isn’t it?
It’s called Yamandakka, and it captures energy by giant petals. If you look closely at the afflicted people, you’ll also notice a bobbled-headed version of Jadeite from the Dark Kingdom! Wild eh? I suppose he’s the only bad guy known to the Japanese populace, having appeared as a vision over the city in Episode 13. Good thinking, guys.
By the way, Yamandakka says it’s name a lot. It runs off immediately after stealing energy. A much more clever tactic than usual, Ali & En.
Usagi arrives to see the mass-devastation on the roof and says “Oh they got Naru-chan AGAIN.” Seriously, this is like the 40th time.
Yamandakka tries spreading its collected energy on the Doom Tree but Ali and En are deeply troubled to see that it seems to be doing nothing! well, I sure am glad you attacked all those children for sod-all.
The aliens here on out stop going to school. They might be trying to conserve energy, or maybe they realised that going to school when you’re an interstellar alien with magical powers is COMPLETELY POINTLESS.
Usagi, being the cheery, interfering girl that she is, drags Makoto and Ami along with her after school to check if the broth-sister-lovers are OK. From the start, Makoto is not keen on this plan, seeing as she hates Natsumi with a passion.
Right on, Mako-chan.
Seijuro opens the door and- oh lord they’re wearing matching clothes. At this point it should be obvious that these siblings are right out of Game of Thrones, and even Usagi and Mako comments on how weird this is.
Mako and Usagi even point accusatory fingers, like they should be burned at the stake or something.
Seijuro gives some vague bullshit about how they lost their parents when they were young or something.
Seijuro is a completely different person in these scenes. He acts cringing and obsequious around Usagi and the others, trying to be a good host. It’s very Japanese, and I mean that in a subservient grovelling way. I love the Japanese, but this attitude has always bugged me.
Well, today, Seijuro is just laughable, so it’s amusing to watch his crumbling haughtiness.
Nastumi is the complete inverse of this, going into to MAJOR bitch mode. Makoto isn’t having any of it, and gives as good as she gets.
It’s cute seeing Usagi try to break the ice between Makoto, Ami and Natsumi, but no one wants to play ball. Makoto actual gets up in a huff to leave, but Usagi provides an interruption by pressing a button on a door.
A rather suspicious door.
Seijuro quickly hits the button to keep it closed, saying that the room is a mess and he can’t show it, but we all know Usagi can never drop a secret.
Usagi tries one last brave stab at conversation by saying how great Mako-chan is at cleaning (SO SEXIST, USAGI), but after an uncomfortable silence, Natsumi chucks them all out.
On the balcony, Seijuro tries to talk about this warm feeling he has inside, but Natsumi just cannot be bothered to hear him talking about his stupid emotions. Who could, I ask you?
The next day, Usagi wakes up super early to go and chivvy Natsumi and Seijuro to school, proving that she can get up if she’s really motivated.
Once again, Natsumi is having none of it, but Seijuro, toothbrush in hand and sounding like a complete snivelling idiot, is happy enough to invite her in to have a meat bun. I hope that’s not prison-lingo.
Aaaaaaaand Usagi goes straight for the door.
In a rather disturbing scene, she’s attacked by the Doom Tree’s roots (her scream is epically horrifying) and claws her way out back into the apartment. This is why you don’t open weird doors you’ve been warned against, Usagi. Honestly.
Seijuro’s explanation is that he’s “experimenting with something in cosmic botany right now” which is what we’ve all said when we’ve been found in a compromising position with a plant, right?
Natsumi’s pissed off again and kicks Usagi out. I think she may have been justified this time.
Returning to the Doom Tree, it seems that Usagi’s energy has brought over a profound change in the old horrid bush – it has new growth, something that hasn’t happened in a good long while apparently.
Natsumi suggests feeding Usagi to the Doom Tree (killing two birds with one stone), but Seijuro wants to try something else first. He calls Yamandakka down to give the new sprout energy but…
It withers. Uh oh. This might mean bad news for Usagi. Finally, just to hit home how ridiculous Ali & En are as villains, the Doom Tree tries to tell them that he’s had enough by screaming. It’s pretty freaky and silly at the same time.
As it happens, neither Ali & En seem to know exactly what the Doom Tree is. Great to be relying on it for your life. Smart move.
At school, Makoto, Ami and Usagi are chatting on the grass when Ami notices something in Usagi’s hair moving! Makoto swipes it out with a twig, and the girls all look down at this… thing… for a few seconds.
When it starts wriggling that all freak the fuck out which is is exactly what I would do. Seriously, I’ve had giant bugs land on my head before and tried to cut off my own face in horror at the thought that they touched me. I’m manly like that.
The girls all gather at Hikawa Shrine to discuss this horrid gross thing. The swiggly horror is in a glass jar, and Luna, very seriously, orders Artemis to show the girls what this thing is.
He’s not so keen.
I LOVE this bit. Artemis sticks a paw in and is attacked by the writhing tentacle, before he smacks it back in the jar. His reaction is priceless. It’s essentially my reaction to giant bugs again.
Luna asks “Do you understand!?” to which Usagi cheerfully replies “Not at all.” How the heck did you think she would, Luna?
Usagi’s pretty freaked out that an energy stealing plat could be on her head. Everything she does in this episode is just perfect.
The cats explain that this is a twig of the Makaiju (Doom Tree – I just love how it sounds in Japanese). How the hell do they know this? Do they have an encyclopaedia of “weird shit from space”?
Obviously Seijuro and Natsumi are now prime suspects, and the gang all decide that they must be investigated. Usagi, however, is nice and naive and innocent and really, really dumb, so she decides that she has to go alone to find out if Seijuro and Natsumi are as bad as they seem.
NEWS FLASH: they are.
With Luna in tow, Usagi realises that maybe it’s not such a good idea to go alone, but she sees Mamoru heading to see Natsumi with a bouquet of flowers, having heard that she’s been sick. He’s such an idiot. but feels some sort of gratitude for her assistance in that shitty play from a couple of episodes ago.
He attempts to warn him away from the place are met with his usual derision (he’s a dick remember). Usagi hesitates… but ends up following him, rather like that other time he was heading into danger…
I like that this is in keeping with Usagi’s character, and that it’s an admirable, if ultimately foolish, trait of her’s. She’s willing to put herself in danger to protect the people she loves, and proves this time and time again. A lot of other fictional characters have this trait too, of course, but it feels especially heroic when you’re a 14-year-old girl with apparent learning difficulties.
Natsumi is, of course, delighted to have Mamoru over, but seems equally delighted to have Usagi round too. I wonder why…
Seijuro has finally lost the plot here, and goes into full effeminate-weirdo-homosexual-host mode. That’s not a slur against gay people, it’s just a slur against this mincing attitude of Seijuro right now.
Usagi seems to forget to keep her guard up as she’s stuffing herself with meat buns and, while Seijuro shows Mamoru the balcony (..wha…?), Natsumi leads her over to the Doom Tree door.
Come on, Usagi, show a little sense. Just a little? Please?
Nope, Natsumi easily shoves her in and…
My oh my. Yamandakka gets handsy. Seriously, this looks like sexual assault, and I’m deeply unnerved by it.
It’s at this point that the Doom Tree loses its shit and starts screaming in full sentences: “THAT’S ENOUGH. THAT’S ENOUGH. THAT’S ENOUGH.”
If you heard a tree start yelling this, you’d probably stop whatever you were doing and back up for a second, but Yamandakka barely registers this before the tree explodes in tentacles.
The tree breaks through the walls, through the entire bloody apartment complex, and Mamoru sees Usagi being almost torn in two by tree roots. It looks rather painful.
As for Yamandakka? It’s slammed into the ground with a final pathetic “Dak…ka…” Poor bastard. I was beginning to find him quite amusing when, you know, he wasn’t grabbing Usagi by the arse.
The sight of the Doom Tree atop the building, writhing, with the sky red behind it, is an impressively haunting sight.
With the other Senshi down below, we all know they’re about to bust down, but as Jupiter blasts through the doors, the episode ends with Usagi’s drawn out and rather horrifying screams…
TO BE CONTINUED!
Seriously this is a great first part. It had everything you’d want to get yourself psyched up for a conclusion. As pedestrian as most of the Ali & En episodes are, the ending is, at least, above average. Best of all, NO MOONLIGHT KNIGHT TODAY. Of that we can all be happy.
Episode Score: 4/5
Monster Score: 3/5 (I like Yamandakka, as repetitive as he was. Just a bit… rapey for my tastes.”
Number of Yamandakkas: 21 (seriously, it’s all I heard throughout the entire episode.)