2:16 – The Friendship of Sailor Senshi! Goodbye Ami
Alternative Title: There Are No Good Schools In Japan?
First Aired: 10th July 1993
Ami, realising that she’s too good for these losers, reveals that she’s been accepted into a prestigious school in Germany to help her on her way to becoming a doctor. Usagi is having trouble letting go, but decides to put on a brave face for her friend. When a Droid is discovered in an ice-cream parlor, Ami faces the dilemma of following her dream or remaining part of the Sailor Senshi.
She totally stays, guys, I’m just going to get that out of the way now.
Because this is the less-polished animation team, this episode doesn’t quite the high standard set by the first two episodes in the Black Moon arc. The central inner conflict for Ami feels a little manufactured – at no point are we actually convinced that she’ll go through with leaving the country, and the show, but it’s interesting to see Ami fleshed out with an interesting dilemma.
The most exciting facet of this episode is, of course, the new transformation pens, communicators, transformation sequence and attack for Sailor Mercury. That’s one big upgrade that’s feeling a little overdue!
The episode starts with Chibi-Usa, school back-pack on, jealously staring at an ice-cream parlor. She’s especially enamored with the choco-mint, before she remembers that she’s an “adult” who has outgrown ice-cream.
Jesus, what does that make me?
She’s interrupted by Ami-chan, who is astute enough to notice that Chibi-Usa is slobbering all over the place at the thought of ice-cream, and uses the rather clever tactic of asking Chibi-Usa to do her the favour of having ice-cream with her.
I like Ami. She may not be the most glamorous of Senshi, and often gets stuck with the role of buzzkill, but she’s not only clever, she’s observant.
We get thrown over to the Hikawa shrine, where the other girls have a big exposition scene explaining that Ami is set to go study abroad in Germany because she’s so darn clever.
It’s not like they have decent schools in Japan or anything.
The writing in this episode is pretty clunky, actually. Scene transitions are occasionally painful and characters often stand around announcing their emotions. It’s all part of the least-good animation studio, but hey, it’s never bad.
Usagi is, naturally, the most distraught about Ami leaving. The others are much more adult about the situation, realising that their selfish desire to keep Ami near them is holding her back. Usagi wears her emotions on her sleeve, however, but finally Rei convinces her that the best thing to do would be to support her.
Now, it must be said that, whatever Ami’s dreams, it’s arguably far more to the benefit of mankind if she stayed and, you know, continued to fight the forces of evil and save the world. But, hey what do I know?
Luna finally spells it out for Usagi, referencing her overarching desire from the previous series – the desire for everyone to lead a normal life.
It’s an interesting conflict for Usagi. I like that they brought this back – even though it seems to have been resolved, it’s an interesting thread.
As Ami leaves Chibi-Usa to go to cram school, the little girl gets all creepy once more, thinking to herself that Ami is much more dependable than Usagi, so is therefore the most likely to be taking care of the Ginzuishou.
Chibi-Usa is smart, but she’s forgetting that Usagi is not.
Suddenly, out of shitting nowhere, Artemis presents the girls with new toys.
No more communication pads, they all get smart watches. I seriously think that the tech industry of the last 4 years have just been aping Sailor Moon. They look a little cheap, actually. Not sure I like the design of them.
The new transformation pens are pretty good though. Excited to see them in action. But seriously, where did he get them? Luna popped the last transformation pens out of thin air, which seemed to make sense to me at the time, but how did they create devices to make them more powerful?
WHATEVER. Moving on from that plot hole…
Usagi thinks sadly that Ami won’t need hers though. OR WILL SHE? (Spoiler: yes she will.)
Let’s get beamed up to the Black Moon’s UFO. I still love the design of this thing, with all the dark mirrors everywhere. Rubeus is giving orders to Berthier, who is a little annoyingly chirpy. Out of the 4 Phantom Sisters, I probably like her least, although she is infrequently entertaining.
Rubeus has found another Crystal Point that he wants Berthier to fill with Dark Power.
I’m just going to pause and say this is a terrible action plan from middle management Rubeus here. Why not determine a bunch of Crystal Points and try and take them at once, splitting their enemies’ resources? How about going down yourself and adding a little muscle?
No? Oh well, I guess that’s why you’re stuck in this shitting job down in the boondocks of Past Tokyo.
As it turns out, the Crystal Point is the ice-cream shop we saw earlier, Bob-Floy. What are the odds?
Outside cram school at night, Chibi-Usa enacts her daring plan to frisk Ami for the Ginzuishou. She convinces Ami to help her with her studying for a while, citing Usagi’s room as a difficult place to study what with all the screaming and yelling and crying.
Makes Usagi’s place sound a bit like a maternity ward, doesn’t it?
Ami lives in super expensive condos, or at least she does in the manga. Her room looks kinda shit here.
Chibi-Usa’s plan is not going well. It’s really rather late and she’s falling asleep. Ami is a studying machine though, to the extent that she explains her ethos that “It’s okay to stay up late as long as it’s for studying.” – I think she’s finally passed into creepy territory. This is with a 6 year old after all.
Chibi-Usa’s reaction of “What the heck is up with this person?” echoes mine entirely.
She’s a little surprised to find Ami staring at her instead of studying, and then to have Ami spring the question on her of where she comes from. Just like the immigration department, jeeze.
Chibi-Usa remains silent, but Ami seems fine with this, instead offering up her place to stay while she’s away in Germany. I guess her super rich parents might get lonely while they’re scrubbing their gold-plated floors or using fois gras on their bunions. That’s how the 1% live right?
In these scenes I think we’re supposed to see that Ami is secretly lonely and torn up inside, although I’m not sure that comes across yet.
We get a frankly shitty dream sequence of Usagi being abandoned by Ami, who turns into Mamoru. It really doesn’t need to be in here – we already get Usagi’s feelings on this, and I think there could have been a better way to conflate her feelings of abandonment from Ami and Mamoru together.
The next day, while Usagi and Ami are walking to school together, Ami shows uncertainty about moving to Germany, but Usagi is forthright for once and tells her that she absolutely must go and fulfill her dream!
It seems a bit cruel to heap so much pressure on this poor girl, but Usagi’s heart is in the right place.
A sudden transition to the girls minus Ami hanging out (another bad transition) tells us that Ami doesn’t want a goodbye party as it will be too painful. The girls sadly resolve to see her off at the airport instead.
Also, since they’re 14, any party they will be without alcohol and will therefore suck. I cannot envisage socialising or celebrating without subjecting my body to the worse alcoholic abuse. But maybe that’s just me.
Over at Bob-Floy, we see the EVIL effects of EVIL ice-cream, as perfectly happy couples are licking their treats and becoming instant assholes.
It’s rather funny how silly this is. Artemis is unusually sharp today, and smells something fishy about Bob-Floy. It’s pretty obviously evil, but let’s give the cat his dues.
So of course he decides not to call the Sailor Senshi, but to snoop around instead. Apparently Berthier just loves to explain her stupid plans in exquisite detail out aloud to her inferiors.
Artemis gets frozen for his troubles. Idiot. So he’s dead now, right?
His disappearance has worried the Senshi (you should be worried, he’s fucking dead), but they can’t locate him.
As Ami is now packing for Germany, Chibi-Usa realises that she can’t be the one with the Ginzuishou after all. Not sure why she couldn’t just take it to Germany – maybe it wouldn’t get through customs.
It’s weirdly lonely for Ami this episode. The only person she really interacts with is Chibi-Usa. It would have been far more interesting to see her tackle her indecision with the other girls too.
Minako, meanwhile, comes across Bob-Floy and senses something amiss. Maybe she can smell dead frozen Artemis? She really is rather concerned – again, it would have been hugely interesting to see her take on Artemis’ disappearance, but they don’t play on it enough.
Just like Artemis, Minako is an idiot who goes snooping places by herself. She overhears Berthier chewing out her Droid Nipasu for having not killed the Bob-Floy employees yet (it’s pretty funny actually).
In the back room, Minako confronts Nipasu and becomes pinned down under a snowstorm. We get the first use of their new communicator watches as she calls for backup.
You literally never see these things unless they’re being used, mainly because they’re a fucking eyesore. I can’t help suspect that the toy-manufacturing division had a hand in design them so that they could develop crap to sell easily.
They girls are all ready to help Minako, but they realise that they’ll miss Ami’s flight. Chibi-Usa appears from nowhere (nice convenient writing there) to offer to take their gift to Ami for them.
Then Mamoru snatches the girt like a fucking dick and offers to take Chibi-Usa to the airport. Look, you pretentious twit, you’ve broken up with Usagi. There’s no reason to stalk her and snatch shit out of her hand. Yeesh.
The Senshi finally turn up together at Bob-Floy.
And they suck.
Ami, meanwhile, is at Narita Airport. I’m just going to point out now that she’s definitely at Nartia Airport, which is, in fact, about 90 minutes drive from West Tokyo at the minimum.
There’s an original song in the background as she’s preparing to leave Japan. It’s fine enough, not particularly noticeable to be honest. Not sure why she’s travelling in her school uniform, nor why she seems to have no luggage with her. It’s almost like she knew not to bother.
Also, Mamoru is driving Chibi-Usa to the airport while he wears his fucking blind-man shades. It’s night. I mean, honestly guys. What the hell?
All the while, the Sailor Senshi are just huddling behind boxes freezing from the cold of Nipasu. Sailor Venus remarks that “I think it’s colder than the North Pole!” – Oh, so it’s colder than that time you died? Real sensitive, Minako.
Ami is being sent off only by Mamoru and Chibi-Usa, which is pretty sad. Even worse is Chibi-Usa’s leaving present – an off-colour candy cane. It’s not even Christmas.
Mamoru hands over the girls’ gift and it is, in fact, her transformation pen and communication watch. Chibi-Usa tries to imply that Ami’s friends are all bitches for not seeing her off, but Ami comes to, you know, one of them lesson things, while she stares at her pens.
There’s something more important than thinking about your own dreams – there’s saving the planet to think of. Which is what I’ve been trying to say from the start, Ami.
She suddenly looks up sharply at Mamoru, asking if the team is in trouble. She should know by now that they’re always in trouble. Mamoru is psychic or something, so he nods. Seriously, he’s still in douche mode from last week.
Ami decides to stay (thank god), and gets Mamoru to drive her back to help the others.
Once again, at least a 90 minute drive if there’s no traffic whatsoever, and there’s never no traffic. I guess his car is magic or something because Ami arrives at Bob-Floy rather quickly.
We get the brand new transformation of Sailor Mercury (Mercury Star Power Make-Up!) Except that it’s not really brand new – it takes the animation of the first transformation and spruces it up a little, but it’s welcomed nevertheless.
Much better is her new attack which is so much better than Bubble Spray! I love Shine Aqua Illusion. Very attractive, feels like it punches much more of a punch than Bubble Spray.
And here it is:
I should mention that Bubble Spray hangs around, popping up every so often when the writers can’t think of a way out of a fight without it, right up until the end of season 3. Aiyaaa.
Shine Aqua Illusion stuns Nipasu enough for Sailor Moon to fire off a Moon Princess Halation, and everyone is all happy and stuff.
Artemis is alive, which is a shame, but thankfully the only person who gives a shit is Luna, since all the others are crowding around Sailor Mercury.
Sailor Team! Yay!
The episode ends on a bridge with Ami explaining that it doesn’t really matter where she studies as long as she studies hard. Seriously, it look getting to the airport to make you realise this?
Usagi vows to study hard too, but Luna snidely remarks that she’d never be able to, and the episode suddenly ends IN LAUGHTER which is so fucking awful it’s unbearable.
There are some really horrid moments in this episode. The writing really is sub-par, the animation is a little shoddy… you catch my drift. It’s not a terrible episode though, I can get through it easily enough, and having a new transformation and attack forgives a lot… except for that stupid fade-out over laughter right at the end.
Episode Score: 2/5 (That last joke pulled it down from a 3)
Monster Score: 2/5 (Nipasu is BOOOOORING)
Evil Plot Score: 2/5 (Evil ice-cream. Not great.)