2:22 – Awaken, Sleeping Beauty! Mamoru’s Distress
Alternative Title: Why Is He Always Kissing Her When She’s Unconscious…?
First Aired: 25h September 1993
Mamoru continues having horrible dreams of Usagi’s fate if he stays around her, and decides to up his game in the terrible-human-being-department. After Usagi thinks that Mamoru is dating a pretty teenager, she falls into parallaxes of despair. While defending Chibi-Usa, a Droid takes advantage of this to lock Sailor Moon into a deadly dream that only Tuxedo Kamen can wake her from.
Another in an amazing run of Sailor Moon episodes in season 2, this one may not have the brilliant action, drama, music or animation of the previous episode (but that is an awfully high bar), but it is indisputably brilliant.
What develops is a fairly rote trope of Sleep Beauty-syndrome, yet the complexities surrounding Usagi and Mamoru’s relationship at this point are entertainingly, and convincingly, portrayed. I believe these characters, I’m fascinated to see how they’re dealing with immense emotional stress, and I’m left wanting more. This is another great episode.
The episode opens with a conclusion, unexpectedly enough, that of the tale of Sleeping Beauty. You know that story, where the girl is completely inert and ineffectual and must wait for some date rapist high-born toff to assault her awake? Yeah, that one.
As it turns out, this is Usagi reading the story to Chibi-Usa. She’s in a rather caring mood around the kid for once, but Chibi-Usa isn’t really paying attention. Obviously she has better taste than the romantic and naive Usagi, because she falls asleep.
You should know enough from the episode title and screenplay writing 101 to realise this whole scene is foreshadowing.
We shoot over to Mamoru dreaming. He’s in his classic tank-top covered in his classic sweat. Note that his bed is horribly clinical, and that he’s probably not wearing any trousers, the dirty bastard.
As it happens, he’s dreaming of marring Usagi. Rather romantic for him.
Except that she dies in a vague explosion or something, leaving him bereft. THIS is more like Mamoru. Dour, unable to accept positive events, pessimistic in the extreme.
As he’s screaming “USAKOOOO” in his best melodramatic angst, a voice speaks to him. It’s gruff, but oddly familiar, and warns him not to get close to Tsukino Usagi, or it’ll mean her death, as well as the world crumbling.
Of course, Mamoru doesn’t really care about the world, just that first bit. Hey, it’s a decent enough motivation.
So we know now, explicitly, Mamoru’s actions towards Usagi, misguided as they are. He’s all the more idiot for trusting a disembodied voice. Saying that, he doesn’t quite believe the voice… he challenges it, but wakes up seemingly convinced by it all the same.
It’s always a little gross seeing Mamoru woken up by a bad dream. He looks like he’s all sticky and gross. Unsure whether to believe the dream or not, Mamoru picks up a photo of himself and Usagi, and…
Yeah it’s corny, but it’s pretty classsic in the ideas of ill-omens. This, more than anything else, seems to convince Mamoru. Idiot.
This is one of the rare times so far I feel bad for Mamoru. The next morning he can be found staring into a river, seeing Usagi’s face like the big baby he is (well my sympathy burnt out quick).
Who should come along but Usagi. Her attitude has always disturbed me. It’s sad, it’s lonely, it’s afraid. It’s pretty convincing. Mamoru takes the opportunity to exert some dickishness, making a perfunctory remark before running off again.
Usagi has a brief moment of returning to her usual self, shouting out an oath to get him back, but quickly falls back into despondency. I hate seeing her like this, and knowing that Mamoru of the cause of it continues to poison his character, whatever his reasoning.
I like that this episode’s first part focuses a lot on Mamoru. We continue to spend time with him – he’s at a cafe, or maybe it;s a bar, seeing as he appears to be holding a whisky glass with ice in it. This is probably another attempt to make him seem contemplative and manly.
Motoki (remember this jerk?) comes over to discuss why Mamoru is knocking back Suntory’s at 10 in the morning. Mamoru begins asking Motoki for advice on how to get women to hate him – apparently he thinks that Motoki would have experience in this department.
All throughout this conversation, a very odd vignette is taking place between a man reading a newspaper and slurping soup, and a lady who appears to get angry enough with him to smack him in the face. I don’t really know what this is about, and would be enormously grateful for any explanation. The only thing I can think of is that it’s related to Mamoru’s dilemma.
Mamoru, being utterly stupid by asking how to be hated by women, is interrupted by a red-haired green-eyed waitress. Hang on a sec, did Mamoru order a sundae? By himself? Wha…?
Whatever, he starts blushing. He can’t really be… could he…?
In a park, our girls are eating ice-lollies. They’re asking Usagi if she’s managed to find out anything else about Crystal Tokyo from Chibi-Usa, but she’s not playing ball. This is a rather amusing recap scene. We know all the information, but everyone is drawn so lovely, and we get a great shot of Luna and Artemis fighting over an ice-lolly.
Usagi tries to ask why they think Mamoru suddenly find’s Usagi’s face repulsive, and gets only bitchiness from Luna and Artemis in return. These girls can be so unsympathetic sometimes…
Usagi gets rather irritated at an obnoxious motorcyclist, before realising that it’s Mamoru’s bike. He has a bike? How rich IS this orphan?
And Mamoru isn’t alone. The rather pretty girl from the cafe is on the back, holding rather tightly… oh dear oh dear oh dear.
Usagi is distraught, but Mamoru reaches the high of his dickestry, with a “It doesn’t matter who she is; it has nothing to do with you.”
Stop. Just stop, you twat.
He then tells the girl on his back to “Hold on tight”. In return she asks who Usagi is, and he responds “Just someone I know,” at which point the Gotye song starts playing.
Usagi’s despair is deeply moving. This is horrible stuff to watch. I must admit that I’ve never quite forgiven Mamoru for this.
They try and save his reputation a bit – as he zooms off, he swears to find out more about that dream before he can go back to her – but honestly who would take that this postulating posing pretentious prick after all he’s put her through. Why not try openness and honesty? Why not trust Usagi enough to explore the possibility that the dream is prophetic together?
The truth is that his secretiveness, and subsequent “act” of being a total dick, is a sign of condescension, and Usagi is worth more than that. THIS is my major problem with Mamoru at this point in the series. He’s going to have to do an awful lot to claw me back.
As a result of her constant hot-and-cold interactions with Mamoru, Usagi begins feasting in the middle of the night. Luna’s horrified reaction, and the complete lack of humour in this scene, is actually rather worrying.
Usagi is meant to be developing an eating disorder as a result of Mamoru’s treatment. It’s not played for laughs. It’s actually rather depressing to watch. Not sure Sailor Moon has quite earned the chops to be able to comment on such an important issue as body dismorphia and eating disorders, but hey – it’s literally the only programme in 1993 Japan which approaches the subject.
That in itself is deeply interesting.
Chibi-Usa, bleary-eyed, overhears Usagi asking Luna “Who cares if I get fat? I’ve been rejected by the person I love.” I must say, although it’s questionable whether Sailor Moon should broach the issue of such a disorder, it must be said that this makes Usagi infinitely more sympathetic in my eyes.
We all feel this shit. We all have those horrid doubts about our image. Usagi is a character dynamic and relatable enough that when she suffers these problems, it serves to make her that much more empathetic to the viewer.
Chibi-Usa, distraught herself at the news that Mamoru has a girlfriend (her Elektra complex continues to astound) runs off in her pyjamas towards his place. Possibly to grill him? I hope?
It’s a bit of a cheap move, but Chibi-Usa almost gets run over be a truck (which doesn’t even try to stop. Must be a goddamn psychopath driver), which sets off her energy spike and the Black Moon UFO alarms. I wish they had a better way of transitioning to the action-phase of the episode, but I can live with it.
Crimson Rubeus, to give his full title, sends Petz and Calaveras out to the park to attack Chibi-Usa. Seriously, Juban Park, again? This place has been the site of a thousand attacks, why would anyone go to this Hellmouth?
They’re pretty fast today, instantly setting themselves against Chibi-Usa, who does a pretty good job of running away and screaming for help. Seriously, they could just, I dunno, zap her with Dark Thunder, but I guess then it would be a rather short series.
Usagi arrives, in a rather bad mood, and transforms.
I haven’t talked much about this transformation sequence, but I will say that out of all 5 seasons, this is actually my favourite. The ones in the future series get a wee bit… dramatic?
Anyway, Calaveras has Chibi-Usa by the throat. It looks pretty nasty actually, this is just a kid after all. On the other hand, it’s ridiculous that they don’t just, you know, quietly snap her neck or something.
Sailor Moon has time to appear, allowing Luna space to swoop in, scratch Calaveras and release Chibi-Usa.
Luna does all the heavy lifting around here, let me tell you. Remember last episode when she got beat up saving Chibi-Usa?
Calaveras is pretty cocky considering she just got beat by a cat, announcing that they were expecting Sailor Moon today. She calls out the Droid Of The Day – Akumuda – and promises something special…
The big question is: why don’t they just make, like, 100 of these Droids? Akumuda is probably one of the most effective monsters to date.
Akumuda looks fairly plain, but the creep-factor is pushed to 11 as she begins projecting a sleep ray onto Sailor Moon. Not sure why, but I love the way she falls to the ground. Animated really really well.
With Sailor Moon asleep, Calaveras and Petz have yet another chance to finish off The Rabbit, but they piss around looking menacing, giving the rest of the Sailor Senshi time to appear.
The Phantom Sisters run away, of course, leaving their Droid. Akumuda will be more trouble then they’ve ever caused the Senshi…
I love this part of the episode. Akumuda begins trying to hypnotise the other Senshi, but they’re not as shit as Sailor Moon – Mars’ throws an anti-demon charm (handy) at Akumuda’s face…
All this does, however, is pushes it back into a smoke form… and it flees into Sailor Moon’s mouth, which is SUPER creepy.
Akumuda promises to drain all her energy inside her dreams, until she dies. I must say, we spend an awful lot of time in Usagi’s dreams in the first two series.
So now Sailor Moon is dead weight in the middle of the park. Every one of the Senshi, and the cats, takes it in turn to shout “SAILOR MOON” – NO GUYS it’s not going to work. STOP SAYING IT.
Inside Sailor Moon’s dreams, her desires are, of course, all about Mamoru. She’s rather cute and “chibi” here. I love the aesthetics, especially with Akumuda’s eyes constantly in the background.
See, this is what Mamoru’s dickishness has wrought.
Sailor Moon is in big trouble. The other Senshi are powerless to help her, and are growing frantic. I really like this – they have no idea what to do, they’re just shaking her periodically like she’s taken an overdose at a house party and everyone’s too afraid to call an ambulance, which is definitely definitely not something I’ve ever been a part of.
I like this threat. It’s not physical, it’s definitely a different flavour of episode. It’s interesting to think where this episode could be heading, although, if you remember the opening, you should be able to guess.
My favourite bit is where Sailor Mars just gets frantic and tries slapping Sailor Moon awake which, of course, does nothing.
Luna realises what she must do. I really like this. We don’t get enough connection between Luna and Usagi as we used to, so seeing her desperately trying to save Sailor Moon is touching.
Luna runs off to Mamoru. He’s decided not to turn up at all today, the prig that he is. She wakes him up by landing on his balls as he sleeps, which is hilarious.
Luna shouts at Mamoru to come and help, that he’s the only one who can, but he flat out refuses – Soooo lemme get this straight, he’s avoiding Sailor Moon to prevent her from dying, and to do that he’s willing to let her die…
Luna calls this bullshit too, full of tears, and begs him to remember how he loved her. Finally get gets his shit in gear!
Come on, Mamoru! REDEEM YOURSELF.
OK, that was pretty bitching. A mid-motorcycle transformation? Pretty darn bitching. Sort of stupid, but I think he pulls it off. OK, well not really.
Sailor Moon by this point, isn’t doing so well. The other Senshi are losing it, especially when Mercury realises that she’s grown cold.
And finally we have our big emotional scene. Tuxedo Kamen turns up like a cocky bastard, but his cool exterior finally seems to crumble in the face of Sailor Moon’s predicament.
He even begs for forgiveness. Even my dislike for him is fading a little.
And then he kisses her. Once again, she’s passed out when he kisses her. What’s up with that? I could go into aspects of sexism whereby the male saves a completely inert female with his libido, thereby perpetuating gender stereotypes and such, but this is still a really lovely moment.
Especially as Sailor Moon finally reaches Mamoru in her dreams, purging Akumuda’s power over her. Are we supposed to understand how this works? Not at all, but hey, I like it.
Everyone’s pretty emotional right now, even Tuxedo Kamen, who’s rather choked up.
The fight’s not over, though! Akumuda is back out, and her final attack is actually rather shit considering she almost just killed Sailor Moon – her Summoner’s Horn (Final Fantasy reference, thank you very much) is, in fact, a lightsaber thing.
Sailor Moon pretty quickly dispatches her with a Moon Princess Halation. So much for Akumuda.
Tuxedo Kamen, Mamoru, has decided to stop being a dick, which is great news. He leaves actually complimenting her, “Sailor Moon, your magnificent move was a brilliant as ever,” which will no doubt confuse her even more.
Sadly, he ruins all this by unconvincingly shuddering while saying “I DON’T LOVE YOU” even though he totally almost just cried. Still, now Sailor Moon knows that he’s lying, surely?
Finally, he remembers that he’s a complete douche after all, crushing up a rose and throwing the petals to the wind before fucking off on his stupid motorcycle. Seriously, I yo-yo with this guy so much. Terrible.
Sailor Moon’s final look of desolation is pretty horrid. Poor girl.
Mamoru, by himself, is actually feeling bad for once. He actually starts crying. And I’m back to feeling bad for him. YOU BASTARD.
The final scene is the reveal that the red haired girl that was being ferried by Mamoru is, in fact, Motoki’s younger sister. This is creepy for all sorts of reasons relating to Motoki’s inclination to hitting on younger girls, but we’ll ignore that for now.
Usagi learns that Mamoru was just giving her a lift, that Unazuki (for that is her name) has a boyfriend of her own, and that Mamoru is completely innnocent.
Well, not completely. He still told her to grab him tight and lied by omission to make Usagi think he was dating her.
Usagi takes this as proof positive, FOR SOME REASON, that Mamoru still loves her. Nice to see that Usagi can still bounce back all positive. I like that about her.
The final shot of her yelling her conviction to get Mamoru back in a crowded and alarmed cafe is a wonderful end.
I like this episode a lot. There are things about Mamoru that concern me greatly, but it’s been that way the entire series. This is a great episode that’s always worth a watch.
Episode Score: 4/5
Monster Score: 3/5 (Akumuda is pretty middle of the road)
Tuxedo Kamen on a Motorcycle: Awesome