2:29 – Magical Power of Darkness! Esmeraude’s Invasion
Alternative title: The Low
First Aired: 4th December 1993
Esmeraude begins her assault on the 20th Century Toyko by introducing her Dark Henge, a stone which opens a portal for the Evil Black Crystal in the future to nuke the past with Dark Power. Unfortunately, her crippling eating disorder gets in the way, and between mouthfuls of cake she hobbles together a plan involving a Droid which turns people into icing sugar. Can the Sailor Senshi escape from a doughnut prison long enough to stop Esmeraude’s dark ambitions?
This episode. This fucking episode. There are a few duds in Sailor Moon, the previous prime offender being S1E9 (you know, with the awful clocks and that), but I feel that this one takes the case as the worst episode of Sailor Moon.
Yes, it’s the bad animators. Yes, it’s the bad writing team. I love this show, but it would be remiss of me to pass by this episode without pointing out what a catastrophe this is. On the plus side, at least this wasn’t a main story episode, it’s just a filler, so that you can watch it once and never need to watch it again.
…unless you’re reviewing it for your stupid blog, of course. Well, let’s get it over and done with.
The episode starts off with Chibi-Usa all better after her brief but traumatic coma of last episode. Usagi promises to treat her to anything she wants, and Chibi-Usa is rather adorably happy about this, but Usagi reveals that, in fact, she has no money.
It does seem rather cruel to have a teenage girl be forced to split her allowance to treat her future daughter, whom she hasn’t even had yet. Way to spoil your youth.
Usagi immediately runs into Mamoru. How many times are they going to do this in the second series? It’s ridiculous.
What could have been a romantic moment (but in actuality would probably have been a deeply awkward scene of Mamoru being a dick and walking off again) is ruined by Chibi-Usa, who latches herself onto Mamoru and gets him to buy her shit instead of poor poor Usagi. That’s “poor” in two of the three definitions of the word.
In a well-written episode, this Elektra Complex stuff, where Usagi is jealous of Chibi-Usa and Mamoru, wouldn’t bother me, but today I’m just vexed.
An obviously hurt Usagi runs off, but Chibi-Usa looks after her, thinking that she meant for Usagi to go with them. A rather sweet moment, really. Still, she knows where the money lives, and its in Mamoru’s pocket, so that’s whom she stays with.
Usagi then punches a concrete pillar, because why not accentuate her emotional torture with poor-drawn slapstick?
Meanwhile, Prince Dimande is just hanging out on the Iron Throne looking hot and bored, as you do, when Esmeraude announces the commencement of her tenure as “20th Century annoyer”.
If she was looking for wards of support, all she gets is a gruff reminder of how her predecessor Rubeus died like roast pork. I’d feel sorry for her if she wasn’t even more arrogant and 20 times more irritating then Rubeus was – it’s mainly the laugh.
Saphir teleports in rudely to mention that she’ll probably die to, as well as to reiterate the Crystal Point corruption that the Phantom Sisters were working towards.
If you’ve forgotten, the Sailor Senshi of the future are maintaining a barrier around the Crystal Palace. By corrupting certain areas around Tokyo in the past with Dark Energy, the future barriers will fall, allowing the invasion force to complete their take-over of Earth.
It’s full of plot holes, and isn’t wholly interesting, but let’s see if Esmeraude can bring some life into this plot.
Esmeraude’s strategy is different, at least. She plans to open portals (“Dark Gates”) using “Negative Points” around Tokyo, powered by “Dark Energy” gathered by “Dark Henges”, which will allow the Jakokusuishou (Evil Black Crystal) to just nuke the past.
Well, wasn’t that a completely gobbledegook explanation?
The Dark Henges, I should add, are in the likeness of Esmeraude, made by Saphir. He’s not that impressed by the design though.
Oh yeah, she needs to activate at least 5 or 6 of these enormous monstrosities to open up the Dark Gate. I wonder if she thinks she can even get ONE activated…
Sudden shift to Cake shop. Sale. All you can eat. All women. This doesn’t happen in real life, you know.
The girls, mainly Minako, are enticed by several thousand calories & the prospect of Type II diabetes. Artemis is being his usual dickish self by insisting that they’ll all get fat, because a woman’s worth is determined by her appearance and weight rather then her personality. Apparently.
Don’t worry, the awful lessons for little girls are only going to get worse.
Who should waltz by the cake store but Esmeraude? She’s looking ludicrously 1990s, but she’s rocking it. I do actually like her air of superiority over these backwards 20th Century folk.
She determines that the cake shop is, in fact, a Negative Point (seriously, that name…) by dowsing with her earring, which annoys me a little. No need to bring in real world woo, Ezzy.
Watching the girls stuff themselves with cakes is not recommended when you yourself have just eaten. It just looks sort of gross. At least they’re happy though.
The conversation is amusing. Minako is of the opinion that all their hard work saving the Earth has finally paid off. They all look pretty piggy… until they glance over at the self-serve table, and witness…
Oh dear god what fresh hell is this?
I’m tagging this post with “Eating Disorder”, just so you know. Pretty sure the Japanese weren’t big on their eating disorder education in 1993, so guessing that this isn’t a subtle self-image lesson.
Even for Usagi, this is a new low. After being so kick-ass, so cool, so self-sufficient in the past couple of episodes, to this… gross. As for Esmeraude, yes it’s funny to see her go from supremely arrogant to bulimic in 20 seconds, but this is her first episode as an antagonist.
How are we supposed to take her seriously as a credible threat from here on out? The answer is we can’t. She is irrevocably foolish hence forth.
I guess I still chuckle when she comes to her senses and tries to walk off with dignity, cake still smeared across her face, laughing hysterically. The mutterings of all the women around her annoy me though. You do what you want to do Esmeraude. Fuck those judgemental people and social standards. Pig out.
As for Usagi, she’s being dragged away forcefully from the cake table by her friends. This is really, really pathetic. There’s nothing about this I find amusing or entertaining. It’s just sad.
And worse is yet to come.
So, thus begins Esmeraude’s “revenge”.
Usagi is continuing to stuff herself, now seemingly at the encouragement of her friends. Makoto asserts that “There’s only one way to cure her, and that’s for her to eat all she can!”
Or… to realise that her happiness should not be held at the mercy of an offensive douchebag? No? Ok back to cakes I guess.
This all looks awful by the way. Nothing is working today.
Esmeraude’s brilliant plan, after setting up the Dark Henge, is to use her Droid to throw Dark Energy around like it’s poo and she’s a chimp at the zoo. We haven’t seen a Droid in aaages. Also, that Droid is called “Marzipan” and she can fuck off.
It’s probably the worst designed monster ever.
Back in the front, Chibi-Usa and Mamoru have just entered the shop. Usagi starts shouting inane bullshit at a confused and affronted little girl, and it goes on for a while, but then Mamoru begins to notice the subtle and nuance plan Esmeraude has laid in wait.
Oh, did I say subtle and nuanced? I meant icing sugar freezing power.
Seriously, fuck this episode. I get embarrassed watching it with other people. “You like THIS?” I hear people ask in my head. “No, no,” I reply, “It’s normally much better!” Then they look at me, pity and condescension etched on their face, and they answer softly, as though I’m a demented pensioner, “Yes, I’m sure you’re right.”
Mamoru, with the eyes of a hawk, notices that the only waitress left in the place doesn’t seem to give a shit that customers are spontaneously bursting into icing sugar.
So he does the only sensible thing and throws a goddamn serving plate at her head. What if she was just, like, a normal human Mamoru?
So now the jig is up. Marzipan’s attacks are… well… not that thrilling. They appear to turn stuff into sweets. This is so stupid.
Thankfully we get a full 5-Senshi transformation scene, which eats up about 3 minutes of air time, so there’s less crap to wade through.
Mamoru is taking on Marzipan, untransformed, by himself. It’s a little funny to see him rolling to avoid being stepped on. Sadly, he’s not turned into, I dunno, a fucking flan or anything.
Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars are the first hit with the icing ray, which turns half of them into, you know, sugar I guess.
Next up is Sailor Jupiter. Marzipan has now stopped bothering to ice stuff, she’s just shooting… doughnuts?
And then Venus gets turned into a cake.
Oh fuck me fuck me fuck me this is stupid. No more, please. Just kill me. I hate seeing characters I love being unduly demeaned in this way. It’s like a goddamn 5 year old got into the writing team.
Amongst all the shitty art and ideas, Tuxedo Kamen finally decides to turn up to say some random stuff about melting hearts. Sailor Moon is correctly baffled by this inane prattling. Just SAY what you MEAN, man.
What he means is that the only Senshi left to attack is the key to defeating Maripan and her stupid-ass attacks. Sailor Mercury’s Shine Aqua Illusion, to be precise.
She could have just attacked and saved us all this trouble with Tux.
So apparently the enemy of sweet monsters is water. Save that one for the tactics journal. Marzipan is mercilessly murdered by Moon Princess Halation, and good riddance.
This also breaks the Dark Henge, though I’m not sure why.
Back out front, everyone is back to normal, acting as though they haven’t just been turned into cake ornaments, and continuing to stuff their ignorant faces. Esmeraude sneaks a peek, but she’s interrupted…
Once again, how embarrassing for Esmeraude. How they think we can take her seriously as an enemy now is beyond me.
Oh yeah, she tries to hit on Tuxedo Kamen briefly before he runs away. Ahh, but every single female must throw themselves at this, the pinnacle of man, for he is truly a hunk. Great message for kids, that.
After insulting their boobs (I’m not joking), Esmeraude decides to run away… but first a long boring speech that even the Senshi grow tired of.
And then the episode just ends, as though they’ve just met a fearsome and threatening enemy.
Well thank god it’s over. Thankfully the next few episodes are all solidly good. Let’s forget this ever happened.
Episode Score: 1/5 (If I could, I would award it 0)
Monster Score: 1/5 (Marzipan can die)
Number of Times I Rolled My Eyes: 28 (Not even kidding, I counted)