Skip to content

2:33 – Terrifying Illusion! Ami All Alone

Alternative Title: I Would Have Preferred Serial Killer Ami

First Aired: 8th January 1994

Sailor Mercury fights back against Giwaku

After Esmeraude begins attacking a cram school, a large number of students begin bullying Ami. Although Usagi’s support helps her through, Ami decides to investigate the cram school by herself. The Droid Giwaku’s psychological attacks and powerful illusions are enough to cause Sailor Mercury to turn on her comrades. Will Sailor Mercury attack her closest friends?

Gosh I like this episode a whole lot. Between dealing with real-life issues of bullying, self-doubt and body image in teenage girls, there’s some great writing and one of the best Sailor Moon moments from a filler episode.

Ami doesn’t get as much drama in her life as the other Senshi, so it’s also gratifying to get such a good, complete episode from her too. She’s got a great story arc here.

This is also the first episode of 1994, and they start it off with a bang.

I had complained previously that Esmeraude lacks a base of operations, making her feel oddly wayward, but that isn’t strictly true. We start the episode in a strange location that we’ve seen previously, albeit briefly.

...Wheres the toilet?

…Where’s the toilet? I guess you could just… squat off the side?

It’s pretty cool, actually, but where the fuck even is it? It just seems to float in the void? It would be a complete write-off if it weren’t for the fact that Esmeraude is just chilling out naked.

Is this normal? Do people stick their legs up in the bath like theyre a flamingos neck?

Is this normal? Do people stick their legs up in the bath like they’re a flamingos neck?

So this is what she does when she’s not screwing up? Taking baths? It’s weirdly erotic for a kids show, especially when she starts rubbing her legs (they’re rather nice legs I must admit) and saying “This body is… so beautiful.”

OK, are we going to see the actualisation of her narcissism or…?

Oh too bad, Saphir suddenly turns. Pretty sure this isn’t cool, dude. Pretty sure this is pretty fucking illegal, actually.

Esmeraude doesn’t have the shrieking “someone call the cops!” reaction one might expect – she covers herself a little, but seems more perturbed then worried.

"Ehh Ive got nothing you havent seen before and Ill totally kick your ass once youve passed me a towel."

“Ehh I’ve got nothing you haven’t seen before and Ill totally kick your ass once you’ve passed me a towel.”

Actually, Saphir doesn’t seem remotely interested in her. My theory is that he and Esmeraude have always shared a love, his brother Prince Dimande, and I mean that in the filthiest sense of the term.

Wouldn’t be the first incest on the show, now, would it?

"...I wish you were my brother."

“…I wish you were my brother.”

Anyway, whatever his wish to boned his own bro, while Saphir is berating her incompetence, we zoom out to see the design of this bath that Esmeraude is in. It’s nuts.

"So... How the hell did you even get in there? And where are the taps?"

“So… How the hell did you even get in there? And where are the taps?”

I want it.

Esmeraude, still in a bath robe, goes off to set up a new Dark Henge, this time at Eisai Cram School.

All the students inside suddenly get all, you know, weird. None is weirder then Umino, however. Poor sod can’t catch a break.

"OH GOD THE LAST EPISODE OF HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER WAS SO BAAAD"

“OH GOD THE LAST EPISODE OF HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER WAS SO BAAAD”

It’s been so long since we’ve had people being controlled by evil powers. I sort of miss the threat that the unknown enemy close to you can have, and this threat only grows.

The Droid causing all this strife within the school is Giwaku. She’s a bit weird looking, but I must say that her powers of mind control and illusions really is the most threatening thing we’ve seen all season.

Nothing like a girl with antennae, am I right?

Nothing like a girl with antennae, am I right?

The next morning at school, Usagi is beside herself with joy at Ami making number 1 in the school tests again. Even Naru is happy for her. I seem to recall Naru being a total bitch last time Ami thrashed her in a test…

Ami is still plotting revenge to this day...

Ami is still plotting revenge to this day…

Not everyone seems impressed, however. Behind them, some very nasty-looking girls are bitching quietly. Their look, their insidious tone, the comments that they make which are only just above out right insults, it’s all spot on.

They are totally creepy and totally realistic. I feel bad about myself just looking at them

They are totally creepy and totally realistic. I feel bad about myself just looking at them

Ami is, obviously, hurt, and Usagi is able to cheer her up briefly, but then from behind them comes a voice – Umino claims to have found a cheat-sheet in Ami’s desk!?

"Hey, I found this in her desk! It the entire leaked script to Quentin Tarantinos The Hateful Eight."

“Hey, I found this in her desk! It the entire leaked script to Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Let’s SUE her.”

What the hell, Umino, you complete nerd? If it’s bad seeing a large group of people all bitching about you and accusing you of cheating, it’s even worse seeing someone you know, someone familiar, acting in a way that doesn’t quite seem normal.

This is literally the most popular he has ever been

This is literally the most popular he has ever been

The worst of all of this is that is doesn’t seem supernatural. Normally the enemies are monsters, not contemporaries. It’s all very realistic today.

I do like one of the repellent comments by a student that there was no way someone hanging around Usagi could be getting good grades. This finally sets Usagi and Naru off, they defend, not her brains, but her hard work, something I like very much.

So many angry faces today. You think these are good? Just you wait.

So many angry faces today. You think these are good? Just you wait.

Naru accuses Umino of acting weird (which he is, but not as bad as that time he turned into a rapist) and eventually things look like they’re about to get PHYSICAL which is really very troubling.

I really dont think sexually assaulting Makoto is going to end well

I really don’t think this is going to end well for him

Yeeeaaaah this is more like it!

Yeeeaaaah this is more like it!

"DOWN WITH MISOGYNY, PRICK!"

“DOWN WITH MISOGYNY, PRICK!”

Luckily Makoto steps in to kick all the ass, as usual, but Ami, being all, you know, noble and shit, asks her to stop murdering people. She claims not to care about their comments, and puts on a brave face.

"Aw but I already killed these guys."

“Aw but I already killed these guys.”

The walk home is rather uncomfortable. Makoto and Usagi are still mad as heck, and Ami seems rather down after all, even more so after Chibi-Usa claims to have heard Umino spreading rumours about Ami cheating.

Makoto and Usagi’s threats to have him disembowelled are humorous, but it’s interesting to note how none of the jokes which would normally be hilarious are that enjoyable – such is the horrible oppressive feeling of being bullied. If anything, this disparity in tones enhances the pathos we feel for Ami.

Yeah, this is my favourite angry face of the episode! Usagi looks dangerous

Yeah, this is my favourite angry face of the episode! Usagi looks dangerous

Also, I agree with Makoto’s idea of twisting up Umino’s body and using him as a cleaning rag.

Ami is once again brave, thanking them for believing in her, but runs off by herself. She hasn’t got the self-confidence of the other Senshi. I’ve always liked her brittleness, it’s a very interesting character trait.

As Ami walks along sadly, the nasty comments from infected cram school students follow her. With the sad tune playing, it really is a moving scene, especially when Ami finally breaks down

"NO I dont want to give any more money to the Humane Society!"

“NO I dont want to give any more money to the Humane Society!”

.She runs into an alley, devastated by the abuse she’s getting, but recalling Usagi’s defence of her helps Ami get a grip. I feel that this is another great example of the inherent greatness of Usagi’s character – her steadfast belief in her friends, as corny and tripe as it sounds, is her strongest trait, and here’s a moment where her greatness of character comes into play.

It’s rare I know.

 There are so many useful alleys in Tokyo to crawl into and cry

There are so many useful alleys in Tokyo to crawl into and cry

Ami, strong enough now to walk home, notices an ad for Eisai Cram School, and remembers that all of the horrid bastard students bullying her have been from there. As such… oh Ami, what are you doing going there alone? You know you’re the shittest warrior, right?

Maybe we could chalk it up to her emotional condition, feeling reckless and solitary at the moment, but really it’s just an easy plot point.

Ami notices that the school i just full of, I dunno, evil farts or something. I guess this is what Giwaku has been doing since last night, farting it up to open up the Black Gate.

"Oh god it smells like a baby ate curry."

“Oh god it smells like a baby ate curry.”

The fart gas is so strong that Ami has to transform into Sailor Mercury to prevent herself being overwhelmed (by farts)… but Giwaku, outside the window, sees everything… This is the 2nd time she’s been outed this series. Gosh, Ami, keep that on the down low, yeah?

"I thought Mercury was the smart one..."

“I thought Mercury was the smart one…”

Sailor Mercury calls the other Senshi, but is immediately set upon by a number of Giwaku-clones. She defends herself with a Bubble Spray Freezing, something we haven’t seen in a while. I’m so bored with Bubble Spray, but I guess we need to see all of Sailor Mercury’s attacks today. It’s her show after all.

Giwaku’s illusionary clones keep coming (we even get a “Double Bubble Spray Freezing”. Does that count as a new attack? I’ve got to know how to tag my posts.) Alas, Giwaku gets bored of this, and decides to get a little more sneaky instead.

"Yaaaah Bubble Spray is finally useful! Yaaah!"

“Yaaaah Bubble Spray is finally useful! Yaaah!”

She plans to crawl inside Sailor Mercury’s brain and use her to kill the other Senshi, which is a ridiculous plan because they could all easily murder her with very little effort.

Sorry Sailor Mercury, but you know it’s true.

Sailors Jupiter, Venus and Mars all arrive in the classroom together, but as Sailor Mercury is giving them an update on the episode thus far, she gets an awfully horrible look on her face.

"It already smelled like farts when I got here, I swear."

“It already smelled like farts when I got here, I swear.”

This whole section is really rather horrible, an attempt to thoroughly deconstruct the mind of a teenage girl with all the doubts of self-worth and body image that we all go through. It’s a commentary on a real issue that I think most of the girls watching back in 1994 would have identified with – and even today in 2014.

Sometimes when Sailor Moon attempts to tackle social issues like these, they can feel a little awkward, but I like everything that’s going on here – the message gets across.

Yeah my friends look like this all the time, right down to the miniskirts

Yeah my friends look like this all the time, right down to the miniskirts

Sailor Mercury begins seeing her comrades as nasty, as evil and as accusatory as the bullies from school, if not worse. Mercury tries to shut out the voices, to tell herself that there’s no way they would speak so horribly to her, but Giwaku is rather too strong for her…

"This is worse then listening to [insert unpopular contemporary music artist here]"

“This is worse then listening to [insert unpopular contemporary music artist here]”

Giwaku, however, is interrupted by the late Senshi. It’s actually a good thing that Sailor Moon is tardy today. She’s able to shout at Giwaku for a bit… before Giwaku turns her illusionary powers onto her.

We begin getting the same treatment for poor Sailor Moon. It’s all stuff I’ve been saying myself to be honest, how she’s an idiot failure. The worst of the comments is “flat-chested!“, to which the crumbling Sailor Moon actually holds her hands over her chest. It’s really rather uncomfortable to watch, and works brilliantly.

Aww Sailor Moon, I dont want to get creepy or anything, but you have nothing to worry about

Aww Sailor Moon, I dont want to get creepy or anything, but you have nothing to worry about

Just as we think she’s going to snap like Ami…

WHO GIVES A DAMN!? Fine! So I’m a failure, flat-chested, flighty and just about the worst there could be! I’m used to being bad-mouthed!”

"Im the worst superhero who ever lived and Ill STILL kick youre ass."

“I’m the worst superhero who ever lived and I’ll STILL kick you’re ass.”

Oh my god I’m in love. I’m completely irrevocably in love with this girl. It seems the massive amount of abuse that Rei and pretty much everyone around her has been giving her in the show has had a toughening effect on Sailor Moon.

That’s right, lady, you fucking strut your stuff. Never has she been this cool. Even Giwaku seems bamboozled.

Never would have suspected her self-image was so powerful

Never would have suspected her self-image was so powerful

Giwaku gets physical instead, sending out sneaky clones to kick her about, so alas, she must be rescued by Tuxedo Kamen. You know, this is only the 2nd time he’s shown up since he and Usagi got back together?

Well his appearance is just fine for me – he gets kicked in the back of the head by a Giwaku clone and thrown off a building. Ha!

"EUAGHH totally meant to do that. All part of my plan. Oh you kicked me off a buildi-"

“EUAGHH totally meant to do that. All part of my plan. Oh you kicked me off a buildi-“

"Well you sort of deserved it. Sorry."

“Well you sort of deserved it. Sorry. Idiot.”

Giwaku finally doubles down on Sailor Mercury in the building. She finally loses it with all the imagined accusations of cheating, and starts attacking the Senshi! I love it when they fight each other.

"Ive been waiting for an excuse to drown you all for years."

“I’ve been waiting for an excuse to drown you all for years.”

Apparently she’s scary after all, as the other Senshi jump out a bloody window just to get away from her.

I love how terrified they look at Sailor Mercury. That will make her feel better about herself.

I love how terrified they look at Sailor Mercury. That will make her feel better about herself.

We get one last prolonged scene of mental torture for poor Mercury. All the voices clamouring to insult her reach a level of cacophony, and it sort of reminds me of a few scenes of the depressing end of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Sailor Mercury enters her Shine Aqua Illusion pose and the other Senshi freak out. I must say that I love how benign her pose is. Just looks like she’s trying to hide a spaghetti stain.

"Should stop eating messy food when Im in my uniform..."

“Should stop eating messy food when I’m in my uniform…”

Sailor Moon tries to stop her, and gets pushed back, but her belief in her friend is absolute (it really shouldn’t be at this moment). There’s a scene of indecision in the eyes of Sailor Mercury, but we all know what’s about to happen, right?

"Dont worry guys, shes too much of a pussy to attack us. Right, Mercury?"

“Don’t worry guys, she’s too much of a pussy to attack us. Right, Mercury?”

Of course! She turns on Giwaku. It couldn’t be any other way. they drag it out a little, but the beat works out rather well. It’s gratifying to see Shine Aqua Illusion used on this rather horrible buggy monster.

"OHH. The bad guy is the one telling me to murder my friends. OK I get it now."

“OHH. The bad guy is the one telling me to murder my friends. OK I get it now.”

Sailor Mercury gives one final corny but oddly-satisfying line to Giwaku: “You couldn’t possibly understand how our hearts are bound to one another by trust!” which seems a bit presumptuous really. Poor Giwaku.

I feel like there should be  a Arnold Schwazenegger pun from Batman and Robin here. "Cooooooll off."

I feel like there should be a Arnold Schwazenegger pun from Batman and Robin here. “Cooooooll off.”

Anyway, Sailor Moon blasts Giwaku with her much more powerful Moon Princess Halation and she’s bug dust. It’s actually a bit weird, today. The attack seems to be focussing on Giwaku’s curiously defined groin area… Whatever, a kill is a kill.

Sailor Moon is apparently a sexual sadist?

Sailor Moon is apparently a sexual sadist?

The Dark Henge cracks, all is good, except for the fact that they broke a window. Better start running before the cops show, Senshi.

Esmeruade learns of the failure of the Dark Henge from Saphir while she’s taking another bloody bath. Maybe you should have been helping out your buggy Droid?

"Curse my addiction to nudity and lavender oil!"

“Curse my addiction to nudity and lavender oil!”

She’s all laughs around Saphir, but as soon as he leaves she’s rather pissed off. Expect her to bring out all the stops next episode. Well, some of the stops.

Well, she’s marginally harder to defeat next episode, basically.

The episode ends with the girls all congratulating Ami on not being deceived. It’s all very heart-warming and stuff, you know the drill.

"See I told you guys she was a pussy."

“See I told you guys she was a pussy.”

Suddenly, the lot of them are beset with the students from Eisai Cram School. Where the hell have they been all this time? They’re all nice now, begging Ami to help them, as if they hadn’t been trying to ruin her life just that afternoon.

"Hey, sorry for trying to destroy you earlier. Could you teach us shit?"

“Hey, sorry for trying to destroy you earlier. Could you teach us shit?”

I know they were controlled and stuff, but I’d probably Shine Aqua Illusion the lot of them into hell. Usagi seems to feel the same way.

"Lets kill them all now before they go evil again. Its for the greater good."

“Let’s kill them all now before they go evil again. It’s for the greater good.”

The episode ends with Umino asking if Usagi wants to study with them, and her running off screaming in bloody terror. Well, ending on a lame joke isn’t going to change my mind about this episode, it’s really good.

Oh yeah, one final shot of Ami looking, you know, all happy and meek and stuff

Oh yeah, one final shot of Ami looking, you know, all happy and meek and stuff

 

Episode Score: 4/5

Monster Score: 4/5 (I liked her threat and her powers. She also kicked Tuxedo Kamen off a building, so there’s that too)

Umino Kickability Score: Infinitely Kickable

Advertisements

8 Comments »

  1. I love Usagi in this episode. SO MUCH. Her refusal to be cowed by smack talk is my favorite part. Because as you said, it’s not like this doesn’t happen to her EVERY GODDAMN DAY. Everything Giwaku threw at her (about her personality) is spot-on. Up to this point, Sailor Moon has been terminally stupid, annoyingly lazy, flighty, whiny, and unreliable to the point where I actually question if she doesn’t have some form of serious mental condition.

    But here’s the thing: SHE KNOWS THAT. She knows, and she gives absolutely zero fucks. Usagi accepts her mountain of shortcomings and powers through them when she needs to. She’s so supremely confident in her absolute lack of virtues that her awful wheels right back around into awesome. Because at the end of the day, that self-awareness gives her other qualities that balance out the glaring flaws.

    One of the best is her absolute faith and trust in her friends.She can make friends with LITERALLY ANYONE who’s not sworn to kill her, because of her kindness and sincerity (or out of pity from her terminal inability to function). She is a Hufflepuff, through and through, as she demonstrates with Ami…this Mercury-centric episode brought out the strengths in Usagi in the same way Mercury herself has since she first showed up, and it was epic.

    I was TORN APART by poor Ami’s suffering, like I am every single time something happens to her. Probably why the show does terrible things to her so often. For the record, I am on board the “SHINE AQUA ILLUSION ALL THEIR ASSES” train. But then, I was similarly bullied for my nerdiness in school and may be slightly embittered by the experience. Kids are cruel.

    Jupiter taking down assholes who threaten her friends is best Jupiter. She could easily carry a show by herself…and yet it’s the largely-undistinguished-so-far Minako who was the first-ever Sailor Senshi. Go figure.

    And even though he and Usagi have already been back together for about three episodes now, I’m still firmly in the “fuck off Mamo-chan” camp. Maybe that will warm up over time, but right now the pain of his inconsiderate douchebaggery FOR FIFTEEN EPISODES is still too raw.

  2. Great episode, but Mercury’s not the shittiest warrior…she’s one of the best, that is, unless she’s in the first two seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal. There she sucks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: