2:33 – Terrifying Illusion! Ami All Alone
Alternative Title: I Would Have Preferred Serial Killer Ami
First Aired: 8th January 1994
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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!?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
.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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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…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.
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!”
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.
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!
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.
Apparently she’s scary after all, as the other Senshi jump out a bloody window just to get away from her.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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