3:3 – A Beautiful Boy? The Secret of Haruka Tenoh
Alternative Title: She Made Me Gay
First Aired: 16th April 1994
Minako and Usagi become quickly obsessed with a beautiful, talented, aloof and downright cool guy they find in the arcade. Trouble is, he seems to be close to a beautiful girl. While stalking these two immensely interesting characters, a Daimohn appears to steal a mechanic’s Pure Heart, and Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus finally come face to face with the mysterious pair who also appear to be Sailor Senshi.
I love this episode for a multiplicity of reasons. First, it’s a good establishment of some really awesome new characters, probably two of the best. Second, it begins the path of the series of expanding the Sailor Moon mythos.
Third, the humour is just fantastic. I absolutely adore Minako and Usagi here. They could have so easily been outshone by the arrival of Michiru and Haruka, but they manage to keep the lime light firmly on them.
Let’s get to it!
I always like it when episodes start off without any music. It gives much more of a sense of mundanity about it, a real slice-of-life feeling that Sailor Moon capitalises on. Here, we have a beleaguered Usagi looking for an excuse to avoid going to Rei’s place for study group.
For once, her resolve holds, but upon seeing inside of Crown Arcade, she becomes infuriated.
The sight of Minako attempting to flirt with Motoki (this douche is back. Oh well) is amazing, mainly because of how shit she is at it, going on at length about her cat.
That would totally work on me, ladies, just so you know.
Usagi’s mounting anger is amazing, simply because it’s impossible to truly describe the sound she makes unleashing her fury on Minako. As much as you expect the outburst, the sound Usagi makes is completely psychotic.
I love this show.
When Motoki tries to stick his nose in to defend Minako, Usagi rounds on him. I love this especially since I’ve been waiting for someone to tell him off ever since the first episode.
Minako’s impassioned speech about youth and that culminates in her confused advice of “Haste makes dancing!”.
Motoki’s reaction to this… is… amazing.
OK bro, you’re totally redeemed. For now.
So of course Usagi gives in and the girls play an arcade racing game, which Usagi craps out on magnificently.
Minako is really fired up today. She’s very watchable. It’s a shame we don’t see more of her personality come out like this.
Enter… THE BEAUTIFUL BOY.
The person who is confusing my sexual identity as we write this shamelessly hits on Minako and Usagi, offering to play a game against them.
Their reactions are priceless.
You know, there’s something quite reminiscent of the film Clueless in the way Minako and Usagi act around boys. I can’t quite put my finger on it…
Minako is merciless in getting the first game, but although she’s all geared up for a good match, she’s aghast to see that the sexy-ass boy hasn’t even started yet.
He’s apparently trying to give her a handicap, which is definitely hubris.
Of course, despite him starting late, he quickly catches up, and then laps poor Minako.
Yeah, yeah, we get that this guy is cool and all that. I feel like they’re trying a little too hard here. I would have found Haruka Tenoh awesome either way.
Minako is easily mollified after Haruka calls her cute. Such a charmer.
ENTER THE BEAUTIFUL GIRL.
The girls are just as awed by Michiru, but their reactions are completely the reverse. They’re both terrified and intimidated by this beautiful and graceful girl. I like this entrance too, and once again Usagi and Minako are just as important to the moment as the new characters.
Michiru teases Haruka on the way out, and they have light banter about being jealous of the two younger girls. A really good little interplay to show you how close these two are, with a few words.
As Usagi and Minako are left gaping in awe, Motoki sidles up to them to say that he’s seen that couple quite a bit recently. Minako’s reply, “Oh, you were here Motoki?” is amazing.
Seeing that he’s now lost his newest fan, Motoki pulls the most amazingly sour face. OK, I’m actually liking him in this episode. This is WEIRD.
We follow (and by we, I of course mean Minako and Usagi, now stalking) Haruka and Michiru in a cafe. We all know that these people are obviously mystical characters, right? Well, they’re going on about the “sea being stormy” and stuff, which is pretty obscure.
Minko, meanwhile, has decided that Haruka is her ideal man, and that she’s going to go for it even if they are as couple as she suspects.
…And Minako has to shush a politely inquiring waitress.
I LOVE THIS EPISODE, GUYS.
Usgai insists on following Haruka too, even after Minako reminds her that she has a boyfriend. Well, she needs a back-up to Mamoru after all.
Haruka enters a motor-shop to annoy some mechanic named Kameda. It turns out that Haruka is an oil-head. That’s what they’re called, right?
We cut over to the Death Busters, just to remind you that scary stuff happens in this show. although nothing new or interesting happens, except that we see the Daimohn Egg enter into the car Kameda is working on.
WHAT ARE THE ODDS, I ASK YOU?
The girls are pretty quickly rumbled by Haruka, who makes a formal introduction. She obviously knows that she’s managed to snare a couple of girls. I love how polite but cocky she is, especially since neither girl yet realises that Haruka is a woman.
Minako and Usagi have this weird and wonderful little act going on as they talk to Haruka, where Minako will try and sound all cutesy and Usagi will echo her a moment later. It’s really sweet and bizarre.
Minako is bold enough to ask about Michiru and Haruka’s relationship, which Haruka admits is close, but then like a total evil player whom I love nevertheless, suggests that the girls still have a chance.
I love Haruka. She’s the cockiest lesbian I ever laid my eyes upon.
Michiru returns at this point and the couple enter into more playful banter about Haruka’s casual flirting, and Minako is once again immediately suspicious.
She’s great here, so forthright. She asks Michiru outright if she’s Hruka’s lover, and she denies it, leaving Minako and Usagi very happy.
…and Usagi has to be reminded of Mamoru again. Well, that dude is pretty forgettable.
Oh, those other Senshi are still in this episode don’t you know. They’re all pretty suspicious of Usagi and Minako’s absence, and suspect them of finding a pretty boy and following him around.
Well, that’s almost spot on.
Haruka next explains her love of motorsports. It’s all very, you know, impressive and all that. I think I preferred it when she was hitting on girls.
A very interesting moment happens when Michiru explains that becoming a number one driver is Haruka’s dream, to which Haruka corrects her: “It WAS my dream…”
It’s actually a rather poignant moment that we’ll revisit time and time again with Haruka’s character. I would argue that Haruka is the character developed and explored most in this series, even above Michiru or Usagi.
And all the tension of broken by the Daimohn promptly transforming (like a Transformer) and attacking Kameda.
Haruka, who seems to rather like the mechanic, has her first reaction to go to him for help, but Michiru adamantly holds her back. It’s an exceedingly interesting moment, even more so when Haruka does not object.
And then BROOM BRROM BRRRRRRROOOOM! I love this Daimohn. It’s so stupid. It’s name is “Steeringoo“. How fucking mad is that? The Daimohns of Sailor Moon S are all distinctly madder than previously, and really add flavour and character to the series, even if they aren’t nearly as terrifying as some of those from season 1.
Her method of taking Kameda’s pure heart is equally madcap. He gets jacked up (UP, I say, UP), and she drives beneath him, reveal her Black Star tattoo to be… well, beneath her windscreen.
My oh my.
Poor unconscious Kameda is left hanging there like a chump as Steeringoo takes off into the dry river bed.
Rather late into the day we get Sailor Venus and Sailor Moon transforming…. along with a new accompanying music for Sailor Venus’ transformation.
It goes like this:
“Sailooor Veeeeenus. Sailooor Veeeeenus…” OK it was fine when you did it for Sailor Moon, but it just seems silly for Venus.
Next comes a pretty bitchin’ chase scene! In the dry river bed, Steeringoo (love that name) notices that she’s being caught up on by Haruka and Michiru on a motorbike. They look pretty darn cool, actually.
I should point out that on the other side, Steeringoo drives so that her torso is facing upwards, which is just wonderfully weird.
It’s even more badass when Haruka drives up the banked edge and flies full-speed at the Daimohn. It’s so awesome.
I love Steeringoo’s reaction when she crashes. I love this monster.
Sailor Moon and Venus finally arrive, having -somehow- managed to catch up on a push bike. Seriously, what the hell?
Sailor Moon gets all the cool lines, which leaves Sailor Venus rather annoyed since it was she who pedalled the bike. It’s at this point that I’m willing to say that this episode is easily in the Top 5 episodes of the entire goddamn show.
And this even before the next scene.
SAILOR URANUS! SAILOR NEPTUNE! So awesome. Their entrance music is more Vanessa Mae violin tunes, and it gives such an exotic, fresh feeling to their arrival. What a brilliant way to introduce these characters.
Their entrance phrases are so damn good too. Blows Tuxedo Kamen out of the water, certainly.
“Guided by a new era, Sailor Uranus… acts with elegance!”
“Also, Sailor Neptune… acts with grace!”
I’m going to ignore the arrogance of those lines because they’re just so cool. This is truly a great revitalisation of the series.
Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus are understandably shocked by the appearance of new Senshi, claiming to be after the Talismans. I feel sort of sorry for Steeringoo at this point.
World Shaking is such a cool attack. Here it is for your pleasure.
…and Neptune’s Deep Submerge is just as good. In fact, it’s even prettier. In terms of water attacks, I think she’s got Sailor Mercury beaten hands down… Poor Mercury.
There’s a definite upgrade to these attacks in terms of music, design and theme. It almost makes Uranus and Neptune a little too cool if you know what I mean.
Poor Steeringoo is naturally a little overwhelmed by these attacks, which leaves our poor girl open for Sailor Moon’s relatively new Spiral Moon Heart Attack, which still looks awesome.
Steeringoo agrees that it’s LOVELY! right before she dies…
…leaving a rather awkwardly positioned car. How the hell are they supposed to get it back to the garage?
Sailor Uranus and Neptune are holding the liberated Pure Heart from Kameda, and announce it not to be a Talisman.
Sailor Uranus gruffly asks Sailor Moon to return it. Gosh, it’s your friend after all, why don’t you do your own dirty work!?
Back in the arcade, the girls are coming clean with the other Senshi about what they were doing instead of studying, and looking rather guilty.
I love how Ami drops the line that Artemis and Luna were off investigating the new enemy, hence their complete lack of appearance today. It’s as though they felt that need to address it, but none is needed, guys. This was an Usagi-Minako-Haruka-Michiru episode.
And speaking of which, Michiru turns up today with what is obviously (this time) a lady. Everyone is keen to see the hot boy Minako was going on about…
So you can imagine their reaction when they realise she was a girl all along. I love this so much. Haruka is pretty evil.
The episode ends with Ami shaking her dead in disgust at the thought that they could have been studying, and Usagi asserting to herself that, after all, she thought Mamoru was better from the start.
Which is clearly a big fat lie. Let’s just say Usagi obviously, albeit briefly, fancied a girl quite intensely.
And there’s no better way to end an episode than that.
NEXT TIME: we learn that an expensive violin is no guarantee of a good Daimohn, and that Mamoru is dating 5 girls, but only fiscally.
Episode Score: 5/5
Monster Score: 5/5
Final thought of the Day: I think I preferred Haruka when she was pretending to be a boy, which is deeply confusing to me as a supposedly heterosexual human male.