Skip to content

3:4 – Usagi’s Idol! The Graceful Genius Michiru

Alternative Title: Ever Played “Bouncing the Lemon”?

First Aired: 23rd April 1994

Mamoru eating a cookie

 

After realising that Mamoru is several standard deviations higher than her in terms of IQ, Usagi decides to improve herself. She turns to violinist/artist/all-round genius Michiru to tips, and the graceful girl is happy to help. In an effort to expand her experiences, Usagi takes Mamoru to a violin recital, not knowing that the Death Busters have also targeted the event.

After a successful series of opening episodes to Sailor Moon S, this one… stumbles a bit. It’s one of those episodes from the less-than-talented animation & writing teams that really drop the ball for the last 3rd of the episode. There’s some stuff I like well enough, which we’ll come to, but man oh man today’s Daimohn just wrecks it.

I’m shocked anyone from the art department could find work after the disaster of some of these shots.

The episode opens with Usagi turning up at Mamoru’s place, having baked cookies and eager to have him try it. There’s nothing in the history of this show that would tell you this is a good idea. Even Usagi knows it: I love the line “If there’s love in them, one or two… or three or four burnt ones won’t get in the way…”

"Im sure he wont mind too many tentacles."

“I’m sure he wont mind too many tentacles.”

Hearing no response, Usagi does what any self-respecting person would do: she opens the door. I’m presuming to rob his rich ass.

Usagi spots some of Mamoru’s school books lying around (seriously, in the anime he looks as though he should be in university), and is dismayed to find that she can’t even understand the titles, such as “Future Considerations of Genetic Engineering“.

Hold on, what does Mamoru even study…?

"Oh hey, he left all his pornography just lying around."

“Oh hey, he left all his pornography just lying around.”

Usagi, her brain now completely leaking out of her ears, drops her stupid burnt bunny cookies all over his table, and has an epiphany, that she’s an idiot who is in no way near Mamoru’s level.

This is a bit eye-rolling. Not the self-concious part, the whole OOPS dropped my cookies stuff. I’m interested to see a more inflective Usagi, even if this goes absolutely nowhere.

Mamoru returns to his apartment to find a weepy Usagi, and he figures that the best way to make her feel better is to try one of her cookies… which he evidently regrets.

That's pretty much the face I pull when I vomit into my own mouth, yes

That’s pretty much the face I pull when I vomit into my own mouth, yes

At least you solved one problem. He’s relatively sweet, telling her that she doesn’t need to change. On the other hand, his condescending chuckled, and this machismo of the self-assured male comforting the hysterical and self-concious female is rather dated for my sensibilities.

"That's my girl! Now turn on I Love Lucy and whip me up a Martini."

“That’s my girl! Now turn on I Love Lucy and whip me up a Martini.”

In the manga, for instance, Mamoru is just as self-concious as Usagi and not so condescending. This relationship really is off-balance in this moment, and I’m not so fond of it. Much preferred it in Episode 2 of this series.

Usagi discusses the incident with her friends, who are as supportive as you’d expect (even Ami is a little cruel). None of this is working for me, the writing and artwork feels like one of those really bad ones from the early days of season 1, and that was 2 years before this. This studio made no attempt to develop all this time?

Just once... draw her mouth normally just once... please

Just once… draw her mouth normally just once… please

Usagi eventually falls upon asking Ami to teach her about genetic engineering, Makoto to teach her cooking and Minako to teach her English to become a better person (…for Mamoru to marry. Again, old fashioned sensibilities).

Minako responds, in a really good accent, “Why?” in English, which I actually found rather charming.

"THE HORROR... THE HORROR..."

“THE HORROR… THE HORROR…”

Rei only gets asked how to wear a kimono. I guess that’s all Usagi thinks she’s good for.

Everyone bails on this, even Ami, who suggests that Usagi get her biology and chemistry up to scratch first. Rei tells her not to bother, that Usagi is just being whimsical and that she’ll forget all this eagerness to improve herself in a couple of days.

This is, of course, exactly what happens, but it’s a rather cruel sentiment all the same.

It’s even worse when it comes from Luna, who is completely out of character in this moment, suggesting that Mamoru won’t even want to marry her. Wow. Not nice at all.

It seems a little contradictory to call a cat "bitch", doesn't it?

It seems a little contradictory to call a cat “bitch”, doesn’t it?

Usagi, upset, walks off, and ends  up at an amphitheatre. I love this setting. She spies Michiru on stage playing the violin, and Haruka playing.. the lemon? What is she even doing with a lemon? What possible reason could she be tossing a lemon for?

"... to throw at old people and children who look at me the wrong way."

“… to throw at old people and children who look at me the wrong way.”

Haruka is muttering about the concentration of powerful energy in Juban and the attacks on humans, and we get a rather frank discussion of the couple’s objectives.

They have only a vague memory of their past lives as Sailor Senshi: all that really matters to them is to find the three Talismans and the Holy Grail, which is pretty much what the Death Busters are after.

We also get the reveal from Michiru that the extraction of the Talismans from their hosts means the death of the owner, and that these two are ok with the sacrifice for the greater good.

!If we're lucky, maybe we could sacrifice a few dozen people. Just to be safe."

!If we’re lucky, maybe we could sacrifice a few dozen people. Just to be safe.”

Meanwhile, Usagi hasn’t caught any of this useful information, she’s just watching Michiru play violin. Hey, maybe pay attention to what people are talking about, yeah? Could save you a lot of hassle in the future.

So, Usagi now wants to play violin. I can understand, whoever is performing this violin solo is definitely accomplished.

That face though.

That face though.

Haruka seems keen to show Michiru’s talents off, and so throws the violin at Michiru (ohhh so this is why she’s holding a lemon…?), who catches and bounces it off her violin as she plays.

"This is how they play in the Royal Albert Hall."

“This is how they play in the Royal Albert Hall, only they use watermelons.”

It’s quite an amusing moment, and while the art is still shitty, Michiru does look pretty good.

With Haruka driving off, Michiru and Usagi get to know each other at an art exhibition. Usagi makes the mistake of asking Michiru what she wants to do with her life, and gets one of those long deep looks and a careful considered response.

Usagi planning to run off with what is undoubtedly an expensive violin

Usagi planning to run off with what is undoubtedly an expensive violin

Haruka and Michiru need to lighten up a little. Maybe take a beach holiday?

Oh, it turns out that Michiru is multi-talented – she can also draw like the dog’s bollocks. I actually dig her Space Whale thing.

"I call this one Space Whale. I'm a brilliant artist but I can't name stuff for shit."

“I call this one Space Whale. I’m a brilliant artist but I can’t name stuff for shit.”

Haruka rejoins them outside the gallery, loudly spouting about the enemy’s HQ, and Michiru shushes her, pointing out that Usagi is still around, but she needn’t have bothered, frankly.

"I've just been thinking all about how I'm a Sailor Senshi and how Sailor Moon doesn't know who I really am and-" "SHUUUUSHH SHUT THE HELL UP JEEEZ"

“I’ve just been thinking all about how I’m a Sailor Senshi and how Sailor Moon doesn’t know who I really am and-“
“SHUUUUSHH SHUT THE HELL UP JEEEZ”

Yeah, Usagi has decided that her brilliant violin début is right here, right now, outside, in public, with someone else’s expensive instrument. I sort of love her for this.

She's got the power-stance down at least

She’s got the power-stance down at least

You know, it’s always in these crappy written & drawn episodes that Usagi is reduced to laughing stupidly, crying a lot and eating. We’ve had the crying & laughing, now we see Usagi eating parfaits like she’s trying to make herself sick.

…and she promptly starts crying again.

"You're such a beautiful girl when you're forcing down vomit and crying."

“You’re such a beautiful girl when you’re forcing down vomit and crying.”

Michiru actually has something rather lovely to say in response to Usagi’s woes: “Cheer up. You look wonderful when you’re trying hard.

Hell yes, Michiru, I like that a lot.

She even gives Usagi (plastered with gunk that does not look at ALL sexual in the slightest) a couple of tickets to a classical music concert, telling her to bring the one she cherishes most.

"...Uh hello? Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to invite you to a public place after all... hello?"

“…Uh hello? Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to invite you to a public place after all… hello?”

Haruka gets a lot of love (because she’s a fucking badass) but this moment does do a lot to showcase Michiru’s sweetness… when she’s not championing the death of a Talisman holder, naturally.

We get another few perfunctory shots from the Death Buster’s hideout, which is the best looking thing in this episode, since they’re recycled shots from before.

And that’s pretty much it from the Professor or Kaorinite again. Better pick up the pace, guys.

"You think we're going to appear longer than necessary in a shit episode like this?"

“You think we’re going to appear longer than necessary in a shit episode like this?”

It’s the night of the recital, and Usagi is pulling along a white tuxedo-wearing Mamoru, sans mask. I can’t believe he whipped this out. Do you know hard this would be to clean?

"Actually, semen stains are pretty easy to get out of a white suit." "I wish you had said that before I grabbed you by the arm."

“Actually, semen stains are pretty easy to get out of a white suit.”
“I wish you had said that before I grabbed you by the arm.”

Usagi and Mamoru can’t even enjoy a single night together, however, since all the other Senshi (and even the fucking cats) turn up to tag along during the concert. They’re trying to have a date, you insensitive bastards.

Still, they all apologise for their behaviour earlier, which is good at least.

"I'll accept your apologies after I take my pound of flesh. Each."

“I’ll accept your apologies after I take my pound of flesh. Each.”

The Pure Heart target today is some random musician – the Daimohn Egg implants itself in a violin, and my butthole is already bleeding with how annoying this Daimohn will become.

Apparently Michiru’s real motivation in inviting Usagi was just to check out her boyfriend. She and Haruka do a little spying on them from the balcony.

"Oh, there she is. Here's a lemon, see if  you can nail her between the eyes."

“Oh, there she is. Here’s a lemon, see if you can nail her between the eyes.”

As an aside, the audience are just plain weird. All the ladies are young and attractive, all the men are either old and nasty-looking… or in one case a blond Elvis impersonator (but nearly as cool as Maxi from Soul Calibur though).

The violinist comes on, and I’m actually rather interested to see what he’ll play aaaaaaaand it’s fucking Vivaldi. Ugh. What a let down.

If  you thought that was bad, the Daimohn that emerges from the violin NEEDS TO DIE A SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH.

Die.

Die.

Stupid Arpeggiatting Violin Woman (her name is Octave, and I want her to burn) is extremely irritating, since she’s continually singing her attacks over screeching strings.

The fight with The Death Of All Music takes place outside, once the public has all been knocked unconscious (conveniently) and it doesn’t get better.

Please, just shut up and die. Please.

Please, just shut up and die. Please. I can’t even be funny about this.

The lines are corny, the animation is bad, everything is pretty darn rubbish. I’m actually glad when Tuxedo Kamen turns up, just because he shuts this Daimohn up for even just a second.

Thankfully Sailor Uranus and Neptune arrive just in time to get attacked by the stupid violin woman, and despite their insistance that they won’t be allies to the Sailor Senshi, it’s Sailor Moon who has to save Neptune from being stringed off a piece of horrible corporate art .

Well she did one useful thing this episode.

"I saved you from those curiously inert floating circles!" "Thanks?"

“I saved you from those curiously inert floating circles!”
“Thanks?”

Let’s just cut to the chase, Sailor Moon kills this stupid monster with Moon Spiral Heart Attack, which looks even better when compared to the car crash that was the animation in this episode.

Thank god.

THANKS SAILOR MOON. Your greatest victory yet

THANKS SAILOR MOON. Your greatest victory yet

Uranus and Neptune leave after checking the Pure Heart isn’t a Talisman, and Sailor Moon voices the opinion that, hey, those sailor-suited lesbians aren’t so bad after all. I’d have to agree.

Back in their civilian dresses (and one white tuxedo), Mamoru offers to take Usagi out for a meal to make up for the frankly awful evening they had on date night.

"That was still better than any other date we've had. Remember when our daughter appeared from the future, kissed you and then held a gun to my head?"

“That was still better than any other date we’ve had. Remember when our daughter appeared from the future, kissed you and then held a gun to my head?”

He episode ends as all the other girls (including Mamoru’s ex girlfriend Rei I might add, which is a bit weird) jump at the offer and invite themselves to dinner too.

Mamoru surrounded by the Senshi

Seriously, this is going to sound harsh, Senshi, because I love you, but maybe it’s time you stopping attending dates between Usagi and Mamoru, yes?

All in all, yeah, not the best episode. I liked a couple of moments with Michiru. I liked the violin-lemon bouncing moment. I liked Usagi attempting to play violin. That’s pretty much it. Everything else was hovering somewhere around “shit”. They can’t all be home runs, guys.

My face during the entire episode

My face during the entire episode


 

 

 

 

NEXT TIME: An EPIC three-way battle takes place between cosmic warriors, more cosmic warriors, and a sentient vacuum cleaner. In a dump.

Episode Score: 1/5 (I may have liked a couple of moments, but the bad stuff makes this episode draaaaag)

Monster Score: 1/5 (Notice that the episode score and the monster score seem weirdly related to each other)

Final Though: How did Michiru first realise she had the ability to bounce a lemon off her violin while playing? What possible accidental circumstance could have led to the first time? I’m deeply intrigued.

 

Advertisements

14 Comments »

  1. I think of this as my least favorite episode of Sailor Moon for it’s tone alone. It bugs me that Usagi taking interest in improving herself and learning to play the violin is basically all presented like, “Haha! Oh, Usagi, you’re simply too stupid to learn anything smart. You might as well not even try!” Especially when the same sentiment is presented by her best friends in a very condescending way. These are supposed to be her friends, but everyone is squashing her striving to be better for no reason.

    Taking into account that, yeah, Usagi is the sort to likely get bored with a hobby like that, it’s still not cool to dismiss her like she’s too stupid to learn anything. I know she’s ditzy, but I always felt like this episode could have shown that she could be good at trying to succeed at learning a useful lesson but the whole thing is just played off as a joke and that seems like the worst case of Usagi bashing.

    And the worst part is that it’s not even deserved bashing because unlike her failing due to her not trying people weren’t even giving her a chance TO TRY at all.

    • I agree with everything you’ve said, but I think there are worse episodes of Sailor Moon. Remember the one from Sailor Moon R where Usagi coped with emotional distress by developing an eating disorder? It’s becoming more and more clear to me than you can divide episodes by their animation teams pretty cleanly – the worse the animation, the greater the chance that the writing will also be terrible. This episode is one of those where no character is acting or talking quite how one would expect them to.

    • It’s worse in the original English dub; when Usagi was trying to play the violin (which IMO was hilarious) there, they made Haruka (or Amara) say “SHE’S PATHETIC!!” when all she said in the original was “H-hey!” There’s more Usagi bashing in the old dub honestly…dub of that episode was horrendous and they fucked up Jupiter’s attack name.

      At least Ami wasn’t so harsh here…

  2. It’s a shame, because aside from Octave, who is probably the most annoying Sailor Moon character of all time and that is saying a lot, I really enjoyed this episode. It really showed Michiru at her most charming, from showcasing some of her many refined artistic talents, to being a glamorous older sister to young Usagi, without being condescending or passive aggressive. Plus c’mon now, the lemon on the violin is easily one of her finest moments.

    But yes Octave. I hate Octave. I hate her. Even though she almost spayed Usagi and prevented Chibiusa from ever being born, I hate her. Shut up Octave.

    On a side note, Michiru’s violin is not just very expensive… it’s a Straidivarius worth several million dollars. And yet Michiru just carries it about like it’s her lunch, and in the manga, she even carries it into combat to use it for her most powerful attack, apparently sea water damage is not a thing. Frigging one percenters…

  3. This episode is not that horrendous in my book, though I’ve seen better monsters of the day than Octave though. I don’t think the animation’s THAT bad also, but it’s just me again…

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: