3:7 – Cold-Hearted Uranus? Makoto in Trouble
Alternative Title: Hey, We’re All a Little Gay, Right?
First Aired: 14th May 1994
After Haruka uses her scarf to bandage Makoto’s wound, she becomes besotted with the older girl, much to the concern of the other Senshi. After Makoto is attacked by a Daimohn, it’s clear to everyone that she’s now the target of Kaorinite, and Haruka befriends Makoto, waiting for the attack. Makoto, meanwhile, has a much bigger internal fight on her hands with her confused emotions.
This is one of my favourite episodes of Sailor Moon S. There have been quite a few excellent ones in this series so far, but for me this does a wonderful job of developing Makoto’s character in a really interesting way. The show can sometimes abandon the Inner Senshi, choosing to relegate them to a supporting role, but this season gives the girls decent & satisfying episodes not seen since season 1.
I think that it also approaches sexuality in a markedly more realistic and fluid manner than it often manages. This episode also has the benefit of being able to make my laugh every single time I watch it.
Also, the Daimohn is amazing.
The episode starts with Haruka in full riding leathers. And that’s the entirety of the pre-title opening. A bit weird and off-kilter, but I like it. Going for something a bit further than the old retread jokes.
We move on to Usagi and Makoto walking home, discussing the dread of going to study group again, when the topic invariably moves on to food. it’s hard not to with both Usagi and Makoto around. Usagi has a really cute moment praising Makoto’s cool, and telling her she loves her.
The praise has something of a negative reaction with Makoto, however, who just looks a little sad, asserting that she has no real talent at it, that she just took it up to appear less tom-boyish, and a little more feminine.
Already I’m liking this episode. Makoto’s self-image problem feels realistic, and they’re doing a good job in communicating how much she resents her physical attributes.
Usagi obviously sees this as bullshit at once, and that nice supportive side of her personality comes out, as she tells Makoto that even if she couldn’t cook, she’s feminine enough.
Damn straight, Usagi. You don’t external egos determining whether or not you see yourself as too masculine or feminine. 2 minutes in and we’re learning stuff, guys.
The girls are happily chatting as they cross the road, but around the corner screeches a motorcycle…
And heck yeah, Makoto saves Usagi from become roadkill. Wow, Haruka, you totally almost killed Usagi… Always nice to see a heroic Makoto.
Haruka is, of course, contrite (note again the lack of any other people in the entire world other than these characters), and as she steps off her bike to check if the girls are hurt, Makoto gets a funny look in her eye…
Usagi cheerfully begins to explain that she and Makoto are fine, when she stops dead in her tracks.
Yes, indeed. It’s the same look she wore every time she saw a guy who reminded her of the Senpai who broke her heart. It looks as though the lack of a penis is completely fine with Makoto. Some might even say that was a plus.
Usagi’s continuing astonishment is amazing. Nothing is explicitly said yet, of course, but Usagi gawping and Makoto blushing are pretty clear signs, even if they don’t run exactly where you might think they run with this reaction.
Haruka notices that Makoto grazed herself saving Usagi from being brutally murdered by her, and uses a lilac scarf to cover the wound. Do people really do this? I mean, it’s not a bad graze. If anything the unsanitary rag around Haruka’s neck would only serve to worsen it, surely? Oh well what do I know anyway?
To be fair to Haruka, she does seem incredibly guilty about the whole thing. Seriously though, through absent-mindedness she almost ran a girl down after running a red light.
Normally, i get irked when characters are made to seem too cool, too flawlessly brilliant at everything, too graceful and powerful, and sometimes I get annoyed when it happens to Haruka, like what happened in the previous episode. In episodes like this, however, we see Haruka through the eyes of admirer. Haruka’s undeniable brilliance isn’t shoved down the throat of the viewer, but appears through the eyes of a character, which works much better.
As Haruka drives off, she pops a fucking wheelie, not even looking where she’s going, looking back to blow a kiss to the two girls – she just almost murdered a girl. I just find her too bloody cool to criticise her though.
Makoto continues to be awestruck, until Usagi finally gets serious, pointedly telling Makoto that despite her attractiveness, Haruka is female. Hey, Usagi, no need to judge. That line comes off a little… heteronormative… for my liking, but the humour pay off works well.
Makoto denies any attraction… and the girls both laugh, but with a slight air of confused desperation. I like how vague they’re being with this – it’s as vague as the spectrum of sexuality itself. I doubt the writers were going for that, but even a blind squirrel is going to find an acorn once in a while.
We cut to a pool, with Michiru floating serenely. I really like how still she seems. Goes with her persona, as much as popping a wheelie on a motorcycle is Haruka. Speaking of which, Haruka is helpfully discussing with her their mission to locate the Messiah.
The scene is actually really curious. Nice, tinkly piano music is playing, and by the fact that it’s never been heard before, that it’s a unique piece, marks this scene out as more significant than just the content would make it seem.
What this scene is really significant for is establishing a motif between Haruka, Michiru, this setting of the pool, and a feeling of openness and realism between the two of them. It’ll come into play in a big way later on the series.
For now, we once again see Haruka and Michiru strengthen their resolve to obtain the Talismans as the cost of the owners’ lives, in the name of world peace. We also get the feeling that it isn’t a task they relish, that it’s a necessary evil, and that they’re strong enough to bear that crushing utilitarian burden.
It’s a brief scene, but I think it’s incredibly effective. Great episode.
We see a device that these two use to locate Daimohns. Apparently they’re not just going by Michiru’s strange psychic feelings – their rather bulky watches actually inform them when an attack is imminent.
We cut back to Usagi, Makoto, and now also Ami. It doesn’t tell you, but this is actually the following morning, and the girls are on their way to school. Bit confusing at first though.
Makoto is asking if anyone knows where Haruka lives, and Usagi gives her a decidedly shrewd look. I guess she still suspects Makoto of playing for the other team, so to speak, but a blushing Makoto (she’s totally gay, you guys) insists she just wants to return the lilac scarf.
The girls are so involved with their conversation that they walk right on by Kaorinite. I actually love this introduction. It’s obviously her, but the musical cue they play as she turns to look intently at Makoto is actually spot on. Very Darth Vader-esque.
A well-timed gust of wind blows the scarf out of Makoto’s hand (I think it’s safe to presume that Kaorinte caused it), and a frantic Makoto runs after it, saying “If I don’t have the scarf, I don’t have an excuse to see Haruka!“, which is very lol-worthy.
The scarf lands in a car park, and Makoto spots it wedged underneath a car. She has to get down onto her elbows to reach it, and really has to grab for it.
The music has gone dead here. By the fact that Makoto can’t see where she’s grabbing, and the fact that the Daimohn Egg has just shoved itself into the scarf, this plays out like a horror movie.
This is so cool – the scarf eerily wraps around Makoto’s outstretched hand, and the shocked look on her face is perfect.
She looks around to see – HOLY WHAT THE FUCK IS THAAAT!?
This is Scar, one of my favourite Daimohns, and the freaky thing is holding Makoto’s hand underneath a car. Brilliant stuff.
It moves horribly, like a disembodied head on a slug. It reminds me of that scene from The Thing, in a really good way.
Before Scar can rip out Makoto’s Pure Heart (she has the best, growliest, smoker’s voice in the world) Usagi and Ami, transforming. This is rather lucky, as Scar’s first attack on Makoto is to shoot red silk out of her chest, engulfing Makoto’s face. It’s super creepy.
This is quickly frozen off by a Shine Aqua Illusion. Heeey Sailor Mercury is useful!
Kaorinte, who has been watching from a filthy alley, isn’t pleased by this interruption. It seems as though she’s playing a different tactic with the Daimohn today, and I like it a lot. Scar is ordered to retreat… for now. And so early in the episode too.
And hooooo boy does Scar retreat. She jumps up high into the sky, lands gracefully on two curiously sexy legs, and begins sprinting at high-speed, laughing like a goddamn psychopath. I love this moment. It’s creepy, a little scary and hilarious all at the same time, which is everything that a Sailor Moon enemy should be.
All the while, it turns out that Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune have been watching, waiting for Makoto’s Pure Heart to be ripped from her. They’re now aware, of course, that Makoto is the target.
Sailor Neptune actually asks why they don’t just join up with Sailor Moon and the other Senshi, a reasonable question, but Haruka’s response is actually spot on. There’s no hand-waving here, I really do buy their motivations for remaining separate from the other Senshi:
“Silence is approaching. To stop it, we much sacrifice someone. Can they do that?”
Makes total sense to me. Sailor Moon will go to any length to prevent a death (well, in the anime anyway. She’s blood-thirsty in the manga), and there’s no time for idealism and naivety with the end of the world approaching.
Uranus asserts that they’ll just have to watch Makoto closely for when she’s attacked again. I don’t think that will be too much of a problem for our Mako-chan.
After school, Makoto can be found, once again, in the same car park. She’s looking for the scarf not realising that it is the Daimohn Scar now. Usagi is understandably irate about this: the enemy has targeted her and she’s hanging out by the scene of the first attack by herself, just to look for a scarf.
Makoto often seems oblivious to her own safety, doesn’t she?
Usagi tries again to explain to Makoto that Haruka is a girl – she really can’t understand a lady fancying a lady – buy Makoto insists that it’s “not like that!” Me thinks she doth protest too much.
As they’re having this exchange, Haruka nonchalantly rocks up in a bloody convertible sports car. Seriously, where do these people find the money for all these vehicles?
Haruka is so carelessy flirtatious here that it’s scandalous. She obviously knows when a girl has a thing for her, and likes to play up to it. She picks out Makoto, careful to exclude Usagi gently, and even gives her a playful wink. What a player. And her girlfriend is in the car with her! Kinky.
Usagi continues to play a weird role here, that of the, uhhhh, homosexual objector…? She hisses at Makoto that there’s a problem with this, but Haruka blithely asks what’s wrong with girls going on a drive together.
This is quite a funny moment, seeing Usagi at a loss for words. She didn’t even get an offer of a lift, poor bugger.
So Makoto gets a drive with Haruka and Michiru (there are, as usual, no other people in Tokyo. Not a single other car). I like this scene a lot. There are so many great ones. Makoto expresses shock when she finds out that Haruka and Michiru are only 16 – how the heck has she got a driving licence.
Haruka gives this really shifty look and mumbles something about having gotten her license over seas, but no one is buying this. She’s a teen joy rider, obviously.
Makoto asks what Haruka wanted to talk about, why she invited her out on a drive, and gets yet another overtly flirtatious line – “I want to be better friends with you.” The words are mild, but the delivery is just short of lacivious.
Makoto feels the same way. I mean, just look at her face.
I really love this episode. They’re laying the homosexual undertones on thick, and not in a “super stereotypical gay” way, like with Zoisite and Nephrite. Makoto seems genuinely shocked, and confused, and pleased all at the same time.
Meanwhile, let’s go check on the other girls and what they have to think about all this.
Study group has devolved into gossip about Makoto’s sexuality, especially when Usagi uses the term “date” to describe what Makoto and Haruka (and Michiru) are up to. Rei, Minako and Usagi are all gossipy like crazy, but Ami keeps trying to get a word in about something else.
I love that Minako can’t dismiss Makoto’s crush because she had (has?) the same one on Haruka.
Finally, Ami loses her shit and pounds the table to get these losers’ attention. It’s not important what Makoto is doing, she’s been left alone after being attacked by a bloody monster. If Usagi had remembered this in the first place, she wouldn’t have been sent off alone. Tut tut.
It’s nice to see Ami so animated, and the other girls shocked into action by this uncharacteristic outburst. Another great scene! Every scene is a home run today.
It’s dusk now, and Haruka has driven the girls to the port. Tokyo Bay really is lovely at sunset, you know. You should go see it.
Makoto is reassuring the girls over her watch communicator. Ami insists that they’re on their way to her, but Makoto gets all cocky, saying “if an enemy comes, I’ll defeat it.” Gosh I love Makoto. The only time she’s self-assured is when she’s kicking ass, and that makes for a wonderful character.
Usagi, Rei and Minako all bust in on the call, telling Makoto not to give up on men. Back off, the heart wants what it wants!
We get a couple of really nice shots of Haruka, once again lit up from Makoto’s perspective. Makoto explains to the girls that she’s not romantically interested in Haruka, but that she looks up to her strongly – that she’s the type of woman she wants to be.
A bit of a cop out? I maintain that aspiring to be like someone, and sexual attraction, are not mutually exclusive things. For me, there are a lot of complex emotions going on inside Makoto. Certainly there’s nothing before or after this episode to suggest that Makoto is gay, but sexuality is not a fixed state either. Maybe she had feelings for Haruka that were strange and confusing, as it seemed, and maybe she resolved those feelings by aspiring to be her.
My point is that it’s an exceedingly interesting character development that one can pick over, can discuss in lieu of other events and background knowledge. This is what makes for a deeper character. This episode nailed that.
Anyway we’ve still got a Daimohn on the loose.
And there she is! Both Haruka and Makoto’s reactions to the freaky Scar is priceless and spot on.
Even better, Scar’s follow-up move is to flash Makoto, who reacts with a “eeeeyaaaaah!” – this is totally meant to be sexual, something I’ll touch again on in a few moments, but for now I’ll say it’s definitely fitting into to these theme we’re on.
As it turns out, Scar is wearing clothes beneath her cloak after all. She’s actually quite nicely shaped, if you know what I mean, not at all monstrous as you might think.
Scar grabs Makoto using her red ribbons again, and moves in close to her to whisper about taking the Pure Heart that looks up to her ideal woman. It’s effectively hostile and creepy.
She’s interrupted, surprisingly, by Haruka, who has thrown a rock at poor Scar’s mask, which is knocked off. Despite her earlier assertions that she would gladly sacrifice someone for the greater good, it seems as though her personal emotions got through to her after all.
Scar, meanwhile, is shown to be a freaky elf pixie fairy thing. I think I liked her better with the mask and cloak, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the juxtaposition of mask-on and mask-off. You knew she either had to be horrific or cutesy underneath that mask.
Haruka and Michiru get blasted into a bush. I’m sure they’re not complaining.
…it occurred to me that the previous sentence could be misconstrued as relating to their sexuality. When I wrote it, I really meant that it would simply allow them the time to transform.
Kaorinite reappears to order Scar to take the Pure Heart from Makoto. What has she been doing for the last 36 hours? Just floating around…? She’s so useful.
So where is Scar’s Black Star tattoo? Somewhere not at all disturbing, surely?
Nope, it’ on her fucking boob. I mean, wow. Jeepers. What can I say about that?
Quite a lot as it happens. I feel that Scar’s revealed femininity, her flashing at Makoto, and her subsequent Janet Jackson boob display are all representative of the internal struggle going on within Makoto – this balance between her perceived “masculine” and “feminine” elements existing within one person, and her confused sexuality in this episode. It says to me that the writers totally intended for Makoto to be questioning her own sexuality.
Bet you didn’t think I could get all that from a tattooed nipple, did you?
Anyway, poor Makoto is in tremendous pain as the Pure Heart is torn from her. It’s nasty to watch, the poor girl. Uranus and Neptune waiting in the bushes don’t like it anymore than I do, but they seem to have found their resolve to go through with it at last.
As soon as Kaorinte holds the Pure Heart, however, Uranus fires a World Shaking at her, forcing the heart to drop. There’s something about the rapidity of the attack that tells me that Uranus is especially irate at the Death Busters today. She really does seem attached to Makoto, playful flirting aside.
Makoto is dropped to the floor almost-unconscious as Scar attacks Uranus and Neptune. It may have been for budgetary reasons, but we don’t see most of their altercation: we cut to Makoto’s face as she loses conciousness, without her Pure Heart, as she thinks to herself that Uranus and Neptune were hiding solely to get their hands on her Pure Heart, letting Haruka and Michiru get attacked.
This is ironic of course, but Makoto isn’t to know that. Her disgust at Uranus and Neptune is obvious.
Finally, Sailor Moon and the other Senshi arrive. They’ve taken time to climb up some corporate art for their entrance again.
Neptune, meanwhile, has determined that the Pure Heart isn’t a Talisman, as Sailor Moon begs them to return it to Makoto, to which Uranus agrees, pretending that she doesn’t really care, but we all know you do, softy.
Makoto has been dragged off by Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury far enough to safely transform. You know, I think she could take the day off, She did have her Pure Heart removed from her by force.
Our Makoto never says no to a fight, though, and Sailor Jupiter’s entrance to the battle is rather satisfying. We’ve seen her with issues and stuff, now let’s see her kill something.
Sailor Jupiter’s Sparkling Wide Pressure hits Scar, paralysing her long enough for Sailor Moon’s Moon Spiral Heart Attack. Yes it’s entirely rote and according to the routine, but I like it nevertheless.
Bye Scar, you flashing pervert.
The battle isn’t quite over, however. Jupiter is fired up, and she wants answers from the Outer Senshi, accusing them of being no better than thieves. It’s hard to argue.
I really like this confrontation. You totally get Jupiter’s fury from the scene earlier, and the tension between these two groups had been building up for several episodes. This seems like a cathartic release of sorts.
Despite Jupiter’s CQC skills, Uranus still manages to deflect her blow and hit her in the stomach. Damn, that’s cold… and impressive. It really looks as though that blow landed too. It doesn’t look like the Inner and Outer Senshi are going to be friends after all.
As they run off, Neptune scolds Uranus for being so immature for fighting back against Jupiter, but then she notices that Uranus has been injured by Jupiter after all. Once again, this is a little rote, the two enemies respecting each other’s strength and all, but again it’s gratifying. I like that they gave Jupiter her due, even if she couldn’t match up to Uranus.
Jupiter is a little confused to find the scarf she had been looking for all this time suddenly turn up at the port. That’s quite funny really. When the others find Haruka and Michiru “unconscious” (playing dead is their strongest skill), she rushes to their side back as Makoto.
Makoto is exceedingly weepy at Haruka being injured because of her. I bet she feels super guilty right now, poor ignorant Mako-chan. It’s a sweet moment.
Makoto notices the injury that she herself made on Haruka, and the scene from the start is now reversed. It’s a neat way to wrap things up.
Sometime later, the girls are still ignorantly discussing Makoto’s sexuality loudly in the street. They’re so sensitive. Ami pauses outside a clothing shop, and notices Makoto shopping for a scarf of her own and trying to mimic Haruka.
I like this ending a bunch. It’s right on the money – a jokey ending wouldn’t have fit the mood after all. Makoto aspiring to be more like Haruka, down to copying her kiss blowing, is a very sweet moment. She’s exceedingly likeable today.
A great episode.
NEXT TIME: Yet another great episode as we realise that Ami isn’t just a huge nerd – she’s a huge nerd that can swim. Also, bathing suits.
Episode Score: 5/5
Monster Score: 5/5 (Everything about her is amazing, especially the fact that she’s an allegory for Makoto’s sexual confusion)
Final Thought: Makoto took a piece of cloth that had been around someone’s neck as they rode a motorbike around town, then on her own bloody arm, then underneath a car, then transformed into a gross ribbon flasher monster, then lying on the ground by a dock… and tied it onto Haruka’s open wound.
That hand is rotting off.