3:12 – Usagi in Tears! Glass Shoes for her Birthday
Alternative Title: The Devil Wears Swarovski
First Aired: 2nd July 1994
It’s Usagi’s birthday! She celebrates it by getting extremely cross with Mamoru after he doesn’t even know the importance of the date. After reconciling, Mamoru presents Usagi with horrible and uncomfortable glass shoes. Thankfully, she doesn’t get to wear them much before it explodes into a Daimohn, as it appears that Usagi is the target today. When Usagi’s Pure Heart turns out to be the brightest ever seen, both Kaorinite and the Outer Senshi suspect that she is the holder of a Talisman…
I really like this episode. It’s not nearly as intricate or well-written as the recent episodes dedicated to the other Inner Senshi, but It’s the first story-developing episode in a while, and has some fairly brilliant moments.
Any episode given to further developing Usagi and Mamoru’s relationship is precious, since there are so few of them, and even though their misunderstanding today makes Usagi look rather bad, it’s a least a human mistake that we can sympathise with.
I especially like the corner that Usagi is pushed into. She has such unwaivering values that I think even she hasn’t quite realised yet, so when they are put to the test, it’s interesting to watch the results.
Sadly, while this is a great 1st part of a 2-part episode, the conclusion next time is not nearly as strong.
We start off in the Death Busters’s lab. They haven’t done much since the first episode of the season – all we’ve seen is the Professor rubbing his eggs on his face and Kaorinite’s bland robotic servitude.
Not much changes today (we’re due for a shake up in a couple episodes, however) but Kaorinite’s insistence that today’s target is especially pure, and therefore has the highest probability of being a Talisman thus far, is something new.
“I declare it to be a Talisman without mistake.”
You know what? I’m willing to take that bet, Kaorinite, considering you’ve done absolutely nothing successful so far. The Professor is somewhat more optimistic than me, however, because he promises to send his “best Daimohn.”
I believe we have already seen the best Daimohn, and she was an elephant-vacuum-demon-lady.
Because this is a two-part episode, nothing is quite as rushed as it normally is in an episode. They take time to lovingly reshow the best shots of the Death Busters’ lab again, and it’s appreciated because they’re all so lovely and sciencey.
OK, just a guess, but I think Usagi’s birthday might be 30th June.
As it happens, it is, in fact, Usagi’s birthday in the anime, which makes her 15. A little extraordinary when you consider what she’s done in her life so far. This episode actually aired on 2nd July, meaning that they purposefully timed this event upon first showing. I love that.
Usagi is acting very excited and cutesy, but the other Senshi aren’t able to muster up more energy than it takes to look over their textbooks. Nice, ladies.
The worst response is from Ami, who gives a blithe “Let’s try to act our age from now on.” I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Ami is the biggest dick of the Senshi when she wants to be. I like it.
Usagi is a little perturbed that her friends don’t give a crap, and to add insult to injury Rei reminds Usagi to turn up at study group after school. Naaaasty.
We’ve all seen Saved by the Bell, we know what’s going to happen at study group, but it’s rather fun to watch poor Usagi squirm with dissapointment.
Incidentally, that’s about the 9th Saved by the Bell reference I’ve made thus far on this blog, which is far more than I would have predicted.
So I guess Usagi just doesn’t go to school anymore, because she appears to be loitering around the shopping district of Jubaancho when she spots probably the worst commercial product conceivable.
Glass slippers. I understand normal high-heels hurt like “a motherfucker“, to quote Samuel L Jackson, so imagine if they were made out of an inflexible material known to shatter and slice. Usagi is nothing if not impractical. It’s precisely what Usagi would like, too.
We notice Kaorinite in an alley stalking Usagi, and obviously thinking the same thing about the stupid shoes.
Usagi ostentatiously, and presumptuously, declares that Mamoru will buy them for her birthday present, and falls into a brief daydream that we haven’t seen the likes of since early in season 1. I suppose this is a reminder that, underneath it all, she really is a very naive girl.
The episode continues to take its time, quietly lingering on rather nice, washed out shots of Tokyo, touching upon a fancy cafe (the china is fucking rancid, though) with Haruka and Michiru, before once again returning to Usagi.
Turns out she still isn’t going to school. She sought out Mamoru like a cruise missile. It’s even taken her a long time to find him apparently. GO TO SCHOOL, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
Mamoru is a little worried by Usagi’s sudden attention to him, as he should be.
Usagi, unfortunately as it happens, assumes that Mamoru is playing dumb about her birthday, and a rather funny, if uncomfortable, scene plays out, with Mamoru not knowing why Usagi wants glass slippers as a gift.
Meanwhile, Kaorinite is in a phone booth pretending to make a call, and picks up the idea of using the glass slippers as a too. I think we know who the target is today. This should be gooood.
Do kids even know what a phone booth is anymore?
Mamoru stops Usagi, saying that it’s rather far away from Christmas, and Usagi begins to get pissed.
Mamoru trying to figure out what day it is, again, is hilarious and uncomfortable, especially since it’s bloody obvious.
When Mamoru finally suggests that it’s the day they first met, Usagi’s mood changes completely, and we finally get to see Usagi slap Mamoru.
I’ve been waiting for this for YEARS. Where was this in the 2nd season, when Mamoru was being a complete dick to her for ultimately stupid reasons?
Too bad he didn’t really deserve it today, especially since they had an audience.
So I guess Usagi is running off to school now to simmer at her desk.
Nope she goes to the park. Everything of importance in Sailor Moon happens in this one fucking park.
Poor Usagi is bereft. I’m going to actually say that I understand today. Normally I’m rather pragmatic about these sorts of things, but Usagi lives in a fantasy world where everything is romantic and perfect. She’s also exceedingly prone to emotional distress, and has already been ignored by her friends on what she perceives is a day for attention.
Yeah, it’s childish, but that’s Usagi. More than that, she’s able to learn from her mistakes and develop, which is what we also see later.
For now Haruka and Michiru are the ones to give Usagi solace. Michiru offers Usagi a dainty handkerchief to wipe her eyes on, and Usagi blows her nose in it instead in great honks.
That. Is. Perfect. It’s even more perfect when you consider that blowing one’s nose in public is a sign of rudeness in Japanese culture. Usagi is ungainly, clumsy and does not give a fuck about social convention, and I love her for that.
The older girls profess sympathy for Usagi… although they really have only heard it from her point of view.
Usagi is so mad, in fact, that she claims that Mamoru is no longer her boyfriend. Now we know that isn’t going to last. I still love that she’s able to well up with indignation, however. Nice to see that this isn’t a once-sided relationship, that she has the capacity to see fault in Mamoru, that she isn’t some love-sick puppy that her attitude in season 2 might have suggested.
Haruka, never missing a beat, takes the opportunity to flirt with Usagi, meaning that she has now come on to Makoto, Rei, Minako and Usagi, most of which occurred next to an amused Michiru. I like these girls.
Usagi’s reaction to Haruka asking if she has a chance now is hilarious. After look rather flustered, she suddenly remembers study group and appears to use that as an excuse to run away. Adorable, really.
Also, what the hell? It’s after school now? There’s no keeping track of time here. Not that it affects the episode in any way, I just like to point out little holes in the writing like this.
Haruka seems genuinely fond of Usagi (albeit not in a romantic way), but Michiru decides to bum Haruka out, reminding her that she can’t allow herself to get close to anyone who may be a bearer of a Talisman.
The implication is that the pain for them would be too much.
At the Hikawa Shrine, Rei gets a phone call from Mamoru, asking what kind of mushrooms Usagi has been taking.
A really rather interesting thing happens here. Rei gets cross at Mamoru (in a sort of playful way), saying that he was this block-headed when they used to go out. It’s a sudden reminder that they did, in fact, have a relationship, albeit a shitty one. I can’t believe they don’t bring this up more often, it’s such an interesting history.
After getting chewed out by Rei for not knowing Usagi’s birthday, Mamoru looks rather relieved in the knowledge that he can solve the problem of his girlfriend being pissed off with the purchase of material goods.
Not the strongest of messages to send out there…
Usagi, meanwhile, sadly walks in the shrine, and begins to realise that slapping Mamoru may have not been the acceptable course of action to take. It’s still better than the time she almost slapped Chibi-Usa, though…
Usagi, late as ever, puts on a cheery face and enters the study group…
Well of COURSE they weren’t going to let Usagi’s birthday slip by. She really is enormously gullible. It’s a bit of a shit birthday party to be honest.
Still, they call tried hard to make it special for poor Usagi. I loved Rei’s reaction at Usagi’s reticence – pissed off that she isn’t more lively. Atta girl, Rei.
Makoto and Minako are, of course, thrilled to be taking a day off studying to “party” (how can you party without hard liquor? I don’t GET it), and Ami, predictably, buzzkills like a pro, reminding them that it’s just for one day.
As I said: Ami with the Ninja-Dicking once again.
Usagi still can’t bring herself to be happy. She reflects that what she really wanted was a gift from Mamoru. We see that this isn’t a material want: the shoes don’t mean anything, really, the gift merely being a token of affection. I’m trying to spin her physical assault from earlier into something positive, here.
Mamoru, meanwhile, has completely caved, but it’s probably the right thing to do. He’s wealthy enough for a high-rise apartment IN TOKYO. AND a motorcycle AND a red sports car, so why not buy evil painful shoes she’ll wear once and then crack?
This is how the 1% live.
Anyway, enough politics, Kaorinite suddenly feels the need to pull a Jadeite and cosplay as a sales assistant. Why? No idea, she could have planted the Daimohn Egg from a distance.
Either way, those glass slippers are less Cinderella and more Ridley Scott’s Alien right now. This is the worst consumer decision Mamoru will ever make.
Haruka and Michiru realise this, too, as Mamoru leaves with what they know to be a Daimohn Egg-infected gift, whispering that he should have paid for the extra warranty coverage. The Outer Senshi now know who the target is.
The target, right now, isn’t having the best time at her birthday party. To be fair, it’s completely shit, but at least her cake looks nice.
Ami finally asks why Usagi is being such a grumpy-guss, and she blurts out embarrassedly that she slapped Mamoru across the face earlier.
Instead of pointing out that physical aggression is probably a result of an imbalanced and chaotic childhood, the girls are just plain shocked. Usagi’s shame is strangely enjoyable.
Rei points out that Mamoru didn’t forget Usagi’s birthday, he never even knew in the first place because Usagi had never told him, which somewhat blows Usagi’s head off.
She rallies with the worst argument even conceived, “but if you really love someone, you just feel things like that!” Oh dear.
This is fairly easy to shoot down. Take it away, Minako:
“Then do you know Mamoru’s birthday, Usagi?”
Usagi goes through a list of dates she has stored in her memory banks before admitting that she has no idea. I actually find this level of ditzyness admirable. That’s probably bad of me, but Usagi is just so lovably idiotic here.
Also, let me pause to point out that Mamoru and Usagi have had quite an… adult relationship for such young people. They must have been going out at the very least 9 months or so by now (the Sailor Moon timeline is rather squished) and not once did either of them think to find out the other’s birthday.
Weird people. They really do belong together.
Usagi has now completely destroyed all of her credibility, and naturally decides to run out the door in search of Mamoru at once. In the middle of the night. In Tokyo. In a time without cell phones. Smart move.
As ever, they meet in the middle of street. It’s a rather nice reunion, even if it does take place in front of a construction site… I love this. I like Usagi’s heartfelt sorry, I love even more Mamoru’s act at gallantry, thanking the “princess” for waiting and producing the slippers with a flourish.
Seriously, those things look… hoooorible.
I hate feet. Let’s get that out of the way. I therefore completely understand why a Daimohn who has been shoved inside a shoe might be rather vexed with a teenage girl shoving her smelly sock inside me.
This is totally understandable.
This Daimohn is pretty bizarre to be honest. Senishenta looks like a glass Spartan lady, complete with bizarrely bulging muscles and a voice that grinds the nerves down almost immediately I don’t really like her that much.
As far as I can determine, Senshenta is called so because of the Spanish name for Cinderella, “Cenicienta“. I suppose the warrior aspect came from the pun on the word we all know and love, “Senshi“, which of course in Japanese, means “Warrior” or “Soldier”… hence the name of this stupid blog.
Enough of that, back to the action. Both Mamoru and Usagi are completely taken by surprise from a shoe exploding into a person. This is because they’re WEAK: I ALWAYS assume the worst about my shoes every time I put them on.
Usagi is back up against a shop window when Mamoru tries to barge into Senishenta. I don’t know what he was thinking – he’s not even transformed – and thus is easily thrown back. Let’s be nice and assume that this move wasn’t dumb, it was just emotional.
Senishenta moves in on Usagi… and it’s simultaneous funny watching a helpless Usagi kicking the Daimohn in the face, and strangely disturbing. It’s a bit creepy, really.
Usagi finally gets it together, grabbing her Transformation Broach! All’s well, right?
Nope, Senishenta bashes it away, outraged at the thought that Usagi was going to smash her face in with it. Maybe we don’t dangle the one thing that could save our lives right in the enemy’s face next time?
Either way, Usag is in trouble. It’s rare that we see her unable to transform and so helpless. I suppose it happened a couple times in season 2, when Chibi-Usa stole her broach and then when Dimande held her captive (the slime-ball.)
Senishenta does something fairly cool here, and pushes Usagi into the glass, so that it forms around her like a prison. That’s a pretty cool power.
With Usagi now powerless to resist, Sailor Uranus and Neptune arrive…. and merely watch.
Usagi’s Pure Heart-ripping is as unpleasant to watch as the other girls’ in the series thus far. Her voice actress, Kotono Mitsuishi, is also accomplished at sounding overwhelmed with agony. Not nice to watch.
Also have a hard time watching is Sailor Uranus, who insists that they do not intervene until they know if Usagi holds a Talisman or not, but whom Neptune teases about obviously wanting to go liberate.
Neptune’s teasing feels especially misplaced when the Talisman comes out – it’s shining like no Pure Heart so far, so much so that Senishenta, and Uranus and Neptune, thinks that it must be a Talisman.
It’s always Usagi isn’t it?
Uranus takes a second to make up her mind, but decides that she’s got to make a play for the Pure Heart, but Neptune holds her back.
The gravity of what will happen if it is indeed Usagi who holds the Talisman is impressed once more – she’ll die if it’s not returned to her. This moment leaves Uranus utterly indecisive for once. Her conscience is as clouded as Neptune’s, as much as they try to deny it. I like this grey element to their characters a great deal.
Uranus’ hesitation allows Mamoru to return as Tuxedo Kamen – he’s LEARNING – who smacks Senishenta with a rose, thus returning the Pure Heart back to Usagi and freeing her from the glass window.
Well that’s bad news for Uranus. How is she going to get the Talisman now?
Tuxedo Kamen isn’t fucking around today. He traps the Daimohn in one of those petal prisons we rarely see (have we seen this at all before…? I don’t recall) and carries off Usagi.
There’s something strangely sweet about seeing Usagi untransformed being helped by Tuxedo Kamen. When she’s Sailor Moon, it seems a little condescending at times, but seeing her so helpless and suffering from a recent assault makes this feel almost romantic.
Kaorinite appears before Senishenta to ask what the freakin’ hold-up is, and notices Usagi’s Transformation Broach… which she recognises as Sailor Moon’s.
Hey, she’s actually putting two and two together! Kaorinite suspects that the target is, in fact, Sailor Moon! Mental. Interesting to see Usagi even more against the odds.
On the roof, Usagi and Tuxedo Kamen realises that she’s in deep shit and run away.
What a great birthday she’s having.
With Tuxedo Kamen and Usagi jumping from roof to roof, Senishenta spots them and gives chase. I wish the Daimohn were more… scary. This chase would feel a little more punchy. As it is, she’s just rather ridiculous.
The two run into a building, with Usagi begging Tuxedo Kamen to escape by himself. As IF he’s going to do that. He’s your one shot at life, too, Usagi. Misplaced nobility, there.
The confrontation kicks back in at an underground parking lot, with Kaorinite and Senishenta cornering them both.
Usagi FINALLY remembers that she has a communication device and thinks to call Luna, but Kaorinite seems personally offended by crappy plastic watches (as am I) and breaks it off with her hair.
I often forget that she has that weird hair power. It could be very cool, it just hasn’t really been done justice yet.
Kaorinite announces that she knows Usagi’s true identity as Sailor Moon, and the severity of the situation begins to materialise. Tuxedo Kamen isn’t all-powerful. In fact he’s sort of shit. Usagi is powerless, with her secret revealed, and the only two allies that might reach her are pointedly hiding and waiting for Usagi to be attacked again.
Speaking of which, Uranus has strengthened her resolve to be ok with sacrificing someone for the good of the rest of the planet, and Neptune is content to defer decision to Uranus. I like her faith in Uranus, but her attempt to wash her hands of the blame is going to end in failure.
Tuxedo Kamen warns Usagi to stay back and run away when she can, and engages Senishenta in combat, glass sword-arm vs extendable cane… which is not something I ever thought I’d see.
Tux does a fairly good job at first (although the animation is kind rubbish) and Usagi can only hide behind a car and watch. He eventually orders her to run for it, but she’s as obstinate as he is, and refuses to leave him… for about 2 seconds.
As it turns out, this was a shit plan because there’s more than one enemy. Good idea, Tuxedo Kamen, now she’s cornered by Boobs McGee instead of the Body Builder.
With Kaorinite threatening to smash her Transformation Broach (I guess she want’s Usagi to admit that she’s Sailor Moon before she takes her Pure Heart) and Tuxedo Kamen not doing so well against Senishenta, Usagi’s in something of a pickle.
I really like what they’re doing here, removing every safeguard Usagi has had, making her more and more vulnerable and ramping up the tension piece by piece. Considering all that she’s been through, it’s impressive that they can still force Usagi into a dire situation.
This is good stuff.
Tuxedo Kamen manages to shatter Senishenta’s sword-arm, and immediately runs towards Usagi, but as it turns out this was even more stupid than throwing money on glass shoes, because Senishenta shoots glass-bukakke on his back.
This looks rather crap, actually, but the result is that Tuxedo Kamen is frozen in glass.
Add another nail into Usagi’s coffin.
As the tension reaches its height… the bloody episode ENDS. What the hell is this!? What an evil cliffhanger. Good job, guys, this totally makes me want to see the conclusion to this.
Shame it’s not as good as I would have liked, but the follow-up is still pretty darn enjoyable.
As for this episode, I like a lot of it. The fight with Kaorinite and Senishenta is kinda lame, to be honest, but I appreciate the increasingly dire circumstances for Usagi. This sort of thing isn’t done that often, so it feels fresh and interesting. Solid.
NEXT TIME: As it turns out, Sailor Venus makes a passable Sailor Moon, with hilarious consequences. Also, the Senshi fuck up a national icon for the hell of it.
Episode Score: 4/5
Monster Score: 2/5 (Don’t really like Senishenta, but I’m impressed that she’s the only monster to survive longer than a single episode.)
Final Thought: Kaorinite didn’t even know what a tram was. How did she know how to use a telephone booth?