3:13 – Pure Heart Stolen! Usagi’s Biggest Crisis
Alternative Title: Sailor Venus Cosplays As Sailor Moon
First Aired: 16th July 1994
Kaorinite has Usagi cornered. With both Tuxedo Kamen and her transformation broach stolen, Usagi rushes into the trap laid by Kaorinite at Tokyo Tower. With Uranus and Neptune reluctantly sending Usagi to her potential death for the greater good, and the odds stacked again her, the Senshi must come up with a truly original plan…
I have mixed feelings about this episode. For much of it, it’s a fantastic “event” episode (one that progresses the overarching plot), with some interesting social interactions, the return of one of the most rockin’ songs of last season, great character development and a moment of such ingenious comedy that it’s beyond human understanding.
Thank being said… things take a definitely downward turn in the latter half. This is mostly down to the animation studio – it’s one of the rubbish ones, which means that Kaorinite’s demise (SPOILER: she ain’t dead… yet) is ugly and uninspired.
So an episode of two halves. I’m interested myself in how I’ll end up scoring this one…
So, first things first, you have better go get up to speed with what happened in the last episode. Long story short, Usagi was targeted, everyone thinks she has a Talisman, Tuxedo Kamen was frozen, Kaorinite has stolen Usagi’s transformation broach aaaaaaand there were some horrible-ass uncomfortable shoes.
OK, well for some strange reason everyone in the parking lot is in a different place. I suppose I put this down to the two episodes being produced by different studios, but it is jarring. Tuxedo Kamen chose the worst possible face to get frozen in glass with. It’s dorky and frantic. You can’t even get that right, can you buddy?
The other Senshi immediately arrive. There’s no build up here, it’s just straight into immediate posing mode. Kaorinite obviously realises that there’s 27 more minutes of the episode left, so leaves to kill some air time, taking the Daimohn Senishenta and Tuxedo Kamen with her.
Pretty weird to think that this is the first monster-of-the-week to survive more than one episode. It’s such a boring one too. Shame.
Kaorinite has obviously been watching waaaay too much anime, because her plan is to invite Usagi to Tokyo Tower for the “final showdown”. I’m actually surprised that it took this long for Sailor Moon to get to Tokyo Tower – it’s in the back of almost every single city-wide shot.
In Card Captor Sakura, they were prancing about on top of the tower from episode 1. Took Sailor Moon 102 episodes. A new record for any anime, surely.
Usagi is obviously bereft at Mamoru’s kidnapping (AGAIN? AND AGAIN? Blimey, Mamo-chan) but the other Senshi are more pissed off than anything when they see Sailor Uranus and Neptune leaving, evidently having been there the entire time.
I have to say, out of all their actions so far, this standing around while Usagi was attacked probably looks the worst. Still, we saw that it cost them both something not to intervene.
Usagi naturally begins to leave immediately for Tokyo Tower (as ever, she runs in with her heart. This isn’t as dire as, say, that episode, but she’s still adorably and terrifyingly naive.)
Usagi looks fantastic in this scene, the conflict of having caused the suffering of those around her appearing once more. A common theme with her character.
So you’d think the other Senshi, being transformed and all, would be able to, you know, hold her down? Nope, they just left her run off.
As Usagi leaves the parking lot, the fantastic song Ai no Senshi picks up. You may remember it from the brilliant episode in season two, Protect Chibi-Usa! Clash of the Ten Warriors, where it was used perfectly. Here, it fits well enough, it goes with Usagi’s determination to meet danger head on, despite not being able to transform, well enough. It does feel slightly tacked on, but hey, any excuse to use this song again is fine by me!
Usagi meets Haruka and Michiru in a sports car outside the parking lot. It’s not the same one she drove before… I really am suspecting that these guys are guilty of grand theft auto.
Completely putting the incredibly suspicious circumstances of their sudden and convenient arrival, Usagi happily accepts Haruka’s offer of a ride to Tokyo Tower in the middle of the night.
The fact that none of these people have yet pieced their alternate identities together yet is mind-boggling. They must have, like, serious cognitive impairment.
Oh yeah, and Usagi seems to be actively trying to out-run the other Senshi, lest they stop her getting to Mamoru. I would have like to see this conflict play out a little more, Usagi so ready to sacrifice herself, but it’s interesting to see Sailor Mars so frantic for her safety again.
After some small-talk, Haruka begins a rather serious conversation with Usagi. Remember, she doesn’t know Usagi is Sailor Moon, all she thinks is that Usagi will have to be sacrifice in a few moments so that they can claim the Talisman, so what follows is rather strange.
“Humans all live by sacrificing someone in the end. Don’t you think so?“
Well, Haruka, no, not really. I’m not sacrificing someone right now and I feel okay about it.
Michiru also picks up what Haruka is putting down. They try to explain to Usagi the necessity of sacrificing someone for the greater good.
I don’t think the writers were thinking too deeply about this, but… considering that they appear to trying to explain themselves to the person they are sending to their death, it speaks of an earnest rationalisation, a drive to be understood by those who are being sacrificed. It suggests that the Outer Senshi aren’t nearly as sure of themselves as they make out to be.
OR the writers just wanted to highlight the difference between the Senshi again. Whatever.
Usagi, looking awesome in the top-down convertible I might add, recalls that these are the words and attitudes of Sailor Uranus. She’s on the BLOODY CUSP of an epiphany… but it comes to naught.
I like that Usagi is more savvy than she lets on, but that she can’t quite make the connection when it’s all laid out in front of her is frustrating rather than anything else.
Usagi instead comes back with a summation of her philosophy, her morality, indeed her entire identity, in a single statement:
“The people doing the stepping might be fine with it, but what about the people getting stepped on? I can’t just ignore other people suffering just to save myself!“
Damn straight, Usagi. That’s a great retort to utilitarianism taken to an extreme. I like this car ride immensely, especially since Ai no Senshi is still playing in the background.
Michiru’s reaction is sympathetic, but unmoved. Haruka just says nothing.
Usagi enters Tokyo Tower by herself, as Haruka and Michiru, one last time, strengthen their resolve to let Usagi walk to her death, despite their strong attachment to her.
Usagi is invited to step into the elevator by Kaorinite’s disembodied voice, as she promises to show her a route “straight to heaven“. Yeeeeah no thanks I’m cool sticking on the ground floor.
Obviously she gets in. This reminds me of another tower and another elevator…
Having been to Tokyo Tower several times before (don’t all rush to tell me how brilliant and important I am to have been to Japan, hehehehehe), I was struck with how accurate the illustrators got the layout and the look of the place.
So far, this episode has been excellent. Pacing has been off, slightly, but that’s hard to achieve in a 2-parter of a 25 minute anime.
As Usagi is riding the elevator to her death (so cheerful!), the other Senshi are having a tough time getting into the place. As they all agree that they have to take the stairs (the fuuuck? Do you know how tall that thing is? Three times the height of the Eiffel Tower!), Luna pulls Sailor Venus aside…
“Whether or not this succeeds depends on you!“
Venus’ face at being given any level of responsibility is priceless. This has such a good pay-off.
Usagi steps out of the elevator, and is faced with Kaorinite threatening to smash Tuxedo Kamen in the face. Nice.
Usagi is then willingly attacked by Senishenta, who blasts her Pure Heart out once more. It pops out much easier this time. I guess the first time made it… easier…? I’m not trying to be gross here, but I think I accidentally was. Eww.
So Usagi’s Pure Heart has been taken! Nooo!
Well obviously Sailor Uranus and Neptune were going to intervene. They’ve literally been waiting half a day for this moment. How did Kaorinite not see this coming…?
After a quick check, Haruka is relieved beyond anything to find that Usagi’s Pure Heart isn’t a Talisman after all! The brilliance of its shine is merely a sign of its incredible purity… even though she punch her boyfriend in the face earlier that day for not know her birthday.
Oh yeeah, it’s still Usagi’s birthday. Probably the best one ever, right?
I would have liked them to draw this out a bit more – Usagi on the verge of death without her Pure Heart could have been a really tense moment, to match the build up of the first half, but it’s rather quickly resolved. A missed opportunity.
Sailor Uranus pretends to be rueful, but she’s definitely hiding a smile as she returns Usagi’s Pure Heart. It’s a rather touching moment to see Usagi restored.
There is still the problem of… you know… Kaorinite, the Daimohn and Tuxedo Kamen left.
Kaorinite isn’t too miffed – she announces that she’s content to take the life of Tsukino Usagi, aka SAILOR MOON, and Uranus loses her shit…
…for about 2 seconds, as the “real” Sailor Moon makes her entrance…
This is brilliant.
Sailor Venus has matched Sailor Moon’s entrance beautifully. This is SO MUCH FUUUN!
The final reveal of “Sailor Moon” is… astounding. It’s not nearly as impressive as it seemed when she was cast in shadow. This is weird.
Usagi’s reaction is priceless.
And so is Kaorinite’s. Someone needs to make this into a meme of calling someone on their bullshit, but not being entirely sure why they’re skeptical.
Naturally, Minako isn’t the greatest performer on Earth, and the other Senshi frantically assuring Kaorinite that she’s the real deal is also brilliant.
I’m laughing so much right now. This is a brilliant comedic moment, and has stuck with me for years.
The conversation moves back to Usagi, and the Senshi strenuously assert that such a clumsy cry-baby couldn’t be the heroic Sailor Moon, and this finally settles the manner for Kaorinite, Senishenta, Uranus and Neptune.
Poor Usagi. What she must endure for the good of mankind.
Kaorinite is now thoroughly pissed off, and seeing that Uranus and Neptune mean to leave, begins tearing down the poor symbol of Japan’s reconstruction effort. Poor Tokyo Tower. So abused.
Kaorinite leaves to hunt down the Outer Senshi, while Senishenta is left to take care of “Sailor Moon”. See, Kaorinite, this is your big mistake. You just divided and conquered yourself.
The battles… look awful, and are the main reason why this latter half sucks a bit.
“Sailor Moon” has a couple great shots in, with the classic Sailor Kick (always a pleasure to see you)…
.. and the “Special Attack, Love Me Moon Chain“… which Usagi, pained, points out that this does not exist.
Finally, she transforms! I felt like this one was really earned, you know? She’s gone through 2 episodes of bullshit to get back to being good old Sailor Moon.
Her entrance is, naturally, even more energetic than usual, to make up for the slight that Sailor Venus gave her through shoddy imitation. I laugh merrily again.
“Fashionable, attractive and cute! The pretty soldier in a sailor suit! Sailor Moon!“
The scrawled hiragana in the background is hilarious: “This is how it SHOULD be!“
Aaaaand Senishenta is taken care of easily. For being the ‘toughest’ Daimohn, she sure was bland. Her final words of “YOU LIAR!” were great though.
Senishenta’s death means Tuxedo Kamen’s freedom, but it also means that Kaorinite is backed into a corner.
Now we’re going to see a REALLY COOL and AWESOMELY TERRIFYING enemy, right? I mean, she’s been so robotic all this time that she’s due for some personality, right?
Kaorinite blows the top of the tower off with, like, a bomb. This is some pretty intense stuff – this is an actual terrorist act, here. It’s not like it’ll be easy to fix Tokyo Tower after this.
Sailor Moon insists that they go to help Uranus and Neptune, but the others resist, saying that they left Usagi to her fate earlier. Hard to argue with that, but she gets them to come around. They’re not likely to just abandon other Senshi are they?
But first, Sailor Moon, looking distinctly annoyed, begs Venus to please take off that ridiculous cosplay, who is rather hurt since she thought it rather good.
Apparently she even used the Transformation Pen!? WHAAA? That’s so OLD SCHOOL. We’ve not seen that in aaaages. Who knew it even worked with anyone except Usagi? I certainly didn’t! What a strange, throwaway farewell to our old friend, the Magic Pen Thing.
Meanwhile, Kaorinite is winning against Uranus and Neptune, when the Sailor Senshi arrive. Normally, this would be the moment where Kaorinite runs away like a well-proportioned coward, but today she has a secret weapon.
She’s gonna be super cool, right!? She’s going to go Super Saiyan or something?
She pulls out the other glass slipper that was Usagi’s birthday present (best present ever) and dumps some goo on it, thereby receiving the powers of Senishenta for herself.
That’s incredibly lame. It’s like they just couldn’t be bothered to give her a unique and interesting fight scene, so they just recycled ideas from earlier in the episode.
What a let down.
Sailor Moon, seeing that Uranus is injured amongst all the glass attacks, convinces Sailor Uranus and Neptune to leave, which they do. Neptune looks rather miffed about this, perhaps wanting to continue fighting alongside the other Senshi?
Either way, it comes to naught. Kaorinite doesn’t want to let them leave, and traps them in with a vague… forcefield?
We get great reactions from Mars and Jupiter who pull out a Burning Mandala and a Supreme Thunder (haven’t see one of THOSE in a while. It’s the sequence taken from Sailor Moon R: The Movie)… which does absolutely nothing.
Turns out Kaorinite is invincible for some reason. I wish they would go into this a little more, but it’s all rather manufactured.
Sailor Mercury gets her moment in the limelight too, determining that the only thing that can break through Kaorinite’s shield is the Sailor Planet Attack (naturally), but obviously she’ll kill them all as they’re powering up…
Enter Tuxedo Kamen, who is determined not to look entirely shit, seeing as he’s spent most of the episode as an ugly statue.
We get the usual powering-up scene of al the Senshi as Tuxedo Kamen gets his ass kicked by Kaorinite…
And the Sailor Planet Attack lands home! Too bad it sort of looks rubbish… Not nearly as pretty as the last times. Oh well, if you wanted to see Kaorinite scream like she’s just stepped on a slug when she’s not wearing any shoes, there you go.
Seems a bit too easy right? Well Kaorinite isn’t finished after all, and the Senshi have just expended all of their energy.
We cut to Sailor Uranus, who appears to be having some kind of existential crisis on top of a crumbling tower while being attacked by a crazy barely-clothed woman with a sword. Great timing.
She thinks back to Usagi yelling about the people being stepped on, back in the car, and this -somehow- translates to her deciding to help the Senshi after all, with a lovely World Shaking.
Not entirely sure how this happens, but Uranus’ attack causes Kaorinite’s glass attack to enter her instead… I dunno. It’s all a bit naff if I’m honest.
Kaorinite is turned into a glass statue as the support finally gives way, and falls to her “death”. Oh, why is that in inverted commas? Must have been an accident.
All that’s left is to get the fuck out of there before the police turn up and slap the Senshi with a bill.
Down the stairs, Uranus explains to Neptune why she intervened: “For a moment, I thought that Sailor Moon looked like Usagi.“
The episode wraps up rather nicely, if not terribly dramatically. Mamoru and Usagi are sharing a moment together, which is rather sweet…
…before we cut to the other Senshi, all sitting around, irked at the public display of affection and chattering away.
The best part is when the camera pans over to Rei, who is apparently trying to sleep. What the hell time is it anyway!?
So much for that romantic moment
But! The episode isn’t over yet. We cut back to the Death Busters’ lab, and things get creepy!
The Professor is on the phone, finding out that Kaorinite has been neutralised. He doesn’t seem too bothered.
The person on the other end of the line is show to be a woman in a dank corner of whatever building this is, in a lab coat, with red hair. This is Eugeal, and despite sounding similar in appearance to Kaorinite, is so so so much better!
I’m looking forward to her tenure!
So! A mixed bag. A great first half, really good character moments, fantastic comedic moments… and a shitty fight. I still really like this episode, but it could have been so much better with one of the other studios.
So long, Kaorinite! See you in a couple dozen episodes!
NEXT TIME: This has got to be some mistake, right? There’s no way that Neo Queen Serenity could be THIS bad a parent in the year 3000?
Episode Score: 3/5 (That final 3rd really hurt it…)
Kaorinite’s Death: C+
Final Thought: Seriously, though. Where are all the other fucking people in Tokyo!? No other cars, no pedestrians, no late-night shoppers, no security guards, no police…