3:14 – The Arrival of the Tiny Pretty Soldier
Alternative Title: The Cheapest Baby Sitter is Yourself
First Aired: 6th August 1994
Rei is helping organise the Juban Summer Festival and, as such, she’s enlisted a famous taiko drum player for the event. When the head of the Death Busters’ Witches 5, Eugeal, selects this drum player as her Pure Heart target, Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars go up against a more formidable opponent than Kaorinite. Luckily, a new ally appears to help in all her tiny pink glory.
Hey hey pals, we’re entering phase II of Sailor Moon S! Now that Kaorinite has been disposed of… for the time being… it’s time for the intermittent shake-ups that Sailor Moon has to keep things from becoming too repetitive.
And this is an excellent shake-up indeed. I love this episode, with Rei being a large focus. She gets to strut her stuff as a managerial centre of attention, and has some of my favourite comedic moments from her today.
We also has the introduction of Eugeal, the first member of the Witches 5, and also one of my favourite bad guys from the entire show. She has so much more personality than Kaorinite, and injects a definite boost to the character of the Death Busters
And then there’s… well, it’s all in the title really, isn’t?
We start off with two amazing-yet-completely-different sequences back to back. This series thus far has been pretty awesome, no? The episode opens up with the proper introduction of the general of the Death Busters, Eugeal.
This is fantastically done. We start with the Professor on a shitty old telephone, in a remarkably unremarkable manner. The fact that he’s surrounded by murky darkness and moody science equipment really makes this quite an interesting scene, both visually and dramatically.
When we eventually find Eugeal’s office (past the door labelled Witches 5), we find a lab of young women, all performing experiments of some kind (I love this mystical, malevolent science vibe, very ham-horror). Here’s another good choice: not showing any of them in detail. We’ll come to know each and every one of these women, so holding back now creates this on-going mystery.
Eugeal, the head of the Witches 5, is no-nonsense, and extremely efficient-looking, as she responds to the Professor in a professional manner and types with one hand like a pro.
Unlike Kaorinite, she also doesn’t appear to be picking targets for Pure Hearts randomly. She’s actually planning. What a novel situation. Her computer programme -somehow- (it’s MAGIC) selects a target, a vituoso on the Japanese drum… a Taiko Drum Master, one might say.
If you get that reference, marry me.
The modus operendi of the Death Busters has also changed. They’re still looking for the Pure Heart, but Eugeal has implemented a different system, where she merely takes a Daimohn along with her as a bodyguard while retrieving the Pure Heart.
Which means she’ll get a lot more time in the field. Celebrations!
The Daimohns are obscurely formed inside a “Daimohn Oven”, which has an awesome sequence, full of whirring parts, alarms, capacitors and satisfying billowing pink smoke. It’s very cool, and very cyberpunk.
They’ve stuck a taiko drum inside it today, I supposed because of the target’s talents…but why? It made sense for the Daimohn to be topical previously because they were possessing an object close to the intended victim, but this system requires us to assume that the Professor just fucking loves irony.
It would certainly go with his growing personality.
The opening sequence ends with Eugeal leaving the lab in an unexpected way, just as the Daimohn Eggs did before. She favours a white station wagon, which sort of reminds me of the Ghostbusters hearse, and absolutely love that she bursts out of a subway exit.
Usagi is urging the girls to attend the Juban Festival that evening. There would be no power in the verse to stop me. I love Japanese festivals. As they’re all begging Ami for a night off…
…someone on a bike comes careening past like an absolute lunatic. The build-up to this is beautiful.
Rei, looking absolutely insane, smashes her bike into a sign. Seriously, she looks fucked up from that. Considering how austere and haughty she normally acts, this moment of utter embarrassment (which reminds me of the time she picked up Mamoru) is just side-splittingly funny.
Even better, she’s wearing the best outfit she’s ever worn. I know nothing about fashion, but I know this her best ensemble to date. Too bad it’s now covered in blood, although I suppose it won’t show.
The other girls are understandably disturbed, especially since Rei has apparently not even noticed them as she limps into a cafe.
Rei is meeting a lovely-looking girl, who you might recognise as the Death Busters’ target (THE ODDS, SERIOUSLY, WHAT ARE THE ODDS, PEOPLE). Meanwhile, however, the other girls have snuck into the cafe, and looking mighty suspicious, all implicitly agree to spy on their friend.
I love these girls. I love how similar they are in their nosiness, even Ami who looks the most guilty but plays along anyway.
I love that Minako assumes it was a date, and Usagi reprimanding her, before Minako suggests that Rei has become “like Haruka”.
I love Makoto going off the edge entirely and interpreting Minako to mean that the unknown girl is actually a guy cross-dressing. I love Ami’s innocent little gasp and looking of intense but embarrassed curiosity.
Rei meanwhile, is acting quite unlike herself, being rather hesitant and shy in asking the unknown girl, Tohno-san for something…
…before she suddenly spots something deeply troubling behind the waitress.
WHY IS EVERYTHING SO FUNNY?
Rei just drops everything, her polite manner, her conversation with Tohno-san, her order from the waitress, to stand up and confirm her darkest suspicions.
And it just keeps escalating. The look on Rei’s face as she tries one last time to catch out her friends is terrifying and hilarious in equal measures.
It’s so weird.
Finally, Rei gets hot coffee on her head for her troubles as she demands to know why her closest friends feel the need to spy on her. It’s an unanswerable charge, they’re clearly all sociopaths.
Whatever this madness looked it, it achieved the rather unlikely event of having Tohno-san endeared to Rei, and she accepts whatever it is that Rei is requesting.
Not such a bad morning for Rei after all. That poor waitress though, she’s having a rough time of it. Personally, I wouldn’t be complaining if Rei was pinning me down, but then again I am a colossal pervert.
The girls then discuss Rei’s position on the Juban Festival Promotion Committee, and her attempts to get the famous Tohno-san to play. All the while they keep cutting back to a charming animation of Usagi dripping soda onto paper straw sleeves (do they even have a name). I love this frivolous little detail that someone obviously put a lot of effort into animating.
It’s obvious that although Rei pretends to be put out by the responsibility, she really loves calling the shots… or or Usagi says.
This is one of those scenes of the girls just hanging out that feels like such a slice of life. I think it’s emblematic of why people feel so warmly to these characters – just seeing teenage girls squabble, looking bored, fidgeting, daydreaming… it just feels really natural and warm-hearted.
After a dramatic incident like the last episode, it’s nice to get back that normality.
Usagi asks Rei cheerfully if she can have a go on the taiko drum. Rei at first gives a snappy refusal, before apparently giving it a 2nd consideration and changing her mind…
…so puts her to work as a stall crier instead. Be careful what you wish for.
As I said, I love Japanese festivals. It’s really nice seeing the design and colour, with all the stalls and yukatas and food all laid out. It’s just so fantastical. Love it.
So Usagi is trying to get kids to try the goldfish scoop, which is a game where you try and flip goldfish out of a trough and into a bad using a paper scoop. The game is that the paper isn’t so good at getting wet, and thus will break if not handled carefully.
It’s a lot of fun, even if it’s not exactly kind to the fish. Japan is actually rather terrible at their treatment of animals as a whole. I don’t think this game is too bad though. I could be wrong of course, it may be bloody torture.
The other girls are looking adorable as they run the stall. Ami in particular is being very kind, helping a small boy to extricate a goldfish. It’s very cute.
Minako, who you may remember likes kids as much as she likes slime-moulds, thinks this is bad business, but goes off the rails altogether when some snotty brats turn up demanding a go.
I think their biggest mistake was calling her “Oba-chan” – a term for middle-aged women. Minako does not respond well. Acting as sweet and wonderful as Ami, she flicks the scoops until they’re nice and weak and hands them over.
I love this act of petty revenge.It’s so like Minako’s character, and more importantly, it’s so like me. These kids can take a hike.
Minako looks so satisfied.
In an overly dramatic fashion, Haruka and Michiru turn up wearing yukatas, and my don’t they look lovely. The animators make sure we realise it too, doing a quadruple take to emphasise their beauty. Easy there, camera man. I’m assuming this is a running gag for them. Or at least, I found it hilarious.
The ladies give the goldfish scoop at go at Usagi’s insistence – she can make anyone do anything – and naturally the pair make even a kids’ game look like the most graceful art form.
It’s when they use the same romantic entrance music over blurry romantic images of Haruka and Michiru flipping fish that I know the writers are taking the piss.
Excellent to know they have a sense of humour about themselves.
Once again, we get such a romantic, honest relationship between these two women here. I can’t think of many other anime which has had such a positive, natural and beautiful same-sex relationship. Even in Sailor Moon, it has been used for cheap gags, but they looking beyond simply wanting to make a pro-homosexual statement: the writers are just portraying a realistic relationship, with no real regards to the genders of the lovers.
And that‘s what is still missing in a huge number of TV programmes and films even today in 2014. Hollywood is still massively homophobic, and here is Sailor MOon laying the smack-down in 1994.
Usagi, deciding to follow the example (in the goldfish scoop, not… you know… in her sexuality. That we know of) moves over to the water trough… but something catches her eye…
We all know what’s coming, but damn if this isn’t a great tease.
Usagi’s reaction is amazing. It reminds me of Rei’s in the cafe. These girls have more in common then they think.
Usagi goes looking for Rei, who looks lovely in her red yukata… albeit a little put out at having been caught snooping through an open window. Seriously, these girls think alike.
She’s spying on Tohno, who has apparently been practicing the taiko drum on a car tire for three hours for her performance. Wow. That’s… some dedication for a percussion instrument. No judgement here, though. Well, maybe a little.
Rei feels a little guilty… but also in complete admiration for someone who can dedicate themselves entirely to a performance like that.
It’s interesting to see Rei undergoing a personal revelation about herself, that the true goal of a festival is for everyone to enjoy it. Not particularly deep, perhaps, but it’s nice that Rei had a moment of aspiration.
And the affirmation of friendship is always nice too. Who says it’s too corny!?
MEANWHILE. Bad things are a-coming.
Eugeal in her station wagon has apparently been driving around all day, because she’s only turned up at night. No Google Maps in 1993, folks. I love how she just rolls up to where her target it.
And here’s her master plan: she just gets on the speaker on her ridiculously-suburban station wagon and, after a stilted test, calls for Tohno Maya-san.
You have to admit, she has style. No pissing about with cursed runes in a fabric store. No hunting down a cat to turn him into a monster. No staking out a shrine dressed as a travelling make-up salesperson on the off-chance a kid will turn up.
This is what I love about Eugeal. She has absolutely no flashiness to her, and that’s what is the best part about her.
Naturally, Tohno comes out from her practice to see what the fuck all the racket is, and Eugeal gives a grunting “OOH!”, and whips out her binoculars to confirm the target. She’s so delightfully weird.
And, again, she doesn’t piss about, she drives up to Tohno, whips out a gun and shoots the Pure Heart right out of her! Quick and easy.
Of all the luck, Rei and Usagi just so happened to be the only other people in the area to witness all this. Oh well.
Poor Eugeal was so close to walking away with the Pure Heart, but she’s not overly bothered, pulling off her lab coat to reveal…
OK, so her street wear is, like, pot-smoking philosophy student. At least in my experience. I can dig it.
Eugeal now calls out the Daimohn from a case in the back of her station wagon. It’s much less dramatic than the usual reveal of them bursting from an inanimate object, which is a shame.
Today we have the ultimate festival-themed monster, the Daimohn Soiya. I love this thing. It’s the most Japanese monster there has ever been.
Festival gi, flat-top hair, blanched face, octopus-mask to one side, and a big old taiko drum. Soiya is very entertaining.
It doesn’t look like she does much at first, simply marching and clapping between the Senshi, but after a -long- pause (comedic effect), a fuse goes off on her back, unleashing FIREWORKS HELL.
The resultant sparks raining upon Sailor Moon and Mars has the effect of making them dance in the Japanese festival style. Made me chuckle.
Eugeal, sated, turns to the Pure Heart again, only to find Sailor Uranus and Neptune in her way. JESUS she can’t catch a BREAK. Poor woman.
Uranus is especially cruel to Eugeal, giving a “I know this is your all-important first battle, but it looks like a loss for you.” That got pretty meta, Uranus.
After seeing that the Pure Heart isn’t a Talisman after all, Eugeal drives off vexed. She’s got her priorities straight.
Meanwhile… there’s the problem of this Daimohn, who is much more trouble than she looks. You’d think Uranus and Neptune might give them a hand, but looking a little disgusted they walk off. I have to say, there’s something woefully embarrassing to be caught in that position in front of these haughty and condescending Senshi.
Soiya finally gets fed up of just making the Senshi dance, and instead whacks them with drums. Now they look even MORE stupid. This is a lesson in humiliation. I might be annoyed at how much of a crap fight Sailor Moon is putting up… but I really do find this all hilarious.
Soiya threatens to beak on those drums with a pair of frankly-disturbing drum sticks, and Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars take it in turns to suggest that the other one should be beaten first. That’s pretty dark, girls.
And then… a voice…
Oh dear god.
It’s a SENSHI.
I have to say… if you had no idea this was coming… this would be horrifying. Chibi-Usa is now a Sailor Senshi. Sailor Chibi-Moon, in fact. Even her name is a little annoying.
I’m not saying I don’t like Chibi-Usa, or Chibi-Moon, all I’m saying is that I TRULY APPRECIATED the previous dozen episodes without her, since it gave time to really grow Usagi and the other girls’ characters without… distraction.
Her entrance is adorably reminiscent of Sailor Moon’s, but the delivery is so sickly-sweet, so cute, so childish, that it looks completely ridiculous.
So yeah, this pretty much sums it up:
SO! The future-daughter of Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen must have some awesome power hidden away right? Or else why send back a 9-year-old superhero if they couldn’t defend themselves in the battles they should surely have with life-threatening monsters?
Pink Sugar Heart Attack is…
Well, nothing happens.
Soiya’s reaction, of kicking her over, is admittedly a little cruel… but gosh darn if it isn’t funny. It doesn’t even see poor Chibi-Moon as a threat.
Attempt 2 works… eventually… and Soiya gets a face, and bum, full of glowing hearts that don’t do too much except annoy. Still, it gives Sailor Moon time enough to get herself free for a Moon Spiral Heart attack and finish the job.
I can’t believe Sailor Moon just got saved by Sailor Chibi-Moon. This is embarrassing. You guys gotta up your game.
The girls return to the festival as everyone waits for Tohno to hit the big drum (“thrilling” main event”) and we things between Usagi and Chibi-Usa are about the same as ever, even despite their emotional farewell the last time they saw each other. Chibi-Usa is complaining loudly that Usagi’s piggy-back ride isn’t high enough. So sweet she is.
Seriously, Usagi, you raised your kid to be about as grateful as… well, you.
Haruka and Michiru turn up to comment how similar Chibi-Usa looks to Usagi, and their blushing rejection of this is rather sweet, actually. Chibi-Usa is reintroduced as “Usagi’s cousin”.
I wonder if Haruka and Michiru will put it together when Sailor Moon is suddenly joined by a small child Senshi about the same age with bright pink hair as Usagi’s cousin? Or are they that obtuse?
Rei introduces Tohno-san to the crowd. I guess Tohno is overlooking the fact that she just her Pure Heart shot out of her with a rifle earlier. The show must go on or whatever. Still, remember when Rei forced an auditorium of people who had been knocked unconscious by a monster to sit and listen to her sing?
I’m guessing this is all on Rei’s orders. Poor Tohno.
After Usagi asks Chibi-Usa why she came back, she replies, blushing (obviously remembering that Usagi is her mother), that her mother told her to get some “training” in the 20th Century.
Seriously, worst mother ever. Being generous, I might say that Neo Queen Serenity knew exactly what was going to happen in this season, and therefore knew that Chibi-Usa was instrumental in the plot, and thus sent her kid back in time.
OR she wanted a holiday away from her kid and sent her to the cheapest baby-sitter ever: her past-self. She’s denying her own past-self a relaxing teenage-hood. As if she didn’t have enough to be getting on with.
In the end, we never even get to see Tohno playing the taiko drum, as the episode ends with Usagi screaming “WHAT THE FUUUUCK!?” to Chibi-Usa as credits roll.
I like this episode a whole bunch. The humour is just awesome, it looks beautiful, and I rather love Eugeal’s introduction. Even Chibi-Moon, who I have mixed feelings about, adds to the episode, even if she’s weirdly only introduced in the last 8 minutes. It’s like two episodes got thrown together, but it works.
NEXT TIME: We discover that, despite the fact that Neo Queen Serenity is now over 3000 years old, she still writes entirely in childish Hiragana. So much for being Queen of the World…
Episode Score: 4/5
Monster Score: 4/5
Final Thought: This show made me laugh at a monster kicking a child to the ground. You’re fucked up, Sailor Moon. Or I am. Whatever.