3:16 – Wanting More Power! Mako-Chan’s Lost Path
Alternative Title: Fight The Pain Away
First Aired: 27th August 1994
After recently finding herself overcome in battle, Makoto decides to sequester herself to the mountains to train alongside a monk in the quest for greater power. When the other Senshi visit, Makoto finds herself realising that she can’t win by herself. As serene monk Yakushiji is attacked by Eugeal, Sailor Jupiter must step up and find that new level of power.
This episode is a damn solid one, as every episode is when it revolves around Makoto. She’s not the fan favourite for nothing you know. Proving that martial arts and physical training isn’t just for those with external genitalia, this episode is about one heck of an ass-kicking lady.
More than that, however, is yet again a Makoto who is unsure, demanding of herself and determined to improve. I won’t go as far as to say it’s as good as the episode where she questioned her sexuality, but this is very enjoyable.
The episode opens in rather beautiful Japanese scenery. Just as with the previous episode, which featured traditional Japanese settings not normally explored in Sailor Moon, seeing mist-covered mountains and bamboo forests is something of a refreshing surprise.
More than that, we’re already seeing an influence of classic Japanese and Chinese martial arts films, which will continue. Poor Makoto starts out the episode face-planting, and this pretty much sets the tone for this episode.
We get flashbacks of what’s troubling her: a fight with an incredibly shitty-looking Daimohn called Ironder. Thankfully we didn’t have to see this.
Sailor Jupiter tries to go one on won with the stupid thing, and does little more than tickle it. As a final indignity, Sailor Moon defeated it easily with a Moon Spiral Heart Attack.
I feel like this is addressing the increasingly-obvious fact that all the Inner Senshi, bar Sailor Moon, have been incredibly out-classed this series, being continually defeated, and with the stronger Outer Senshi just waiting in the wings.
So this is why Makoto has come to the mountains to train: to not be so shit. I don’t know if running barefoot is going to increase something like ethereal magical powers, but by all means, go ahead. She looks brilliant in a martial arts gi anyway.
Now that we’ve had the quick and handy establishing scene (which, I must say, was some excellent writing that set-up good character motivations, the direction of character development, and a change of scenery in 25 seconds), let’s go spend some quality time with the Death Busters.
The Professor is on the phone to Eugeal. I love that their relationship is entirely from a distance – they’ve not once been in the same room.
Eugeal has already selected a target, the rather dramatically named Kakusui Yakushiji, a Nichiren school monk. Never heard of it mate, they must do crap in national testing.
Despite looking rather plain, with a fantastically bald head, I really like this guy. In fact, I like him more than most of the random targets they stick into the show. He’s rather interesting, old Yakushiji.
Finally, almost as an aside, Eugeal thinks to ask for the first time, “What shapes do the Talismans come in?”
Hold up. You’re a fucking scientist and you didn’t think to ask this before? You mean all this garbage about grabbing a crystal and peering at it closely is meaningless? That they come in specific shapes?
…what a weird twist. Oh well, pointless to dwell, no?
The Professor has apparently known the Talisman shapes all the while, and has just declined to mention this rather important fact to any of his subordinates. Great boss.
This is fairly interesting, actually, since it’s the first glimpse of the true talismans: a mirror, a sword and an orb…
Hey wait a minute, doesn’t the orb look sort of… familiar to you? No?
We also have a glimpse of the Holy Grail, which goes against everything I learned in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade, this being most definitely not a carpenter’s cup.
Just to keep you on your toes, the Professor jams a huge goddamn Daruma into the Daimohn Oven. This goes well with his weird fetish for ironic Daimohn, what with the Daruma’s meanings of Zen Buddhism. Poor Yakushiji won’t know what hit him.
I feel like this Daimohn is sliiiightly lazy, but it’s still better than a large number of the Black Moon’s Droids.
We go over to Usagi, who has received a postcard from Mako-chan. It seems as though she’s been away long enough to warrant one at the very least. This is quite a shake-up in terms of the typical structure of a Sailor Moon episode, and I’m enjoying the sense that there’s been a gap, no matter how small, since the previous episode.
Usagi -immediately- realises that the temple Makoto is training at is near the hotel where Mamoru is apparently working at.
Biiiiig eye roll for this. You have the one plot-waving allowance of getting Makoto up to the mountains. Don’t start throwing around contrivances or I’ll get annoyed.
Furthermore, Mamoru is loaded, OK? Enough to have a sweet-ass bachelor pad in Tokyo, put himself through education and feed his motor habit with sports cars and motorcycles. He doesn’t need this random-ass hotel job.
Unless it’s a cover for selling drugs. Which would explain a lot, now that I think about it.
So obviously Usagi is planning to visit one of her closest friends and comrades for an excuse to see her boyfriend briefly. She’s an awful human being, but hey, this is why we love her.
The train ride up doesn’t do too much to improve our opinion of Usagi, not that of her friends who are also visiting Makoto. Usagi, you see, eats like a fucking animal. Again, all part of her charm. Minako’s reaction is particularly apt.
I love the bit where Luna and Artemis complain loudly that they’re hungry, and Usagi and Minako give identical tired looks before throwing a couple of ebi-furai (fried prawn) tails down.
Luna and Artemis look strangely dignified while they’re begging. It’s adorable and weird.
So where’s Chibi-Usa, you may be wondering? Well thankfully this isn’t the Chibi-Usa Show just yet (it’s next season -head desk-), and Usagi gives a vague explanation of calmly exerting her authority of being a mother…
…in other words, we see, she told Chibi-Usa she was going to the bathroom and ran out the back door. She abandoned her future daughter in a time and place where she literally has no friends.
Brilliant. I’ve never loved Usagi more.
The gang first rock up to a fancy hotel, which Usagi “innocently” suggests they sleep in, and the team begin to think it’s a pretty smart idea, before Luna totally betrays her true motives.
It’s the D. It’s always the D with her. Just assume everything Usagi says is related to Mamoru or food (or both).
Quite funny seeing everyone else genuinely pissed off at Usagi’s subterfuge and awful friendship, especially Ami, who is looking uncharacteristically severe.
…and sort of sexy…? OK apparently I have issues, because I find animated women more attractive when they’re angry at something. Did not know that was rattling around in my fetish jar. Well there you go, another revealing fact about the author.
Anyway, after a few thousand steps (this is looking great… and SO Kill Bill), they arrive at the temple. It’s a bit of a shit-hole to be honest.
They find Makoto just kicking that tree’s ass. Seriously, she looks amazing this episode. She’s built like a goddamn orc, and I love it.
I’m not entirely sure why the other girls are here, to be honest. I mean, I know why Usagi is here (the D, natch) but how could the others possibly expect to “help” with Makoto’s training? Surely they’d just be a distraction?
Speaking of distractions, a disturbingly agile bald monk comes running up the stars and leaps over the group in a single vault without stopping. This is mighty impressive, and all the more because the show didn’t linger long enough to force his awesomeness down our throats – something Sailor Moon is very guilty of doing.
Just think of any time Tuxedo Kamen turned up, or Haruka and Michiru randomly rock up in some stylish outfit or other, and you see what I mean.
Makoto proudly tells the others that the monk does 50 laps around the mountain every day… but Usagi immediately reads this as another crush, to which Makoto refutes a little too ardently.
Now for some real classic martial arts training. These shots look beautiful. Not everything in this episode looks great (Luna’s face, for instance), but this moment is lovely.
The monk, Yakushiji, is performing a traditional zen training method – standing beneath a waterfall. In actuality this is fairly dangerous, as the pressure from the water cascading upon you in a constant stream can actually do severe damage to your skull and neck.
Still, it’s fun.
He looks zen as fuck, despite the fact that the water is freezing. Makoto is all pumped up to follow his example…
…but can’t in there for more than a few seconds before the cold gets to here. She actually looks adorable as heck getting soaked.
She asks Yakushiji how he’s managing to withstand the cold, how to get out of her slump, how to gain more power… and he just gives her a long, meaningful and slightly sad look.
Makoto’s blush is, again, adorable, as is her frustration when he continues to silently stare at her.
…which is when the monk starts shivering uncontrollably, revealing that he was just too cold to say anything before.
I love this pay off. He’s not some omniscient and infallible master that you might expect from the situation, he’s a human, a funny one. I really like this guy.
Makoto’s smile is adorable AGAIN (that’s about the 7th time I’ve called her that today, and it’s true. She’s ass-kicking and adorable, and not in a condescending way), and Yakushiji comments how much it suits her.
His advice is simple, and I must say it’s a good psychological outlook to have: “There is no oath that lets me live my life other than the one I’m on. Therefore I walk this path.”
Well that’s fine and dandy. I would hope that you interpret this as being satisfied with your lot, being self-actualised by reassessing your goals into something realistic.
The other interpretation, that the world just keeps on spinning and there’s nothing you can do to change your fate, is actually rather unhealthy, encouraging an external locus of control, which you do not want.
Oh shit, did I just get all scholarly up in this thing? Sorry.
Yakushiji reveals to Makoto that he’s not as determined or zen as she thinks he is, filled with the same self-doubts as her, but he seems to be taking them just fine. He’s just as adorable as her.
I think I might be shipping these two…
As an ominous last image, the camera swings upwards to reveal Eugeal’s car perched above them, like a bird of prey. Quite liked the reveal.
I don’t know why she didn’t just attack him then and there. She actually waits an entire bloody day. What was she doing all night?
SLUMBER PARTY! YAAAY! Everyone looks -wait for it- ADORABLE! *Checks synonyms for adorable* or maybe enchanting, beguiling or fetching would be less creepy…?
The girls all give some really great support to Makoto, telling her not to worry so much, and to tell them her worries. it’s a really nice moment…
…that descends into name-calling…
…and then naturally a pillow-fight ensues.
This is amazing, especially when Ami loses her shit and enters the battle.
Deep in the middle of the night, Makoto gets up from her futon. Evidently she’s still plagued by doubts. Note Usagi’s rather peculiar sleeping style. How is she ever going to become the graceful and regal Neo Queen Serenity?
Makoto is, in fact, supremely pleased that she has friends who would come up all the way just to see her (apart from Usagi), but says to herself that she wants to solve this problem by herself.
You can see the moral of the story a mile off, can’t you?
In the morning, Makoto is already up and training, and the other girls have the most amazing bed faces. Dare I say… adorable…? No I dare not, but they are.
Makoto looks seriously cool in her training. Reminds me so much of, say Jackie Chan in Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow or something similar. I could just watch these animations all day, but, alas, Usagi doesn’t feel the same way.
Breakfast is what the monks eat, and it certainly isn’t enough to satisfy Usagi. “When I’m travelling I want to eat something yummy.” Damn straight!
After a long dramatic pause pause where everyone just stares a little nonplussed, Usagi announces that they should go to the hotel for breakfast instead… and they all reluctantly give in.
When I say “reluctantly”… as it turns out, everyone brought their swimsuits along. Even Ami. Looks like no one was really thinking about Makoto. Poor girl. Still, gotta love these girls, even if they’re complete sociopaths.
After a bizarre shot of Usagi eating spaghetti in a swimsuit (something I don’t think I’ll ever see again in my entire life), she notices a rather lovely pair of buttocks.
Oh well would you look at that, what are the odds?
As it turns out, Mamoru is working after all. My money was lying to his girlfriend so that he could have a weekend away to play Street Fighter II Turbo. Usagi’s plan is a complete failure. I hope the several hours on a train was worth it, Usagi.
I really, really, really wish I could wipe her face. It’s so distracting.
Oh yeah, and then Michiru and Haruka are there for some reason. No. This is too much. It was fine when they randomly turned up at the Juban Festival, but there’s no fucking way that this is going to fly with me. I know Michiru is psychic and stuff, but this insults my intelligence slightly, as small as it may be.
Usagi is walking back to the temple by herself, dragging her heels. When she spots Eugeal’s car racing towards the temple, she really picks up the pace, her complaining gone immediately. It’s a really brief moment that shows no matter how childish Usagi can be, when the chips are down she steps up every time. I really like that about her character, that she’s flawed, but infinitely admirable.
Meanwhile, Makoto and Yakushiji are meditating on large rocks. Not sure why they have to be on large rocks, but guessing it’s a Buddhist thing. Makoto is trying to concentrate, and keeps looking at the monk, obviously trying to match his serene visage…
…until she realises that he’s just sleeping. I love this guy. He’s speaking my language.
Which is about when Eugeal rocks straight up and shoots his ass with a rifle. Straight to business as always. In an unprecedented move, Yakushiji actually remains standing and conscious after having his Pure Heart removed! I guess all that training gave him something, no?
His final words to Makoto before passing out are, “People can’t live alone. Don’t force it…” Huh. That seems strangely apt considering what’s going on today, doesn’t it?
Makoto’s method of hiding longer enough to transform is to roll into a bush, and then roll straight out again in the hope that Eugeal is an idiot and doesn’t realise that it’s the same person. As it turns out it works.
Oh, also Usagi makes it just in time as ever and transforms too.
Sailor Jupiter is looking seriously pissed off today, and I like it.
Eugeal sets off her Daimohn bodyguard to deal with Jupiter. If you remember, it’s based off a Daruma doll and… well… it’s a bit disappointing to be quite honest.
It has a brush attack… then one of its stomach rings shoots out… the whole thing is stupid. Jupiter just looks rather undignified fighting it. Bit of a let down after all the martial arts training.
The other Senshi all arrive, pumped and ready to go, but Jupiter foolishly demands to try and take Daruma (for that is the stupid thing’s name) by herself… which gets them all exploded and stuff.
We get a really prefunctory shot of Uranus and Neptune turning up, determining that it’s not a Talisman, and Eugeal running off. Again, they got a bit lazy here. We didn’t need this pair to turn up – they’ve not interfered in the past after all.
So this is where the fight properly begins, and obviously Sailor Jupiter has a chip on her shoulder as Daruma continues to kick her ass. The Daimohn begins inflating her face and looking… well.. like a daruma. It’s very weird, especially since she still has the sexy legs.
All trapped and zapped and stuff, Sailor Jupiter realises that the team must combine their powers to escape, thus leading to a Sailor Planet Attack which frees them. OHHH THIS IS THE LESSON. Team work is BETTER than… not-team work. Revelations!
So that’s it right? Sailor Moon kills it without offering mercy? Not quite. Daruma is apparently a tough cookie, and does what no monster has ever thought of doing, knocking the Rod of Love (lol) right out of Sailor Moon’s hands.
As it turns out, Sailor Jupiter is fine with kicking ass on her own after all. After “ridding herself of excess power” (we don’t need to hear everything the monk said twice, you know), Jupiter gets all serious and launches an extra-powerful Sparkling Wide Pressure…
…which straight-up kills Daruma! We haven’t seen an Inner Senshi kill a monster by herself since… gosh, series 1!? Glad to see that they realised that it wasn’t necessary to show Sailor Moon’s signature move every episode. I feel like this is a big moment in legitimising Makoto’s power and awesomeness.
Glad they did this, wish they could do this more often.
The girls all leave back home together, with Makoto all at peace and stuff. She sees Yakushiji waving at her as she rolls on by, and mouths an “arigatou!” at him… although the train is going at high-speed and they’re rather far apart, and there’s no goddamn way they’re making eye-contact like that.
And that’s the end. Gosh I did sort of ruin a rather satisfying ending, didn’t I?
Anyway, I like this episode a lot. Fight was a bit dull until the end with Sailor Jupiter’s triumph, and the very end felt rather sudden and perfunctory, but definitely very enjoyable with some great shots and good character moments.
Episode Score: 3/5
Monster Score: 2/5 (Bit boring, really, Daruma)
Final Thought: So does this mean that the other Senshi are going to get a chance to kill enemies without Sailor Moon saving their asses now? Like heck it does…
NEXT TIME: We see the true extent of Haruka’s awesomeness, and finally see the gob-smacking amazing transformation sequences of Uranus and Neptune. Yaaay!