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3:18 – Art is an Explosion of Love! Chibi-Usa’s First Love

Alternative Title: Low Standards

First Aired: 10th September 1994

Professor Tomoe and the Holy Grail

Chibi-Usa has developed a crush on a fellow sculpture student, but she has rather unexpected competition when it turns out that he’s madly in love with Michiru. As it happens, he’s also the target of Eugeal aaaand yeah that’s pretty much the entire plot. Ugh.

Considering the sheer bloody brilliance of the episode preceding this one, you might forgive any episode that followed it that didn’t quite live up to the standard. This falls far below that standard.

This is the same writing and animation team to have done the other enormous stinker of the series so far, and this episode is only marginally better than that one. Everyone is just so annoying, the art is bad, the monster is terrible, and this really is an exercise in watch-checking.

The highs of Sailor Moon serve to underscore the lows even more so. Let’s get this over with.

Right from the get go, you can see the ominous signs of an episode that’s really half-arsing it. The animation is stilted, with a low frame rate, and the scene feels completely dead, as though no one really though about how it would look artistically.

Usagi is hunting for food (not such a rare sight), and falls upon a pie finishing up in the oven.

The episode would have been better if this pie gave everyone painful food poisoning

The episode would have been better if this pie gave everyone painful food poisoning

I love how she just steals it and shoves it in front of her friends without a second thought over where this pie actually came from. I’ve seen Sweeney Todd.

After finding out that Usagi didn’t make it herself, everyone is much relieved. This isn’t particularly complimentary, of course, and it’#s a little worrying to see Usagi wielding a knife and talking like a Yakuza in answer.

Seems like a proportionate response

Seems like a proportionate response

The gang are several plates into the pie before Chibi-Usa busts in looking for the pie she was cooking in the oven I really think this level of baking is beyond a 9 year old, except for those creepy children on Junior Masterchef.

"I will never forget this insult. NEVER."

“I will never forget this insult. NEVER.”

Chibi-Usa isn’t too happy about this, especially as she seems to have been wanting “Masanori” to try the pie. I’m assuming “Masanori” is someone I will quickly come to hate, like all creepy weirdo childish crushes Chibi-Usa develops (here’s looking at you, Pegasus.)

Naturally this name-dropping does not go unnoticed by the 5 nosiest girls in Tokyo, and Chibi-Usa runs off rather than explain herself.

"Oh Masanori? He's just totally my rich-ass boyfriend. You can't meet him though, he lives in, uh, Canada."

“Oh Masanori? He’s just totally my rich-ass boyfriend. You can’t meet him though, he lives in, uh, Canada.”

We then get an exposition voice-over of Chibi-Usa running along and Usagi explaining that she’s been going to art class to study sculpting lately.

Gosh, this is all so uninspired. The story-telling is so flat, so obvious, so without captivation. At the very least, the art isn’t as bad as some of those early episodes of Sailor Moon from this team, so they are improving, and some of the jokes are genuinely… diverting, if not funny.

Chibi-Usa arrives at her art class rather breathless and excited, especially when she spots this Masanori-kun waiting by the school gate with a bouquet of flowers.

The wall behind him is more interesting to look at

The wall behind him is more interesting to look at

I hate this kid. I mean, just look at him. He’s totally a throw-away one-shot bland-o-tron who will disappear at the end of the episode without leaving behind anything of merit. Chibi-Usa has fine taste.

Actually, Asanoir sort of looks like a miniature Mamoru now that I think about it.

Masanori appears to be waiting for someone with the flowers, and Chibi-Usa, acting more like her mother than either of them would care to admit, immediately jumps behind a trash can to spy on him.

"Goddamn, something smells like ass around here. Oh... wait... that's me."

“Goddamn, something smells like ass around here. Oh… wait… that’s me.”

Aaaaand of course the person Masanori is besotted with is Michiru. Game over, Chibi-Usa. You’ve lost.

Masanori’s offering of the flowers is so incredibly lame. He’s the most flaccid kid I have ever seen. I know I should probably be touched and rooting for this turd, but I just can’t. He’s too big of a wet drip.

"Oh god it's that annoying kid. Oh well, too late to pretend like I didn't see him..."

“Oh god it’s that annoying kid. Oh well, too late to pretend like I didn’t see him…”

Masanori is being pretty full-on, talking about how the roses represent passionate love, and it’s about this time that Chibi-Usa’s heart breaks. Get used to it, kid.

We've all been here, right? Spying on someone from behind the bins, I mean

We’ve all been here, right? Spying on someone from behind the bins, I mean

Michiru’s response is like “whatever“, and she waltzes into the class as the teacher. What the frak is she doing teaching an art class? I thought we established that she and Haruka gave  up their dreams to defend the Earth from The Silence? Now she’s pissing about in art class?

I wish there was more cohesion in the overall character arcs of the seasons. Individual episodes are amazing, but it rarely carries across into other episodes because of the multiple studios. Oh well, it’s naff episodes like this which make up Sailor Moon too, and is a part of its charm…

…he said, rationalising away the awful episodes…

SO! Usagi is obviously stalking her own daughter to discover what she’s up to. She needs a hobby.

"LET ME IN. LET ME IIIIIIN"

“LET ME IN. LET ME IIIIIIN”

Chibi-Usa, meanwhile, is sculpting something… rather… momentous, actually. I mean, her crafting is complete shite, but she seems to be going after an urn of some sort.

"Oh this? It's a dog."

“Oh this? It’s a dog. Isn’t it cute?”

Chibi-Usa off-handedly calls it a Holy Grail”, as if they’re a dime a dozen. She claims she’s only ever seen a painting of one before, in her mother’s room…

If you haven’t put it together yet (they’re actually doing a decent job of only vaguely explaining this), Neo Queen Serenity obviously has a connection to the Holy Grail that the Outer Senshi and the Death Busters have been fighting over – enough to have a painting of it in her room. A big hint of what’s to come in a few episodes. I like how it’s slid in here all nonchalantly.

FINE. It’s not all bad.

This is totally the cup of a carpenter

This is totally the cup of a carpenter

Then Masanori, having no idea of Chibi-Usa’s artistic vision, starts getting his stupid grubby hands all over it. What a tool. Chibi-Usa looks delighted. Masanori then suggests using “buttons and beads and such” for the gems, to make it look more like a Holy Grail.

"Needs more lumps of wet crap on the side."

“Needs more lumps of wet crap on the side.”

Masanori, you’re a goddamn idiot. Chibi-Usa is so enamoured that all this sounds completely sane to her.

Naturally all this hero-worship of an obvious tool is making me judge Chibi-Usa too. I don’t want to be irritated by her, but gosh the writers are making it hard for me to resist.

When I was nine I was playing Mario and biting my toenails, not falling in love

When I was nine I was playing Super Mario World and biting my toenails, not falling in love

Michiru is treated like some kind of home-wrecker here. The quick emphasis on only her feet entering the room implies authority and impending trouble – and it comes, as Michiru politely and sweetly reminds Masanori that the Grail is Chibi-Usa’s work, and also he’s a megalomaniacal squit who needs to stop breathing.

Chibi-Usa’s response is pretty much what you’d expect. And yeah, she’s going to lose. Hard.

Michiru in art class

"Stop being so nice to me you bitch."

“Stop being so nice to me you bitch.”

Usagi continues to be a psychotic interfering mother, spying on these proceedings and vowing to play matchmaker to the couple. Please find something more constructive in your life, Usagi. This will end in disaster.

So what’s lame-ass Masanori working on, anyway?

Oh sweet Jesus, it’s a terrifying clay Michiru. Do not want.

"Yeah... that's her lip. I'm going to spend hours just sculpting this goddamn lip."

“Yeah… that’s her lip. I’m going to spend hours just sculpting this goddamn lip.”

Thank god we cut to the Professor in the Death Buster’s lab. He’ll set us straight. Without any establishment of the scene (superb writing again, guys), he picks up the phone for Eugeal, but appears to have gotten a Chinese take-out restaurant instead.

The name of the restaurant is Chin-Chin-Tei, which is simultaneously meant to be a generic Chinese-sounding name and a dick joke. Seriously. That’s kind of offensive, actually, Sailor Moon.

"Excuse me sir, but I find your caricature of a Chinese restaurant owner to offensive to me, the evil mad scientist."

“Excuse me sir, but I find your caricature of a Chinese restaurant owner to be extremely offensive to me, the evil mad scientist bent on world domination.”

The Professor’s reaction to this unexpected phone call is actually rather priceless. “Heheheheh. I ask you to do your best.” HE’S SO WEIRD.

Anyway, Eugeal’s target is Masanori. Thank fuck. I hope he has a Talisman.

I enjoy all these scenes in the Death Busters’ lab because it’s all B-roll from the good animators, meaning that the episode suddenly leaps in quality for a couple of minutes.

Haruka is just hanging out hugging her bike helmet as Michiru paints. A match made in heaven. Haruka suddenly sounds a little suspicious when she notices that Michiru has been given flowers. It’s rather amusing.

I really want Haruka to beat up Masanori in a fit of jealous rage

I really want Haruka to beat up Masanori in a fit of jealous rage

Haruka adds, “I didn’t know there was a guy clueless enough to be your suitor, Michiru.” OK, that was a pretty good bit of lesbian comedy, Haruka, I’ll give you that.

"Just going to stick my face awkwardly out liiiiike this, there we go." Seriously though, how could they make Haruka look so bad?

“Just going to stick my face awkwardly out liiiiike this, there we go.”
Seriously though, how could they make Haruka look so bad?

We next have an extremely obnoxious and poorly-animated scene of Usagi busting in on Chibi-Usa’s art lesson. It’s all.. very tiresome. Usagi’s attempts to match Masanori with Chibi-Usa is painful.

Skip.

Skip.

Thank fuck that Eugeal crashes her car through the wall into innocent children. I thought this episode would never get exciting.

Masanori immediately gets shot with Eugeal’s Pure Heart-ejector. I cheered.

"BOOM. Right in the face. Now where's the kid I'm meant to be after...?"

“BOOM. Right in the face. Now where’s the kid I’m meant to be after…?”

Michiru and Haruka, completely cool and still joking, crack a window open and transform in the next room. This is such a jarring moment, because the animation is some of the worst I’ve ever seen in Sailor Moon, than suddenly falls into the beautiful transformation sequences for Uranus and Neptune. The contrast is ridiculous. I would rather have less episodes in a season than let these guys draw anything.

It was a different time in 1994 I suppose.

I want to kick this animator repeatedly in the perineum

I want to kick this animator repeatedly in the perineum

Anyway, at least we get to enjoy these brilliant transformations again. Not sure it makes the episode worthwhile though.

This is quickly becoming the Sailor Uranus and Neptune Show, with them leading the initial attack against Eugeal. As much as I love them, the Inner Senshi are about to be sidelined for most of the rest of the season.

Right now we’re dealing with a shit-awful Daimohn: Chokokkar. It’s an art thing. All Pablo Picasso’d. It’s dumb.

I'm out, guys. I'm just done.

I’m out, guys. I’m just done.

Chibi-Usa decides to match this dumbess by running up to Eugeal and biting her on the arm to steal back the Pure Heart. In a complete up-yours to every other episode, Masanori doesn’t seem that injured by having his Pure Heart taken. He just looks a bit winded.

Later they would discover that Chibi-Usa was Patient Zero in the zombie plague

Later they would discover that Chibi-Usa was Patient Zero in the zombie plague

Remember it took a martial arts master to withstand the impact of having his Pure Heart ripped from him. This just reeks of writers and animators who didn’t really bother with the fine details.

I’m not feeling any of this. Maybe a change of scenery will help? The fight moves outside.

*steps in front of traffic in disgust"

*steps in front of traffic in disgust”

Masanori, meanwhile, sees Chibi-Usa running off and claims to have “found his Goddess.” This caused me to choke on my own vomit and die. I am now writing this as a vengeful ghost.

Anyway, the BIG FIGHT.

Two-Face’s crack-addicted sister begins creating golems in a sand box. They look just awful. Why Uranus and Neptune don’t just attack her while she’s making these stupid things is beyond me.

Can you make a better episode out of that stuff? No?

Can you make a better episode out of that stuff? No?

To rub salt into the wound, Uranus actually gets carried off by one of these affronts to the eye. It’s humiliating, actually.

"Death would be better than looking at your stupid face, clay man."

“Death would be better than looking at your stupid face, clay man.”

Neptune doesn’t have much better luck with the second golem, which is much more modern art. This thing is so shit. Thie entire fight is so shit. Please, someone end it/me.

No. I reject this reality. Boob holes are not canon  in my Sailor Moon

No. I reject this reality. Boob holes are not canon in my Sailor Moon

Enter Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi-Moon. I really need them to be on form today.

And they are! Sort of. They open with a Double Sailor Moon Kick (always happy to see Sailor Moon getting physical)… but this is easily foiled by…

…I dunno what it is. A demon fart cloud? Who knows or cares?

"Behold! My ultimate power! Some poorly-drawn lines!"

“Behold! My ultimate power! Some poorly-drawn lines!”

Meanwhile, Neptune defeats her golem with the simple expediency of stepping aside while it walks into water. This thing doesn’t even have a fucking face, so I suppose it can’t be relied upon to check whether or not it’s walking into its one weakness.

Chokko-whatever-the-hell-its-name-is gets cornered by a returning Neptune and Uranus, and pretty much gives up as Neptune fires a Deep Submerge at it.

"MY ONE WEAKNESS which also happens to be one of the most abundant compounds on Earth that frequently falls from the sky in large quantities."

“MY ONE WEAKNESS which also happens to be one of the most abundant compounds on Earth that frequently falls from the sky in large quantities.”

And Sailor Moon finishes it off. THANK YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH. It was her or me, and me was starting to look pretty good.

The episode wraps up with Chibi-Usa and Masanori… holding hands. This is gross. I hate that the writers of this episode had the GALL to write in a prepubescent romance for Chibi-Usa that never went beyond this episode. In my brain, this whole thing is non-canon.

GOT IT?

Didn't happen. DIDN'T HAPPEN.

Didn’t happen. DIDN’T HAPPEN.

Masanori gives Chibi-Usa a weird bust he made of her and runs off into obscurity. So long you utter shite.

"Oh Masanori that's so- eughhhh... yeah I'll call you sometime."

“Oh Masanori that’s so- eughhhh… yeah I’ll call you sometime.”

Naturally, Usagi et al. are all spying on Chibi-Usa again, since they have nothing going on in their lives whatsoever. Chibi-Usa is embarrassed, but rallies herself by reminding them that they all ate her pie and must repent.

Usagi gets pushed under the bus for this crime and the episode ends with her climbing a lamppost in fear from being beaten to death by Chibi-Usa.

It's over. Thank god it's over. And I'm alive. I never have to watch this episode ever again.

It’s over. Thank god it’s over. And I’m alive. I never have to watch this episode ever again.

Really?

Really? This is how you’re going to end this travesty of an episode? Like this?

Fuck me this was bad. I REALLY think this was the last truly terrible episode for a while… I think.


 

 

Episode Score: 1/5 (I want to give this a zero sooo bad)

Monster Score: 1/5 (DIE)

Final Thought: Since Masanori doesn’t show up again, I’m assuming he died or something. That’s the only thing getting me through the day

NEXT TIME: The Senshi speak English and it’s amazing. Also, Usagi gets drunk off her face again and it’s also fairly amazing. So an improvement all around!

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