3:27 – Sunny Skies After a Storm! A Friendship Dedicated to Hotaru
Alternative Title: …Get the Weed Killer. Quickly.
First Aired: 3rd December 1992
Chibi-Usa manages to convince Hotaru to join her, Usagi and Mamoru for a picnic at a rose garden. While all are fun and games at first, Mimett is reluctant on the hunt for a botanist working at the rose gardens, and it’s not long before their paths cross once again. When under threat, will Hotaru unwittingly display her dark powers again?
While the previous episode was rather brilliant, this episode returns to a series of entries into Sailor Moon S that are strangely unmemorable. I say strangely because some moments truly shine, and I really do adore Hotaru as a character. And also I really do like this episode… but it just lacks oomph.
The building plot centred around her and the Messiah of Silence is engrossing, the problem is that many of these episodes are just OK when mos of the rest of the series has been downright awesome.
I’m not saying I don’t like this episode, I really do, but knowing what’s to come at the end of the season sort of makes these filler episodes slightly less interesting.
We start in a Japanese gift store. I really like the artwork today, and the detail they’ve put in here is rather nice.
We see Mamoru offering a bunny backpack to Chibi-Usa, who squeals in appreciation – it really is cute. Can I get one of these? I won’t wear it, I’ll just stare at it. Naturally Usagi is jealous that Chibi-Usa is getting new stuff. She’s the worst mother in the universe, except of course that she’s not actually a mother yet.
Next comes a rather amusing scene of Usagi suggesting that she and Mamoru go on a picnic by themselves with Chibi-Usa outraged that she’s being left behind. I love the colours of this scene.
Who should be walking past this scene of domestic disturbance but Hotaru, looking as fragile as ever. Well, not fragile in the seizure kind of way, so there’s an improvement at least.
She’s evidently rather crushed by a sudden comparison to her happy life when her mother still lived. They really DO want us to constantly pity Hotaru, don’t they. This has the subtly of a pike.
Chibi-Usa notices Hotaru walking off pointedly (last episode Hotaru had a “Messiah of Silence” episode and told Chibi-Usa to stay away) and chases her down the street… Although it occurs to me that at no point did we see that bunny backpack ever being bought. She’s a thief.
There’s a big gooey moment as Hotaru is touched by Chibi-Usa calling her a friend, before running off all the harder. Usagi and Mamoru agree that despite ALL THE WARNINGS Hotaru can’t be a bad girl and it’ll be fine having their future daughter hang out with her.
Excellent parenting decisions as always.
Speaking of which, we then see the Messiah of Silence atop her rather comfy throne with her creepy-ass toys ordering the Professor to hurry up and fucking release her already. I mentioned this before, but the current plot set-up is such that the Death Busters can never even have a minor victory, and as such come off looking rather foolish.
The rather dramatic moment is excellently cleaved in to by something as ordinary as a doorbell. Nice to see that he wants to know when someone#s at the door even down in the basement with his demented evil god.
Once again, Kaori answers the door to Chibi-Usa, but she doesn’t get a chance to do anything particularly evil this time, except to accept the bunny backpack for Hotaru as a gift. Your parents are going to be so mad that you just gave away a brand new backpack, Chibi-Usa.
Hotaru snatches the backpack away from Kaori like she has dog shit smeared all over her. I LOVE it when Hotaru is a total bitch to Kaori. There’s something so infinitely entertaining about it.
Kaori as ever seems unaffected. She looks like she totally zones out as Hotaru finds an invitation to a picnic on the following day inside the backpack. I think I saw some drool.
The Professor, overhearing all this, is unexpectedly positive about this, happy to see Hotaru out and having fun. This is the most disturbing thing of all about Professor Tomoe. He seems genuinely warm and loving to his daughter, and utterly insane in the basement. So when he gives his blessing for an outing like this, it fees like a curse.
We’ll understand a lot more about his split personality later on, but moments like these are gems.
Creepiest of all? Kaori’s reaction to all this, which seems to be genuine strange affection for the Professor… It’s CREEPY.
The next morning, the weird dysfunctional family are packing up the car for the outing. Chibi-Usa is rather sad to see that Hotaru hasn’t shown up, but is surprised to see Hotaru in a rather nice outfit (she’s rocking that beret). This is all getting slightly twee for me here. They really are hammering in this friendship stuff hard.
I suppose it’s necessary for the plot later on in the series, but for now the storylines seem strangely muted after the wonder that was the Talismans, the Holy Grail and Japanese Girl Jesus.
And where do they go for the picnic? Heeeey this rose garden looks familiar… Yeeeeah this is totally the garden that the Senshi went to in Sailor Moo R: The Movie! Nice call back!
…although I don’t know why Usagi wanted to go here when their last trip ended in a weird stalker alien hitting on Mamoru… maybe that’s her thing, though.
Next up is the fun and games people can have outdoors in the park. Just running around and junk. I don’t get it. Why go outside when you could be playing Final Fantasy XIV all day? Look at these weirdos, enjoying good clean fun. It’s SICK I tell you.
Mamoru just stands by taking photos and laughing manishly like a good man is supposed to do, because real men don’t actually participate, they only stand around and laugh condescendingly at the women and children. Ahem. What was I talking about?
Oh fuck it’s these guys again. They’ve gone from being really cool badasses to… three lonely stalkers turning up at random places and muttering darkly to themselves.
Haruka is muttering darkly about having warned Usagi away from Hotaru, while Setsuna is muttering darkly about her being linked to the Death Busters. Michiru mutters darkly that their playing looks like fun, though.These guys have definitely lost their drive, their motivation, their brilliant dominance of the plot they had before. Now they’re just subsidiary characters.
Mamoru announces that a graduate of his school works in the rose gardens. What are the odds He’s a botanist who specialises in roses. Definitely Mamoru’s kid of guy then.
When we cut back to the Witches 5 (or rather Witches 4) room, it’s obvious who is going to be the target of the Mimett this week, right?
Mimett, the total slob, gets a phone call from the Professor, who starts off by asking his employee inappropriately what he favourite colour of roses are. My favourite colour is “lawsuit” just so you know, but Mimett is as predictable as ever as she asks for “a million red roses”
Why hasn’t she been sacked yet? What has she done of any consequence? Goddamn I hate you Mimett.
The Professor has had an idea about finding a Pure Heart – he wants a botanist since his current hobby is ugly roses. Seriously that’s a horrible colour.
Mimett suddenly turns into Eugeal for a second as she types in the requisite info into her deceased boss’ programme. Let me guess – this is Mamoru’s friend?
Mimett sounds so miffed with the results. I actually really found this funny – she’s so unimpressed with the guy.
Back in the greenhouse at the rose gardens, they come across some dude covered in dirt, who Mamoru recognises as his senpai. He suddenly sounds so deferential and young it’s rather cute. His senpai notes that Mamoru has “still got beautiful women with you!” which is probably 1) not great to say around his girlfriend and 2) is he talking about the 12 year old and the 9 year old?
Usagi’s reaction is classic. I love Mamoru’s sudden rush to explain that it’s a joke. Me thinks he doth protest too much. Even Luna is enjoying his discomfort.
Rose-Bro is suddenly attacked! By pygmies! Who are apparently his brood of half a dozen children delivering his lunch from his wife. Talk about traditional gender roles, eh?
This guy must be super virile. Usagi and Mamoru are definitely thinking what I’m thinking – this guy knows how to bone down.
Mimett, meanwhile, is really rather put out by having to go after such a schlubby and pedestrian target. Who cares? They’ll all end up dead anyway – or rather they would if you could fucking kill anyone, Mimett.
Mimsy is equally appalled so see her target with so many kids. I did laugh quite hard at this too.
The aforementioned picnic finally takes place, with the usual affair… except that we see Usagi telling off Mamoru for not eating his bell peppers, which is hilarious. You TELL ‘EM Usagi.
We keep getting moments where they intend for us to pity Hotaru some more – now she’s sad about her family again – but the transitions are so blatant, so clumsy, that I just feel annoyed. The writing isn’t great here, even if the jokes are good. They’ve given drama to a guy who can only do funny.
Random Unnamed Flower Man begins shaking Hotaru roughly by the shoulder blurting out how busy parents can be in an attempt to make her feel better. Who the fuck even is this guy?
Mimett, meanwhile, is watching this from a window, apparently ready to unleash a Daimohn on her target, when she notices the pile of hunky man-meat that is Mamoru, and pauses. She’s about to change her target, but remembers she’s about to get fired if she keeps screwing up.
Let’s pause to consider how many people, men and women, thus far who has shown an interesting in Mamoru/Endymion’s stern and humourless features.
4. Queen Beryl
6. Esmeraude (albeit only briefly)
7. Fiore (as mentioned earlier this episode)
…and this isn’t even counting Sailor Pluto in the manga obviously harbouring feelings for old King Endy. What a list, eh? I feel like I’m missing some too.
Weirdo Unnamed Flower Man is showing the group his genetically altered roses, which Hotaru seems to have a problem with – “it would be better just to let if grow free and bloom wherever it wanted to…”
Are they seriously going to get into a discussion over the ethics of genetic alteration for aesthetics with 10 minutes left in the episode…? I mean, I’m all for it, but seems rather odd.
Hotaru seems a bit sad, and essentially tells Chibi-Usa to piss off and go ahead so she can stay behind and mope a bit. She’s so emo.
In the tropical section, Mamoru suddenly has a weird plant shoved under his nose by Mimett, trying to get his attention by asking him what the flower’s name is. He should have said “It’s called subtlty, maybe you should take it home and grow it,” but instead he politely points her over to his botanist buddy.
Usagi has picked up on the vibe of course, but Mimett rather expertly butts her aside and puts on her bedroom eyes before asking if they can “have a conversation in private“. Gross.
Mamoru, displaying a certain amount of arrogance usually reserved for people I like, completely shoots her down.
“I’m here to spend time with my family.”
“O-oh… are they your sisters?”
“Nope, they’re my future wife and child.”
And then he just walks off. That’s fucking hilarious.
They so often ignore the future they learned about last season, never really referencing it more than they have to. I’d be talking about it constantly myself. Here, however, Mamoru just does not give a fuck, and I love it.
Mimett is incensed enough to set the Daimohn on him… but once again remembers that she’s on the verge of getting fired and decides to let this one slide.
We get a shot of Chibi-Usa suddenly realising that she wants to be with Hotaru after all, with Usagi completely besotted at the mention of the word “wife“, which is rather funny. Chibi-Usa acts like she’s definitely… on the spectrum, so to speak, completely surprised at her feeling any emotions of friendship, and having sudden epiphanies every 5 minutes. It’s a little tiring.
Hotaru is still feeling hella mopey when a storm sudden sweeps over the gardens. That was quick. Did no one check the weather forecast before coming out on a picnic?
Super Botanist Man gets worried about the hail, when the lights go off and he hears glass breaking. Well maybe you should have built a greenhouse with glass that wouldn’t shatter at the first bit of hail? Is this the kind of hail that can knock out electricity?
When the lightning hits, we’re reminded that Chibi-Usa is completely terrified of storms… as is her mother.
Botonist Bro, meanwhile, is trying to patch up a broken glass by hammering a piece of wood into a metal frame, the idiot, when Hotaru helps him out by climbing up the ladder and holding the board in place. He thanks her and it’s rather sweet to see her blush with satisfaction.
Dude-Who-Still-Hasn’t-Been-Named begins going on about protecting the roses, how the improvements he’s made is to make them stronger not just be more beautiful, etcetera etcetera. Obviously it means something to Hotaru but I have no idea what.
THEN SUDDENLY wow that looks like it HURT. Looks like they’re being attacked. This looked way more gnarly than the usual in Sailor Moon, especially since Hotaru is so weak already.
And who is it who knocked the ladder over? It’s Mimett, continuing to have a professional crisis, acting moody as hell and muttering “work is work…” I really enjoy Mimett in this episode. Much more entertaining than normal, mainly because we don’t see too much of her.
And then she unleashes… Well this is something of an eye-sore. This is Ubara, and she’s gross. Botanist Guy agrees, noting calmly that her petals have no lustre from having “too much fertiliser“, which amused me no end.
Ubara isn’t too happy, and the gross thing sucks his Heart out.
Ubara begins attacking Chibi-Moon, first on the scene, when what we all really want her to do is shut the hell up, because she keeps screaming “BARA-BARA” and it’s rather vexing. I hate this Daimohn.
Her attack features throwing roses at Chibi-Moon, and I must say this looks rather reminiscent of someone else’s attack… And of course, here he comes, cocky as ever and warning against copycats. I do rather like this entrance, though.
He sweeps Chibi-Moon away before announcing in a dramatic tone “the main event!” I rather liked this introduction to Sailor Moon. Gave it dramatic flair!
How much more gross can Ubara get? Well, she grows nasty thorns right out her legs that look super painful. She starts screaming “BARA BARA BARA BARA” like she’s at a noisy club and no one can her what she’s saying, nor do they care, and I really want her to expire.
Ubara responds by grabbing the girls. This looks really rather shitty, actually. Definitely gave up the animation when it came to the fight today. Tuxedo Kamen waits a good 8 or 9 seconds of his future family being in peril before he whips out the walking stick. Nice to see you have your priorities straight.
So, Ubara can’t get more gross right?
…well her arms came off, that’s pretty gross…
…oh and then her stumps exploded into tentacle-roots…
…and she starts screaming at full volume as she destroys the entire floor. There’s no way this greenhouse is ever going to be repaired at this rate. They’ve destroyed that Botanist’s life work. Good job.
This sudden gets suuuper dark, as Ubara goes completely insane, tying up Tuxedo Kamen, Sailor Moon and Chibi-Moon in gross vines. No Japanese pornography jokes, please. This is a PG blog post, you gross-ass pervert.
Just when there’s absolutely no hope (where are the Outer Senshi? Where are the Inner Senshi? They normally turn up at times like these even if its inexplicable), we see that one root passes casually in front of a rather blank-looking Hotaru…
….who decides to whip out the old weed-killer magic. Half of these scenes look really sub-par, but seeing Hotaru go all “Messiah” once again is really cool.
Whatever she did, she’s shrivelled up old Ubara, thank god. That shut her up good… and also made her even more disturbing.
Sailor Moon, now free, does what she should have done 20 minutes ago and transforms into Super Sailor Moon to kill this rather strong Daimohn. Great timing as ever.
Will they even question how they’re still alive? Nope.
Oh here are the Outer Senshi. Turns out they just didn’t give a shit after all.
In the wrap-up, Botanist Bro is being accosted by his kids and pregnant wife (they’re still pumping them out, apparently) while Hotaru is brought around.
Despite this place obviously being cursed – every time they come here it’s just super bad – Chibi-Usa suggests to Hotaru that they come here again, and everyone looks up at the newly formed rainbow as credits roll.
Any no one questioned why Ubara withered. Great powers of observation, Sailor Moon.
All in all, a mixed bag. I like this episode over all, but weird tonal shifts between comedy and some vague concern for Hotaru felt so clumsy. They were always dancing around some underlying tension within her, but seemed unwilling, or unable, to actually say what it was. Her identity crisis is good enough without having to repeatedly stress how pitiable she is.
Still, had some great comedic moments. Won’t forget Mamoru being an honest dick to Mimett in a hurry.
Episode Score: 3/5
Monster Score: 1/5 (Ugh)
Final Thought: This is, in fact, the first episode not to feature Ami and Makoto since they were introduced into the show, with further underlines how much the Inner Senshi have been ignored in the 2nd half of this season.
NEXT TIME: Facepalm