3:33 – Believe in Love! Ami, a Kind-Hearted Senshi
Alternative Title: I Thought You Were Meant To Be Smart, Byruit
First Aired: 21st January 1995
With Mugen Academy continuing to be the focus of the Sailor Senshi’s investigations into the Death Busters, the group infiltrate some mock national exams at the school. Ami is greeted by a fellow academic genius, Yui Bidoh, who is secretly the 4th Witch Byruit. Ami is unaware that her cover is blown, and walks unknowingly towards the Messiah of Silence.
These are some weird episodes, guys. They forgo the usual episode structure, continuing this on-going investigation into Mugen Academy, and they have Witches appear and die like flies.
I like this episode a whole lot. I like the oppressive atmosphere of Mugen Academy, I like the refocus onto one of the other Senshi (Ami has only had one episode this series when she did anything), I even like Viluy, as transient and one dimensional as she is.
Again, I have to ask, why could we not have more episodes with Viluy? Maybe just 3 of them? In exchange for a couple goddamn Mimett episodes?
The episode picks up from the last episode, where Sailor Moon found Telulu’s school journal, marked with the insignia of Mugen Academy. Why exactly the Senshi needed this clue is beyond me – they already suspected the school of harboring the Death Busters, not in the least because Professor Tomoe is the owner/principal.
Regardless, the girls decide seriously to check it out… when Usagi ruins the dark mood by running and screaming at them like a lunatic with the news that Ami got the number 1 spot for national practice exams in the entire country.
…wow, first of all. That’s nothing to sniff at. Second, publicly ranking children’s practice exams can’t be good for self-esteem, and is precisely the sort of bullshit that Japanese schools might do.
Ami modestly dismisses her perfect score (PERFECT. WHAT IS THIS MONSTER) by revealing that another student got the same score as her. This is the most fictional this show has ever felt. This student is called Yui Bidoh… who attends Mugen Academy no less.
Also, don’t get her confused with Yui Bidoof, who definitely hasn’t passed any exams. That’s, uh, that’s a Pokemon joke…
Minako points out that the next practice exam (how many do they need to do, JESUS) is taking place, of all places, at Mugen Academy. Well ain’t that convenient for an infiltration mission?
I sound critical, but I’m really loving this conspiracy stuff. I like seeing the Senshi as the Scooby Gang.
Naturally Ami had already signed up for the exam without those losers, who plan just to tag along, pretend they’re there to take the exam, then slip off quietly. The Sailor Senshi are actually PLANNING FOR STUFF.
I love that the weather has changed here. Winter seems like the perfect backdrop to the climax of this series, and suits the granite grey office block of Mugen Academy extremely well. Extremely moody and creepy, and timely too, since this episode was originally aired in late January.
There’s a huge number of students, including the Senshi, lined up outside in the snow ready to take the exam. I reckon since this is just a practice test, they should probably just skip this one, especially since the organisers seem to want to give them all hypothermia.
We cut to the Professor, obviously he has designs for these school kids. More worrying, however, is Kaorinite hanging off the Professor’s arm. This is such a creepy and subservient act that it really rather repels me as an old fashioned sexist depiction… but I think it fits this intense obsessive character of Kaorinite, so I’ll keep my trap shut.
If you do it again guys, I’m gonna kick off.
The pair are admiring the high-calibre of people they have lured to the school site, when the camera suddenly picks up on Usagi with a goofy expression eating snacks… to which Kaorinite and the Professor both notice with something like derision. You elitist bastards, Usagi has… uh… high… emotional intelligence… yeah…
Just as Kaorinite begins to snuggle up to the Professor (gross) they’re interrupted by Byruit, whom we can assume is the fourth Witch. I wonder if she’s bothered changing the sign on the door? Seems like tempting fate at this point.
I like Byruit. She’s not got a whole lot too her, just a mad scientist kind of thing, but her speciality seems to be more in the technological side than Eugeal‘s engineering, Telulu‘s botany or Mimett‘s… uh… hair-cut…?
Apparently it was Byruit’s plan to lure a large number of students to Mugen Academy to steal their hearts.
It’s clear that Kaorinite fucking hates this chick. And for good reason. Byruit gives Kaorinite a dirty look and suggests she goes and “collect a few Pure Hearts, instead of hanging all over him?” Well now, I didn’t have to give the feminist smack-down after all, Byruit did it for me.
So I bet you’re wondering what Chibi-Usa is doing in all of this. No? Well… we’re going to see anyway. She’s running through Tokyo in the light snow and miraculously runs in front of Mamoru’s stupid red sports car like Marsellus Wallace in front of Butch in Pulp Fiction. He asks where she’s going and she totally blows him off.
She’s 9, remember. She just ran down a dark alley. And her future-dad is like whatever.
Perhaps he noticed that Setsuna was stalking her, but I wouldn’t be entirely comforted by this, since she’s already confessed to wanting to murder Chibi-Usa’s best friend.
Great parenting, Mamoru.
Naturally, Chibi-Usa has returned to Hotaru’s house for no particular reason. It’s not like she’s there anymore. I guess this scene is really just to underline Hotaru’s continued absence and the affect it’s having on Chibi-Usa.
Let’s get back to Mugen Academy, with the Senshi in a group celebrating their infiltration… as well as noticing just how fucking cracked their fellow students are. I admire this commentary. In a society that admires test scores above everything else, it’s refreshing to see a Japanese take on the situation by highlighting how fucking crazy this can make you.
Ami totally tries and fails to rationalise whatever crushing personality disorders these kids have developed by overbearing parents and parental expectation by suggesting that they all have dreams and are trying hard to achieve them.
Probably just lying to yourself, there, Ami.
We get a rather eerie jilted tracking shot. It looks like a ghost moving towards Ami, or a predator. We are in no doubt that whoever’s POV this is has a special interest in Ami…
Kinda crappy animation by the way, but this isn’t the lead animation studio. So while the art isn’t bad, they’re working with bad framerates.
This is Yui Bidou, the person who levelled with Ami at 100% in the mock exams… and also clearly Byruit too. What are the odds?
Bidoh begins laying on the professional concern right away, seeing Ami as an honoured guest and rival… or so it seems. They do a good job in getting her to creep everyone out with her quiet, haughty voice and cold eyes.
She casts around at the other Senshi, commenting on how studious they must be if they’re Ami’s friends, and asks Usagi what her best subjects are. This is the cruellest question you could ever ask Usagi, but she replies in a pained voice “Naps… and lunch…”
A woman after my own heart. Bidoh’s reaction is so good, just a little quiet “oh how witty.” Man, that’s how to cut someone down socially, lemme tell ya.
Like a patently obvious evil person, Bidoh gets excited (or as excited as she ever gets – I think she might be anaemic) and insists on taking Ami into a secluded area by herself to “show her something.” I suspect it’s her collection of torture devices.
The other Senshi, not giving a shit that Ami has obviously been taken away to have her organs harvested, run off to investigate the school.
It’s not so odd for Haruka and Michiru to be hanging around today, since this is their school. They still look like loiterers though. Both have sensed an impending event with their pre-cognition, and know that will take place at the school.
More than that, Haruka is determined to snoop around the basement again, having felt some funky-ass energy emanating from there before.
I always enjoy seeing these two looking all conspiratorial and sneaky.
And then suddenly- WOAH WHAT IS THIS? Ami is in the Death Busters’ lab? At Professor Tomoe’s DESK? Where he made all those Daimohn Eggs? Wow, that was sudden.
Bidoh is showing Ami something on the table, which appears to be… the universe in a cloudy bowl. What Professor Tomoe chats to when he’s lonely, the so-called “Pharaoh 90“. So why is Bidoh showing off her supreme ruler to some random girl?
Bidoh calls it the Tau Nebula, which is very cool. I love all this strange cosmology.
Despite all the crazy “sentient galaxy” stuff going on in the background here, the really weird stuff is around Bidoh’s statement to Ami that she actually teaches and lectures at Mugen Academy as well as studies.
Ami takes offence to this since intelligence is no great marker of a good teacher.
The weird thing is how the writers thought that this would be a particularly interesting topic to pick upon in the show. This has nothing to do with anything, except that maybe someone somewhere wanted to vent out some social commentary. It may also be that they wanted Ami and Bidoh to express opposing views before all the dramas went down between them – a good way to ratchet up tension and foreshadow an altercation maybe.
OR I’m just chatting shit again.
I do like Ami’s stance here – she says that you can’t be a good teacher without understanding the students with poor grades also, that compassion trumps intelligence in education, and that science needs the warmth of human hearts.
Hey, she’s a humanist. I’m on board with that 100%. Science with the direction of ideals, that is to say not hampered by relative morality but driven forward by humanist values, makes for a much richer system of logic.
But that’s some obvious stuff, naturally. There are very few scientists who actually think like Bidoh does, of course. Naturally Bidoh doesn’t think much of this, but walks off laughing to take the exam. What a dick.
Ami, meanwhile, has been left to her own devices in the Death Busters’ basement. Jesus, guys, she could totally just destroy all your plans by, I dunno, turning off the lights for this other galaxy you all seem to venerate so much. She’s being watched, however, over CCTV. The Professor proves that he’s NOT AN IDIOT like every single other person in the universe by noticing that Ami is extremely suspicious.
Bidoh points out the fucking obvious by suggest that Ami is a Sailor Senshi. FINALLY. I love it when people figure out their identities with their brains. Obviously the smartest girl in the country who loves, like, humans and shit is going to be a Sailor Senshi. Good going guys! I AM impressed.
Bidoh, or should we say Byruit, announces her intention to go and mess with Ami, but she first decides to be a total psycho and push over Kaorinite, who looks distinctly pathetic. Poor woman. What the shit are you doing? You have evil magic powers and stuff.
Not sure where this antagonism between these two came from really. I guess they want Byruit to leave an impact.
Just to make sure everyone at home (who is clearly an idiot) is keeping up, Byruit goes on at length about her nano-bots shoved into her wrist-mounted computers… although I cannot see any means of an interface.
This is cool stuff, actually. Not many nano-bots in popular sci-fi in 1995 (although they’ve been talked about since the 50s). Nano-bots will one day form desktop factories and save the environment, and the world, I have no doubt. For nor, Byruit merely wants to use them to eat people.
Byruit’s plan begins, and the Professor is quite taken with her, so lets her get on with whatever she wants. I must say that him ignoring Kaorinite getting knocked over by Byruit is distinctly disturbing. Reminiscent of emotional abuse in a relationship. But, then again, since we find out later that he isn’t actually human, Kaorinite’s efforts to seduce him may have been a little pointless in the first place…
Either way the imagery is worrying.
Byruit’s first phase is to use the computers in the examination rooms to suck out all the Pure Hearts at once. That’s pretty clever! Still, every single one of these people couldn’t have an actual Pure Heart. Just like with Telulu’s plan, this doesn’t quite make sense in the internal logic of the series.
Haruka and Michiru, meanwhile, use the anarchy to slip down to the basement, where they’re rather shocked to find…
The Messiah of Silence no less! This is a jackpot for them, although Michiru looks utterly horrified at stumbling across the very person they hoped to kill. She does look horrifying.
They move in to, well, probably kill her, but they haven’t even transformed… so I guess they’re planning to strangle her to death or something. Classy.
They’re stopped, however, by Ami, who has turned up just in time (thank god for plot contrivances, eh?). She begs them not to harm Hotaru, asking them to pity her instead of seeing her as a target. more humanism, yes yes!
Now it’s Ami standing between Haruka, Michiru and the Messiah of Silence. I didn’t think I’d ever see Ami by herself standing up like this. Considering how weak she perceived herself, and acted, near the beginning of the series, it’s interesting to see her character progression.
The altercation is cut short as the authorities turn up… or rather just Bidoh, wearing a rather wolfish grin. She demands to know the secret identities of all three intruders and reveals herself as a Witch, and it’s so on.
Except that Haruka and Michiru instantly run behind Ami so that she can take the hit while they run away. Nice ones, guys. I probably would have done the same to be honest.
Byruit fires off those nano-bots… which turn out to be, like, electrified squares, which aren’t nearly as interesting as one might have expected from their title. Oh well, if this is how they wanted to visualise them…
Haruka and Michiru are down for the count, and they totally deserved it, telling Ami to get the hell out while she can, but Ami is JUST SO DAMN NICE and refuses to leave. Of course she wouldn’t – it’s not in her nature. She does look super cool in this episode.
Mosaic Buster, as Byruit calls it, fails to connect with Ami, which is weird because Nano-bots should be flying everywhere, not just in a simplistic hand beam. She’s not so threatening… except for a single moment coming up.
We get a rather cool moment where the Mosaic Buster bursts some balloons, and we think the Messiah of Silence is about to awaken… but she merely stirs and goes back to sleep. I appreciated that moment quite a bit.
Ami finally decides that she needs to transform. About time too. Not sure why Byruit is so shocked about this, she PREDICTED this 5 minutes ago.
Byruit decides to do the smart thing and get rid of the incapacitated enemies first, directing her stupid uni-directional nano-bots to kill Haruka and Michiru, but as we all know robots are weak to ice (…what?), and Sailor Mercury defends the Outer Senshi from being turned into grey goo with a Shine Aqua Illusion.
Still love that attack.
Mercury gets attacked by the nano-machines anyway, and Byruit’s description of how they’re attacking Mercury’s body and trying to break her up is right ruddy horrifying. That’s like something out of The Thing.
Of course Mercury isn’t liquefied, Sailor Moon at al. finally turn up, Shame, I bet it could have looked pretty cool if they had just waited another 5 minutes.
So now everyone’s running around, which is when Haruka and Michiru, who really only seem to be facing mild discomfort from the nano-bots, finally get up and transform. Well about time, guys. Why didn’t you do that 5 minutes ago? Always nice to get these transformation sequences, haven’t seen them for a while.
Byruit gets a nice World Shaking to the face, followed up with a drenching of a Deep Submerge. Nice to see Uranus and Neptune connect with an attack, it feels like so looong. I’m rather enjoying this, even though there’s not too much compelling action going on.
Super Sailor Moon emerges to fire off a Rainbow Moon Heartache, which you might expect kills Byruit… but remember, this is a Boss character, so her death must be nice and ironic and self-inflicted like all the other ones this season, so the attack merely busts up her wrist computer.
Well that won’t do anything will it? She just won’t be able to play Angry Birds on it or whatever.
Well whatever it did, it’s turned the nano-bots on her instead. This is just kinda dumb. It’s pretty much exactly the same set-up as with Telulu, so this isn’t new grounds. It also looks pretty poor with this animation studio… and the emotional music they play really doesn’t fit considering we have no idea who this person is, really.
Saying that, having all the Senshi coldly watch as the nano-bots slowly melt their own creator is kinda cool.
Not sure why, but Byruit dying also magically and conveniently returns all the Pure Hearts back to the students. Well AIN’T THAT NEAT?
The Professor doesn’t seem that surprised, or even that moved by Byruit’s failure. Of course Kaorinite is even less so. I like the evil grin she gives at the thought of Byruit being dead. THAT’S what you get for pushing me over!
The big trouble is that all of this was captured on CCTV… and the Professor now knows the identities off all 7 Sailor Senshi. But he still doesn’t know the identity of Sailor Chibi-Moon so obviously his plans will fail hahaha.
You’d think this massive revelation might affect the plot in any way whatsoever. It doesn’t really.
We watch as Byruit fades away. That’s a rather nice way to go if you have to. Not sure what happened to the nano-bots, I assumed they would have continued on a murderous rampage against all living things, which would have been a great thing to watch.
Mercury has one last monologue about the dangers of obsessing over the mechanical aspects of science and not learning to love. OK easy there, I may be a humanist but there’s no need to lean on science too much, yeah? Don’t get all sanctimonious on me here.
And with this… the Messiah of Silence appears to animate! This is pretty frightening actually, looks pretty damn scary, and the fact that it worries Uranus and Neptune so much is the scariest thing of all.
The throne before them collapses and with the unconscious Messiah floating in her chair before a dark pit of infinity (it looks awesome), the Professor announces that the battle “has only just begun!”
He may be smart, but he sure as shit ain’t original.
We finally cut back to Chibi-Usa, who is startled to find an umbrella over her head. It’s Mamoru and Setsuna… who is looking much more in a mother’s role than Usagi… that strange surrogate mother stuff actually creeps me out a little, mainly because Setsuna looks like such a better parent.
Chibi-Usa is pretty damn simple here, just wanting to see Hotaru for a moment. I like that Setsuna doesn’t even bother pointing out how stupid this is, she just hugs her until she shuts up.
The episode ends with Haruka berating Ami for stopping them defeating the Messiah of Silence… but this breaks into gratitude for rescuing them too. Nice to see the Senshi getting along, even if it is for a moment.
It really is just this one moment. Shit’s about to get messy.
I like this episode a lot. There aren’t too many stand-out moments, or great action, art or writing… but there’s something about it. Maybe it’s just because it’s so close to the end that I can taste the final few episodes at this point that makes it drip with significance and foreshadowing.
Episode Score: 3/5 (Just falls under a 4 by a thin margin)
Monster Score: 4/5 (I liked Byruit a lot, just wish we got more of her)
Final Thought: Whoever the final Witch might be, I suggest changing employment sharpish, because it’s not looking great for you right now.
NEXT TIME: …wait, I thought it was the Witches 5, not the Witches 6? Oh well, two people can die in a single episode as easily as one can.