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Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, the Manga: The Infinity Arc, Pt. 2

Haruka and Michiru in their helicopter

The review series of the Infinity Arc of the Sailor Moon manga continues. Today we read acts 29 & 30. You might want to catch up on part 1 of the Infinity series, featuring the introduction of Haruka and Michiru, as well as the first and last appearance of our old friend Eugeal.

 Act 29 – Two New Soldiers

So the act begins fairly dramatically with Sailor Moon chasing Uranus though the woods, until Uranus swings around and kisses Sailor Moon. Like a full-on romantic kiss. And I don’t know how I feel about this.

Uranus kisses Sailor Moon

I love that Manga Usagi might be a little gay, she followed Rei home because she thought she was cute for instance, and there’s no doubt that Uranus/Haruka is a great character to go gay for… but this is awkward. Uranus has kissed Sailor Moon without consent. She’s also in a relationship with Neptune.

Here are my worries, that;

1) This sends a bad message about consent

2) This sends a bad message about Haruka’s character, since this implies a certain level of unfaithfulness on her part. While this could just be a peck on the lips, the fact that Haruka continues to flirt, sometimes a little forcefully, with Usagi suggests this is something more

That being said, hot damn. It’s awesome not only having gay characters, but placing heterosexuality on the spectrum where it should be. So overall I’m ambivalent thanks to this scene being problematic.

Later, Usagi is discussing the new Senshi with the others (without, of course, mentioning getting lip-attacked). Minako wants to hunt them down right away and destroy them. Kinda like that, flavours her character a bit in an interesting direction. And, in an unprecedented move, Usagi correctly suspects Haruka Tenoh of being Sailor Uranus.

"Could these two people I've just met who look and sound exactly the same be the same person? Possibly?"

“Could these two people I’ve just met who look and sound exactly the same be the same person? Possibly?”

She’s certainly more savvy and aware in this arc. Usually she just bobs along completely ignorant.

Usagi then appears to daydream about kissing Haruka when dressed as a boy. Again, I like the gay stuff, but I find her wavering faithfulness to her relationship to Mamoru problematic. I think this is genuinely interesting relationship-building, none of which we saw in the anime, but it does make me like Usagi a little less considering all the bullshit those two went through together over 1000 years.

My my Usagi, it's almost like a predestined relationship takes all the romance out of things, eh?

My my Usagi, it’s almost like a predestined relationship takes all the romance out of things, eh?

Suddenly, everyone has a prophecy. “If you don’t collect the three Talismans, then the three Talismans will awaken the Goddess of Destruction.” Well that makes it nice and easy to get all the characters on board with the plot. This is the first mention of such a Goddess of Destruction too… I think Messiah of Silence is a better title.

Now we get some confrontation… Usagi is embarrassed in front of Mamoru for having been kissed by Uranus, but suspects Mamoru of having feelings for Michiru at the same time, despite there being nothing but a couple of eerie conversations. Obviously projecting her own guilt? This stuff really is awkward. Bravo for making their relationship feel genuine, but it bums me out a bit.

I like that the message is it doesn't matter what the hell someone's gender is

I like that the message is it doesn’t matter what the hell someone’s gender is

Haruka has been warned away from Usagi, but turns up in front of her anyway, making Usagi feel uncomfortable with her heart racing. Seems as though she really has got the hots for Haruka in whatever gender she thinks she is. Haruka is creeping me out big time though, almost at a level of harassment.

Haruka then gives Usagi tickets to Michiru’s recital. Seems odd to openly hit on a girl then invite her to your girlfriend’s performance…

And MAMORU SAW THE WHOLE EXCHANGE LOOKING SHADY. Naoko ramping up the drama. It’s like The Room.

The only reason she would be if that Katy Perry song totally rang true. You know the one.

The only reason she would be if that Katy Perry song totally rang true. You know the one.

The centre where Michiru is playing is also host to Hanyu Mimi, an idol who is clearly Mimett. Yes that’s right, in the manga Mimett is actually a successful idol. This is one interpretation of the anime that I hate. They turned her into a superficial, incompetent mess of a character, fame-hungry but talentless. I must confess bias against Hanyu Mimi from the start.

I... I don't want to hate you Hanyu Mimi... but I do for some reason...

I… I don’t want to hate you Hanyu Mimi… but I do for some reason…

Minko goes star crazy and wants to go see Hanyu. We haven’t seen too much of this in the manga, it’s here and there, but Minako gets rather… manic, just as she would in the anime here. Great to see more of her frivolous side in the manga.

ANd them BAM! We’re hit with the “power levels”  of the Witches 5. Is this something out of Dragon Ball Z? Very, very odd.

Mimette – 40

Eudial – 78

Viluy – 202

Tellu – 404

Cyprine – 999

...what?

…what?

…or so we’re told. Of course, who knows what scale they’re using. WHY, NAOKO THIS IS SO RANDOM.

And here she is... thankfully she doesn't build up any steam.

And here she is… thankfully she doesn’t build up any steam.

Chibi-Usa thinks about Hotaru a bit because… well, the plot demands it, and goes to see her. Hotaru is a lot more cheery today, smiling and everything, and promises to keep her secret identity, which is nice because the majority of her household is trying to kill Chibi-Moon.

Chibi-Usa in Hotaru's room

Hotaru invites Chibi-Usa back to her very cool room. Like in the anime, it’s filled with these cool light features. Hotaru eventually has a fit (it’s kinda her thing) and uses the pendant her Pa gave her to calm down. Chibi-Usa whips out the goddamn Silver Crystal out and waves it at Hotaru like an idiot, which makes her feel better. Seems like a good move, showing off the supreme power on Earth to a girl you just met.

So maybe you should try using the Silver Crystal on her, see if she gets healed? No? Well ok then, anything to keep the plot moving

So maybe you should try using the Silver Crystal on her, see if she gets healed? No? Well ok then, anything to keep the plot moving

Oh, and Haruka and Michiru are spying on the whole thing from a tree. What is with these girls and trees…? How did they know…? Wha…? Just a step too far, I think. Well it’s not like they’re going to jump the shark any…

Haruka and Michiru offer Chibi-Usa a ride home in their fucking helicopter. *Slams head on desk*. Why. What. Why.

...pretty sure you can't just fly and land a helicopter wherever the fuck you want...

…pretty sure you can’t just fly and land a helicopter wherever the fuck you want…

Haruka is dressed as a woman for once, which is fairly interesting. Only time you ever see her in a skirt when she’s not a Senshi.

Rare to see her so feminine. Can't see any reason why, must just be a whim on Naoko Takeuchi's part

Rare to see her so feminine. Can’t see any reason why, must just be a whim on Naoko Takeuchi’s part

Michiru reveals that her mirror is called a “Talisman”. Considering they appear to know who Chibi-Usa is, I find it unusual that Michiru would be so open with describe exactly the thing that everyone, bad guys and good guys, appear to be searching for. Guess she has a game plan?

Usagi a little alarmed at Haruka dropping her kid off in a helicopter. Understandably. The skirt must also be a novel experience. Seriously, what the hell? You accept a helicopter ride from a stranger, they hover over a residential neighbourhood and drop you off?

"Dude, I totally made out with that hot chick. I'm going to be so popular in school on Monday."

“Dude, I totally made out with that hot chick. I’m going to be so popular in school on Monday.”

Michiru’s performance is all lovely and stuff, even though it;s a manga and impossible for us to actually appreciate this fact. More interesting is Haruka being all emo and standing by herself. She’s obviously trying to coax Usagi over to her. This is me at every house party.

Beautiful scenes here

Beautiful scenes here

Minako sneaks into Mimi’s concert using her Sailor V compact to dress as a Mugen boy. I liked this. More gender-swapping, and what’s more is that we’ve never seen this in the Sailor Moon manga. She also acts super catty, precisely what the anime captured of her.

Minako transforms into a Mugen student

Mimi/Mimette uses Charm Buster to take souls of the crowd, I think before she even sings anything? How did she get famous anyway… Who are the Witches 5? Was she famous before being a Witch? Or is this part of a fiendish plot? Because it doesn’t help, she just gets her ass handed to her faster.

Venus sweeps in looks fab as fuck (she’s whipped out a mic and everything. Loved this), while Michiru and Haruka sense something and run off. The impaired Inner Senshi apparently don’t notice a goddamn thing, even Rei, and Venus has to contact them. The entire crowd at the recital is evidently thinking “wtf?”

Awesooooome!

Awesooooome!

Venus uses Love Me Chain and Wink Chain Sword (cool names, but remember, Naoko sucks at action so they’re little more than names). I like how Mimette is so shit (level 40 remember. Is… is that good or bad?) that she has to ask for back ups. Cue Daimohns erupting from prostrate fans.

But! Before Sailor Moon can do anything, Deep Submerge and World Shaking kill both the Daimohns and Mimett. I think. Hard to tell. Not as hard as the first arc, she’s getting better, but Naoko can be a little confusing with her storyboarding.

Deep Submerge

Neptune and Uranus intros look fab as fuck as the act ends.

Why hell yes you ARE awesome. No need to rub it in.

Why hell yes you ARE awesome. No need to rub it in.


 

 

Act 30 – Sailor Uranus, Tenoh Haruka & Sailor Neptune, Kaiou Michiru

We start with the new Senshi looking rad as shit. Clearly Uranus and Neptune are meant to be as cool as we all think they are.

YES OK WE GET IT You're so much cooler than any of the other main characters.

YES OK WE GET IT You’re so much cooler than any of the other main characters.

Despite having made a promise to Michiru not to tell anyone about her Talisman, Sailor Chibi-Moon recognises the Deep Aqua Mirror and immediately blurts this secret out. I’m assuming Michiru knew this would happen because Chibi-Usa can’t keep her trap shut, and wanted it revealed.

"You mean that one thing we've only just heard about in a dream and now here it is!?"

“You mean that one thing we’ve only just heard about in a dream and now here it is!?”

At this point it’s obvious that Michiru and Haruka are the Outer Senshi. Glad they didn’t drag this out, but would have been interesting to see a little more of the not-knowing phase on both their parts, which we saw in the anime adaptation.

Uranus brings up the prophecy of ruin. They’re all on the same page, right? Nah, just like in the anime, she refuses to fight as allies with Sailor Moon, who takes this badly, because any rejection destroys her ego.

Uranus and Neptune refuse to join forces

This antagonism doesn’t make too much sense to me at this point. While I understood it in the anime, so far in the manga Uranus and Neptune have been leaving major hints regarding the Talismans and prophecy, so they seem to want to help them, albeit indirectly.

Then Neptune picks up the violin… and starts playing… super badly? This acts as a sound attack against the Senshi… what? So weird. Reminds me of Sailor Moon’s random crying attack from the very first act.

To be fair, I'm pretty sure a poorly played violin has the same effect on me

To be fair, I’m pretty sure a poorly played violin has the same effect on me

Tuxedo Kamen asks if they will bring destruction, Uranus blasts them with a World Shaking, which is precisely how you should answer every question from the GODDAMN PATRIARCHY.

Usagi was knocked out apparently, because she wakes up… somewhere else, with the other Senshi around her. That World Shaking hit hard. Damn, Uranus, you could’ve just run away. The cats discuss the Outer Senshi’s role, which would have been useful a couple days before they smashed these guys in the faces. Usagi is adamant they’re allies (naturally, also they totally are), while Minako disagrees, seeing as she’s also busted up. I like how Minako has been more of an outspoken force & defender in this arc.

Makoto has the best line: “That’s one hell of a way to introduce yourself.” I agree.

Mamoru has another vision. This time he sees the goddess of destruction, which is very cool. Beautifully drawn. In fact, this whole arc has seen an improvement on much of the art.

"Hey do you know the way to Central Park? Little lost here."

“Hey do you know the way to Central Park? Little lost here.”

It urns out Usagi was having the same dream. Huh. Again, good improvement. She’s not being kept in the dark blindly stumbling around, she’s sharing in information with Mamoru and the other Senshi.

Sometime later, we get SO MUCH DRAMZ. Usagi is waiting for Mamoru in a park. THE park. You know the one. Hands fall over eyes, and in the classic double-take, she expects it to be her beau, but it turns out to be Haruka… who then instantly runs away. This becomes like a running joke, how she’s like the wind, but it kinda looks goofy to me. Makes Haruka look like a bit of a coward.

Haruka sneaks up on Usagi

Usagi calls out the name Sailor Uranus, rather than Haruka, who responds by saying how she regrets having met her as a Senshi. Quite a sad, flirty moment, actually. Once again grabs, Haruka grabs her face and moves in for a kiss. Wow. I like the gay stuff, but yeah, this seduction is a little eerie actually. Haruka knows what’s she’s doing, and Usagi doesn’t actually fight back at all. It actually takes Mamoru to turn up looking seriously miffed for Usagi to realise that making out with Haruka isn’t actually a great idea.

Well, it is to be honest, but the manner of this is all freaky.

Sooo Usagi is clearly leaning in there

Damn straight, Haruka

Mamoru saw the whole thing of course. What the hell… this is actually popcorn-eating drama. I think I’m actually beginning to warm to this storyline. Mamoru getting cuckolded by a lady is pretty damn awesome. Haruka runs away like a coward, as ever, and Mamoru hugs Usagi asking what he did to her, as though Haruka was forcing herself on Usagi.

Truth be told Usagi has done nothing to dissuade Haruka’s advances.

Mamoru hugs Usagi

Meanwhile, Chibi-Usa is hanging out with the Inner Senshi. Nothing particularly interesting, except that she makes a cup out of clay – the Holy Grail – and we get a wee explanation of it here.

Neo Queen Serenity uses the Holy Grail to keep her appearance youthful in Crystal Tokyo… so her source of power isn’t the Silver Crystal, but the Grail? What? Is that, like, messed up? I always thought her longevity came from the heritage as a Moon denizen, as opposed to artificially created by another source…

It's almost as if they're trying to tell me that this Grail thing is important to this plot somehow...

It’s almost as if they’re trying to tell me that this Grail thing is important to this plot somehow…

Chibi-Usa is apparently not meant to know this. Serenity has, like, tons of expensive stuff. Bloody 1%. Seems also cruel to forbid your own daughter from entering your bedroom. Usagi turns out to be a complete dick of a mother in the future.

Chibi-Usa admits that she wants to go home but promised to become a good soldier first. So yeah… Neo Queen Serenity is the worst mother in the universe. Seriously messed up.

Mamoru and Usagi have awkward coffee together. It’s actually hilarious and uncomfortable, even more so when Chibi-Usa busts on in to join them. Usagi painfully wonders to herself whether she cheated on Mamoru by letting herself be kissed by Uranus. The answer? Well a little bit, yeah. Sort of.

I love the sudden shift in tone here

I love the sudden shift in tone here

Mamoru and Usagi help Chibi-Usa with a long expository speech on the Holy Grail (for all those Japanese manga readers I guess), and eventually they’re so boring that Chibi-Usa falls asleep. The pair share a nice moment of parenting… before they realise they’re meant to be all awkward around each other. I laughed a lot. This is really good stuff you guys, and I didn’t know how much I would enjoy it.

Awkward moment

Usagi finally decides to take the plunge and apologises to old Mamsy, but in a moment of Manga Mamoru being better than Anime Mamoru, he just says he trusts her. Usagi admits she was jealous of him and Michiru, and Mamoru admits likewise… It’s a really good moment.

This is, like, genuine stuff. Mental.

This is, like, genuine stuff. Mental.

Usagi says she sensed Haruka’s loneliness and reacted to that? Bit weird… I mean… Michiru, yeah?

It’s ok if you guys spend the night” my my, Mamoru is getting more forward. Do Usagi’s parents just not give a crap if their 15 year old daughter spends random nights at some college guy’s place? I liked the final joke: Chibi-Usa is revealed to be awake and completely fine with her parents making out.

And then Chibi-Usa was present in the room at her own conception? Ew.

She’s totally OK watching herself get conceived.

The previous acts have followed a pattern of the Inner Senshi getting a small amount of focus on them, before a corresponding Witch attacks. So Rei had some action before Eudial appeared, Minako went up against Mimett and now we have Ami cramming. Says she’d like to meet Bidou Yui of Mugen Academy…

And then she does. Well that was simple. Bidoh tries to lure Ami to join the academy, and whereas an Usagi might be dumb enough to allow herself to be cornered by this, Ami lets herself be lured in to investigate the college. Liking this development. This all makes sense.

Some awesome shots of Ami investigating stuff here

Some awesome shots of Ami investigating stuff here

Bidoh shows off the Tau Nebula in a glass box, very much like the anime. The design is markedly less interesting than the anime. No twisted steampunk basement lab, no mysterious device. Bidoh literally has Pharaoh 90 stuffed in a glass box in a classroom.

"Sooo... your all-powerful God is before you and you put it in a cheap plastic box...?"

“Sooo… your all-powerful God is before you and you put it in a cheap plastic box…?”

Ami, on CCTV camera, is spotted by Kaorinite, who senses a lot of power from her. I’m impressed with Kaorinite’s ability to actually tell this. Bidou Yui pops out (literally. Wow.) and reveals that she is a Witch, Viluy. She then boasts that her power level is 202. Surely not hubris that will lead to her death, of course.

Well she's a little more... powerful than in the anime. Blimey Charlie

Well she’s a little more… powerful than in the anime. Blimey Charlie

Kaorinite’s spying on Ami is interrupted when our girl breaks the camera by throwing a pen javelin-style through the screen. Niiice. She’s seriously kicking ass today, and it’s not over either. She runs straight towards the basement.

She's... a ninja!? Where have you been hiding this side of Ami!?

She’s… a ninja!? Where have you been hiding this side of Ami!?

Ami finds a shit ton of Daimohns, it’s like a demon orgy down there. Super gross. Viluy grabs her, as well as Haruka and Michiru who followed Ami down, assuredly to congratulate Ami for finally being a bad ass.

A bit like Act 2, where Ami first appeared, Viluy’s plan is to use computers turning people into hosts. Because they’ll, you know, suck your soul out or whatever. Ami manages to break free, calls the other Senshi and jumps out a fucking window, transforming in mid-air as she hits a pool. Goddamn she’s so awesome! Who would have thought!? They really missed a trick in the anime by not replicating this scene. Haruka and Michiru follow suit, I’m assuming in awe and fear of Sailor Mercury.

Just to reiterate the point... Ami just jumped out a fucking window.

Just to reiterate the point… Ami just jumped out a fucking window.

HELL YES, MERCURY. First and last time you'll hear me say that

HELL YES, MERCURY. First and last time you’ll hear me say that

Too bad this doesn’t translate to battle. Mercury Aqua Mirage doesn’t do so well against Mosaic Buster. We get the nano bot threat just like the anime, but there will be no self-destruction today. Uranus will see to that.

Mosaic Buster

Sailor Moon arrives as Haruka and Michirutransform., and Uranus gives a bloody ace speech: “My demonic talisman, relinquish thy power to me and protect all of us! SPACE SWORD BLASTER!

WOW. Just. Wow. Awesome.

WOW. Just. Wow. Awesome.

Fucking awesome. Seriously, I’m in awe at how cool this arc has been so far. Definitely a cut above Dark Kingdom and Black Moon.

Mars recognises the Space Sword as another talisman after Viluy gets exploded with the lightsaber. I would say anything that awesome is definitely a Talisman. Aren’t we missing one though…?

MEANWHILE. Heey it’s Motoki asking Reika out for a drink. This seems random. She refuses, however, because fuck Motoki, commenting that a new research assistant is joining. Nice lame excuse there, Reika. Hey this research assistant kinda looks like…

She liiiiives but hoooooow

So the entire gang is here, huh? How is she all alive and stuff,,,?

Turns out that it’s FUCKING MEIOU SETSUNA!? Shit just got real. Sailor Pluto is in the house.


 

 

A couple of genuinely awesome acts! Very impressed by the Infinity arc so far. It’s distinct enough from the anime for both to have their merits, even with the awkward love story stuff. Saying that, I’m seeing relationships handled in a way I’ve not seen in Sailor Moon before too.

I’m really psyched to see where this arc goes.

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6 Comments »

  1. Just a note on the fidelity issue you raised. It is not apparent at this stage that Haruka and Michiru are strictly monogamous, they could very well be in an open relationship. Just as you mentioned that sexuality is on a spectrum, fidelity is too. We can’t be too presumptuous about the dynamic of their relationship.

    • Agreed, that being said in the knowledge that the women appear to be in a committed relationship later on, and that Haruka appears to be hitting on a girl in a relationship herself, and in an overbearing manner, I remain creeped out. I also have vague concerns about how the first gay relationship in the manga is being portrayed, but ehhh I’ll give Takeuchi the benefit of the doubt.

  2. I’m not crazy about Haruka’s tactics with how she flirts with Usagi here either. In the anime she flirted too and it was enjoyable because she seemed like she knew boundaries and wasn’t crossing lines or getting too touchy. That and Michiru never seemed uncomfortable, she seemed to take it as playful since Haruka just kind of had that personality where she was so cool that girls naturally got flustered around her.

    I like Haruka a lot (anime especially) and I’m just glad she never crossed over into Seiya-levels of uncomfortable territory. Seiya’s actions were uncomfortably similar to those of a sexual predator.

  3. What I see in relation to the whole Usagi/Haruka pairing (granted its my number one ship in the entire series) is really hard to grasp but I’ll try. From the get go in the manga we have this undertone that ALL the senshi do have some level of crush on their princess and maybe a little vice versa. In the manga we rarely see any of the senshi with male relationships either which does not help this. A part of me feels that maybe some of this has to do with magics of the Moon family and the Silver Crystal. If you look back into the Black Moon Family we see the ultimate corrupted version of this with Prince Demande. This is probably put in place considering how big a sacrifice the senshi must make on the occasion to protect Usagi/Princess Serenity/Neo Queen Serenity. Loving someone like a lover will bring you to that point of self sacrifice. The difference I see between Haruka and the rest of the girls is maybe her willingness to act upon said feelings instead of hiding them. Thus on Michuru’s end I am sure she can be a little understanding. As for Usagi she is also at a young age where even if she had reconnected with her long lost prince of years ago she should be out dating more and exploring her sexuality.

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