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4:2 – Super Transformations Again! Pegasus’ Power

Alternative Title: You Can Do Better

First Aired: 11th March 1995

Reika SuperS

Motoki’s girlfriend Reika has returned from her studies in Africa, but it’s revealed that she’s already been offered a prestigious placement in Europe. With Motoki freezing his girlfriend out, Usagi and Minako try to meddle in the situation, but matters are complicated when Tigers-Eye selects Reika as his next target in his hunt for Pegasus.

Well Jesus, this is a way to start an episode, straight into the Dead Moon Circus. The “entertainers”, for lack of a better descriptive, are all mocking Tigers-Eye for his failure to find Pegasus in the dream of Unazuki in the last episode, and then his failure to actually kill her afterwards to boot. I’m right on board with this mocking, the only way to deal with the disturbing, obnoxious Tigers-Eye is constant, unerring humiliation. That or, you know, arrest. Either way, while the sequence is rehashed animation from the previous episode, it’s freaky and interesting enough to be an eye-catching opening.

These are all me in the morning

These are all me in the morning

For now. Let’s see if I’m still saying that after the 20th repeat of this sequence. Zirconia appears merely to restate the goals of the Dead Moon Circus before the title card. This felt perfunctory as openings go, really just to make sure the kids are still on board with the new season.

In the bar, Tigers-Eye is bitching (I use that word with clinical accuracy) about being called a failure, and rather than accept responsibility, he of course blames the Sailor Senshi… not that they had anything to do with Tigers-Eye incorrect choice of victim in the first place. So yeah, Man-Baby. Hawks-Eye and Fish-Eye add fuel to the fire. I DO get sadistic pleasure in seeing Tigers-Eye squeal like the entitled dipshit he is. As bag guys go, I think the Amazon Trio are rather good antagonists… it’s just their methodology that worries me.

First thing I notice here is how much I like the animation. Everything looks great in this scene, especially the colours.

Tigers-Eye drinking

The scene ends in a rather icky fashion, with Hawks-Eye and Tigers-Eye planning to attack another girl in a photo, who looks… rather… familiar, as it happens…

The Senshi, meanwhile, are investigating the park (of course it’s always in the park) where Pegasus appeared. I love this shot. Lovely fantastical water-colour background in a fish-eye lens effect. The lead animator on this episode needs real kudos.

Senshi in the park

I miss hand-drawn cells. Computer colours just don’t look as artful

Usagi asks Chibi-Usa if she really doesn’t know anything, but Chibi-Usa chooses to place her trust in a talking horse she met once in a dream over her mother. Thus starts the TRUE FACE of adolescence, am I right? We’ll know Chibi-Usa is really grown-up when she starts smoking and hanging around biker-gangs. KIDS, LEMME TELL YA.

Senshi talking to Chibi-Usa

I love how the girls look here. Seriously, I want to buy this animator a coffee with how great the characters look in this episode

Chibi-Usa hears horse-shoes on the streets of London, so to speak, and stumbles upon a rather English dressage camp, complete with horses and those red coats and hats that rich people wear to let others know they have the disposable income enough to feed a horse. So no Pegasus then, just the crappy non-magical ones.

One rider performs a jump, badly, with the horse hesitating and throwing its rider off. Take THAT one-percenter. As she gets up, she reveals that 1) she has long flowing locks 2) HOLY SHIT IT’S REIKA FROM THE FIRST SEASON!??? and 3) the silly dipstick isn’t wearing a helmet. Safety first 4) I thought she was a bio-chemist?

Reika jumps on a horse

So this is unusual! A one-off character (well she appeared for 4 seconds on another episode I suppose) has returned for the forth season. I can’t really think of any other times this has happened off the top of my head. Why Reika of all people? Maybe the voice-actress asked for a favour. Either way, this is a happy little nostalgia blast. The girls are all fairly surprised since they weren’t aware that she had moved back from Africa. Considering they seem to still be seeing Motoki on a regular basis, this might suggest that the two aren’t an item any more. You’d think her return would come up on conversation.

I would have liked to see Makoto have more to do in this episode, especially since she had such an important role the last time Reika was here

I would have liked to see Makoto have more to do in this episode, especially since she had such an important role the last time Reika was here

The girls hang out with Reika for a while. It’s clear that the animators are wildly different. Four years ago it was one of the rougher animators and, while it looked -alright- then, she looks like a different person here, albeit with similar hair. Reika reveals her private self-consciousness and anxiety to a bunch of girls she’s met once before. Something about Usagi’s winning smile, perhaps.

And the reason she’s anxious? She’s been offered a placement at a European university and is wondering whether to totally abandon Motoki again. First of all, the answer is hell yes abandon him, Reika. Second of all, you’ve just got back from Africa and now you have the exact same problem as 3 seasons ago!? This seems like an oddly redundant plot to me. I’m instantly less interested in her because I’ve seen this all before.

It turns out that Motoki’s method of dealing with this situation is to ignore his girlfriend. Very mature, that’ll solve this. I love the long, pregnant pause after this sad tale before Usagi and Minako instantly launch into synchronised meddling. My favourite touch is that they know exactly what Luna and Artemis will say about this, so take pains to cover their mouths before they even get started. I DO love this show.

You'd think that the cats would have learnt not to talk in front of strangers anyway

You’d think that the cats would have learnt not to talk in front of strangers anyway

Motoki does not take the intrusion of two 15 year olds into his love life well. He’s normally so care-free and punchable that it actually makes for rather interesting watching when that mood breaks. Motoki resolute refuses to talk to Reika, and Usagi and Minako lower their opinions of him by several degrees. This is like fucking Christmas for me. Sufferrrrrr!

To be fair, this should be the reaction every time Usagi and Minako try to meddle

To be fair, this should be the reaction every time Usagi and Minako try to meddle

Ami in another booth points out they really should be talking about their new enemy. But they continue to talk about Motoki anyway. Unazuki, Motoki’s younger sister, drifts over to gossip about him too, and Usagi gets rather animated. I continue to laugh at the cat-abuse going on in this scene. The best part is it’s revealed that Usagi is projecting her own worries about her love-life onto Motoki because, as Rei reveals, she doesn’t know where Mamoru has been since the day before.

If I were Luna I would have learned not to spend any time in Usagi's arm ever

If I were Luna I would have learned not to spend any time in Usagi’s arm ever

The girls all complain about having to have multiple calls from Usagi just to listen to her fret over nothing. I mention this conversation because of how wonderfully Sailor Moon it is. The girls, hanging out, gossiping, chiding, meddling, being generally adorable and developing this rapport we’ve all come to love. I adore this scene as being representative of the slice-of-life side of the show that I truly love, something sadly missing from Sailor Moon Crystal.

Remember the days before mobile phones? Yeah me neither

Remember the days before mobile phones? Yeah me neither

Chibi-Usa hangs out with Reika and the horses. There’s some talk about animals seeing into your heart, and Chibi-Usa brings up Pegasus again (she adorably demonstrates the horn Pegasus has with a carrot). This is a scene that will become common in this series,  Chibi-Usa discussing dreams and love with a stranger, learning… something… and developing as a character. It’s completely naive and mushy, but I really like this side of the series, and Chibi-Usa is becoming increasingly a strong focus of this series. Yeah this gets formulaic later on, but for now I’m enjoying it.

I can't wait to see how she's going to simulate the wings

I can’t wait to see how she’s going to simulate the wings

Chibi-Usa, very sweetly, says that Reika has beautiful dreams, but she replies, rather conscientiously in my opinion, “My dreams hurt those around me. Can I say that such a dream is beautiful?” Well hell, that’s actually rather deep for ol’ Sailor Moon.

Another scene that will become a trope in this series is Chibi-Usa in her attic room at night processing the lessons she learnt in the day. I think this is actually fabulous. Relatively rare to see programming for young girls that take the time to teach awareness and self-development. With Usagi nattering on the phone to Minako downstairs (I love seeing her gossip), it’s clear that this is the route this season is taking: it’s making the decision to leave Usagi behind and shift gears towards Chibi-Usa, which is a brave decision. While Usagi won’t have much of a character this season, we get it in spades with Chibi-Usa.

Ho do they get those colours? I don't think they even EXISTED before this series

Ho do they get those colours? I don’t think they even EXISTED before this series

Chibi-Usa begins to think about long-term relationships not working often with Luna. Separation dissolves feelings. She says this in a rather personal way, so you can’t help think of her own situation with Pegasus… which is still rather freaky to think about. Eventually she thinks about her parents, and how no matter how far apart they are, they trust in their bonds enough to be far apart. It’s a rather touching moment when she thinks that love can survive distance. LESSON LEARNT!

You know, technically she ISN'T away from her parents...

You know, technically she ISN’T away from her parents…

When Minako hangs up, Usagi finally gets a phone call from Mamoru. She begins to yell at him for not calling, but he rather vexedly replies that he kept trying to call that he went on a seminar for university, but her line was always busy. That’s h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. I love their relationship… when they show it at all this season. In the end it’s Usagi who gets chastened for not properly discussing the new enemy, but she goes to bed blushing and rolling about in love. It’s extremely sweet, but not overly saccharine either. They hit a really good note in this episode.

"He's so cute when he shouts at me angrily on the phone."

“He’s so cute when he shouts at me angrily on the phone.”

Reika is still sucking at the equestrian stuff. I have to wonder… what the hell has this got to do with anything else in the episode? I reckon they added it in for flavour, rather than anything else, which I’m fine with. It does make the episode stand out, and the animation on the horses has been particularly solid.

Tigers-Eye finally makes his move atop a horse. I hope he gets kicked by a horse in the balls.

"It took me 4 days to find an evil-looking horse."

“It took me 4 days to find an evil-looking horse.”

Tigers-Eye’s flirtation is, as ever, creepy and abysmal. I guess the message is, beware of weirdos on horses. I’m not sure why, but seeing these women run away from their attackers is particularly more creepy in this series than the others, probably because of the, uh, sexual assault imagery they use. Either way, Tigers-Eye is a little too real for comfort here.

USE YOUR RAINBOW MONSTER POWERS! No? Remember you're also a monster? No?

USE YOUR RAINBOW MONSTER POWERS! Remember you’re also a monster? No?

Reika’s dream mirror is quickly revealed, and Chibi-Usa, sneaking in the bushes, gets her shitty transformation sequence from last series that was used once I believe. Thank god it’s about to be upgraded in a couple of episodes.

Tigers-Eye’s Remless is the Beast-Tamer Kyokumadanko. God that’s a tricky word. I don’t think too much of her design, she’s a bit boring really. Just a gal with a whip.

"To your question, yes it's dangerous to tame dangerous animals in a bra."

“To your question, yes it’s dangerous to tame dangerous animals in a bra.”

Tigers-Eye’s violation of Reika’s dream mirror is… yeah.. fucking creepy. Her blushing and screaming for him to stop, not to look, is disturbing. This modus operendi remains problematic.

...Problematic.

…Problematic.

Sailor Moon and the other Senshi arrive (the others all complaining about Sailor Moon being late for their meeting). This is the first time we see the Inner Senshi in battle in the season, so let’s hope they can actually do something. As it happens, not so much. Kykomandanko eventually gets them all running in a circle with her whip. It’s rather well animated. I laughed, although I’m always wishing for the Senshi to look cool once in a while at least.

"Can we not look awesome JUST ONCE THIS ENTIRE GODDAMN ANIME!?"

“Can we not look awesome JUST ONCE THIS ENTIRE GODDAMN ANIME!?”

Chibi-Moon’s prayer for Pegasus summons the horny beast, and his powers upgrade Sailor Moon and Chibi-Moon to their Super forms again. Sailor Moon performs that -still as of yet undeveloped- move. It’s a really weird choice to have delayed the introduction of her new attack in favour for this weird “semi-version”.

So the Remless is killed and the Inner Senshi watch as Pegasus flies off, job done and dusted.

".............." - the oddest named Sailor Moon attack yet

“…………..” – the oddest named Sailor Moon attack yet

The end of the episode sees Usagi and Minako continuing to call Motoki a complete dick for freezing out Reika. Mamoru points out that he should just explain why he’s doing it, otherwise Usagi et al. will never let him live it down. Rather astute that, as it happens. Motoki explains Reika shouldn’t have to sacrifice her dream for a shit like him (agreed) so he wanted her to feel sad and guilty and angry instead. Just like a man, am I right ladies? Maybe he should have respected her enough to communicate his feelings.

"You know how much of a dick I am right? Then you should know that me calling you a dick means something SERIOUS, Motoki."

“You know how much of a dick I am right? Then you should know that me calling you a dick means something SERIOUS, Motoki.”

Either way the decision is taken out of his hands. In a reallllllly weird decision by the writers, they had Unazuki hide Reika behind the counter at the ice-cream parlour to listen to Motoki’s reasoning, in front of a bunch of acquaintances. That’s distinctly… Saved by the Bell. Reika tells him she thought he had stopped loving her, and he gets loud and touchy. I don’t really buy this loving moment. It’s not a great pay off for the rest of the episode, and not just because I hate Motoki. It’s just… fine, and nothing more.

"REIKA. PICK ME UP A TOBLERONE AT THE AIRPORT."

“REIKA. PICK ME UP A TOBLERONE AT THE AIRPORT.”

In the end, Reika goes off to Europe for 10 years and it’s implied Motoki will continue a long-distance relationship with her. Good luck, buddy.

Yeah the romance of the ages alright

Yeah the romance of the ages alright

Overall, definitely an above-average episode. I loved the art, I loved the humour, I loved the relationships and Chibi-Usa’s thread in the episode. The action was a let-down, but thankfully it’s not too long. Reika is just ok, although this really could have been any old person, not one from the first season. They don’t really use that fact at all. So while I found the conclusion of the odd little equestrian love story a little unsatisfying, this makes me adore Usagi and Chibi-Usa all the more.


 

Episode Score: 4/5 – I’m a sucker for episode with the girls just hanging out

Monster Score: 2/5 – Danko was boooriiiing

Final Thought: Reika’s relationship with Motoki is going to last like 4 days isn’t it? But the message here is great: ladies, go fulfil your academic  dreams, your relationship doesn’t need to hold you back and tie you down. Great parting message

NEXT TIME: The Oedipal Revenge. Blech.

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3 Comments »

  1. A great way to start a Monday: with these kind of reviews. This was a highly enjoyable review and spot-on (if we exclude the ad nauseum unnecessary negative comments about Motoki). Having Reika back all the way from the first season was highly unexpected and refreshing.

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