4:3 – Protect a Mother’s Dream! The New Attack for Double Moon
Alternative Title: …Mommy?
First Aired: 18th March 1995
Usagi is upset when Chibi-Usa eats her share of her mother Ikuko’s lemon pie, but this belies a worry she has over how much her mother actually favours Chibi-Usa. Realising she’s been petty, Usagi heads home to apologise, but Hawks-Eye, having targeted Ikuko as a bearer of a Beautiful Dream, launches his surprisingly Freudian seduction technique…
Thanks for being patient with the release frequency of these blogs, things have happened in my life that I shan’t get into: suffice it to say that blogging about a 20 year old Japanese TV show isn’t high on my list of priorities, but hey, here I am anyway. It does bring me immense satisfaction to write a solid 3000 words on absolute bullshit, only to discover that people are actually reading the whole thing.
So thanks. You make it worthwhile. Yes, you.
I am going to have to tabulate how often I am forced to describe things as “problematic” in Sailor Moon SuperS. That word just so perfectly captures some truly confusing decisions made by the writers. Believe me, I am ALL for Oedipal complexities in my anime, god knows I’ve watched metaphors for romancing one’s mother more often than I would have thought, but Sailor Moon further complicates matters by throwing in the whole creepy allusion to sexual assault in there as well, meaning there was a large part of this episode that can get a bit repugnant when you stop and think about it.
I’ll try not to dwell too much on it. Goddamn it Hawks-Eye, you’re so fucked in the head.
Anyway, I should start this thing.
Chibi-Usa has another dream of Pegasus. It’s pretty basic considering what we’ve seen of him before, just flapping around giving his spiel about the darkness encroaching on his forest. I must say, this holier-than-though attitude better improve, Horseface, or it’s the magic glue factory for thee. What I liked about this otehrwise bland opening is that Pegasus whispers out “…if you ever need me just call my name and I’ll come to you,” to which Chibi-Usa immediately starts shouting “PEGASUS. PEGASUS. HEY, PEGASUS.”
He totally just flies off pretending not to hear her. Chibi-Usa, you are definitely in a relationship.
Sailor Moon always looks amazing in the rain. I do miss these hand-drawn backgrounds, the miserable greys. Usagi, coming home, is overjoyed when she catches the scent of her mother’s lemon pie, only to discover Chibi-Usa and the infinitely-unworthy Shingo (I think that title is going to stick) swallowing the last of the pie like a stalk eating fish. Usagi is bereft, of course, and Chibi-Usa explains that Ikuko-Mama (I love that name for her, it’s adorable) baked it for them as a treat for getting perfects on their tests.
Usagi’s shocked reaction is great, specifically her over-pronunciation of “PAAFEKUTOU…”, as if she has never heard of such a thing.
Ikuko then drops the hammer on Usagi, who is having a very bad afternoon, by whipping out her own test score of 28. That Usagi tried to hid the test under her bed is classic. Usagi wouldn’t mind this so much if she got a slice of pie, but Ikuko appears confused, having split the pie specifically to include Usagi too.
UH OH CHIBI-USA AND SHINGO GOT SOME ‘SPLAININ TO DO.
Ikuko tries to calm Usagi down by pointing out that she’s several years older than Chibi-Usa, but Usagi continues to scream for her future daughter to… uh… well, the implication is that she wants her to regurgitate the lemon pie and return her share…? That’s commitment to the cause, Usagi. Now this is where things really get interesting. Like, Ricki Lake interesting. Usagi accuses Ikuko of going too easy on Chibi-Usa (this is very much those arguments between mothers and grandmothers), then claims that she read in a book that spoiling a kid is a sign that one’s relationship with one’s husband is cooling down…?
Wow. Damn Usagi, that’s real cold. All over food no less.
Usagi resolves the awkward situation by calling her mum a dick and running out the house (returning sheepishly for an umbrella). Ikuko has the patience of a saint. I thought it was cruel in the first episode when she kicked Usagi out the house, but honestly, I think she was pretty justified. But seriously, I loved this whole domestic scene. More than that, it took such little time to throw in so many quality jokes and scene-building. Good economy of time.
So like all petulant teenagers, Usagi goes to bitch to her friends. She reveals the true source of her angst here, which is that she suspects Ikuko prefers Chibi-Usa to her. We’ve seen this level of jealousy before, a couple of times actually, with the deeply problematic (oops said it again) mother-father-daughter stuff. Thankfully this is all played off for jokes.
It takes Ami to point out to Usagi that Chibi-Usa has been away from her parents for like a year, and that it’s to be expected for her to enjoy being spoilt a bit. This actually has the desired effect of shutting Usagi up, but there’s a rather poingant pause where Usagi looks like this is actually sinking in. This rarely happens. I suspect this is part of SailorS’ modus operendi, to show Usagi being a bit more mature. Sure she’s spent the entire episode thus far crying about food and being jealous of a 9 year old, but the point is that she seems to be taking stock and realising that she’s being a dumbass.
Which is nice.
I’ll also say that I have a low tolerance for stupidity, but Usagi always somehow gets away with it. I don’t find her annoying here. I’d like her to be a little bit cooler, but if she were, she wouldn’t be our Usagi would she?
BAR TIME. IT’S GROSS.
The Amazon Trio are deciding who to sexually assault next when Hawks-Eye picks up a photo of Ikuko-Mama of all people. His reasoning? Hold a sec while I relocate my computer next to a toilet.
“Older women are more accepting, and there are better to fool around with. I will now show you the technique of madame-killer Hawks-Eye.”
Excuse me while I throw-up until the heat-death of the universe. This is vile. I like that the show is clearly marking that out to be true, they want you to be as disgusted with him as possible, but it concerns me a little of the tone of it all. I feel like… rather than making a valid point about sexual predators and the objectification of women to the point of actual attack, and the point is in there, that they’ve diluted it. I’m not sure they’ve trivialised sexual assault in SuperS, but it can legitimately feel that way sometimes.
Just a reminder – I love Sailor Moon, I even enjoy this episode, but intellectual honesty demands that my reviews be held to the same ethical standards I run my own life by. That I can even analyse this show with such a lens shows the quality of it, even when it’s icky and a little misjudged. Do I sound defensive?
OK, seriously shit over. For now, at least, because Hawks-Eye is going to complicate this matter further in ways I could not have predicted.
Anyway, Chibi-Usa feels bad about Usagi and wonders where she is. You know, I’m totally thinking that Usagi was 99% in the wrong here, and that Chibi-Usa shouldn’t have to feel as guilty as she does. She goes to talk to Ikuko-Mama, and finds her sorting old family photos. I love this scene.
We get to see baby Usagi looking adorable and ridiculous through the eyes of the women closest to her in the world, her mother and her daughter. Their fondness for her is palpable, and it warms my icy and calloused British heart to see it.
The one of Usagi at Chibi-Usa’s age, on her first day at school, is my favourite.
Chibi-Usa has a minor ego-death when she realises that she was absent from all of these photos, but Ikuko-Mama, being the best goddamn Ikuko-Mama in the world, seems to sense this and whips out her favourite photo of all, which tactfully includes Chibi-Usa. These photos are her dreams, she says, that her family will be strong and healthy and happy. No, I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING.
The scene ends sweetly with Ikuko suggesting that if Chibi-Usa wants to apologise, to do it quickly, as Usagi appears to hold fairly serious grudges over food. YOU THINK?
Usagi is just… loitering, refusing to go home. But thinking about it, she finally decides to go home. I’m pretty sure it’s close to like 9pm. What a delinquent. Still, showing this moment of emotional growth is important for her character. Usagi doesn’t have much of a character arc this series, but there are moments where she shines. As much as I’ve said I have a problem with this series, so far it’s been excellent.
Ikuko and Chibi-Usa are retunring home with a shit-ton of lemons to make another pie for Usagi. I think this is like giving in to a tantrum, but hey, I’ve never raised kids. Sometime truly creepy happens here. They’re walking in the park (IT’S ALWAYS THE GODDAMN PARK), while Hawks-Eye fucking spies on them from the bushes like a total goddamn stalker. Wow that’s not cool, dude. Seriously, if I were a kid watching this, I would scream every time a male entered my field of vision.
What’s creepiest is that this happens far too often in real life.
Hawks-Eye uses his magic finger snap to burst the bag of lemons… then runs up to the two of them in his “brilliant disguise”. He’s… like a fucking creepy dweeb who grabs her hand, starts crying and says, in a supremely Freudian voice, “MUMMYYYY.” Someone call my therapist. So Hawks-Eye’s madame-killer technique is to pose as a man who was separated from his own mother at birth, and now recognises this complete stranger as looking remarkably similar to his own absent parent.
So… where does… the, uh… you know… sexual attraction fit into this scenario?
Hearing Hawks-Eye repeatedly say “…Mommy…” makes my sexual organs shrivel and vacate the premises. It’s hilarious, but I’m also deeply concerned. See this is why “problematic” is such a perfect descriptive here.
Ok, so after creeping out both Ikuko and Chibi-Usa, the next step in his seduction is to… faint over the lemons. In a round about way, this causes Chibi-Usa to go and run to buy Hari-Hari pickles (I googled it – looks gross), thus leaving Hawks-Eye alone with Ikuko… yeah this is starting to make me deeply uncomfortable, in that “you leave a man alone with a women in a park and she’s assaulted” kind of way…
The worst bits are the evil expressions the Amazon Trio always have when their plans begin to come together.
So Hawks-Eye brings out the 80s lounge-lizard technique. You know, to that women he was just calling Mummy. Let’s all agree never to look our mothers in the eye ever again, as we realise that Usagi and Chibi-Usa are now hiding in the bushes themselves, watching their mother be… aggressively romanced by some dude with boundary issues.
When his face changes, it’s horrible. Like, even worse than Tigers-Eye. It’s like… how should I put this… the face that every man has the potential to make. I don’t want to get into it, I’m a straight male, why the hell are you listening to my take on women’s liberties? There are infinitely better feminist bloggers than I. I just wanted to write a piece on a goddamn kids anime, not deal with the inherent fear that all women have been forced to have around men, thanks to a media that permits male entitlement and sexual assault while suggesting that it’s somehow the woman’s fault. Anyway, SAILOR MOON.
So yeah, Sailor Moon has never had to rescue her mother before. It’s interesting, because Usagi’s parents are so absent from the show as to be near non-entities, but I find Ikuko deeply interesting, especially her relationship with her children. I would love to have seen more of it.
Hawks-Eye’s first Remless is “Human Cannonball, Dokanko.”
Dokanko has one major handicap, and that is it takes a rather long time for her to set up the cannon, calibrate its aim, and fire herself. All time her opponents could be using to mount a pre-emptive attack, but this is Sailor Moon and Chibi-Moon, so they just stand around looking gormless.
Sailor Venus thankfully yanks them out of the way in time. Yaaay she’s usefullll!
And then they just let her fire herself all over again! I actually rather like this Remless, how shit she is, yet inexplicably effective. I also like how increasingly pissed off she is that her targets would dare to dodge.
Chibi-Moon shows real pluck (and also pretty mush reveals her secret identity) by attacking Hawks-Eye before he can attack Ikuko’s dream while calling her “her second mama“. Well shit just give him your home address and be done with it. Hawks-Eye raises his hand to strike poor Chibi-Moon (who looks rather cool, if stupid here), when Sailor Moon CANNONBALLS HERSELF into Hawks-Eye, this being her standard attack. Finally! She looks cool! While defending her daughter! She’s showing that she has the capacity to be a truly caring mother! Sometimes!
Hawks-Eye gets NAILED.
Sailor Moon tries to fire off a good old Moon Spiral Heart Attack (ahhh it’s been a while) but IT DOES NOTHING. So these Dead Moon Circus guys are pretty tough, apparently. Hawks-Eye isn’t messing about like Tigers-Eye was, he goes on the offensive by blowing fire.
Hawks-Eye finally gets to shove his head in Ikuko’s dream mirror (grossssss) but his reaction is deistinctly different from Tigers-Eye. Instead of screaming in ecstasy, which is repulsive, Hawks-Eye just murmurs “Hrmm I see. Ahh. Interesting.” That’s a lot more tasteful and lessens the allegory to sexual assault, which is nice I guess? I do find his anti-climactic reaction rather funny I have to admit.
Dodanko is remarkably winning, and is about to kill Ikuko when Sailor Chibi-Moon finally realises her ultimate destiny in this season of being a pager, and begs Pegasus for help. Who finally turns up. This guy is a wet-drip, but he does impart his power to Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi-Moon, who now have the power to use “Moon Crisis Make Up!” (I love that phrase).
NEW DOUBLE-TRANSFORMATION! IT’S REAL DAMN GOOD, YA’LL.
THEY ROTATE AND STUFF. AND THEN THEY SNIFF EACH OTHER’S FACES. AWESOME. At this point you should be realising that they are equating Sailor Moon and Chibi-Moon in this series by this point. And I’m completely fine with that, this duality is really cool.
Oh, Pegasus also gives NEW TOYS! Wow, Chibi-Moon has got to ask for this guy’s help more often, he’s just Deus Ex Machina-ing all over the shop. Hey, I might be annoyed, but I give Sailor Moon so many passes. Who cares, it’s awesome, it’s pretty, it’s shiny, let’s do this thing.
Introducing the Kaleido-Moonscope (that’s Chibi-Usa’s pager) and the Crystal Carillion (which is pretty damn cool), now on sale at participating stores everywhere. In 1996. And here comes one of my favourite attacks. First Chibi-Moon prays for Pegasus’ powers with TWINKLE YELL (but she totally can’t pronounce “yell”, so it’s adorable)…
And Super Sailor Moon uses MOON GORGEOUS MEDITATION (what a name), the attack she’s been threatening to pull off the last two episodes. They held off on fully unveiling this attack to heighten the impact of its arrival, and it worked. I’m hyped at this point.
This thing is SO GOOD. Watch:
Super Sailor Moon sasses out with her new stick, then we get split-screens of her blasting out shards of glass right into the face of the Remless, who screams STAGE-OUT. SO. MANY. CAPS. So yeah I’m thrilled with all this. It looks great, the music is awesome, I love the rhythm of it all, the style. So good.
Pegasus gets the shit out of there before anyone can ask him to clean up his horse poop.
Cut to the Tsukino household, with Ikuko doing the mum thing and serving up enough lemon pie for her daughter, he granddaughter, five of their closest friends, and some old dude who is inexplicably in the room for some reason. Of course the good mood doesn’t last as Usagi and Chibi-Usa begin fighting, which causes everyone else to start screaming too (that’s just what these Sailor Senshi do, and I love them for it). Ikuko eventually explodes and orders them to eat in quiet. It’s very funny.
Inviting nothing but disaster, Usagi asks Chibi-Usa on the sly which mother she prefers, the one from the future or Ikuko, to which Chibi-Usa says she loves them equally. Awwww but also if I were Usagi I’d be pissed also awwww.
Damn solid episode. Creepy Freudian middle-eight, Hawks-Eye is even more creepy than Tigers-Eye, a feat I thought impossible, but there you are. Great domestic drama, a few great moments for Usagi and Chibi-Usa, some lovely emotional family moments and the introduction of a new transformation sequence and attack! That’s all you could ask for!
Episode Score: 4/5 – Wow, this season is starting strong, right?
Monster Score: 3/5 – Dokanko made me genuinely laugh, but not altogether memorable
Final Thought: It might have been because I’ve watched so much Neon Genesis Evangelion recently, but the Oedipal pick-up technique from Hawks-Eye didn’t seem as nearly as bizarre to me as I would have hoped. Just par for the money in anime, right? Mommy?
NEXT TIME: The obligatory Naru/Umino episode! Remember when they were major side characters? Yeah, once-a-season cameos by 1995. Also everyone looks like they were drawn while drunk.