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4:5 – A Couple Made for Each Other! Usagi and Mamoru’s Love

Alternative Title: Delectable, Inflatable You

First Aired: 15th April 1995

Remless Puko

Mamoru’s university peer Saori is an ambitious, intelligent and beautiful woman whom all agree would make a far more suitable girlfriend to Mamoru than Usagi. As Chibi-Usa worries that Mamoru will realise this too, thus endangering her own birth, Saori is targeted by Tigers-Eye on the day she builds up the courage to confess to her friend.

Yaaaah an Usagi/Mamoru coupling episode. I always like these, mainly because they’re rather rare considering the supposed depth of their relationship. In fact, we get Usagi and Mamoru’s relationship from external perspectives, which is even more rare in Sailor Moon, and that makes this episode a distinct oddity, and a welcome one. In fact, I might go as far as to say this is one of my favourites in this series, if my memory serves me.

The strength of this episode lies in the introduced characters. We see them walking from a distance, Saori and Kobayashi (a surname I’ve loved since The Usual Suspects) are walking to a “sempai’s” house, and after a bit of teasing back and forth, Kobayashi wonders what the Sempai’s girlfriend is like.

Yeah, so the Sempai is Mamoru, and these friends of his have no idea what Usagi is like. I get the impression Mamoru keeps that quiet. Possibly because of the law? Because yeah, it does sort of look like Mamoru’s a paedophile when you stop and think about it for a sec. Moving on swiftly…

"Hi Mamoru, we're here to check your hard drive."

“Hi Mamoru, we’re here to check your hard drive.”

Kobayashi is being rather entertaining, being disappointed in how clean Mamoru’s place is. I really like this guy. His faded-green jacket is so 90s it hurts. We get to understand that these three know each other from university, but Kobayashi seems detached from the conversation, whirling a beady eye around Mamoru’s stuff. It turns out he’s looking for photos of his girlfriend. It’s understandable, I mean, come on Mamoru put a couple up!

"Is that a cape and a top hat in the corner...?"

“Is that a cape and a top hat in the corner…?”

And that’s when Usagi starts ringing the doorbell. Non-stop. Usagi makes a great first impression.

As Mamoru gets up, Kobayashi strongly intimates to Saori on the sly that he’s interested in Mamoru’s girlfriend on her behalf. Hrmmm unrequited love perhaps? She’s utterly unimpressed at first, until he mentions that whenever she sees Mamoru, Saori wears a different coloured lipstick, which gets her flustered. Damn, Kobayashi has Sherlock skills.

I’ll say now that this is that one particular animator that I know if kinda rubbish, but that I’ve always liked. It’s over-simplistic, but it’s approachable and soft. Movement is also typically well-animated with this artist, which counts for a lot, and they get expressions really well, even if it looks unpolished.

This is when Mamoru walks back in the room with Usagi and Chibi-Usa hanging off his arms crooning “Mamooo-chaaaaan” and I die with embarrassment. They’re just doing the same shit they always do, but seeing it from the point of view of a third party is so squeemish. I love it. Once again it seems impossible that these two are actually going out.

*facepalm*

*facepalm*

Usagi and Chibi-Usa begin screaming at each other…

Saori and Kobayashi are utterly speechless…

And then the two girls make a highly formal and flowery apology for their behaviour. It’s amazingly funny. Especially Mamoru’s pained and resigned expression.

She actually slips into the super-polite form of speech, which sounds bizarre coming from Usagi

She actually slips into the super-polite form of speech, which sounds bizarre coming from Usagi

There’s a really well done pause on Saori’s face as she smiles, but sadly. Turns out that the happiness of Mamoru and Usagi is causing her pain, the poor girl.

There’s a great scene of Kobayashi trying to engage Usagi in conversation, but she’s so into cake that she stonewalls his curiosity. There are so many funny moments here, like Usagi commenting that she’s completely satisfied in terms of Mamoru’s love, which gets a shocked silence from Saori and Kobayashi, and presumably the audience. I gave a rather dirty chuckle here i have to admit. The next awkward pause comes when Chibi-Usa pointedly asks what Saori’s relationship with Mamoru is, which gets… another wall. Saori’s good at this.

The comedy is on-point here. The timing is universally excellent

The comedy is on-point here. The timing is universally excellent

It’s revealed that Saori’s dream OH LORD SHE HAS AS DREAM YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS is to become Japans first female commissioner, something she seems rather embarrassed about. I’m liking this girl a lot. She’s competent and clearly driven, but hides this love for Mamoru that is the source of great touchiness and embarrassment. It’s also rather clear that Kobayashi is a bit too concerned for Saori’s feelings. It’s good writing, I’m clear on where all the characters stand and how they’re dealing with their emotions, without it being too overt.

So it’s obvious that Saori is the next target of the Amazon Trio, who opine mindlessly on “the type of girl” she is. At the very least this is teaching us to revile stereotyping and the predatory male instinct when it comes to women. Tigers-Eye is back on the case here. Gross.

"Hey guys, this letter from my doctor claims I have gonorrhoea."

“Hey guys, this letter from my doctor claims I have gonorrhoea, whatever that is.”

Usagi is having a crisis over whether to buy an ugly horse or an ugly hippo, having the money or only one. Chibi-Usa is utterly scornful at this, breaking out some rather complex thoughts about the security of Usagi’s relationship with Mamoru that completely goes over her mother’s head. Evidently she’s rather worried about Saori after all.

Chibi-Usa eventually gets so disgusted by Usagi’s airyness that she storms out shouting that neither doll is cute, to which Usagi retorts “You don’t understand this highbrow hobby!” I love this show. This is a great episode.

"Usagi, that's racist."

“Usagi, that’s racist.”

Enter Tigers-Eye. I wonder how he’s going to approach this today?

Ekasceuzame. Ekasceuzame. Uwatu time is it nau?

Oh shit he’s playing the helpless Westerner card. Mothers lock up your daughters, no man can resist this high-pitched squeeming douche-prick. After an outburst that results in Tigers-Eye speaking in “bad” Japanese to ask her out to dinner, Saori runs off towards Mamoru, relieved. This is so disturbingly pathetic, and yes, hilarious. I mean, he even gets in an “OHHHH MY GOOOOD!

"Oh I'm sorry, are you too stupid to look and talk at the same time?"

“Oh I’m sorry, are you too stupid to look and talk at the same time?”

The best thing about Tigers-Eye humiliatingly impotent performance is that this time, Fish-Eye and Hawks-Eye have turned up to watch. They are fighting back the urge to just point and laugh at the buffoon. I like this side of the Amazon Trio much better. I know you’ve got to make them actually dangerous for there to be tension, but seeing them assault women every week does get tiring. This stuff I really like.

We then get an amazing scene of Mamoru breaking up with Usagi because of how much he loves Saori, demonstrated by him holding her head in his armpit, rubbing her head vigorously and saying “look how much I love her, this much, see?” It’s so incredibly dramatic with the music and background, off-set with such dumb dialogue, that I can’t help but laugh my ass off every time. tumblr_mo7dos8zPX1ro8ba4o1_400

Clearly this is Chibi-Usa’s nightmare, because if Mamoru and Usagi don’t get married and do the horizontal-hula, Chibi-Usa won’t ever been born. It’s taken her this long to figure that out. So maybe don’t try and get in their way any more Chibi-Usa? Just sayin’…

Chibi-Usa has her fears confirmed when she sees Mamoru and Saori walking along. She begins to do what any self-respecting Tsukino family member would do, namely stalk them, when she sees our old mate Kobayashi doing the exact same thing. HEY I LOVE THIS GUY! Good to see you again, buddy! Hey why are you stalking that friend of yours? You don’t have the right to be the creepy jealous stalker, you know. OH WHO COULD STAY MAD AT YOU just because you betrayed all sense of trust and decency with Saori because you couldn’t respect her enough to treat her like a human with a right to privacy and her own decisions?

"Oh. Hey. Are you trying to steal Saori's hair too?"

“Oh. Hey. Are you trying to steal Saori’s hair too?”

Saori seems to be trying to build up to something, or she’s just shell-shocked to be in Mamoru’s company. Man, every woman in this goddamn show wants Mamoru’s D don’t they? Let’s actually step back and think about this for a second.

Well I guess I have to admit that there’s something in his suave condescending style that might be attractive…

Kobayashi, walking with a 10 year old girl he just met, is now stalking with a partner. He thinks Saori and Mamoru look like a perfect couple… which gets him all depressed. At least he’s honest about his feelings. I’d be rooting for you if you weren’t stalking this woman right now. At the very least, Chibi-Usa cheers for him in a rather cute moment. Kobayashi doesn’t look completely encouraged by this, does he?

"Dude you totally need to bang her, bro"

“Dude you totally need to bang her, bro”

Chibi-Usa, incensed and worried, returns to Usagi to find her still trying to decide between the hippo or the horse. Gosh I love her. Chibi-Usa looks seriously pissed as she orders Usagi to come and defend her man from Soari and finally gets through to her by pointing out that Saori is “…more mature, sexier and is more intelligent. I’d much prefer her as a mother.” Awww this is cruel. Just a second ago she was worried about stuffed animals, now she’s having an existential crisis about being a shitty teenager. Thanks Chibi-Usa.

…probably needed to be said though.

And then, USAGI DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT. This is what I like best of all. Usagi doesn’t doubt Mamoru’s love for her whatsoever. A dangerous position to be sure, but it says something about her. It reminds me a lot of the episode where that bug lady Giwaku tried to brainwash her – she had such a firm opinion on herself that she was unflappable. Here, I think, they show real character growth because she doesn’t worry about her image, doesn’t get paranoid, simply trusts in a way that, while seemingly obtuse, is also rather impressive.

What an amazing scene.

"I'm self-actualised, you little shit. Impervious to criticism!"

“I’m self-actualised! Impervious to criticism! Time to go on Japan’s Got Talent!”

Either way Chibi-Usa gets pissed off and drags her away.

Saori has bought a gift, a tie. Mamoru is teasing her that its for the guy she likes, and there’s a bit of back-and-forth flirting that definitely, definitely feels more legitimate than anything between him and Usagi (sorry). It does feel like a sad, romantic scene. The art is simple, but it works.

A lovely, simple art direction that really gets across their connection. Good camera usage

A lovely, simple art direction that really gets across their connection. Good camera usage

Saori seems to be getting the courage to actually tell Mamoru her feelings, but then…

“Ekasceuzame.”

"Oh jeeze this guy again."

“Oh fuck this guy again. Eugh.”

Tigers-Eye says hell to “subtlety” and just flat out attacks her. This is how he “wins” her, which is all sorts of gross.

Mamoru finally gets what’s been coming to him for over 3 years and gets whipped to the ground. YOU TAKE IT, MAMO-CHAN. I don’t know why I delight in Mamoru being defeated, he’s a nice enough guy (sometimes), but there’s just something so satisfying about it. So yeah, no Tuxedo Kamen. Sweet.

"NOT THE BALLS NOT THE BALLS DON'T STAB ME IN THE BALLS."

“NOT THE BALLS NOT THE BALLS DON’T STAB ME IN THE BALLS.”

Saori actually has a huge amount of balls here, giving the wannabe-police speech to Tigers-Eye about giving in while his crimes are still petty. Oh yeah, where the hell is everyone, it’s in the park in the middle of the day in TOKYO no less. She sadly gets the gross mirror treatment before Sailor Moon turns up.

Today’s Remless is…

AMAZING.

Oh my god, baby got back

Oh my god, baby got back

Puko is the start of a series of Remless, a family if you will. It’s a reoccurring joke throughout the series that I just adore because, you see, Puko and her relatives are fucking balls. I’m pretty sure they’re fun of their own monster designs here, because Puko is utterly stupid, choking her opponents to “beautiful death” by hugging them. It’s so beautifully ridiculous.

This is the way I want to go, guys. Take a note.

This is the way I want to go, guys. Take a note.

Puko eventually moves towards suffocating Saori, but Mamoru shouts out… and Puko stops… and slowly looks around at him. Like a velociraptor.

Oh my god this is amazing. Let’s add the Remless Puko to that list from earlier shall we? Mamoru’s expression is exquisite.

"I INSTANTLY REGRET THIS."

“I INSTANTLY REGRET THIS.”

And Sailor Moon takes the hit for him! This is AMAZING again. The sad dramatic music begins playing, this is meant to be a beautiful sacrifice, and even Puko begins commenting as such as she’s suffocating Sailor Moon to death, “You’re going to save him using your body as a shield! Beautiful! How beautiful!” in a really sincere voice. I’m dying of laughter.

No matter how severe the situation this is, Sailor Moon’s face in a balloon just looks absurd.

You know he's surrounded by knives right? Betting's good she would've just cut herself, Sailor Moon

You know he’s surrounded by knives right? Betting’s good she would’ve just cut herself, Sailor Moon

Puko continues to earn my heart: in a deeply emotional and concerned voice, “Don’t worry about it! Right after I kill her, I’ll kill you too.

OH PUKO YOU'RE SO CARING AND SENSITIVE

OH PUKO YOU’RE SO CARING AND SENSITIVE

Mamoru screams “Usako” and Saori, not as knocked out as every other person ever attacked by a monster, realises that she’s been competing with the soldier of love and justice herself. OUT MATCHED, LADY.

Mamoru rips free of the daggers (I think he could have done this 5 minutes ago if he really tried) and finally punctures our poor beautiful Puko, you MONSTER. She deflates, and Sailor Moon gets her breath back enough to fire a Moon Gorgeous Meditation as Puko takes the rough form of a lady and tries to pump herself back up. An amazing end to an amazing fight. If only all climaxes to Sailor Moon were this entertaining.

...is it wrong I found her more attractive as a ball?

…is it wrong I found her more attractive as a ball?

Saori sees Sailor Moon and Mamoru looking all hot and sexy together and realises it’s probably time to move on. Aww.

"I'd kiss you but my mouth tastes like latex right now."

“I’d kiss you but my mouth tastes like latex right now.”

The next day, Kobayashi talks to Saori, asking whether she confessed to Mamoru or not. She looks rather playful as she tells him no, then hands him the tie she intended for Mamoru, saying it would be a waste otherwise. Yaaaay for Kobayashi, she settled! Second place! Good for you!

The episode ends with Saori reflecting that she could never compete with the woman defending Earth, and we see the dysfunctional family one last time as a huge grin spreads on my face.

"Hey, settling's good! I can live with that! Everything's coming up Milhouse!"

“Hey, settling’s good! I can live with that! Everything’s coming up Milhouse!”

I love this episode. They kept the creepy Amazon Trio stuff to a minimum, kept them absurd and mostly funny. The jokes, every single one, make me smile. I loved the itinterent characters of Saori and Kobayashi, and think they added to the development of Usagi and Mamoru, rather than detracted from their screen time. The art, as I said, is rubbish, but in a good way. The use of ironic music was excellent, and I loved that the show made fun of its dramatic scenes in a couple of places.

Best of all is Puko. I love that balloon. Something about me and inflatable women, eh?


 

 

Episode Score: 5/5 – SCREW IT I LOVE THIS ONE

Monster Score: 5/5 – “How beautiful!” Puko had me laughing every weird line

Final Thought: Saori wanted to tell Mamoru she loved him with a tie? Jesus

NEXT TIME: We meet a tiny grey cat who is definitely definitely not named after an ill-fated ex-wife of the Prince of Wales.

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5 Comments »

  1. I love your takes on SuperS considering that it’s not my favourite season, but this is a rather good episode. I think I’ll have to take my SuperS DVDs to give it another chance.

    • All the early episodes in SuperS are rather good, which is not something I remembered. I imagine the quality may fairly soon drop, however…

  2. One thing we really have to give Mamoru credit for: he is able to take Usagi’s more questionable characteristics in stride. I thought it was both amazing and hilarious that Usagi is hammering away at his doorbell, or is completely oblivious to Saori and Kobayashi’s reservations about her, yet Mamoru plays it all completely straight-faced.

  3. “SCREW IT I LOVE THIS ONE”
    My reaction exactly. Every single second.

    Best bits: “See, see!”, Usagi’s confidence in her partner and Puko.

    I think I hear our word for “hour” instead of the English one when Saori tells the time “It’s 5 sati”.
    I might be imagining it, but it would be a weird thing to imagine,

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