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4:8 – Hearts that Communicate! Chibi-Usa and Pegasus

Alternative Title: An Argument for Prophylactics 

First Aried: 20th May 1995

Chibi-Usa pissed off

Chibi-Usa’s art teacher Morino-sensei is a severely unaccomplished and repressed. Unable to form any connection with her students, she is then attacked by Tigers-Eye, who plans to use her as bait to draw out Pegasus. Using a specialist Remless, he plans to infect the dreams of the person Pegasus is currently residing within…

HEY. Sorry it’s been a while. I’d like to have a good excuse… but I just fell out the habit of blogging, and podcasting takes up a lot of time.  Also it’s Sailor Moon SuperS, and it’s hard to feel motivated to watch this. I’m an awful fan aren’t I? Hurl abuse, please!

Right so this episode is the beginning of the deeply troubling episodes focussed on Chibi-Usa and Pegasus having what is clearly an inappropriately romantic storyline between an 11 year old and a fucking magic horse. It’s well animated, there’s decent character development, there’s good use of music and colour and pacing… and I don’t like it. It’s too saccharine, trying too much to force the pathos. I’m not invested in Pegasus whatsoever because the series hasn’t given me a reason to care, so much of this falls flat.

Let’s see how we go.

Chibi-Usa has what can only be described as an ardent and passionate speech in her dream, asking Pegasus why she can’t see more of him. You can tell – she’s completely besotted. The talking horse, in return, simply does an equine equivalent of a shrug.

"I have OTHER FRIENDS you know. Sniff."

“I have OTHER FRIENDS you know. Sniff.”

TITLE SCENE. Strong opening.

We’re eight episodes into this season and someone has finally had the prescience to ask some basic questions about Pegasus. Tigers-Eye accidentally wades into a metaphysical lecture on the long-toothed wonder from Zirconia, who explains that the Pegasus they’ve seen in the real world is his “shadow” (that would have been useful information a couple of episodes ago, you old bat) and that if the person in whom Pegasus is residing realised the power they held, they could rule the world.

You know I'm beginning to really fucking love Zirconia. She cocking that eyebrow somethin' fierce!

You know I’m beginning to really fucking love Zirconia. She cocking that eyebrow somethin’ fierce!

Fish-Eye casually points out that if someone wanted to take over the world they wouldn’t have a beautiful dream in the first place. This is all rather circuitous, but I like it. The characters are actually thinking about the mechanics of all this. I feel like mechanics are pretty thin on the ground in SuperS. Whereas Super had this theme of science, reason and development, SuperS has gone for a more fairytale mythos. This is interesting narratively and aesthetically, but I do wish there was more care involved in exposition.

Mostly the thing I like about this stilted scene is Zirconia describing the person in whose dream Pegasus is hiding in as his “landlord”. Bit of a chuckle there.

Tigers-Eye then goes to the back rooms of the circus tent (great shadows here) to call out his Remless early, Hebihanabiko, who is a creepy lil’ fuck. I like how SNEAKY she is. She apparently has a deus ex machina of an ability that REALLY should have been made use of before now: she can worm her way into her victims’ heart through their shadow – hence her utility – arguably her only utility – in capturing Pegasus.

My this episode is looking lovely.

"Seriously, don't touch that light switch. I have a coldsore."

“Seriously, don’t touch that light switch. I have a coldsore.”

This park is also looking grand. SO many parks in Sailor Moon. Chibi-Usa is on a field trip with her art class, so we get a bit of Momo-chan (now with purple hair!) and that green-haired little shit Kyusuke, who has obviously got low personal hygiene standards. I mean, just look at him.

"WHY DO BOYS ALWAYS SMELL LIKE BALLS, RYUSUKE?"

“WHY DO BOYS ALWAYS SMELL LIKE BALLS, RYUSUKE?”

Their teacher, Morino-sensei comes to check on their art. All of this is frickin’ awkward. I know it’s intentional, but I just can’t understand quite what they’re going for here. She initially tells Chibi-Usa off for wearing a stupid fake moustache and glasses, but just kind of tails off after Chibi-usa says it made her better. It’s so stilted. They’re going for a massively repressed character, a buzzkill who actively suppresses her own joy.

In that respect she reminds me a lot of the main character from Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher, which is really not flattering. Seriously though, check out that film, it’s amazing.

"Kids, try not to test me or I'll drown you in that lake."

“Kids, try not to test me or I’ll drown you in that lake.”

Anyway, they’ve been tasked with drawing a true-to-life landscape. Chibi-Usa’s is good, but she’s marred it with a sodding great Pegasus. The teacher says as much, that Chibi-Usa has gone against the charge she’s been given. I guess we’re meant to sympathise with Chibi-Usa here, but this is a good lesson for her to learn. Artists take on commissions. If this task was about creative and fantastical work, then she’d get a great score. So suck it, Chibi-Usa.

...still better than anything I could draw

…still better than anything I could draw

I’m prepared to set aside my eye-roll for Chibi-Usa here because of fuckwit Kyusuke, who proceeds to call Ms Morino a “blockhead”, then suggests this is why she’s “still single.”

There isn’t enough face to palm. I’m not even going to start on this.

The kids comment that Morino is cold and hard to approach, and suggest that she hates kids. Why do you think that is you turds?

"When I grow up I want to be a pointless alcoholic failure just like her"

“When I grow up I want to be a pointless alcoholic failure just like her”

Morino’s day is about to get worse, because some horrid pervert is stroking a picture of her in an evil bar contemplating his seduction and assault on her. Man this anime can be depressing sometimes. So far I’m mildly interested in the Amazon Trio’s plot with the specialist Remless, but all the stuff outside it just doesn’t interest me. I think the teacher is just a bit too real and depressing to make for a good Sailor Moon plot. Other anime’s yes, but this isn’t gelling well.

Also I’m already sick of following random-ass strangers around. I really miss our Senshi, who have had such little screen time. I think I’m grumpy today.

What is rather good is Tigers-Eye trying to hit on Fish-Eye (love it) and Fish-Eye getting extremely annoyed at this and running his mouth off. It’s rather enjoyable. It works a lot better than when Tigers-Eye is stalking and hitting on strangers in the street. Just make these two flirt for the rest of the season, please.

Coupling these two together would be far less repulsive then seeing them stalk people

Coupling these two together would be far less repulsive then seeing them stalk people

We get a rather great scene between Chibi-Usa and Usagi. They’re taking it in turns to carry the groceries, playing rock-paper-scissors on every block to see who has to carry them. Usagi always loses, because of course she does. I laughed a lot. But it also made me sad, because Usagi feels like a comic side character then our shining beacon.

"When I get home I'm dumping all this rat poison onto your bed."

“When I get home I’m dumping all this rat poison onto your bed.”

Usagi ends up banging right into Morino-sensei, and again, I like Usagi turning on the “charm” when talking to Chibi-Usa’s teacher. I flippin’ LOVE Kotono Mitsuishi’s performance as Usagi in every episode, but she’s really just so damn enjoyable to listen to in moments like these. Morino’s repression comes out further when she remarks that Chibi-Usa is very popular, to the point that is makes her jealous. GOSH. SHE’S ELEVEN. YOU POOR WOMAN.

"I wish I were eleven again. Or dead. Whichever is easiest, really."

“I wish I were eleven again. Or dead. Whichever is easiest, really.”

Morino thinks sadly as she walks off that teachers remains teachers, even on a Sunday. SHE’S ME GUYS. If I were a teacher I mean. And Japanese. And a woman I guess.

So Tigers-Eye’s pick-up attempt is… a hot fortune-teller? As Morino asks him whether she should remain a teacher or not, Tigers-Eye has an aside that he’s really not bothered about this one whatsoever, since he’s just trying to lure out the Sailor Senshi and Pegasus. I had to give a wry laugh. Horrid this may be, but I was just thinking how lazy Tigers-Eye was being.

"Seriously, it's like I've completely run out of ideas and I'm just recycling old tropes over and over again."

“Seriously, it’s like I’ve completely run out of ideas and I’m just recycling old tropes over and over again.”

Tigers-Eye pounces like the horrendous sexual predator that he is. Where has everyone on the street gone? I swear I saw people in the background before this. It’s always bugged me a little in Sailor Moon how there will be people on the street riiiiight up until the point where it would be troublesome to have them in. This only started happening from the third season, too. Lazy writing I suspect.

Tigers-Eye checking Morino’s dream is as gross as all the other times. It just does not get less creepy.

This climax is a bit different from previous episodes. For one, it lasts half the episode. Super Sailor Moon and Chibi-Moon turn up, as Tigers-Eye was expecting of course. He whips them a bit until Tuxedo Kamen turns up. This is all according to plan, of course.

"This is all going according to plan! ...uh oh... this has never happened before. What do I do!?"

“This is all going according to plan! …uh oh… this has never happened before. What do I do!?”

Chibi-Moon summons Pegasus (DON’T DO IIIIT actually do it I wanna see him explode or whatever) and the Remless Hebihanabiko attacks, jumping into Pegasus and seemingly turning him into stone? Well that was easy. Tigers-Eye chickens the fuck out right away, which is damn shame because 5 more seconds and he would have seen Chibi-Moon have an extremely obvious reaction to Pegasus being disabled.

So yes, it’s obvious to everyone but Sailor Moon that Chibi-Moon is connected to Pegasus.

"Looks like the quaaludes have kicked in."

“Looks like the quaaludes have kicked in.”

Inside her head we get nightmare stuff. This reminded me a lot of the time that nightmare droid entered Sailor Moon’s dreams back in the day, or even when Chibi-Usa had nightmares too. I like the aesthetic. It’s an interesting break in the series thus far. But, alas, the actual subject matter, as I said, is heavy-handed, saccharine and a little dull.

Hebihanabiko tries to lure Chibi-Usa into wanting to own Pegasus, to take his powers, thus ejecting Pegasus from her dream, but of course Chibi-Usa ain’t having any of it. It’s daft, really. The Remless is trying to argue that controlling your friends is great, and Chibi-Usa is, like, n’aww. Well, obviously. I do like Chibi-Usa’s moxie here. Another great performance. Feisty as hell.

"Come on, I'm obviously not evil, enslave your friend already, JESUS KID TAKE THE FUCKING THING."

“Come on, I’m obviously not evil, enslave your friend already, JESUS KID TAKE THE FUCKING THING.”

So her belief in Pegasus drives out the Remless, allowing Sailor Moon to kill her with a Moon Gorgeous Meditation. Which still looks great, even if I’m checking my watch by this point.

And Sailor Moon does not question why Chibi-Moon went into a fugue state whatsoever. Oh yeah, Morino appears to have gotten over… whatever it was that was troubling her with a dream where she gives into kids’ stupid bullshit imaginations. Well that was satisfying.

She dreams she's nice to kids... so she is? Ok? So what was the trigger for this? Why did we follow this character arc?

She dreams she’s nice to kids… so she is? Ok? So what was the trigger for this? Why did we follow this character arc?

This exchange actually happens when she wakes up:

CHIBI-USA: “Sensei! Bad guys attacked you but Sailor Moon chased them away!”

MS MORINO: “Oh. Sailor Moon.”

And that’s it. She was just rescued by a super hero and that was her reaction. I think someone has spiked the water supply of Tokyo with laudanum or something. What’s more important is that Morino gets closure on the whole picture Chibi-Usa drew at the beginning. Chibi-Usa submitted the painting with Pegasus anyway, because she thought it was better art, not really giving a shit about the score. Morino agrees with her in a rather lovely way.

Still gives her an F though. And damn straight.

You can tell she's nice now because they drew her eyes bigger

You can tell she’s nice now because they drew her eyes bigger

We aren’t done though! Pegasus leaves Chibi-Usa a final gift. It’s… a magic sphere where Pegasus lives in so he can be “better friends” with her. Also to watch her while she sleeps. Yes, this is exactly as horrifying as it sounds. Would you feel ok with an 11 year old being given a communication device that no one else knew about, warning her to keep silent about it? I’m not being glib or purposefully gross here.

"Hi Chibi-Usa. This thing allows me to watch you all the time. If you tell anyone, I'll kill you."

“Hi Chibi-Usa. This thing allows me to watch you all the time. If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you.”

I mean… Chibi-Usa takes her clothes off right there, because why not it’s just a horse right? IT’S NOT LIKE THERE’S A GROWN-ASS HUMAN MAN WATCHING A LITTLE GIRL GET NAKED, RIGHT? And he’s BLUSHING. Seriously. Hey, and guess what, I’m not posting a picture of it because I don’t want to get arrested.

"This is a great idea!" - animator who is now in prison

“This is a great idea!” – animator who is now in prison

Don’t watch this with a friend. They will judge you forever, and I say that from experience. Yes we’ve seen nudity in Sailor Moon before, but there’s something about this which is particularly disturbing. All those other bath scenes were innocent in their portrayal. By adding another party in there, one who finds it shameful enough to blush, you introduced another element in there. I’m not going to examine it because, frankly, I think you’ll do a much better job than I in the comments. Have at it.

The end.

So yeah… I liked some parts, but most of the episode I was just waiting for it to move on. I didn’t feel moved by anything, although I appreciated the effort. It’s just all feeling a bit saggy. A real shame. Also that ending has so much what-the-fuckness that you will never forget it. I mean, jesus.


 

 

Episode Score: 3/5 – It wasn’t bad, but it’s almost completely forgettable. Bar the end.

Monster Score: 2/5 – Great intro, very creepy, unsatisfactory execution.

Final thought: So he’s grooming her or…?

NEXT TIME: Rei finally gets airtime, and spends it mostly around a naked Mamoru. Sweet.

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4 Comments »

  1. Yey you’re back!

    You’re so right, I think a big reason I don’t enjoy SuperS as much as the other seasons is the Inner Senshi hardly get a chance to shine and far too much time spent on the victim of the week – needlessly so in most cases, a plot device just so Chibi-Usa can interact with them.

    This was also the same episode enjoyment started to wane and like you said it’s a shame because this season has some fantastic animation, I also could not for the life of me sympathise with that bitter lonely (and dare I say basic) bitch, a total fun killer (though she partly redeemed herself failing Chibi-Usa). Again to re-iterate your point, Pegasus is just a non-entity and the “romance” aspect weirds me out and is dis-interesting. I also think you could easily cut 10 episodes from this season and lose no plot development (well, perhaps a little from Dead Moon Circus’s perspective – I do really like the Amazon Trio as villains go) .

    Hope the hiatus doesn’t keep up (selfishly) but if so, I can’t say I wouldn’t be here at your eventual return in any case :)

  2. I was wondering if you were going to resume posing these.

    I agree, it’s too bad they went the route they did with “Sailor Moon SuperS”- telling the one-shot stories of throwaway characters rather than focusing on how these characters impact and promote character growth in the main characters. It’s too bad because, underneath all the empty calories, the elements of “SuperS” do loosely hint at an overall theme.

    If the theme of “Sailor Moon S” was idealism vs utilitarianism, the theme of SuperS is the importance of relationships…vaguely. This is especially relevant for the villains, like the Amazon Trio who try to form connections by aggressing others, but, later on, are demonstrated to be incapable of forming real, meaningful relationships. This is also true of their later successors, the Amazones Quartet. And is especially true of the yet-to-be-revealed leader of the Dead Moon Circus, even leading into the early parts of “Sailor Stars.”

    Unfortunately, it’s all handled clumsily, and any semblance of plot pacing and character development is thrown out the window in favor of filler after filler. With sexual assault, beastiality, and even a little pedophilia thrown in for bad measure.

  3. Yeah, I don’t blame you for taking your time with these. It’s like ticking off minutes until things get good again.

    Not to say that things *don’t* improve in SuperS, but, well…they don’t, at least not until the creepy rapey animal-men go away.

  4. @Kevin Lee
    These are some excellent observations. However, I would argue that the major theme in SuperS in not quite the importance of relationships – it is the inability, or refusal if you will, to change, or to grow up – and consequences thereof.

    Nehelenia is the prime example of this. Her goal is not to conquer the world, but to expand to it so that she can feed off it, i.e. remain young in order to stop her aging. She devoured all her servants, and drained them just so that she can stay in that “frozen” state indefinitely, but she needs more. She is – and I do not mean this in any ofensive or disrespectful way – the Michael Jackson of this fantasy world.

    This theme is mirrored in Fish Eye who does one of the most noble acts in anime history in two of his last episodes, when he revolts against this system and decides to change, to obtain a dream, to become a fully human being – to grow up. The same goes for Amazon Quartet, who frequently chant how they do not want to grow up. As soon as they decide, however, they are cast out of this world. The ending of this season is one of the greatest endings in Sailor Moon history – not only is it extremely epic and dramatic, but there is this one scene when Nehelenia grows old, out of her mirror preventing her status quo, and Sailor Moon looks at her, almost as if this mirrors her fate in Season R, where we had a similar theme, yet different since it is placed upside down – it seems unnatural, and you wonder if Neo-Queen Serenity is actually Nehelenia’s alternative. And Zirconia’s relationship in all of this.

    Be it as it may, I will let you figure out all these meanings – there are a few weaker episodes coming up, but things will quickly pick up and give a fantastic pay-off with the Amazon Trio.

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