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4:10 – Forest of Illusion! Invitation of a Beautiful Fairy

Alternative Title: The Crying Game

First Aired: 3rd June 1995

Fish-Eye looking at Kitakama's photo

While Tigers-Eye and Hawks-Eye feel uninspired with the selection of dream targets presented to them by Zirconia, Fish-Eye finally spots a photo he likes: an author lost in his own fantasies of a beautiful fairy. Fish-Eye captivates the hapless man by fulfilling this vision, and Chibi-Usa’s suspicions are aroused…

Hi! I’m back. Hope you enjoyed the podcast reviews of Sailor Moon Crystal. Right, back to Sailor Moon SuperS.

Sooooo this episode is… problematic. It’s a bit of a minefield. We’ll get to it as we go, yeah?

Also, all speed-bumps regarding sexuality aside, this is kind of a naff episode. It’s from one of the animators I like least, with naff writing. The saving grace is, unexpectedly, Fish-Eye, who shines when it’s his turn to step up to the, uh, sexual assault plate, as it were.

Chibi-Usa is shopping for books when her eyes are caught by a book. It’s called fairy. Uh-oh. I rather like this initially scene. For one, it seems to be animated by a competent hand, which changes fairly rapidly. For another, the joke that pans to the title card is pretty damn hilarious, as Usagi asks Chibi-Usa who she thinks is going to buy that expensive book for her. I can only assume Usagi is cooking meth on the side to fund her premature role of parent.

"Hey. You can read. I owe Rei 1000 yen."

“Hey. You can read. I owe Rei 1000 yen.”

Chibi-Usa then pulls a Yomiko Readman from Read Or Die (anyone? Anyone seen that anime? At all? No?) and reads while walking, leading to a rather obvious collision with some hipster douche who is obviously going to turn out to be the author. I mean seriously, Sailor Moon. I feel like the contrivances you can get away with if the stories are good enough, but in SuperS, and I’m not sure why, but these coincidences are making me cut you less and less slack.

This is lazy writing.

"Oh I'm sorry I was too busy with this contrived plot device to see you."

“Oh I’m sorry I was too busy with this contrived plot device to see you.”

Yaaay it’s Equine Pervert Fun Time. Pegasus goes on about flowers while Chibi-Usa holds up her new book to show him illustrations of topless fairies, and I’m not even kidding.

"I'm an all-powerful magical being. Please tell me more about your stupid kids book about fairies."

“I’m an all-powerful magical being. Please tell me more about your stupid kids book about fairies.”

We cut back to when Chibi-Usa met Boring Hipster Author Douche. It’s a bit of an unnecessary device, I feel, in a 25 minute anime, to cut back and forth between times. It serves no purpose. I think the writers were trying to making the framing of this conversation more interesting by placing it in the context of Pega-perv (Pervasus?) but, yeah, it’s just lump and awkward. Either way, this douche thinks that fairies are real because he dreams about them.

Chibi-Usa blithely asks, “So if you were to get married, you would want to marry someone who’s like a fairy?

Two thoughts on this;

  1. Chibi-Usa, stop asking such fucking dumb questions to strangers you meet in the park. I’m always having to defend you against Chibi-Usa detractors out on the internets and you’re making it very difficult right now.
  2. The choice of the word fairy is unfortunate considering the plot of the rest of the episode
  3. Same-sex marriages have been legalised in a few prefectures in Japan. Get on that, Creepy Fairy Hat Dude
"Hey bro, you need pot?"

“Hey bro, you need pot?”

Oh yeah, Chibi-Usa mentions that she thinks his wife/husband should love small animals and plants and shit, which is only worth noting because it’s a telegraphed set-up for late in the episode.

The memory ends on Chibi-Usa and the creepy dude she just met on the street laughing as the camera pulls away. My favourite editing technique, the “camera operator is so repelled by the inane laughter that they slowly pan away in disgust” method of film-making.

Right. Bar time. Apparently Tigers-Eye and Hawks-Eye are unsatisfied with all the women presented to them as potential targets. Because, you know, women are there to be treated as meat for male consumption. I realise this is a criticism on that perspective, but it RANKLES, I tells ya. The children get into a squabble that finally spells out in large letters the “type” that these predators target, Hawks-Eye preferring older women and Tigers-Eye rebutting, and I quote:

It’s obvious that girls are better the younger they are!

I feel like that sentence needs no further analysis, really.

I have to admit, as these guys are trading analogies of “unripe fruit” and “rotten fruit”, the thing that made me actually laugh was Hawks-Eye obliquely pointing out that young women don’t have as much money. By the time they’re comparing the “smell” of older and younger women, I’m about ready to throw up.

"You just wanna stop arguing and find a cheap brothel like we do every night?"

“You just wanna stop arguing and find a cheap brothel like we do every night?”

Right Fish-Eye, set these dudes straight.

Fish-Eye is a dude. He likes dudes. He finally gets a photo of a dude he likes and he’s finally ready to do some work. Let’s return to this in a bit.

After all the gross shit those guys were saying, it seems rich that they would be grossed out by homosexuality, but I guess all hyper-heteros are like that

After all the gross shit those guys were saying, it seems rich that they would be grossed out by homosexuality, but I guess all hyper-heteros are like that

Right so Chibi-Usa is now stalking Boring Douche Author. Their conversation about absolutely nothing is conveniently interrupted by… the ethereal prancing image of a fairy. What are the odds that Fish-Eye would attack just as Chibi-Usa turned up.

Soooooooooo Fish-Eye is hot. He makes a fantastic woman. And guess what, the seiyuu is totally a dude, which took me by surprise, as he sounds so very delicate too. Akira Ishida is so incredibly good at a lady voice that I never realised it was a guy until I checked out the IMDb page. By the way, this is the guy who voices Kaworu Nagisa in Evangelion, possibly one of the most famous homosexual characters in anime. Just saying he has a wheelhouse.

Fish-Eye taking fashion tips from Michiru, here

Fish-Eye taking fashion tips from Michiru, here

Fish-Eye’s seduction is actually going rather well. I much prefer this to seeing Tigers-Eye and Hawks-Eye’s gross grooming of innocent women. Fish-Eye makes the guys come to him, and he’s rather good at it… until, that is, Diana the cat becomes obsessed with his smell, since he smells like a fish, and he runs off in fright.

"Hey lady, did you step in a bucket of krill or something?"

“Hey lady, did you step in a bucket of krill or something?”

Fish-Eye runs off to take a shower to get the kitten stank off him… and he appears to have boobies? I know he had them in the dress, buuuuut… I mean, Tigers-Eye and Hawks-Eye literally just said he was a boy. I can only assume the animator just couldn’t bring themselves to not draw boobies on that rockin’ bod? Like… why cover the nipples in foam? They’ve shown male chests before. I honestly think the animator is confused.

"Now I've got to wash off these fake magical boobs too"

“Now I’ve got to wash off these fake magical boobs too”

A few days later, we see the Sailor Team discussing the developments around Mr Hipster Fairy Douche-Nozzle Author. This is kind of a cheap device that’s been used a few times before in Sailor Moon. The characters merely discuss developments that happened off-screen, like a Greek play. Either way, Creepy Author is obsessed.

I rather enjoyed this scene, as it happens. The jokes are actually landing, such as when Diana comments that the fairy smelt of fish and Usagi confidently asserts that she must be the Fish Fairy.

"Fish Fairy" was my nickname in highschool

“Fish Fairy” was my nickname in highschool

As it happens, Minako, Makoto and Rei all see Douche Author’s pic on the dust jacket of Chibi-Usa’s book and think that his bland, generic face that every random person this animator has ever been able to draw shares is attractive, and so wish to seduce him themselves.

And that’s literally all the Inner Senshi have to do throughout the episode. I miss when these guys were relevant.

Right, back to Fish-Eye, who’s doing his make-up like a PRO. Also he’s humming Moonlight Densetsu. I liked that.

"Thank god for YouTube tutorials."

“Thank god for YouTube tutorials.”

Even more, I love that Hawks-Eye and Tigers-Eye are just staring as Fish-Eye does his make-up… and begin blushing. I feel like this moment is very, very important in the framing of this whole situation. Let me break it down for ya.

Fish-Eye lipstick

"...you gay yet, bro?"

“…you gay yet, bro?”

We have a gay character in Fish-Eye, which is fantastic. Makes for a nice change from the machismo of Tigers-Eye and Hawks-Eye. On the other hand, he’s a enthusiastic cross-dresser. Also fantastic. It’s also not portrayed as an activity that should be condemned or ridiculed. While Tigers-Eye and Hawks-Eye expresses shock and horror at the thought of homosexual relations, the joke is definitely on them – that much is plain when the two of them find themselves unexpectedly attracted to the rather dainty lad.

The problems centre around the manipulation and dishonesty in Fish-Eye’s “seduction” of Boring Author Man. I feel as though, and feel free to contradict me here, that this approach stems from an archaic and slightly-bigoted stereotype of the seductress who turns out to have a penis. Boring Author Man most definitely sees Fish-Eye as a woman, which is great – Fish-Eye has the right to identify as whatever gender, or genders, he wishes.

I feel as though this is the type of scenario where you see what you bring to the table. I actually find quite a lot to applaud in terms of Sailor Moon SuperS’ portrayal of the liquid-gendered Fish-Eye. I think the show promotes his sexuality and cross-dressing as curious, and weird, and a bit cool. It certainly isn’t normalising, but I think overall it’s positive. I can’t rid myself of the fear that they are equating homosexuality and cross-dressing with “evil-doers” and “deceptive seducers”, however.

Let me know what you think about that.

Anyway, the Senshi are lost in the forest. They are never seen again.

The scenes of Author Dude and Fish-Eye frolicking in the lack make me want to vomit. You know, because it’s so saccharine and cheesy. This is meant to be repulsively twee, of course. The animators are in on the joke. But it still doesn’t stop me wanting to turn beat my own face in with a toilet brush. This is a personal preference I fear.

I hope to dear god that's water

I hope to dear god that’s water

It only really gets interesting when Bland Disposable Author tackles Fish-Eye onto the veranda and, well, things get steamy.

He starts going on about how Fish-Eye needs to be punished...

He starts going on about how Fish-Eye needs to be punished…

I mean…

O face, am I right?

O face, am I right?

Wow.

Weird time to bring up your parents, dude. Seriously.

Weird time to bring up your parents, dude. Seriously.

That’s pretty steamy.

I mean, Christ, Sailor Moon.

Boring Dude is either about to a) propose to Fish-Eye or b) climax, when Fish-Eye’s plan is thwarted by the fact that his bony ass crushed a flower. He’s more worried about the dress than the flower and… well you remember that ONE LINE CHIBI-USA SAID EARLIER right? How could you forget.

So yeah, Creepy Hat Dude walks away from losing his virginity because he’s more into the plant. I get the message – don’t fall in love with an idea, don’t project your fantasies onto another person, because you’re not falling in love with them, you’re falling in love with your own fantasy. I get all that. Doesn’t stop this climax being completely fucking ridiculous. He walks off to TEND TO THIS ONE FLOWER. But hey, it’s so stupid that I can’t ever forget this. And hey – I’m enjoying myself despite the rough edges.

"I'm sorry, but I simply have to walk over to those bushes and fuck this flower, now."

“I’m sorry, but I simply have to walk over to those bushes and fuck this flower, now.”

So yeah, Fish-Eye is obviously going to be pissed off at this, and moves to plan B.

Oh yeah, remember Usagi and Chibi-Usa? The main characters of Sailor Moon SuperS? They’ve been hiding in a bush, watching. Even as it looked as though the two were going to bone right in the middle of the park.

Fish-Eye’s Remless is the first male one we’ve seen. Tsunawatarou is the tight-rope walker and… this whole thing is pretty uninteresting. Sailor Moon is forced to tight-rope for a bit. I do laugh when the Remless pulls out a blindfold, just to prove how good he is, only for him to mutter excitedly about how scared he is.

"How can we make this episode more gay?" - director

“How can we make this episode more gay?” – director

This is one of those fights solved by Tuxedo Kamen turning up to whack the bad guy and catch Sailor Moon, sooooo bit boring, yeah. Still, Moon Gorgeous Meditation is still doing it for me.

The episode ends with this complete dweeb of a character (I REALLY HATED HIM YOU GUYS) thinking that he saw his fairies after all – Sailor Moon and Chibi-Moon in fact. Har har.

"Hey Chibi-Usa, you've got to stop hanging out with weirdos you meet in the park, OK?"

“Hey Chibi-Usa, you’ve got to stop hanging out with weirdos you meet in the park, OK?”

And yeah, they never found the other Senshi. The end.

Sailor Blair Witch Project

Sailor Blair Witch Project

Some interesting topics that this episode generates. In the end the portrayal of Fish-Eye wasn’t bad at all, and I think out of the Amazon Trio he’s definitely the most interesting, the most sympathetic and nuanced, and the most palatable. So far. Things get a bit creepier later in the series when he starts hitting on 11 year old boys.


 

 

FINAL SCORE: 3/5 – Not bad, but not great. Better for generating discussion

MONSTER SCORE: 2/5 – One funny joke and that was it, really

FINAL THOUGHT: Seriously though, Fish-Eye is super hot

NEXT TIME: The series gets stuck in a real rut as the routine begins to get reeeeal stale

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8 Comments »

  1. From what I can tell about drag performances, there’s always an implicit understanding that men (or women for that matter) that are doing drag are simply doing a performance. You know that the “woman” on stage with the crazy 70’s hair-do, the over-the-top patterned dress, and the illegally sized heels, is biologically a man underneath it all. But it’s like watching a magic show- you know it’s an illusion, but aren’t quite sure how they did it. Or, at a more subversive level, it subverts gender norms. Gay men are ridiculed for perceived femininity, and here you have a dude wearing a dress and makeup, and somehow still manages to give off the attitude that he isn’t taking shit from anyone.

    I think what separates Fish Eye from drag, and why we would be uncomfortable with it, is that he’s not doing it as an expression of art. He’s intentionally doing it to be deceptive so he can hit on (seemingly) heterosexual men (or…ugh…young boys). When it comes down to why he’s presenting himself as a female, it’s no different from Tigers Eye or Hawks Eye misrepresenting themselves to the women they meet- so he can victimize his target.

    On the other hand, I do agree that, despite his grossness, a character like Fish Eye is still great. He plays up the femininity and isn’t the least bit self-conscious about it. Kind of like Haruka in a way. If anybody here knows what gay male culture is like, it’s almost obsessively masculinity-obsessed. The fear of being stereotyped (y’know, like any other minority. Sometimes I think white gay men just miss having majority privilege, but that’s another topic entirely) is so pervasive that femininity is really demeaned. Kind of like the way women are subordinate to men in dominant culture really.

    Incidentally, the gross episode you’re referring to was also animated by the derp team.

  2. It’s interesting that they covered his chest here, especially considering we do see his uncensored chest in a different episode (where his victim also happens to be a gay male), which lead to a hilarious edit in the English dub, when they changed his gender from male-to-female.

    Also, you totally just reminded me that I have the DVD of Read or Die, haven’t watched it in forever, though.

    • You think they would just have had an easier time admitting he was gay but, alas.

      And Read Or Die has really held up. Or the OVA has, the series not so much. Glad to hear you got the reference!

  3. This is just a suggestion, but to save time you should probably compress some of the not-at-all-related-to-the-plot episodes in a single review. I mean, there’s an episode in which the main conflict is a boy who’s afraid to jump over an obstacle, certainly that doesn’t deserve an entire review for its own.

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