4:11 – Drive to Heaven! Love Riding on the Car of Dreams
Alternative Title: Hawks-Eye Digs Below Rock-Bottom
First Aired: 10th June 1995
Ami meets mechanic, Natsumi, struggling to fix her late husband’s antique car, and decides to help. When Hawks-Eye impersonates her dead husband, Natsumi questions her efforts, unaware that Hawks-Eye’s intentions are wholly evil…
This isn’t really the episode you want to come back to after Christmas, really. For that I recommend Sailor Moon S: The Movie. Well it’s distracting at the very least, and it has one scene with Tuxedo Kamen bursting out the chest of a Santa Claus… more or less.
No, this episode typifies what I find so unappealing about SuperS. There are moments to be treasured between the girls, but it’s mired with a tepid plot that circles around a random character I just don’t care about. They expect us to buy into a character whom we’ve never seen before nor shall see again, when the best parts are always around our Sailor Senshi. Sure the art looks a bit rough and the less said about the final battle the better, but what really lets this episode down is this weird storyline.
To see why this is a problem, SuperS’ fascination with “randoms”, let’s take a look at a season 1 episode, namely the one where Nephrite plants an energy-sucking monster inside a photographer’s camera. In that episode, the young guy is the focus of the enemy, even has an entire arc, but it’s not the emotional locus of the episode. That remains with Usagi. He’s got quite a few lines, but never takes focus away from our central character.
In SuperS… it’s nearly always the opposite.
Hey look it’s Ami. She’s rocking that early 90s librarian look that was all the rage with teenagers. Because Tokyo is only the size of a public swimming pool, with the population of a small porto-potty, she somehow sees Mamoru coming out of an apartment building… WITH A WOMAN WHO IS NOT USAGI WATWAT.
Ok, Ami, I’m begging you, don’t jump to conclusions just because she’s… giving him car keys and mentioning “service”. Ok I have no idea what 200 yen pornos Ami has been watching, but this is the least suggestive encounter I have ever seen. Well I suppose I’ve got to admire her confidence…?
We cut to a garage. This is going to be one of those openings which is only explained 7 minutes later, isn’t it? Either way, that woman whom Ami (I think) accused of being a prostitute in a Soapland (that’s really what they call them in Japan) is tinkering with a car with Ami. I must say that even though most people don’t like this particular animator’s style (by this point in the show they’re probably the roughest), I still have a soft spot for it, possibly because their ability has not developed since 1992.
I also rather like Ami in overalls, covered in grime. It gives a nice juxtaposition to her normal stuffiness. It also adds to this (admittedly rather shit) “mystery” they’re playing with on the circumstances Ami has found herself in.
Of course, not one of the Senshi are allowed to do anything new or to meet new people without the others stalking and judging them mercilessly, hence the gang are all there hiding behind tires. I have a deep aversion to tires in Sailor Moon, which is not a link I would have suspected, if it weren’t for Tiren, the worst of all monsters.
Anyway, there’s a bit with a stack of tires collapsing on the girls after Mamoru turns up and Usagi lets go of the stack to say hello. It’s embarrassing.
I’d rail against the lazy slapstick, but we immediately cut to Rei saying “EHHHHHHHHH? Mamoru is having an AFFAIR?” followed by Usagi spitting her tea out on Mamoru’s face, which is a smash cut I REALLY did not expect.
My grin spreads wilder as the other girls all rip Mamoru to shreds for such indecency, for something that clearly isn’t true. HE DESERVES IT #yesallmen
So this all stems from Ami’s “misunderstanding”. I still don’t get how you see two people, about 10-15 years age difference apart, talking, and assume they’re fucking. This girl needs to get out more.
Oh I should probably introduce Natsumi, the mechanic, although you’ll never see her again so why bother.
Oh fine then, her “DREAM” (hint hint) is to restore the car because of her hairy dead husband.
Hawks-Eye, meanwhile, is sitting on the bar sporting a chub over a picture of poor Natsumi. When Fish-Eye and Tigers-Eye question him on, you know, liking women of an appropriate age for him, he expounds on an analogy built around fish, which I didn’t fully understand, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume it’s offensive to Natsumi, middle-aged people, all women, all humans, and halibut. Either way, he’s super fucking horny over the fact that she’s a widow.
Yes, Hawks-Eye is going to pursue a widow.
Man if that dude were still alive he would kick Hawks-Eye’s ass. Either way, hairy scary lumberjack is definitely dead, and his stupid anime dream was to get the car working again, hence his widow spending all her day fixing a crappy old car instead of getting on with her life. A brilliant way to blue-ball your wife from beyond the grave.
Then we get the exact same information in another scene. They really have to spell it out just in case you’re neurologically on-par with a sea-sponge. There’s a heart-warming (?) moment as Ami is determined to see the car move for herself. Chibi-Usa later discusses why the hell she’s bothering to do this with Pegasus, who’s answer is essentially an equine equivalent of a shrug. Solid work, pony.
Right, let’s see what Hawks-Eye has planned…
So I wonder how Natsumi will take this – oh look at that she’s had a stroke. Brilliant work, Hawks-Eye. Real great game you got there. You’re a real pick-up artist, impersonating a dead guy to hit on his widow. Seriously, this is fucked.
So yeah, Natsumi is properly knackered from working on the car all the time. I’m pretty sure the healthy thing would be to move on… It’s a bit like Joe Biden considering running for president because that’s what his son said he wanted before he died. I mean, what a way to fuck with the people you’ve left behind.
OH GAWD HAWKS-EYE IS BACK. GO AWAY YOU PSYCHOPATH.
His play this time is that he’s a fucking creep and insists that Natsumi never tries hard at anything ever again. Chibi-Usa yells at this weakened woman in a hospital bed until she reconsiders selling the mechanics’ shop. It’s all rather shit, I know, but I did chuckle at Hawks-Eye’s “Bro you’re busting my balls, bro” look he gives Chibi-Usa.
Natsumi gets Hawks-Eye to drive her to the shop immediately because… well I’m not sure, but either way it brings us to the scene of the Senshi all working on the car in Natsumi’s absence. This seems like a nice gesture, until you realise that 4 of the 6 people in the shop are probably doing more damage to the car than good. Also, I would have thought that Natsumi wanted to fix the car herself as a gesture to her dead husband.
What I’m saying is, this is a bad idea.
Hawks-Eye continues his super awesome play of being a fucking psychopath in a glue-on beard (so attractive), asking why Natsumi doesn’t prefer his “super cool” sports car. So Hawks-Eye says fuck it and abducts Natsumi, because that’s totally sane. Seriously, what they make the Amazon Trio do is so tonally jarring next to everything else in this show.
CAR CHASE. IN SAILOR MOON. There’s an ELEVEN YEAR OLD in the back. This is madness.
Meanwhile, it’s only after Hawks-Eye says he doesn’t care what happens to his car that Natsumi finally realises Hawks-Eye is different from her dead husband, who apparently imbued every car with the trapped soul of an innocent. Seriously, NOW, LADY? He told you to give up your dreams, give up your job, that your car was ugly and stupid, then he kidnapped you and smashed into another car with a child inside, and you’re spinning on your opinion because he sees cars as inanimate objects?
Who the hell wrote this episode and how much tranquillisers were they taking?
Time for the BIG REVEAL!
Oh look his beard isn’t real.
And she reacts like he’s just confessed to shooting Cecil the Lion.
Ok, this episode has been all over the place up until now, let’s see if the action can straighten things out a bit. Right?
We get a rather good opening by Super Sailor Moon. Her line of “Life is short, maidens! Fall in love!” made me chuckle appreciatively.
Today’s Remless is a shit trapeze artist monster, Blanko. As she swings, she yells “Uhhhhh Bulabulaaaa” because fuck it that’s why, and the way she makes her stupid skill relevant in a fight is by Tron-biking Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury and Sailor Chibi-Moon up into the air…
…then cutting the wires which appear to be attached to the clouds.
Eventually, all three Senshi are trapped onto one trapeze-thingy, and her murder is only stopped by…
He actually says “bulabulaaah” too. It’s highly embarrassing. I can never forget this. Oh then Tuxedo Kamen totally fat-shames Usgai for being heavy, not realising she’s carrying Mercury and Chibi-Moon. Sensitive stuff, mate.
After coming into sudden realisation that her abilities are fairly specific and limited, Blanko is quickly iced by Sailor Moon’s Moon Gorgeous Meditation, thank god.
But we didn’t come here for the fights to make sense, did we? We came here for the HEART-WARMING TALES OF SOMETHING OR OTHER, so let’s return to the garage. Not questioning the whole… you know… attacked by a dude pretending to be her dead husband, Natsumi fires up the car and it works!
For 10 feet. Yesss this is the type of ending I like. Except that Natsumi vows to spend all the time in the world on working on the car again, and doesn’t need to feel rushed. So yeah, her dead husband has her working on this for the rest of her life. What a catch.
There’s a few moments in this episode I rather liked. The banter between the senshi was great. I liked Ami, although the focus really got away from her. I appreciate the attempt to do a story with a bit more sadness and complexity than their usual fare. In the end though, there are too many weird tonal shifts, and I just don’t buy into Natsumi. It’s just not very interesting, I’m afraid.
I did like the trapeze stuff in the end, though. It’s the kind of “like” where you watch through your fingers for embarrassment, however.
FINAL SCORE: 2/5 (Not bad, but not good enough to recommend.)
MONSTER SCORE: 2/5 (Bulabulaaaa)
FINAL THOUGHT: Seriously though, what were those trapeze wires attached to, and how did Tuxedo Kamen manage to erect one himself in time to catch the others? I really have to stop thinking about this so much…
NEXT TIME: Tigers-Eye becomes an out-and-out paedophile in one of my least favourite episodes. JOY.