4:13 – Love Those Minis! The Fashionable Soldiers
Alternative Title: The Ultimate Tuck
First Aired: 1st July 1995
Fish-Eye decides to target famed fashion designer Yoshiki Usui by seducing him. Now his muse and model, Fish-Eye goes about ruining Yoshiki’s work by making him dependent on him alone, but after a chance encounter with Usagi, Yoshiki begins to question his fish-influenced designs.
Then a sentient volleyball turns up and shit gets real.
Wow. I love this episode. This is definitely a highlight of Sailor Moon SuperS. Great art, great writing, (relatively) normalised homosexual characters, a brilliant climax… and Fish-Eye’s nipples. A LOT of Fish-Eye’s nipples, in fact.
Right in, then.
We open on a really rather sad fashion show. I can’t comment on the styles of the mid nighties, let alone today, but that they seem to be having this cat walk event in the middle of the day, in the middle of a park, with no raised run way, with regular gawkers just moseying on up and sticking their noses in, doesn’t scream “style” to me, but what do I know?
Anyway, the Senshi are here to see the designs of Yoshiki Usui, apparently. Also they’ve all thrown their backs out? One thing I’ve only just noticed is how unnaturally all the Senshi have to stand this season. They are always intending for Chibi-Usa to remain in the shot, so rather than make her a bit taller, they have the other characters squat randomly to fit her in. The result is osteoporosis.
Let’s talk about Yoshiki Usui then. Clearly, most definitely heterosexual then. I love this character. He has flamboyance, but it’s a little self-effacing. I like the body language, too. He’s camp, but not in a way that invites comedy. It’s a part of his charm, rather than a facet to be laughed at. Which is brilliant. Most of the other gay characters on Sailor Moon have also been well portrayed, more or less, but Yoshiki definitely effortless.
I also love his design. This animator is great at making characters that look like individuals, unlike the replicant automatons that populate so much else of Sailor Moon’s itinerant characters.
Also the art in this episode is lovely. Really old school, reminded me of the best-looking stuff of the first season. I really wish every episode could hold up to this standard.
Yoshiki’s wedding dress design is particularly applauded, especially by the Senshi, but as soon as he’s off the… uh… “stage” (pavement) Yoshiki himself looks a bit worn out.
Well it’s an early entry to the Amazon Trio’s bar. Looks like the theme of homosexuality is going to be continued, because it’s a Fish-Eye episode, and Fish-Eye is so brilliantly effeminate. He fills a dress out nicely, too. Apparently he has a thing for Yoshiki too.
Naturally Fish-Eye’s dreams come true because Yoshiki’s photo just happens to be in the Beautiful Dreams pile. As much as I lament Tigers-Eye and Hawks-Eye’s repeated unease around their gay partner, I do find the sight of Fish-Eye prancing around with Yoshiki’s Polaroid while they give him stink-eye rather funny. They’re really the archetype of these hyper-masculine hetero-normative 20-something men, aren’t they?
The scene ends with Hawks-Eye asking if Fish-Eye plans to cross-dress again (which I think you’ll remember was entertaining, yet slightly problematic around the topic of the tired “deceptive cross-dresser” trope). This time, however, our boy is going dicks-out and proud, seeing as his target clearly doesn’t hold the same hetero-normative values as Hawks-Eye or Tigers-Eye.
Chibi-Usa attic scene. She’s drawing a really rubbish bride. Pegasus turns up in the Wonderful Caterpillarion (what the fuck is that globe called again?) aaaaaand shit gets BARE AWKS*, GUYS.
“When you wear a wedding dress… I wonder who will be at your side?”
It won’t be you, dick-horn, you’ll have long been sent to the glue factory. Seriously, did no one on the staff realise how fucking creepy this all is.
She’s like 9. NINE YEARS OLD and being hit on by a transient magical paedophile horse thing. The pretty music and shimmering light effects try their best to make this seem romantic rather than something you’d send out an amber alert for, but come on.
The long look he gives Chibi-Usa when she wonders if she’ll ever find someone who wants to marry her is… uncomfortable. And it just keeps going throughout the rest of this series. There’s no escape, no respite. The entire thing is just one long grooming attempt and I want to die.
Back to something far more interesting!
Yoshiki is in a slump. After lashing out at his hot assistant, Yoshiki is contrite, and… gets a back rub.
“Oh yeah that feels good there.”
Man they really wanted the audience to realise that these guys were fucking. I’m not even sure this scene was needed for the narrative, but it’s a nice tone-setter, creating this doom and gloom around Yoshiki’s work, and creating this private moment between the two.
I also like this next scene, Yoshiki aimlessly sitting at a cafe with his head upside down. Maaan that looks painful. He spots something that finally seems to inspire him! Aaaand it’s Fish-Eye.
Now here’s the thing: Hawks-Eye and Tigers-Eye always want to be the chaser. That is to say, they’re always wanting the power, the control, the ability to inflict fear into their victims. Fish-Eye wants to be chased. He likes his victims to fish for him, as it were. How did he know that Yoshiki was going to go ape-shit immediately upon seeing him on the street? Who knows, but what’s really important is that he gives his victims a sense of agency.
He doesn’t want to take away their power, he wants to manipulate them into falling in love with him. Not exactly noble you understand, but far and away better than the rape-analogous methods employed by his co-workers. Gosh I wish they would have followed this format instead. Leaves a much better taste in the mouth.
So Yoshiki has found his muse, and GOSH Fish-Eye is pretty. Yoshiki thinks so too, and there’s a stress here that he understands Fish-Eye is a guy. They don’t want the audience to be able to rationalise this away, this is a moment between two guys who are into guys and you can’t look away, dammit. So good on Sailor Moon for this. I also liked how Yoshiki loved his androgyny, admiring how Fish-Eye “transcends gender!”
This reminds me of the cross-dressing scene in Final Fantasy VII as it happens…
Fish-Eye acts so very coy and graceful at first, but quickly starts laughing manically…
…which turns into a giggling fit back in Yoshiki’s studio as… well… look for yourself. It’s brilliant. This episode is so gay and I love it.
After being utterly ridiculous, Fish-Eye starts yelling at the seamstresses for poking him with pins (to be fair I think I’d do the same) and when they ask him to chill out a bit he threatens to leave. I love the petulant looks Fish-Eye gives as everyone in the studio gives him shade.
Then BITCH BE A QUEEN as he pulls off the dress and HOO BOY THEM’S SOME NIP-NOPS. Fish-Eye demands that the designs be redone to suit his taste better while standing in his tiny pants and nothing else. That’s a hell of a lot of confidence. This is like an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
As Yoshiki enters the room, there’s a bit of a kerfuffle when Fish-Eye starts altering Yoshiki’s design (it’s fecking awful anyway) while… caressing his face. Still in his pants. Understandably Yoshiki’s assistant gets pissed off with this basic bitch trying to muscle in on his thing, but after he shoves Fish-Eye away, Fish-Eye makes an ultimatum – it’s me or the old guy. I’m pretty sure this was the opening to Behind the Candelabra.
Yoshiki completely pusses out. His awesomely cool and handsome assistant quits with a smile on his face, hoping that Yoshiki continues creating new pieces. You BASTARD Yoshiki, no model is worth this.
Also there’s something distinctly weird about Fish-Eye’s chest… He’s a guy, but they appear to be confused as how to draw the chest of a man… they’ve kind of given him as small breasts as they could get away with. Now I’m not saying that breast tissue doesn’t exist on men (I can attest) but that I suspect that the animator was not quite sure how to handle Fish-Eye.
Cut to Usagi in Yoshiki’s boutique grabbing everything she can. It’s a very cute scene, with Mamoru suffering quietly next to the irate sales assistant. There’s a brilliant moment where the assistant, having asked Mamoru to get Usagi to quiet up and get the hell out, has essentially cornered Mamoru into a sale to ease his discomfort.
“I’m happy just looking at them.”
“NO. I want to buy them for you.”
This whole exchange is amazing, and I can’t do it justice with all the music cues and performances by the seiyuu. Such brilliant directing that I haven’t seen since Sailor Moon S.
Well Usagi’s happy even if Mamoru’s wallet is not (hey he’s got a shitty sports car, a motorbike and a large apartment in Tokyo, I think he’ll be fine). Then comes one of my favourite shots of Usagi to ever make it onto screen.
You’re the best, Usagi.
Meanwhil Fish-Eye has… corrupted Yoshiki…? The new designs are all their collaboration and they’re all an abomination, really. All fishy and stuff. Gross. So Fish-Eye’s evilness comes from making Yoshiki dependent on him. Take note, lovers.
All of Yoshiki’s workers quit on him, which is extremely un-Japanese. This finally seems to affect Yoshiki…
…so he goes to the park to swing violently. We’ve all been there.
Of course Usagi is walking by because what are the odds and being the minx that she is she decides to bask in his stardom and manipulate him into designing a wedding dress for her. Seriously, I love Usagi in this episode, especially when she underlines that she wants the design for free.
Yoshiki enjoys Usagi’s insanity and chats with her about why she likes his stuff. Catching on, Usagi asks tactlessly if he’s in a slump, then suggests he could take his mind off things by designing her a wedding dress.
Yoshiki has a good laugh and says that he will, in fact, design her a wedding dress. What a freebie.
And it’s this moment that the struggling artist finds his mojo once more – he wants to make something as opposed to feeling obligated to. A bit of a simplistic moral tale, perhaps, but it works so much better than some of the others in SuperS. More importantly, we get quality time with Usagi, something I’ve sorely missed.
Usagi is non-plussed but ecstatic.
There’s some bath scene “bonding” between Chibi-Usa and Usagi, which results in Usagi taking Chibi-Usa along just to prove that she really did meet Yoshiki.
Meanwhile, Yoshiki is having one of those crisis moments that artists get from time to time when they think all their work is complete shit. In this case it’s right, of course. Yoshiki has broken free of Fish-Eye’s bishounen charm magic and realises that all their costumes look like shitty animal suits. A bit late in the day.
He tells Fish-Eye that he’s going to redesign all the outfits, and that Fish-Eye can fuck right off. I actually feel bad for the guy. Well until he transforms and attacks Yoshiki anyway.
Well isn’t it convenient that Fish-Eye attacked just as Usagi and Chibi-Usa were outside the studio?
The Sailor Senshi’s introduction does not impress Fish-Eye, who blithely assesses their outfits then asks if it’s “embarrassing to jump around in such a short skirt”. BITCH CAN THROW SHADE. I love that he asks something that every single viewer has wondered over the past 3 years. So very meta!
Even better is Sailor Moon turning to Chibi-Moon, the both of them never having considered whether what they wear should invite judgement from others. YOU TELL ‘EM! NO ONE SLUT-SHAMES THE MESSIAH.
Fish-Eye responds by summoning the Remless of the day, Gummario the Seal Trickster. Wait what?
Oh it’s… just a seal.
Sailor Moon says in a restrained voice: “This is an unexpected turn of events.”
So it turns out that Gummario is actually… the fucking beach ball. This is Remless Puko’s cousin from a few episodes ago! THERE’S A FAMILY OF THE BALL PEOPLE. God I love this stupid episode.
So Gummario is relatively easy to stop… at first. Believe me, I’m as astonished as you are that Sailor Moon caught anything.
Soon however, Gummario gets a bit of revenge for his cousin’s demise. My personal favourite moment of the episode – nay, the entire series of Sailor Moon SuperS – is when, in his victory, the Tuxedo Kamen theme begins to play. Gummario looks politely around for the source of the music…
…then sploot, an arrow quietly lands in Gummario’s face and he deflates immediately. This is so painfully funny.
AND HE’S HIDING BEHIND A TOPLESS MANNEQUIN, CAN THIS EPISODE GET ANY BETTER?
Hands down best Tuxedo Kamen use to date.
So Gummario decides to stretch himself into… roughly a human shape. It’s gross. His new attack is to fold up into a ball again… so much like the old one, really. There’s a funny bit of volleyball between Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen before Gummario is finally blasted apart by a Moon Gorgeous Meditation.
Awww Gummario, you’ll be sorely missed, buddy. He got a great Stage Out though, still rolling all over the place.
So Yoshiki wakes up to see Super Sailor Moon rocking that fuku, as the happy family departs. So it’s no surprise that Yoshiki’s Autumn/Winter collection is all miniskirts because HEY MAN IT’S 1995, WOMEN ARE SEXUALLY LIBERATED NOW. I like that Artemis and Luna get one line each in the entire episode and it’s like “Oh what’s all this, then?”
So yeah, we didn’t get much of the other Senshi today, which is sad, but honestly everything we did get was so damn good.
Two of Yoshiki’s designs stand out. One looks very much like Sailor Moon, and the other, we can presume, is the wedding dress that he designed for Usagi. It… kinda sucks as it happens, but what do I know. Mint green ruffles are probably stylish.
The episode ends with it being clear that Yoshiki and his awesome sexy assistant who is never named are totally doing it again. AWW LOVE.
So yeah, awesome episode. Loved the characters, loved the art, loved the story, loved the themes, loved the action, loved the comedy. Loved it loved it loved it. I reckon when all is said and done that this may just be my favourite episode of Sailor Moon SuperS… we’ll see!
FINAL SCORE: 5/5 (So good you guys, even more so in this desert of a series)
MONSTER SCORE: 5/5 (Gummario, the second of the Sentient Ball Family, may he rest in peace)
FINAL THOUGHT: I find Fish-Eye deeply sexually confusing, which was probably the intention all along.
NEXT TIME: Minako dates two awful people and fucking destroys both their egos