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4:17 – Sparkling Summer Days! Ami, the Girl in the Ocean Breeze

Alternative Title: SO CLOSE, SO VERY CLOSE

First Aired: 12th Auguest 1995

Tigers-Eye swimming

The Senshi are chillin’ on the beach when they notice that Usagi’s shitty younger brother Shingo has developed a crush on Ami. Confused by his new feelings, Shingo follows Ami around, but gets into danger when he crosses paths with Tigers-Eye, determined to seduce a new target to avoid the wrath of Zirconia.

First things first! Housekeeping!

Sailor Moon Crystal Season II has stared  and will my reviews! …starting tomorrow.

I’ve been trying to avoid as many promos as possible, but from what has been leaking onto my Twitter stream, it’s looking pretty damn good. The thing that got me most excited was hearing that the new series director refused to do the series unless the CG transformation sequences were made nice and 2D again. So a woman after my own heart.

I’m super conflicted about the episode we’re reviewing today. On one hand, there are some really good jokes, and I like the interplay between the girls, buuuuuuuuut Shingo and everything to do with him can get fucked.

I suppose this is a bad episode, not even for any specific reason (I mean, Shingo can choke on a turnip): it’s just soooo flat. There are some really good comedic moments, but I don’t buy the emotional arc and I checked out hard. It’s just not worth the chuckles.

This is one of the episodes animated by Masahiro Ando, whom is generally regarded as a sub-par animator. I actually like his comic style, and there’s something nostalgic about it, but by SuperS it looks distinctly worse for wear when compared to the best content.

So let’s get into this thing.

The beach! The sun! The sea! And of course the Senshi too. God I hate beach episodes. In all anime. Except for that one in season one of Sailor Moon of course. I do like this opening, though. Minako is perving on all the guys in budgie-smugglers. It’s nice when anime acknowledges female sexuality without them being the object of leering.

This actually counts as sex education in Japan

This actually counts as sex education in Japan

The girls all pass around the binoculars. All the performances are A++ here, these guys are all so comfortable with these characters. I especially like when a penis walks directly into view of Rei. Gosh, this episode got saucy. Rei’s shock is pretty damn hilarious. Sadly, the cock is attached to the Patriachy, which we’re all agreed can go fuck itself.

"Above: the exact moment Rei realised she preferred girls."

“Above: the exact moment Rei realised she preferred girls.”

I loooove how the girls all look these goofs up and down before deciding “they can do better“. Cue the… uh…

Pimp…?

Can't wait until the real Yakuza turn up, they gon' be pisssssed

Can’t wait until the real Yakuza turn up, they gon’ be pisssssed

Jesus Christ.

After Shingo gets pissed off that he has to hang out with older girls in swimsuits (I mean, come on), Ami appears… glittering. It’s especially weird because we’re treated like she’s a new character. Just a bit uncomfortable if you catch my drift.

It’s also especially odd because of how squishy her face looks under this animator.

I really want to like this animator, they make really good comedic shots, but times like this it's just not very good

I really want to like this animator, they make really good comedic shots, but times like this it’s just not very good

Afraid that he’s popping his first boner in swimming trunks on a beach, Shingo runs away to explore his body. Everyone is fairly clued in on what Shingo is off doing, except his sister thank god.

"This is a bad time for my balls to drop."

“This is a bad time for my balls to drop.”

 

Right, time for the Amazon Trio to get chewed out by Zirconia. It’s been ages since one of these scenes! I missed the creepy bug lady. She throws a picture of Ami (who else) at Tigers-Eye, but the three aren’t particularly interested. A complete compliment from these douche-bags.

Zirconia hits a nerve with the Amazons, who are mocked roundly by the voices in the circus. Will it motivate them?

"STOP FUCKING ABOUT AND BE INTERESTING ANTAGONISTS, DAMMIT"

“STOP FUCKING ABOUT AND BE INTERESTING ANTAGONISTS, DAMMIT”

Will it fuck. Still, I like seeing them actually considering the repercussions of failure for once.

I also love that today they’re just chilling by the beach instead of in their bar. It’s a funny twist on what’s become a bit of a dull scene every episode. When their usual bar music is turned off by the unpleasant chef, it’s also nice to see them so intimidated.

"Do... do you think he has a beautiful dream...?"

“Do… do you think he has a beautiful dream…?”

So Tigers-Eye’s plan is to be a beach bully I think? He doesn’t even seem to have a real plan anymore, he just knocked over Ami’s shaved ice to start a conversation. Shingo starts the… pimp… routine, actually grabbing his balls? What the frig.

"Yep, they've definitely dropped."

“Yep, they’ve definitely dropped.”

Minako leaps in, all happy to start flirting, but doesn’t seem to recognise Tigers-Eye despite her dating him a few episodes ago. This is not true for Tigers-Eye, who looks thoroughly intimidated.

That’s ma girl, Minako. This is a strange little joke on the fact that no one ever recognises the Senshi in their civilian clothes.

"You look like that guy I totally messed with a few weeks ago!"

“You look like that guy I totally messed with a few weeks ago!”

Tigers-Eye is so overwhelmed by attention that he completely loses his confidence. It’s a sight to behold. I’m actually loving the shift in power on display here. Ami shoots Tigers-Eye down hard… then tells Shingo to follow her. I must say, why are these two hanging around? Like seriously? It’s weird.

Tigers-Eye’s reaction to this is to go to the bar and call Ami rude things, just like a goddamn man. Now, I’m much more savvy to the works of the series director Ikuhara, and looking at his subsequent works such as Revolutionary Girl Utena and Yurikuma Arashi, I can see that this is a completely intentional commentary on the patriarchy.

"This tastes like shame which I will forget in 20 minutes"

“This tastes like unbearable shame which I will forget in 20 minutes”

I’m trying to revise some thoughts surrounding the Amazon Trio and what it was the series was trying to explore with their thinly-veiled sexual assault, but that’s for another day.

I love how pathetic Tigers-Eye is, licking his wounds with shaved ice at a bar.

Back at the beach, Minako is grilling Ami on why she didn’t agree to go to the secluded private beach with the stranger they just met and Ami has the completely rational observation that they “don’t know who he is or where he’s from.”

YES girl, safety 101. I mean, I’m thoroughly alarmed at the other girls’ reaction to all this, but hey, Ami’s going to be the one left alive at the end of a horror movie.

"So you're saying we shouldn't make ourselves vulnerable as we chase strangers?"

“So you’re saying we shouldn’t make ourselves vulnerable as we chase strangers? WHAT SACRILEGE IS THIS”

Sadly, she follows this comment up with the idea that it’s fate that determines your partner, which is s-t-u-p-i-d. Obviously Shingo, being small, shrivelled and also stupid, takes this as a sign that he should… hit on his older sister’s friend. I mean, I understand why. A young man’s mind is a complex thing (LOL no) and we’ve all been there. But still, since I hate Shingo with a burning passion, I wish him nothing but ill.

"OH SHIT that gives me permission to hit on her relentlessly because we're MEANT TO BE TOGETHER"

“OH SHIT that gives me permission to hit on her relentlessly because we’re MEANT TO BE TOGETHER”

This is where the episode starts to take a down turn at this point. Also this animator has no idea how to draw cleavage. It’s not normally a thing I’m particularly bothered about (I’m all about ear lobes, me), but it’s especially odd. I mean, look at it:

"Oh this? Yeah this isn't my cleavage, I just dropped a pen on myself earlier."

“Oh this? Yeah this isn’t my cleavage, I just dropped a pen on myself earlier.”

It’s just two scribbles. It’s like he’s gone out of his way to not know what a woman’s body looks like. I’m not looking for photo-realism here, in fact I’d rather the Senshi weren’t sexualised at all seeing as they’re 15 and my goddamn heroes but who thinks the human body does that

/rantover

No seriously, this episode suddenly jumps into the toilet bowl. Christ.

Shingo takes Ami out in a dingy (…smooth…?), I guess to hit on her, and it’s “bare awks” as we say in the UK. The only thing interesting to come out of this is that Ami talks about herself a little bit.

That’s right, we get actual goddamn personal time with one of the Senshi this season. So far it’s been a desert. Ami says that she’s lived alone with her mother, so it’s a dream of hers to not only become a doctor, but to also have a happy rowdy family like Usagi’s.

Sweet. You can juggle your career and family, Ami, you do it girl.

…but then she says “If someone special came along I might sacrifice my career for a family.

…girl no.

"Hey baby why don't you quit your dreams right now, I'm here for you"

“Hey baby why don’t you quit your dreams right now, I’m here for you baby.”

So before Shingo can rip a hole in the dingy with his boner, Tigers-Eye appears choking on water. Tool. He then… uh… threatens the two with a shark fin that turns out to be a dolphin. It’s basically a riff off Jaws. Bit eye-rolling.

After Shingo mouths off at the obviously suspicious dude, Tigers-Eye finally does what we’ve all been waiting for and tries to drown Shingo by busting a hole in the dingy.

Oh finally I thought he'd NEVER leave

Oh finally I thought he’d NEVER leave

Why he thought this would lead to a seduction of Ami is beyond me. He obviously still shocked and disgusted when she jumps into the water to save him. Tool.

So Ami saves Shingo.

We were so close.

"Goddamit, I'm Lawful Good aren't I?"

“Goddamit, I’m Lawful Good aren’t I?”

The gang find the dingy washed up on shore and decide not to inform the police or the coastguard, but just to continue looking. I guess we get one indication from Usagi that she really is worried about Shingo. It’s weirdly dramatic here. Kind of an unpleasant vibe, too, since this is such a real-world situation.

"Oh SHIT his life insurance ran out 2 weeks ago!"

“Oh SHIT his life insurance ran out 2 weeks ago!”

So Shingo died after all! \o/

But Ami knows her CPR, sadly, and Shingo finally makes out with a girl for the first time in his life and doesn’t realise it.

"Don't look at his boner don't look at his boner don't look at his boner"

“…it’s slimy.”

Tigers-Eye is shocked and appalled, but Ami explains “FWENDSHIP” and the idiot grinds to a halt trying to parse it out. This is… so heavy-handed. I bought it when Nephrite was trying to understand “love but this is pretty damn childish.

Shingo comes too and immediately pops a boner.

"Umm... that's my locker key in my pocket..."

“Umm… that’s my locker key in my pocket…”

Tigers-Eye decides that his emotional development can wait for 4 episodes or so and attacks Ami. It’s creepy. The Sailor Senshi turn up for the requisite fight aaaaand it’s super boring. Do I have to talk about it? Ok, here’s the bullet points.

  • The Remless is Ponko the “human pump
  • What the fuck
  • Her boobs are balls (seriously)
  • PON PON PON
  • Repeat ad nauseum
  • Tuxedo Kamen turns up randomly and throws his hat in Ponko’s mouth
  • PON PON PON PON PON PON
  • I swallow the hemlock
"jesus wept"

“jesus wept”

Glad we got that out of the way.

Shingo wakes up and has suffered no lasting neurological damage, despite not breathing for several minutes and then a subsequent head injury strong enough to knock him out for at least an hour. He probably forgot how to subtract or something at least.

Anyway, fireworks… and this is the first and last time you see Ami next to Shingo so be grateful for that. Bit of an anaemic ending.

I'm sure this is some kind of allusion to adolescence and the start of puberty buuuut I don't wanna think about it

I’m sure this is some kind of allusion to adolescence and the start of puberty buuuut I don’t wanna think about it

So how to judge this episode? I loved the first half, I loved them messing with the formula, but is it enough to overcome that boring as hell second half? In a word, ehhhhhhh. I think there’s enough here to let you enjoy a watch, but I forgot this episode even existed. Obviously it doesn’t leave much of an impact.


 

 

FINAL SCORE: 2/5

MONSTER SCORE: 1/5 (the designer was hungover I guess)

FINAL THOUGHT: Ami is in a catch 22: she rejects a dude, he gets pissed off and violent. She’s nice to Shingo in a platonic manner, he falls in love with her and gets clingy. My penis serves as my escape clause from all of this. I feel male guilt.

NEXT TIME: The Senshi fuck about at a ballet class and Usagi gets mercilessly body-shamed again. Thank god there’s Sailor Moon Crystal to review first.

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4 Comments »

  1. “Thank God there’s an episode of Sailor Moon Crystal”

    …I bet you didn’t think you’d be writing those words back in Season 1. I know *I* wasn’t expecting to be as excited as I am for the new season. But we’ll get there together. :3

    Shingo is horrible, but this was probably him at his LEAST horrible. He wasn’t being his usual uber-douchey self to Usagi, he treated Ami with what, for him, passes as respect, and he actually listened when Ami talked about herself, which is more than most straight teenage guys I know would do (not all, mind, but most). I mean, I still don’t LIKE him, let’s not get crazy, but he wasn’t…AS contemptible. There were signs of some growth potential.

    Sadly (or maybe not), we’ll never see that explored, as I recall. Still, the next episode is a Fish-Eye one, and he’s not hititng on a child, so YAY!

    But first, Crystal. DOUBLE YAY!

  2. Eh, I don’t get the Shingo hate, he’s had at most 40 minutes of dialogue the entire first season, and then became a complete non-factor once ChibiUsa fell out of the sky.

    Also, I like Ponko, she’s cute, though she does look like she was drawn for a totally different anime, which I know seems like a weird thing to say, considering some of the monster girls we’ve seen. Also, with the puberty allegories from this episode, Ponko’s Golden Ball attack, that she was too embarrassed to say, also translates to testicle. It’s not a funny joke, but the Japanese love their terrible puns, so it makes sense.

  3. Ami a Catch 22? What?

    I thought this episode was good (I’ll say 4/5), but oh dear, never knew there was a pun for “testicles”, at first, yikes!! Doesn’t even make sense, as Ponko’s a female…unless…oh dear…

    I find Ponko hilarious though XD

    Shingo apparently has gotten too much hate…I don’t think he’s THAT bad…

  4. I think beach episodes of anime shows can be really good… they just never were good in Sailor Moon, unfortunately. All they needed to do was have a normal episode at the beach (kind of like how they did a normal episode at Usagi’s family vacation spot in season 1).

    But for some reason they always want to make it weird. First season was a haunted ghost house, second season was Baby Nessie, now there’s this weird Ami and Shingo pairing… why do they feel a need to pull out weird stuff for the beach episode? Oh well.

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