Sailor Mars urges everyone to follow safety regulations during these trying times. Or she’ll beat the shit out of you.
Last I left off, Usagi and Luna were joined in their mission by two new allies. First, Ami Mizuno, an introverted but kind-hearted genius student with an IQ of some ridiculously huge number AKA Sailor Mercury. And second, Rei Hino, a temperamental shrine maiden with a sixth sense for evil, AKA Sailor Mars.
Together they finally took down Jadeite. Or rather Jadeite sort of ran himself over with an airplane? Anyway, point is, Jadeite’s fucking dead, and the show has entered a new chapter, and with this new chapter, my enjoyment of the series has grown even more. I thought it was good since the first episodes of course, but with each passing month it’s cementing itself more and more as not just entertaining, but legitimately pretty gripping TV. I have my foibles with it, but nothing too huge for what the series is. I may write a more general review of this first season after I’m done with it, but for now I’m just gonna continue to word vomit about my general thoughts.
Ah, Tuxedo Mask. Very few characters entertain me as consistently as this guy does. If his sole purpose in this show was to throw a rose, hop into a scene, say a pithy one-liner, and then leave over and over again, I’d be fine with it. It really cracks me up everytime he does it. However, the series has luckily decided to pepper in more detail about this mystery masked man as time has gone on, and it has succeeded in making me intrigued. See, up until this point I thought Tuxedo Mask was a relatively simple character. By day he’s the handsome snarky college student Mamoru – Stealer of Shoes:
And by night he masquerades as Tuxedo Mask-
Mamoru is a douche who takes sociopathic amounts of pleasure in harassing Usagi, and they hate each other, but the joke is that they actually both love each other as their alter egos. And the only person capable of seeing through his identity is Rei, because she’s the best:
And that was it. Simplistic, but pretty entertaining. Nothing to really dig into. But then this happened:
It seems Mamoru actually transforms into Tuxedo Mask against his will and without his knowledge? Which is very interesting, to me. If that is the case, it makes both halves of his character much more interesting. An unexpected wrinkle, but a welcome one.
Additionally, it seems he also has visions of the mysterious princess that Luna happens to be searching for.
And The Princess asks him to find the Silver Crystal. Which Queen Beryl and her people are also searching for. The longer the show goes on, the more curious I am about what the situation is with The Princess. Luna and Tuxedo Mask seem to be operating on limited instruction and knowledge at best, and even seem to be unaware that they’re both working for the same person. At least as compared to Queen Beryl and her own people who seem to have no such obstacles (except for their own incompetence and tendency toward backstabbing each other). What is the cause of this disparity in knowledge? It’s very curious. And the Princess obviously looks quite a bit like Usagi. The show itself even points it out, so it’s not supposed to be a secret. But is she like…actually Usagi?
There’s a scene at the end of episode 22 where Usagi gets drunk.
It’s a long story.
Then she and Tuxedo Mask kiss.
Weird? Yes. But moving on, Usagi and Tuxedo Mask both mention that it feels familiar. Like it’s happened before. Is this a Zelda situation? —For those who are unaware Zelda and Link get reincarnated in pretty much every game throughout the series, and Zelda is, in actuality, like a living reincarnation of a goddess or something— Is this a similar situation? What’s the deal here? It’s very mysterious, and I’d like to get to the bottom of it.
But don’t tell me if you actually know please. No spoilers
Nephrite and Naru
As discussed previously, Jadeite got fucking murdered by a plane (technically he just got disposed of by Queen Beryl, but the plane thing is more fun) and in his stead we have a new main villain; Nephrite. Nephrite differs from Jadeite in many ways. Jadeite was an asshole. He had evil schemes. He Disrespected Women. He wore blackface:
Just a generally bad dude. But Nephrite…Nephrite is different. Y’see Nephrite…is voiced by Liam O’Brien. At least in the Viz dub, which is what I’m watching. And for that, all sins are forgiven. Besides being voiced by Liam O’Brien, there are some other differences. While Jadeite was a dummy who’s plans involved gathering large groups of people together and collectively draining their energy, Nephrite is more clever. See, he uses weird space powers to locate people who have an overabundance of energy, and siphons energy from that person and that person only.
He still fails every time he attempts it, but y’know. It was a better plan than Jadeite.
On Earth, Nephrite uses a civilian identity. Masato Sanjoin:
Unfortunately for everyone involved, Masato Sanjoin ends up attracting the attention of Usagi’s best friend, Naru. In fact, Naru falls head over heels in love with him.
Nephrite sees Naru’s affection for him as nothing more than another tool to be used. Thus begins a multi-episode arc of this evil adult man emotionally manipulating this small girl’s feelings for his own ends. It’s a very difficult situation for Usagi. On the one hand, as Sailor Moon, she knows that Masato is actually Nephrite, and that Nephrite is evil. But on the other hand, as Usagi, she has no way to really explain that without giving away her secret identity. So all she can do is dance around the issue of why she should stop loving Nephrite, which, of course, Naru doesn’t listen to. Usagi doesn’t exactly go about it the best way either, because she’s Usagi. An interesting dilemma. However, there’s yet another layer of complication that I have not yet explained. As he uses Naru to his own ends more and more, Nephrite actually begins to develop some level of affection for her in his own twisted way.
Now look, is it weird that there’s a love story going on between this fourteen year old girl and this grown-ass man? Yes.
There’s no but. It’s just weird.
That being said, the way I’m choosing to look at it, Naru falls in love with Nephrite because she’s a stupid fourteen year old and Nephrite comes to have a totally platonic, paternal sort of affection for her. Was that what they were going for? Maybe. Regardless, that’s what I’m going with. Anyway, to make a long story short, one of Queen Beryl’s other soldiers stumbles onto the fact that Nephrite has developed feelings for Naru, and uses that as leverage to eliminate him. Because he’s evil, y’see.
Nephrite comes to save her:
Then the two share a nice moment.
And you sort of see the humanity in this guy. This love story developed a little fast. Not for Naru, I guess. It was sort of brewing in the background for a few episodes with her. But it only seems to take two episodes for Nephrite to develop similar feelings. The show seems to posit that Nephrite generally does have a fair bit of love for Naru. They laid the breadcrumbs for this, but, on Nephrite’s side, I don’t necessarily know if I buy him having anything more than just a small tinge of affection for Naru. But whatever. It’s still a sort of nice moment. In fact it seems, like Nephrite might actually get a bit of redempt-
Oop. …Nevermind then.
Pretty sad ending. Honestly, I just feel bad for Naru. Girl really got psychologically tortured over these past few episodes. Hopefully she gets to fall in love with someone who will treat her right. Someone kind. Someone just.
Someone like Umino.
Go get her, man.
Really strong batch of episodes this time. Over halfway through the season now, and with summer break, I’ll hopefully have a lot more time to finish it.
Seems like I’m gonna meet the next Sailor Guardian next time. If you’d like to see that, make sure to follow us on Twitter. And hey, while you’re at it, I’ve recently created a Twitter account, so please follow me on Twitter @Sailor_n00b. As you’ll see, it’s mostly me Sailor Moon posting, and you can see my progress through the series in real time. And, if you’d like, please follow us on our new Discord server. Would really appreciate it. Alright, that’s all from me until next month, where I will return with more thoughts on Sailor Moon. Hope you’ll stay tuned.