FOUR EPISODE MEGAPOST! Because I was busy with pet emergencies and vacations last week! But it’s alright because most of these are filler I wouldn’t want to talk about that much anyway.
Invaders from Outer Space: The Coming of Siren (S5E16/182)
Hooooo boy. This first episode is going to be our main focus this week, because it introduces a character who is both very important and completely unimportant at the same time. So buckle up, I guess!
The episode opens with a familiar event by now: Usagi is writing and mailing yet another letter to Mamoru, who has yet to answer a single one. Understandable since he’s, ya know, dead, but Usagi being unaware of this, she has continued to send him letters. She tries to tell him about what’s been going on lately but uncomfortably finds herself thinking of Seiya. At the same time, high above Tokyo, a flurry of feathers and an umbrella begins to drift down to Earth.
Elsewhere, Galaxia summons the next two Animamates: Sailor Iron Crow and Sailor Aluminum Siren (or Seiren, which is technically her correct name but the chance Naoko Takeuchi just got the katakana for “siren” wrong is very high). Galaxia tells her two minions that she is close to becoming the ruler of the entire Milky Way and that the solar system is their only remaining resistance.
Usagi and the girls are hanging out together, eating ice cream and discussing the previous events involving the appearance of Sailor Galaxia. They are worried about the arrival of an enemy from outside the solar system, but Ami reminds everyone that the Starlights are alien as well. Yet again everyone wonders if they are enemies, even though it’s really obvious they aren’t at this point, which Usagi quickly points out. Minako argues that they still don’t know their motivations and they could turn on them at any moment.
Out of nowhere, Setsuna (MY GIRL!) appears and tells them there’s an evil spreading through the galaxy who drains the power from stars. The solar system isn’t safe, and they have to be careful. This isn’t like any other enemy they’ve thought before. And on that serious note, she pulls out her own ice cream.
.......HOLD ON A SECOND, WAS THAT A VISUAL/TIMING JOKE? IKUHARA-STYLE? HAVE I TAKEN A TIME MACHINE BACK TO SEASON 3?
Usagi is mulling over the situation with Luna when she sees a little red-headed girl get her umbrella stolen by the wind. She’s tiny, no older than three years. The girl smiles at her when Usagi returns her umbrella, but on the walk home Usagi and Luna discover that she is following them. Almost as quickly, she disappears again... and reappears at Usagi’s house, with her mother introducing the girl as “Chibi Chibi”, her little sister.
Oh gosh! Does this sound, like, familiar? Maybe, for example, like that other character who did the exact same thing? That really super popular character among the young toy-buying part of the show’s audience? That for whatever reason was sent home and removed from the story in this season?
I am horribly conflicted over Chibi Chibi. On one hand, she’s nothing more than a lazy rip-off of Chibiusa. We’ve seen all of this before - brainwashing Usagi’s family, being mysterious and never explaining who she is until the situation is dire, the girls having no idea where she came from. But on the other hand, Chibi Chibi is at least a less annoying version of anime Chibiusa. She doesn’t talk, which not only relieves us of repetitive, annoying arguments between her and Usagi, but also gives us a better excuse for why she remains so mysterious.
My conflicted feelings are complicated further by the fact that Chibi Chibi (can I just abbreviate her name to “CC”?) is WAYYYY different in the 90's anime from her original manga incarnation. I won’t spoil the anime for those who have not seen Sailor Stars yet, but in the manga her true identity is a AMAZING BADASS who doesn’t even appear in the 90's anime. So, while she at least has a good pay off in the manga, we don’t get the same pay off in the anime. She is just there to be cutesy and weird.
It’s probably more accurate to say I don’t like anime CC more for the missed opportunity than for what she actually is, but this can be said for so much of the 90's anime’s changes from the manga.
The unoriginality of the character is so obvious that the characters themselves talk about it as they watch her and Usagi’s mother through a shop window. Maybe she’s Usagi’s second daughter? Maybe she’s Chibiusa’s child? Thank goodness it was neither of these things because that would have really made CC a pointless character. Thankfully, we have Setsuna to make another comical entrance and debunk both theories - she’s been to the future, after all, and knows that Chibiusa is an only child. She warns them to be careful about her, because CC could still be dangerous.
CC runs off, of course, so the characters split up to find her. Usagi finds the little girl in the arms of none other than Seiya, who is doing a PR promotional stunt with the local police department by working as a cop for a day. Usagi tells Seiya she’s her sister, but Seiya doesn’t believe her (for some reason). Seiya and Usagi return to the police station to pass CC back to Usagi’s mother, where we also meet the victim of the day, the real police chief.
Aluminum Siren and Lead Crow are there as well, but Siren insists on exchanging business cards with their victim before sucking his soul out of his head. Usagi in the meantime leaves to find her friends, but Setsuna is there instead - turns out they gave up the search and went to watch a parade. Whoops.
But this is all very convenient, because Siren attacks the police chief, Usagi and Setsuna transform and the Starlights interfere/help out. YAY SAILOR PLUTO SCREENTIME, but at the same time, yawn. This is all just the filler formula. Not a whole lot happening in this debut episode for a major character, huh?
Siren and Crow are actually pretty entertaining in their first episode, in contrast, acting like a traditional manzai comedy duo. Siren is a clutzy, ditzy airhead with a preoccupation for politeness in inappropriate moments; Crow is the straightman, the capable rival to Siren who somehow ends up being more like her assistant, acting flabbergasted by her silly behavior. They easily dodge Pluto’s attacks and flee in Iron Mouse’s old phone booth, leaving Sailor Moon and Pluto to deal with...... Sailor Cop, an obvious Robocop parody.
It’s funny but it lasts all of a couple minutes before Sailor Moon heals him back to normal. Pluto has her glare-off with the Starlights, not dissimilar to Uranus and Neptune’s a few episodes ago, and the conflict is over. Later, Usagi tries to write a letter to Mamoru telling him about CC’s arrival, but she feels too overwhelmed with everything to put it into words. CC wanders into her room looking lonely, and Usagi invites her to sleep together.
This is a pretty flimsy episode for one that can’t possibly be considered filler, thanks to CC’s appearance. There’s a few funny moments, mostly thanks to Sailor Pluto, but for the most part it’s filler. Except for those 5 minutes or so introducing CC, it’s skippable. And that’s kinda ridiculous considering how important she’ll be later, but, ah well. Unlike Chibiusa, CC really is just meant to me a silly, lighthearted character that helps sell toys - and this is preferable to being an annoying little shit who’d be unoriginal on top of it.
The Screaming Dead: Terror of the Camp Monster (S5E17/183)
This episode is filler. It’s a mildly entertaining diversion but nothing important happens. It’s a beach episode that takes place at a lake instead of a beach. And that’s it, that’s pretty much my commentary for the whole episode. I won’t spend too much time recapping it since we have two more episodes after this to get through, so let’s get through it.
In an indiscriminate location, a hobo-looking guy is angrily making pottery. Apparently he isn’t happy with his own work. Sailor Aluminum Siren appears out of nowhere, steals his Star Seed, and turns him into a Phage. At least this episode gets bonus points for doing something different. But hey, this really confuses the logic of Sailor Moon doesn’t it? Since this worked without interruption, why not go after more targets that are far away from the city Sailor Moon lives in? Oh, whatever.
Meanwhile, Usagi and the girls are taking a trip out to the campground in the mountains for their summer vacation. Chibi Chibi has come along too so she can provide some cutesy relief (related to comic relief). Rei mentions that her older cousin lives nearby the campsite, and she hasn’t seen him in years. He’s a famous potterymaker. We get a flashback to Rei’s childhood - and of course, the cousin is the same guy who got turned into a Phage at the beginning of the episode - where Rei stops him from destroying a bird amulet in one of his self-critical temper tantrums. He gives her the amulet as a present.
As they’re walking out to their campsite, a policeman on a bike warns them that a weird person has been terrorizing campers lately. We cut to a stereotypical horror movie scene where some kind of swampman is creeping up on a screaming woman..... and the “Cho Rangers” appear to save the girl. Yep, the Three Lights happen to be filming yet another something-or-other at the same time and place the Sailor Senshi in disguise are visiting. They even run into each other in the lake after deciding to so swimming. Hooray swimsuit fanservice!
Oh, and I guess Rei discovers that her cousin’s cabin is completely trashed and he’s missing. But who cares.
After the girls tell Seiya about the warning they received on their way in, about something terrorizing campers, the Three Lights decide to pull a prank on them. Seiya dons the chainsaw-wielding monster costume used during the filming of their show and they sneak off to their tents to scare them. It’s a pretty cruel joke if you think about it, but with a Phage running around, how could this plan go wrong??
Oh, wait, no. The Phage immediately shows up. Taiki and Yaten, who’d ran ahead to warn the girls that the “monster” is coming, pretend to be scared even though it’s really obvious this monster is not Seiya in the costume. Meanwhile elsewhere, Seiya is still on his way over to the girls’ campsite and passes them by as they flee from the Phage. When he finds Yaten and Taiki, the three of them quickly have a “But if you’ve just got here and we saw a monster earlier, WHO’S DRIVING THE CAR???” moment and run off to help the girls, who are being chased by an actual bad guy.
Usagi and Rei get separated from the other girls during the chase, and Rei trips, losing the bird amulet her cousin gave her. They decide to stop and transform and just fight the damn thing, which the group should have done in the first place but damn it whatever SWIMSUIT FILLER EPISODE.
The Phage attacks them and is about to destroy Rei’s amulet, but Sailor Mars stops him and the Phage seems to realize and remember what it is. Mars attacks it with a Flame Sniper and Sailor Moon returns him to normal with a Therapy Kiss, etcetera. Back at the cousin’s house, he’s recovered and I guess learned some kind of lesson about not breaking everything he makes just because it has a tiny flaw. The girls do cute things, Seiya and Usagi argue and have sexual tension, and that’s it. Moving on!
A Night Alone Together: Usagi in Danger (S5E18/184)
Like the last episode, this one is basically meaningless filler. However, this episode is WAY more entertaining. It has it all! The Inner Senshi being fun, more sexual tension between Usagi and Seiya, Minako being a dork (my fave), Haruka and Michiru, humor, fanservice, and a funny spin on the formula. It’s also got one of the most memorable scenes in all of Sailor Stars. It’s an episode that will probably go on the Recommended list when I do the Stars viewing guide.
At Juuban High, the girls are talking about a recent string of break-in crimes happening around town. Usagi says she’s staying home alone tonight and the girls begin to worry about whether she’ll be alright at home, but Seiya butts in and volunteers to be her knight in shining armor. In other words, he basically invites himself to her house for a sleepover. Uhh... real smooth, but more importantly, why are you letting him do this Usagi??
She even cleans up the house for him before he arrives. Girl, he’s not worth it, and think about Mamo-chan! Even Luna reminds her of the stranger danger going on here. “Men are creatures of instinct,” she says. MISANDRY.
Sure enough, when Seiya comes into her room and sees Usagi’s photo of her, and Mamoru, he actually lays it flat. It’s a very petty and jealous thing to do and it certainly doesn’t make me any more interested in this “will they, won’t they” dynamic between Usagi and Seiya this season. As I’ve mentioned before, we all know this will go nowhere. Seiya may as well get over it. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
The two of them sit down for a snack and immediately start arguing about who will eat what. When Usagi tells him girls won’t like his manners, Seiya says it doesn’t matter - he only cares about one girl, the girl he’s looking for across the Milky Way. Reaching into his pocket and grabbing his transformation item, he nearly tells Usagi about his identity as Sailor Star Fighter... but CC ruins the moment. Thanks. Something interesting and important could have happened in this episode and your ruined it with your cutesy crap, CC!
Seiya takes a shower to wash off all the cake that CC threw on him. But of course, when he gets out, the other Inner Senshi have stopped by Usagi’s house and see the SCANDALOUS sight of him in a towel. Usagi’s apparent indiscretion dominates the kitchen conversation afterwards. Even puritanical Ami is disappointed in her.
Everything screeches to a halt, however, when the girls suddenly spot a cockroach in the kitchen. First, GROSS, Tsukino family! If you see a roach come out when all the lights are on and people are shuffling around, you have a SERIOUS bug problem. But second, this is that great scene I mentioned earlier - they call on the man, Seiya, to slay the bug for them. It’s pretty funny that five girls who have died multiple times fighting evil bad guys are so scared of a roach.
The doorbell rings while they are slaying the beast, and CC (who, from scenes like this, is clearly smarter than she’s letting on) runs to answer it. It’s Yaten and Taiki, stopping by looking for Seiya. The group of six become eight and they hang out playing cards. This is why this episode is great - like so many prior good episodes, it’s just the characters interacting, doing normal things, their personalities playing off each other in interesting ways. For example, Ami and Taiki predict too well what card the other will play next, while Minako and Yaten are both playing bad on purpose to block the other.
As if this weren’t enough of a characterization cornucopia, Haruka and Michiru arrive too. Immediately Haruka and Seiya start glaring at each other, and Haruka passive-aggressively observes that celebrities sure have a lot of free time (by which she means, why are you here and please leave), but the other characters quickly start making fun of Haruka for it. “Doesn’t like popular guys,” huh. I guess that’s the euphemism we’re sticking with...
And finally, once again, the doorbell rings, but this is for the last time. It’s some kind of camera crew wanting to film a special about what they were going to eat for dinner, and... you can probably guess where this is going. Anyway, the Three Lights don’t want to be filmed at Usagi’s house due to the paparrazzi reaction that would follow, so Usagi hides them and brings CC in with her and Seiya for some reason. Seiya tries yet again to confess his identity as Star Fighter to her, but Usagi still thinks he’s trying to hit on her. Which... I mean, he has been, this whole time? Maybe just come out and say what you want to say, Seiya, instead of denying it over and over.
Anyway. Downstairs Siren and Crow have shown up and are targeting the head of the camera crew. They have Minako pinned against the wall, unable to do anything, and turn him into a Phage. Usagi runs around the house desperately trying to find a place to transform, but everywhere is taken up by one of the Three Lights, which feels like a subtler, more clever joke on the “gotta transform out of sight” thing that happens in the majority of episodes.
Thankfully Uranus and Neptune are here to deal with things in the meantime and be awesome, giving Usagi time to transform up in the attic. The Phage is about to attack the restrained Minako, when there’s a Moon Tiara Action stopping it! ...... with a pizza. The tiara is a pizza. I love this episode.
The five Senshi plus Uranus and Neptune face-off with the Phage, but then the Star Lights show up too, and suddenly the room is very... small. Star Maker tries to attack the Phage but is stopped by everyone - it’s too cramped! It’s basically just a bunch of (good) jokes, and then Sailor Moon heals the Phage. The Starlights and Uranus and Neptune leave, as they usually do, but because they don’t wanna help clean up the wreck the kitchen is now. heh.
Later, everyone has detransformed and wonder one last time if the house is being broken into by that theif, but it’s nothing more than cutesy Chibi Chibi eating cake. Ah, what a good and useful character.
This episode is basically nothing but a reason to make a ton of jokes, poke fun at Sailor Moon, and showcase the various dynamics between the characters. It’s one of those ‘Best of’ episodes of Sailor Moon, and that’s definitely why I remembered it so well. Highly recommended! A+!
Taiki’s Song Filled With Passion and Faith (S5E19/185)
Makenai! Ashita e, Sailor Air! I sure love that opening song. It’s probably bad that I’m jamming to it so hard at this point, but oh well. One more filler episode to barrel through this week, let’s do it. And it’s another one about uptight Forehead! We all love him, right?
The Three Lights are at a concert, singing Nagareboshi e, the first actual, legit song by them we’ve heard so far in this season. It’s pretty catchy, but I have to wonder why we’re only hearing it now. Maybe it hadn’t been finished yet when the season began? Wouldn’t be surprised. I really like the lyrics... they’re very on-point plotwise. Same can be said for the opening, btw!
As he sings, Taiki tries to focus on his message to the Princess, and elsewhere a little girl in a hospital is watching the concert broadcasted on TV. The calendarr says she’ll be undergoing surgery soon. This girl, Misa, happens to be a family friend of Ami; at Crown Parlor she tells the other Inner Senshi that Misa is terrified of undergoing surgery and doesn’t believe she will survive. Usagi, of course, instantly formulates a plan to help the girl out.
After school, the Three Lights are surrounded by fawning female classmates. In contrast to his friendly and permissive attitude towards fans seen earlier in the series, Taiki blows off the girls, leaving Seiya and Yaten of all people to apologize to them. They observe later that he seems to be in a terrible mood, but his inner monologue reveals that he’s starting to doubt the effectiveness of their message to their Princess.
Anyway, Usagi springs on the three of them and asks if they’ll visit Misa in the hospital. Despite how he’d just treated all the girls at school, Taiki is the only one who agrees to go. Misa is thrilled and shocked to see one of her idols there, but when Usagi suggests Taiki sign his autograph for her or pose for a picture, he obstinately refuses.
Dude. She’s a little girl in the hospital. With cancer or something. Whatever your problem is, how cold do you have to be to refuse to do something as simple as give her an autograph? What the hell is his problem? He did the same shit in his last episode with the astronomer, crushing the naive dreams of children out of selfishness. Does this show want me to like Taiki or not? (Of course, he isn’t like this in the manga.)
Misa, of course, is happy just to be visited by Taiki. Ami tells her to show a drawing to Taiki, but she shyly refuses. Taiki puts on a smile and tells her to show him after she’s healthy... but warns her he’s “critical” about drawings. Dude. Fucking relax.
That night, Misa works on her drawing while listening to the Three Lights. The drawing is of a woman dressed in red, with a Chinese nobility-styled hat and hair pinned up in loose pigtails. Taiki voices over images of him rehearsing - why can’t they reach the Princess? Why isn’t their sung message finding her? Following the rehearsal, Seiya confronts him about his poor rehearsal performance, but Taiki blows him off and announces that he wants to cancel their performance that night.
Taiki’s negativity seems to be spreading, as Misa mumbles to herself that she can’t draw anymore and collapses at the same time Seiya’s frustration with Taiki degrades into a fist fight. They can’t just quit whenever they feel like it - they have to keep singing if they’re going to find the Princess. Yaten tries to break them up, but he’s clearly frustrated with Taiki too. Taiki leaves to mull over the hopelessness of their situation, but Usagi finds him, panicking over Misa’s worsening condition.
They rush to the hospital. Misa weakly tells Taiki she can’t draw anymore, and finally Ami shows him Misa’s drawing. Taiki is shocked - it’s a drawing of none other than their Princess, the person they’re looking for. Misa explains that she can see this person when she hears the Three Lights singing, but lately she wasn’t appearing anymore, and now she can’t finish the drawing. Taiki has a moment of clarify and realizes he’s been acting like a massive douchebag, and he encourages Misa to believe in her survival after her surgery, which is just about to begin. (Would they not cancel the surgery when the girl had just collapsed that day?)
Taiki rushes to the concert hall so he can make the performance he’d planned on skipping - somehow the crowd is all there and Seiya was about to announce its cancellation on stage, instead of them giving people ticket refunds prior to the show. As the concert starts, Taiki promises Misa he’ll sing just for her tonight.
Lesson learned, right? We all know Misa’s gonna be fine. But no... we got that Formula to get through.
The doctor is late to the surgery, but he’s met by Aluminum Siren in disguise outside the hospital. He has his Star Seed pulled out, Usagi and Ami transform, they beat the Phage and turn him back to normal. You know how this goes, no explanation is needed.
Following the concert, the Three Lights come together to the hospital. Misa’s surgery was a success. Some time after the surgery, the Three Lights hang out with her outside, pushing her around in her wheelchair. Misa tells Taiki she was able to finish her drawing.
This episode is....... mehhh? It’s one of those where I’m not sure whether it’s filler. This is the first time we get any kind of confirmation that the Starlights’ “Princess” is, in fact, not Sailor Moon, which is significant as prior episodes had sometimes imposed her image on screen when they mentioned her, implying it’s Sailor Moon they’re looking for. Basically, we do technically learn some important information about the Starlights’ Princess in this episode. But the rest of it is pure unadulterated filler, and not particularly good filler either. We don’t learn anything new about Taiki. Come to think of it, wouldn’t this have made a much better Yaten episode? He’s the one always acting mean towards well-meaning fans, not Taiki. I feel like I’m still waiting for the show to teach me about what kind of person Yaten is aside from “catty brat.”
Anyway, that’s all for this week! Next week we’ve got one more filler, followed by a more important episode, so hopefully we’ll continue to proceed along. See you then!