Tiger’s Eye, enjoyer of fine literature.
The “S. Hasegawa” there is likely a reference to Sadao Hasegawa, a Japanese artist whose focus area was male erotica, by the way. Bit interesting as cover for a guy who is stalking a girl.
This episode brings us back to Tiger’s Eye as our primary antagonist, although Hawk’s Eye kindly lends a really stupid idea of him. Zirconia is annoyed thus far with the failures of the Amazon Trio, and Hawk’s Eye brashly promises that they’ll manage to snag Pegasus, a promise that upsets Tiger’s Eye since he worries it’ll put them on even thinner ice than before. Picking targets, he decides to go after Naru, but his initial attempt fails when Naru is distracted by Umino. Tiger’s Eye fumes, but follows Naru the next day to help him formulate a better plan. Noticing that she’s reading a book about nursing, he decides to pretend to be a terminally ill man, and in this sickly guise he tries emotional blackmail to get Naru to agree to date him. Naru is clearly uncomfortable with this, and tells Usagi about it; Umino gives his blessings but runs off crying and makes himself sick with milkshakes. When Naru meets up to tell Tiger’s Eye that she can’t be his girlfriend, he, of course, reveals his true form. Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon arrive on the scene and can accomplish little sans Pegasus, and when Pegasus does show up, Tiger’s Eye springs Hawks’ Eye’s trap – a cage with a dimensional warp in it! That, uh, Pegasus walks through just fine before jumping out over the end of the cage. Sailor Moon uses Moon Gorgeous Meditation, Naru is saved, and romantic bliss is achieved once again for Naru and Umino.
There’s a lot to go through here, so let me get the less meaty stuff out of the way – out of all the transformations and attacks and wands, I like the ones we get in this season best. Well… ok, I like the Moon Stick best, but the Kaleidomoon Scope is pretty close. Moon Gorgeous Meditation is a wonderfully cheesy attack name, but I also like the way its composed and directed – its much more memorable than the other attacks, quite frankly, and less silly than all the spinning around that Moon Spiral Heart Attack had. Moon Crisis, Make-up! also stands out since its the only fully double-transformation in the series. I do think that Super Sailor Moon in S has a better outfit than in SuperS, though, since in S it gets more detail much of the time such that the colors on the skirt aren’t as clearly delineated.
Another note I want to make is that the scenes involving the bar that the Amazon Trio hangs out at make me think of the bar where Vanishing Age spends time in Star Driver. Given that some of Star Driver’s staff also worked on Sailor Moon SuperS, this isn’t terribly surprising. However, unlike Vanishing Age, the Amazon Trio’s behavior, exchanges, and even tones of voice here honestly are like the scenes in other anime (such as Yu Yu Hakusho or Speed Grapher) involving okama/drag queens.
While Tiger’s Eye hasn’t been a stranger to misogyny previously, episode four manages to up the discomfort that previous episodes have provided on this front. Watching it, I suddenly realized that ultimately the Amazon Trio’s actions can be viewed as a criticism of the characterization of dating/romance as a game that men must use trickery and deception to “win” at. Tiger’s Eye and Hawk’s Eye both utilize dishonest means to draw in their targets, dehumanizing them and viewing them merely as a means to an end, ready to discard them when they no longer prove to be of any use within their own schemes.
While the actions taken toward the female victims so far have been fairly violent, they have been so largely due to context and in ways that are less obviously applicable to the real world. The penetration of Dream Mirrors is absolutely rape allusions, but are not explicit depictions of sexual violence. Tiger’s Eye, though, becomes visibly angry toward Naru several times throughout this episode when she fails to respond in a manner deemed acceptable by Tiger’s Eye to his own actions. First, Naru is more interested in a boy that Tiger’s Eye deems ugly and beneath himself, then she doesn’t recall Tiger’s Eye when he deliberately sets up a “chance” second encounter, and he clenches a fist and has to force himself to calm down so as to not ruin his plan. Underpinning this, Tiger’s Eye takes a dismissive stance toward Naru for her clear preference for Umino over himself – while this isn’t exactly the same as the whole “girls only like jerks, not nice guys like myself!” thing, its of the same cloth wherein a girl or woman’s actual preference is demeaned and the onus is put on her rather than the guy making this judgment. Tiger’s Eye also demeans Naru herself by stating that obviously Pegasus couldn’t be in her dream since her preference for Umino indicates that she must have a plain dream. When he discovers what her aspiration is career-wise, he remarks to himself, “She wants to be a nurse, how predictable!”
From here, he plots to entrap Naru by appealing to her dream, and tries to do so by pretending to be weakly and sick, doomed to die in a mere three months time. He then begs her to be his girlfriend so that he’ll know love before he dies, a pretty clear cut play for emotional blackmail. The culture of niceness wherein girls and women are punished socially if they deviate from an acceptable level of niceness frequently pressures girls and women in ways like this – even though Naru doesn’t know this guy from a crowd, if she rejects his unreasonable request she runs the risk of being accused of being an uncaring bitch – how could you turn down a dying man?! Never mind, either, that Naru already has someone she loves and cherishes and whom she is happy with. Chibiusa even goes along with the acceptable narrative herself, as upon hearing the story she remarks how romantic it is… before Usagi cuts off her fantasizing over it with a blunt, “Do you understand what that means?”. Umino, too, though, goes along with it, telling Naru that he understands, she has to do it, although it clearly breaks his heart to tell her to. Heartbreak isn’t an excuse for his failure to realize that Naru herself is uncomfortable with the entire thing; Umino has some ways to go still.
Its gratifying to see Naru stand up for herself when push comes to shove. It is also gratifying to have the show acknowledge that this often isn’t enough. “Why didn’t you/she/he just leave?” is such a common response to domestic/dating violence and its victims, and this needs to be pushed back against hard – Naru emphatically tells Tiger’s Eye that she cannot be his girlfriend, only for him to reveal his true form and attack her. It takes the support of Naru’s friends to get Tiger’s Eye to leave her alone once and for all, and, secondarily, it takes the efforts of enforcers of justice to do so. Victims of stalking and domestic violence need the support of people who care about them, be it friends or family, and also need law enforcement to fully perform their jobs in order for the cycle of violence to be successfully broken.
Letting all the gears grind to a halt, I was struggling to figure out how to close out this post and noted such to my father. He suggested I say, “That’s it, honkies, so long for now.” and just end there. So, that’s it, honkies! So long for now!