As long as I’m resurrecting older features, might as well resume Sailor Moon SuperS!
A while back, I started blogging my way through the oft-maligned Sailor Moon SuperS, as I had decided to re-watch it out of curiosity over whether it was as terrible as it is generally remembered. When I wasn’t far into it, though, I put it on hold as I ended up having to move for my work, and everything got a bit too busy for me to be close-watching and blogging a very repetitive show. But, at last, I am finally returning to it. I have, it must be said, skipped an episode, which I watched way back at the time of blogging, took notes on, and never got around to writing up. Having re-examined my own notes, I feel a clear conscience in skipping it as it didn’t do anything to advance the plot, nor did it bring anything new to the table in terms of the show being Rape Culture is Bad: The Anime – just more of Tiger’s Eye being creepy and gross!
In this episode, we open with Chibiusa with her classmates during an outdoor art lesson. Chibiusa’s teacher remarks that Chibiusa’s art is good, but that she isn’t going to get a passing grade as she violated the assignment’s dictum that they simply draw what is in front of them. When one of the little boys responds by telling the teacher she’s stupid and that’s why she can’t get a boyfriend, it sends sensei into a tailspin of doubt over her ability to be a teacher. Meanwhile, Tiger’s Eye hatches a plot to get Pegasus by using a shadow-based Lemures, Henihannabiko, that can slip into people’s hearts, and then later takes advantage of sensei’s self-doubt. He approaches her as a fortune teller, but very quickly gives up the act in favor of pinning her down to check her dream mirror. When our various heroes arrive upon the scene, and Sailor Chibi Moon summons the winged horse himself, Henihannabiko goes straight into his heart and in doing so breaks into Chibiusa’s dreams. Once in there, she tries to tempt Chibiusa to subjugate Pegasus for her own ends, but Chibiusa flatly refuses. Sailor Moon Moon Gorgeous Meditation’s the Lemures, and the episode ends with sensei re-committing to her desire to be a teacher, while Pegasus rewards Chibiusa’s good nature with an orb she can talk to him in at any time.
This wasn’t a particularly great episode, and I found the resolution of sensei’s angst about her fitness to be a teacher a bit lacking. That being said, the scene involving Chibiusa and the Lemures in her dream was a decent way of developing the underlying message about rape culture in a subtler manner than what is typically the case during battles. Hebihannabiko, in penetrating into Pegasus’s shadow (itself an interesting moment in that it’s the first time we see a woman/female character penetrating a man/male character), which is how she reaches Chibiusa’s dream/heart, renders him frozen as stone. While he’s in this state of paralysis, she places a bridle on him and encourages Chibiusa to take hold of it so that she can control him. Chibiusa is unwilling to do so, and says that forcibly taking hold of him like that is wrong, and the two argue about whether its best to control someone or if it’s better to befriend them. Unsurprisingly, Chibiusa wants to build a relationship, not make someone behave as she wishes, and its her strength of belief in this that enables her to expel the Lemures from her dream so that Sailor Moon can beat her. It serves to underline the big difference between our protagonists and antagonists, and it rounds out the picture so far as it moves the critique of rape culture past simply Men Trying to Control Women to the argument for a different way for women and men to relate to one another.
Nevertheless, though, even with the break between when I last watched and this, I am burning with curiosity over how things will be handled with Fish Eye. Given how gendered the critique of rape culture has been so far, Fish Eye should certainly put a very different spin on things, given his homosexuality. I’ll admit, too, though, that I’m a littttttle bit worried about how this aspect will have aged, as there’s a lot of potential for it to go wrong, wrong, wrong. Fish Eye could end up coming off as the Predatory Homosexual stereotype; sure, Hawk’s Eye and Tiger’s Eye have both been predatory themselves, but as a means of examining and analyzing the ways in which men treat women as objects to be stalked and collected, this isn’t a problem. They also are far from the only heterosexual male characters in the show, the majority of whom haven’t been creepy like this (an obvious exception being Diamando, or however the fuck we’re romanizing that these days). Homosexual male characters, however, have been absent since the first season, and while their love for each other was the one thing that wasn’t villainous about them, that is still a long, long time before SuperS aired, so Fish Eye could easily be disastrous.
Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t look like we’ll be finding out anytime soon, as the next episode is one of those horrible “Usagi thinks someone is stealing Mamoru!” episodes that helped contribute to my genuine dislike for anime!Usagi.