It’s time for some pedophilia!
This episode is part samurai drama parody, and it opens as such with a young would-be swordswoman handily defeating a challenger. Post-battle, Chibiusa begs the girl, Miharu, to take her on as an apprentice, which ultimately results in Miharu moving in temporarily with the Tsukino family. To Usagi’s dismay, her room is given over to the girl, but she drops her protest when Miharu offers to leave completely to go back to living under the bridge where they met her. It quickly becomes apparent that Miharu has issues with her mother relating to her single-minded focus on becoming Japan’s best swordswoman. Elsewhere, Tiger’s Eye decides that Miharu will be his next target, and he approaches her by pretending to be a swordsman himself. While Miharu is falling under his spell, Usagi and Chibiusa are trying to persuade Miharu’s mother to not be so harsh to her, without luck. However, Usagi suspects that the woman isn’t as harsh as she seems, although she can’t quite put her finger on the reason for her behavior. Inevitably, Tiger’s Eye attacks Miharu; Sailors Moon, Chibi Moon, Jupiter, and Mars are fast to the scene, and a fairly goofy fight ensues. Miharu re-awakens and engages with the Lemures as well, and in the course of the battle realizes that her mother’s been concerned all along that she’s missing out on other things because of her efforts to be a swordswoman. Sailor Moon defeats the Lemures, and mother and daughter make up.
This was probably the strangest episode of SuperS so far. As I said before, it’s part samurai drama parody, something which even with Ikuhara directing feels like a very bizarre fit for the show. It’s also very thoroughly such, with even Tiger’s Eye going full-bore with period get-up. Outside of these scenes, the tone remains pretty absurd, to the extent that I checked after watching if Ikuhara had written or directed the episode. He didn’t! Haruma Kosaka directed (his only previous in SuperS was the horrid “Is Artemis cheating?!” episode), and Mutsuri Nakano wrote the script. Assuming this isn’t a pen-name for a more well-known person (and I can’t find anything indicating that it is), this is the only anime work from Nakano ever. And it’s a very good one, albeit one that when it isn’t being funny is pretty skincrawl-inducing, as we’ve got Tiger’s Eye taking the whole liking younger women thing a bit too far (Miharu appears to be Chibiusa’s age).
The Amazon Trio have been pretty gross previously, but this one’s a new low. I appreciate that the folks working on this episode commit fully to what they’re doing with it in this regard, but it made for queasy viewing. Tiger’s Eye’s initial choice is gross all by itself, but the manner in which he executes his intent is… ugh. He cheats to beat Miharu, and then leads her off to a deserted area not near any homes or other buildings. Then he tells her she must close her eyes, and when she does, he flips to his true form and pins her down on the board like he’s done with all his other victims. When she expresses outrage, he tells her that she’s blame for it since she went with him – she should’ve been more aware! It’s practically a play-by-play of sexual assault cases involving children, the whole “close your eyes” thing in particular, which isn’t something we’ve seen utilized when the targets were adults.
I also want to mention that Makoto and Rei make it onto the scene so fast as they saw Miharu from a distance walking along with Tiger’s Eye (they of course don’t see through his disguise) and thought it didn’t seem right. While show structure dictates that this is often the case, I still want to give them a thumbs-up for acting in a suspicious circumstance involving a child and an adult! Let’s all be more like Makoto and Rei!
Despite the serious nature of the whole “stalking and assaulting a child”, the fight which follows was very, very silly, even by SuperS standards. The Lemures is cat’s-cradle-based, and Sailor Mars distracts her at one point by goading her into attempting a very difficult pattern; the Lemures fails and becomes quite distraught.
I’d be remiss to not comment on Miharu’s mother. Wow, anime parents sure love to be total jerks instead of trying to actually have conversations with their children! If mom had had told Miharu directly what her concerns were, perhaps the girl wouldn’t’ve ended up living under a bridge. Wild. But mom would rather kick the crap out of her daughter in a sword fight. Alright. You do you, swordmom.
Taken altogether, this is one of the episodes I would tell people to not skip were they doing a “high points” Sailor Moon SuperS watch, as its weird, funny, and it goes in a slightly different direction with it’s tackling of rape culture.
The next episode is Fisheye-centric, and it’s the least we’ll ever squirm for a Fisheye episode, as his target is a gay man! Phew.