Sailor Moon Crystal III Episode Four

smc III 4

Hmm, they’re probably cousins.

This week in Sailor Moon Crystal picks up immediately where last episode left off, with *that* kiss. In the wake of it, Usagi keeps mum as it is quickly obvious that no one else witnessed it. She does run into Haruka, who gives a convincing performance of “guy who is interested but has been told to back off by girl’s friends”. Usagi doesn’t manage to get any answers, but she does end up with a stack of tickets to Michiru’s upcoming concert. It’s a rather useful development, as it gives the senshi a chance to potentially snoop at Mugenzu, although Minako is much more interested in the concert given by Mimette, a hot new idol, instead. Good thing her lowbrow interest allows her to be on the scene when Mimette makes her move as a member of the Witches 5! Against all this fuss, and not taken note of by many, Chibiusa pursues a friendship with Hotaru.

Episode four was an improvement on episode three, as the component parts were fit together as a whole much more effectively this time. It still remains a rapidly paced story, but it simply flowed better, and I hope that this shows episode three to have been an outlier. (By the way, this isn’t to say episode three was bad – it just wasn’t as good as episodes one, two, or four.)

One of the things I really liked here is in the way that Chibiusa behaves like an actual child and not like the vague approximations we usually get of small children in anime. Not only that, she also behaves very much as a child who has lived a fairly pampered existence would behave, as “Don’t worry, I know Usagi!” is good enough for her to hop aboard a helicopter piloted by people she’s never met before!

Speaking of helicopters, we get Haruka for the first time in feminine attire while in civilian form! This is in keeping with the manga, although I’ll note that it’s certainly a contrast from the original anime, as Haruka eschewed feminine clothing entirely in that. Looking at her outfit, I realized that I interpret neckerchiefs as Quite Gay, and I think that that is at least partly due to Haruka.

And, speaking of Haruka and gay, oh, Usagi! I think things are a bit less ambiguous in the manga than how they adapt it here, but Usagi’s curiosity does not seem to run along purely occupational lines. She spends a fair amount of time mulling over the kiss and the possibility that Haruka and Sailor Uranus are the same person, to the extent that she does some independent research on Haruka. Its interesting how she does this thinking about it, too, as Mamoru doesn’t enter the picture at all. There’s a subtle implication that Usagi and Mamoru still have some work to do on their own relationship in these episodes, given Usagi’s Haruka distraction, and the way both of them end up with tickets to the same concert, but never mention it to one another. Mamoru says that he’d planned to ask her, but he walked into the moment when she was sharing the tickets with the other girls, so he used the ticket for Chibiusa instead… and didn’t actually say anything ahead of time. Usagi had seen him from afar being given something by Michiru, but had herself not brought it up with him despite her misgivings. It’s all, of course, resolved with no fuss since neither flies off the handle with accusations, but that neither brought it up directly is worrisome.

But, if I may diverge into a broader consideration of Usagi, Mamoru, and their relationship, that neither of them becomes wildly accusatory is a very nice change of pace from the original anime, where Usagi is frequently clingy and falls easily into bouts of jealousy. The pair come together very quickly as a couple in the manga, but while they’ve got the whole “past lovers” thing going, in that case it operates as a jumping-off point ultimately rather than as the reason itself for their romance, which is how it comes off in the original anime. For all that the relationship between Usagi and Mamoru remains a key part of both, the way it’s depicted in the original anime is *very* unpersuasive. Part of it is that Mamoru is much more of a cipher there, while Usagi’s flaws are over-emphasized – she’s incredibly immature, and while manga/Crystal!Usagi’s academic issues are due to her laziness, anime!Usagi’s academic issues are simply because she’s an idiot. They’ve also got a bigger age-gap, which highlights the absurdity of Mamoru dating a girl who acts half her age half the time, and their own interactions prior to becoming aware of their past lives can be best termed as hostile.

So, even if they’re not communicating at the moment here, it’s still so very many leagues beyond the crap we got in the first anime go-round. I also appreciate it as by allowing them to have some difficulties, it’s an acknowledgement implicitly of how young they both still are, regardless of destiny. These are a pair of kids who’ve learned in the space of a year that they were lovers in the past who died violent deaths in the destruction of their way of life, who now have to work to keep the entire planet safe, and that not only do they eventually get married, but they’ll also have a daughter (who won’t age for about nine hundred years due to their crappy parenting) and end up as sovereign rules of the planet. Wow! That’s a lot! As much as I held out feeble hopes as a fourteen year old of a moon cat imploring me to transform and fight monsters some day, I would’ve surely found this aspect tough to contend with at best. I wouldn’t expect a contemporary teen couple to behave like they were married, so I like to see that our teen couple here encounter their own momentary lapses in surety.

Wow, did you think I could manage to spill so much ink about a heterosexual couple?! I’m shocked, too! If this has given you vapors, just remember that this whole thing was spurred by the biggest threat to Usagi’s romance with Mamoru, and that the person who is the threat is a woman.

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