Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 11 (Usagi vs. Rei: Nightmare in Dream Land)

Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media

Episode directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara

We’re back with another episode of The Three Amigos: Moon Edition!  After gaining another ally in their fight against evil, the Sailor Scouts are ready to face whatever challenges will be set out before them!  With Jadeite’s impending retirement on the horizon, will he be able to stop three Scouts when he couldn’t even stop one in prior schemes?  Will the new dynamic for Team Moon work in their favor or will they get in each other’s way when fighting the forces of evil?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with a Sailor Scout team meeting as Luna catches everyone up to speed on their current goals for the coming fiscal year.  Sadly, they have yet to find the Moon Princess, but the increase in staff will surely mean success in the coming months!  That is, if Rei and Usagi can keep from killing each other.

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“I wanna read it!”     “I’m reading it!”     “No you’re not!  You only grabbed it after I started!”     “It’s mine and I don’t have to share!”     “LUNA!!  REI WON’T SHARE!!”

Clearly they need a distraction or else this whole enterprise is going to fall to pieces.  Fortunately, Ami has been keeping up with the news (which in the nineties meant reading newspapers) and suspects that the bad guys are up to something, what with fifty people disappearing from a nearby amusement park.  Ami turns out to be right on the money as we cut to Dark Kingdom where Jadeite is starting to feel the chill from Beryl’s icy stare of disappointment.

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“So… two weeks left?”     “Yes ma’am.”     “Are you gonna actually DO something, or are you just wasting my fucking time?”     “Well I’ve got this new plan-“     “Oh, I guess you’re just wasting my fucking time then.”     “Okay, THAT was uncalled for!”

The plan is not yet clear, though it turns out that Jadeite once again is getting smack dab in the middle of his plots by being the creepy new guy that was hired as a security guard.  How the hell does Jadeite pass a background check anyway?  Does he even have a high school diploma or did he take independent studies in Malevolence?  I guess he must have had an impressive resume considering he’s the guy the park is using to communicate to the press.  His methods by the way are quite effective.

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“Grab your shit and get the FUCK out!!”

Jadeite as a surly security guard is already an amazing development, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg of how freaking awesome this episode is!  The Moon Crew are at the park investigating but Usagi, as you’d expect, gets distracted VERY easily and it leads to some SPECTACULAR moments.

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“I’VE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER IN MY LIFE!!”

Sadly the merriment must be put on hold as the Scouts are there for a mission, though Rei is being EXTRA mean about it.  I’m guessing she’s someone who’s used to being in charge and making all the decisions, so she’s already trying to put herself into a position of power here by undermining Usagi, the current presumed leader of the Scouts.  She goes so far as to slap her on the back as an admonishment for her short attention span and the impact is enough to knock Usagi off the bench she’s sitting on and right into the face of a talking lion.

Come again?

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“Don’t move!  It can only detect motion!”     “Actually Rei, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of a T-Rex, though the idea that they can only see movement has been more or less disproven.”     “You’ve got a BETTER idea Ami?”     “NONE OF THIS IS HELPING ME!!!”

It’s all fine though because Princess Dream (the mascot of the park) comes out and explains that the talking lion, along with a host of other animals, are all animatronic.  BULLSHIT!!  She’s one of Jadeite’s pawns and those animals are powered by EVIL!!!!  Rei seems to be picking up on it right away, but her less than diplomatic nature makes it hard for Usagi to buy this, especially when Princess Dream is letting her ride a bear.  Curse Princess Dream’s cute animal death squad!  The bad guys definitely have Usagi hook line and sinker and Princess Dream informs the group about an upcoming show at the House of Sweets which they should all attend.  Usagi, still detecting no danger, RSVPs to the chagrin of everyone else and they head out to investigate further until the show begins in about an hour.  The House of Sweets by the way is not so aptly named as I would have gone with something like House of 1000 Corpses.

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“Huntin’ humans ain’t nothin’ but nothin’. They all run like scared little rabbits.  Or should I say… USAGI!?  MWA HA HA HA HA!!!!”

Okay, I’m guessing those people are just passed out, but that is some SERIOUSLY messed up imagery!  Jadeite is NOT fucking around anymore which I guess makes since because he’s becoming increasingly desperate, though I wouldn’t say this plan is as sloppy as his one in episode 10.  At least he isn’t having a bus fly through the air when he could easily banish them to the Doom Dimension himself, though I’m not sure why he isn’t doing that here.  Back where there AREN’T stacks of bodies, the Moon Crew is deciding what their next move will be and Luna figures that the BEST option is to split up.  Not only that, but she assigns Usagi and Rei together which is like mixing your alcohols; It’s just gonna end with a lot of pain and regret.  Rei immediately takes charge to Usagi’s dismay and they begin stalking Princess Dream all over the place which doesn’t work out as well as she’d hope, especially when the two of them start harassing children.

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“I NEED AN ADULT!!”     “WE ARE ADULTS!!”     “Actually Usagi, we’re only fourteen.”     “WELL HE DOESN’T NEED TO KNOW THAT!!”

After making such a scene, the two have to lay low so Usagi comes up with the brilliant idea of riding the kiddie train around the park so they can cover more ground.  Not the most inconspicuous of solutions, but at least this way they’ll have a better chance of spotting any skullduggery within the park.  Sadly enough, they aren’t the only people too old to be on the ride as Mamoru is sitting right in front of them and proceeds to berate Usagi which has the effect of fast tracking him into Rei’s good graces.  Fortunately, Usagi has a retort this time as she starts using toxic masculinity to her advantage by telling him off for riding such a childish ride.  To be fair the train IS being driven by a talking panda, and I’m sure the guy is WAY over the weight limit.

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“I like trains, alright?  If they put a bigger train in the park, then I’ll ride that.  Until then, shut the hell up bun-head!”

The train ride gets frosty after that exchange, and neither one of the Moon Crew spot anything unusual.  Rei seems to think that Mamoru looks like Tuxedo Mask, but I doubt that revelation has anything to do with her psychic powers and more to do with the fact that he looks EXACTLY LIKE TUXEDO MASK!  Usagi though isn’t buying it for a second, though she might just be acting defensive considering how much she hates the prick.  True love, am I right?  Usagi and Rei rush to the castle but are too late as the doors have already locked with Ami inside.  With a new crop of victims, Princess Dream sets her plan into motion which is to… drug them?  She releases some sort of mist from her mouth that causes the people inside to have waking dreams while being drained of their energy until they pass out.  Okay…  I guess their energies are more potent when they feel good.  No wait, I thought it was better when they were stressed out?  Oh who cares!

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“Damn… you… INCENSE!!”

Rei senses something nefarious inside the walls of the fake castle which causes Usagi to deploy Attack Strategy Alpha; i.e. start crying until everything works out.  Attack Strategy Beta by the way is the same thing, only while running in circles.  You don’t even want to know what Attack Strategy Charlie is!  Anyway, Rei starts to scold Usagi for her lack of professionalism which is a valid point, but the bickering doesn’t seem to be getting them anywhere and Luna needs to yell at them to shut the hell up and transform before Ami and everyone else is left a lifeless husk.  They do just that and Rei blows up the door (because explosion and fire are the same thing) and head inside only to be stopped by Princess Dream, and uh… things get weird.

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“Hey Rei; do you know what time it is?”     “I believe it’s NOPE-thirty.”     “Is it now?  Shall we go ahead and NOPE our way to the exit?”     “I believe we shall.”

Princess Dream turns into this REALLY creepy puppet monster named Moorido and she’s easily the most frightening monster that Usagi has had to (and probably will ever) face.  Her head just drops down into her body, and after some unsettling rotations and mechanical noises, she reemerges as a creature that will probably be accepting a lifetime role in your nightmares.  This is a perfect example of what makes this show so amazing.  In the same episode as adorable animals and Usagi theme park fun times, we get a villain who would be a very appropriate second bride for Chucky, and it still manages to keep a consistent tone.  None of this feels out of place due to the show’s distinctive art style, dreamlike atmosphere, and solid pacing which is an impressive feat for any show.

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“I‘ve got no strings… to hold me down…”     “THAT’S A SONG OF DELIGHT AND YOU’RE RUINING IT!!”

Her strategy basically boils down to spraying mist at them over and over again so that they continually stay in a dream like state until all their energy is drained out, which I THINK was an episode of Inuyasha, but that had vaguely incestuous undertones if I recall.  I wouldn’t say that the undertones here are in THAT kinky, but they are… interesting.

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“How about you, you, and me make a Super Sailor Sandwich?”     “With cheese and bacon!?”     “Damn it Usagi…”

I find it a bit odd that Sailor Mars finds this guy as big of a stud as Usagi does (wouldn’t peg them to have the same taste in men), but the daydreams get cut short as the REAL Tuxedo Mask enters the scene to throw a rose, give a witty comeback, and run away to quickly change out of his heavy suit and thick cape.  It can’t be comfortable wearing that in this weather!  Moorido is not pleased with this change of fortunes and since her only move is to spray evil gas, the Scouts have adapted to her move set and developed a counter strategy which boils down to RUN AWAY!!  They do find Ami during their mad dash away from the wooden monstrosity, and wake her up just in time to plan an attack.  Sailor Mercury starts off with a bubble spray to blind the enemy (though if I was Moorido, I’d worry more about getting warped in this sudden change of humidity) and Sailor Mars follows up with a paper charm to freeze the enemy in place which also leads to one of the most gratuitous panty shots I’ve seen in a while.

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Don’t make a Kekko Kamen joke.  Don’t make a Kekko Kamen joke.  Don’t make a Kekko Kamen joke…

The paper charm successfully immobilizes the enemy (though the blatant show of underwear might be just as culpable), and Sailor Moon and Mars follow this up with a FIRE TIARA!!!  Since puppets are allergic to fire, the attack destroys Moorido completely, though it MIGHT have been a bit of overkill considering how effective the tiara has been on its own.  Sadly for Jadeite, he had NOTHING else planned like maybe explosives in the building, because he starts cursing the Scouts like a Scooby Doo villain before the castle dissolves and everyone inside begins their escape.  The day has been saved once again and it looks like the Scouts have learned a lesson in teamwork.  No wait, I think that was a typo.  The Scouts have learned NOTHING about teamwork and Usagi and Rei begin to bicker once again as the episode ends.  Eh, they still got a bunch of filler episodes to figure it out.

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“I wonder if we should handcuff them together or lock them in a room until they start to get along.  What do you think Ami?”     “I’m pretty sure they’d destroy each other just to spite you.”

This episode was FANTASTIC!  Its humor was spot on, the chemistry between the characters (even when they were arguing) was great to watch develop, and the villain is one of the better ones we’ve gotten so far.  It’s going to be a while before Jupiter enters the picture so we’ll be getting more time to develop the trio’s relationship, but if this episode was the only one before Makoto entered the picture, I would be fine with that.  There are some minor complaints here and there, such as the villain only having one attack for the final fight and Jadeite being somewhat repetitive as he spends every episode mocking the Scouts before letting them trounce him and his schemes, but these are very minor and don’t detract from the overall quality on display here.  This one episode basically captures everything that the show can do when it’s firing on all cylinders, and I hope that they can keep this up for the rest of the Usagi/Ami/Rei episodes that we’ll be getting plenty of from here on out.

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5 thoughts on “Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 11 (Usagi vs. Rei: Nightmare in Dream Land)

  1. Bell Lectar

    Yay, I’m glad you liked it.)
    It’s episodes like this that forever influenced me in what I’m looking for in anime, these elements of entertaining, fun, funny, character-driven, dramatic, creepy, cool. You compared this to Inuyasha, and it is striking how similar these 2 series in their mood, formula, production values, even some story elements.
    Also, a coincidence? Is that both of the eps you liked best, this one and the music bat one, both were directed by Ikuhara. I can’t find that info anywhere, but I think being the episode director means also doing the storyboards, and in these 2 of Ikuhara’s earliest works you can already observe his love for surreal and cooler than life scene settings, like that scene of the bat lady being scolded by Jadeite talking from a mountain of broken tvs in a waste dump, or the mountain of bodies in this one.
    It’s a curious sight to observe the growing influence of Ikuhara over the series, as he learns to make art out of repetition.
    Another thing, just as much as the second story arc of SMC was the rehash of first, the element of rehashed content also becomes Ikuhara’s signature, and from watching his series chronologically its fun to see just how much he reuses old ideas remixed.

    Another amusing story is how something from this episode ties to Sailor Moon Crystal via old fans expectations.
    This episode was the debut of Masahiro Ando, who ended up being the animation director most hated and mocked by the fandom, with him putting no effort in making his style match the series yet putting all effort in keeping in his own style. His faults aren’t obvious in this one due to good storyboard, use of art by other artists (Luna is too on-model for Ando) and this kind of visual fitting the tone of the episode. Ando’s style is that of super thick and short bodies, square faces and lacking body language due to joint-less limbs with undetailed hands. Basically he just makes everybody look like a plushie, which works for a comedy but is jarring for anything serious.
    So when in 2014 Toei showed the character designs for Crystal, and it caused a backlash in the community due to their unproffesional appearance, Crystal fans were defending them with saying that at least its not Ando, nothing is worse than Ando. Then even showing his art from 2014, pointing how even 20 years later you can still recognize an Ando face.
    But then in the second half of SMC, just after Chibi Usa popped, there was a long streak of particular square-eyedness, people started joking that Ando is back and is drawing that under a pen name.

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  2. lololelelolo

    Sorry to correct you, but the Spanish word for dead is “muerto”. The word “morido” does not exist in Spanish.

    The infinitive “morir” (to die) is irregular. If it had have been a regular verb, its participle would have been, indeed, “morido”. Its like with English irregular infinitives such as “to go”: its participle is “gone”, but if it were regular, the word “goed” would be the right one.

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    1. SuperDude Post author

      I see… I think I might have misread a google result I found for the world that I though was a translation. I will correct this right away!

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      Reply
  3. Pingback: Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 18 (Shingo’s Love: The Grieving Doll) | The Reviewers Unite!

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