Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media
Episode directed by Takao Yoshizawa
We’re back with another episode of Japanese Rainbow Brite! So far the Rainbow Crystal arc has actually been pretty solid with stories that focus more on characters and the other Scouts rather than only Usagi fighting whatever overly designed punching bag the bad guys see fit to throw at her. It really seems to be what the Nephrite era SHOULD have been but didn’t really manage to live up to. Can the show continue to make the most out of what can be accomplished with the new arc they’ve set up? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with a meeting in the bowels of Hell Corp as Queen Beryl is demanding a progress report from Zoisite and Kunzite; neither of whom have much to show for their efforts as Zoisite managed to lose one of the Rainbow Crystals and Kunzite hasn’t done shit.
You know, at least when Nephrite was around, Zoisite had an excuse for not helping him out in destroying the Scouts. He was chasing the Silver Crystal. What the hell is keeping Kunzite from getting off his (presumably chiseled) ass and helping his best buddy find the Silver Crystal? They’re not even giving the guy the excuse that he’s collecting energy while Zoisite is crystal hunting! I don’t know, maybe he works on the administrative side of things in Hell Corp, though that would make his fabulous cape somewhat misleading. I don’t think there are a lot of opportunities for a cape swish while you’re filing performance reviews and solving fridge disputes (I imagine Beryl eats everyone’s food and just doesn’t give a fuck). As much as I would love for this show to turn into The Office for Evil Corp, the episode ACTUALLY begins once we cut to Ami who’s walking to school and just barely manages to avoid getting plastered by a falling I-beam. Wait, what?
Boy was THAT lucky, am I right? Well, not exactly. Apparently Ami has a new stalker… I mean secret admirer, who had tried to work up the nerve to talk to her, but didn’t manage to say anything once she stopped and turned around, during which the I-beam toppled right in front of her. Hey, he may not have been able to confess his feelings but at least he managed to buy himself some more time as she would have gone splat if she hadn’t stopped! Six of one, half a dozen of the other. The boy in question by the way is Ryo Urawa who just transferred to the school and has SOMEHOW managed to get a perfect score on the recent test; even beating out Ami who was one point off. Usagi though doesn’t seem to be buying this guy as a super genius and plans to get to the bottom of this mystery.
She follows him around and eventually finds out that he’s madly in love with Ami which she assumes is the reason he was able to get a perfect score on the test as love can apparently get you to do anything including the ability to ace standardized testing. Now obviously I don’t think that’s the case considering the title of the episode, but it’s still a bit ambiguous how his psychic powers work. On the one hand, he seems to have predicted the I-beam falling and also predicts that Usagi is gonna get doused with water (first the constructions works don’t know what they fuck they’re doing, now the janitor just throws buckets of water without even looking!?) but then the flashbacks to the test show him stressing like a mo-fo which you’d hardly think would be the case if he had psychically intuited all the answers.
Now that Usagi has solved the mystery and is finished playing Sherlock Holmes, she’s decided to play Hitch instead which means it is now her personal mission to try and get these two hooked, though Ryo doesn’t seem to confident in her Machiavellian skill sets which to be fair is an assumption you don’t need to be a psychic to make. After this scene there is a brief aside to catch us up with Mamoru and Rei who are on yet another date (I didn’t even know they were still together!) where Mamoru is distracted by the fact that he now knows he’s Tuxedo Mask but still doesn’t have all his memories back. If they’re gonna keep going back to this subplot between the two, can we AT LEAST have it make sense? I could probably buy Rei sticking with this guy even if he barely pays attention to her (he’s a prize for her that she wants to lord over Usagi I guess) but what the hell is Mamoru getting out of any of this?
After that pointless excursion into Anime Blue Valentine, we go back to Usagi who’s meeting up with Ryo to discuss Operation Tsun-Ami of Love which basically boils down to Usagi bringing Ami to meet up with Ryo after cram school. GENIUS!! Not only that, Usagi also brought Ryo a picture of her which I am ABSOLUTELY sure was taken with full awareness and consent!
Yeah, THAT’S not creepy in the slightest!! How the hell did she even get that picture!? Was she hiding under the table!? While Usagi is setting up their Cyrano de Bergerac scheme (have those EVER worked?) Luna is focusing on the fact that the Moon Stick is going haywire over the presence of Ryo which points to him being the next Rainbow Monster. Well who didn’t see THAT coming? The only way to telegraph that twist any harder is if the guy was actually played by Haley Joel Osment. Usagi goes off to fetch Ami, and Ryo goes… somewhere. The prior scene didn’t establish where Ryo will be meeting Ami and so he just kinda leaves the diner and starts wandering around; presumably heading home so he can be all depressed about his unrequited love. Wherever he’s headed though, he’s certainly not gonna get there without a fight as Zoisite finally springs his trap and has also apparently grown like fifteen inches. Seriously, I don’t remember this dude being half as tall as he’s shown to be in THIS episode!
Now apparently Ryo’s psychic powers have clued him into some key details, such as the fact that he has a monster inside of him, that this waspy mother fucker is named Zoisite, and that him showing up on his doorstep does not mean anything good. Ryo tries to put up a fight, but then his psychic powers haven’t developed enough to give him telekinesis so he lands flat on his back within moments. I’ll give him an A for effort though!
Zoisite, having taught this poor sap a lesson, begins to use the Dark Crystal to unleash the monster within, but thankfully Usagi and Ami arrive shortly after and interrupt the transformation. While Sailor Moon is keeping Zoisite distracted, Sailor Mercury takes Ryo away so that further harm won’t come to him. Unfortunately, Usagi can only keep the blonde bastard’s attention for about fifteen seconds before SOMEHOW managing to get past her. Ami did manage to get a pretty good distance away though so at least they have that going for them, but then Ryo is in pretty bad shape and there’s not a lot that she can do about it. Then again, considering what he’s having visions about, I’m pretty sure that everyone is better off with him being unconscious.
I’m starting to think this isn’t so much a premonition as it is a wet dream. Look, I know that things are different in Japan, but this is some PRETTY messed up imagery right here beyond the fact that Ami is a middle schooler. Having a woman being forcibly undressed against a backdrop of blood splatter is not a good image to put out there in ANY show, let alone one that is primarily aimed at pre-teen girls. The modicum of context provided here is that Ryo is seeing what will happen if he transforms into the Legendary Monster within him (don’t flatter yourself kid, these Scouts have taken down tougher guys than you without breaking a sweat) but I hardly think that’s enough to justify what the hell we just saw. Ryo eventually wakes up and reveals to Sailor Mercury that he knows she’s actually Ami Mizuno and about all sorts of other stuff because of his psychic powers so she should REALLY take it seriously when he says he’s gonna turn into a monster and probably hurt her. Come to think of it, he does kinda look like Akira Fudo from the Go Nagi series Devilman which doesn’t spell good news for anyone, but Mercury isn’t buying this guy’s deterministic outlook on life (she also refuses to reveal her secret identity) and tells him to stop being a wussy because she’s gonna handle this. This stance is put to the test though as Zoisite comes out of nowhere and transforms Ryo into the monster known as… Bunboo? Seriously? That’s the dude’s name? He’s also yet another hilariously anachronistic villain in that he looks like a really geeky GI Joe villain with Swiss Army Knife arms that shoot scissors and drawing compasses. Seriously, one of his main attacks is to fire compasses s at his enemies.
Fortunately for Sailor Mercury, Bunboo manages to maintain just enough of his humanity to turn on his new master and attack Zoisite; causing him to drop the Rainbow Crystal he just got which lands squarely in Ami’s hands. This unexpected betrayal however does not last long as Zoisite manages to get his monster under control (while also growing him substantially bigger for some reason) and points him in Ami’s direction. Sailor Moon has just arrived by the way and is ready to kick some ass, though not before staring in bewilderment at the comic display before her.
From this point, things go about as well as you’d expect. Sailor Moon tries to use her Moon Stick right away to heal the monster, but the stick seems to work on Pokémon rules which mean she’ll have to weaken them first. That won’t be too hard as Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus have also managed to make it to the park (did Luna call them or something) and with the combined effort of all four of them, they’re able to subdue the monster. There is one odd element though which is that Sailor Moon uses her tiara against the monster which is a move that NORMALLY kills bad guys dead, but apparently now has a stun option where it attaches itself to her opponent’s head and shoves 1.21 gigawatts directly into their brain.
With Ryo now successfully weakened (and hopefully not braindead) Sailor Moon uses her Moon Stick to heal the poor bastard which actually works this time. See? I knew this guy didn’t stand a chance against the Scouts! He was so worried over nothing! While the Scouts are making sure that Ryo hasn’t suffered peremanant damage, we can see that Tuxedo Mask is off to the side and probably feeling a bit dejected that he wasn’t need at all this time. The main point of this cameo though is to reiterate that he has one of the Rainbow Crystals, Evil Corp has another one, and now the Scouts have one too. Presumably this will come to ahead once we get to all seven of them, but that’s a story for another time! From there we cut to sometime later where Ryo is apparently transferring to another school despite just getting to Juban Middle School which means that the writers couldn’t find a way to get out of this corner they backed themselves into and just had to come up with anything to get his ass out of town. Ami does have a parting gift for him though which is a new picture of her to replace the creepy one that Usagi had given him which I’m sure is a huge relief to her now that this odd photo is out of circulation. And so the episode ends with Ryo getting on the train to head to whatever adventures await him in his new home (maybe he really WILL become Devilman) and we close on the picture that Ami had given him.
The Rainbow Crystal arc has proven to be one of the better story lines we’ve gotten from show’s filler, and while I do like this episode more than several of Nephrite’s outings, I think this may be the weakest we’ve gotten in the arc. Now we only really have two episodes to compare it to so far, but both of those had a lot stronger character moments what with episode 25 being the introduction of Sailor Jupiter and episode 26 trying to close the loose ends left by Nephrite’s departure. The focus in this episode feels off as this is presumably supposed to be an Ami centric episode, but we’re mostly following this other character that’s gone by the end of it and so most of the character building here was for someone who was ultimately unimportant. We don’t really get anything from Ami that we didn’t already know before about her, so her presence as the object of Ryo’s affection doesn’t ultimately mean much in the end. Hell, we don’t even know if she actually LIKES the guy by the end of the episode! Ami deserves an episode that’s ACTUALLY about her and hopefully we’ll get that soon enough.