Sailor Moon Crystal Liveblog: Episode 9

In case you missed my announcement, in a few weeks I’m going to start posting weekly video responses on Wednesdays instead of text liveblogs. None of the liveblogs are going away, they’re just all going to be on Saturday instead of split between two days.

Curious about the videos? Subscribers to my Patreon can see them right away–the first is going up today!

[14:45] Ah yes, when we last left off, he was making himself useful for once
[14:45] Quick reminder: Tuxedo Mask was unable to follow very simple instructions
[14:46] “Stay here while the people with actual magic fight.”
[14:46] Evidently, this was some kind of flashback laser.
[14:47] Wait, did anyone involved with this production, or even the manga authors, think it would be a surprise that Usagi was Serenity?
[14:47] This is being shot and scored like a plot twist
[14:47] It kind of was twenty years ago.
01[14:48] Most current anime viewers weren’t born when the first series aired.
[14:48] I suppose
[14:48] When I was watching the 4kids dub I thought it was pretty obvious
[14:48] Ad.
[14:48] Even so, it was so obvious…
[14:48] likewise
[14:48] Alrighty then…
[14:48] Paused at the title card
[14:49] Oh hey, not an ad for Crunchyroll.
[14:49] What’s it advertising instead?
[14:49] Also, I should note that in the old cartoon, “is Sailor V the princess?” was resolved with her immediately saying “Naw, I’m just Sailor Venus”
01[14:49] Heheh, watching with adblock is funny, it just flickers instead of showing the ad.
01[14:49] Three flickers, hmm.
[14:49] So I was surprised when in this show, Sailor V actually straight up lied about it
[14:49] Ooh, I never counted the flickers
[14:49] A show on Fox. And now the cloud. And now a different show.
[14:50] Back.
[14:50] back
[14:50] Or does Sailor V actually think she’s the princess?
[14:50] The conversation with Artemis last episode clearly indicated that she knows what’s up
[14:50] And everyone’s showing complete disregard for gravity.
[14:50] Ah yeah, I forgot
[14:50] Oh great, THIS triggers a BSoD
[14:50] Or… not. Okay.
01[14:51] Sailor Moon is evolving!
[14:51] I really wish they hadn’t cut Tuxedo Mask’s “crying doesn’t solve anything” line from the first episode in a version of the show where crying solves things even more often than in the old show
[14:51] Or Digivolving
01[14:51] She became PRINCESS.
[14:52] Sailormon Digivolve to… Princessofthemon!
01[14:52] And then she reverses time, like you do.
[14:52] Nope. Just memories.
01[14:52] Okay, yeah, Sylocat’s gag is better.
[14:52] Now there’s a show I haven’t seen in way too long
01[14:52] Never watched it.
[14:52] You should at least see the third season, Digimon Tamers
01[14:53] FIRST PRINCE OF THE EARTH?
[14:53] It’s one of the best things ever, even the dubbed version was great
[14:53] That was a very good one, yes.
01[14:53] Just how far in the past are we?
[14:53] Oh yikes, Romeo and Juliet…
[14:53] “God’s law”? What, are nephilim a thing?
01[14:53] Or just angry mobs, I guess?
[14:53] Oh, and SHE was there
[14:54] Okay, we get it
01[14:54] Wait, no, she is a Pokemon, her tears have healing powers.
[14:55] Ah, good point, there
01[14:55] “It’s the legendary silver crystal! It was hiding in her face!”
[14:55] Now we just need to clone her…
[14:55] So yes, the power of girls crying is the power that will save the world
[14:55] Those two are awfully quick to celebrate the MacGuffin appearing in the hands of their enemy
[14:56] Good thing girls cry alot AMIRITE
[14:56] Whoa, Force Lightning
[14:56] Well, Usagi does, though that’s been underplayed in this version of the show.
[14:57] Oh, is this the part where he gets brainwashed and turns evil?
[14:57] Um, no. That’s not a crystal. That is a man.
[14:57] So he becomes EVEN MORE of a “Bad Boy™?”
01[14:57] Ah, of course, the old hostage-for-MacGuffin gambit.
01[14:57] With optional hostage brainwashing.
[14:57] Ad.
[14:57] ad
01[14:57] Eh, I’m guessing it won’t handle it as well as Fushigi Yuugi.
01[14:57] Which is not to say that Fushigi Yuugi handled it *well*, mind you.
01[14:58] Just better than I expect this to.
01[14:58] I’m not sure that it CAN be done well.
[14:58] I still haven’t seen Fushigi Yuugi
01[14:59] It’s rather like Cardcaptor Sakura, in that it is a quite good 26 episode series stretched to 50- or 70-something episodes .
[14:59] Ad over.
[14:59] Ouch
[14:59] Same.
01[14:59] Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden, the prequel manga, is a lot better though.
01[15:00] Mostly because of a WAY better teen-girl-from-our-world. Miaka kinda sucked.
[15:00] I notice they Katakana-ize “Princess”
[15:00] Instead of saying “-Hime”
[15:00] “Du you remember the violent deaths of everyone you ever knew and loved yet? How about now?”
[15:00] Huh, they didn’t mention that Venus was the lead bodyguard in the old show
[15:01] Jupiter is punching a sword
[15:01] And winning.
01[15:01] I still choose to believe that this is metaphoric deformation at work, and they were horrifying blob monsters when they lived on the moon.
[15:01] Maybe he was “First Prince of the Earth,” in the same sense as “First Officer,” rather than “First Chronologically”
[15:01] Or “heir to the throne.”
01[15:01] Oh, that’s the sense I was assuming.
01[15:02] First Prince is the heir to the throne, just like First Prince Philionel de Seyruun.
[15:02] And it took m that long to figure it out
[15:02] Oh, now Usagi is hitting the Identity Crisis
[15:02] Now I want to see Tuxedo Kamen perform a Pacifist Crush…
01[15:02] Man, Phil would squeeze Tuxedo Fedora’s brains out through the top of his head.
01[15:03] This show would be SO MUCH BETTER if we just substituted Prince Phil for Mamoru.
[15:03] So, are they going to brainwash him, or was that another thing that only happened in the first anime?
[15:03] Every show would be better with Prince Phil.
01[15:04] Possibly not The West Wing.
[15:04] Possibly.
01[15:04] Although maybe West Wing Season 8, starring Idris Elba as Chief of Staff Stacker Bellicose.
01[15:04] (Look it up.)
[15:04] …How much of that was a dream?
[15:05] I thought you didn’t like Pacific Rim
[15:05] The death definitely was. I think the rest actually happened.
01[15:05] I don’t.
01[15:05] But Pacific Rim-West Wing mashup is awesome.
[15:05] True ’nuff
[15:05] Usagi’s harem isn’t happy without her
01[15:06] Clearly not.
[15:06] They’re coming off as almost unhealthily dependent
01[15:06] She’s taken her true blob-monster form!
01[15:06] Or just her hair, anyway.
[15:07] Can’t she just make out with them and forget about Tuxedo Fedora?
[15:07] Wait, this sounds like TENMON music
01[15:07] None of her previous makeouts with them have gotten her to forget him, alas.
[15:07] No, it’s too upbeat to be TENMON music
01[15:08] Oh my god, just kiss already.
[15:08] Lesbian orgy time
[15:08] “You don’t need to walk the same path as your past life, but we’re all here to help you do that.”
[15:08] I would like that for a variety of both wholesome and unwholesome reasons
01[15:09] “Let’s go to the Moon,” suggested the cat.
01[15:09] This is a a thing that happens.
[15:09] An essential component of the monomyth.
[15:09] Well, she is named “Luna”
01[15:10] “They were all my precious treasures.”
01[15:10] Poly princess confirmed.
[15:10] Minako doesn’t get a full face shot.
[15:10] Luna has a Serious Cat face
[15:10] ad, but credits after
[15:10] I still don’t know why the boy cat is called “Artemis”
01[15:10] Only Minako’s right eye is determined.
[15:11] Are there any male moon dieties to name him after?
[15:11] I’m reasonably certain that there aren’t
[15:11] Well, there’s Shalim
[15:11] But that’s a little obscure
[15:11] And I suppose Artemis can be a boy’s name, just look at Artemis Fowl
01[15:12] There’s quite a few in Native American mythology.
[15:12] (though even in those books, villains sometimes tease Artemis about having a girl’s name)
01[15:12] And, I mean, Tsukuyomi?
[15:13] Given his voice, if Artemis had a male name, he’d collapse into a singularity of masculinity.
01[15:13] What would that even be?
[15:13] Jonny Bravo, but a cat?
01[15:13] I’m imagining, like, a fist, with a beard, wearing a fedora.
01[15:14] Or a gun made out of whiskey. Only a cat.
[15:14] Evil the Cat, from Earthworm Jim?
01[15:14] Er, no.
[15:14] Probably not
01[15:14] The accent.
[15:14] Ooh, maybe Bob the Goldfish’s bodyguards
[15:14] A space from which no whiskey escapes.
01[15:15] Anyway, yeah, that episode was kinda meh?
01[15:16] But hopefully next episode is kicking ass and taking names ON THE MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON
01[15:16] (Sorry. Had to.)
[15:16] Yeah… I mean, I know it’s one of the seminal classics of girl-power fiction, but still…
[15:16] And yes, apparently the mascots are finally making themselves useful
[15:16] The general consensus of the fandom is that compared to the original anime, this one SUCKS.
[15:16] I like that shot of the two cats in sci-fi bottles
01[15:16] I mean, the episode that introduced Sailor Jupitor was seriously great!
01[15:17] And compared to the little bit I’ve seen of the first series, this is at least actually having things happen?
[15:17] I’m really feeling like this take is suffering for want of room for anything but the core plot
[15:17] Eh, I like this one fine…
01[15:17] Like, there’s a story to it?
[15:17] Yeah, there should be a happy medium between the pacing of the first anime and the pacing of this one
[15:17] The first series had a lot of monster of the week episodes
01[15:18] I mean, when it comes down to it, this is a sentai show. Characterization is not going to be its strong suit. So focusing on the core plot and just trying to keep moving is probably a good move.
[15:18] Although after the Jaedite arc, the emphasis shifted to the victim of the week – the negaverse general would prey on some Admirable Person and the scouts would save their Noble Dream from his machinations
[15:19] Well, there was that one episode where the victim of the week was kind of a jerk
[15:19] I do remember liking the focus on the victim of the week rather than on the monster of the week
01[15:19] Yeah, that does sound like an interesting approach.
[15:20] I think it was one of the main inspirations for Buffy
[15:20] It was, and they kept it for every subsequent season
01[15:20] Though I think I still prefer just not having -of-the-week.
01[15:20] And yeah, Sailor Moon is DEFINITELY a huge inspiration for Buffy. Buffy is basically just a magical girl anime with less stock footage.
[15:20] The thing is, this episode was mostly exposition. So was the last episode. The PV suggests the next episode will also mostly be expository
01[15:21] Yeah, and that *is* a problem, the last really good episode was Sailor Jupiter.
[15:21] Eh, I’m fine with exposition and flashbacks, so long as the characters aren’t sitting around being whiny brats about it
[15:21] I’d be fine with the exposition and flashbacks if they weren’t three consecutive episodes
[15:22] I’d say the whining was justified this episode.
01[15:22] Not really?
[15:22] I mean, I’d rather have “girls crying saves the world” than “girls crying causes problems,” but still.
01[15:23] She has something to be upset about–having an entire life of traumatic memories shoved in her brain–but she seems more upset about Jackass McPedoNecroRapeophile being kidnapped.
[15:23] Even if you don’t like him, Mamoru is the dude Usagi has a crush on and he just got kidnapped by demonstrably merciless actors
[15:23] True enough… No Accounting For Taste, after all
[15:23] I think the memories were the five-ton lead weight that broke the camel’s back.
[15:23] It’s just that Mamoru’s at the forefront of her mind.
01[15:23] Well, and if these were people you’d have a point. But they’re characters, and writers are not historians.
[15:24] I didn’t mind the Identity Crisis sequence, I just wish she’d done less angsting over Prince Endoucheymion
[15:25] Endymion seems to have been a stand-up dude. In the Mythic Past he probably didn’t kiss her while she was asleep at all.
[15:26] Ah, so it’s the same problem that turned him into an Angsty Brooder that also turned him into a psychically-senses-when-she-secretly-wants-her-boundaries-violated Bad Boy
[15:27] (not that she’s vocalized any boundaries for him)
[15:27] Must be something in the water.
[15:27] Amnesia, the infallible fountain of angst
01[15:27] “Don’t kiss people who are currently incapable of consent” really isn’t a boundary you should have to vocalize.
[15:27] Oh, I know, believe me
01[15:28] Also, y’know, she’s in MIDDLE SCHOOL and he’s like 30.
[15:28] He’s in high school
[15:28] I think he’s in high school, it’s said
01[15:28] Close enough.
[15:28] He LOOKS 30, but then again Usagi looks 22
01[15:29] Well yeah, but that’s art style.
[15:29] I was attempting to make a funny
01[15:30] We have to assume she looks like a middle schooler to the others, just as we have to assume they all actually have dark hair and eyes because they’re Japanese.
01[15:30] Anyway, I’m gonna head out.
01[15:30] Any final comments?
[15:30] Where did the tradition of Aryan-looking anime characters come from?
01[15:30] They’re not Aryan-looking.
[15:31] Well, you know what I mean
01[15:31] Pale, broad face, and large eyes is a Japanese standard of beauty that long predates contact with the West.
[15:31] They are protrayed “blank” and white people interpret blank art as white
[15:31] Lots of mental stuff today. Memories recovered on both shows.
[15:31] In Japan, it is Japanese, and not white, which is the unmarked category
01[15:31] The rest is just giving them a wide variety of hair and eye colors to make them easier to tell apart, whcih IIRC correctly goes back to Tezuka and Mushi Pro.
[15:32] Ah… so it arose out of animation convenience
[15:32] I’m not sure why I didn’t automatically assume that
[15:32] See you all next week.
[15:33] Unmarked categories have powerful sway over the unconcious assumptions people make
[15:33] See you
01[15:33] Yep, laters!
01[15:33] And yeah, agreed on the unmarked signifiers.
[15:33] Well, if she’s blonde, blue-eyed, and has milky pink skin, I think even ever-oblivious white people can be forgiven for thinking she’s meant to look white
01[15:33] Dangerously powerful and subtle little buggers.
01[15:34] I really need to dig up that picture of Gwen Stefani surroudned by Japanese schoolgirls, where the “white” woman is the darkest-skinned person in the shot…
[15:35] I mean, I know white people take whiteness as the default blank slate, but it’s a little baffling to see that in other cultures too
[15:35] It is plausible that Japan tends to identify itself with Europe more than with Asia. Japan was able to make itself an imperial power and conquer Korea, and therefore their modern culture shares a lot of the consequences of having your state conquer and rule over foreigners in modern history
[15:35] On the other hand, they have very long cultural ties to China and Korea that predate the modern imperialist time
01[15:36] True, but on the other hand having milky-white skin is a very old standard of beauty in Japan.
[15:36] As started with Geishas
01[15:36] So again, I’m not persuaded that “pale skin = white” to a Japanese viewer.
[15:36] Probably for the same reasons as in Europe – their skin tans when they work outside, so not being tanned was evidence that you didn’t labor outdoors
[15:37] That’s why tanning became fashionable during the industrial revolution – suddenly it was evidence you had time to not be laboring in a factory all day
01[15:37] In fact, if you look at anime characters who ARE specifically American… they tend to be tan, blonde, blue-eyed, and loud.
[15:37] Well, except for the tan, that summarizes a whole lot of anime characters too… but I get that you mean “loud” in a more specific way
01[15:38] Yeah, it’s the same reason that in Europe, as long as calories were expensive, fat was beautiful. Soon as calories became cheap and nutrients expensive, thin became beautiful.
[15:38] They tend to be given a particular regional accent that connotes loudness
[15:38] In addition to being genuinely as loud as most anime characters are
01[15:38] I actually went to a great panel at AUSA about racial stereotypes in anime, it was fascinating.
[15:39] What are the Russian signifiers?
01[15:39] They covered that! I’m trying to remember…
[15:39] Whereas, in America, thin has always been beautiful because half our moral system revolves around self-denial (as opposed to actual selflessness or generosity)
[15:39] We
[15:40] We also have enjoyed agricultural plenty due to having a lot of stolen farmland on hand
[15:40] I remember how Azumanga Daioh portrayed English-speakers… that was epic
01[15:40] Fur/heavy clothing, I remember that. Temper that gets them into trouble.
01[15:41] The English are super-cultured and exotic, while Americans are loud, narcissistic, and plaster flags all over themselves.
[15:41] The latter comes far closer to actually applying
[15:41] tbh, the flag thing really happens sometimes
01[15:42] Chinese men are depicted as either sneaky and duplicitous, or foolish, with no in between, while Chinese women are basically the same as the Western “dragon lady.”
[15:42] The English thing makes sense, since the Japanese empire was modeled on the British Empire
01[15:42] And I mean, these are stereotypes, the panel went out of its way to point out exceptions as well.
[15:42] Which makes sense – the UK and Japan are both densely populated islands
[15:43] So when the Japanese government was deciding how to make their country great, the nation that had similar circumstances and the biggest empire running was an obvious model
[15:43] With some of these, it depends whether they’re actually set in Japan, or in a generic fantasy world whose various cultures just happen to closely resemble Earth cultures of various time periods
01[15:43] Oh, and Filipinos are depicted with *exactly* the same stereotypes as American media uses for Mexicans, and for much the same reason.
[15:43] …What anime have Filipinos in them?
[15:43] There’s also the half-French boyfriend material trope
[15:44] That one is surprisingly universal
01[15:44] Hence Pedro in Excel Saga, which American viewers watch and immediately go, “Ah, he’s the Mexican stereotype,” while Japanese viewers instantly recognize him as a Filipino stereotype (which he is explicitly stated to be in the manga IIRC).
[15:44] Isn’t that type a Parisian stereotype within France itself?
[15:44] Ah yes, Excel Saga… I should give that show a second chance

3 thoughts on “Sailor Moon Crystal Liveblog: Episode 9

  1. So sorry I didn't post last week; my computer was basically BSODing whenever I tried to type something long. Hopefully it's now fixed, we'll see by writing this.

    “[14:49] So I was surprised when in this show, Sailor V actually straight up lied about it”

    This happened in the manga. Again, this is more or less a straight adaptation of the manga, warts and all.

    “[15:10] I still don't know why the boy cat is called “Artemis””
    This was actually brought up in a Sailor V comic. I forget exactly how he responded to it.

    So here's my big overdue post on Sailor V. Basically Sailor Moon has something of an odd production history.

    It all started when Naoko Takeuchi was allowed to write a one-shot comic. She wrote a story called Codename: Sailor V, about a magical girl superhero and her talking cat who fought against the plans of an evil idol star.

    Although it was intended to be a one-shot, Codename Sailor V gained some interested by various parties, including Toei Animation studio. Toei wanted to animate Sailor V, but they thought they could do more with a magical girl team rather than a single superhero.

    The end result was the following: Sailor Moon the manga began early in 1992, running monthly. Sailor Moon the anime began a couple of weeks later, running weekly. As for Codename Sailor V, it became a series that would update whenever the author felt like it; some years you'd get three chapters, some years you get none.

    Notably Codename Sailor V took place before Sailor Moon, even though both were running at the same time. However, Codename Sailor V was more dedicated to comedic shenanigans than anything else.

    The ultimate irony is that Sailor V the series was never animated. Kind of hoping that Crystal fixes this.

    Like

  2. “01[15:18] I mean, when it comes down to it, this is a sentai show. Characterization is not going to be its strong suit. So focusing on the core plot and just trying to keep moving is probably a good move.”

    As you haven't seen the show, your evidence for this is…? It's true that the show doesn't put its character development front and center with neon signs saying “X CHARACTER LEARNED A VERY IMPORTANT LESSON TODAY!!!” but it is absolutely present. The Usagi of the first season is not the Usagi of the second or the Usagi of the third. The Rei of the first season is not the Rei of the second is not the Rei of the third. And so on…

    Was the series perfect? Of course not. There were some “filler” episodes that were genuinely bad and should have been scrapped. Most of the filler though had the obligatory monster of the week, but focused on how the characters interacted with each other, both with the strangers (victims of they week) they met (or were old friends/family/etc… the audience had never heard of before) and with each other.

    That list bit is especially important, because 1) in the original anime each of the senshi ***had her own personality*** and 2) these personalities were all very strong and frequently clashed, leading to conflicts and misunderstandings that had to be, and largely were, resolved in ways that flowed naturally from the characters involved.

    So yeah, the main plot can take a while to develop, but while that's stalled in the background we're seeing the girls slowly learning to understand each other and find ways to work together as a team. This is a process that never stops, because, of course, relationships take work. Even in the later seasons, you'll still have fights over someone saying something careless, but resolving them makes their friendships even stronger. Characters show (or discover) new sides of themselves, and those new nuances of characterization are quietly incorporated into the storylines going forward.

    Hell, you can even in see this character development in the stupid monster of the week fights by keeping a close eye on who teams up with who to attack and how they coordinate those attacks. It changes over time depending on how close the characters have become and their previous combat experiences.

    If you want a thorough (and I do mean THOROUGH) breakdown of the strengths of the original anime, and especially its characterization, I recommend

    http://keyofnik.tumblr.com/sm-rewatch

    As someone who likes MLP:FiM enough to devote a blog to it (a series which is NOT known for overarching plots), I'd have thought you'd enjoy another series focused on female friendships and the different ways one can express femininity while still being a strong warrior.

    – annoni-no

    Like

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