Act 2 – Sailor Mercury
Open to a shot of mild mannered middle school student Ami Mizuno, having a Good Will Hunting moment. Everyone else is in awe at her intelligence. Apparently she has an IQ of 300. Unfortunately, being smart means she has no friends. Also, only 300? That’s wayyyy less than Alakazam’s IQ of 5000. Get it together, Ami.
Yeah, Ami. Get it together.
Cut to Queen Beryl’s lair, where someone’s getting chewed out. It’s Jadeite – one of the Four Dark Kings, or something to that effect. He leaves and calls up a Youma – ok, so like a demon – to gather more soul power.
Cut to Usagi’s house, Luna warns Usagi that there’s going to be more Youma attacks. Usagi is demoralized, because the fight from the previous episode was scary, before realizing something the show forgot and asking exactly is a Youma. Luna confirms that they are, indeed, like demons – things that are not supposed to exist. Alright, so we’re doing the gradual revealing of the worldbuilding thing. I can get behind this.
Anyways, Luna says to look for allies, and not surprisingly Usagi thinks of boys. Unperturbed, Luna reveals that she’s been browsing Facebook – I mean, uh, scouting out potential allies. She’s got a lead and…the cat knows how to use a computer wut.
Cut to the class rankings, where we see that Ami’s apparently the highest ranked student in all of Japan. Also, the joys of kanji – her last name is “Water Wild”. Nerdface from the previous episode pops in to tell us that Ami goes to Crystal Academy, which is the top cram school in the nation.
So, cultural tidbit – in Asia, your grades are everything – you take an exam that determines what middle school you can go to, and another to determine what high school, and the most important one after that, to determine what college you go to. You wanna talk about high-stakes testing in the US, it’s got nothing on the bookworm brawl that is Asia’s college entrance exams. Thus, lots of people pay to go to cram school, where they do nothing but review for the exam. Like TestMasters…when TestMasters grows up and eats its wheaties.
And now I must thank my dear mum and dad, for moving to the US and thus sparing me from the horrors of the East Asian education system.
I’ve seen some shit, man. You don’t even know.
Anyway, Ami watches people talk about her from afar…you know, Ami, it wouldn’t kill you to socialize every once in a while. Cut to Usagi, walking home from school with her latest report card…jeez Usagi, how do you get a 52 in Japanese? That’s your native language! Suddenly, though, she happens upon Ami, playing with the kitty, which gives her an in to start making friends.
Anyway, Ami hands Luna back and receives a vision in the meantime. Usagi, meanwhile, asks Ami out on an arcade date.
They play the Sailor V game. Usagi dies early…but Ami is beating the shit out of that game. Heh, awesome by analysis! For her victory, she wins a sparkly pen…but Usagi wants one too so she shakes the machine until it drops one as well. The rest of the day goes pretty good. We learn that Ami wants to be a doctor, so presumably her high-expectations Asian father is satisfied.
Cut to Ami at the prep school. The teacher hands her a CD and tells her that she needs to work through it if she wants to study hard and become a doctor. Teacher’s a youma, isn’t she? Yep, totally a Youma.
The next day, school’s let out, and Usagi wants to get some ice cream with friends, but one of her friends ignores her, just walking past while muttering numbers. We learn that she goes to Crystal Academy also. Usagi approaches Ami as well, but Ami says she can’t because she has to study.
Ami leaves the CD behind, though, so Usagi pockets it thinking it might make her smarter. As she walks home, she notices the Crystal Academy teacher handing out flyers. It fails to hold her attention, though, and soon she tosses over her shoulder…which hits Bishounen McDreamy in the face, in one of her not-proudest moments. He snarks at her (isn’t it usually the girl who’s supposed to be tsundere?) and then asks the million-dollar-question: did your cat just talk?
Luna freaks out, which now intrigues me – so it seems like she doesn’t know anything about Tuxedo Mask or his civilian identity. I was previously under the impression that she at least knew a little bit. Anyway, they go home, Usagi tries to investigate the CD but finds it’s just a normal prep disc. Frustrated, she hits some random keys…and suddenly subliminal messaging plays.
Usagi operators up to the cram school…it’s okay girl, it’s Japan, the guards don’t have guns there. Luna tells her she needs to find a way to get in somehow, so Usagi pulls out the pen and transforms…into a doctor. Wait, is that part of her powerset also? Is that a power the pen has? Or are they part of her Sailor Moon powers? Whatever, I’m just going to roll with it.
Cut to inside the school, where teacher is in full on Tiger mode. Solve the problems, Ami. WHY AREN’T YOU SOLVING THEM FASTER, AMI. Ami, for her part, does what she can, but then her eyes fall on the pen from the arcade, which remind her of friendship. Teacher notices and throws the pen away, but suddenly Sailor Moon and Luna dynamic entry into the room!
Usagi continues with the doctor act, saying she’s been investigating what’s going on, and reveals that she knows what’s up and won’t allow the youma-teacher to twist a student’s pure ambition any more, to which teacher responds by transforming into her demonic form. Although I have to say here, this is the first time I’ve ever heard “ambition” described as a “pure” and good emotion in a fictional work. Usually it’s reserved for the bad guys, because it’s their ambition that made them walk the path of evil in the first place, like Commodus from Gladiator or the entirety of Slytherin House bar Slughorn. Being that “ambition is evil” is a trope I actually really dislike, so by averting that…good for you, show!
Anyways, Usagi fails a morale check, but her buns make some kind of sonic waves attack as well. Unfortunately it’s not very effective, and youma-teacher fights back by shooting paper at her. So, Usagi…if you can be defeated by wads of paper…maybe it’s time for some karate classes? Youma-teacher moves in for the kill, but the power of friendship manifests and brings out Ami’s inner guardian potential. A few words from Luna, and Sailor Mercury makes her debut.
Alright, so Luna’s dialogue confirms that she’s really searching for people who might have the sailor power in them. So..is it like everyone has the potential to be a Sailor Guardian, and they just need supervision and an impetus for the powers to manifest? Or is it like there’s only a couple of slots, and whoever manifests it first, that takes out everyone else’s chances? And most importantly – what exactly happens if we suddenly decide that Mercury is no longer a planet?
Anyway, Mercury wastes no time throwing herself into battle, calling up a mist that shrouds everything. This isn’t a bad idea, and actually fits very well – she’s the brains of the group, so it makes thematic sense that her special attack is a support move that makes the enemy less effective. Youma-teacher can’t see anything…but Usagi’s panicked screaming gives her away. But, Tux saves her in time, and she Moon Tiara Boomerangs the youma-teacher into oblivion.
Looks like school’s out for the summer.
Cut to Jadeite looking displeased before walking away, and then to Ami and Usagi, friends for life.
Good introduction to the second of the Sailor Guardians. I like the gradual revealing of worldbuilding aspects. We now know that Sailor Guardians are identified by having the vision of a White-House-looking building, and also that Tuxedo Mask apparently doesn’t really know anything about them either. Seems like he’s searching just like Luna and Beryl are.
Until next ep.