Recorded: Saturday 25th August 2018
Hosts: Vrai, Dee
0:01:25 Sailor Moon’s history
0:03:18 Past experiences with Sailor Moon
0:09:54 Identifying with Usagi
0:13:39 Ami’s self-doubt
0:16:04 Rei’s romantic arc
0:18:25 Mamoru, age-gap, and role-reversal
0:25:35 Naru and Nephrite
0:27:22 Zoisite and Kunzite
0:34:46 Manga/anime differences
0:37:50 7 Monsters
0:41:43 Ami and Ryo
0:44:48 Awkward moments
0:52:37 The ending
0:59:38 Rhett Butler
VRAI: Hello and welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast, and the first of our series of retrospectives on Sailor Moon, the incredibly influential and beloved shoujo magical-girl series. I’m Vrai Kaiser. I’m an editor and contributor at Anime Feminist. You can also find me on Twitter, where I do all kinds of stuff, @writervrai, or @trashpod, where I do another podcast. Would you guys like to introduce yourselves?
DEE: Yeah, hi, I’m Dee, the managing editor at AniFem. You can find all of my writing on my anime blog, The Josei Next Door. And you can hang out with me on Twitter, @joseinextdoor.
ANNE: Hi! I’m Anne Lee. I’m the creator of shojopower.com, where I talk about Sailor Moon through a feminist lens and more. You can find me @shojopower on Twitter, and I’m a contributor to Anime Feminist.
VRAI: Yeah, thanks so much for joining us today. You’re definitely The Person Who Talks About Sailor Moon, I think.
DEE: You were the first person we thought of when we were like, “Let’s do some retrospectives. Who can we get on as a guest?” It was like, “Oh, Anne. It’s gotta be Anne.”
ANNE: [laughs] Yeah.
VRAI: “It’s on her Twitter picture and everything.”
ANNE: [laughs] Yeah! No, I am totally obsessed. I started shojopower.com about five years ago, and I just knew there’d be tons of stuff to talk about with Sailor Moon. There’s so many different media properties with Sailor Moon, from the manga, the live-action show, the anime, the reboot, and just… Five years, I’m still here talking about it.
VRAI: There’s a lot of material there, which is why we kind of had to parcel… You know, it’s too long for our traditional watchalong format, but we couldn’t just do the whole franchise in one podcast. That would be an unfair nightmare.
ANNE: Yeah. Exactly.
VRAI: Yeah, the series ran… The manga began in 1991 and ran until 1997, and the anime was basically parallel for most of it. It started in 1992 and ended in 1997.
And, today, we are only going to be talking about the first 46 episodes. The classic Sailor Moon anime, which was directed by Junichi Sato, who went on to direct Princess Tutu, Pretear…He’s currently the series director for Hugtto! Precure, which a lot of people seem to be very into and say is good. So, thumbs-up.
Ikuhara, who is maybe most famously associated with the anime, didn’t actually come in until R as a co-series directed.
DEE: He directed some episodes in season one, though. He was there from the beginning.
VRAI: Gotcha. Right. He directed the very excellent Rhett Butler episode, didn’t he?
ANNE: [gasps] Did he?
DEE: I… don’t quote anyone on that folks, I’m not 100% sure.
VRAI: Yeah, don’t.
VRAI: Do not quote me, but I seem to… That was a good episode, is the thing.
ANNE: We’re talking about it.
VRAI: Absolutely. So, I kind of wanted to start on this one, since it’s our first, with our personal experiences of how we each got into the series. Anne, did you wanna go first?
ANNE: Sure. So, I guess I got into Sailor Moon right when it started to air in America, so that would have been September of 1995. I was about 11 years old at the time, and I was totally into Greek mythology, astronomy. And one early morning before school, I was channel surfing, and there was this girl named Sailor Mercury, who was, you know, throwin’ bubbles. [laughs] So, I was just like, “This is my jam,” and it’s been… I’ve been obsessed ever since.
VRAI: That’s adorable. Yeah, I was pretty young, too. I remember being in hotel rooms and trying really hard to catch it. I think it was in early-morning reruns of the original Saban version, and I was five. But my really clear memory is making a blanket fort around the TV when I was six years old so I could watch Black Lady episodes, of all things. And I was super into the… tried as religiously as I could to catch the Clover run on Toonami when it got into S and such.
ANNE: Yeah. I used to go into my basement and watch it on our basement TV. I don’t know what was wrong. I think it was my little secret, or I was slightly embarrassed about watching it, ’cause I was 11 years old at the time. So, maybe I wasn’t supposed to be watching cartoons. But, uh… I had actually woke up super early, because I had to make the bus. So, my dad was really weirded out. He was like, “Why is my 11-year-old child waking up early to watch TV?”
VRAI: [laughs] Yeah, it was really… It was really hard to catch!
DEE: My experience is, I think, extremely different from most Sailor Moon fans—and I will consider myself a Sailor Moon fan. I like the series a lot. So, when I was younger, I got into Pokemon, and then started watching Toonami stuff. And Sailor Moon aired during the hour after school when I was doing extracurriculars.
So, I didn’t really get into it, but I had a couple of friends who were big into it. And so I tried to watch it. But by the time I tried to watch the dub, I had been existing on the internet, and I knew that they had edited it and censored a bunch of stuff, and the very—I will always remember this—the very first episode I caught was the one where Michiru comes out of the bath in a bath towel and is leaning down very suggestively next to Haruka and they’re having a moment between each other. And the whole time, I’m like, “These aren’t cousins. Shut up, Sailor Moon. These aren’t cousins!”
DEE: And it was one of those things where I was like, “Ugh, I don’t wanna watch this dubbed. I’ll just wait until the sub is readily available.” Because at that point, it felt like it was gonna happen pretty quick. Well, it didn’t. It didn’t happen for like 10 years. So, I never… I didn’t get into Sailor Moon as a kid.
And then when… So, when I was graduating from grad school, I knew I wanted to start writing about anime and doing a blog. And right as I was graduating, Viz announced they were gonna be re-releasing Sailor Moon, uncut, on Hulu two episodes a week. And I was like, “Oh, crap. There’s a good first blog project. I’ve always wanted to watch that show.”
So, I started watching it, and doing recaps-slash-commentaries about the episodes as they aired. And, so, I did that for two years solid, because there’s a lot of episodes of Sailor Moon, and I… I got really into it.
ANNE: Yeah. Oh, yeah.
DEE: And I had a really good time with it. I’m watching it as a 26, 27-year-old, and so again, very different experience, I think, from a lot of folks, but it was great. I had a really good time, so…
VRAI: I imagine people will find that heartening, who haven’t watched it since they were kids.
DEE: It’s one that I think is a hard sell for if you’re not already an anime fan. I wouldn’t give it to an adult as their first anime. I think you could still give it to a kid as their first anime, or a preteen, with a little bit of understanding about it was made in the ‘90s so there’s a couple of things that aren’t great. Although, it ages remarkably well, which I’m sure we’ll talk about today as well.
But if you’re a… If you’ve been an anime fan for a while, then Sailor Moon is like: Yeah, watch it. I think you’ll still get a lot out of it. ‘Cause, again, it is surprisingly… It holds up surprisingly well, I think.
And that was actually how Vrai and I met, so extra bonus—was meeting through the Sailor Moon reviews.
VRAI: Yeah, ’cause you had just started doing the Zoisite episodes, and I was just always, always thirsty for people to talk about my boy.
VRAI: The only sad thing I’m sad for you is that you missed out on the… Do you remember that ring of websites in the ‘90s that was like the “X anime uncensored” sites where they would catalogue the dub and list time codes and all of the things that had been changed or cut? I followed those websites religiously, especially for Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura.
DEE: We had something similar to that in the Pokemon franchise. So, I feel you.
VRAI: Yes! I remember that site.
DEE: That was my fandom. Pokemon was very much my thing when I was younger. But you’re never too late to become a Mooninite, so… I even went and saw the movies on the big screen these past few weeks.
DEE: With a couple of friends who have been fans since they were kids. And so the three of us got together and it was really fun, so…
VRAI: Definitely think we’ll have to make some time to talk about the movies when we get to their respective seasons.
DEE: Yeah, for sure.
VRAI: Mm-hm. As a final note, even if you’ve been out of anime for a while, I watched this… My most recent rewatch of this season was with my wife, who likes anime but is mostly a fan of the older stuff, and was watching Sailor Moon for the first time, and she had a real good time, too. We watched the new dub, which is pretty good, honestly.
ANNE: Yeah, yeah. It’s a definitely different experience. You have an English-speaking cast, but the old original music, so it definitely gives this retro feel, I feel, about watching it.
VRAI: Yeah. Have either of you watched the re-dub?
DEE: I have not, no.
ANNE: I went ahead and watched the Viz dub because I bought all of the releases, so I was like, “Well, I need to actually watch it,” so…
VRAI: Yeah, no, if you like dubs at all, honestly I’d recommend it. Obviously it’s not the same as the original Japanese cast—who, inevitably, when you get performers who have lived in these roles for that long, it’s going to be something special—but it’s good.
Which I think is a good way to lead into talking about the main characters. Where, you know, I think everybody knows the premise of this show, but I thought it might be interesting to talk about where the characters are—not for the whole franchise, but just in this first season, and if you’d forgotten stuff about, “Oh, yeah. This doesn’t happen ’til later,” or, you know, “Gosh, this character was established really strongly right off the bat,” or some really good character episodes that you liked… That kind of stuff.
DEE: Yeah, I think original Sailor Moon is very much an origin story, and in some ways, I’m glad I came into it as an adult, because I think if I had watched it as a kid, I would have just hated Usagi.
And I think that’s more a knock on me than it is on Usagi. I just didn’t have patience for… for imperfect heroines. I liked your sort of “out-of-the-box badasses” growing up. And Usagi is not that. She kinda gets thrown into this role, and she’s a bit of a crybaby, and she’s… It takes a while to kind of understand her good points, I think.
But watching it as an adult, I had a lot more sympathy for her, ’cause I’m like, “Yeah, I mean, she’s 14 and she’s suddenly having to fight monsters and she’s doing her best.” You know?
DEE: I had the same experience when we did the Fushigi Yugi watchalong, in that I have a lot more sympathy, I think, for some of these teen girl characters from the ‘90s who were sort of hapless and struggling early on, and then learned how to mature and take responsibility for their actions and become heroes. And so that’s one thing that I’m happy about with the series is that I was able to, you know, give Usagi a little more credit than I think I would have growing up.
VRAI: Yeah, she’s definitely a character where there’s this… When you’re little and looking for wish-fulfillment figures, she can be very frustrating. But, as an adult: “Oh, this child is doing her best and she’s trying to be a good friend! Oh!”
ANNE: Yeah. When I was growing up, I actually really liked Usagi, that she wasn’t a perfect heroine. And I think maybe that was because I was the oldest kid in my family, and I was the only girl, kind of like Usagi. And I just.. There were really high expectations for me, and so I always kind of felt like I wasn’t meeting people’s expectations. So, I really related that. She was the superhero, but she was also totally a screw-up, and she was scared and whatnot.
So, I actually have friends [and] they’re like, “Why do you like Sailor Moon? Why don’t you like Wonder Woman?” And for me, growing up, Wonder Woman was this adult woman with a perfect body, with toned arms and I didn’t relate to that at all, so—even though I love Xena: Warrior Princess, Buffy, and stuff like that—but I loved how Usagi was this very silly, comedic character.
VRAI: Yeah, I feel this retroactive need to apologize to Usagi, almost. You know, as a kid, I went through that thing that I think a lot of AFAB trans people do, where you are aggressively anti-feminine-things. And you fall really hard into the “Not Like Other Girls” phase, because you’re not a girl, but… So I was just… I very much loved Mako and Haruka, later. But I was just… I had no time for Usagi, who likes pink things and cute bunnies and wants to grow up and be a housewife.
[Passionately] I’m sorry, Usagi! You’re a good girl, and I believe in you.
DEE: Yeah, I had a similar experience, as someone who was kind of pushing back against a lot of those feminine expectations where—like you said—I didn’t have a lot of patience for characters like that. It’s hard for me to say who I probably would have linked up to as a kid. I think Ami and Makoto probably would have been my favorites. Ami still is my favorite, so some things don’t change.
VRAI: She’s so good.
DEE: Yeah, I have a… Obviously, I’ve always liked “the smart kids,” ’cause I was the nerdy, smart kid growing up, and so anytime she defeats things with science or empathy—but then she also… My favorite thing with Ami is that she also struggles with her self-confidence, despite the fact that she is so freaking awesome and everyone around her knows it.
And I think that’s… Again, something that I really enjoyed about Sailor Moon, watching it, was the way… I think if Usagi was the only character—you know, if she was The Girl, as is so often the case in a lot of TV series or pieces of fiction, I don’t think I would have as positive an opinion of her, because she does slot into a lot of these traditional ideas about what it is to be a girl or be feminine.
But because the cast has all these different personalities… You’ve got Ami, who’s very intelligent and wants to be a doctor; you’ve got Rei, who’s a firebrand with a short temper who wants to do everything, basically; Makoto, who can both make adorable lunches and also judo flip you; Venus, who wants to be a pop star—and Venus is a very cool character who I feel like we’re not really gonna be able to dig into her arc until later seasons—but I think having all those different personalities was a good way of showing “There is more than one way to be a heroine.”
DEE: And I really appreciate the fact that they all get along. I mean, they squabble, but at the end of the day, they all really like each other. So, there wasn’t that sense of “Not Like Other Girls” like you were talking about, Vrai, because there were all these different kinds of girls, and they could all be friends and work together to defeat evil. And I think that’s really, really nice.
VRAI: Yeah, the friendship stories are so good. It’s just heartwarming and heart-melting, and the fact that they keep coming back to how much these girls like each other and support each other. Even when they don’t really get what one of their friends is going through, they still want to be supportive, and it’s just nice.
ANNE: You know, it’s really funny going back and watching this. So, Rei starts dating Mamoru, and back in the day, I hated this. I hated this terrible… But going back and watching the whole thing, I never realized that nobody really knew that Rei liked Mamoru. So, when it comes to the time when it’s all revealed that Mamoru and Usagi are these destined lovers, nobody knows that Rei liked him.
And Rei’s having a moment. And the only person who really picks up on it is Makoto. And there’s this really touching scene between them, and I just did not catch that when I was a kid, and I kind of—I love that storyline so much more now, because it really shows them supporting one another. And Rei just coming to terms with, “No, they’re destined to each other and I’m okay with that.”
DEE: Yeah, I thought… I think the first season of Sailor Moon builds on itself very well, because I think there’s a lot in that early probably 24, 22-ish episodes that’s kind of a mess, and then right around the part where good old Zoisite becomes the main baddie, I think it really starts to click and figure out what it’s doing. And so, like you said, Rei dating Mamoru in a way where Mamoru seems confused by the fact—
ANNE: [laughs] Yeah.
DEE: He’s not quite sure that they’re dating or what’s going on. Anytime you see them together, he has this look like, “I just went out to buy some eggs and now she’s here. What happened?”
But I think the way they resolve that, where it doesn’t… There’s some early love-triangle-y type squabbling, I think, but when it gets to the point where they have to come to terms with “These aren’t just crushes. This is kind of serious,” there’s some really nice moments where Rei—I think there’s an episode… It’s been a few years since I rewatched it. I actually reread my recaps before doing this so I’d be fresher on the episodes.
There’s an episode where they go up to a ski slope and Usagi and Rei get trapped in a canyon or something, and they kind of have this heart-to-heart where Rei’s like, “Yeah, I really did like him, but I can see how you two were meant for each other and that he’s really important to you, so I’m okay. I support this relationship.”
And it’s just a really nice moment of eschewing that idea of, “Girls gotta compete for the man.” It was like, “No, our friendship is the more important thing, so I’m perfectly willing to step aside for this.”
ANNE: Yeah. Yeah.
VRAI: Mamoru’s whole existence is very… I’m sorry, I don’t like him. I think he’s bland when he’s not kind of a creep, and basically the entire positive influence of his role in the plot is “Well, I guess he makes these nice girls that I like happy. I’m glad that they got what they wanted.”
DEE: Mamoru is pretty much an asshole for the first 20 episodes. [cracking up] Like, just a raging asshole. And I don’t think—and, again, this is something we’ll talk about in later podcasts, too—I don’t think they really figure out what to do with him until S. Because by the end of the series, I did like him, but it took a while. At this point, I agree with you, Vrai. I didn’t have much of a connection with Mamoru. Tuxedo Mask, on the other hand…
DEE: I love so much.
VRAI: I feel like that one Sailor Moon Abridged joke is completely ubiquitous now. The “‘My work here is done!’ ‘But you didn’t do anything!'”
ANNE: It’s true.
DEE: He’s the team cheerleader. He comes in to tell them that they can do it and to believe in themselves, and he swoops out of the frame, and he’s usually posed atop something amazing. Sometimes he’s driving a bus for no reason. He’s the best.
Mamoru’s—not Mamoru; sorry. Mamoru’s just “meh.” Tuxedo Mask just—glorious levels of extra were a big selling point for me early in the series, ’cause I think they—I think he’s a good example of the creators not taking the show 100% seriously. And I think a lot of the time when you’re dealing with, you know, kind of inherently monster-of-the-week-type stories, I think having a sense of humor about your own premise is really important.
So, I think the series strikes this really good balance of… It cares about its characters. The things its characters are going through are important. The monster fights and some of the superhero-type stuff is kind of silly. And we’re gonna have fun with that. So, you know, here’s a dude flinging roses and standing on top of stall structures, and how did he get up there? [whispering] Don’t worry about it.
ANNE: I think it’s one of the very few instances where a bunch of male creators got into a room and they were just like, “We don’t really wanna talk about the guy. If we can talk about it as least [as] possible, that would be great. Let’s just focus on the girls.” That’s what… There’s been some rumors saying that the director really didn’t like Mamoru and that’s why he kinda got pushed to the side a bit.
VRAI: I have heard that Ikuhara totally hated him.
DEE: Supposedly, Ikuhara wanted to kill him off, like, over and over again and they wouldn’t let him. That’s the rumor. Again, take that with a grain of salt, but yeah. I have also heard that. Which, you know, I think it’s—again, it’s early on.
They definitely wanted to make a show that was for girls—I shouldn’t say “for girls,” because I think guys can and should enjoy this show, and nonbinary folks and everybody—[the] target demographic was preteen girls. And I think there was this focus on “You, too, can be heroes and awesome and run around saving the day.”
And so I think that Mamoru kind of gets slotted into that role that the female love interest often does in series where he’s just kind of there to get kidnapped and stabbed a lot. I think he only gets stabbed twice in this season, but it’s gonna keep happening.
DEE: And I appreciate that gender-role reversal. At this point, I think if I was watching a show in 2018 and this was happening, I would be kind of annoyed. I’d rather there be more equality between the two. But because this was coming out in the ‘90s and feels like it is, in some ways, a response to, you know, sentai stories and other heroic stories that have come before it, I like that role-reversal quite a bit.
ANNE: Mm-hmm. Yeah, me too.
DEE: I also think it helps mitigate the fact that… We haven’t talked about this and we definitely should. Mamoru is in college.
VRAI: Yeah. Yeah. Sir, you are a creep.
ANNE: I just… I don’t even know why they did that. It still, to this day, perplexes me. In the manga, he is a high schooler. He is 17. And I just… Even then, if there was a 17-year-old dating my 14-year-old daughter, I would probably have a problem with that, but a 22-year-old…
VRAI: At least they’re both still teenagers in secondary school, right?
ANNE: [reluctantly] Ahh, I don’t… I just… I can’t. I can’t even. [laughs]
VRAI: Yeah. I doff my cap to that one self-aware moment the anime has where Motoki and Mamoru are having a conversation—
VRAI: The episode where Mako and Usagi are both trying to get Motoki’s attention, and he’s like, “Yeah, I like them as my little sisters. I think they’re adorable. What kind of creep adult would go after a 14-year-old?”
DEE: Yeah. He says, “I’m not gonna date a junior high school student,” in this voice like, “Why did I even have to say that out loud? Seriously.”
DEE: And then Mamoru thinks of Rei and gets very uncomfortable, and I’m like, “You should! You should be very uncomfortable.”
ANNE: “You should!”
DEE: “It’s weird.” But it’s one of those things where for whatever—probably partly because it’s an older series, and I also think because there’s extenuating circumstances; there’s a whole reincarnated romance element to it and whatever.
But I also think the fact that the series works very hard to balance the power between the two of them… In real life, there is no real universe where I would be okay with a 14-year-old dating a 20-year-old, but in the context of this fantastical series, Mamoru is the one who is constantly getting—like I said—stabbed and kidnapped. And Usagi is constantly having to save his ass.
So I think that it makes it easier for me to look at it and go, “Well, yeah, this is a problem,” but it kind of stopped bothering me pretty early in the series. I dunno if it was the same for you guys.
ANNE: I think it’s helpful that it’s not really remarked upon too much. I think growing up I didn’t even realize that he was a college student because you don’t even see him at college. He’s just walkin’ down the street; that’s about it.
VRAI: That’s all he does, is he walks in front of the arcade!
ANNE: [laughs] Yeah.
DEE: [laughs] He doesn’t have any friends. So, just walkin’ in front of the arcade.
VRAI: Yeah, it is one of those things that I can kind of tune out while I’m watching and not think about it. In the abstract sense, it definitely creeps me out. But, like you said, the fact that it’s an older series—and specifically, I think, the fact that it’s such a small part of the ‘90s series.
Honestly, it’s one of the major things that turned me off of Crystal, is even though Crystal restores the fact that he’s a high-school student, they just focus on it to the detriment of all those good, good friendships. It just… can’t.
DEE: That’s also a good point. It’s not the be-all end-all of the series. There’s always more than one thing going on with Usagi, and it’s usually a friendship story and a romance story.
VRAI: Yeah. It’s one of those things where I’m like, “Well, I don’t care for this, but the confluence of how it’s handled and how ancillary of a point it is, is… I can… whatever.”
And I can’t even throw too much shade, because when I was a little kid, I was really emotionally caught up in the Naru and Nephrite story.
DEE: I was gonna segue into that! So, good job.
VRAI: Which is such a bad thing all over, but it gave me a feeling in my heart-meat.
ANNE: I think a lot of people feel the same way as you do.
DEE: Yeah, I… So, like I said, I was rereading over my recaps and I had forgotten how surprisingly upset I was at the end of that arc. And it wasn’t that I thought they were a good couple. I didn’t. I just have a lot of sympathy for Naru in that.
I think that arc does a really good job of showing what it’s like to have a crush on somebody you know you shouldn’t—’cause she does. But she still likes him, and so how that relationship works out…I ‘m also a sucker for a redemption story. Nephrite was so boring.
ANNE: Yeah. No, not my favorite.
DEE: He was so boring. If I hadn’t been watching… Jadeite had style. He didn’t have a personality, but he had style with his schemes. If I had not been recapping Sailor Moon, I’m not sure I would have made it through the Nephrite episodes.
ANNE: Oh, yeah.
DEE: Which would have been a shame, because there’s so much good stuff that comes after them. So, I’m over here just begging for him to die so Zoisite can take over and things can get fun again. And then all of a sudden you give me this two-episode arc where he starts to develop a heart and a personality and starts to give a crap about other people, and then you murder him, and I was very upset.
Which surprised me. I think that was the first time Sailor Moon surprised me with an emotion, which it would continue to do as I watched it.
VRAI: Yeah, and I think you raised a good point, is that: similarly to how I feel about Mamoru in that I don’t care about him but I am glad that this is a thing that makes Usagi happy, I think Naru’s story works because it’s not really about Nephrite. It’s about Naru’s emotional response to all of it.
ANNE: Yeah. Yeah.
VRAI: As we all know, the best villain is Zoisite.
ANNE: It is. Yes.
VRAI: I have so many feelings about this shitlord boy.
ANNE: [regally] Tell us your feelings. [laughs]
DEE: [also regally] Ye-es.
VRAI: Well, for those of you who are younger and may not know, Zoisite was censored in the original ‘90s dub. They gave him a female voice actress because “No, no, no. Nothing gay going on here. Don’t worry about it.”
But he’s also just the kind of character that I absolutely adore, who’s kind of shitty and selfish and petulant and evil, but really pathetic once you dig even an inch under the surface, with one person they really, really care about and the rest of the world can burn. That’s right where I live. That is the Nanami Zone.
DEE: He’s a really good character. First of all, he’s super fun. His energy—he just does not… You spend the first 22 episodes with Jadeite and Nephrite trying to hide their personalities and wearing all these very transparent disguises. And then Zoisite shows up and his first episode, he just pops in front of the sailors, just like, “‘Sup! I’m Zoisite. I’m fighting you now.” And I was like, “I love you! You don’t give a shit and it’s amazing!”
DEE: His relationship with Tuxedo Mask is incredible during his stretch of episodes. They are flirt-fighting, I’m pretty sure? They just—they keep—’cause they’re fighting over these… Oh, God, what are they called?
ANNE: Rainbow crystals?
DEE: The Seven Monsters arc… Yes! The rainbow crystals. And that whole Seven Monsters arc is incredible. It’s just episode after episode… It was so good. So, again, I’m very glad I stuck it out through the Nephrite episodes. But their relationship is really fun. Yeah, every time he shows up, the two of them just snipe at each other and it’s amazing.
And then I love… I know we’re gonna have a conversation about this, so let’s just have it now. There is something inherently problematic about having a villainous character who is gay and is the only character on the show thus far who is gay, but the thing… One, it was the ‘90s. Two, the thing I really kind of enjoy about that though is: the most humanizing characteristic for Zoisite and Kunzite is that they love each other. That is what humanizes those characters.
VRAI: Yeah, it’s one of those things where, yes, it’s part of a long and problematic history of villainous gay characters, but I don’t tend to get mad at them because it is their humanizing factor. It is what makes them likable and sympathetic to the audience, which is in such contrast to basically everything at the time, where the fact that they are gay or gay-coded makes them spooky or scary or “Oh my God, they might try to hit on the protagonist!”
And, like, Zoisite is definitely flirting with Tuxedo Mask in an “anger” way, but it’s not in a way that is making him uncomfortable. That’s not…
DEE: Tuxedo Mask is flirting back, right?
VRAI: Right. The entire framing of it is so very different—and I’m gonna write a piece on this one of these days, I swear to God. But it’s just so good. And it makes me so depressed that the fandom doesn’t seem to care about this continuity in that relationship at all. It’s just Shitennou/Senshi as far as the eye can see, and five Kunzite and Zoisite fics. I’m just depressed.
DEE: That is upsetting.
VRAI: Yeah, right? It’s just… I always get kind of bummed out by Sailor Moon’s tendency to “Here are our really sympathetic mini-bosses, and now they’re all dead.” All the way up until Super S. But it’s definitely… It’s well-written. I like… Kunzite’s such a dick too. [through laughter] Is another problem if you want to go into that.
DEE: Kunzite is the most metal of the Sailor Moon villains.
ANNE: I would agree. Totally metal.
DEE: All of his spells and things are like “Crushing Darkness” and I just imagined him growling all of it. There’s lightning… He poses with lightning behind him all the time. But, again, the thing that I think is kind of fun about Kunzite is that his motivation for the second half of the series is after Beryl kills Zoisite—and I sit on the floor and cry for a while. I was so upset!
ANNE: Although when I was watching earlier this week… On Zoisite’s deathbed, Kunzite said, “I tried so hard to save you,” and I’m just like, “Kunzite, you did not try hard enough.” Like…
DEE: He did not.
VRAI: Insignificant attempts were made.
DEE: He said, [deadpan] “No, wait. Don’t. Stop,” right before Beryl shot him in the chest.
DEE: But then he misdirects his anger at the scouts, and so his motivation the entire second arc is “I’m gonna get revenge on you for being the reason Zoisite’s dead.” And I’m like, “Well, actually, it’s your boss that’s the reason, but okay.” But, again, it was that humanizing factor of: he’s not just doing this because [spookily] he’s a bad guy who does evil things.
ANNE: And, to point out, too, Kunzite says, “I love you” to Zoisite several times. And I just… I don’t know. I think that’s pretty awesome. ‘Cause Kunzite is this really tough, stoic dude and he says “I love you” to Zoisite several times.
VRAI: The Viz redub also kind of sweetened up their dialog a little bit, which I am fully in favor of. And on a meta level, I enjoy the kind of headcanon that’s like: The only possible explanation besides “we need the series to go on for more episodes” that Kunzite goes from very, very deadly and nearly kills all of the senshi right of the bat to “I don’t know. Fuckin’ something with the princess school?” is that he just wants to die.
DEE: I could see that. Usagi, in fact… I think in their final fight with him, she tries to heal him, and he says something to the effect of, “You will never make me cry out ‘Refresh!’” Just about all the other villains did. So they have to actually defeat him defeat him. And I think his last line is, “I’m coming to meet you, Zoisite.” And I was like, “Aww.”
DEE: Somebody write that fanfic.
VRAI: [passionately] There’s fucking no reincarnation fic! Fandom, what the fuck are you doing?!
DEE: Yeah, come on guys, get on the ball. They’re adorable.
VRAI: Yeah, to this day, I have a lot of feelings about them, as you can tell.
DEE: Again, I was watching this at the age of 26, 27—however old I was—and I could not… Again, there was another moment where I could not believe how I upset I was that this goofy villain on this cartoon had died and his boyfriend was sad. I was like, “Aww. I hope you guys get reincarnated and everything works out.”
VRAI: [tearfully] Yeah. It’s good. It’s good.
That’s the one thing… Normally, on the whole, I honestly very much prefer the ‘90s anime to the manga and the other versions, but the one thing I was always kind of bummed that didn’t make it into the ‘90s anime was the whole “We were brainwashed” element.
VRAI: Yeah. ‘Cause the direction works so hard to make them sympathetic. Well, Nephrite and Zoisite. Not Jadeite. Jadeite just has style. But it completely bypasses this one other element and just kind of implies that they were always sort of evil.
DEE: Yeah, it doesn’t really dig into their backstories. The later seasons will do a better job, I think, of the sympathetic villains. But I think Zoisite and Kunzite are very much where that begins, and I don’t know what the—Anne, maybe you’ve done some research on this. I don’t know what the fan reaction was like in Japan, but I would say they definitely were fairly popular over here, it seems like, so…
ANNE: Hmm. I’m not really sure. But I guess I would have to say about that: I think the revelation that they were Endymion’s generals came pretty late in the game, so maybe they just felt like they just didn’t wanna tackle that part by that time. Possibly.
VRAI: Because of the parallel run?
VRAI: Yeah, that makes sense.
DEE: Yeah, that’s true, too, since the two stories were coming out side-by-side. Yeah, I can definitely see that. And they were killing them off faster than I think they died in the manga.
ANNE: Yeah, yeah. They were killed off in the manga. Jadeite is dispatched quite quickly. Each one of them are killed off one-by-one in the manga.
DEE: Okay. It’s been ages since I read the manga, so I couldn’t remember for sure.
ANNE: It’s all good.
DEE: But I know in the manga, there’s kind of a big reveal that they were… The four of them were perfectly paired up with the Sailor Senshi, and I do kind of appreciate—I very much, actually, appreciate that the ‘90s anime ignored that point.
VRAI: [quietly, intensely] I hate that so much. With a burning hate.
DEE: I like that Usagi’s friends are single and the focus on their story arc is friendship, because I like stories like that, so…
ANNE: I mean, I think you could do some interesting things with it, but no version of Sailor Moon has really tackled it in an interesting way. And I was really hoping Crystal was gonna tackle it in a really interesting way—
ANNE: —and…[laughs] As Vrai is cackling. Yeah. It just went totally the opposite direction.
DEE: My memory of Crystal is that they showed up, were like, “We were secretly your boyfriends!” And then I think they just got exploded immediately.
VRAI: No, but they come back in a special… fuckin’… I hate it. [cracking up] I hate it so much.
VRAI: I hate it!
DEE: Yeah, we should probably not talk too much about Crystal, ’cause I don’t wanna rain on anyone’s parade, but, uh…
ANNE: Yeah, we don’t…
DEE: I’m not sure anyone on this call was a huge fan of it.
ANNE: We can move on.
VRAI: Yeah, so, let us talk instead about a small moment of spotlight for Rhett Butler and the other very good monster-of-the-week episodes.
DEE: Yeah, I was actually gonna suggest… Speaking of Zoisite and that whole Seven Monsters arc—which is where Rhett Butler shows up—kind of zero-ing in on that, because I think that’s when Sailor Moon really finds its stride.
And I also think that’s… ‘Cause that’s really the first time we see this idea of people getting turned into monsters because of— It ties into, like, they have their own insecurities or issues that have to get worked out. And so then the scouts show up, and they don’t just kill a monster, they make people better.
And I think that continues from that point on through the show just about, where you consistently see them not just fighting monsters, but fighting people who are dealing with problems of their own in this grand kind of magical, metaphysical sense. And the scouts come along and they sort of help them with those issues.
And I really like that concept, because I think it provides more nuance to the show and leans into the central idea that I think will eventually become Sailor Moon, which is: Usagi’s greatest strength is her Super Friendship Powers—her compassion and her empathy for others, and her willingness to listen and try to help folks. And I think that arc is where we first start to see that happening.
VRAI: Yeah, it has just these… I think a lot of anime took notes from what Sailor Moon does so well here with these very memorable characters of the week. The nice little thematic mini-plots that tie into maybe something the girls are going through or maybe just an object-lesson type thing that leads into these very good aesthetic monster designs.
ANNE: So, when I was watching this again, I just kind of realized the way that Sailor Moon is written, it’s almost written like an adult drama. Like Touched by an Angel, kind of, sort of?
DEE: Oh, gosh.
ANNE: If anybody remembers that show from the ‘90s? This… It’s where some people are having some problems. Sailor Moon and the guardians swoop in. They kind of solve the situation and then they peace out. And I think that’s why this show maybe ages so well is because it’s not—it is a show for kids, but it also is kind of—it’s keeping the parents interested as well, I think.
And I think yeah, definitely it starts with midway through the show. Once Sailor Jupiter shows up, that’s when the Rainbow Crystal arc starts, so yeah. And that was actually an arc that—when it first aired in America, they only had a certain number of shows. So they just reran everything for the next two years until it went off the air in 1997. So, I caught the Rainbow Crystal arc I don’t know how many times.
So, to this day, I think the Rainbow Crystal arc is synonymous with my experience of Sailor Moon.
DEE: I think that’s a good arc to relate to the show because I think it encapsulates a lot of the series’ best moments and ideas. Yeah, kind of talking about what you were saying with it also appealing to adults, I think that’s also the arc where they really start to dig into these ideas of “These are 14-year-olds who are trying to grow up and going through adolescence.” And using the Sailor Moon universe as a grand metaphor for different issues you might face as you’re going through that in-between phase.
Which is probably just my long-winded way of getting us to talk about Ami and Ryo, who I love.
VRAI: Ryo’s a nice boy. It’s too bad he dropped right off the face of the planet while Yuichiro got to come back.
ANNE: Yeah, that’s true.
DEE: I like Teddy, too, but— Sorry, I call him “Teddy” because “Yuichiro” took too long to type and his last name is “Kumada,” and “kuma” means “bear.” So I nicknamed him “Teddy.” [laughs]
VRAI: You know what? The deep id part of my brain wants to say that that’s actually what the dub called him, but I can’t remember.
DEE: I’m pretty sure that was just me.
ANNE: Oh, it was… His DiC dub name was “Chad.”
VRAI: Oh my God.
DEE: Okay. Teddy is better. Let’s just—Teddy is better. I kind of enjoyed him. Not nearly as much as Ryo. I… Ryo and Ami’s episodes I really enjoy, because I think with Usagi, you have this idea of a kid realizing there’s a world bigger than just them and figuring out how to take responsibility for their actions, and stand up for their people. And Usagi’s pretty much always been compassionate, but she does have these moments of selfishness along the way as well.
But, with Ami and her episode with Ryo, I think you have almost the opposite of that—which you tend to find more, I think, in older teens, but Ami’s pretty mature, so it tracks that she would be going through this sooner. This idea of… You do become aware of others, and then you kind of over-correct and start—you kind of develop almost a martyr syndrome.
There’s a two-part episode later down the road—not two-part. Sorry, there’s two episodes back-to-back later down the stretch, where they really dig into this with Ryo trying to sacrifice himself, and Ami’s like, “Wouldn’t it be better to try to fight and stay alive? That seems like a better idea than being so selfless that you destroy yourself in the process.”
And then it’s followed up by the very good Venus episode where you find out some of her backstory with the folks from London. And she kind of does the same thing, where she fakes her own death because she just thinks their lives would be easier without her around. And it turns out that’s not the case. They were very sad. And they finally get a chance to be honest with each other and work things out. And I think Sailor Moon hits those points very well.
VRAI: This was actually the first time I had seen that Minako episode, because it never got dubbed. It was just skipped over for some reason. But I feel like Minako kind of gets the short end of the stick in this first season because there’s so little time to develop her before the plot starts happening. But that episode builds a character for her so well, and really sells her as this kind of mature and thoughtful kid.
It’s a little awkward in terms of—she’s talking to this twenty-something-year-old senpai who’s telling her, “I thought you were still a kid. I had no idea you were so grown up.” No, she’s still a kid with a crush on her adult coworker, sweetie. You were fine. But the sentiment is there.
I guess we should touch a little bit on the couple shaggy, awkward moments that haven’t aged so well, as much as this is still a very good show. I feel like the wedding episodes in general are good to point out.
ANNE: Tell me a little bit more.
VRAI: You know, I was specifically thinking of… Gosh, I think it’s a Jadeite episode. The wedding dress one early on. “Well, obviously all girls want to get married!”
DEE: [crosstalk] It’s a Nephrite episode, ’cause the worst episodes are in the Nephrite arc. [laughs]
VRAI: You can tell because it’s very boring.
DEE: [crosstalk] No, I know the one you mean. That episode… Yeah, that episode irritated me as well. And, meanwhile, Ami’s in the background like, “I’m not really interested in any of this, but y’all have fun.”
DEE: And I felt for Ami real hard there. For me, the moment where I went, “Uh-oh,” was when they dropped the first four episodes of Sailor Moon—and, thankfully, they set it up as being more of an aberration than a trend—the fourth episode is the one where they all decide they need to lose weight.
ANNE: Oh, yeah.
DEE: For their boyfriends, for the most part. Not, “Oh, you know, I feel like I should be healthier. It’s something I want to do for myself.” It’s like, “Oh, no, it’s so I’ll get a boyfriend.” That was a rough one. That made me very concerned, in that first stretch of episodes.
VRAI: And there’s little things like… It’s kind of just—it’s not really, I think, actively toxic, just so much as, “All right, this is not what I would choose to focus on right now,” where Usagi is having that really All Is Lost moment at the very end of the series, and she’s like, “I can’t kiss you now because all my friends died before they got to kiss the boys they liked,” and I’m like, “Okay.” [sighs] Fine. All those very memorable boys that they had.
ANNE: I mean, I think the episode four… I think the DiC dub did a better job with it than the original or maybe even the Viz dub, I would say. ‘Cause there’s just weird things that go on, like, you know, the girls have a little pow-wow, and she says, “Every time I have a boyfriend, I lose weight,” and the other girl’s like, “You’re not in love right now. You don’t have a boyfriend.” And they start fighting. And then there’s another girl in that group where she’s kind of chubby, and she’s talking about how it’s hard to lose weight, and everybody else in the scene, they don’t take her seriously. So, you know, out of—I think it’s a good—if there’s one bad apple out of 46 episodes, it’s easy to ignore.
VRAI: Yeah. I think there’s one or two clunkers, basically, every season, but for the most part, the episodes are either real good or mostly good. Good at heart. Which is impressive for a show that is now….
ANNE: 25? 25 years old?
VRAI: I think so. Yeah, that sounds…
VRAI: 26 now.
DEE: Yeah, no, it is… Again, I was impressed at how well it held up, kind of all around. Even the animation I thought was pretty solid for the time. But the story arcs tend to work pretty well, and the characters are all great and I even got into some of the goofy little romances that—I think Sailor Moon does friendship stories better than romances, but I still got into some of them. I’m one of three people who ship Ami and Ryo.
VRAI: They’re nice kids.
ANNE: They are.
DEE: I mean, I ship Ami and Makoto too, don’t get me wrong.
VRAI: They’re also nice kids.
DEE: I can have multiple ships. But… [laughs]I think one of my biggest critiques or things I’m a little bummed about with Sailor Moon is how sometimes when they start a new season they kind of hit a reboot button. And you lose… They build up this really fun cast of supporting characters in this first season, and with the exception of—Motoki still shows up, Naru and Umino are still there—we haven’t talked about Umino at all, but I have some sympathy for that awkward turtle.
VRAI: He tries.
DEE: And Teddy. Sorry, Yuichiro. I’m just gonna call him “Teddy.” I’m sorry, folks.
VRAI: That’s fine.
DEE: They continue to show up for the next few seasons, but a lot of these other little supporting characters… I don’t think Motoki’s girlfriend gets mentioned again.
VRAI: Which bums me out!
DEE: She’s so cool. We haven’t talked about her episode. Her episode was great! ‘Cause the whole thing is like she’s trying to decide whether she should choose between her career or her romance, and then it’s like, “Actually, you can have both. Congrats.”
VRAI: It’s pretty good.
DEE: And Motoki spends the whole episode vigorously supporting her career goals. It’s not like he wants her to stay and she wants to go. It’s like she doesn’t want to break up with him, and he’s like, “No, you should follow your dreams.” It’s just… It’s a good episode, you guys.
VRAI: It’s real good. It’s also a Rainbow Crystal episode. [sarcastically] Surprisingly. Shock.
ANNE: Yeah. Yeah, I think this first season of Sailor Moon really leans into… It’s an action comedy. The faces that Usagi has— There’s ten bazillion gifs out there of all the silly faces that Usagi makes. So I think if you like comedy and you like action, the first season of Sailor Moon is your jam.
DEE: This series’ Face Game is extremely strong.
VRAI: I love the kind of soft roundness of it and the bright colors and the goofiness of both the facial expressions and just the springy body animations. It looks good. It chose its style and stuck with it, with some room to play the “who’s the animator?” from episode to episode, which is nice. That’s a nice element of ‘90s anime that I like.
DEE: Yeah, I agree. I think it’s fun how the style… There’s—gosh, I should look up the animators ’cause I used to know some of these and I’ve kind of forgotten them over the years—but the sort of round, soft features you were talking about.
There’s one of their lead animators that was very much—I think it’s a “she”—I think it was very much her style and so you can always spot her episodes by that softer look that the characters get. And they tend to be some of the better ones, too, so I always appreciated that style of drawing.
ANNE: So, I have some good news. For Sailor Moon Crystal, the Dream Arc: they’re gonna make two movies. And they actually brought on the original character designer of Sailor Moon for the anime. Her name is Kazuko Tadano. And so that’ll be really interesting to see what she does. I know some people have— There’s various opinions about the style of Sailor Moon Crystal, so hopefully that kind of softer style will come back.
DEE: Yeah, I hadn’t realized that’s how they were gonna handle the Dream Arc—Super S, for people who have just seen the ‘90s anime. That will be cool. Yeah, I’ll be curious to see how the characters translate to the new style. I do like that they’ve been willing, with Crystal, to take feedback and play with things, because I would say that the… What’s the arc called in the manga? I’m calling it “S” in my head, but it’s—
ANNE: Death Busters, I guess? Yes?
DEE: Yeah, thank you. Yeah. The Death Busters Arc. That they were willing to go in and change up some stuff and they shifted the character designs and made them—kind of softened them and made them easier to animate.
VRAI: It got all the way up to “okay.”
DEE: So, yeah. That’s cool that they brought back the original designer. I’m interested to see what she does
ANNE: [crosstalk] Yeah. It’ll be really interesting to see how that goes.
DEE: Yeah, for sure.
Should we talk about the ending of this season? ‘Cause it’s a little… It’s a lot, and then it’s like, “What?”
VRAI: On the one hand, if this had just been a standalone series, I think it would have been a good ending. As one that leads into other seasons, it kind of bums me out because, like you said, it hits that reset button after all that good, good development, and it’s what makes R kind of a slog for me.
DEE: [noncommittal] Mmm. I think—well, I guess maybe I should wait until we get into R to actually talk about this. I really like the first 13 episodes of R. I like that filler arc they did quite a bit. It’s the Black Moon stuff that I struggle with a bit.
VRAI: Yeah, fair. Fair.
DEE: But this was one of those… The ending of this season was—and, again, it must have been devastating to watch on TV because you didn’t know how many episodes there were. So you get to this big finale where they’re slogging through the snow, and the scouts just start heroically dying. Did that destroy you guys as kids?
VRAI: Well, it was very heavily edited for the US TV release. They did everything they… First of all, they edited it down from two episodes to one episode, like a one-episode finale.
VRAI: And they also did everything they could to imply that “No, no, no, no. The girls aren’t dead, they’ve just [slowly] given their power to Usagi. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”
DEE: “They’re just sleepin’ real, real deeply.”
VRAI: Yeah, so it’s… It still has that build of “The hero must go on alone but all her friends are with her,” but it definitely lacks the emotional punch of the actual episode.
ANNE: I would have to say even from watching the DiC dub years ago, as a kid, that was probably, if not my favorite of all time ending to a series or season, it’s in that top ten. Out of all the TV shows in existence, I think the whole idea of picking them off one by one was just devastating.
And then coming into the Viz dub, I didn’t realize that they had cut out so much of the fight between Sailor Moon and Evil Endymion. It is brutal! Absolutely brutal. He kicks the crap out of her. I was watching it today and I just had to take a moment, because I was so emotionally invested in those… I would say the last four episodes are—I would consider the final chunk, but the final two are incredibly brutal emotionally.
DEE: They’re very intense. And I’m watching them like, “Oh, it’s fine. I know they’ll be back. There’s like 150 more episodes. It’ll be fine.” And I still got to a point where… Well, they killed off my two favorites right off the bat, and I was like, “Oh, those were very fitting deaths for them. I’m sure they’ll be fine, but I’m a little upset.” And then they murder the rest of them and I was like, “Shit. This is a little rough.”
And then especially when Usagi doesn’t feel like she can go on… And then they brought in ghosts, and here’s the thing: If you wanna get me, you bring in some ghosts telling you that they’re with you.
DEE: And that their power will be your power, too! And they got me. I was like, “This is not fair. This is cheating.” I know they’re gonna be fine and I’m still upset. It’s very well-done.
VRAI: I do always kind of laugh at the thought of the finale, because I just remember myself in fifth grade working on one of those iMacs with the pretty colors furiously putting together this PowerPoint of how edgy, actually, the original anime was and they all died!
VRAI: But I don’t know who I was going to show this to!
ANNE: Yes! Yes!
VRAI: [through laughter] And I just kept working.
ANNE: Yes! That’s awesome. I love that.
DEE: Not like those lame American cartoons. Look at how edgy it is! That sounds par for the course. I wasn’t doing that with Sailor Moon, but I was definitely doing it with anime. So, that tracks.
Yeah, no, the ending was very intense and emotionally resonant and I think kind of built up to that idea of… First of all, that almost quintessential shoujo idea that I just love, which is the concept of teamwork and friendship and emotional bonds being their own form of power. And so, you know, Usagi’s able to save the day—not just because she is able to go on, but because she has these people who supported her and loved her and so they help her spiritually and emotionally in that final stretch.
I really don’t care… I was very irritated that they then went, “And then they all survived somehow! And they don’t have memories!”
VRAI: [sing-song] “It’s fine!”
DEE: But up until that point, I thought it was excellent, yeah. I would agree with you that it was devastating.
ANNE: I think it’s kind of unclear. And having watched this over and over again, basically what happens is that Usagi uses the Silver Crystal, and when she’s using it, she makes a wish, and so she says “I just wanna be a normal kid again.” And so, basically, that wish is what happens: is that they become normal girls again. They’re reincarnated and stuff like that.
So a lot of people are like, “She was supposed to die. Queen Serenity, her mother, totally kicked the can when she did the same thing eons ago,” and I think… Yeah, I don’t think it’s necessarily that clear, but, you know, Usagi’s wish is what saves everything at the end.
VRAI: Oh, yeah. Just a little eye-rolly in terms of “and they were reborn at exactly the same age, and exactly the same time, and nothing has changed, and we don’t have to write the theoretical future! Phew!”
DEE: Well, at that point, they weren’t sure they were gonna get another season, right? So they were kind of trying to write an ending.
ANNE: So, a piece of trivia is it was always meant to be one season. When Naoko Takeuchi was writing this, she always meant this was going to just be a one-shot. But then once the Crescent Moon Wand—the Moon Stick—starting selling halfway towards the end of the series, that’s when they got greenlit for another season.
DEE: That good, good merchandise.
ANNE: Oh, yeah! [laughs]
DEE: Which, I mean, it kept a good series alive, so I’m not… I guess hooray for capitalism?
VRAI: I’m not gonna lie. I want one of those makeup compacts.
ANNE: Oh, I… So, growing up, my parents didn’t really buy me a lot of stuff in regards to Sailor Moon, but now that I’m an adult with my own money, oh, I am buying all the merchandise. I’m havin’ a good time.
DEE: I love it. Yeah, what better way to be a grown-up than to buy the stuff you wanted when you were a kid? I know I’m gonna be going wild when I go to… I’m going to Japan in a few weeks and I will be coming back with probably two suitcases where I only left with one.
VRAI: Oh, heck yes.
DEE: I’m very excited.
VRAI: So, any final thoughts you want to bring about this season?
DEE: Did we say enough about Rhett Butler? ‘Cause I know we mentioned how good he was, but did you want to dive into how good Rhett Butler is?
VRAI: I mean, he’s very good and Artemis is very substandard comparatively, I feel like I can say.
DEE: I’m not gonna lie. I spent the rest of the season just pretending Luna and Rhett Butler were in a relationship. I was like, “Artemis, good try, buddy, but she’s already in a committed relationship with Rhett Butler and they’re very much in love. You just don’t see it on-screen. It’s there, though. Trust me.”
ANNE: Watching that episode again, I was just like, “Who makes TV like this anymore?” I miss this good stuff. Nobody does a whole episode about animated cats anymore. It’s a great episode.
DEE: It has a deliciously wacky Saturday-morning-cartoon feel to it. Just in terms of the animation, in terms of the way the story goes… When Rhett Butler flings down a fishbone, and Tuxedo Mask’s Spanish guitar is playing in the background, it’s one of the best comedic moments in the entire series.
VRAI: And Zoisite and the rats.
ANNE: Oh! God, yes!
DEE: Oh, God, Zoisite and the rats.
VRAI: [through laughter] He’s having a bad day.
DEE: And then I think Rhett is the only monster that… Well, Ryo tries, and gets his free will overridden, but I think Rhett’s the only monster where they turn him into a monster like, “Attack the scouts!” And he’s like, “Nah.”
VRAI: “Nah, I’m a cat, man.”
DEE: And ends up helping them out, ’cause he loves Luna so much! It’s cute. Also, I had a big, fat cat at the time, so Rhett Butler gives me warm fuzzies about the big, fat cat I had.
DEE: So there’s also that. Anyway, sorry, we promised that we would talk about the Rhett Butler episode, so I thought we should probably get that in there.
VRAI: Fair. It’s very… If you go back to no other episodes of this show—that one, though.
ANNE: Yes. Yes.
DEE: Again, that whole Rainbow Crystal arc. You can rewatch that whole arc, and it’s very good.
VRAI: Yeah. Again, basically anything with my boy in it is of solid entertainment value.
DEE: I wouldn’t say this is Sailor Moon at its very, very best, but I do think the second half of it is up there and provides hints and glimmers of where the show is going to go and what it’s going to be. So, I… Again, the first half, I think, can be a little bit of a slog, especially as an adult watching it nowadays, but the second half is excellent and I would definitely recommend it to people even now.
VRAI: For sure. Yeah, and if you are in the US, you can watch it all on Hulu. I don’t know about other regions.
DEE: Yeah, I’m not sure, either. So, check with your local providers, I guess.
VRAI: And we’ll come back to talk about the other seasons as well. Don’t worry. We’re not gonna leave you hanging. It may be a little bit. I need to rewatch some stuff.
DEE: There are a lot of episodes.
VRAI: It’s a lot of episodes, and I haven’t done a proper watch since I was a kid, so it’ll be fun. But look forward to it when we do come back. It’ll be the same three of us. And thanks so much for joining us, AniFam!
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