Film Talk: Pretty Guardian Sailormoon, Act 4

Posted May 12, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Film & TV, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Pretty Guardian Sailormoon: Act 4 (PGSM 4)Welcome to act/episode 4 of rewatching Pretty Guardian Sailormoon and commenting on the episodes as I go along.

To recap: Last time, we were introduced to Rei/Mars who very much does not want to be part of the team, thank you, which Usagi and Ami do not comprehend. We also learned that Beryl is “not a merciful queen” and then proceeds to do nothing more than gnash her teeth in angry frustration because her plans are foiled again.

And now… Act 4! Wherein we do not meet a new senshi, shock of all shocks.

I should note that I like the little Usagi-recap that the show has. I like the way that it’s rabbit-shaped. (And totally means we didn’t need that quiz scene at the beginning because we’ve already got a way to bring people up to speed.) Or, you know, we could have it here when it might actually be relevant to this episode’s plot.

I GIVE UP. I give up on understanding the backstory. I know what happens in this show and I can extrapolate that Beryl has a clue because she’s given us that clue and here she’s off to go “Not the same person” and… JUST WHY?! This doesn’t make any sense. Either Beryl knows the connection or she doesn’t. She clearly doesn’t for plot reasons, but. Ugh, maybe I’m misremembering and therefore misinterpreting and my knowledge of the narrative at large is stopping this from making sense by making it easier to misinterpret. Or something.

And still her idea of being merciless is an extremely mild scolding that boils down to “Go do something useful”. (Such as, I don’t know, maybe finding the ginzuishou like he was just telling you he thought he’d done?) Hi, Nephrite! The senshi don’t know who any of you are yet, did you know this?

It’s been four episodes and we’re introduced to the second shitennou and the senshi haven’t even met Jadeite yet. This too is a sign of the vastly different storyline this show has.

And Mamoru again. It is not a good thing that my reaction to his appearance is “Gah, can I fast forward?”, is it? It’s only been four episodes. Although at least it isn’t insta-love for them this time.

And then we get the reason Rei doesn’t want to be friends, though colleagues is potentially all right. (Not really, Rei. If it were, it’d make sense to team up to look for the youma.) It is, however, a solid one that you’d expect from someone used to being on their own and fixing things on their own. Whereas Ami is a social introvert, Rei isn’t. Or at least not to the same extent and the scars of the way people have treated her for being different are different than the ones that Ami has. I hope there’s a moment between those two bonding over the difficulties of standing out from the crowd for any reason.

Easily distracted Usagi is easily distracted. And I know it’s a halloween-themed party, but that is a terrible costume, Usagi. You’re not going to be able to hold anything or see very well. Why didn’t anyone tell her this was a bad idea? And Luna clearly has her favourite, doesn’t she? I know Usagi is a ditz and a klutz, but it feels like this Luna is almost as bad as this Mamoru in terms of how they treat Usagi.

Notice the way Usagi’s eyes have little hearts in them when she’s thinking about Tuxedo Kamen because she’s holding him suddenly? I’m pretty sure I missed that the first time around. And look he’s actually vaguely tolerable this time when I’d say he actually has more reason to be rude with the way Usagi is invading his personal space and holding him when he doesn’t want to be held. (That’s not an excuse for rudeness, mind, but it does explain it.) It’ll be very interesting to see if this is something that changes gradually or stays the same. (Considering we’ve already watched post-show Act Zero and extras we can assume the answer is the latter, but still. I will do my best to pay attention to it!)

Okay, that wasn’t quite the Ami/Rei moment I was hoping for, but go Ami for pointing out the obvious to Rei and reaching out. Notice that it is Ami reaching out successfully here and not Usagi. Notice that Usagi’s way of reaching out backfired. As it would since Usagi’s approach won’t work for everyone no matter what the animes and the manga would like us to believe. Plus, it’s nice to see because it indicates that Ami has been improving on her social skills somewhat since meeting Usagi and it’s just a really lovely thing to see the group form through more than “Usagi is our friend and we heart her”.

No, I take that back. This is the Ami/Rei moment I was hoping for and lookit. Lookit at Ami trying to be social and reaching out to someone in friendship! And Rei opening up to Ami just a little about the reasons she’s bad at making friends and not-being-alone. I heart this scene. It’s lovely.

Mamoru is still being polite!

MAGICALLY DISAPPEARING BOX OF JEWELLERY. I wonder if she’ll be holding it after the transformations are done. Yep. She’s holding it post-transformation.

*snrk* I love how the music dies as Usagi can’t get out of the costume. That is brilliant. XD And I don’t remember this at all. I love that little sense of Rei helping Usagi (even if the freeing is a little conveniently timed) out of her costume so she can transform and the way Usagi showing up to save Rei affected her. And touching moment of friendship forming.

And look! Forcing teamwork through monster-of-the-day convenience! I actually quite like it. I like the visual approach to the attacks too since it’s a really nice way to highlight the timing issue. And not just that, but Usagi having a good idea on how to defeat the youma(s) by using the rhythm of the song to create timing. Sure, she needs Ami to explain it to Rei because Rei doesn’t pick up on it immediately, but then she wouldn’t if she dislikes music (and isn’t used to teamwork), would she? But I like the way that scene shows the three of them working together and the way Ami can follow along with what Usagi is trying to say/do.

Finally we get to see the senshi meet the Dark Kingdom! Granted, Tuxedo Kamen shows up and battles Nephrite for the crystal and then Usagi almost falls to her death and gets saved by him, sort of. They both fall off the building and get saved by Plot Reasonium or Handwavium by way of Usagi’s Moon Stick, but you know. Contact was made with the Dark Kingdom and the guy did not, in fact, rescue the girl like he did last episode.

(Also notice the way Ami sinks to the ground. Maybe what saved Usagi and Mamoru was True Love Handwavium and she realised it and is now heart-broken rather than just relieved and tired from fighting.)

Awwwww, Usagi singing is cute. I like the subtlety of the emotions in this bit, actually. It’s a very different side of Mamoru. (Please make it last. It’s not going to last.)

And we get some introduction to him for the senshi too. Luna learns his motives and we can start to figure out what’s up with him showing up with a tiny hint that he doesn’t know whether they’re enemies or not. He could do with being clearer on that front, but I suppose his not wanting anyone to tie him down makes sense.

I like how Ami and Usagi start singing together and Rei gets caught up in it all the same. That little self-conscious smile she gives. And the way Ami is the first to notice and Usagi just kind of follows suit with the turn. And then friends were made.

And thus the episode concludes and the preview promises the three newly made friends bonding at a pyjama party just for the sake of hanging out together. None of this “Let’s only hang out to do senshi business on screen!” that Crystal had so much of. *crosses fingers*

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