With the help of Thetis, a high-ranking youma who serves Beryl directly, Jadeite lures lovers of all ages on a romantic evening cruise. Rei, with her psychic powers, scores a couple’s ticket and brings Ami in lieu of an actual date. It’s fortunate that Usagi’s jealousy inspires her to abuse the disguise pen and sneak aboard, because it takes all three of them take on Jadeite and Thetis together.
Here we have one of the most wasted opportunities in the entire series: Thetis. Here is a youma with an actual sense of character, a possible love interest for Jadeite, and it’s said she works directly for Queen Beryl. It’s assumed that all youma work under the authority of the Shitennou (Beryl’s four generals), but Thetis appears to do her own thing. And when she gets killed, ooh, is Beryl pissed enough to actually leave the throne room and seek Jadeite out. Makes me wish we’d seen more of Thetis, partially because she’s just cool enough on her own, but also because she adds another dimension to Jadeite. This is truly the only episode that humanizes Jadeite to any degree. Next to the other three generals, he’s kind of basic and boring. We could have used much more of this.
On the subject of villains’ appearances… oh, so now Jadeite decides to experiment with his appearance in his disguises? Okay. A little late in the game to be trying out different hair and skintones for the first time, but whatever, dude. And as for Thetis, I’m curious about the youma’s “true” forms. Do they all have to have one? The Shitennou look human enough. Their true forms look like that. And if Thetis’ true form is that mouthless demon thing (bad-ass headband, by the way), why didn’t she appear like that in the Dark Kingdom when she and Jadeite were speaking privately?
One of the things that always appealed to me about this show was that the heroes were allowed to be juvenile and flawed. Rei is hardly a delinquent by any means, but she’s not above using her psychic powers to win a contest. And sure, we understand her frustration with Usagi, who can be annoying, but Rei does seem to take it too far, being unnecessarily mean to her… but it’s just to her. Rei isn’t a bitch to everybody. There’s something about Usagi that rubs her the wrong way, and this elicits a reaction she wouldn’t unleash on other people. Interesting considering…
Rei pigs out, making a bit of a scene… hmm… it seems she and Usagi aren’t as different as they think. And wait a sec, did girl have some wine? And damn, she chugged that shit! It’s refreshing to see teens depicted as doing something “naughty” without their lives crashing down around them. Sometimes you break a few rules, and no one gets hurt. The only consequence is… you had a good time. You don’t turn to a life of delinquency, you don’t kill anyone, you don’t flush your future down the toilet. You just broke a rule you could have done without, and not only does Rei not screw herself, she still steps up to help save the day. I mean, fuck, if Sailor Mars kicked that much ass half-sloshed, that speaks volumes as to her battle capability and drive.
We come back in this episode, however briefly, to Naru and Umino, and the slightly jarring reminder that they’re still around serves to underline what will become a running theme of the show. Once Mercury and Mars show up, Naru and Umino start to fade into the woodwork. Not much, but enough that their presence stands out. As Usagi meets more people connected to her other self and is drawn deeper into the world of the magical, mythic, and supernatural, her civilian identity and all those connected to it, become a smaller aspect of her overall identity and what we, as viewers, experience. She sees Naru and Umino just as much. She has class with them every day. We, however, do not. Thus, as Sailor Moon takes over more and more of Usagi’s identity, that’s the side of her we see more, pushing her family and civilian friends further to the fringes of the narrative.
This was a pretty strong episode. Lots of twists and turns in the story, an unusual amount of depth given to Jadeite, a successfully rich one-shot character in Thetis, Queen Beryl finally got off her ass for once, and Rei cements herself further within the group, this time strengthening her dynamic with Ami. That’s three in a row. Not a bad streak.
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