Sailor Moon – Paired With a Monster: Mako, the Ice Skating Queen review
A contrived plot device brings down this episode of Sailor Moon. Read our thoughts here!
Kunzite decides to use an Olympic-level figure skating duo to find Sailor Moon and the Silver Crystal since ice skating was apparently a massively popular past-time in the Silver Millennium. And, of course, our girls are suckered in, some of them better… much better… at skating than others, but it all comes down to Sailor Moon and the last person she’d expect for a skating partner: Tuxedo Mask.
I… okay, look… I have got to draw the line somewhere, and this episode is fucking ridiculous. I’m not saying that makes it bad, but it is ridiculous. This whole “figure skating was the most popular pastime in the Moon Kingdom” is a serious reach in terms of generating a plot, and while the logic of it is handled well (more trying to appeal to Usagi’s inner princess, using this as a motivation for Kunzite’s plot, rather than it just being a random idea), it’s still kind of ridiculous. We’re introducing what is apparently a major aspect of this lost culture as a throwaway plot device for a filler episode, a plot device we will never ever hear of again. Ever. No me gusta.
Of all the episodes in the home stretch, this is the one that really feels the most like filler. The premise is ludicrous, the writing is weak, and while it does give us some nice Mako-chan moments, which I am ALWAYS for, you could lift this episode right out of the sequence without losing very much. That said, not everything has to be a masterpiece, and the little moments we do get are fun.
Let’s start with our girl Jupiter. Once again, we see that Mako-chan, the brashest and most boyish of the bunch (at least until Haruka comes along) possesses incredible grace. As we saw with the ballroom dancing two episodes ago, Mako has full command of her body and her movements, a very feminine counterpoint to her more empirical tomboy attributes, which are not forgotten, as she uses her considerable strength to lift Misha in a reversal of gender roles.
Misha and Janelyn are good enough villains of the week, and I like that they have their own issues before Kunzite shows up to corrupt them, but where did those issues go afterward? Did Moon Healing Escalation purge them of their discord. If so, I’m not happy with that. I don’t like the implication that conflict and negative emotions are some unnatural sickness to be purged so we can all be shiny happy people. It seems that Misha and Janelyn have some deep-seated issues that, for all we know, could be perfectly legitimate. I’d be a lot more comfortable if we knew more about where this conflict was coming from and how it’s continued to fester over time. If it were more that their behavior has become unhealthy due to heightened emotional distress (poor emotional health), then I’d be better about it, especially if being healed didn’t make them immediately harmonious but enabled them to address their issues properly. Now, I know this is pretty heavy stuff for a kids’ show and they’re not the main characters. Hell, they’re just one-shot villain fodder, but still, it wouldn’t have taken much. As for their youma form, I rather like it, and they get one of the coolest human to youma transformation sequences in the series, so credit where it’s due.
On Usagi’s side of things, of course she’s a klutz and falls on her ass, but in fact, her skills as Serenity are still there under the surface. It takes Tuxedo Mask’s encouragement to coax those skills out of her. It shows that with the right motivation and guidance, Usagi is capable of strength, grace, and control, and that appealing to her heart is always going to produce better results than attempting to using logic or shame to manipulate her.
This impromptu team-up shows us the next logical beat in the emergence of Mamoru’s psyche. He’s gone from neglecting to defeat Sailor Moon to refusing to allow the youma to harm her… and now to actively fighting with her against the youma. Metalia’s influence is starting to show some serious cracks, and I like where this is going, though to be honest, I would have liked to have seen something of the Endou storyline from the manga. It would have been a great way to keep Mamoru/Endymion present in the girls’ civilian lives, making things for Usagi all the more torturous, plus it would have kept Motoki in the mix.
Kunzite’s criticism of Endymion could be easily dismissed as pettiness and jealousy, and there would certainly be a grain of truth to that claim, but he has a legitimate point. If it weren’t for Endymion’s interference, the Dark Kingdom would have the Silver Crystal by now. Kunzite is set up from his first appearance in the Nephrite arc as a deeply viable threat, and the only way to truly pay that off without the Dark Kingdom winning would be for his efforts to be constantly sabotaged. This is one of the smarter narrative decisions the writing staff made.
I will confess that playing on Mako-chan’s boy-craziness is part of what I love about her and the joke at the end with some random dude catching her attention was great (though, to be honest, nothing can touch Susan Roman’s performance of that scene in the DiC dub, not even Emi Shinohara). As I said, this episode wasn’t bad. It just didn’t make much sense, and the ridiculata like Sailor Moon magical ice-skating upgrade to her boots really break my suspension of disbelief. I realize I’m watching a show about super-powered junior high kids who fight the forces of darkness, but magic, one-shot, conveniently timed ice skate powers? Go fuck yourselves, writers. Go fuck yourselves without lube.
Besides… yeah, right. Yeah, like Serenity could fucking skate in that dress. Princess or not, that girl would cut her dress up to shit and end up with a black and blue as in the process.