Motoki turns out to be Mako-chan’s latest crush of the moment, but her hopes are dashed when she realizes his classmate, Reika, is actually his girlfriend. One last chance rears its head when Makoto discovers that Reika is torn between whether or not to take an internship overseas. Does Mako-chan go in for the kill and convince Reika to go ahead with the internship or to stay, which would make Motoki happy? Before she can reach a decision, Zoisite attacks Reika, who it turns out is not only Motoki’s girlfriend, but the next Rainbow Crystal carrier.
Mako-chan’s first real spotlight episode since her introduction continues the running gag of her romantic ADD, picking it up where it left off, with her lusting after Motoki. The whole “He looks like my old senpai” thing really could have been easily overdone, and the writers show some decent restraint with it. They use it just enough that there’s an impact when they poke fun at it. It’s not just used idly here, though. Through her pursuit of Motoki, we learn more about Mako-chan’s character.
The fact that she made herself a tasty lunch in her premiere episode turns out to be an indication that she not only loves cooking, but it rather skilled at it. More to the point though, we see the extremes to which she’ll go for a crush, what most 14-year-olds would call love (even though it’s totally not what love is). The fact that Mako-chan is undeterred by Motoki’s apparent lack of interest and the existence of not one, but two rivals (Reika and Usagi) could be dismissed as mildly delusional, but it also speaks to her overall positivity and determination. Girl sees what she wants and goes after it, and nothing is going to stand in her way, except possibly herself. It’s interesting that no one shuts Jupiter down in this episode. Every decision she makes is a product of either her own desires or her own moral compass, which manages to remain active despite all temptation to the contrary.
Yeah, she wants Motoki. She even goes so far as to plan an active attempt to break him and Reika up, but her own ideals sneak up on her and get in the way. What I love about Jupiter is what an exceptionally romantic character she is. This refers to love, but I mean romantic in a broader sense. Her ideals are steeped in a vision of the world that is sincere, passionate, noble, and just. She doesn’t always handle it with the grace and consistency that she probably will at, say, twenty-five, but for a 14-year-old girl, she’s doing pretty damn admirably.
And yes, while there is a part of me that groans at the inherent gender-ness of the whole “Hey, messy guy, I’ll clean for you with my vaginal spic-and-span powers!”, I have to admit that every apartment I’ve ever had has been kind of a mess, and this is precisely the shit some girls would do to make someone like them. And by the way, I know Motoki is a nice guy, but what a freakin’ douche leaving a couple of girls in your apartment to make you dinner while you’re not even there.
Dude. You’re stumbling into some shaky territory. Mako-chan may be sweet and friendly, but do not. Piss. Her. Off. As Mamoru realizes in this episode, sister will choke a bitch. Just a friendly heads up, bro.
As noted previously, Usagi and Mako-chan really are well-suited as friends, and it kind of makes me sad that this relationship got completely undermined by Minako, who had a very distinct character and role to play in the ensemble before they decided to just make her Usagi 2.0 just because they look alike. Usagi and Mako are both less than ideal students, generally cheerful, and really into boys, sometimes even the same boys. I just love the way these two completely enable each other’s ridiculous behavior. Why you gotta upstage, Venus? Dayum!
It was nice to see Motoki’s character get a little more development here. His relationship with Reika is remarkably stable, given their age. Up until this point, Motoki has been a fantasy given form, the dreamy boy next door who always has the right attitude, always says the right thing (even when it’s the wrong thing, because your infatuated ass will retcon anything he says into pearls of wisdom and kindness). He’s been largely a symbol. By the end of this episode, both we and the girls come to see him as a whole person. He’s got insecurities, internal struggles, and an apartment that looks like a bomb hit it. Motoki doesn’t get a lot of development beyond this point, but that’s okay I suppose, but it makes me think…
There was such a missed opportunity with the college kids in this show. It really would have been nice to have Motoki and Reika (and eventually Setsuna) developed as Mamoru’s supporting cast, especially in lieu of the Shitennou, who posthumously exist in a kind of group-think Obi-Wan’s ghost role for him. It would make a hell of a lot more sense than him hanging around with fourteen-year-old girls all the time. It really is unfortunate what a useless character he becomes later.
Never mind that Tuxedo Mask is useless, but Mamoru just becomes flat out boring, and I blame Takeuchi for this. She was so determined to make him her own diddle aid, her ideal man (which narratively is almost always a recipe for disaster), that he fell flat. He was full of so much kindness, patience, good judgment, and overall goodness that he was boring as fuck. The anime improved on this a little by playing up his slightly more jerky qualities, but once he and Usagi are paired up, that shit goes out the window, and his appeal falls victim to death by perfection.
I mean, think about it. You’re 19/20, you’re a college student, you’ve survived a car crash that killed your parents on your birthday, and you’ve been more or less on your own your whole life, suffering from a swiss cheese memory. Are you really going to want to deal with a girlfriend who is not only fourteen, but generally speaking the worst kind of fourteen? And all her friends? All the time? You don’t need any friends your own age, at least one of whom is male?
At the very least, Mamoru could have used these characters as sort of a Greek chorus to at least develop his life outside of Usagi, make him somewhat less of a cardboard cut-out. Plus, such a group dynamic would have made for some interesting interplay between Usagi and Setsuna down the line. Just sayin’.
All in all, a decent episode of mid-range quality. On the plus side, character development. In the minus column, awful youma design. I do appreciate, though, that Reika’s expedition to find where life began on Earth could be subtle foreshadowing of how, at least according to the manga, the war between Metalia’s forces and the Silver Millennium wiped out all intelligent life on Earth, and humankind had to start again from scratch. Not bad.
Well, we’ve had satellite characters for Usagi, Ami, and Makoto attacked. It’s time to complete the set with a Rei episode, which we will next time when Grandpa… oh, you’ll see.