Sailor Moon: Protect the Melody of Love: Usagi Plays Cupid review

Sailor Moon is firing on all cylinders in one of its best episodes so far! Here's our review of Sailor Moon episode 6.

Jadeite’s scheme to exploit the power of music results in one of the most unnecessarily convoluted stories in the entire series, but also one of the most refreshing. We start this time with Jadeite explaining his plan to Queen Beryl beforehand, and…you know, that is one versatile crystal ball if it can play audio cassettes. And yet, only moments later we see the girls listening to a CD, marking the time period as distinctly ’90s. Love it.

Seriously, though, I like how some episodes open with the Dark Kingdom hatching their plots, while some of them have us discovering it along with Usagi. It keeps it fresh. I have noticed that the youma are very hit or miss. Either they’re very striking like Kurere here and Morga in the premiere or they’re almost boringly generic. Their “coolness” factor is also all over the place, something that will become glaringly apparent later in the season.

The more of Usagi and Naru’s friendship I see in these early episodes, the sadder it is for me that Naru all but disappears later on. Usagi’s passing comment about Naru’s “maturity” combined with her use of the Disguise Pen (my second favorite in the entire series) to sneak into a bar both touch on a subtle theme of the difference between appearing mature and actually being mature.

It is cool that already Usagi is starting to think more and compensate for her limited muscle by using her ingenuity, like she does here with the microphone. It is kind of annoying though that the tiara (or whatever Sailor Moon’s finishing move of the moment is) has to be used, even though a perfectly awesome move could just as easily have spelled the youma’s demise. Being done in by her own amplified sonar would have been an awesome death, but it feels like the use of the tiara to finish the job just kind of diminishes the episode. I understand that in anime stock footage is often used to fill space and keep costs down, but still.

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Kurene’s hand is truly freaksome. Holy shit. That’s almost as bad the gross scrunching sounds Morga made whenever she moved. I have to say, she looks scarier in her human disguise than her true form. And if she’s a bat creature, shouldn’t her destructive sonar blasts come from her mouth? Oh, whatever.

Luna really does not get enough credit for what a bad-ass bitch she is, especially in these early eps. Left and right, she’s jumping at the baddies, slapping shit away from them. And after last episodes little off-screen murder… damn, that is one tight… um, nevermind.

While this episode didn’t really advance the plot much, it really did show a marked development in Sailor Moon as a hero, fighting more readily and using her wits. Character development, a satisfactorily freaky youma, some nice thematic undertones. I’d say of all the pre-Mercury episodes, this one is the strongest.

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3.5 out of 5