Usagi, Ami, and Rei (and Luna) go to the beach, run into the Munsters, and hijinks ensue. No, seriously. That’s the plot.
Here we have the first of the first installment of the “Beach Episodes That Have Fuck All to Do With Anything” series, which I personally find to be a blemish on the face of the entire show. I mean, there are quite a few dud episodes, but this one just breaks the world completely. I’d like to pretend it didn’t happen, but I committed to discussing every episode of this show, so here goes.
Let’s start with the leaps of realism on which the plot is predicated, like three eighth grade girls having some kind of Spring Break weekend at a Bed and Breakfast. I know Ami’s mother is on call at the hospital pretty much all the time, and Rei’s grandfather is so busy chasing poontang and cock that he wouldn’t notice she was gone, but are they seriously trying to tell me that Kenji and Ikuko would just let their fourteen-year-old daughter take a vacation with her friends without any parental supervision? Come on now.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that WHERE IS THE DARK KINGDOM? I’m sorry, but this is some sloppy world-building. You have a show where all the supernatural activity is pretty much centered around two opposing forces, and then you throw in the Universal Studio cosplay cast? What the fuck is that? Look, I’m all for side-stories and the like, but this shit was so far out of left field and such a departure from the rest of the series that it just breaks the story.
It’s sweet that Usagi thought of Naru-chan, and it shows that at this point in the series their friendship is still very strong, stronger than Usagi’s friendships with Ami and Rei (though Rei is barely a friend at all at this point), despite the fact that she and Naru don’t spend as much time together anymore.
I feel Usagi’s pain on the scarcity of dudeness. Half the fun of going to the beach is the eye candy. At least she can keep an upbeat attitude. Also, nice continuity nod with the bathing suit from Episode 17. I would also like to point out that, while I’m sure the temptation to sexualize these girls in the name of fan service was very strong, they’re all wearing modest one-piece bathing suits.
This moment where Usagi preaches to Ami about the value of enjoying your youth and having fun seems like a throwaway gag (capped by Rei’s astonishment that Usagi said something wise), but as we’ll see a ways down the road, this is a very important moment not only in Ami’s friendship with Usagi but in Ami’s life, one that she’ll hold very dear. And it’s a nice continuation of the beat from Episode 17, where Usagi observes that Ami needs to lighten up. This time, it actually takes, and I actually regret that such a great character moment for both Usagi and Ami is dropped into such an otherwise useless episode.
To be totally fair, this episode isn’t terrible. It’s cute, it’s funny, and it’s not a bad story. It just doesn’t feel like an episode of Sailor Moon. It feels like an episode of some other show featuring Sailor Moon characters, kind of like when the Addams Family showed up on Scooby Doo. I’m all for filler in its proper place, but this episode is so far removed from anything having to do with the actual plot that it feels like an intrusion, a hiccup in the story, especially after such a huge plot twist at the end of the previous episode, and it’s hard for me to see past that enough to really consider it part of the canon.