Sailor Moon: Usagi Learns Her Lesson: Becoming a Star is Hard Work review

Sailor Moon episode 7 is the first episode of the series that really feels like filler. Here's our review...

A teen idol who happens to be from Usagi and company’s neighborhood is the face of a talent competition that, just going on what we see of the “talent”, ends a massive bloopers episode of Minato-Ku Idol.  Of course, it’s just one of Jadeite’s youma posing as the young starlet and exploiting the dreams of Tokyo’s teenage girls to suck up more energy for Queen Beryl.

It’s nice how Sailor Moon honestly depicts the immaturity and wild fantasies of their target audience without poking too much fun at them. For two 8th Grade girls to genuinely think they can start a successful career as a pop duo just because they want to is not that farfetched. Neither is the fact that a fight broke the project up less than five minutes into it.

The fact of the matter is Sailor Moon, for all its flaws and unrealistic occurrences, really does nail down the behavior and psychology of teenage girls, which is part of why it resonates so deeply with them (and, well, anyone who’s ever spent any significant amount of time around them). The writers are not afraid to utilize a stereotype, but also show that there’s more to the full picture. It’s been said that the problem with stereotypes isn’t that they’re untrue, but that they’re incomplete, and this series engenders that concept pretty damn well.

The rehearsal scene with Usagi and Naru is definitely one of the instances where the dub suffers, as the dub theme song is specifically about Sailor Moon, whereas the original theme song was merely a love song that, while thematically linked to the premise, could be about anyone. It makes a lot more sense for Usagi and Naru to be hearing a Top 40 hit on the radio than a song about a vigilante that’s made a few headlines.

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Also with those girls… look I’m the first person to agree that Umino is kind of a creepy stalker at times and I don’t excuse that behavior, but come on. The poor guy is always getting jerked around by these girls. I’m not saying his behavior is okay, but I can understand why he’d be confused. They constantly talk shit about him to his face but are nice and friendly as soon as they want something. Again, that’s a very 14-year-old girl thing to do and it’s great how the show doesn’t shy away from showing that while still managing to paint Usagi and Naru is a more or less sympathetic light.

It’s always interesting to note how uber-girlified the anime is next to the manga, not that the manga was shy with the girliness. It’s just that the anime kicked it into overdrive, inserting hearts fuckin’ everywhere. Here we even get a heart-shaped spotlight. This is most noticeable when the astrological signs of Mercury, Mars, and Venus are altered to include heart-shapes. This is strictly an anime thing that never happens in the manga, and I know it was done to market the show toward young girls, but I’m already pissed off enough that they’re fucking with astrological symbology that heaping force-fed genderization on top of it is not helping at all.

This episode is actually pretty weak, and to be honest, I’ve never really liked it. At this point, the formula (Jadeite hatches a vaguely or blatantly misogynistic plan, Usagi falls for it, Sailor Moon shows ups, screws up, gets an encouraging haiku from Tuxedo Mask, then gets her shit together to save the day) has become tired and predictable, and episodes like this one aren’t even trying. It’s the first episode that really feels like filler. It’s predictable, neither Usagi nor any of the supporting characters are developed in any way, and, aside from a few laughs, the plot is kind of tedious and lame.

But hey, not every episode can be a winner, and if this one shows a marked lack of groove, it’s not so bad, because right on its heels comes the much anticipated debut of Sailor Moon’s first sister-in-arms, Sailor Mercury! And not a moment too soon.

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1 out of 5