Review: Sailor Moon Crystal
Act 2: AMI – SAILOR MERCURY
This episode starts off showing a blue haired girl receiving a graded test from her teacher wherein she passed with flying colors. (Presumably this girl is the only person with blue hair in the Juban district, but that’s apparently not an issue in regards to her superhero identity. I’ve always found that pretty odd.)
This girl, now known as Ami Mizuno, is reserved and dedicated to studying. Passersby comment on how solitary she is, and she seems to pay no mind to this, even though there are a few scenes where she stares at Usagi and her friends, perhaps wishing she had friends as well. Thing is, Ami is so busy studying to become a doctor that she hadn’t really socialized with anyone else, and the plot of the episode begins to unfold; there’s a mysterious program being offered by a group of people (namely, one unnamed professor) in the evenings, which requires a disk and a computer. The name of this program is the Crystal Seminar, which isn’t sketchy at all. It’s not like the people running this seminar are looking for the Legendary Silver Crystal or anything, right? This program consists of a group of lessons all via the computer, and the students don’t learn from the professor, they just complete problems/equations on their computers via the disk.
Ami and Usagi meet when Ami is caught cuddling Luna, showing one of her weaknesses. (But who wouldn’t love a friendly cat?) Ami comments about how she believed Luna was an angel that had fallen from the sky when Usagi spots her, similar to the manga. After Usagi plots to herself to become friends with Ami to get good grades, the two then go off to the arcade via Usagi’s suggestion and Ami plays some of the Sailor V game. Unsurprisingly, she excels at this and gets the top score.
She receives a mysterious pen after beating the game and Usagi then throws a bit of a tantrum, demanding she get one as well. (This is in the manga, and I’m glad they included it here. It is a humorous scene, after all.) After shaking the machine and scaring Motoki, the owner of the arcade, a pen drops down for her, as well. This pen is a disguise pen, and she uses it later in the episode. As interesting as this device is, Usagi doesn’t use it a whole lot in the manga, nor does she use it a lot in the old anime. I never understood this, but whatever. It’s not too important to worry about, anyway.
After hanging out in the arcade, Ami decides that she needs to go to her computer session and Usagi leaves, catching a crowd outside. Someone is handing out pamphlets about the program. Usagi takes one, comments about how Ami is on there, and then crumples it up and throws it behind her, just like she did with the test in the first episode. Much like the first episode, the paper ball ends up hitting Mamoru, and he states that he’s not a trash can. Apparently Usagi thinks he is, in fact, a trash can. A trash can who always wears a tuxedo. Even in the middle of the day. What a weirdo. An important moment of note here is how he comments about hearing Luna talk, which will definitely come into play later.
Previously, Usagi had discovered a forgotten disk. She had taken it, courtesy of Luna’s instruction, and now she proceeds to go back home to check it out. Since this anime is new, Usagi has a laptop. Back in the old anime, she did not; the disk was also a floppy. Luna states that she has been suspicious of the disk from the beginning and Usagi whines about how she doesn’t know computers very well and upon seeing simple equations on the screen and not anything suspicious, as Luna suspects, she hammers on the keys to get something else to show up. It takes a bit, but finally a brainwashing spiel plays and Luna’s suspicions were founded.
Meanwhile, Ami is at the session and she’s being told to solve the equations faster. The professor notices her odd pen and throws it in a fit of rage for some reason since Ami can’t have nice things. Then Ami’s eyes change to a dull green, signifying how she’s now under the control of the program. Almost like magic, Usagi shows up at the school, transforms with the disguise pen as a doctor (and not a teacher or something) and gets inside. The professor is baffled and transforms into a youma, and Usagi transforms into Sailor Moon. The transformation sequence is as long as the one in the first episode.
Sailor Moon tries to fight the youma but is instead pinned to the wall with some magic paper that’s apparently coated with super glue or something. Ami stares at her with her dull, possessed eyes, and as Sailor Moon is getting wailed on her staring gets more apparent.
Finally, after what seems like forever, Ami gets the message from her planet and Luna notices (who wouldn’t notice the bright blue glow?) and tells her to say ‘Mercury Make Up’. (This is not in the manga, unless I somehow missed it? Ami seemed to instantly turn into Mercury there and Luna comments on her being the next Guardian after the youma is killed.) Ami states the phrase, and her transformation sequence begins.
This sequence is not as long as the one in the old series, but it’s very similar to Moon’s. Mercury’s hair looks especially odd with the CG, and I think it’ll take a few episodes to get used to. After transforming, Mercury gives her spiel and attacks the youma, but she’s not the one to save the day. Tuxedo Mask shows up out of nowhere, as he is wont to do, and rescues Moon and the youma dies, and everyone is happy.
Well, everyone except Jadeite. He’s seen looking at the school and brooding.
After that, we see Ami and Usagi talk for a bit and the episode ends. But not before there’s a teaser for the next Guardian. I have no idea who it is! Do you?
No, really, I have no clue. Help.
All in all, this episode was pretty true to the manga. I was pleased to see the inclusion of the ‘angel’ line by Ami and the disk instead of the floppy. I also liked that Ami wore glasses, even though she did not in the manga most of the time.
The animation did not seem as fluid as the first episode’s, which is a shame, as there were a couple of instances where Mercury/Ami’s face seemed … off, particularly when she meets Luna and is embarrassed when Usagi catches her. Even though Ami transformed without any scene in the manga, the inclusion of the transformation sequence was fine, even if Mercury’s hair looked odd in CG, and the next Guardian so far looks pretty good, too. I am looking forward to the next episode.
RATING: 4½ out of 5 Floppy Disks