So, as I mentioned last night, Free! has been delayed a week, probably due to some weird Japanese holiday or something, I'm really not sure what the deal is with that. According to their actual website (and dear god I can't believe I'm actually bothering to look this shit up), due to some sort of special programming change, the episodes are all pushed back a week.
And here I was hoping maybe it had been cancelled since it is damn near impossible to get the show to turn up on a Google search. Damn.
Instead, I've got to put myself through something else this week, and I'll be damned if I'm going to double up on Strike Witches. So instead, you get more classical magical girl action.
I really don't want to be watching this tonight...
Oh dear god help me. So in today's episode, they introduce... a new character. He is called Sir Moonlight Knight.
If Mamoru were Arabic...
I guess his thing is that he's basically Tuxedo Mask, except Arabian.
Y'know, I'm not sure if I've ever said this in my blog before, but I think this show makes me want to cry now. Because I have to wonder, are they really trying? I mean, this is just a horrible idea. This is the sort of thing that reads like fanfiction. Of course, given the fact that these are basically filler episodes, I guess these technically could be considered fanfiction.
So today's episode starts off with some terrible lineart and Usagi being a useless little brat. Also, trains.
Dunno about her but you get none from me kid.
I mean just look at Mako's face there. That is super generic anime style so much that it hurts. Anyhow, it turns out that Usagi is begging to know what is probably going to be on tomorrow's test, which I imagine she probably hasn't studied for at all, because it's not like she's ever going to do anything ahead of time in her life. Like, ever. Ami decides to cave in, but is all "if you don't understand the answers I give you, you'll be in trouble later on". But hey, what's that matter?
You always fail at everything. It's who you are.
So Ami is probably wondering at this point what good it is to have friends like Usagi and Mako, who both just want to hang out with her so they can get better grades on their tests. Maybe. But most likely not. Then she tries to admonish them, saying things like "We'll be in ninth grade next year we should all be more responsible blah blah blah". But hey, Usagi is totally in the "worry about it next year" camp. I imagine next year, she'll say the exact same thing.
Then there's some screaming, and a giant pink squirrel cat thing appears. No, seriously, I'm not even making this up.
What even is this?
We're only three minutes into the episode and already things are going to hell. This is either good or bad, I'm really not sure at this point. I mean, if they're throwing the monster of the day at us already, there's something really weird going on. I guess it's name is (probably) Falion, considering it screams that before roaring. Or while roaring? I don't know how the hell this works. Turns out this thing is attacking some dude named Shinozaki. Has he shown up in this show before? I'd have to go back and look because I'm really not sure. I think he has.
Anyhow, Mako runs in to deal with things, and Shinozaki pushes her out of the way as the monster leaps towards them, and falls over a ledge and... oh damn.
That doesn't look promising at all.
Of course, Mako just glares at the thing, and it vanishes into a giant glowy wheel, at which point Mako checks on the guy who is bleeding from the head profusely. Then an ambulance arrives, and we get treated to a nice little medical drama that is barely animated and is stitched together with lots of fades to red. There's talk about needing a blood transfusion, but kid is Type O, so odds are pretty good that he's... well, boned. Sorry.
Ah, but Mako is Type O, so it's all okay. Crisis averted. She'll totes donate blood.
Over in the mystical tree garden apartment, Falion delivers the energy to the tree while listening to a sweet little flute musical, and we get treated to what feels like ages of static images. Not even his fingers are moving, this episode is minimalist as hell. Then Ali and En talk about how easy this was, blah blah, and the warriors sure are beautiful aren't they. Whoops, he meant to say they are terrible foes who must die. Yeah. That's what Ali meant.
Blah blah everyone on Earth is their enemy and no one can find out who they are blah blah why do you have to tell us this every episode? It's only the third episode but I'm fairly sure you got that point across the first time. In the end only their sibling bond can keep them to- OH DEAR GOD.
Are we sure George R. R. Martin didn't guest write?
So, now we get the image of twins making out, both making people cheer and sick to their stomach at the same time. Because holy shit, that's the kind of twisted nonsense you find in like, porn. You really don't get to see that outside of this very often. But this is in a Japanese show? Marketed towards young girls? Let's add twincest to the list of crimes this show has committed. In the name of LOVE.
Because while brotherly love is one thing? Twincest is just a whole different level of weird.
Back in the hospital, Mako is giving up blood, and her friends are sitting around to support her, which is cool. But really there's not much either of them can do. So the girls ask her: Who the hell is this guy? To which she replies, "Someone important".
Okay, so I'm not missing something, he really hasn't shown up before in the show. Or if he did, it was in some kind of flashback. Cool.
Supposedly, anytime she needs someone, he tends to show up. When she first got dumped by her boyfriend (and we all know how well that goes), he just appeared. I guess he has a tendency to do that a lot. Because now we get a rainy flashback scene with a full musical interlude (complete with lyrics), and this dude looking pretty Macross.
Seriously, that hair is straight out of the 70s.
There's no audio for any of this, aside from the smooth jazz musical interlude, that is. Oh good god is this cheesy as hell. Then he goes running off, and I have absolutely no idea what is even going on, because she's left standing in the rain with teary eyes. Oh, then I guess Shino shows up suddenly, so I guess she has really terrible taste in boyfriends.
This Shinozaki guy is a childhood friend of hers, who may also be something of a stalker since he is, as she describes, "always there when I look up."
Yeah, that isn't creepy at all. Then Usagi asks if they're maybe in love, to which Makoto replies that he is far more precious to her than a lover. Which might sound incredibly cheesy, but I can actually attest that yeah, such things really do exist. So I'll let that one slide.
Enter the scene change with more weirdly-80s music playing while Usagi... well, studies. I guess.
Uh... what? I say that a lot but, what are you even on about?
Then Luna shows up to tell her that they're meeting at the shrine tomorrow, and discovers that instead of studying for the test, she's scribbling poor drawings of her and her love, back before they both died. Like, the first time I guess.
Afterwards, we skip to the shrine where they all sit around and talk about these new bad guys, who must've shown up just after that giant meteor hit two weeks ago. Also, probably totally unrelated to that Dark Kingdom thing. Mako is angry, and the others ask about her friend, who is still laid up in the hospital. Then they realize their leader is missing, and is probably doing something dumb.
Speaking of their leader doing dumb things, she runs across En attempting to beguile poor Mamoru with her schoolgirl charms. Except that I think this particular incarnation of him is immune to such things. Maybe because he actually has some standards this time around?
So she tries to invite him out to a disco in the next town over.
.... wait. What? I'll have to ask some folks who live in Japan, but I think that, somehow, Disco is still actually a thing over there. Or at least, was in the 90s when this was made. I dunno. Japan is always kind of weird like that.
Hey girl, your green is showing.
So she tries to woo him with Karaoke, but then Usagi shows up, and asks him to remember, and totally uses those terrible pictures she drew to tell him the story about how they were totally in love before they died on the moon and were reborn on the Earth and auuuugh stop.
I am still not convinced they were ever actually in a relationship back when the Moon Kingdom was a thing. Really, I'm not. There were just too many inconsistencies, like not knowing who he was or him not even showing up to see her because of their feelings. No, he was like "yeah, army's coming, and I'm about to be forced to go to war with you, just thought you should know?" That is not the building block of a healthy relationship, folks. The only reason anyone has any reason to believe this story is because Usagi keeps saying they were totally in the loves. All the loves. I'm just not convinced though.
So anyway, she gives the story, complete with all the terrible drawings, until En interrupts and tells her to stop telling fairy tales. At which point they realize Mamoru just straight up walked off because, well, he is probably way too old for them.
Also? They're both weird as shit.
Getting a life would be a great start.
Then someone shows up with a rose to whisk her away... and instead of it being Tuxedo Mask, it is... Ali. In his human form of course. He also claims to have some very good news for her.
I don't think that's how this works. Not even in Japan.
So he confesses his love, saying it is as eternal as the universe, but before she accepts the bouquet of roses, she drops all her drawings, then realizes she has something better to do and runs off.
This is just straight out of some hentai.
Then he declares she will be his and we hit the commercial break. When we come back, Rei is at the shrine with the other girls in front of a bonfire, doing magic stuff, and they find the monster of the day in the flames. Now they know he's out hunting for another victim.
Usagi shows up and she's late to the party, because everyone else is already transformed and running off to go keep someone from becoming a kitty sandwich of some sort. And, as always, Sailor Moon is the only one who gets an actual transformation sequence. Because the other characters? Who even cares about them.
Mars is leading the pack, but Jupiter is slowing down due to, y'know, donating a ton of blood the night before. She should go home and rest, but she is much too amazon for this nonsense, so even against Usagi's wishes, she's going to continue along because she is tough. Rawr.
Of course, Sailor Moon is very insistent about her staying behind for today, because she doesn't want her friend to die. Again. Because the second time that happened was a real bummer. (I hope you didn't forget they all died on the Moon way back when.)
But since she has a really big motivation to stopping this thing, she continues along anyways, and eventually they come across a couple being harassed by miss pink kitty. Then the girls (excepting Moon) show up on the scene, and Jupiter dives right into the action, only to be blown back mid-attack. Enter Mars and her talismans as Usagi shows up on the scene, but the talisman is of no use, so I guess now it's Venus' turn to be equally as useless. Boy, everyone is pretty darn overwhelmed today.
Then the cat sets its sights on Sailor Moon, and PLOT TWIIIIIST.
If we get a blue rose next season, I am just done.
Enter the mysterious Moon Knight, who is just... oh god. He's so Arabian it hurts. He even comes with his own haunting desert flute interlude, and talks about how tonight is a perfect night for love, not getting attacked by monsters.
Oh. God. No.
So Sailor Moon is completely confused by this Moonlight Knight fella, but before she can fall too deeply into those ocean-sized pools he calls eyes, the cat interrupts and leaps over at the Moonlight Knight, who is currently giving not a care in the world. He just kind of narrows his eyes and changes the art style to something a lot more kid-friendly.
His dialogue, not so kid friendly.
Then he throws his Arabian-looking dagger at the glowy wheel in the sky, and the creature falls over mortally wounded. Or something. Sailor Moon looks up to the tree where her mysterious hero has somehow once again landed, and he says to her, "Someday, we will certainly have a chance to talk." But tonight is not that night, and he leaves with an... adieu.
Wait. So everything about him is Arabian as f**k except for the way he says goodbye, which is French?!
Anyway, eventually everyone regains consciousness, including the kitty which attacks Sailor Moon and pins her to the ground, digging its claws into her body, but Jupiter isn't going to be having any of this, not on her watch. So she gets really angry, and decides to make up a new chant for her Supreme Thunder, which leads to some shocking results.
So now we can also add furries to the list. Sigh.
Afterwards she collapses, but at least their leader is safe, and the monster is vanquished for the night. Everything is over, and we head over to the hospital, where Shinozaki has made a recovery. But Makoto is just going to stand outside, instead of going in to say hi, how are you, thanks for saving my ass. Then Usagi sits on her bed wondering about whether a guy and a girl can actually be really close without being in love. Oh, and that Knight totally has to be Endymion, because how could he not be?
So hold up. You couldn't tell the difference between Mamoru and Tuxedo Mask when the only real difference was a mask covering his eyes, but now that his eyes are literally the only thing you can see, you make the conclusion that they must be the same person?
Then Luna holds up a book of math because Usagi has a test, and we're at the end of the episode because it's impossible for any episode to ever end on some horribly-contrived comedic note.
Except when people die, I guess.
This show is just utterly disappointing so far. They're trying, I'll give them that, but they are failing so hard, it's just sad to keep watching.
Come back monday when I force myself to watch some other show about magical girls that makes me straight-up mad.