Act 2 - Ami, Sailor Mercury Review

First, I would like to thank everyone for commenting and reading my previous posts (both Memebox ones and the Act 1 review) ^_^. I will try to keep my Memebox posts to Mondays but that will just depend on when I get my hands on the box and that is largely subject to Canadian Customs >.> I have two that should be arriving by the end of the week so I plan on continuing with my Memebox reviews for awhile.

Anyways, like in my Act 1 review I will be talking about the whole episode and compare it to the classic series and the manga. So you know, SPOILERS WILL HAPPEN if you haven’t seen this episode! Ready? Good!

The opening of the episode gives the audience their own introduction to Ami Mizuno without having Usagi around. We see clearly that she excels in school in all her subjects and even on her breaks, takes the time to study. Two (random) male students walk by and comment that she must have an IQ of 300. For comparison, Stephen Hawking has an IQ of 160 and Albert Einstein is estimated to have been between 160 and 190. Actually the highest estimated IQ on record is William James Sidis who’s estimated to be between 250 and 300 and went to Harvard at the age of 11. 11!! Not to be mean, but I’m pretty sure that Ami doesn’t have that high of an IQ. Maybe 190 or 200, but not 300.

At the same time we see and hear about Ami’s intelligence, we also see how lonely her life is. She’s sitting on the bench alone and the same boys talked about how she doesn’t have any friends in school, a comment which seems to hurt her. Ami later sees Usagi with her friends, laughing and having fun and she gets a wishful look on her face, that she could have that in her life.

After the opening theme song plays, we go to Queen Beryl scolding Jadeite about needing energies for their leader and wanting him to find the Legendary Silver Crystal. He swears to to find it and summons another monster to gather energy from Tokyo.

The scene moves over to Usagi returning home, collapsing on her bed from exhaustion. She notices that Luna is in her room and asks if she really needs to keep watching her. Luna reminds her that she’s just started her journey of being a Sailor Soldier and there will be more monsters for her to fight. Usagi protests at the idea of fighting, flashbacking to the previous episode. Can I just note her that Luna seems to have a different role? In both the classic series and the manga, she’s both a guide and a source of comic relief, but here Luna is a lot more stern with her, acting more like a strict tutor.

Usagi even asks Luna for more information about these monsters she will have to fight but even Luna seems to give a vague response. They’re evil, not human and they shouldn’t be in this world. Luna, I’m sure Usagi could have figured that out on her own. How about a little more information? Or do you not know yourself hm? Luna reminds Usagi that she needs to focus on her mission of finding her allies and the Princess (who she hasn’t seem to explain WHO this person is and Usagi is probably too overwhelmed with new info to ask). Usagi wonders if Sailor V and Tuxedo Mask are her allies but Luna just mysteriously says that she already has her eyes on someone.

Later we see Usagi sleeping peacefully in her bed and Luna has gone into a mysterious hide out to look at her information on Ami on her super high tech computer. Which thankfully isn’t a modified arcade video game machine anymore.

However!! Eagle-eye watchers will notice that along with Usagi and Ami, she has information on Rei and some info on Tuxedo Mask as well. We don’t get that information in the manga and I’m pretty sure it isn’t in the classic series either. This tells the audience that in Luna’s free time, she’s stalking up potential allies for Usagi.

Next day at school, test marks are posted and Ami has gotten perfect marks once again. Usagi and her friends talk about how she goes to a cram school called Crystal Seminar (it was that originally so it isn’t some cheezy play on the series name ;) ). I don’t think it clearly comes across in the translation but the school recruited Ami to study at their school (to boost their own enrollment and school image) and offer her a scholarship as long as she performs well in school. Not that she needs it as it is pointed out that her mom is a doctor and they are rich.

I want to stop to talk about Ami’s uniform.

Why is her uniform top so much greyer then everyone else’s?? Its clear that her family has money so it shouldn’t be second hand and Ami would be on top of doing her own laundry. I’m not sure what the reasoning behind the colour change is and what its suppose to represent or signal to the audience. Any guesses?

As Usagi’s friends talk about her genius, the conversation again turns to her cold unfriendly attitude, and how she doesn’t have any friends. Usagi seems to be a bit sad at this news and we see Ami looking at the group of students before turning around to walk away. Unless Ami has super hearing, I doubt she heard them from over 10 feet away amongst the other chatter of the students.

Usagi later is walking home from school, not looking forward to showing her mom her poor grades when she spots Luna playing friendly cat with Ami, seeing a softer side to the girl. Usagi and Ami introduce themselves and strike up a friendly conversation. As Ami passes Usagi Luna, their hands touch and Ami gets a flashback image of the Moon Kingdom. She seems to be stunned by this, either this being the first time she’s seen this or this is the first time touching someone has caused this vision for Ami. With the early ramping up of the Moon Kingdom, it could be interesting to see if similar things happen with Rei and Makoto.

Usagi convinces Ami to join her at the arcade, in secret hopes of friending her and getting Ami to help with her bad marks, but Ami ends up outshining Usagi by beating the Sailor V level. In the classic series, we see Ami enjoying herself before going into pure focus mode while playing the game, but in this, she seems to be 100% focused on winning, but we do get a close up of a small smile forming while she plays. As she defeats the boss, Usagi gives her a big hug and congratulates her. Ami seems visibly touched by the kindness Usagi’s showing her and I doubt that anyone has gotten that excited over Ami’s achievements in the past. The machine rewards her with a blue pen and Usagi manages to beat out a pink one for herself, before Ami realizes she has to go to her study session at Crystal Seminar.

Now this is where the classic series and the manga split. In the classic series, Ami runs off without grabbing her pen and runs off, leaving behind her Crystal (floppy) Disc. She never gets the transformation pen at the arcade and the Crystal Disc causes Luna and Usagi to believe that Ami is the enemy >.> I kind of wish they didn’t go down this path because it doesn’t pay off well later as a gag and it doesn’t really add to the storyline. In the new series and the manga however, Ami does realize she has study sessions to go to but she takes the time to talk to Usagi first before departing. This conversation helps fleshes out Ami’s character and the development of their friendship.

At the Crystal Seminar, one of the teachers praises Ami’s performance and gives her a Crystal Disc to help her study better. Ami takes the disc and loads it into her computer and she becomes infected by it instantly, much to the happiness of the evil teacher.

Next day Usagi find Ami in the library studying, and using the pen she won yesterday. Seeing Ami study with the pen and paper rather then the disc like this is a more subtle way of hinting to the audience that she doesn’t like it, unlike in the manga in which we hear her inner monologue of finding that the information just doesn’t stick as well when she uses the disc. In the anime, she never becomes infected as it causes her a headache (or maybe her powers are giving her the headache to protect her?). Usagi invites Ami to join her friends in going for ice cream and at first Ami agrees, but the brain washing kicks in and she rejects the offer, saying she needs to go study. I like in how this version Usagi is actually concerned about her new friend while in the anime, Usagi comments about how cold and rude Ami was to her, not showing any worry for the change in attitude.

On Usagi’s way home from the arcade, chatting with Luna and walks by one of the teachers at Ami’s cram school and she gives her a flyer advertising their Crystal Disc product and how Ami is their star student. Usagi crumples the paper and throws it behind her, only for it to hit Mamoru in the face again. Mamoru teases her a bit before asking if her cat was really talking. Realizing that he may have overheard Luna’s voice, both Luna and Usagi panic and run off, not wanting to raise any more suspicion.

At home, they load up the disc on the computer and with Usagi’s amazing no-computer kungfu hacking skills, unlocks the brain washing program. In the classic version, this just confirms Ami being a monster rather than a victim, but here Usagi is immediately concerned about her friend and rushes over to the school. Usagi finds out her pink pen is really a transformation pen and uses it to transform into a doctor in order to sneak into the school. Now I know in the manga she keeps her same hair style but I much prefer what the classic series does and has her hair actually change. What’s the point in looking like someone else if you’ve still got the same unique hairstyle? Kind of defeats the purpose of hiding your identity in this kind of camouflage to begin with.

Comparison between the manga, classic and new anime

Inside, the evil teacher monitors Ami’s progress and notices the blue pen on her desk. She scolds Ami for bringing in a ‘distraction’ to the classroom (Sure lady, whatever you say) and throws it away. Despite being affected by the brain washing program, Ami is able to resist it enough to get up to retrieve the pen.

Now this is a where the story takes a large change. In both the classic series and the manga, Ami takes a very passive role in this battle, needing to be saved, but in this version, Ami is takes a more active role to help save Usagi. All because of the kindness and friendship she showed her earlier at the arcade. There was nothing complicated about it, it was just a pure, honest moment. This is something that is sorely lacking in Ami’s life and something she craves to have in her life and wants to fight for. I don’t think the manga could have had this kind of a moment so early in the series because of the uncharted territory Takeuchi was in with the team magic girl genre, and it wouldn’t have suited the tone of the anime, but since the genre has grown and expanded in the years since, we could all finally get this moment.

Usagi runs in to the classroom and confronts the evil teacher, causing the teacher to reveal her true monster form. Usagi transforms and tries to dodge the monsters attacks. She uses her sonic waves attack (??) but that proves to be extremely ineffective against this monster and gets pinned by a wave of papers. Ami finally breaks free from the control of the monster and awakens her powers. We get a quick reactions to Luna’s instructions to transform and the new outfit but Ami jumps in to save Usagi by causing a mist to form in the room. The monster clashes madly around, unable to see her target, causing her to remove the papers off Usagi but before she gets too much closer, Tuxedo Mask pulls Usagi out of a blind attack that would have killed her. Tuxedo Mask quickly reassures her and motivates her to finish the monster off, and with that being said, Usagi uses her Tiara to destroy the enemy. When the fog lifts and sees that Tuxedo Mask is gone, Usagi sees Ami in her full senshi outfit for the first time. They walk home together, Ami wanting to go to Usagi’s house so she can ask her tons of questions (either as a friend or a new comrade in this battle, I don’t know) and we move to a shrine, to get a sneak peak at our next ally: Rei!!

That’s Act 2! I have to say that I’ve like the changes in the story for this episode from the original manga and I’m looking forward to seeing how they unfold in the episodes to come.

This Saturday is the airing of Act 3: Rei, Sailor Mars!! I posted a wishlist of things I want to see in the episode earlier so check that out in the mean time. <3 data-preserve-html-node="true" and reblog this and I will be back soon with more reviews! If you have any questions, use the Ask feature to the right!

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Peggy D

Vancouver, BC, Canada

The Original Canadian Ninja. Aka Queen of Korea