Top: Ikuko Itoh
Bottom: Marco Albiero
I made a collage of Sailor Moon in episodes 124 and 125, the climax episodes of the S season. I can’t get over what a fabulous job Ikuko Itoh, the animation director, did! Usagi’s eyes are at their most expressive here and are able to convey a wide range of emotions.
The Animation Art of Sailor Moon: Ikuko Itoh
Episode 152: Burning Passion! Mars’ Furious Deadly Attack - Part 2
- The scene with Nanako being pestered by VesVes is very unusual. I can’t think of any other Victims of the Day who were specifically confronted by the villain to determine whether they actually have the qualities they’re looking for. Closest thing was maybe Minako trying desperately to prove she had a Pure Heart, and Eudial not really knowing how to describe what makes Minako Pure.
- There’s comparatively little stock footage used in this episode. The animation of VesVes shooting the Amazon Ball was taken from the first episode featuring the Quartet (and you can see the animation style switch from Itoh’s to the distinctive and stylized Masahiro Ando). There aren’t any transformation sequences for anyone but Mars, and the attacks that Venus and Jupiter used are reanimated beautifully. I wish they’d done that more often, but I imagine the attacks only got reanimated here so that ManeMane Musume could copy them. (And because this episode, since it is not a filler, got a higher animation budget.)
- ManeMane Musume is just a bizarre and disturbing Lemures. Her design, featuring dark green circles where her nipples would be (reminding me of Petz’s outfit) and a cutout over her butt, is quite sexualized. The first run of the English dub had to skip this episode so that Optimum could do digital “correction.”
- Check out the corner of the shot where the others are trying to avoid ManeMane’s Love-Me Chain. Sailor Moon appears to be accidentally choking Chibi-Moon in her attempt to get her out of the way, and Chibi-Moon’s expression is priceless.
- More trolling. Mercury pretends that she’s going to attack, knowing that if she does, ManeMane will copy her, and then stops and says, “Just kidding!” Seriously. Mercury just trolled everyone in the middle of a battle. This episode, man.
- I really feel for Nanako when ManeMane swallows her Dream Mirror and then starts repeating her insecurities and secrets. Nanako’s conscious through the whole thing, and has to listen to her own thoughts and lack of self-confidence. And I love Rei’s reaction, which is to basically tell Nanako, “Okay, you want to imitate me. Here’s how. You have the power to achieve your own dreams, and nothing is out of reach if you push hard enough for them.” I wish that the scene of Mars challenging ManeMane was fully animated, but the visuals we do get are stunning.
- I also love the symbolism of Nanako’s eyes clearing and we see the sky reflected in them. It’s then that Nanako has realized that her potential is infinite - as infinite as the sky above us.
- I don’t think Itoh animated the Flame Sniper animation sequence, but like the other new stock animations in SuperS, they go by so friggin’ fast that I don’t have time to study the art style. I do like the implication that ManeMane couldn’t replicate an attack that hadn’t been invented yet.
- Too bad the newfound audience for Rei’s temple were so fickle. I do hope that the Hinos made some kind of money while they were temporarily popular.
- I like to think that Rei and Nanako continued to see each other on a regular basis, since they seem so much closer than the usual Regular Character + Victim of the Day relationship.
SuperS Ending Sequence II: "Rashiku" Ikimasho
- I was planning to go back and show off the opening/ending animation sequences Ikuko Itoh animated, so I thought I’d start with “Rashiku Ikimashou” since that’s the ending theme used for this episode.
- This is one of my favourite ending themes (musically anyway), and I like that the animation for this sequence is varied and expressive. A lot of the other ending sequences are underwhelming, with endless looped animation (e.g. “Princess Moon”) or boring visuals (e.g. “Otome No Policy” and “Kaze Mo Sora Mo Kitto”).
- That said…the lyrics (which were written by Naoko Takeuchi) make very little sense. The title itself seems to use a phrase that doesn’t translate - I’ve seen “Let’s Be ‘That Way’” “I’ll Go As Myself” and “I’ll Go With ‘My Looks’.” And even then it’s like…well, what does that mean?
- I know there have been a bunch of alternate translations, but I’m going to look at the lyrics on http://www.sailormusic.net/.
- “In the age of adolescence / It’s okay to rewrite / What is in your loving profile” Eh? What’s a loving profile? My best guess is just that the narrator wants to adapt to new situations based on what relationship potentials she might have?
- “Listen, after school today, I saw that trickster / It was love at first sight, he looks like my old flame” Um…was this song intended to be associated with Chibiusa? Cause that line couldn’t be more Makoto if it tried.
- “What should I do? / But I’ve decided now / I want to toy with him for a while” Damn, Naoko. You’re cold.
- “I can win his heart with my sailor suit / I’ll go as myself” Wait, is the narrator going to win his heart with her school uniform, or as a Senshi? Cause if she’s in Senshi form, that’s not exactly “myself,” is it? Or is it implying that the Senshi form is the true one?
- “Listen, over the weekend, I was walking along / With an older man” …no comment.
- “When I find myself wanting to cry, I ring my pocket bell / And call for a rest from being a soldier” Oh, okay, this is Chibiusa as the narrator. Wait…then who’s her old flame? Peruru? I am so confused. And…how is ringing the bell resting? Maybe it means just communicating with Pegasus in general? And why was Chibiusa walking with an older man? Please tell me she meant Mamoru or I am going to be creeped out as fuck…
- Aaaagh I give up let’s just talk about the screenshots
- LEGS. Usually Itoh’s animation is perfectly on model, but those legs are super, super long. I do like the dancing lights at the beginning, like they’re at a club.
- The brief interludes we see of Chibiusa hanging out with her loved ones all seem to have something to do with clothing. In the first one, Chibiusa is trying on a hat (which is similar to the one she was wearing when she met Hotaru). Mamoru’s expression is kind of inscrutable.
- I love Mako and Ami reading over Chibiusa’s shoulder. Mako looks so intense, and Ami looks so embarrassed. What the heck is Chibiusa reading, anyway? I think it’s a fashion magazine, but it’s hard to tell.
- Rei and Minako giving Chibiusa a little makeover is perfect. And she does look really cute with that old fashioned ruffled dress and ribbons. But Rei, though…honey, that hat. No.
- The anime pushes the “girls dream about getting married” thing a lot, and I still can’t help but feel uncomfortable about Chibiusa admiring a wedding dress. I know her dream is to be an elegant woman like her mother, but this whole season just seems to be rushing her into adolescence instead of letting her stay as a child. I still resent that the kid got a boyfriend (boyfriends?) before the Inners did. That said, I didn’t know a single little girl (even myself) who didn’t dream of weddings and Princes and all that other stuff.
- Diana’s habit of hopping onto people’s heads is adorable. And I like that Artemis and Luna wanted to hang out with Chibiusa. It’s unusual to see Luna just relax and have fun and, well, act like a cat.
- The sequence with Chibiusa sitting by a window, watching the sunset while the Stallion Reve gleams beside her, is quite interesting. Her expression seems to sadden at the lyrics questioning if she’d have her heart broken again. As far as we know she’s never had a previous relationship (hush, shippers), so is she perhaps fearing that Pegasus will break her heart? She seems to trust him so absolutely.
- The callback to the first opening sequence for R (where Usagi sees Sailor Moon as her reflection in a window) is really beautiful. It’s more simply animated here, but the mirror image is more effective, as is the sparkling blue special effect.
- I am wondering (considering the reveal of Pegasus’ presence) if the final sequence takes place in Chibiusa’s dreams of Elysion. It’s certainly a beautiful, magical place.
- Note that unlike most of the other ending sequences, your eye isn’t supposed to rest in the same place all the time. The shot angles and the spaces for the credits keep changing. And the visuals keep changing. As far as ending sequences go, it really tries to do something different.
The Animation Art of Ikuko Itoh
Episode 45: The Sailor Senshi Die! The Tragic Final Battle
- Sheesh, spoil everything in the title why don’t you.
- I went way over my limit of 150 screenshots. Mostly because it’s that episode.
- There’s a lot of detail in Usagi’s disastrous curry. Looks like she threw carrots, potatoes and calamari(??) in there.
- This final meal with her family is very poignant despite its comedic mood. It’s as if Usagi knew she wasn’t going to see them again.
- The first 10 minutes of the episode are deceptively lighthearted. Probably necessary considering what goes down in this episode.
- I love Jupiter’s exasperated expression at the Tuxedo Mask illusion.
- Check out the body language in the two shots of the DD Girls attacking through the illusions. In the first one, Jupiter is doing everything she can to protect Moon physically with her body. In the second one, Mars is grabbing Moon by the collar as if she’s a badly behaved child. It’s pretty funny.
- Moon, Jupiter and Mercury are shown illusions of Tuxedo Mask, Motoki and Urawa as men they have a romantic attachment to and thus would want to save. What would they have shown Venus and Mars? Presumably Venus would have seen Allan, but would Mars have seen Yuuchirou…or Mamoru?
- The short scenes following the Senshi’s deaths where we see their civilian forms smiling in front of a glowing background are interesting. Is this what Usagi is visualizing, or is this a vision of their spirits saying goodbye?
- Not only does Mercury slap Sailor Moon for the first time, she tells a straight up lie here. There’s no way she actually believes she’ll survive a duel with the DD Girls when she has no offensive capabilities.
- Each Guardian Senshi in turn takes up the role of physically pushing Sailor Moon along and keeping her going.
- When they separate from Mercury, Mars is unable to look behind her as she walks away, and ultimately Venus forces herself to turn away as well. Sailor Moon never stops looking behind her.
- Mercury finds two further practical uses for her abilities - her Bubble Spray technique partially shields her from the illusion heat, and her computer ultimately becomes a useful weapon when she uses it to destroy the DD Girls’ illusory powers.
- Sailor Moon seems to have an extrasensory ability to sense when her friends have died.
- Mars tells Moon off for crying every time one of their comrades dies, but since there are tears in her eyes, she’s saying this as much to herself as she is to Moon.
- When Venus screams at Sailor Moon that she’ll never forgive her if she gives up the Silver Crystal in exchange for Venus’ life, it adds a tremendous amount of character development. Minako may be silly in her civilian form, but she takes her Senshi responsibilities incredibly seriously.
- The tender expression Mars has when Moon clings to her makes my heart hurt.
- When Sailor Moon thinks Mars has died, her mind completely snaps. Her eyes are blank, and she does nothing to defend herself. It is why Mars, even while dying, will give everything she has to keep Sailor Moon safe.
- Mars is beautiful even in death.
- It is significant that it is Jupiter’s spirit who comfortingly touches Sailor Moon’s shoulder. She has always been the most affectionate of the Senshi.
- Mars’ final words to Sailor Moon, “We’ll always be together!” stick with me. Those four words define this series more than anything else.
- Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask/Endymion does nothing again in this episode, but at least there’s a plot reason for that.
- I often wonder how it would have sounded if Kotono Mitsuishi had voiced Usagi in these last few episodes. Kae Araki did a great job, but all I hear is Chibiusa in her words, I don’t hear Usagi.
^^ Very interesting!!
why would this no
[ATTACK] Crescent Beam Shower.
Romaji: Kuressento biimu shawaa
Used by: Sailor Venus
Item required: None
First appearance: Episode 52
Last appearance: Episode 57
- This was an advanced version of Crescent Beam.
- After the Makaiju arc, this attack was never seen again in the anime.
- Sailor Venus performed a similar maneuver in episode 141. However, its name was different.
[ANIMATION: CHARACTER] Sailor Mars (I).
Click on images to see the name of the animation director.
Please do not reupload/repost this photoset; reblogging is okay.