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[IWIW] Sailor Moon R (thread 4 of a continuing series)

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Shadowjack

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What, never?
Ami: "…weelllllll… hardly ever!"



I notice that it's been fairly consistent what gets her righteous dander up: kids getting hurt, and close friends getting fucked with. Let us hope that if she ever has kids herself, no one dares touch them, because she'd call up a tsunami…


So did they actually play real chess, or just in your recap? If the former, that's impressive.
I was watching carefully, and I don't think so. Though the show cheated openly at one point: after issuing her icy challenge, Berthier put extra pieces on the board—pawns, for some weird reason—to put Ami at additional disadvantage. (She checkmates anyway, because of the Power of Love.) I cut it, first because I didn't want to screw up the "actual chess game" device, and second because I didn't think Berthier should be cheating that openly. She wants to best Ami, not simply beat her.

This was a good Ami episode, it was also a good Berthier episode. Brings a lot of the family dynamic into focus.

It seems to me that Petz and Calaveras are the older by a few years over Berthier, and Koan's definitely the baby of the family. So Berthier, who was youngest and then a middle child, dresses slutty and bullies in imitation of the older sisters. Koan reacts to that by dressing even more outlandishly, but primly—full coverage, high-collar—and notice how she wears heels, pinstripes, and a big hairdo, all to look taller? But I suspect that if any outsider bothered Koan, Berthier would kick their ass, and then hassle Koan about it for ages. (No one bullies my baby sister but me!)

So Berthier's unsettled by Koan's leaving, partly because now Berthier's bottom of the heap again, and partly because if Koan can be happy outside of the family, then maybe Berthier… but you can't really leave the family, can you? That's when she runs into Ami… and I think there's something in Ami that reminds Berthier of herself. "I hate goody-two-shoes like you!" And that's besides both having water powers. (I'm not kidding when I talk about Ami's killer smile, she's always had a slight cold edge… but Ami was never bullied, simply lonesome, before Usagi, so she never went bad. Her instincts run to empathy, thank goodness.) So Berthier picks a fight.

I think it's the "just a game" comment that really gets Berthier going, because in her family, all games are zero-sum, and you never stick your neck out. So Berthier's trying to A) get Ami to admit to her worldview, and thus prove it to herself, and/or B) beat her at her own game to prove she's better, and (she thinks, hopes) prove to her older sisters (whom she still secretly looks up to) that she's worthy of respect.

But Ami won't break… and Petz and Calaveras leave Berthier in the lurch… and so Berthier breaks instead. And Koan saves.

As for Ami's part… I think maybe she's also betting some of her belief on this match. She tackled Berthier awfully quick that first time this episode. I suspect Ami's cold/calculating/competitive side does respond to Berthier's callous argument… and Ami doesn't like that in herself.







…Aw, shit. And that last line makes me suddenly think of Black Lagoon. :p


Berthier: "That was the right choice. You'll make a wonderful villain, Ami."
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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Re: #71: For Friendship! Ami and Berthier Clash.

Usagi: "'Chess Tower'?"
Er, yeah. Sailor Moon's Tokyo has got some interesting landmarks.

By the way, most of the main plot of this episode (Ami fighting Berthier over a game of chess in a tournament) is taken straight from the manga (Act 15), though there are some significant differences (especially with the ending).

Ami: "No! I never!"
Good job in sprucing up Ami's role in this episode, as I found the original version rather bland. Your Ami is truly a superior character to the original...

Usagi: "Guess we won't be needing the facepaint, Koan."
Koan: "Awwwww. But that's all wight! I'm just gwad to be invited!"
Wait, where are YOU coming from ? Weren't you mind-wiped last episode ?

Oh, well, whatever. It's more interesting when the four sisters interact with each other, anyway.
<< Berthier casts Dark Bubble! >>
< The Sailor Scouts are trapped! >
Wait, she can do that ? Wouldn't it have been useful in, say, episode #68's battle royal ?

The only way I can rationalize this is that Berthier was expecting reinforcements, and booby-trapped the entrance. But that doesn't explain how Tuxedo Mask came in...

<< Rei : Cast > BurnMandala : DarkBubble >>
< RICOCHET!!! >
Didn't exactly the same thing already happen back in Episode #33, the one where Zoisite posed as Sailor Moon ?
Berthier /starts laughing.
Berthier /or is that crying?
And this is the scene that redeems the episode for me. Beyond the gimmicky premise, the nonsensical plot mechanics, and Ami's continuing bland characterization, you get the real emotional core of Berthier just losing it. And it works. The previous setup scenes with Petz and Calaveras were very good too, but this is the scene that clinches it.

Ami: "No one's going to let me interview them for intel, are they?"
Usagi: "Nope."
This will actually be addressed very soon. Not very satisfactorily, but better than nothing.


Next episode : something slightly different from what you're probably expecting.
 

PenguinZero

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According to WikiMoon, at least some of the chess positions were real -- it specifically points out one section taken from Spassky vs. Fischer in the 1972 World Chess Championship, game 5. The difference is that Spassky resigned after Fischer played Bxa4, while Ami somehow went on to win after Berthier played the same move.
 

Davies

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Re: #71: For Friendship! Ami and Berthier Clash.

Wait, where are YOU coming from ? Weren't you mind-wiped last episode ?
This has been bothering me for a while. Where are you guys getting the idea that she was mind-wiped? She was shown interacting with the girls at the end of the episode, and I don't remember any hint that she didn't know who they were. If she'd lost all of her memories, wouldn't they have shown that by having her say something like "Have we met before? You seem weirdly familiar".

Chris Davies.
 

Blazing Bat

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Re: #71: For Friendship! Ami and Berthier Clash.

TWO SAILORS LOCKED IN FURIOUS BATTLE
Makoto /sits next to Ami and points, proudly. "Only the Junior Chess Champion of Japan."
Ami /blushes. "Aw, I was just fortunate. I haven't actually played enough games to rate as even a Candidate Master. There are many players better than I."
Usagi: "Whoa. A mental pursuit you're not the best at?"
She also came first nation-wide in the exams, didn't she? And broke the high score on the Sailor V game on her first try. It's too bad she doesn't seem to translate that intelligence into an advantage fighting the enemy.

Ami /blush. "I already told you, this is just for fun—"
Usagi: "Yes, the fun of crushing your foes beneath your blue-booted feet!"
Ami: "No! I never!"
To be fair, Ami seems very competitive in some areas, but only for the sake of coming first.

Mr. Hex (portly old guy with a mustache): "Ami! Wonderful to see you again, child! It's been too long."
And of course, he'll never show up again after this episode.

Makoto: "You need some help in here?"
Berthier: "YES!"
:D

Ami: "I… er… oh, God. Well, er… I kind of… lost my temper, there… because when I thought what she was going to do to Uncle Hex's building, and all the love and effort he'd poured into everything, and… and… and I just— I mean— I didn't even think to call you guys, in I just went in… and, uh… oh, dear, I, uh—"
Ami /very small voice. "…and I transformed right in front of her…"
Makoto: "Mercury!"
Usagi /facepalm.
Not like she had much choice. Berthier would have killed her otherwise. Or at least that's what she threatened to do.

<< Berthier casts Dark Bubble! >>
< The Sailor Scouts are trapped! >
Ami: "Hmmm… I'll have to learn that spell…"
She has caught on that restraining spells are much more effective against the senshi than damaging ones.

Enter Tuxedo Mask, dramatically, armed with +3 throwing roses.
Petz and Calaveras /strike defensive positions.
Mamoru: "If you do not know what it feels like to be a pawn, you have no right to handle a queen."
Petz and Calaveras /man what
Berthier /smiles, whispers. "Thank you, Mister Distraction." /Na6
Ami: "Mate in three."
Berthier /?!
Ami: "My Knight takes the pawn. Check. You move the King there. I move my Queen to check."
Berthier: "Right, and my Knight has to take your Queen— and… and… wait."
Ami: "Take your time."
Berthier: "But if I move the Bishop— no. Or I could— but then you would— and then— you— you— MERDE!" /stands up.
Ami: "Black concedes? Win to White."
Much better than Tuxedo Mask just spearing the black king with a rose and cancelling the spells.

Usagi: "I like this way of dealing with my enemies much better than disintegrating them."
Yes, she's that kind of heroine.

So, care to take a guess what happens next episode?
 

Cruton

Retired User
Re: #71: For Friendship! Ami and Berthier Clash.

This has been bothering me for a while. Where are you guys getting the idea that she was mind-wiped? She was shown interacting with the girls at the end of the episode, and I don't remember any hint that she didn't know who they were. If she'd lost all of her memories, wouldn't they have shown that by having her say something like "Have we met before? You seem weirdly familiar".

Chris Davies.
There's a strange sociological phenomenon that crops up around whenever the whole Silver Crystal purification business gets discussed on the internet. Inevitably, there will always be somebody -- not necessarily malicious, not necessarily looking to criticize the series or anything -- somebody will always have an interpretation that veers into Room 101-style totalitarian mind control. (Memory wipes, lobotomies, a kind of "feel good" drug effect.) It's not hard to understand where it comes from, really, and it's kind of the Sailor Moon equivalent of Godwin's Law. It's obviously not explicitly supported by anything in the series, but the concept was just written so vague that assumptions from other works will just carry over as we fill in the blanks for ourselves.
 

Shadowjack

Cartoon Poet
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Validated User
Re: #71: For Friendship! Ami and Berthier Clash.

This has been bothering me for a while. Where are you guys getting the idea that she was mind-wiped? She was shown interacting with the girls at the end of the episode, and I don't remember any hint that she didn't know who they were. If she'd lost all of her memories, wouldn't they have shown that by having her say something like "Have we met before? You seem weirdly familiar".
I've got to second this. They said they'd take away her powers, per her request—and it's implied that the wish provides her with a background in this world (whoosh, she's got a job and a bank account, out of nowhere!). But I didn't see anything in the subtitles about them taking her memories away.




Not like she had much choice. Berthier would have killed her otherwise. Or at least that's what she threatened to do.
Yes, but if Ami had been thinking clearly, she would have:

  1. paused in the hall
  2. called in a Code with the Gizmophone
  3. transformed
  4. then burst in, dramatically silhouetted in the doorway.

No identity spoiled, and a guarantee of timely reinforcements on the way. And Berthier would not have gotten much farther along in her ritual.

Usagi would have transformed in the hall, first, and she's our low bar for careful thinking. :D (She'd have forgotten to call for reinforcements, probably; I did say "low bar".) Ami lost her cool, plain and simple.





There's a strange sociological phenomenon that crops up around whenever the whole Silver Crystal purification business gets discussed on the internet. Inevitably, there will always be somebody -- not necessarily malicious, not necessarily looking to criticize the series or anything -- somebody will always have an interpretation that veers into Room 101-style totalitarian mind control. (Memory wipes, lobotomies, a kind of "feel good" drug effect.) It's not hard to understand where it comes from, really, and it's kind of the Sailor Moon equivalent of Godwin's Law. It's obviously not explicitly supported by anything in the series, but the concept was just written so vague that assumptions from other works will just carry over as we fill in the blanks for ourselves.
The Federation is obviously an authoritarian communist regime, and Starfleet its brutal jack-booted enforcement arm! And they're idiots, too, because they never use the replicator to nuke the site from orbit!

I think I suspected this subconsciously, because I remember making sure to have Usagi explicitly ask permission.

Personally, seems to me that Sailor Moon's style of magic is based so heavily on love and good feeling, that one couldn't cheat with mindwipes and such. (Nothing says "I love you" like raping someone's brain…*oh, wait, no, it doesn't.) Either she'd lose her powers simply for trying, or it'd be the start of an erratic, stumbling fall to the Dark Side. So no perpetual motion spells, where you enchant someone to love you so you draw power from their love so you can enchant them so they love you more…*The bad guys sometimes try, but the energy has to come from somewhere, and so the victim burns out.

Someone like Queen Beryl gets mind control powers because she hates everybody including herself, but Queen Beryl would never even think of resurrecting a minion who failed, while that'd be close to Usagi's first thought ("Oh, no, Zoisite! Kunzite will be so sad! I gotta do something!") and so she gets those powers.
 

Albert

Registered User
Validated User
Re: #71: For Friendship! Ami and Berthier Clash.

There's a strange sociological phenomenon that crops up around whenever the whole Silver Crystal purification business gets discussed on the internet. Inevitably, there will always be somebody -- not necessarily malicious, not necessarily looking to criticize the series or anything -- somebody will always have an interpretation that veers into Room 101-style totalitarian mind control. (Memory wipes, lobotomies, a kind of "feel good" drug effect.) It's not hard to understand where it comes from, really, and it's kind of the Sailor Moon equivalent of Godwin's Law. It's obviously not explicitly supported by anything in the series, but the concept was just written so vague that assumptions from other works will just carry over as we fill in the blanks for ourselves.
There are parallels with the Protestant idea of Grace - that if you've been truly saved, the Bad Stuff that you were using as mental/spiritual fuel gets replaced by the Good Stuff. You're still you, and more you than ever before, but very, very different.

Personally, I think it's mostly malarky. However, in Sailor Moon's case she literally is flushing the magical emo energy out and replacing it with good vibes.



I dunno. If I ever play around with the premise, the artifacts are going to be Sufficiently Advanced tools of an even older civilization, and the Lost Utopia that the protagonists represent would be the result of when the tools were employed without understanding the science behind them.

-Albert
 

condonzack

Registered User
Validated User
There's a fanfiction that presents the whole purification thing like this: it makes you be better. You could resist and repel it. But it makes you a better person and shows you why thats such a good thing so why would anyone ever refuse?

Its love. And thats probobly why her attacks are so powerful. Love is a dangerous and deadly emotion.
 
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