The Animation Art of Sailor Moon: Ikuko Itoh – Episode 68

Episode 68: Protect Chibiusa! Clash of the Ten Warriors

        

Observations:

  • I had to scrap the first batch of screenshots because I discovered the hard way that they were in the incorrect aspect ratio. Watch your fingers when you’re using VLC, ladies and gents.
  • This episode is important to me because it’s the first one where I noted just how beautiful the animation was. And, wow. Even just looking at these screenshots, the episode is incredible visually.
  • This is the 2nd of only two episodes Ikuko Itoh directed for the R season (though she did work on the 2nd opening sequence & several significant scenes in the R movie), and it’s quite interesting to see the huge jump in quality her art style took. This episode’s style also serves as a kind of transitionary period between Itoh’s old style and the style she would adopt for the rest of her work on the series. The expression of the eyes are easily the most important aspect of her art style. Eventually, the eye shape would widen slightly, and Ami’s hair would lengthen to a more shaggy style, less “glued to her head.”
  • So…has anyone been to a church that had a rabbit in the stained glass? I’ve seen lions and lambs used in Christian imagery…not so much rabbits.
  • Usagi looks utterly adorable in her bridal gown. Her blushing expression and wide, happy eyes make her look so beautiful.
  • Luna is kind of an asshole. Just saying.
  • The stick that Usagi is beating her futon with is rabbit shaped. Everything ever must be bunnies for the bunny.
  • The scene where a toddler Chibiusa wets the bed and Neo-Queen Serenity comforts her manages to be both heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time.
  • Chibiusa is pretty much the focus of this episode, and it’s to Itoh’s credit that she animates Chibiusa’s expressions so that you not only sympathize with her, you want to hug her close and keep her safe. You really get a sense of how she’s scared, lonely, and very little. And this is saying something – I loathe dislike Chibiusa.
  • The English dub script changed quite a lot in this episode, but there are two changes I thought were for the better. (I’ll mention the second one later) Puu/Pluto is ever-so-slightly too cold to Chibiusa, as she talks to her so formally. In contrast, the then-unnamed woman Rini speaks to in the dub is full of affection and comfort. This is what Chibiusa/Rini really needs right now – she’s so little, and she needs to know that someone out there still loves her.
  • The shot of the future Inners playing with tiny Chibiusa outside the Crystal Palace is one of my favourite images from the series.
  • The animation for the introductions and subsequent battle between the Ayakashi Sisters and the Inners goes by REALLY REALLY fast. This helps to convey the chaos of the situation, but I was scrambling to keep up with it.
  • The animation of the Inners’ introductions is recycled from episode 56, whose animation director was Shinya Hasegawa.
  • Mercury doesn’t really do much in this battle. C’mon honey, you’ve got an offensive attack now. Don’t just dodge.
  • Each section of the battle has its own colour scheme that corresponds to who is battling. Reds for Mars, oranges for Venus, Pinks for Moon/Chibiusa/Tuxedo Mask, etc.
  • I didn’t notice it at the time, but the animation for Mercury dodging Beruche’s attack is reused for her “reaction” to Moon being attacked.
  • Does Tux Do Anything In This Episode?: Yes! And that multi-rose thing he does is pretty damn awesome. I do wish he’d talked more in Usagi’s wedding dream rather than just smiling at her.
  • The shot from above of the construction area where the battle happened shows the amount of damage that was caused. Those construction workers are going to be really confused tomorrow.
  • The second dub script change that I think was better was that Sailor Moon was much more comforting and reassuring to Rini when she begged her to help her mother. In the original script, Sailor Moon’s almost at a loss for words. Vowing to protect someone is what Sailor Moon is all about.
  • One script change I thought was godawful, however, was the English dub script’s tendency to reveal things way too early. Rini is referred to as a Princess, and Wiseman even does this internal narration musing that Sailor Moon looks like Neo-Queen Serenity and that Rini could be *gasp* her daughter! This reveal was even more obvious than the Princess Serenity one was, but c’mon DiC. Stop spoiling stuff.
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