The Animation Art of Sailor Moon: Ikuko Itoh – Episode 24

Episode 24: Naru’s Cry! Nephrite Dies For Love

Observations:

  • This is the third episode in a row directed by Itoh that focuses on a supporting character (the previous two having focused on Shingo).
  • Ikuko Itoh would later direct episode 45, which is the one where the Inner Senshi die defending Sailor Moon. She has directed arguably two of the saddest episodes in the series.
  • My main focus with the screenshots was to capture Naru’s expressions, which range from joy, to tenderness, to laughter, horror, and unspeakable loss. Her blue-green eyes are particularly expressive.
  • Colour plays an important role in setting the mood for this episode. Most of the scenes are in dark blues (representing sadness), excepting a few reddish scenes representing death and danger. Naru’s red hair and orange pyjamas are complimentary to the blue/green backgrounds, so she stands out more.
  • This episode is very emotionally heavy, so Usagi plays an important comic relief role here.
  • The writers really, really didn’t know what to do with Tuxedo Mask.
  • Until Sailor Moon R or so, Ikuko Itoh’s drawing style for the Senshi gives them rather large heads.
  • Notice Sailor Moon’s body language in the final set of screenshots. She’s clinging to Mercury for support.
  • I presume Nephrite’s green blood was a censorship issue, since as far as I know he’s supposed to be biologically human.
  • Despite all of Nephrite’s body disappearing and only the tourniquet remaining, his blood is still visible on Naru’s hands. Extra punch in the gut there.

[The first three episodes covered for this project were in a different image format and had little to no commentary. It was my original intention to redo the screenshots & commentary, but at the rate I’m updating the blog right now, that may never happen.]

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