Thought-Controlled Universe

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So I know this [person] who [does this thing]… and that’s different from what I do, but there’s nothing wrong with it.

- no standup comedian, ever

Oh hey, it’s a message! And a good one, too. (Only took until the last thirty seconds of the episode…)

The show seems very reluctant to show us the consequences of Minako’s introduction to the Senshi, but at the same time it’s putting a ton of emphasis on the results of revealing Usagi as the Princess, and of Tuxedo Kamen being turned into Endymion. (Maybe if they didn’t spend seven episodes between major plot points and then throw in four or five of them at once, they wouldn’t have this problem…)

Here, Luna subtly demonstrates the biggest consequence of the Princess development. From the beginning, she’s been the de facto leader of Team Senshi, and justified that by having the best information on what the Senshi are supposed to be doing and what they can expect in terms of problems and opponents. She’s never actually had very much more information than anyone else, due to having her head scrambled so badly that she didn’t know who the Princess was, but having any at all put her well in front of the girls, and her no-nonsense leadership style made her position hard to challenge. Now that someone’s claimed the Moon Stick and the title of Princess, however, Luna’s knowledge of the mission (that her goal is to protect and serve the Princess) and her established relationships with the girls (as their intelligence source and strategic leader) are at odds: she knows Usagi well enough to wonder if she has any idea what she’s doing, but at the same time she’s extremely committed to her mission to protect and serve Princess Serenity… who happens to be Usagi. And the Silver Crystal didn’t help either- its activation restored more of Luna and Artemis’s memories, which might help her regain her footing, but it also confirmed that the snack-loving homework-shirking late-for-school girl is absolutely 100% the one with the real authority in this organization, and going against her judgment is going against the rules.

When Luna didn’t know who the Princess was, it was easy to imagine her as knowledgeable, committed, well-mannered and respectable- the sort of person Luna would have eagerly vowed to serve- and thus to assert her loyalty to the cause. She didn’t have all her memories, but it wasn’t hard to figure out- she wouldn’t have agreed to serve if she didn’t want to, right?

Now she finally knows more about the Princess- but she doesn’t like the answers. She’s going to have to figure out how to balance her promised loyalty and obedience with her own judgment and motives. And that’s going to be interesting.

Wow. The Senshi literally only defeat Shakokai by catching her with her guard down while she’s watching Kunzite and Endymion argue over higher-level objectives.

Beryl needs to send these guys to a team-building retreat or something. This is not working.

So it looks like Tuxedo Kamen stopped being a good guy just in time to start getting the 70s-era Batman comic art treatment. o.O

So it looks like Tuxedo Kamen stopped being a good guy just in time to start getting the 70s-era Batman comic art treatment. o.O

I don’t think Minako got to introduce herself in the previous episode’s battle, and before that her last intro was the reveal of Sailor V as a member of the Senshi. So it’s pretty understandable to see that she hasn’t yet learned (or been taught) the pattern where Usagi goes first and her teammates follow in sequence with “likewise” or “also”- she’s dropped the V alias, but she’s still announcing herself as if she’s a solo act, even with a group.

I wonder if Usagi or Rei noticed.

(In case anyone reading this hasn’t guessed, I’m really intrigued by the abrupt addition of Minako to the group, especially compared to the slower build of Usagi’s friendships and comfort levels with each of the other girls. The show itself is sharing precious little of what the contrast is like or how everyone reacts to it, but I am grabbing every piece I can get a hold of.

Possibly it resonates with me because suddenly being expected to care about someone and enjoy their company for no particular reason is a process I’m very familiar with from my own life. I’m an introvert and an autism spectrum patient and I generally make friends slowly and voluntarily, but from a young age I’ve repeatedly been introduced to new people or whole groups of people and told “here, make some friends” or “come and be social” or “so-and-so is your such-and-such and xe wants to hang out with you and hear all about you and be part of your life”, in school settings and other non-voluntary social groups and even just at large family gatherings. And I’ve developed some survival strategies over the years, but it never stops being a weird experience.)

Some criticism comes from people who want to understand your decision-making process.

Some criticism comes from people who want to contribute to the decision-making process and have their information weighed along with the stuff you already have.

Some criticism comes from people who don’t care about your decision-making process and just want things to change.

Depending on the situation and the stakes for each participant, any of these three types can be valuable or important to listen to… but each requires a different type of response, and they don’t mix well. Giving a response meant for one type to a critic of another type can add serious friction to a debate, on top of the different viewpoints. There are specific words and phrases that go with one type and not others, but factors like sarcasm, hyperbole, passive-aggression, and power dynamics can confuse the issue, even when they’re not present at the moment- if you often say “it’d be nice if someone did X” to mean “I want you to do X”, for instance, it’ll be harder for people to spot when you’re using only the literal meaning.

When you criticize someone’s behavior (or suggest an alternative), do your best to convey clearly which type of criticism you’re giving, and watch for signs that the other person has the wrong idea.

If someone is criticizing you and you don’t know which type of criticism it is, try to ask xem politely, without making the question into an additional confrontation, and be prepared to respond to each possibility.

You don’t have to be friends with someone who disagrees with you, but if you want them to understand your thoughts and give an acceptable response, you will have to make yourself clear.

Shakokai sees that only three girls are left in the ballroom after she’s statue’d all the graduates, and concludes that one of the three must be Sailor Moon (thus confirming that she can’t tell humans apart, since the other two are Minako and Rei, whom she’s never met before). The cats distract her while the girls run outside to transform, and when she gets outside she doesn’t see them anywhere. Then she turns around and, surprise! They’re on the balcony.
That balcony is above the ballroom, so it’s at least two stories up, plus the height of the railing.
They’ve been outside for less than ten seconds. There are no stairs, and they haven’t had time to climb the walls even if that’s possible.
They must have jumped.
Eight meters vertically, at least.
And they nailed it, too. Look at those poses.

Shakokai sees that only three girls are left in the ballroom after she’s statue’d all the graduates, and concludes that one of the three must be Sailor Moon (thus confirming that she can’t tell humans apart, since the other two are Minako and Rei, whom she’s never met before). The cats distract her while the girls run outside to transform, and when she gets outside she doesn’t see them anywhere. Then she turns around and, surprise! They’re on the balcony.

That balcony is above the ballroom, so it’s at least two stories up, plus the height of the railing.

They’ve been outside for less than ten seconds. There are no stairs, and they haven’t had time to climb the walls even if that’s possible.

They must have jumped.

Eight meters vertically, at least.

And they nailed it, too. Look at those poses.

Youma Shakokai is pretty much the patron saint of “this works on a metaphorical level but is actually a terrible idea”. She’s covered in oysters and can open them up to reveal the pearls inside, but uses that to attack by throwing quick-drying nasty gunk everywhere, which is how she makes statues out of her graduates.

I love her dialogue, though.

o_o
Well that’s suddenly and unnecessarily creepy.
Like. If this whole thing is just a plot to find Sailor Moon (and they know that Sailor Moon is excellent with a throwing disc but incredibly clumsy otherwise, so they expect her to ace the audition but fail the seminar), then it makes no sense for them to do terrible things to the people who successfully graduate. If anything, having those girls (and their families) out in the world saying good things about the Princess Seminar would help their chances of success.
I appreciate the quality of the creepiness, and even the layer of metaphor it adds to the concept… but they really don’t fit with the actual story. What the heck.

o_o

Well that’s suddenly and unnecessarily creepy.

Like. If this whole thing is just a plot to find Sailor Moon (and they know that Sailor Moon is excellent with a throwing disc but incredibly clumsy otherwise, so they expect her to ace the audition but fail the seminar), then it makes no sense for them to do terrible things to the people who successfully graduate. If anything, having those girls (and their families) out in the world saying good things about the Princess Seminar would help their chances of success.

I appreciate the quality of the creepiness, and even the layer of metaphor it adds to the concept… but they really don’t fit with the actual story. What the heck.

hahahahahahahaha

This is really wonderfully crafted humor, particularly the timing and the way it plays with expectations. At first I didn’t expect to see the girls dance at all, since they’re here to engage with Usagi. Then I see Ami and Mako, and, huh! I guess we’re watching the girls dance now. I don’t have any expectations from just that, but judging by the fact that the two least socially adept girls just aced their ballroom dancing, I’ve spotted a pattern and I’m all set to watch the rest do the same… and then BOOM, Rei throws her guy around like a terrified ragdoll, and Minako flails excitedly like she’s five years old. And those are perfectly in character, which makes them hit that much harder because how the heck did I get fooled into not expecting them?

Well played, Sailor Moon. Well played.

Oh my god

OH MY GOD

they’re ALL dancing

I thought that was just a device to let them quietly get near her

but

it’s actually showing each of them dancing

and then I thought it was just going to be a little moment where they were all unexpectedly comfortable in the setting

but then

hahahahaha

I gotta cap this

The whole scene of Usagi ballroom dancing is fantastic. It takes serious skill to make something convincingly that terrible.

  • Countess Rose: Manners in language are very important for a princess.
  • me: OK, yeah, that makes sense.
  • Countess Rose: The most important area is the proper use of honorifics.
  • me: ...
  • me: YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE BRITISH

In the first actual lesson we see Usagi take part in, nobody tells her what she’s supposed to be doing, and everybody cringes and avoids the issue when she gets it wrong. Only the manservant even tells her what the problem is, and when she tries to correct it and fails, he yells at her for failing without providing any information about how to be more successful.

This is an exceedingly terrible learning environment.