The Jumpman. When you see this iconic silhouette, you think of Micheal Jordan and his Jordan’s shoe line. The long-running Jordan brand has this…magical effect on its fans. Because of the name and man behind the shoes, and their limited supply at each release, people will line up for hours their local shoe store – just to obtain them. Few fans are so passionate about Jordan’s that they will risk the safety of others to obtain a pair. That’s the power of Jordan’s.
Sailor Moon: The iconic champion of love and justice. She is recognized by her blonde, twin tail odango and sailor suit. Sailor Moon inspired many around the world to better themselves, fight for good and be a kind-hearted person to their friends. Sailor Moon is a character many look up to and draw inspiration from.
It seems that being an inspirational, long-running recognizable brand from the 90s is something both Sailor Moon and Jordan have in common. And that’s about it. Sailor Moon is a role model of kindness and selflessness. Jordan…yeah. Just type “Micheal Jordan Asshole Stories” on Google and have fun reading the stories about how much Jordan is a piece of shit on the court and off. You never heard any stories of Sailor Moon being a horrible person to others.
For a week, I ran a giveaway on my Yuki The Snowman Facebook page for the Loot Crate exclusive Sailor Moon Bottle Opener. The requirement for entry was that you must state your favorite Sailor Scout and why she is as such. I expected nothing more but basic replies such as “Sailor Mercury is my favorite because she’s smart”, “I love Sailor Jupiter because she’s my tall waifu.” and “Sailor Pluto is the best Scout because I like older women and I want her to mommy dom me”. I wasn’t expecting that people will go in-depth with their favorites. It’s a simple Sailor Moon Bottle Opener; there’s no reason to write a motivation post on their favorite character just to win a tool to support their alcoholism.
After adding some final details (and shameless sharing on Facebook and Instagram), the contest started. The first few comments were basic answers as I expected. However, as time went on there were a few that caught me by surprise.
One commenter stated that her favorite Sailor Scout was Uranus (Haruka). Uranus was the first positive queer icon she saw on TV – and seeing her as such helped shaped sexual identity.
There was a fan who revealed that as a child, she imagined herself as Sailor Moon to help her get through an abusive childhood. During the time of her abuse, she would pretend that her parents were monsters from the Negaverse and that as Sailor Moon, it was her duty to defeat the monsters (her parents). She went on to say that being recused from her parents felt like she was Sailor Moon being recused from the grasp of Prince Demande.
On the lighter side, a Sailor Moon cosplayer revealed the reason why Sailor Moon is her favorite because she aimed to be like her: caring, loving, and a supportive friend to all. She took the (rather cheesy) Sailor Says PSA took heart and let them mold her into becoming a better person in life.
After reading these comments it hit me: The Sailor Moon brand touched so many lives. The series gave power to these fans; may it be to do better with their lives, inspire them to do good for others, or help them through troubling times. It’s not uncommon for fans of fictional media to have a favorite character based on traits they see in a character they relate to. For some Sailor Mercury fans (like myself), they connect to her because they might have been bullied and outcasted during childhood for having great grades and/or spending time reading books. Seeing a superheroine like Mercury reading books made their childhoods a little easier, and inspires them to hit the books – regardless of what their peers may think.
It’s goofy to say, but these Sailor Scouts empowered us. They inspired us to do better or to find ourselves. This I believe is why the Sailor Moon brand has a strong, 25 yearlong following – netting new fans every day. I wonder: did Naoko Takeuchi ever thought she would create such a legendary and empowering series when she started creating the series back in the 90s. I wonder if she’s proud and happy that she made such an impact on the lives of her fans because of her brand.
If you’re out here reading this article and you have a brand, please – keep working on it. You never know if it could help people and make them a better person.
Ahh late 90s/early 2000s English anime dubbing. Cloverway way cool with a nine year old girl trying to hook up with a horse, but two lesbians Sailor Scouts dating and loving each other was wrong. So rather just censor them just a little bit as say best friends (who were a tad wee too close to be just best friends), let’s make them cousins. In fact, let’s not just make them cousins, but also keep their original Japanese never incestuous-in-the-first-place lesbian relationship intact – thus creating two cousins who were fucking each other like they’re from Alabama, USA.
Great job Cloverway!
Ya younger Sailor Moon fans best be happy ya didn’t have to deal with such awful (and homophobic) censorship. These niggas just could had called them best friends (who were a wee bit too close to be just friends) but cousins? Sigh.
“My first kiss was with was Brad, the cutest guy in school” lmfao get that bullshit out my face.
But yea, Haruka and Michiru, they’re my favorite anime couple because of how well written they are as a same sex couple. I love how they were treated like a normal everyday couple, and not like some freak show just because they were homosexuals. (Remember kids, this was the 90s when homosexual and minority characters were written as jokes or “magical”.)
Haruka and Michiru’s relationship also felt legit, like what you see any other couple do in real life – holding hands, teasing each other, natural chemistry off each other, etc. It didn’t felt force at all – like a real relationship.
Hope you enjoy this quick post. Tell me in the comments section below who are some of your favorite anime couples!
Ahh anime crushes. Yes crushes, as in more than one. I’m an expert when it comes to anime waifus. I believe, no, I know have a superior eagle eye when it comes to spotting a good series waifu. So, how many waifus do I have?
A lot (sadly). I won’t go over all of them, as I have to get ready for work soon, so I’m just going to focus on my first four anime crushes from my childhood: Sabrina from Pokemon, Hotaru Tomoe and Ami Mizuno from Sailor Moon, and Washu from Tenchi Muyo.
Sabrina is pretty damn interesting. As a kid, I loved that she has some cool ass psychic powers; a trait that set her apart from the rest of the gym leaders. There was also that stern, cruel, almost sadistic look she had on her face throughout her arc that I really like. She also had a whip and called herself the Mistress of Psychic Pokemon…alright so that may explain a few things about myself that I probably should not had posted here.
Also her laugh was cute:
Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn
Me having a fictional crush on Hotaru as a kid may had been the first sign that I low high-key would have a thing for quiet, “creepy” and “weird” girls.
Also as Saturn, I love her cold, serious look – incredibly opposite from her civilian personality.
Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury
Sailor Mercury may had been the first sign that I’d high-key have a thing for dorky, bookworm computer nerd girls.
While I’m on the subject of smart, nerdy girls, Washu is the best. My number one favorite thing about her besides her smarts, was how incredibly cocky and prideful she was towards herself. This woman even created two puppets modeled after her that would celebrate her genius each time she did something amazing (that some shit I would do).
There’s also this infamous scene from the OVA that solidifed her waifu status for me:
So fellow weeaboos, who’re your anime crushes? Feel free to comment in the comment sections below!
Laughing at the suffering of fictional characters is comedy, right?
As somebody with a rather terrible sense of humor, I can find humor in even the most horrible of situations. Besides, comedy is what help us human cope. To help you cope with whatever you may be going through, here are just a few of my favorite comedic characters.
Hotaru Tomoe (Sailor Moon)
Her entire existence is a cruel joke from God. Or Queen Serenity whoever the fuck is their deity in that universe.
Follow me on Instagram!
Yes. So fans can have someone to feel sorry for.
Ange Ushiromiya (Umineko no naku Koro ni)
She can crack jokes about people’s hairstyles and declare her aunt as a living joke, but her life? A comedy waiting to happen.
Homura Akemi (Madoka Magica)
Oh you miserable time lesbian. It’s so funny and cute that you thought you could save Madoka.
Yamcha (Dragon Ball Z)
Do I need to say more.
Guys. Life is too short to be mad and sad all the time. Laugh a little, even if you need to laugh at the pain and suffering of fictional characters!
Of course my black ass would write a Sailor Saturn centered post.
So, “A Bright Shooting Star! Saturn, and the Messiah.” This is one of my favorite episodes in my personal anime viewership history. There’s just so much build up in this episode leading up to epic debut of Sailor Saturn – solider of destruction. There’s the drama the Outer Scouts wanting Sailor Moon to kill Hotaru (as Mistress 9) to save the world, as well as the two gettin’ on her case for being optimistic and idealistic. Next, you have the pain of Souichi, Hotaru father, and his desperate struggle to restore her. Finally, there’s Hotaru herself (as Saturn) sacrificing herself to save not only the world itself, but her father and best (and only) friend Chibi-Usa. The episode is one of the most emotional of the series as well as one of the highest quality ranging from voice acting, animation, music, story, and direction.
Let me break this episode down for you as I’ll focus more on the story.
Instead of Usagi’s normal narration before the episode’s start, it’s Hotaru who takes up the role. Everybody’s favorite depressing emo goth kid talks about how anyone can be a messiah. That anyone can be a savoir if they love and care about people. She ends her monologue with “I’ll make sure to save you!!” Keep this in mind: Sailor Moon S’s key narration theme is messiah and saviors. Messiahs tend to die for a cause.
Hotaru is going to die.
Afterwards, the episode starts. We see Sailor Moon attempting to reach out to Hotaru (whose body has been taken over by Mistress 9). However, Mistress 9 tells her that she’s dead. Moon doesn’t believe this, but Sailor Neptune and Uranus take Mistress 9’s statement as fact. The two decide to kill Mistress 9 with a combined World Shaking/Deep Submerged attack. Sailor Moon jumps in front of Mistress 9 (optimistic that Hotaru is still alive), and the blonde idiot takes the blast for her.
Even Mistress 9 was impressed by her heroic actions and thanks her for it. She’s such a polite woman.
Fasting forward, Mistress 9 captures Uranus and Neptune with her overflowing, living hair and starts to violently choke them, demanding Moon to hand over the Holy Grail or she’ll kill them both. Moon whips out the Holy Grail (much to the Outer Scouts’ protest) and starts to walk over to the Daimon. As she walks over to her, Souichi appears behind Sailor Moon.
Mistress 9 sees a chance.
She collapse in pain, clutching her chest and her breath labored. Using Hotaru’s voice, Mistress 9 pleads with Souichi and Usagi to give her the Holy Grail. In between breaths, she explains that she needs the Holy Grail to restore herself as “Hotaru”. Usagi, a paragon of common sense, doesn’t realize this is merely a bait and switch, and agrees to “Hotaru”’s wishes. She gives Souichi the Grail to give to his “daughter”. With a cold smile, Mistress 9 snatches the Grail away from him, gains a power boast from it, and blows everyone away. All hope seems lost as Mistress 9 holds the Holy Grail in her hands.
‘Good warriors make others come to them, and do not go to others.’
-Zhang Yu, 8th Century scholar
Next, Mistress 9 starts talking that good shit on how she has the Holy Grail, and that Sailor Moon can’t do anything to stop her or Pharaoh 90. Mistress 9 then places the Grail inside a machine and summons forth Pharaoh 90. The immerse force of his summoning not only destroy most of the Mugen District, but the Holy Grail itself.
Usagi Tsukino, you’re a stupid idiot.
Everyone’s morale drops. The Outers Scouts berates Moon for her stupidity, and the Inner Scouts (fighting other Daimons outside) are getting bodied by other Daimons. Usagi (still not losing hope) whips out her staff, firing an energy beam towards the appoaraching Pharaoh 90. Pharaoh 90 is unaffected, fires an energy beam back, knocking Usagi out. Mistress 9 talks more shit, poppin’ off at their success. Pharaoh 90 gives Mistress 9 his thanks by blasting her with an energy beam as thanks for her services.
Once more, Sailor Moon jumps in front of Mistress 9, taking the full force of Pharaoh 90’s blast to protect Hotaru and Souichi (whom too was protecting her) Hotaru, (who regained control of her “body”) and Souchi share a tender father-daughter moment. Hotaru tells her dad that she forgives him for fucking up her life (despite that it wans’t his fault) . We then get a sappy flashback of the two in happier times. Ya know, to make us feel sorry for Souichi being an idiot for playing God and messing around with the law of physics, which got them in this situation in the first place.
Disgusted by their sappy cheesy moment, Mistress 9 gets pissed and attempts to regain control of Hotaru’s body. The two starts struggling for control until Hotaru overpowers Mistress 9. She declares that she must protect her dad and Chibi-Usa, awakens the spirit of Sailor Saturn and kills Mistress 9, destroying the body of the alien…which was also her body as well.
Following that, Sailor Saturn visits a dying Chibi-Usa at her dad’s house (Hotaru had a crush on Mamoru and was stalking him for a minute, that’s how she knew his address) and return her Pure Heart, telling her “My bad about stealing your pure heart and killing you.”, and thanks her for not being creep out by her weird powers. Oh, and making the final days of her short life enjoyable with her presence and kindness. That too.
Sailor Saturn then returns to the Mugen District (completely destroyed by Pharaoh 90). The Outer Scouts starts freaking out, assuming that Saturn will destroy the world, and they lose hope. Saturn greets Sailor Moon with a warm, but sorrowful smile. She thanks her for protecting her and informs her that she’s no longer Hotaru, but the soldier of destruction. She proceeds to jump into the core of Pharaoh 90 and tells Moon that in order to kill him, she must use her powers to its fullest and sacrifice her life.
Sailor Moon tries to stop her, but Saturn shoves her Glaive in her face. She doesn’t say anything, but her threatening posture and silence is enough to convince Moon to back off. Saturn simple tells Moon “farewell” and jump into the core of Pharoh 90. Moon tries to enter Pharoh 90’s but is pushed back by its power. Out of desperation, she attempts to transform into Super Sailor Moon without the Holy Grail, but she can’t. She attempts again, but nothing happens. She tries once more, out of pure frustration, sadness, and desperation. She is in tears, begging for the transformation, slamming her fist on the ground.
She wants to save Hotaru. She doesn’t want her young life to be cut so short.
Sensing the pleads of their leader, the Sailor Scouts (including the Outer Scouts) lend their power to Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon attempts to transform, this time, with success. Super Sailor Moon enters the core of Pharaoh 90 as a final effort save Hotaru. The massive combined power of Saturn and Moon proved too much for Pharoh 90, killing him.
The episode ends with everything restored to normal. The Sailor Scouts begin to regain conscious. Uranus and Neptune look around in silence, still stunned at what has transpired. Finally, Super Sailor Moon appears, blank, and emotionless. In her arms rest a young baby. That baby – a reincarted Hotaru. Usagi was successful in saving not only just her friend, but her daughter’s best friend as well.
Episode 125 of Sailor Moon S is one of my favorite anime episodes due to the emotional build up. Usagi still held on to the hope that she could save her friend despite the Outer Scouts tellin her to give it up. Even when at her lowest point of the battle with her losing the Holy Grail and the world being slowly destroyed, Usagi still held to that hope. Usagi’s Hope that would pay off in large with Hotaru overpowering and destorying Mistress 9, transforming as Sailor Saturn, and saving the world. I could go further by explaining how the flawless animation, the excellent voice acting, and amazing soundtrack worked in synergy for such a masterpiece, but that would take a great while for me to break down, and I believe provided more than enough reasons to explain my love for this episode.
‘If you have a bit of courage, people can really be soldiers.
If you have feelings for other people….anyone can be a messiah.
No matter how much you changed, please don’t forget that there are people who care for you.’
Yesterday during my lunch break at work, I was listening to Grant Cardone’s (American author and CEO) interview on his 2016 book “Be Obsessed or Be Average” (great book I highly recommend if you have giant dreams). During it, he brought up a childhood dream (an obsession even) of on becoming like fictional movie spy James Bond when he grew up (having the hot women, flashy cars, infinite cash flow, etc.). Cardone’s reflection of his childhood dreams and goals reminded myself of my own innocent dream of becoming like Dr. Tomoe; villain of Sailor Moon S.
Yes, that Dr. Tomoe. The crazed cracklin’, evil science experimenting, nutjob ass dude with the clichéd evil badguy laugh. That is the Dr. Tomoe I’m talking about. As a child, I wanted to be like him as a kid (I was a weird kid). Why? Well, here some reasons why!
Going back to a previous post, my very first episode of Sailor Moon had the infamous fake orgasms Twister game with Mimete and the reminding Witches 5. We see Professor Tomoe enjoying (albeit creepily) his all-female staff playing Twister in short shirts, lab coats, and high heels. Tomoe enters the room and the women welcome him warmly. After debriefing Minmete on her next mission, Tomoe continue the game of Twister with the other women, taking pleasure in being surrounded by smart and sexy science lady nerds .
“I wanna be like Dr. Tomoe when I grow up!” I declared! What ten-year-old male doesn’t wanna grow up to have a secret lab filled with sexy science nerds, man?
“He has women in high heels and lab coats playing Twister with him. I want that in life. Also I wonder if he’s fucking all of them behind their backs. I would do that too if I was him.”
Oh ten-year-old me was full of hopes and dreams. Oh Ben. You were so innocent back then! But really, that one definite scene inspired me to work and learn hard, so that one day I could be like that creepy blackface paint like science man on the new anime.
To have the beautiful women working for me and my business. Ten-year-old wanted that. Today? I still want that. Create humanoid monsters from alien eggs to take over the world. Ten year old wanted that shit. Me today? I would get locked up for unethical science experiments and terrorism.
As ten-year-old me continued to watch Sailor Moon S, I was impress by Profressor Tomoe and what he had. I was quickly inspired by the man, with him becoming one of my favorite characters in the series. The business. The school he founded. The money and giant house. And the women.
Kaorinite. Tomoe’s beautiful (and incredibly crazy) lab assistance. I mean, no wonder he hand selected her to be his personal assistance. I mean she’s straight up beautiful, smart as fuck, has big ol nice ass cow tits, and probably has a S-rank blowjob game in bed (hey I’m just saying).
For her character arc in the beginning of the S, to her first death, and finally her second death at the hands of Mistress 9, Kaorinite was by Tomoe side. My dude Tomoe had a fine ass chick by him at nearly all times. She must had been that special because he brought her back to life after her first death at the hands of the Sailor Scouts.
I want a Kaorinite in my life (sans all the crazy homicidal shit and her abusiveness towards children [poor Hotaru]) Like, a fine ass sexy woman by my side when I become a successful person. Introduce her to at a party or an event and everyone starts looking at her. Have their breath taken away from not only her beauty and grace, but her presence and wisdom. Have people hate on me because I have her and she doesn’t not.
Finally, the last factor that made me go “I Wanna Be Like Dr. Tomoe” was his powerful relationship with his daughter, Hotaru.
Despite being incredibly busy with his personal work, Tomoe made time to spend time with Hotaru. It’s clear that they’re close as Hotaru happily introduced Chibi-Usa to him (but that’s for another post). At the final few episodes of the S arc, Professor Tomoe is risking his life to save and protect Hotaru (after she transformed into Mistress 9 See, that’s a real ass father. Taking time off time to take care of daughter. Then we have his willingness to protect her at all costs, by any means.
Granted, personally I don’t want kids anytime soon (or ever), but if I ever had a kid, I would done the same he did with his kid. Take the time from my own shit to be around them. To protect them at all cost.
As a kid I had this innocent, but wild dream to be like a fictional cartoon anime character. I want what he had: beautiful women (the Witches 5 and Kaorinite), the money and own business, the nice mansion, and family. Am I working on that childish dream today as an adult? Yes. It might be taking slower than I want but I know I can get it if I push myself.
Thanks Professor Tomoe! your crazy ass inspired me to become a man like ya.
(Fuck Crystal/Manga Professor Tomoe tho. That nigga’s a piece of shit. Don’t be like him.)
Chibi-Usa is a real ass friend. Even when Hotaru was revealed as Sailor Saturn (AKA Purple Sailor Moon), the solider of destruction, Chibi-Usa stuck by her side. The kid even put herself the way of a combined World Shaking-Deep Submerge-Dead Scream, an attack that would had certainly kill her, just to protect her friend (Saturn!Hotaru would had tanked it but still) Most of ya fake ass niggas out there wouldn’t help your friend if they jumped by some weak ass bitches.
When Chibi-Usa had her Pure Heart snatched from her body (or her crystal thing stolen in the manga by Mistress 9 idunno what’s it called) by Hotaru (under the influence of Mistress 9), she was happy that her friend was “safe”, putting Hotaru’s well-being first, and hers last.
Next, there’s the opening scene in episode 31 of S where Chibi-Usa goes off on Pluto (somebody who is like a second mother to her), telling the Senshi of Time that Hotaru is her best friend, and that she does not deserve to be harmed Following that, in her fury, Chibi-Usa tells Pluto that she hates her, thinking that Pluto and the two lesbian incestuous cousins Outer Sailor Scouts took Hotaru away or something.
Chibi-Usa is truly a real ass friend.
‘Friends – how many of us have them? Friends – ones we can depend on Friends – how many of us have them? Friends – before we go any further, let’s be Friends’
-Whodini: Friends (1984 hip-hop single)
With Hotaru’s character arc in Infinity came Chibi-Usa’s character evolution (which I’m too drunk to actually analyze how their friendship caused this). The start of Chibi-Usa’s new development can be pinpointed to when they first meet on that faithful day at some park. Chibi-Usa’s cheap looking hat is swept away off her head by the wind. The wind carries her hat near a frail looking goth kid, around 12 years of age or so, reading a book or whatever the fuck gothic lookin’ Japanese kids like her do in spare time at the park.
The girl notices the hat heading to the river for and rushes towards it to save it. Perhaps the girl thought if she could save Chibi-Usa’s hat, she can finally have a friend for once in her sad life and not be completely miserable in her loneliness. For her selfless hat saving duties of the day, the Good Samaritan is rewarded with a seizure. Good job Chibi-Usa you almost killed a girl.
Kids, this is why you don’t do shit for people you don’t know.
That aside, Chibi-Usa thanks her newest bestest friend in the whole wide world, Hotaru Tomoe (mostly due to the writing of their newfound friendship felling forced, but that’s for another alcohol fuled night). Chibi-Usa finally made a new friend despite having friends prior to meeting the weird ass lonely girl in the park, but something felt special about this meeting. That or Chibi-Usa sensed Hotaru had no friends and she wanted to be nice cuz Hotaru looks like a bullied white kid that would shoot up a school, hang herself in her closet, or both.
(Don’t get me started on manga Hotaru holy fuck she was ready to die I’m not talking about that Biggie Smalls album)
After the monster-of-the-week (or a primitive Daimon if you’re going by the manga or the Crystal anime) gets bodied by Sailor Moon (but not before beating Chibi-Usa’s ass) , we learn that Hotaru has a secret that made her lonely in the first place: entry level healing factor powers. Like, she can only heal minor scratches and cuts. Not like Wolverine level healing factor where he can restore his entire body from their just their his damn skeleton in a matters of seconds.
Hotaru can just heal minor shit, that’s it. No wonder your peers bullied you growing up*, your healing powers suck. Even your new best friend Chibi-Usa wasn’t impressed by yours powers. She’s a fuckin’ time traveling magical girl from the future, and her mom is like some goddess version of Classic Doctor Strange on steroids (as if Classic Doctor Strange wasn’t on magical steroids already) with reality wrapping powers and bullshit hax. You tried Hotaru. You tried.
*(Hotaru also got bullied cuz she had violent mood swings from being possessed by an evil space alien bitch and viciously attacked a classmate but that’s’ not important)
My drunken inner asshole aside, Chibi-Usa was impressed by Hotaru’s powers. Finally, there was somebody her age who had powers as well. Hell in fact, Chibi didn’t find Hotaru’s powers weird or creepy at all. She found it cool. Hotaru finally felt accepted, even if it just by one person. Baby steps kid. Baby steps.
Over the course of S, 90s Homura and Madoka grew closer. Chibi-Usa gets Hotaru out of the house more often to go to fun cool places, hang out with Usagi’s crew and other shit to help Hotaru not feel like she has a worthless, sad life.
Anyways, the alcohol is taking it’s toll on me, and I gotta work in the morning. I hope you enjoy my drunken freewrite as much as my liver enjoyed taking punishment from alcoholic drinks just because I thought it would be great to write about fictional anime girls while drunks!
“Queen Rei” is the perfect title for Rei. Throughout episode 8 of the Doom Tree arc (The Festival is For Me?! Queen Rei Sings With Passion), she earns her queenly title through her musician passion and bossy attitude. Using her title and pull, she uses her school’s festival to produce and direct her own concert. It’s all about her. Despite her seemly effortless drive, in reality, she struggled. A struggle she hides with boastful bragging.
In the beginning of the episode, we see the queen doing what she does best: being a boss. She demands order and productivity; snapping on underclassmen for idling around. She yells at another student worker for leaving audio gear lying around. She is pissed by the incorrect stage lighting during her rehearsal. Frustrated, Rei tells everyone to break.
During her break, Rei boasts of her hard work to friends Usagi and Ami (whom were watching her rehearsal). She proudly admits to taking advantage of her status of head executive committee of the student council; using it to promote her concert and music. Music that she produced herself.
Queen Rei truly earned that title. She’s like Beyonce or Janet Jackson even. Some may not agree with Rei’s attitude and directing style however.
Later, the queen and her circle regrouped at Hikawa Shrine, discussing on the festival and her concert. Ami remarks at Rei’s hard work. She assumed that it took Rei many hours to produce music. Rei gloats again, telling the nerd that her own natural talent made the work effortless.
Yet, Rei’s inner thoughts tell an opposite story. She struggled.
Her frustration spoke as she slam her hands down the keyboard. She snatches early drafts of her music off the piano, tossing it in trash. Finally, Rei lays her head down, holding back tears. The young girl feels defeated. Defeated, and disappointed.
‘I should give up. It’s not worth it anymore. Nobody will like this.’
I can imagine her thinking such these things. Her early prideful talk was a cover for her insecurities and struggles. Nevertheless, she managed to overcome the insecurities, producing music that she’s proud of.
The episode transitions to concert day. Rei is warmly greeted with cheers from peers and friends alike. She thanks her fans and introduces herself in third person, referring herself as “Rei-Chan”. She gotta feed her ego like like another great artist, Kanye West.
Rei starts performing. Everything is all well. All well until resident alien fuckboy Ail does his usual Cardian summoning. The Cardian of the week: Seiren.
The Sailor Scouts do their usual “attack the bad guy” routine, only to fail once again. Rei transform into Mars, talk shit about how the monster ruined her concert, harmed her fans, and vows to end the threat. Mars attack Seiren, setting her on fire, but the monster puts her out with her water magic.
All hope seems lost until Moonlight Knight appears; offering his weekly self-help guru bullshit motivation advice (with the week’s topic being on a beautiful melody at the soundless part of the universe and requests Mars to sing that melody for him one day). Moonlight Knight launches at Seiren, whom dodges his attack, and knocks over Mars’s music, destroying it.
(Thanks Moonlight Knight! You ruined everything yet again.)
Mars is saddened and pissed. Hours of her dedication, love, passion, overcoming self-doubts, and her achievement: destroyed. This wasn’t just some random, untalented asshole or hater talking shit about her works; somebody ruined her hard work.
It’s like if somebody snatched your art or notebook out of your hands Tearing pages out from it in front of your face. All of your passion and dedication into your craft is in ruins.
Mars’s anger brought forth a new power: Fire Soul Bird. With the new power and her rage, Mars attacks Seiren with furious anger…which her firely passion only disabled the monster just so Sailor Moon can get the kill.
Because Sailor Moon must always wins. Just like 2010 John Cena.
After defeating Seiren, Queen Rei (or Rei-Chan) resumed her concert (which nobody seems to question why they let her continued it after the monster attack). She steals Moonlight Knight’s inspirational line about a star singing in a soundless universe (all great artists gotta steal at least a few things), and closes her concert out with a cheesy sounding 90s love song in which I could not give two fucks about.
Rei is truly a passionate queen. From between her bossing folks around and pouring her soul into her music, Rei shines and she lets her shine be noticed. As queen, we see that she has influences and is quite bossy on the stage. With her passion, we see her pride, joy, and overcoming insecurities with her music (even if she did hide the insecurties from her friends).
I wonder, how Queen Beryl could let her love for King Endymion consumed her so much, that she allowed herself to be control by Metalia, and murdered an entire kingdom. Did she felt entitled to his love or something? I understand love can make you do many a crazy things, and boy did this woman did some crazy ass shit.
Beryl caused a young girl to commit suicide after murdering her family and friends. Not just muderer that girl’s love ones, but she also slaughtered an entire kingdom. All because she couldn’t get some dick from the dude she was crushing on.
Maybe Endymion and Beryl had a small chat one day and my dude knew she was crazy as fuck, and was like “Nah.”
This woman was a low-level sage who overtime, became corrupted by power and love. Unrequited love mind you. She legit thought she could let a king fall in love with her commoner ass.
Girl who the fuck you think you are? Stay in your place.
But forreal, how did her seemly innocent crush evolved into pure jealously and hatred towards Princess Serenity? Why was she driven to the point of mass murder over love?
“What you won’t do for love” doesn’t mean slaughter an entire population, Beryl. I’m sure Bobby Caldwell wasn’t on that shit when he wrote that song.
These are the things I think about on my off day, when I make no plans to kick it with the homeboys, and I have nothing better to do but to overthink about fictional Japanese cartoon and comic characters while listening to vaporwave.
I’m a huge fan of the Infinity arc of Sailor Moon. I love it. It’s my favorite arc of the franchise and was my first exposure to the series. The soundtrack is amazing, the characters are lovable, and there are a slew of amazing scenes. It is just a wonderful addition to the lore of the Sailor Moon series.
However, I think one thing that some people may have overlooked about this arc is the theatrical and narrative themes. I believe that if one were to analyze and break down the arc’s themes, they could gain a better appreciation for it.
Join me as I go in-depth in the themes of the Infinity Arc. I hope that after reading this article, you’ll gain greater love for arguably the best arc of the series.
Science and Technology
‘Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.’
The theme of science and technology is one of the best things of the arc. It’s a refreshing addition to the lore of the series. While prior villains Queen Beryl and Wiseman were versed in magical arts, Infinity Arc villain Professor Tomoe used science and technology to combat against the Sailor Scouts’.
From genetically engineering superhumans such as the Witches 5 (manga and Crystal anime), transforming his own daughter into a cyborg, implanting himself with an alien egg, and constantly performing experiments, Tomoe had various tools of in his arsenal in relation to science. I mean hell, the man was even blacklisted from the scientific community for his illegal and unethical experiments (manga and Crystal).
The brilliant Tomoe wasn’t alone in using science against the Scouts. His assistant, Eudial had her own tool set as well.
Eudial (of the Witches 5) fought the Scouts using her own tools such as poison gas, a shotgun that exacted a victim’s Pure Heart, a flame thrower that even surpass the strength of the Sailor Scouts, and perhaps her most dangerous tool; her wits and mind.
While she wasn’t a total genius like her superior, her wisdom could not be ignored. The woman even wrote a computer program that hunted down possible owners of pure hearts and the Holy Talismans. In addition, she built a super computer made from peach cans. Hell, she even worked on dimension transporter device in her downtime.
Granted, she did realize there were fatal flaws with the device. Something that her hater I mean partner Mimete learned the hard way. Boy did she learn the hard way.
I can’t forget the more science fiction elements of Sailor Moon S. The invasion of the Daimons felt like something out of sci-fi movie; strange aliens from a foreign galaxy attempting to take the world over, using humans as their host. Or whatever cheesy plot they thought of.
Even Mistress 9’s theme sounds like a track from a sci-fi film:
I wonder, was Naoko Takeuchi and the Toei writing staff were on a sci-fi kick during the development of the Infinity manga and anime arc? The sci-fi aesthesis are way obvious. Cyberpunk and sci-fi culture were dominating and influential in the anime and manga culture of the early 90s. I would not be shocked if Naoko and Toei were influenced by the cyberpunk culuture for the arc. In any case, the sci-fi elements were a breath of fresh air after compared to two anime season and manga arcs of magic and fantasy. It brought something new to the series.
Father and Daughter
Father, you left me but I never left you
I needed you, you didn’t need me
So I, I just gotta tell you
Goodbye, goodbye – John Lennon “Mother”
The father and daughter narrative isn’t anything new in the series. You have Usagi and her pops, Kenji. Then we have Chibi-Usa, and her dad, Mamoru (and of course, Chibi-Usa’s dark persona Black Lady with her Electra Complex with Mamoru).
Those examples of fathers-and-daughters are stable. However, with the introduction of Hotaru,it broke the mold of the stable father/daughter relationship in Sailor Moon (excluding Rei and her dad, but that’s for another alcohol fuled writing)
The manga and the original anime continuity depict Hotaru and Souichi’s relationship in polar opposites. To put it nicely, Souichi was a piece of shit to Hotaru in the manga. The selfish asshole viewed his daughter’s injuries resulted from a fire in his lab as a blessing. Taking advantage of the newfound “blessings”, Souichi fitted Hotaru with cybernetic implants, as well as genetically modified her by infusing the kid with the egg of Daimon Mistress 9 (given to him by Master Pharaoh 90). Souichi’s selfish actions, and his desire for revenge ruined not only Hotaru’s body, but her life as well.
Hotaru had some well… daddy issues. She went off on her dad, frustrated with him for allowing Kaorinite in their house. She also moped about her dad being consistently away, focused on his research rather than her. Thus, Hotaru felt lonely.
It doesn’t help Souichi’s case that he only cared about Hotaru to awaken Mistress 9. In addition, he only saw Hotaru as a science experiment, a perfect hybrid of cybernetic, genetic, and alien technology. Yea, the dude saved his daughter’s life. Yet, he only did it to make her into a living puppet.
Sometimes, family ain’t shit.
‘Back when I was a child
Before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high
And dance with my mother and me’
When it comes to their relationship in the first anime, Hotaru and Souichi were close. The two loved each other dearly. Souichi gave up his freewill to Germatoid , in order to Hotaru’s life, who lost it in a lab explosion. Souichi was supportive of Hotaru, always there for her and made the girl his number one priority.
Despite not being his fault, Souichi regretted ruining Hotaru’s life. In his defenese, he wasn’t unaware that Germtoid made her a vessel for Mistress 9. Souichi even risked his own life to protect Hotaru, taking blows from Mistress 9 and attempted to restore his kid (Even though Mistress 9 used Hotaru’s voice to trick him and Sailor Moon).
While I’m on the subject on Mistress 9, I love the more sinister side of Hotaru and Souichi’s relationship; Germatoid and Mistress 9. Although indirect, they did have some interactions while under the possession of their alien overlords.
It’s strange to think how opposite their relationship were when comparing the anime and manga. Souichi was willing to save Hotaru, even if it meant becoming a servant to Germatoid. While he was noble for doing so, it did spite him, as Hotaru would become Mistress 9’s vessel. Souichi had enormous remorse for allowing Hotaru to be possessed, despite he knew it wasn’t his fault. Unfortunately his manga counterpart did not share that guilt. He felt prideful about his actions, thinking of Hotaru as just a project and not his daughter.
Conflict and Division
Why can’t we be friends?
Why can’t we be friends?
Why can’t we be friends?
Why can’t we be friends?
-WAR “Why Can’t We Be Friends”
Most fictional team up will have their time of division and conflict. The nWo splitting between the nWo Black/White and nWo Black/Red, the Avengers splitting up between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America, and Spider-Man and Venom’s team splitting during the events of Maximum Carnage. It’s bound to happen.
With the introduction of the Outer Scouts, and their goal of saving the world by any means, including sacrificing the wielders of the Pure Heart Crystal, the Inner Scouts will face their biggest problem yet: Inner conflict and division. It doesn’t help that the problem increased with Hotaru revealed as the Messiah of Destruction, but more on that later.
I love the clash between the two teams. Right from the jump, the Outers didn’t play with Usagi’s optimistic, idealistic views. Hell, they flat out told her to stop being childish and selfish; bigger things were at stake.
Episode 21 of Infinity arc, “The Death of Uranus Neptune?!” expands on this:
Usagi is desperately pleading Haruka and Michiru to join forces with the Inner Scouts. You can feel her emotions as she wants the pair to unite with her team. Usagi wants nothing more but to unify her friends. Despite Usagi positive attitude, Haruka snatches Usagi’s transformation brooch and gives the girl a chilling warning:
“Don’t ever show yourself in front of us ever again…Sailor Moon. Or else.”
Haruka and Michiru ain’t playing games, even if it meant threatening to kill Usagi to save the world.
Speaking of killing, The Outers had no issue with wanting to kill a sickly 12-year-old child, Hotaru Tomoe, whom was confirmed to be the Messiah of Silence, Sailor Saturn. The second Saturn awakens in Hotaru, the trio went on the attack, not caring if this was a damn kid. They wanted her dead, for the sake of the great good.
By the way, Hotaru is the best friend of Chibi-Usa, who just happens to be the future daughter of Usagi. One of the Outer Senshi is Setsuna/Pluto, who just happens to be a second mother to Chibi-Usa.
So this whole “Kill Hotaru” thing was going to be fun for all parties involved, right? Two group of allies and friends split into two opposing teams. You have one team aiming to save the person because it wasn’t their fault that they are a puppet for the bad guy. Then, you have the other team wanted to kill the person regardless.
Hell, even our heroes weren’t the only ones with team work issues. The Witches 5 (anime) weren’t too keen on sticking together. Mimete and Eudial had their beef with one another. In Eudial’s defense, Mimete was a complete and jealous idiot who wasn’t shit. Their beef escalated to life-ending heights, with Mimete destroying the break system in Eudial’s station wagon, leading her to a watery death.
Mimete’s petty shit starting would catch up to her, leading to her own death at the hands of another member of the Witches 5, Tellu. You see, Mimete thought she was slick, calling up Tellu and pretending to be Professor Tomoe (using a voice changer), reliving Tellu of her duties. All so she could could take Tellu’s spot in the upcoming mission.
Tellu wasn’t playing that shit. Boy, she wasn’t playing that shit.
Man, it’s such a damn shame that even the bad guys, who are supposed to work together in order to defeat the good guys, are beefing.
Teamwork makes the dream work but not with these fools…
Messiah of Creation. Messiah of Destruction. They’re like ying and yang; one can’t exist without the other. Sailor Moon is the fabled as the messiah; the one whom will bring hope and salvation against the taboo messiah of destruction and death; Sailor Saturn.
We are introduced to the Messiah of Destruction in Rei’s horrifying premonition. The world is frozen, painted in red. Rei, (the only person who isn’t frozen), spots a destruction force of light and energy approaching. It’s dreadful. As Rei is violently pushed back by the energy, a light shines behind her. She turns to it and in despair ask is it the Messiah.
The light ignores her cry. Rei can only watch as the darkness consumes her allies the world. Never get your hopes up, children.
As the series progress, additional information of the Messiah of Destruction are presented. In episode 30 of S, we are revisited by Rei’s nightmare. This time, there’s a feminine figure with a scythe (hmm…), standing on a cliff menacingly, illumined in a bright white light. Rei’s vision ends with the figure violently descending towards Rei, bringing her scythe down on the girl ending with blood splatter.
Rei awakens, recalling the dream. She notices the figure has a recognizable face, but quite can’t put her finger on who it is. It’s totally not Hotaru as Sailor Saturn who’s the malevolent messiah. Trust me; I have never misled people on the internet.
As for the true Messiah, she is hinted as Sailor Moon. After Neptune’s death, and the revelation of the two being the Talimans wielders, Uranus questions the Messiah. She asks their deaths were divine punishment for their crimes of their mission. In her despair, she envisioned the messiah, whom in actuality is an untransformed Usagi.
Usagi envisioned as the messiah is fitting. Time and time again, Usagi is willing to put her own life on the line for both the world, and her loved ones. Usagi even risked her life to save Uranus, the same person who threatened her earlier in the episode.
When the Outers tried to kill Hotaru, Usagi pushed the girl out of the way of a combine energy blast that may had otherwise killed her. Usagi defends her new friend, stating that it’s not her fault that she is Saturn, and that she shouldn’t have to die.
Usagi still had the drive to protect Hotaru, even after her transformation to Mistress 9. Usagi took an energy blast from Pharaoh 90 head on, (who attempted to kill Mistress 9). Before that, Usagi attempted to restore Hotaru back to normal by giving her the Holy Grail. Granted, it was a trick from Mistress 9 (who was using Hotaru’s voice) to manipulate Usagi into giving her the Grail.
Finally, Usagi tried to save Hotaru (as Saturn), who jumped into the core of Pharoh 90 to kill him and save the world. Despite being warned by Saturn that she may not survive inside Pharoh 90, Usagi still went in. While Usagi “failed” to save Hotaru, who had died using her destruction powers, Usagi managed to recover a reincarnated, newly born Hotaru.
By the way, did you notice that both Saturn and Moon were introduced as messiahs at right around the same time? It’s like both the Toei writing staff and Takeuchi knew how to directed these two to meet at the end of the arc. It gives a sense of duality with Saturn, being the Messiah of Destruction, the one who would end the world, and Sailor Moon, the Messiah of Creation, the one who will save it. Of course however, Sailor Saturn became the savoir of the world, sacrificing her life in the progress.
‘If you have feelings for other people…anyone can be a messiah.”
Sailor Moon S Episode 36
‘Logic dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…or the one’
The narrative theme of sacrifice returns in Sailor Moon Infinity and boy, do they shove it down our throats. From Uranus and Neptune’s willingness to sacrifice the live of pure heart owners, to the two losing their own lives to ensure the world’s protection, to Profressor Tomoe surrendering his freewill to save Hotaru in the anime, to Hotaru herself giving up her life to save the world, sacrifice plays a huge role in Infinity.
As previously mentioned, Uranus and Neptune’s prime objective was to track down the Holy Talismans, sealed within three Pure Hearts. The Three Holy Talismans (The Mirror, The Sword, and The Garnet Orb) were tools to summoning The Holy Grail (or Sailor Saturn in the manga/Crystal anime). Once summoned, the true Messiah will use the Grail’s everlasting power to stop the threating silence and Messiah of Destruction. However, in order to unseal the Holy Talismans, the Pure Heart owners had to be sacrificed.
As time went on, Uranus and Neptune were revealed to be the wielders of two Talismans (by Eudial). Upon her death, Neptune ‘s Pure Heart transformed to the Deep Aqua Mirror. Once Uranus realized she too held a Pure Heart, she took her own life to exact it, in hopes that Usagi will use the Talismans to summon the Holy Grail and save the world.
(Of course Uranus and Neptune were brought back to life, so their sacrifices were somewhat meaningless.)
After concluding that Hotaru was Sailor Saturn, the Outer Scouts decided they needed to kill her in order to prevent the world’s destruction from Saturn. Take an innocent girl’s life to save countless others.
It’s heavy, isn’t it?
I do find this funny: the Outer Scouts wanted to sacrifice Hotaru life. The Inner Scouts were all gung-ho against it. Despite the conflicted groups’ back-and-forth aguring, Hotaru ‘s life was still sacrificed. Just not in the way anyone expected. After Hotaru accepts that she is Sailor Saturn, she jumps into the core of Pharaoh 90, and destroys him, killing herself in the progress, but saving the world and her friends (and of course her father in the first anime).
While sacrifice was always a theme prior and after, I love how it’s portrayed in the Infinity Arc. It wasn’t just about Usagi, or the other Scouts putting their own lives on the line. Others may have their own life sacrifice if needed be. Eventually, one life was taken to save the lives of countless others. This arc did brought up the ethics of sacrifice. It is like to to say is if really okay to (unwilling) sacrifice one person’s life to save the lives of others.
Sailor Moon S/Infinity is my most beloved and favorite of the series. The narrative themes oof this arc made it interesting and analyzing the themes makes it a renewing experience. The Science and Technology theme was refreshing in a magic based series. The paralles of the father-daughter relationship of Hotaru and Souichi from the anime and manga were conflciting, The Outer Senshi brought in something that the Inner Scouts never dealt with in the past: division and in-fighting. The Messiahs gave the arc a near religious side to the series. Finally, the sacrifice theme presented the issue of is it ethic to take a life of a person to others.
On the surface Sailor Moon S appears to be that of a simple shoujo magical girl series but once you dig into the narrative themes with an analytical mindset you’ll uncover that there are hidden meanings behind this excellent arc.
I hope with this in-depth look of the themes of S you have gained a better apperication for the season as much as I have. Thank you for taking the time out of your life to read this article.
Thanks to everyone who supported and believed in me. Thank you so much.
So, a funny story on how I discovered that these two weren’t cousins, but unrelated lovers. Gotta love 90s anime dubbing censorship.
Back around in late 2001, I legit thought Uranus and Neptune being lesbians was a fanmade rumor. To me, they were just cousins whom interactions were just a bit wee too close to be cousins. While browsing the now defunct SailorMoon.org message boards, there were a post about how Neptune and Urnaus weren’t cousins, but a LGBT couple.
Due to prior trust issues with the anime community from finding out that Dragon Ball AF was a fan made project (Thanks Kanzenshuu!), I didn’t believe they were lesbians. I refused to believe they were gay as hell! The internet is full of liars and nerds who want to make up bullshit for their sick nasty, OTP incest fanfiction! I decided to dig deeper, discovering sources from fansites such as Sailor Moon Uncensored and Suburban Senshi (one of the longest running Sailor Moon fansites).
It took me nearly an entire day of using 56k dial up services to accept the fact that they were unrelated lovers and not everything is a fan made rumor. Their hand holding scene should had been my first clue. But I was an innocent 11-year-old kid at the time.
The more I play the shitty ass Sailor Moon fighting game, the more pissed I get at how this game was pretty much wasted potential. It had so much going for it.
I’m dicking around in training mode of this trash ass, broken ass game playing as Neptune (she plays like Street Fighter’s Ken). As I’m playing her I’m discovering footies, spacing, crossups, and dash cancels, shit commonly found in fighting games today. Or back then. Whatever.
“Why? Why is the game so ass? This game has so many deep shit you find in other games like this. What the fuck happen Angel?” I said to myself, utterly disappointed
Sailor Saturn has two pokes, making her like Karin from Street Fighter if Karin was emo, carried a giant spear, and had borderline daddy issues. Saturn is the fuckin’ space and footies queen of the game. You can also play her as a keep away/zoning type with her projectiles and Silent Glaive. Too bad Saturn is so broken and unfair that she’s banned.
(Granted Super S, where she is playable, is an incredibly trash game that is not an enjoyable experience like the anime so that doesn’t even matter lmfao)
Sailor Uranus’s exclusive forward dash can be use as a tool for an unbreakable infinite combo if linked right. If you get this off somebody they’re gonna rage quit.
Sailor Moon’s exclusive super jump dash thingly can be use to chase down zoners and keep-away players. Mini-Moon has a double jump that can be used to get out of a bad situation such as a projectile war.
Like seriously, how can a SNES fighting game that was made in 1996 that has so many tools but be so goddamn ass?
I’m currently working on my next major writing project on the narrative themes of Sailor Moon S. I’m stuck on figuring out the messiah theme in Sailor Moon S/Infinity.
I’m confused on who was considered to be the true Messiah: Saturn, who is the Messiah of Silence (who also did saved the world at the cost of her life) or Sailor Moon, who was the fabled Messiah Uranus and Neptune spoke of throughout the arc.
So the other day I created a thread on a Facebook group entitled “Who Is Your Favorite Gym Leader from Pokemon.” I chosen Sabrina (Natsume for you Nippon-go speaking hardcore/weeaboo fans) from the first generation series (Red/Blue/Yellow)
Sabrina is pretty damn interesting. I love that she has some cool ass psychic powers; a trait that set her apart from the rest of the gym leaders. She was also pretty out there with her emotionless state, up until a suicide bombin’ Haunter made her laugh her ass off.
I imagine she loves fucked up black humor comedy. She seems like the type.
As I’m hunting down fan art of the psychic Pokemon leader (and a few NSFW fan art) , in addition of fanart of the Hex Maniac trainer class (who happens to be my favorite trainer class in the series), it dawned on me: I like weird characters. Not only that, a lot of my fictional crushes/waifus over the years are of the weird and creepy archetype.
Let’s break it down:
You guys know I’m a huge Hotaru/Sailor Saturn fanboy. She was one of my very first fictional crushes as a kid (or waifu. Whatever sad weird otaku shit we be callin’ this shit now). I thought her weirdness and creepiness was amazing, something that made her different from the rest of the cast.
When the first Teen Titan cartoon dropped years ago, my two favorite female characters were Raven and Jinx. I wasn’t a huge fan of neither Starfire or Terra. Raven and Jinx were superior compare to the two mentioned. Again, these two were weird, creepy ass girls who I was attractive to because of their character design.
When I was getting into the GBA Fire Emblem games, I invested a lot of time, items and in-game money (as well as stats changing cheat codes lol) into the dark mage Sophia to make her my most powerful magic user. Fuck whatever the elitist FE fanboys said about her being garbage! I’m was going to make Sophia the best on my file! Plus she was shy, quiet, and had purple aesthetes, so added bonuses! I am very biased.
Further down in my weebish otaku adult life, I would fall in love and fanboy over characters such as Stocking from Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt, Tharja from Fire Emblem Awakening, and Tae from Persona 5. The characters I named have this errie, dark gothic and alternate aesthesis to their design nature.
Hell, now that I think about it, I’m attractive to weird women. It is natural given I’m a part of the nerd subculture and nerds in general are weird. Fuck, I weird myself. I write blogs about anime culture. I’m writing about crushing on fictional cartoon and video games characters who will never exist. That’s goddamn weird as hell.
But really, I honest to god think me liking weird, alternate women may parallel to my fictional crushes over the year. I am also charmed by nerdy women as well but that goes hand-and-glove with weird woman. If I were to go into details why however, I would be just repeating myself but with nerdy girls replacing weird ones. Same shit. Different toilet.