It's time for Usagi's favorite class - lunch. But while she's eating, the trio consisting of Naru, sort-of-chubby nameless girl and unremarkable nameless girl, last seen in episode four, has reassembled. They're admiring some photographs of trees and houses and so on. Remember when you were fourteen and you and all your friends were really into landscape photography? Of course you do! It turns out that the photographs are by Kijin Shinokawa, a young prodigy and the a student at a neighboring middle school. Now Usagi's interested, realizing there's a celebrity in their midst. She tries to rope Ami into finding the boy and getting his autograph, but Ami is studying, and altogether less inclined to fling herself into the latest passing fad.
Later, we see Kijin outside his school, getting pestered by reporters. Kijin's hair is... interesting.
That evening, Kijin is on a cliff edge, taking photographs of the bay. He slips and almost goes skidding down the rock face, but he's rescued by... Masato Sanjoin, millionaire playboy and rock climber! Sanjoin wishes Kijin good luck with his photography career, but not before making sure to implant a Youma essence in his camera. We then see Nephrite in his creepy cathedral of solitude, where the stars have chosen Kijin as the next target. Apparently he will be overcome with the urge to photograph girls! A fourteen year old boy with a sudden interest in looking at girls? Now I know something weird and creepy is going on.
Sure enough, Kijin goes all crazy and possessed, and decides what he really wants to do is photograph girls. A few days later, Usagi reads that Kijin is looking for models to photograph, and decides she should try out. Luna comes over with a new item for her.
Anyway, the communicators. I forgot about these. While I think Mercury's little supercomputer still looks like it could be a stylish piece of technology today, the communicators... well, they have all the aesthetic appeal of a cheap knock-off Tiger Electronics LCD game from the eighties. They admittedly have full color graphics, albeit on a ridiculously tiny screen. Usagi uses hers to call Ami about her new-found ambition to become a model, but Ami tells her the communicators should be used for emergencies only. She considers calling Rei instead, but... well, if even Ami told her off, Rei's response doesn't bear thinking about. So instead, Usagi turns to the love and support of her family.
the time he ridiculed Usagi over her weight. Yeah, I haven't forgotten that, jerk.
After insinuating that Usagi lacks guts, Mamoru goes on to say that Kijin's sudden desire to photograph as many girls as possible suggests that he probably sucks as a photographer. Usagi leaves in a huff, and Motoki tells Mamoru he should stop treating her like a child. Mamoru says that whenever they meet he just can't resist the urge to argue.
Usagi certainly is up bright and early this fine morning. As Shingo correctly surmises, she's waiting for the mail. Once again, Shingo tells her she doesn't have a hope, but then the mailman comes, and Shingo has to eat his words, because Usagi got selected! Cue Usagi practicing her enunciation, balance, singing, and, er, hopping around her room like a rabbit. Models have been known to hop. She then remembers she has to bring a swimsuit, and fortunately she has one right... er...
On the day of the shoot, a large number of girls have been invited, and Kijin is extra-crazy, barking orders at the girls and warning them not to look in on the other shoots. Because that would mess up his creative process or something, obviously. Not because anything evil will be happening. Usagi's here too, and Luna thinks something weird is happening... because Kijin's behavior has changed so drastically, and also because there's no way Usagi would be selected as a model. That's our Luna, supportive as ever. It does seem that Naru and Haruna have been selected as well, and well, maybe Usagi's teacher being selected as a model really is evidence that Kijin's criteria are a bit weird. In the dressing room, Naru wants to see Usagi's swimsuit. Yeah, how did that problem end up getting resolved, anyway?
Luna returns to the dressing room and tells Usagi what she saw. Usagi, preparing for her modeling debut, really doesn't want to know, but she's persuaded to call Ami when Luna threatens to reveal the terrible secret of her swimsuit. In the meantime, she still has her photo shoot, but when she goes to follow Naru and Haruna, Luna grabs one of the emergency ribbons from her swimsuit and runs off with it, forcing her to give chase.
Usagi finally chases Luna to the photo shoot, where Haruna and Naru are posing along with some other girls. Sure enough, when Kijin photographs them, they disappear. By the way, this episode uses some really nice visual effects: when the models disappear there are momentary black and white spots and lines, like distortions in old film. It just works so well.
Usagi confronts Kijin, borrowing Mamoru's earlier criticism that this new-found obsession makes him a third-rate photographer, in contrast to the prodigy he used to be. Kijin pushes her away, and so she transforms. Sailor Moon tells Kijin - or rather, the Youma controlling him - that a girl's true beauty is in her bravery and desire to do the right thing. This doesn't deter him, and he starts trying to photograph her, forcing her to dodge the beams fired by his camera. She succeeds in kicking the camera away into the pool, but Kijin collapses, his energy level having reached its peak. Then, from the pool, the Youma emerges.
Mercury casts Bubble Spray, and Mars tries to seal the Youma's powers with her ofuda, but Kyameran just deflects them, before trapping both Mars and Mercury in photographs. Sailor Moon's in a tough spot, but finding herself up against a mirror, she wonders what would happen if Kyameran took her own photograph. Let's find out!
Nephrite's been hanging out in the cathedral of solitude a lot recently, and that means there's been nobody to ridicule him when he fails. Zoisite seeks to remedy that, appearing via hologram and mocking his rival, though Nephrite counters that Zoisite should focus on his own duties, and besides, there are plenty of other people on Earth with energy to take.
That night, while Usagi sleeps, the rest of their family watch a report about Kijin, who has decided to take a sabbatical. He says a wonderful young woman taught him that a kind heart and a desire to do what's right are what make a woman beautiful. Naturally, Usagi's family say how they wish Usagi could be like that woman and not such an idiot, because they're assholes determined to spoil the ending of this episode.
Monster of the day: Kyameran, you're so cool. But you just had to die/melt/catch fire/lose an eye.
Most valuable person: Usagi tackles this one pretty much solo, and demonstrates some real initiative, both in battle and emergency swimsuit repairs.
Least valuable person: While Shingo is the bigger jerk, this award actually goes to Usagi's mom for just merrily going along with whatever insult Shingo hurls her way. It's natural for siblings to be jerks to each other sometimes. It's also generally expected that parents will step in when things go to far. At this point I'm wondering if there's anything Shingo could say that would provoke some kind of rebuke from his mother.
For the most part, this episode is very good. A cool monster with interesting powers, a strong solo Usagi story where she's being carefree but not completely stupid, and even a few stabs at the misogyny of the modeling industry. Kazuko Tadano, the character designer for the anime, was the art director for this one, and as a result the characters are very expressive, with the great visual effects I mentioned earlier. Really, the only major criticism is that Usagi's family are way too mean to her. This episode gets four out of five stars, and an invitation to my next evil photo shoot.
I've updated the review with the animations.