"The Girl Genius is a Monster: The Brainwashing Cram School of Horror" is the 8th episode of the 1st season of the Sailor Moon anime and the 8th episode overall. It aired in Japan on May 2, 1992. The DiC English dub title for this episode is "Computer School Blues" and it aired in North America on September 15, 1995.
In the Dark Kingdom, Jadeite informs Queen Beryl of his research into the Japanese education system. Usagi dreads her latest test results, as her mother despairs over her poor grades. Luna gets frustrated by her lack of effort towards finding the princess and fighting for good.
That night, Luna goes to Game Center Crown and uses the Sailor V Game to speak to an unseen contact. She reports there's been no leads to finding the princess, and Sailor Moon is less reliable than she thought. She also senses a strange aura around a girl she recently encountered and suspects she could be one of the enemies. The girl in question is Ami Mizuno, a student in Usagi's school.
When the mock exam results are published the next day, Ami is placed first, not just in the school but the whole country. Naru, Umino and Kuri share disapproval of her, thinking Ami must be arrogant and narcissistic. They discuss Ami being rich and attending an expensive cram school on a scholarship, and that her mom's a doctor. Usagi isn’t so sure yet, they stop talking when they see Ami staring at them sadly.
After school, Usagi sees Luna follow Ami and leap on her shoulders, sensing the strange aura. Usagi apologises to Ami for the trouble and introduces herself. Despite Luna's protests, she befriends her and takes her to Game Center Crown. Ami plays the Sailor V game better than anyone, despite never playing before. She beats the record score as a whole crowd forms and surrounds her in awe. She realises cram school has started, and takes an early leave apologetically. After she’s gone, Motoki finds a floppy disc she dropped and asks Usagi to return it.
Ami sits down to start her studies when her teacher warns her the “Crystal Disc” must be used during all studies. Usagi and Luna arrive at Crystal Seminar and discover the disc is produced by the school, allegedly to boost intelligence. They are about to go inside when Mamoru appears and asks if Luna was just talking. Usagi denies it and runs away, still carrying the disc.
Luna decides to use the opportunity to investigate Ami, taking the disc to the computer labs at school. They discover that it’s a brainwashing program developed by the Dark Kingdom. They return to the Crystal Seminar, and Usagi gets inside after using the Disguise Pen to disguise herself as a doctor. She warns the students to get away from the computers and seeing Ami, transforms into Sailor Moon.
It transpires Ami's teacher is Garoben, a youma who takes Ami hostage in her grasps and attacks Sailor Moon. Garoben finds the brainwashing program has had no effect on Ami, and decides to kill her. Luna sees a symbol appear on Ami's forehead, and recognises it as the symbol of a Sailor Guardian. Luna throws Ami a Transformation Pen as she makes an escape from the youma, transforming into Sailor Mercury. She uses her new signature attack, Bubble Spray, to create a mist that fills the air. Sailor Moon is able to destroy the monster using Moon Tiara Action during the confusion. Usagi says she’s relieved to have Ami as her partner now, but jokes that she’s going to outshine her as a Guardian too.
International Dub Titles
- Brazilian Portuguese: Terror no Seminário Lava-Cuca ("Terror at the Brain-Washing Seminar")
- European Portuguese: Terror no Seminário ("Terror at the Seminar")
- TV: Des cellules fraîches ("Fresh Cells")
- DVD: Le génie est un démon ? L’école du lavage de cerveau. ("Is the Genius a Demon? The Brainwashing School.")
- German: Das Genie ("The Genius")
- Czy Geniusz jest potworem? ("Is the Genius a Monster?") (TV4/TV6 Lector)
- Komputerowe pranie mózgu ("Computer brainwashing") (Polsat/Polsat 2 lector)
Changes from the Manga
It is based on Act 2 - Ami, Sailor Mercury from the manga but with a couple of differences.
- Queen Beryl makes her debut in the Manga and Crystal anime versions of this episode, while in the anime this isn't the first time she has appeared.
- In the anime version of this episode, Usagi does not get her Disguise Pen. In the manga, she gets it in this chapter that this episode is based on. Both the manga and anime version she gets the Disguise Pen differently. In the Manga version, it comes out of the Sailor V arcade machine as a prize for Ami getting the high score. In the anime version, Usagi gets the pen in the filler episode, episode 3.
- Ami's transformation pen is obtained differently in both the manga and anime versions. In the manga, it comes out of the Sailor V arcade machine as a prize for getting a high score. In the anime, Luna gives it to her toward the end of the episode during the fight with Garoben.
- In the anime, this is the first time Sailor Mercury uses Sabão Spray, while in the manga a cold fog appears the instant Ami transforms but might not be an attack.
- Shabon Spray is also known as Mercury Bubbles Blast in the DiC English dub and Bubble Spray in the Viz Media English dub.
- The Youma has a more monstrous appearance in the anime than in the manga.
- Luna didn't confuse Ami as a spy of the Dark Kingdom. She always sensed Ami could be an ally.
- In the English dub, Amy becomes a transfer student from Brighton Academy, while in the original anime, Ami had already been attending Usagi's school. Perhaps supporting this, the actress speaks with a slight British accent.
- In the beginning of the episode, we originally see Usagi looking at a Japanese manga then her falling backwards onto the couch, busting up laughing. In the dub, the shot of the manga (before Usagi falls back into the couch) is replaced with a shot of the Tsukino house.
- The beginning of the scene with Luna logging into the Sailor V video game is screwed with to avoid shots of the hiragana/kanji/katakana. Shots not showing any writing is used instead to fill the gap.
- During the scene with Luna at the Sailor V game talking to the command center, when Ami shows up on the screen, DiC adds static when Ami's head changes direction.
- The shot with Luna landing on Ami's shoulders is sped up in the dub.
- When Serena and Amy begin talking about the library, we see Serena get a devilish look in her eyes. What you don't see is a little thought bubble Usagi had with a little devil Usagi giggling. In the original, Usagi was being devious and was excited because Ami could "help her" get good grades.
- All shots of the Sailor V game are blown up to fit the screen. Also, in the Japanese version the game is in a blue hue, while in the dub it's in a red hue. At the end of the scene DiC also decides to add a "Game Over" screen. In the original, this "Game Over" was not there.
- The shot where we see the youma through some blinds at Ami's cram school is considerably longer in the dub. DiC decided to add 7 seconds to this scene. In the original, we see the youma, and 3 seconds later she closes the blinds. In the dub, we see the youma, she talks for a while, and then it goes to a commercial (with no closing of the blinds). After the commercial, we see the same scene but it is how it should be (where we see the youma and she closes the blinds about 3 seconds after we see her).
- The scene with Usagi talking to Luna about Ami's disk is severely messed up (with scene inserting and deleting) all to avoid a shot of Usagi getting a sweat drop.
- Some extra bells and whistles are added to Mercury's end pose at the end of her henshin. Stars flashing and things flying across the screen that were not there in the original.
- Ami's Transformation Pen
- Shabon Spray (Mercury Bubbles Blast in the DiC English dub and Bubble Spray in the Viz Media English dub)