“The Fated Partner! Makoto’s Innocence!”
Okay so I am going to ramble on about this episode from a gender relations perspective now because I love it a lot and you guys are still listening to me and by doing so you have created a monster
Basically, this episode starts out on a really sweet note. Mako is really into this dance and wants so badly to dance with a guy there, but no one asks her because she is too tall and strong etc. So Ami just goes ahead and asks her to dance.
It’s a really great moment of what is a reoccuring theme throughout this episode- even if the guys are too stupid to see how great Mako is because they are intimidated by how she is outside the accepted gender boundaries, her girlfriends see how fab she is and will always be there to support her.
(Also I really adore Ami and Mako’s friendship. It’s actually there in the show a lot if you look for it, there’s several times when the two of them are just hanging out together alone or working together to fix the problems of the day. They clearly connect by being the most practical and level-headed members within their group trying to calm each others down, and both have some struggles with self esteem, and Mako really looks out for Ami like a big sister and is probably about as super-protective of her as she is of Usagi- remember when she gave her the advice that her Senshi duties didn’t mean she couldn’t experience young love and have fun with Urawa and she shouldn’t neglect herself, or when she swooped in to shield her and beat up the brainwashed boys that accused her of cheating and nearly murdered them all for daring to badmouth her friend- and Ami really worries about Mako’s self esteem too and tries to give support, like here, and she’s always the first to try to steer Mako away when she gets down on herself. I think they both consider themselves the caretaker of each others emotional issues, which is pretty sweet. One thing I love about Sailor Moon is all the girls have pretty individual, specific and complex bonds with each other if you look hard.)
Also, Ami and Mako say “fuck you” to the gender norms by being two girls dancing together and not caring that the rest of the floor is boy/girl couples and having a ball and being more amazing than anyone else on the floor. The rest of the dance floor doesn’t condemn them for it either, everyone gathers around to cheer on the girls for their excellent rug cutting.
Mako even casually lifts her partner up with one hand, refusing to hide the strength that set her apart and made the men in the room avoid her, but straight up flaunting and having fun with it because she’s not afraid to be herself when Ami supports her, while the audience stands impressed.
Tigers Eye notes Mako and the positive attention she’s getting, and even though she’s not on his “list” of women to target (she actually is, but he left her picture), he decides to use her to attract other girls. He is unable to see anything about Ami and Mako’s display other than “oh that girl got attention, she will be a good tool” and can’t consider her as a person with feelings. He completely uses her, because she’s just another woman, after all. But Mako, so starved for positive attention from men, is instantly smitten by having an actual good experience with one on the dance floor, and is determined to repeat the experience. Tigers Eye lies and says he’ll return, and Mako, earnest and passionate in everything she does, is determined to wait for him to make good on his promise- as long as it takes.