1:10 – Cursed Buses! Fire Warrior Mars Appears
Alternative Title: That Thing You Smell Is Cowardice. Mostly
First Aired: 16th May 1992
Buses full of love-sick school children are disappearing from outside the Hikawa shrine! Usagi investigates! Or at least she tries to, but she’s just terrified of buses. The shrine maiden Hino Rei, who has spiritual powers, senses that some foul evil is at play, but discovers that the new shrine assistant is behind the kidnappings too late to save herself from the same fate! Rei must awaken as Sailor Mars to kick all of the ass. All of it.
This is a long one. I apologise, I got carried away
The episode opens, like so many others, in The Dark Kingdom’s hangout. It’s a grim place to be sure, but it’s made grimmer by Queen Beryl’s lamentations on Jadeite’s competence. Our lovely regent is just laying into Jadeite, and his response is to stand there with a shit-eating grin. Don’t we worry, we shan’t have to make excuses for why this guy is still alive much longer.
Quick fun fact: the voice artist for Queen Beryl is the same as Luna! You can occasionally hear something rather… catish… about old Beryl from time to time. It’s quite funny recognising the cat we all love in such a consummate freaky bitch with a boomerang on her head.
Cut to Usagi, who is wondering why there are so many police sirens about. She’s joined by classmates Naru-chan and Nameless-Contemporary, who proceed to gossip upon a rumor about missing bus-loads of school girls. The police have apparently been keeping it quiet. BUS-LOADS OF CHILDREN. I think this qualifies as a gross misconduct.
Usagi suggests that the group trot off to the Hikawa shrine to pick up lucky amulets (minus Ami, she has to go to cram school because she’s so goddamn studious, which sounds like an excuse to me. I suspect that she detests Naru, since she was a complete bitch to Ami a couple of episodes ago).
Meanwhile, at the shrine, Jadeite is dressed up as a shrine assistant. Why, you ask? I have literally no idea. He seems obsessed with cosplaying. Remember that time he was a fitness instructor for no reason?
Usagi, Naru and What’s-Her-Balls are beset upon by the lecherous bald monk of Hikawa shrine. His exuberance appears to have little effect on the three 14-year-olds (this guy is a little sick) except to illicit disgust, and his misplaced flirting is thankfully cut short by the introduction of Rei.
Rei is a shrine maiden, the coolest damn shrine maiden in the world. My own real-life experiences with shrine maidens have all been somewhat of a let down, all thanks to Rei setting the bar too high I believe. Usagi, too, is rather taken with her. Now here’s someone Usagi can look up to.
Jadeite, meanwhile, is sitting in the bushes like a fucking pervert, using his dark magic to hypnotise young girls into getting on a bus. It’s downright weird. Rei seems to actually feel Jadeite’s powers, like a Jedi, but seems incapable of detecting exactly where it’s coming from. As a result, she slams an evil-warding talisman into Usagi’s face, knocking our ridiculous heroine clean out.
It should be noted that Rei’s grandfather, the lecherous old monk, takes the opportunity to look up Usagi’s skirt. No comment.
As Usagi is revived within the shrine’s living quarters (she wakes up after hearing the words “gorgeous guy”. She’s just brilliant), Rei explains that her grandpa likes to hit on everyone, “regardless of gender”. I actually love this.
Usagi, Luna and Ami investigate the suspect bus stop. This is the creepiest bus, every one of the girls getting on have been zombified by Jadeite and the driver is a terrifyingly malevolent woman. As a result, Usagi flat-out refuses to get on, crying, screaming and holding on to the stop sign with all her strength until the bus drives off, floats into the sky and disappears into another dimension. It’s not one of Usagi’s proudest moments, it has to be said.
The next day, Rei is feeding her pet crows Phobos and Deimos (named after the two moons of Mars. Awesome), when Usagi comes to ask if she’s noticed anything fishy. Rei almost gives poor Usagi a taste of her bitch-power, but Usagi runs off before she can really building up steam. Luna, however, looks pensive, and drops a red pen behind. WHAT COULD IT MEAN!?
Usagi goes to confront the bus once more, but Ami seems to be late. Seriously, the one day she has to be on time… As a result, Usagi is once again to be found crying and screaming, with Luna tugging on her skirt begging her to get off her ass and SAVE SOME GODDAMN LIVES.
Suddenly, Usagi has an idea: the Transformation Pen! She turns into a stylish bus attendant! This disguise imbues her with mad confidence, much to Luna’s confused consternation, and Usagi runs aboard the bus. The horrible bus driver merely giggles and closes the door: Sailor Moon is carried off into the other dimension!
Meanwhile, Rei begins to think about the shrine’s new assistant (he’s evil), wondering why the shrine sells so many love amulets these days (they’re evil) and why she feels so uneasy around the man with mysterious icy eyes (because he’s evil). She consults a mystical fire with a Buddhist chant, which is clearly where Game Of Thrones stole the idea from, and is shown that it’s the obviously evil guy living in the shrine that is the culprit! What are the odds?
Jadeite cannot be dealing with Rei’s lip just then, so he throws her into the same dimension as Usagi and the fleet of buses packed to the brim with unconscious teenage girls. This is a little lazy, but I suppose they have to advance the plot in some way.
Usagi continues to lose her shit in the crazy bus-dimension, with Luna begging her to pull herself together and transform into Sailor Moon for the love of god. My favourite moment in the episode occurs here: Usagi, crying, screams “I don’t want to live like this anymooore!” before suddenly springing up and shouting “BUT I’LL DO IT!” It’s so hilariously weird and in-keeping with Usagi’s dementia, Luna’s complete exasperation with her bipolar warrior is the cream on the cake.
As it turns out, her new found enthusiasm is not enough to kill the monster – her Moon Tiara Action can only lasso the evil thing (did you know it could do that? I certainly didn’t). This gives Luna enough time to tell Rei how to transform into the wonderful, kick-ass, fiery beauty Sailor Mars. Seriously guys I love this girl.
Each of the Sailor Senshi’s outfits are slightly personalised. Mercury has blue studs in her ears (boooooring) and a supercomputer visor (OK that one is pretty cool), while Mars wears red high heels. What a pro.
Sailor Mars has absolutely no idea what is going on, but instinctively knows that this bitch of a monster must BUUURN, unleashing her Fire Soul attack. It kills the monster. Mars is pretty sick. But also powerful – this is the first monster to be killed by anything other than Moon Tiara Action.
The tension isn’t over, though! The dimensional portal in the sky begins to close, and Moon, Mars and Luna have no idea how to escape. Suddenly, Tuxedo Kamen is there! He’s so cool, he- he flies the buses through the dimensional portal…? That’s soooo weird…
Usagi is rather worried to see that Rei has also fallen for Tuxedo Kamen (I mean, who wouldn’t?), but we get a taste of what it truly means to be Rei’s friend – she makes Usagi cry, which is admittedly rather easy, and sticks her tongue out.
Uh-oh! What crazy arguments are these two girls going to have!? Find out next episode!
Episode Score: 4/5
Monster Freakishness Level: 4/5 (She’s super-freaky as a human, less so when she transforms)
How Awesome Is Sailor Mars?: So Awesome