Act.3 – REI – SAILOR MARS
First Aired: 2nd August 2014
Chastened by Queen Beryl over his two recent failures, Jadeite is determined to lure out and defeat the two Sailor Senshi. After children begin disappearing while on a bus route, Usagi and Luna investigate, meeting the mysterious shrine maiden Rei. When Jadeite attacks Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury, Rei must realise what her strange powers can truly achieve.
The first part of this review is spoiler free.
Sailor Moon Crystal continues in the same dependably solid fashion as the first two episodes. With the introduction of such a beloved character as Hino Rei, the writers did a good job fleshing her out.
We also had developments in the Dark Kingdom stage as well, with a couple new characters being introduced. They’re doing a great job with avoiding the repetitive structure of the original anime (as much as I loved it).
In a similar way to how they introduced Ami’s character, here we have Rei being seen as quite isolated because of her psychic powers. This theme reminds me quite a lot of Sailor Moon R: The Movie, which for all its faults, explored the idea that all the inner Senshi suffered from a deep loneliness until they met Usagi.
There’s no particularly new ground here. If you’ve seen the original anime’s treatment of this material, or read the manga act, you’ll everything that happens here.This is not necessarily a bad thing – the show obstinately continues to ignore the original anime’s existence while subtly drawing inspiration from it at the same time, so the end result is a strange sort of echo, but not an unwelcome one.
There may have been the most use of faux-watercolour backgrounds in this episode than the previous two. There are some noticably lovely designs here, and Rei is, as ever, a wonderful character to look at.
Rei’s character is definitely tweaked from the manga, where she was aloof and cold even from her first appearance. Here, she’s full of smiles, and seems rather ready to trust Usagi in a way she wasn’t before. Evidently they’re trying to soften her to make her more quickly likeable, but I worry that they won’t have her wit, her spiteful charm, in coming episodes.
There are, in fact, a number of strange plot holes that I hadn’t seen in previous episodes. There’s one point where Sailor Mercury just shows up in an impossible fashion, with a hand-waving explanation given. I did wonder if they had to cut this episode down for time, or whether the writing was a little rushed.
Also, Sailor Mars’ transformation is slightly better than Sailor Mercury’s but not by much. I continue to be appalled by the CGI effects, and the 3D fire is only marginally less offensive to my aesthetic sensibilities than Mercury’s water effects.
I did very much enjoy this episode – one scene with Mamoru, Usagi and Luna on a bus had me chortling out loud – although I think Ami’s introduction was slightly more solid. It’s a shame that they’re following so closely to the manga: we don’t get as much time to spend with these characters to get to know them as well. Sailor Moon Crystal has made me want to spend time with these girls again, and I’m now eagerly awaiting every episode.
Too bad we have to wait two weeks every time!
I’m about to discuss a couple of points from the episode, so look away if you don’t want to know!
I’ve covered most of what I wanted to say about the episode in the review above, but here are some interesting thoughts.
The opening this episode focussed on the Dark Kingdom. I was interested to see a strange blankness from Queen Beryl on the topic of the Ginzuishou. It was quite effective, especially after her outburst at Jadeite only a couple of seconds before.
We get both Nephrite and Zoisite introduced. They’re both a little cheeky to Jadeite. I’ll be interested to see if they follow the same comradery between the Great Four as happened in the manga, or whether they’ll have an all-out war of in-fighting, like happened between Nephrite and Zoisite in the anime.
Usagi falling in love with Rei at first sight, and then proceeding to stalk her was pretty great. She’s definitely even weirder than her original anime incarnation. The humour involving animated jokes, like Usagi’s heart-eyes, still feel a little out of place, though, since everything else takes itself so seriously.
I loved the scene between Usagi and Mamoru on the bus. It’s straight of the manga, although he didn’t accuse Luna of talking like he did originally. I really dig Mamoru in glasses and his high school uniform.
Him whipping out his high school ID like an FBI badge was hilariously arrogant and stupid at the same time. I continue to prefer his character in this anime than the last. For one, he’s not flying a fleet of buses through the air this time.
Usagi getting the courage to enter the cursed bus by transforming into an attendant was one of my favourite moments in the original anime’s episode. Here, the flight attendant thing is so haphazardly thrown in, and it achieves nothing. I guess they kept it in just so fans could see her dressed like a flight attendant.
The fight with Jadeite was not very interesting. Sailor Moon and Rei have entire bloody conversation as he’s blasting her with an icey-beam. It just came off as a little flat and boring. Bit of a shame.
I said it before, but the transformations continue to be disappointing. Another weird moment was Sailor Mars’ pose before she fought. I’m not saying I don’t like it, but it was weirdly lascivious.
Sailor Mars’ fire attack looked great. It’s a flaming Akuryo Taisan, Rei’s demon-exorcising attack. Naturally I prefer Fire Soul, but seeing Jadeite engulfed in flames was satisfying enough.
Oh, and Jadeite escaped!? It was in this moment that Rei burned him to death in the manga. I thought it would have been a mistake to off him so soon, and I’m glad that the writers of Sailor Moon Crystal agreed with me.
There was also an interesting moment where Jadeite found himself inexplicably attracted to the unconscious Rei. Aside from it being definitely creepy, it’s the first hint at the Great Four’s backstory and true identity. Very intrigued to see where they go with this.