Sailor Moon Crystal is shaping up to be one of my favorite animes and it’s not because I’m an all-things Sailor Moon enthusiast. It’s because the anime has proven itself capable of making me fall in love with characters I didn’t expect. It’s also providing me new perspectives to a story that’s over 20 years old.
Crystal‘s Act 3 highlighted character, Rei a/k/a Sailor Mars, has pulled me in more than I thought she could. Bear with me a moment. When the original anime came out, Sailor Mars was my least favorite of the scouts. I know, it’s shocking to think that I like one of them less than the rest! But it was her brash ways that I found a bit grinding, plus she and Sailor Moon butted heads constantly, which kind of contradicted the whole girl power theme.
While this is just the introduction episode of Sailor Mars and we’ve still yet to truly see the relationship between Rei and Usagi, the third episode of the series showcased a new side of Sailor Mars that I never really saw in the original anime. Plus, it felt like in the original anime, Rei was only ever kind to Usagi when Sailor Moon was in utter danger. (Yeah, you old school fans know what I’m talking about.)
But before we jump into Sailor Mars’ life story, though, let’s go back to the start of the episode.
The episode begins with a not-so-happy Queen Beryl berating Jadeite, who has yet again failed at harnessing energy or finding the Legendary Silver Crystal. Cue in the two other kings from the Dark Kingdom, Nephrite and Zoisite, who join in on belittling Jadeite and all his attempts. We then also learn that the Legendary Silver Crystal has powers that can control the universe, and as Queen Beryl looks into her wicked crystal ball, the scene changes to that of a fiery scene with Rei sensing that danger is coming.
That’s when we hear Usagi’s classmates gossip about a demon bus that disappears on a route near a shrine Rei is a priestess of. A sleeping Usagi can’t be disturbed, however, until Luna suggests they meet with Ami at the arcade to discuss what’s going on. While Ami is still in shock that she’s a Guardian of Justice, Usagi is button-mashing away.
As they wrap up their “meeting” at the arcade, Ami is off to another cram school with Usagi tagging along. Ami mentions a beautiful girl who happens to take the same bus route, and when Usagi sees her, the beautiful girl is revealed to be Rei who’s caught up in a vision of the Moon Kingdom.
Usagi is absolutely hearts-in-eyeballs awestruck, possibly even moreso than when she first ran into her endgame love, Tuxedo Mask, and decides to stalk Rei. Anyone else loving the fact that the new anime toys with characters’ attraction, even if it’s purely “OMFG! You’re so beautiful” kinda way? Anyways, when Luna and Usagi head towards a shrine, Usagi gets smacked in the face by a sheet of anti-demon paper thrown by Rei. Before they can fully have a conversation, Rei notices a few women gathered around the shrine, praying for a missing little girl.
Rei’s pretty hurt as the little girl missing often plays at the shrine. She then tells of the story of the bus that disappears, that it’s called spirited away. While we get a quick intermission of students talking about more souls who were taken away, Usagi, Ami, and Luna surmise that perhaps Rei may be the princess they’re looking for, you know, because she’s absolutely beautiful and she’s a priestess.
While Usagi and Luna make their trek to the shrine (Ami’s at cram school, yet again), they run into Mamoru Chiba, a second year high school student, and the love of Usagi’s life. This time a sheet of paper isn’t in his face and Usagi becomes all sorts of flustered while trying to make small talk with him. It was absolutely incredible when she had to use Luna as a shield when he looked at her momentarily, sending her heart into a speeding pitter-patter. This show is awesome.
In the meantime, Rei’s being harassed by the women from earlier, blaming her for the missing little girl, and that she needs to user her “powers” to help. Cue in Usagi coming to the rescue. Rei then admits to Usagi that since she was little, she’s had supernatural powers, and that Usagi needs to stay away from her. As Rei is meditating, she sees a glimpse of Usagi in trouble, and runs off to help her, but only finds herself captured by Jadeite driving the demon bus.
As the bus passes through a portal that leads into the Dark Kingdom, Usagi manages to transform into a flight attendant, because they help passengers, and jumps through just before the portal closes with Luna being caught by Tuxedo Mask who is stuck on the Earth side. Luckily for our Sailor Scouts, Luna had just given Usagi and Ami communicators that help to connect the two.
While Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury confront Jadeite, he ends up getting an upper hand on the duo. That is, until Rei awakens and tries to stop Jadeite from freezing over our Sailor Guardians. It’s then when Rei is revealed to be Sailor Mars and boom! Sailor Moon tiara bommerang traps Jadeite while Mars sets the blond aflame!
All’s well and the missing people are back, including Rei’s friend, and now there’s three Sailor Guardians in pursuit of saving the princess and finding the Legendary Silver Crystal.
Overall, the episode helped to reveal a bit more personality of our Guardians and I really liked that. There were reminders that Ami’s smarts are an asset to the team and that Usagi isn’t alone any longer in her fight for love and justice. Even though Rei was just introduced, we could see the lengths she would go through to help save people. We even get more info on the love of Usagi’s life and see him wearing something else than tuxedos. Plus the heart eyes and the awkward cat shielding moments? Pure bliss.
I also have to point out the awesome intertwined transformation sequence between Sailors Moon and Mercury. It was cut so well and the fangirl in me squealed so hard when they both gave their little speeches and pose.
Sailor Moon Crystal airs an episode every first and third Saturday on Hulo and Neon Alley.
What did you think of Rei’s introduction episode? Let us know in the comments below.