Review: Sailor Moon Crystal
Act 3: REI – SAILOR MARS
NOTE: I’m trying out a new format for my reviews, since I think I delved too far into ‘summarizing’ territory during my previous two. Hope you like! (Apologies for the awkward formatting for the images. I’m still learning how to work the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.)
Allow me to preface this review by stating that Sailor Mars has always been my favorite of the Sailor Guardians. I can go on as to why that is, but this isn’t the place, nor the time to do so. I may make a post later all about her, but this post is for the episode in specific.
I have been looking forward to this episode for a long time, pretty much since the anime was announced. So, it goes without saying that I held this episode in high anticipation and high standards, and lo and behold, some of these standards were not met. Don’t get me wrong, the episode itself was fine; the story was fine, the pacing was fine – it was (relatively) true to the chapter in the manga. What was not fine, you ask? The animation quality. This episode, in comparison to the two before it, had a significant decline in quality. I asked myself as I watched, “what the hell happened?” I also hoped very much that succeeding episodes did not follow this trend, as Sailor Moon Crystal should have a decent budget thanks to its popularity, and episodes are not released in a weekly format.
Let me just get a prime example of the animation’s quality out of the way, here, since it bothered me so much:
Rei’s face has some issues in this episode, some of which are glaring. Ami had some in Episode 2, but they were the minor type you’d expect from any series; particularly the ones you see when the character is further away, ie: not in focus, not in point.
When Sailor Mars announces herself, her pose is awkward:
Alright, so now I should actually review the episode as a whole. It was good; the story followed the manga. Of course, once Rei mistakenly believes Usagi is an evil presence and throws the scroll at her, the animation decides to hiccup and things look awkward, as shown a few images above.
Aw, I really was trying to stop going on about the animation. Really. But! This just doesn’t seem … right.
Back to the story: There’s a demon bus and rumors are floating around that anyone who goes on this bus disappears. One of the passengers happens to be a little girl Rei plays with every day, and since Rei is a priestess with the power to predict/see things, all of the parents in the vicinity think she is the cause of the girl’s disappearance. Usagi meets Rei on a bus, thanks to Ami talking about her, and instantly gets those patented anime-heart eyes, commenting on how beautiful Rei is. Rei gets a flashback about her past life upon glancing at Usagi, even though the audience should get by now that she’s the next Sailor Guardian.
Long story short, after Usagi tries to convince some parents who are hassling Rei about the girl that Rei can’t be the cause of the disappearance, Rei sees into her flames that Jadeite is going to attack Usagi, and runs after her; she ends up seeing the bus, which Jadeite is driving, and he knocks her out and takes her to some unknown void. Usagi notices Rei on the bus and transforms into a stewardess (like the manga) and follows the bus, with Mamoru noticing that she definitely transformed. She then doesn’t know what to do when in the void and Ami locates her via her computer, and she and Luna tell Usagi to transform. Then Ami transforms and Sailors Moon and Mercury end up with Rei, whom Jadeite currently admires. It’s a little creepy, but it’s in the manga.
So then Sailor Mercury attacks Jadeite, and he declares that he’s more powerful than the Guardians are and Moon and Mercury are hit by his freezing powers. Rei doesn’t like this and she wakes up, comments on how Usagi looks like Sailor Moon (DING!) and grabs Jadeite like she doesn’t even care what happens to herself; she’s determined to save her new friends, which is remarkably admirable. Then she gets the mystical aura Ami received in the last episode where her planetary symbol appears on her forehead and her transformation pen appears. She transforms into Sailor Mars.
Don’t get me wrong: the transformation sequence was pretty good. The CG fire, the rock music, everything really worked together. I loved it. If only her pose when she says she’ll chastise Jadeite weren’t so awkward.
Sailor Moon throws her tiara, trapping Jadeite, and Mars throws her scroll in an attempt to burn him to death. He actually appears to leave the scene, which does not follow the chapter in the manga, so this was a little odd. I guess they’re planning on changing it up a little from the original story, which isn’t a terrible thing, just interesting.
FUNNY NOTE: Crunchyroll’s sub makes Jadeite say, “Rascal, Sailor Mars!” which was inexplicably odd and not in the manga. I just … don’t know where it came from! It should be more like “Damn it,” or “Damn you.”
Anyway, the little girl is saved and everything is great at the end of the episode, as per usual.
I HAVE to ding two points off of the rating for the animation. Come on, Toei, don’t let this happen again. You’re breaking my heart. HOWEVER, I loved Rei’s voice. I think it’s perfect.
RATING: 3 out of 5 ofuda scrolls