Third episode, third guardian. If you are at all familiar with the original anime series, then you probably know that this is a much faster pace than the original (I looked it up upon writing this article, and it wasn’t until episode ten that Rei made her debut, though for American viewers it would have been episode seven). It looks like things will slow up for the moment—the next episode doesn’t appear to have any new guardians being introduced. So, what do you have to look forward to here?
Rei is a shrine maiden with supernatural abilities. Among these are the ability to see things in fire and, possibly, the ability to exorcise demons (she does throw a talisman at Usagi’s face). This may be uncomfortable for some Christian viewers, as the show is clearly giving life to supernatural abilities outside of the Sailor Guardian transformations. If that’s you, then proceed with caution. If you lack any such conviction, then it probably won’t bother you. It certainly isn’t the most intense depiction of Japanese mysticism, or whatever you want to call it.
While some things were probably changed, the basics of this episode are still the same: people are disappearing on a bus known as the “Demon 6:00 p.m. Bus”. Rei ends up getting caught up in the drama behind it, as a little girl who frequents the shrine has disappeared, and it appears that some of the townspeople do not have a kind opinion of the shrine. Usagi ultimately gets involved in all of this once she decides to follow Rei off of the bus.
On the other side of things, we see the emergence of two new enemies from the Dark Kingdom. While they don’t play much of a role in this episode—other than to antagonize Jadeite—they are introduced and will likely begin to play a larger role as the series progresses.
One major change from the original anime (or perhaps this is more in line with the manga) is that Rei and Usagi are not shown as rivals by the end of the episode. Now, I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain that Rei more or less declared herself Usagi’s rival for Tuxedo Mask’s affection by the end of her introduction episode in the original series. Not only does that not happen here, Tuxedo Mask doesn’t even participate in the fight! It will be interesting to see if they bring this plot point around at some other time, or if that rivalry is gone. If it’s gone, then it will be interesting to see a different dynamic between Usagi and Rei than what was previously presented.
A Christian Perspective:
We can learn something from the way Rei is treated by some of the townspeople in this episode. It would seem that her supernatural powers make some people uneasy, which ultimately leads to a couple ladies leveling claims against her. We can do this as Christians, too. It may not be something as odd as supernatural abilities, but how many times have we looked at a person who is stuck in some sin or who is living a poor lifestyle and judged them? How many times have we each failed to reach out with the love of Christ and embrace these people who society frowns upon, instead of joining in with everyone else who has ultimately judged them? We need to remember that loving the person does not equate to approving their sin. We need to be more like Usagi, standing up for the people that society would frown upon because they’re “different”, or because our society has chalked them up to “failures” or something else. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did (see: the story of the Samaritan woman and the story of the woman caught in adultery for examples)? As Christians aren’t we supposed to emulate Christ to a broken world? So then, let’s reach out and embrace those who have been unfairly judged and demeaned, and ultimately show them a better way in Christ.
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Transformation sequences; the preview shows a girl wearing a dress that shows some cleavage
Violence: None in the usual sense, although the Sailor Guardians use their powers to fight, and their enemy is able to freeze parts of their bodies by touching them